Gary bsdmail at project415.org
Sun Nov 14 23:37:54 GMT 2004

Chaps and Chapettes,

Here is my initial musings on 5.3 installed on a Dell Inspiron 5160
I can see the frustration of John in this thread. There seems to be a 
lot of things you would need to know to get started. IMHO coming to 
FreeBSD as a linux user could be a bit daunting too :-)

I have had several machines with several FreeBSD versions so this was 
not something new I decided to tackle.

1. The disk1 cd worked a treat and I used this to install the rest.

2. I had to manually configure the X server stuff, but it took a few 
minutes to realise its now called xorgconfig (Or something to that affect ;)

3. Doing an 'echo startkde > .xinitrc' sorted KDE. Typing startx worked 
as usual.

4. Getting the sound to work. This turned out to be something major. 
Quickly scanned through the release notes didnt show anything that 
changed dramatically. I duly added 'device pcm' to my kernel config file 
and proceeded to compile the kernel. It failed on the config part. After 
a good few wasted moments I found it had been renamed to 'sound' and 
soon to be renamed again to 'snd' I believe. The list of drivers didnt 
suggest which one would be compatible with my setup (SigmaTel C-audio). 
The dmesg bits only noted 'No driver attached' for the multimedia 
device. Only by loading *all* of the modules, did I get the intro for 
KDE. But thats about it. No other wav, mp3 etc. Sound is not too 
important for this machine, but it would be nice.

5. Getting the touchpad mouse thingy to work.
This laptop has no PS/2 ports. Only 2 USB ports. The only bits in 
/stand/sysinstall was to use one of the com ports, or the ps/2 port 
called /dev/psm0. For those reading this far already possibly know what 
comes next. I fiddled about with various things to no avail. My touchpad 
was dead. I have had to add the following line to /boot/device.hints
hint.psm.0.flags="0x100" and voila, reboot, it worked. I now had a 
/dev/psm0 device.

6. Getting the wireless card to work.
I have an DABS/Edimax EW-7101PCG card with the Prism54 chipset. It has 
never worked under linux/freebsd since the support for it was sparse to 
say the least. I had tried everything i could possibly lay my hands on.
Then I discovered, http://green.homeunix.org/~green/prism54-driver/pff
I downloaded the files as well as the firmware for the card on 
http://prism54.org/~mcgrof/firmware/ From here is was just a 
quick 'make' and 'make install' and of course to add the if_pff module 
to the startup. This successfully detected the card and I could start to 
configure it. Although  WPA-PSK is not available, you can use the WEP 
settings. The only thing I havent figured out yet is how to enable the 
card on startup to work with the correct settings _without_ a custom script.

7. Setting a higher resolution on the NVidia card.
I havent spent too much time on this, but the max default resolution 
seems to be 1280x1024. I will deal with this later.

8. Installing applications on KDE/Gnome.
This is dead easy. I chose to do the packages from the CD and FTP.
One major gripe though. After the install however the installed 
application shortcuts dont get added to the menu. There seems no easy 
way of adding them in quickly. I remember there used to be an 
application you could run that would collect these and add them to the 
menu. No such *obvious* luck here. This is a pain to say the very least 
when you are adding loads of apps to get the box done quickly.

I am sure there some other things that will keep me busy, but for now, 
the machine is up, running with wireless and a choice of KDE/GNOME.

Feel free to make comments and suggestions.


PS: If there is one book to get, Absolute BSD is an excellent starting 

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