FreeBSD 11.4 on Alienware m14x

l2f

Member

Reaction score: 5
Messages: 67

Remarks:​

- should work for FreeBSD 12 serie too

1- Install FreeBSD 11.4​

- download the memstick: FreeBSD-11.4-RELEASE-amd64-memstick.img
# write it onto you usb key:
dd if=PATH_TO/FreeBSD-11.4-RELEASE-amd64-memstick.img of=/dev/daX status=progress conv=sync
- plug your usb key into your Alienware, check the bios setting concerning the boot order and power-on the Alienware
- do not forget to add a normal user and add him to the wheel group (he will be able to use the command su -)
- configure the network


2- update the system​

# log in and become root
$ su -

# update the whole system
$ freebsd-update fetch
$ freebsd-update install


# restart the beast
$ shutdown -r now


3- Packages​

# log in and become root
$ su -

# bootstrap pkg
$ pkg bootstrap

# update pkg
$ pkg update

# as it is a desktop machine so install graphic card drivers and the X-11 system
# I use a minimal installation so add/change packages to fit your needs
# - drm-kmod: kernel module for drm
# - xorg-minimal: xorg server minimal install
# - xdm: desktop manager
# - pekwm: my favorite window manager
# - xorg-apps: basic X-11 applications
# - xorg-drivers: for mouse, keyborad, etc.
# - xorg-vfbserver: the frame-buffer server
# - nvidia-440: nvidia drivers (check the last version number)
$ pkg install drm-kmod xorg-minimal xdm pekwm xorg-apps xorg-drivers xorg-vfbserver nvidia-400.100_1

# add kernel modules to load at boot
$ echo "kld_list=\"drm drm2 i915 i915kms nvidia nvidia-modeset\"" >> /etc/rc.conf

# reboot
$ shutdown -r now

# if everything goes right, your console display should change from "ugly (big font)" to "nice (small font)"


4- Xorg configuration and test​

# change to the 2nd console (no more disturbing messages from the system)
Ctrl+Alt+F2

# log in and become root
$ su -

# check the kernel modules
# normally the following modules should be loaded:
# - drm
# - drm2
# - i915
# - i915kms
# - nvidia
# - nvidia-modeset
$ kldstat

# get a first config file
$ xorg -retro -configure

# replace nvidia by scfb for the device "Card0"
# you can edit the file with vi ~/xorg.conf.new
# if something goes wrong restart from the previous step (above)
$ sed -i '' -e "s|nvidia|scfb|g" ~/xorg.conf.new

# to stop X you need to log in another console
Ctrl+Alt+F3

# on this new console become root
$ su -

# return to the previuos console
Ctrl+Alt+F2

# test X
$ X -config ~/xorg.conf.new

# at this step the screen should be black with a white cursor at the top left position of the screen
# everything should work
# need to stop X
# switch to the 3rd console
Ctrl+Atl+F3

# get information about X
$ ps auxwww | grep -i x

# from the result, kill the X server
$ kill -9 X_SERVER_PID

# check for X messages
$ less /var/log/Xorg.0.log

# copy the xorg configuration file
cp -f ~/xorg.conf.new /etc/X11/xorg.conf

5- Window Manager test​

# before using xdm, we will test if we do not miss something
# create a file for startx
$ echo "xterm &" > ~/.xinitrc
$ echo "YOUR_WINDOW_MANAGER_NAME" >> ~/.xinitrc


# we start X with startx
$ startx

# you should get an xterm window
# to exit just use the menu from your window manager

# copy the .xinitrc file to .xsession
$ cp ~/.xinitrc ~/.xsession


6- Xdm configuration​

# change the line of: /etc/ttys
$ vi /etc/ttys

# from 'off'
ttyv8 "/usr/local/bin/xdm -nodaemon" xterm off secure
# to 'on'
ttyv8 "/usr/local/bin/xdm -nodaemon" xterm on secure

# reboot to get the xdm screen
$ shutdown -r now

You should get the xdm interface :)


7- post installation​

# check the xorg log and try to solve any error
# specially the font one
$ less /var/log/Xorg.0.log
 
Top