Category Archives: pc-bsd

PC-BSD 10.1.2 Released

The PC-BSD team is pleased to announce the availability of the next PC-BSD / TrueOS quarterly release, 10.1.2.

 

PC-BSD 10.1.2 Notable Changes:

  •  New PersonaCrypt Utility
    • Allows moving all of users $HOME directory to an encrypted USB Drive. This drive can be connected at login, and used across different systems
    • Stealth Mode — Allows login to a blank $HOME directory, which is encrypted with a one-time GELI key. This $HOME directory is then discarded at logout, or rendered unreadable after a reboot
  • Tor mode — Switch firewall to running transparent proxy, blocking all traffic except what is routed through Tor.
  • Migrated to IPFW firewall for enabling VIMAGE in 10.2
  • Added sound configuration via the first boot utility
  • Support for encrypted iSCSI backups via Life-Preserver, including support for bare-metal restores via installer media
  • New HTML handbook, updated via normal package updates
  • Media Center support allowing direct login to Kodi and PlexHomeTheater for the 10ft user experience
  • Switch to new AppCafe interface, with remote support via web-browser
  • Improvements to Online Updater, along with GRUB nested menus for Boot-Environments
  • Migrate all ports to using LibreSSL instead of OpenSSL
  • Switch from NTPD to OpenNTPD
  • Lumina desktop 0.8.4
  • Chromium 42.0.2311.135
  • Firefox 38.0
  • NVIDIA Driver 346.47
  • Pkg 1.5.2

 

Updating

Users currently running the 10.1.1 release can now apply the updates via their Update Manager utility. Users running TrueOS or CLI can start the update with the following command:

# pc-updatemanager pkgupdate

 

Getting media

10.1.2 DVD/USB media can be downloaded from the following URL via HTTP or Torrent. http://www.pcbsd.org/en/download.html

Reporting Bugs

Found a bug in 10.1.2? Please report it (with as much detail as possible) to our bugs database. https://bugs.pcbsd.org

Contacting Us

First PC-BSD 9.0 Alpha Snapshot Available for Testing

Kris Moore has just announced that the first testing snapshot is available for download (both 32 and 64 bit versions). You can help us make 9.0 an awesome release by trying out the snapshots (there will be many between now and the first beta some time next spring) and providing feedback about any bugs you find. Since these are testing snapshots, it is recommended that you try them out on a spare system or using a virtual environment such as VirtualBox. If you're planning on trying out all of the new desktop environments, you should use a virtual machine of at least 2

First PC-BSD 9.0 Alpha Snapshot Available for Testing

Kris Moore has just announced that the first testing snapshot is available for download (both 32 and 64 bit versions). You can help us make 9.0 an awesome release by trying out the snapshots (there will be many between now and the first beta some time next spring) and providing feedback about any bugs you find. Since these are testing snapshots, it is recommended that you try them out on a spare system or using a virtual environment such as VirtualBox. If you're planning on trying out all of the new desktop environments, you should use a virtual machine of at least 2

EuroBSDCon Presentation on pc-sysinstall

There was a lot of interest about the changes to the pc-sysinstall backend during Kris Moore?s presentation at EuroBSDCon. For those of you used to FreeBSD?s sysinstall, you?ll appreciate some of the features which are available in pc-sysinstall. For those of you new to pc-sysinstall, it is a scriptable command line utility which drives the PC-BSD GUI installer (and can also be used for system administrators to script custom installs). It has been totally redesigned for PC-BSD 9 and supports modern FreeBSD filesystems (ZFS, UFS+J), gpart, and geli.

PC-BSD install without a bootable DVD

Recently, I tried to get PC-BSD onto an older system. This system didn't support booting off of USB, nor did it support swapping in a DVD player for the CD player that was shipped with the system. The computer seemed to be fast enough to support PC-BSD. Since all I really wanted was something that could play some games that my 4-year-old wanted, I wasn't willing to spend a ton of money on a new computer just yet. Better to wait a year or two until we really needed something better.PC-BSD only installing off a memory stick or off a DVD these days. I opted to go the DVD route because this computer didn't support booting off USB media as far as I could tell (I tried it on two machines: an old HP eVectra 933MHz box, and a slightly newer Dell Optiplex GX270).The summary of this hack is 'Copy all the files from /boot on the ISO image onto a hard disk that has been made bootable and use a USB expansion box to store the real DVD'.First, I needed to create a bootable hard disk. I put the hard disk that was going to be installed into the system info a USB expansion box and plugged it into my FreeBSD system. This gave me a disk as 'da0'. This disk had an old Windows installation on it. All commands are run as root. You are advised to triple check your typing, as transposed letters and such might have adverse effects.Relabeling the DiskSince I had an old windows install on the disk, I just needed to delete the old windows partition and create a FreeBSD one.
  1. gpart delete -i 1 da0
  2. gpart add -t \!165 da0
  3. gpart create -s bsd da0s1
  4. gpart add -t \!7 da0s1
Did the trick. Your milage may vary at this stage. I've also used "gpart delete -i X da0" and "gpart destroy da0" to totally wipe a GPT scheme off the disk in the past. If you do that, you'll also need "gpart create -s mbr da0" before proceeding to step 2 above. There's lots of other ways to skin this cat too involving dd, but since gpart has been added to the system, its so easy to use I prefer it for quick tasks like this so I don't have to remember "do I need to blank the front of the disk, or the end of the disk..."Making the disk bootableNext we need to make the disk bootable. This is a lot easier than it used to be in days of yore:
  1. gpart bootcode -b /boot/boot0 da0
  2. gpart bootcode -b /boot/boot da0s1
We have to make it bootable twice due to the multi-stage boot-loader that FreeBSD has (other systems are likely similar). "boot0" just prompts for which partition to boot (doing the first one by default). "boot" will then load /boot/loader to finish out the booting process and hand control over to FreeBSD's kernel.Copying The FilesThe pc-bsd installer for the DVD just loads a ram disk, and then runs off that. All the early stages of the boot loader need are contained in /boot. This includes the kernel, the third stage boot loader and various config files and scripts. So the next steps are to copy these files from the cd onto the bootable hard disk we just made. This assumes that the mdconfig command below prints "md0" for unit 0. If it prints anything else, you'll need to adjust accordingly. Also, if you are reading this in the future, you may need to change the PCBSD iso name.
  1. newfs /dev/da0s1a
  2. mount /dev/da0s1a /mnt
  3. mdconfig -f PCBSD8.1-x86-DVD.iso
  4. mount -t cd9660 /dev/md0 /cdrom
  5. mkdir /mnt/boot
  6. cd /cdrom/boot
  7. tar cf - . | (cd /mnt/boot; tar xvf -)
  8. cd /
  9. umount /mnt
  10. umount /cdrom
  11. mdconfig -d -u 0
Moving the diskAt this point, I had to unplug the USB expander from the first system, remove the hard drive and install it into my target box. I also grabbed my UBS DVD player and connected it to the box with a copy of the DVD I burned from the above file. I selected hard disk as the boot media in the bios and let the system boot. It booted off the hard disk, but then started looking for the proper cd device. Luckily for me, it found the DVD on cd1 instead of cd0 (which is what was built-in to the Dell I was booting off of). It then became a 'normal' PC-BSD installation, which is described in detail elsewhere.Hopefully, people find these instructions useful. Since I only had one of these systems, I didn't create any kind of script to make it easier. Sorry.[[ Updated to fix problem noted in the comments ]]

PC-BSD install without a bootable DVD

Recently, I tried to get PC-BSD onto an older system. This system didn't support booting off of USB, nor did it support swapping in a DVD player for the CD player that was shipped with the system. The computer seemed to be fast enough to support PC-BSD. Since all I really wanted was something that could play some games that my 4-year-old wanted, I wasn't willing to spend a ton of money on a new computer just yet. Better to wait a year or two until we really needed something better.

PC-BSD only installing off a memory stick or off a DVD these days. I opted to go the DVD route because this computer didn't support booting off USB media as far as I could tell (I tried it on two machines: an old HP eVectra 933MHz box, and a slightly newer Dell Optiplex GX270).

The summary of this hack is 'Copy all the files from /boot on the ISO image onto a hard disk that has been made bootable and use a USB expansion box to store the real DVD'.

First, I needed to create a bootable hard disk. I put the hard disk that was going to be installed into the system info a USB expansion box and plugged it into my FreeBSD system. This gave me a disk as 'da0'. This disk had an old Windows installation on it. All commands are run as root. You are advised to triple check your typing, as transposed letters and such might have adverse effects.

Relabeling the Disk

Since I had an old windows install on the disk, I just needed to delete the old windows partition and create a FreeBSD one.
  1. gpart delete -i 1 da0
  2. gpart add -t \!165 da0
  3. gpart create -s bsd da0s1
  4. gpart add -t \!7 da0s1
Did the trick. Your milage may vary at this stage. I've also used "gpart delete -i X da0" and "gpart destroy da0" to totally wipe a GPT scheme off the disk in the past. If you do that, you'll also need "gpart create -s mbr da0" before proceeding to step 2 above. There's lots of other ways to skin this cat too involving dd, but since gpart has been added to the system, its so easy to use I prefer it for quick tasks like this so I don't have to remember "do I need to blank the front of the disk, or the end of the disk..."

Making the disk bootable

Next we need to make the disk bootable. This is a lot easier than it used to be in days of yore:
  1. gpart bootcode -b /boot/boot0 da0
  2. gpart bootcode -b /boot/boot da0s1
We have to make it bootable twice due to the multi-stage boot-loader that FreeBSD has (other systems are likely similar). "boot0" just prompts for which partition to boot (doing the first one by default). "boot" will then load /boot/loader to finish out the booting process and hand control over to FreeBSD's kernel.

Copying The Files

The pc-bsd installer for the DVD just loads a ram disk, and then runs off that. All the early stages of the boot loader need are contained in /boot. This includes the kernel, the third stage boot loader and various config files and scripts. So the next steps are to copy these files from the cd onto the bootable hard disk we just made. This assumes that the mdconfig command below prints "md0" for unit 0. If it prints anything else, you'll need to adjust accordingly. Also, if you are reading this in the future, you may need to change the PCBSD iso name.

  1. newfs /dev/da0s1a
  2. mount /dev/da0s1a /mnt
  3. mdconfig -f PCBSD8.1-x86-DVD.iso
  4. mount -t cd9660 /dev/md0 /cdrom
  5. mkdir /mnt/boot
  6. cd /cdrom/boot
  7. tar cf - . | (cd /mnt/boot; tar xvf -)
  8. cd /
  9. umount /mnt
  10. umount /cdrom
  11. mdconfig -d -u 0

Moving the disk

At this point, I had to unplug the USB expander from the first system, remove the hard drive and install it into my target box. I also grabbed my UBS DVD player and connected it to the box with a copy of the DVD I burned from the above file. I selected hard disk as the boot media in the bios and let the system boot. It booted off the hard disk, but then started looking for the proper cd device. Luckily for me, it found the DVD on cd1 instead of cd0 (which is what was built-in to the Dell I was booting off of). It then became a 'normal' PC-BSD installation, which is described in detail elsewhere.

Hopefully, people find these instructions useful. Since I only had one of these systems, I didn't create any kind of script to make it easier. Sorry.

[[ Updated to fix problem noted in the comments ]]

Installing BigBlueButton on FreeBSD/PC-BSD

BigBlueButton is an open source VoIP web conferencing system. Once BBB is installed on one system, anyone with a flash-capable web browser can participate in a conference. Here are the instructions for setting up BBB on a FreeBSD or PC-BSD 8.1 system. I haven't tested desk sharing yet and will post a separate entry once I have.

Installing BigBlueButton on FreeBSD/PC-BSD

BigBlueButton is an open source VoIP web conferencing system. Once BBB is installed on one system, anyone with a flash-capable web browser can participate in a conference. Here are the instructions for setting up BBB on a FreeBSD or PC-BSD 8.1 system. I haven't tested desk sharing yet and will post a separate entry once I have.