Initial 9.1 Installer Documentation

For those of you trying out the 9.0-STABLE-20120225 testing snapshot, or who are curious about the revamped installer for 9.1, Chapters 3, 4, and 5 of the PC-BSD Handbook have been updated with the new screenshots and functionality. Some sections are still being tested or aren’t yet fully implemented and will contain a comment to that effect in ALL CAPS.

I particularly like the new FreeBSD setup wizard; that and the ability to configure ZFS and encryption during installation makes it my new FreeBSD installer of choice.

Some of the new installer features will be refined between now and 9.1-RELEASE and the documentation will be updated accordingly. We will be releasing regular testing snapshots between now and 9.1 to give testers ample time to test new features as they are implemented. It is expected that the next testing snapshot will contain bug fixes from the last snapshot, the new gdm GUI configuration tool, and the changes to Warden that Kris is currently coding.

If you have any feedback or suggestions for the new installer, please send them to the PC-BSD testing mailing list.

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Written by dru. Posted in 9.1, handbook, new features, testers

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Comments (29)

  • Frank
    March 1, 2012 at 12:29 am |

    Regarding the possibility to install FreeBSD… is it possible to do unattended/scripted installs? Something like RedHat’s kickstart.cfg or sysinstall’s install.cfg… I’m missing such magic thing from FreeBSD’s new installer.

    • March 1, 2012 at 6:53 am |

      Definitely, as the changes in 9.1 are to the GUI front-end. The scriptable back-end is documented here: http://wiki.pcbsd.org/index.php/Creating_an_Automated_Installation_with_pc-sysinstall. We’ll be adding an example on automating a networked roll-out as the network install has been removed from the GUI (but still possible in back-end).

      Table 5.4a lists the configurable variables for pc-sysinstall, similar to how sysinstall(8) lists its scriptable directives. Kris gives an example of installing FreeBSD in the article in the Additional Resources section.

      • Frank
        March 1, 2012 at 9:27 am |

        Thanks for the pointer! Looks promising and I’ll definitely give it a try.

  • Luis
    March 4, 2012 at 2:39 pm |

    Hello Dru and/or Chris,
    I have made several attempts to install pc-BSD 9, installation process goes very smooth although it does take a bit longer than usual (vs Linux). After a retrieved the media (DVD) and my system reboots and it hangs at the BIOS splash screen and NOTHING happens for minutes (35min.) can’t access boot options or BIOS. I’ve tried unplugging USB adapters, mouse,etc. and nothing per the wiki. Any Ideas and/or observation? Cannot provide you with any kind of error logs since my computer is nonfunctional after installation.



  • March 5, 2012 at 6:04 am |

    We’ll need a bit more info about the hardware. What type of video card and is there more than one? Is it a PC or laptop, and which model? Did you install on a primary partition?

    • Luis
      March 5, 2012 at 4:33 pm |

      Dru, forgive me for not including the most important part of the message. I have a laptop with specs:
      Acer Timeline 4810T
      4GB RAM
      500 HHD
      Intel Core 2 Solo SU3500 / 1.4 GHz
      Mobile Intel GS45 Express
      Intel GMA 4500MHD – 64.0 MB
      Yes I installed on primary partition (used entire disk).
      One Video Card

      • March 7, 2012 at 6:40 am |

        Just to clarify, is it 9.0-RELEASE or the 9.1 testing snapshot that hangs? If it’s release, can you try the testing snapshot? It should have better luck with that Intel video card.

  • Michael
    March 5, 2012 at 6:43 pm |

    Back in the old days, when I 1st saw FreeBSD. I think it was FreeBSD 4.3 I think. I always wanted to use it. But fount it very hard to install. I thought. hhhmm now if FreeBSD had a UI Installer. this would be so nice. Now here comes PC-BSD. And I’m so thankful that Kris, and others has placed a GUI installer in this. I have beenn trying to get compiz installed and working on PC-BSD 9.0. But nothing. When I do a compiz –replace. Then the PC-BSD 9 UI hangs.

    But keep up the good work..

    • March 6, 2012 at 5:18 am |


      How are you installing compiz? Instructions are here: http://wiki.pcbsd.org/index.php/Display#KDE_Desktop_Effects_and_Compiz

      • Michael
        March 6, 2012 at 7:41 am |

        I’m using Gnome in PC-BSD 9.0
        And I’m installing compix from the appcafe. It’s on a dell optiplex 745. With 4 GB of RAM
        CPU3.4 x64

        Looking forward to the 9.1 πŸ™‚

        • March 6, 2012 at 7:49 am |

          Just to be clear, you’re installing from Appcafe and not System Manager in Control Panel?

          What type of video card?

          • Ken
            March 12, 2012 at 5:20 am |

            There is no PBI for compiz in the AppCafe (at least from the official PC-BSD repository). How are you installing it from there?
            By it’s very nature, compiz should probably be installed as a port into the base system rather than a PBI so that it can help manage the X display without requiring the special path settings for a PBI.

            • March 12, 2012 at 5:32 am |

              Correct, that is why it is a system component available during install or afterwards using System Manager.

  • Michael
    March 6, 2012 at 7:43 am |

    I mean compiz Sorry about the type o’s

  • Michael
    March 6, 2012 at 8:12 am |

    My Video card is a Intel (R) Q965/Q963 Express Chipset Family.
    Sorry I’m not that good knowing hardware. I install ZorinOS 5.2 on this box., And compiz worked very nice. But I like using a unix base system better.. To me it just runs smoother.

    • March 6, 2012 at 8:15 am |

      It is probably the card rather than the compiz. If this is just a practice system, try using the testing snapshot as it contains the vid fixes: http://blog.pcbsd.org/2012/02/call-for-testers-gemkms-snapshot/. If it’s your main system, these fixes should be stable in another month or so, once feedback from testers has been incorporated.

  • Michael
    March 6, 2012 at 8:22 am |

    Thank you very much, for helping me

  • Georg Curnutt
    March 8, 2012 at 5:54 am |

    I am borrowing another computer. I managed to get the testing 9.0 20120225 through the Install, but a lot seems to be missing? No place to add users. It went to the language screen, then next was what partition scheme, next was packages, and it finishes.

    My first attempt hanged. And I reported. Then I was goofing off and thought I would run it for kicks, and while doing so rubbing my touch pad hard to get some grime off, and I seen my cursor scoot across the screen! I jumped for joy and went and picked some ticks off the dog. Came back, contemplated all the files I wish I would have saved on my HD, but could not resist the chance to be OS X FREEeeee!!!! I went ahead.

    Immediately (I can not remove the DVD because its a MacBook) I sweat bullets on reboot, and as I clicked reboot, I seen some “Fatal” messages flash as she went down. It booted back into the DVD and very soon went into fatality mode. I am reinstalling again using the GPT along with the ZFS and added the MBR for loader. The first attempt I did all defaults which left out the GPT & MBR.

    At any rate, somewhere in this Blog is all the rest of my stories. You can delete those. I did get it to boot. Now lets hope I can get enough sunk in to my HD to let it reboot into the DVD but “Crash” it when it gets to the welcome screen, and pray like mad it mends itself on another reboot.

    Then I have to figure out how to add user and all that. I suppose do it like FreeBSD or something like # passwd (?) This all seems too weird unless its all assumed to be a wonder root until I change it? I missed something again.

    Oh, but its so exciting to see it installing. If only there was a way to not boot back into the DVD. Also, there is about 1 second to try to catch the boot choices options. I tried a few times to pause it, but it flies right by into default boot mode right straight into the welcome screen. The people that complain about a slow install, try mine, it gets to the welcome screen in a few seconds!!! Screaming fast, too fast to catch it!

    Anyway, the mouse works via the internal MacBook touch pad. I am installing every package listed in the hopes I get every dependency I might need, and if it works, remove stuff later.

    Please get that 9.1 out! And somehow make it auto eject the DVD, there is no way to manually eject a DVD with the MacBook Pro except with a .44 Magnum Pistol.


    If you see my mind in the street, squash it, I do not need it anymore; I quit chasing after it!
    MacBook Pro P8800 15″ Mid 2009 4G

    • March 8, 2012 at 8:45 am |

      Part of simplifying the new installer was moving the advanced stuff away from new users (e.g. click through 3 screens and the install starts), while advanced users can click Customize to access the advanced screens.

      The installer is also now divided into stuff you must do before the install and stuff to do after the install (e.g. add users). This is to make it easier to do large rollouts (e.g. the admin can install the systems and the user can customize on first boot). If you can boot into the new system, the post-config screens will appear as described in http://wiki.pcbsd.org/index.php/Post_Installation_Configuration_and_Installation_Troubleshooting.

      • Michael
        March 8, 2012 at 2:07 pm |

        So now FreeBSD has a GU installer as well, as PC-BSD?

  • Michael
    March 8, 2012 at 2:08 pm |

    I mean I GI installer?

  • keoh
    March 11, 2012 at 10:32 am |

    I really liked how PC-BSD worked on my laptop but i had only one problem and for anyone who own a laptop computer which most people do these days is!! NO WIRELESS! it seems PC-BSD focoused mainly on the desktop ethrnet connection and never thought of the wireless issues.Just load most any window ,MAC or linux OS and immedialty they search for a wireless signal for the most part.

    • March 12, 2012 at 8:01 am |

      Which model of wireless device?

  • Michael
    March 11, 2012 at 7:55 pm |

    When is this PC-BSD 9.1 is to come out?

    • March 12, 2012 at 4:42 am |

      freebsd.orgIt will be shortly after FreeBSD 9.1 is released, which will be a while yet as they are currently getting ready to release 8.3. Once 8.3 is released, they will update the release engineering schedule with tentative dates for 9.1: http://www.freebsd.org/releng/#schedule.

      • Michael
        March 12, 2012 at 7:47 am |

        FreeBSD 8.3? HUH? I thought I had read where it said download FreeBSD 9.0 from the freeBSD web site? WOW I must be seeing things. Or have went back through time. πŸ™‚

        • March 12, 2012 at 7:54 am |

          Nope, not seeing things. FreeBSD has 2 stable release tracks. 9.0 is the latest in the 9.x series and 8.3 will be the latest in the 8.x series.

          • Michael
            March 12, 2012 at 5:40 pm |

            Oh I see how things are now.. yyyaaayyy

            I saw the light, no more in darkness. πŸ™‚ he he.

            Looks like that would be a lot of work fur the programers? It sure would be fur me. I’m installing PC-BSD 9 on a Dell opt 745 right now. Going to be fooling with this, and see if I can get the compiz to work right in gnome. Wish me luck.

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