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Preparation - <application>mfsBSD</application>
Before FreeBSD may be installed on the target system, it is necessary to build the minimal FreeBSD operating system image which will boot from the hard drive. This way the new system can be accessed from the network, and the rest of the installation can be done without remote access to the system console.
The <application>mfsBSD</application> tool-set can be used to build a tiny FreeBSD image. As the name of <application>mfsBSD</application> suggests (<quote>mfs</quote> means <quote>memory file system</quote>), the resulting image runs entirely from a ramdisk. Thanks to this feature, the manipulation of hard drives will not be limited, therefore it will be possible to install a complete FreeBSD operating system. The <application>mfsBSD</application> <uri xlink:href="">home page</uri> includes pointers to the latest release of the toolset.
Please note that the internals of <application>mfsBSD</application> and how it all fits together is beyond the scope of this article. The interested reader should consult the original documentation of <application>mfsBSD</application> for more details.
Download and extract the latest <application>mfsBSD</application> release and change your working directory to the directory where the <application>mfsBSD</application> scripts will reside:
<prompt>#</prompt> <userinput>fetch<replaceable>2.1</replaceable>.tar.gz</userinput>
<prompt>#</prompt> <userinput>tar xvzf mfsbsd-<replaceable>2.1</replaceable>.tar.gz</userinput>
<prompt>#</prompt> <userinput>cd mfsbsd-<replaceable>2.1</replaceable>/</userinput>
Configuration of <application>mfsBSD</application>
Before booting <application>mfsBSD</application>, a few important configuration options have to be set. The most important that we have to get right is, naturally, the network setup. The most suitable method to configure networking options depends on whether we know beforehand the type of the network interface we will use, and the network interface driver to be loaded for our hardware. We will see how <application>mfsBSD</application> can be configured in either case.
Another important thing to set is the <systemitem class="username">root</systemitem> password. This can be done by editing <filename>conf/loader.conf</filename>. Please see the included comments.
The <filename>conf/interfaces.conf</filename> method
When the installed network interface card is unknown, it is possible to use the auto-detection features of <application>mfsBSD</application>. The startup scripts of <application>mfsBSD</application> can detect the correct driver to use, based on the MAC address of the interface, if we set the following options in <filename>conf/interfaces.conf</filename>:
Do not forget to add the <literal>defaultrouter</literal> information to <filename>conf/rc.conf</filename>:
The <filename>conf/rc.conf</filename> Method
When the network interface driver is known, it is more convenient to use <filename>conf/rc.conf</filename> for networking options. The syntax of this file is the same as the one used in the standard <citerefentry><refentrytitle>rc.conf</refentrytitle><manvolnum>5</manvolnum></citerefentry> file of FreeBSD.
For example, if you know that a <citerefentry><refentrytitle>re</refentrytitle><manvolnum>4</manvolnum></citerefentry> network interface is going to be available, you can set the following options in <filename>conf/rc.conf</filename>:
Building an <application>mfsBSD</application> Image
The process of building an <application>mfsBSD</application> image is pretty straightforward.
The first step is to mount the FreeBSD installation <acronym>CD</acronym>, or the installation <acronym>ISO</acronym> image to <filename>/cdrom</filename>. For the sake of example, in this article we will assume that you have downloaded the FreeBSD 10.1-RELEASE <acronym>ISO</acronym>. Mounting this ISO image to the <filename>/cdrom</filename> directory is easy with the <citerefentry><refentrytitle>mdconfig</refentrytitle><manvolnum>8</manvolnum></citerefentry> utility:
<prompt>#</prompt> <userinput>mdconfig -a -t vnode -u 10 -f <replaceable>FreeBSD-10.1-RELEASE-amd64-disc1.iso</replaceable></userinput>
<prompt>#</prompt> <userinput>mount_cd9660 /dev/md10 /cdrom</userinput>
Since the recent FreeBSD releases do not contain regular distribution sets, it is required to extract the FreeBSD distribution files from the distribution archives located on the <acronym>ISO</acronym> image:
<prompt>#</prompt> <userinput>mkdir <replaceable>DIST</replaceable></userinput>
<prompt>#</prompt> <userinput>tar -xvf /cdrom/usr/freebsd-dist/base.txz -C <replaceable>DIST</replaceable></userinput>
<prompt>#</prompt> <userinput>tar -xvf /cdrom/usr/freebsd-dist/kernel.txz -C <replaceable>DIST</replaceable></userinput>
Next, build the bootable <application>mfsBSD</application> image:
<prompt>#</prompt> <userinput>make BASE=<replaceable>DIST</replaceable></userinput>
The above <command>make</command> has to be run from the top level of the <application>mfsBSD</application> directory tree, for example <filename>~/mfsbsd-2.1/</filename>.
Booting <application>mfsBSD</application>
Now that the <application>mfsBSD</application> image is ready, it must be uploaded to the remote system running a live rescue system or pre-installed <trademark class="registered">Linux</trademark> distribution. The most suitable tool for this task is <application>scp</application>:
<prompt>#</prompt> <userinput>scp disk.img root@</userinput>
To boot <application>mfsBSD</application> image properly, it must be placed on the first (bootable) device of the given machine. This may be accomplished using this example providing that <filename>sda</filename> is the first bootable disk device:


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(itstool) path: sect3/para
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a year ago
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articles/remote-install.pot, string 40