Ruminations on the Digital Realm

Jan Stedehouder

DesktopBSD Day 1 – Getting started (part 2)

Some remarks about DesktopBSD

What is DesktopBSD? Let’s see what the website has to say about it:

DesktopBSD aims at being a stable and powerful operating system for desktop users.
DesktopBSD combines the stability of FreeBSD, the usability and functionality of KDE and the simplicity of specially developed software to provide a system that’s easy to use and install.

In this you can see the goals for PC-BSD and DesktopBSD are similar, though the routes choses are different. Where PC-BSD has the PBI’s as unique selling point, DesktopBSD aims to add new graphical systems- and softwaremanagement tools to the ‘default’ FreeBSD desktop. I have already found out there is no rivalry between the two, just two different and -in my opinion- complementary ways to make FreeBSD more end user friendly.

Time to get started – installing DesktopBSD

You can download DesktopBSD from here. The download consists of two ISO files, one with DesktopBSD proper and one for the additional language packs. The version currently available is 1.6 RC 3. If you have an AMD 64 machine, it also possible to get the weekly snapshots. I only used the first disk since no other languages were needed. For practical reasons DesktopBSD will be installed in a virtual machine under Vmware server, but later this month I will attempt a real harddisk install.

Booting the CD brings up a familiar boot menu.


In the next step the boot process will attempt to find working settings for the graphical environment. It will ask you whether you accept the settings and then ask you for the proper keyboard layout.

DesktopBSD-Day1-install-2 DesktopBSD-Day1-install-3

DesktopBSD comes with two modes, the live desktop and a graphical installer. I will leave the live desktop for some other time. The install menu will guide you step by step and shouldn’t require a degree in rocket science to finish it. After answering the question about what language you wish to use, you are provided with an overview of the hardware on your system. If you are a curious end user in the learning mode (and you should be), take some time to check out the tabs and the information provided.


In the next step you can select for a fresh install or upgrade. The second option can also be used for recovery. I will add that to the list for later this month.


Partitioning the system

The next phase is normally associated with sweaty palms: partitioning your new system. First you select the hard drive you wish to install DesktopBSD on. Once that is done you are provided with three options for the bootloader: multiboot, single boot or ‘keep your hands of my bootloader, I know what I am doing’.


The next step is the one where you have to start thinking. What partitions do you wish to use? In this case it was easy, I only want to install DesktopBSD on the virtual harddrive. So it was a matter of clicking on the disk icon, clicking on “Use entire disk” and then Next.


I went for some coffee and did a few other things and when I came back the system was ready to reboot. Now this doesn’t mean the install was finished.


After rebooting phase 2 of the wizard kicks in. If you need to install other languages now is the time to have disk 2 at hand.

You can personalize your system by giving it it’s own name and then it is time to add the system password and the first user. Once you click on the icons a new windows pops up to enter the correct information. Nicely done.


From here it is a matter of wrapping up and heading on the new login screen.


At this point you enter your name and password and your new DesktopBSD system appears in all it’s glory. Two screens pop up immediately for your sound settings and one with some information about accessing your other partitions and external devices.

DesktopBSD-Day1-install-21 DesktopBSD-Day1-install-22

Tomorrow I will take a closer look at the new desktop.


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One thought on “DesktopBSD Day 1 – Getting started (part 2)

  1. Pingback: DesktopBSD Day 1 « FreeBSD - Reliable, Flexible and Secure

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