Solved Help a Noob Install Xfce

Scribner

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I'm a FreeBSD noob and was wondering if I could get some help installing Xfce. So far, I have basically only installed FreeBSD 12.0 on my computer.

In an earlier thread, I was told to do the following first:

I hope you bought a Thinkpad that only has integrated Intel graphics.
pkg install drm-kmod
Then add to /etc/rc.conf
kld_list="/boot/modules/i915kms.ko"
That's the KMS driver part.
You can skip the parts in the Handbook, that explain how to set up xorg.conf, the KMS driver does that on it's own.
My computer is this Lenovo ThinkPad X270 (I hope this helps people help me): https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B072KSFGYG/

A question I have is whether I could just follow the instructions at the following URL to get Xfce up and running: https://www.linuxhelp.com/how-to-install-xfce-desktop-in-freebsd

If not, could someone provide another URL for complete instructions on how to get Xfce up and running (including any graphics/KMS driver instructions -- if necessary) on my ThinkPad X270? I must say that the FreeBSD Handbook seems to include a lot of information and seems confusing, and I'm not even sure if all the information is necessary if other people online are suggesting to follow much more basic instructions.

Edit: Because of the generous support I received on this forum, I was able to get Xfce up and running. For easy-to-follow instructions, check out my blog post at https://www.linuxphoto.com/2019/06/25/how-i-installed-xfce-on-freebsd/
 
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tedbell

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I would avoid installing a display manager because it causes issues with dbus (missing trash bug)
 

Elazar

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k.jacker is correct, as you really want that intel driver.
Installing XFCE is described in section 5.7.3. of the FreeBSD Handbook.


You can try out TrueOS as well: It is FreeBSD, it already provides the official intel drivers, it has a ready-to-use desktop environment. ;-)
 
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Scribner

Scribner

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Thanks.

Do I need to be logged in as root when I enter all the commands and edit all the files in the process of installing Xorg and Xfce?
 

SirDice

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Do I need to be logged in as root when I enter all the commands and edit all the files in the process of installing Xorg and Xfce?
Yes. Only running startx (to test the configuration) should be done on a 'regular' user account.
 

Beastie

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Do I need to be logged in as root when I enter all the commands and edit all the files in the process of installing Xorg and Xfce?
You may have noticed that the command prompt on your shell changes depending on which user you're currently logged in as (e.g. % ..., $ ..., # ..., etc.)
This small but significant detail is included in all the examples provided throughout the documentation (not just the Handbook).
 
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Scribner

Scribner

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I'm reading 4.4.1. Getting Started with pkg in the Handbook. To bootstrap the system am I supposed to first run the following command?

# /usr/sbin/pkg

Would you say the next step is following what k.jacker says in my original post?

From there, is it just reading the Handbook on setting up Xorg and a desktop environment?
 

Beastie

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To bootstrap the system am I supposed to first run the following command?

# /usr/sbin/pkg
My memory may be failing me, but it should bootstrap the first time you use it to install a package. But just to be safe run that command like the Handbook says.

Would you say the next step is following what k.jacker says in my original post?
Yes.

From there, is it just reading the Handbook on setting up Xorg and a desktop environment?
If everything works as planned you won't need to configure Xorg. You can proceed right away with installing your favorite desktop environment or a simple window manager plus some other programs.
 
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Scribner

Scribner

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If everything works as planned you won't need to configure Xorg. You can proceed right away with installing your favorite desktop environment or a simple window manager plus some other programs.
Thanks! Do I still install the Xorg pkg (if I'm remembering correctly)? Do I just not "configure" Xorg?
 

Beastie

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Yes. Install Xorg then right away install Xfce.
Edit ~/.xinitrc (check 5.7.3.)
Add the appropriate lines to /etc/rc.conf, mainly DBUS (again check 5.7.3.) and the KMS driver (kld_list ...) and start them with # service dbus start and # kldload /boot/modules/i915kms.ko or just reboot.
If everything went well, when you run % startx you should see your Xfce desktop.
 
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Scribner

Scribner

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Thanks, Beastie.

The problem is I'm a noob. I was wondering if it would be possible for you or anyone else to give a set of instructions in plain English where everything I do is typed out in full. I hope it doesn't sound like I'm asking for too much.
 

k.jacker

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Nobody will write you a step by step tutorial. That‘s not how one learns FreeBSD.
Everybody starts out as a noob at some point. Then, by starting to read available documentation for yourself, trying, failing and asking specific question about problems you encounter, you‘ll gain knowledge.

That‘s why I told you of which parts the setup of Xfce consists, so that you could read up and seek help for the parts one by one. Reason for I gave you the instructions how to setup the kms driver was, because it‘s the only part not well documented yet.

All other parts are well documented in at least one of the following resources: FreeBSD Handbook, man pages, github.com and project websites (google for e.g. „xorg“ or „xfce“)

Edit: The forum‘s search function is your friend, too.

Edit2: I’m sure most of todays professionals, own at least one book that explains all of Unix basics and ideas in detail. I bought mine around 1998 and it has served me well as a base, since then. I can recommend buying one.
 

Beastie

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The problem is I'm a noob. I was wondering if it would be possible for you or anyone else to give a set of instructions in plain English where everything I do is typed out in full. I hope it doesn't sound like I'm asking for too much.
This is practically what I've done in my post above. All the required steps are listed with corresponding commands and files to be modified. As mentioned, section 5.7.3. of the Handbook shows everything else you'll need to accomplish that, including how to modify these files and install packages. Anything more than that and we'll be literally copy/pasting chunks of the Handbook.
 
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Scribner

Scribner

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I'm going to try installing Xfce now.

I got this message after I booted up, and I think I should bring it to everyone's attention:

login Jun 23 10:09:27 machine1 ntpd[1109]: error resolving pool 0.freebsd.pool.ntp.org:hostname nor servname provided, or not known (8)

When I installed FreeBSD, I made the Hostname machine1.[mydomainwhichisalreadyregistered.com]. Do you think, because this domain is already registered, this is why I'm getting this message -- even though I was using the machine1 subdomain, which is not set up?

Edit: I'm going to hold off on trying the Xfce install until this is resolved. If this is the reason I got the error, could someone please tell me how to change the Hostname and what it should be?

Edit 2: Assuming I'm able to get Xfce to run, how do I enter the shell again to shut down cleanly?
 

tingo

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The message you are getting shows a dns (domain name system) failure. Your machine is unable to resolve (= translate) the name 0.freebsd.pool.ntp.org to a corresponding ip address. This is unrelated to whatever your hostname is.
However, due to the way dns works, this most likely means that your machine is unable to resolve any dns names, and that problem needs to be solved before your machine will be usable on a network.
You can test this with the ping command. If you can ping by ip address (like ping 8.8.8.8 and get an answer), but not by name ( ping some-well-known-name that responds to ping request - not all do) then you have this problem.
 
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Scribner

Scribner

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Thanks, tingo. I got the message again yesterday and was able to ping 8.8.8.8 and google.com, so I don't know what's going on. I have another thread on this issue in the General forum here: https://forums.freebsd.org/threads/how-to-change-hostname.71219/

I will take a look at the new posts soon. What's strange is I don't get the message every time.

With that said, because of the generous support I received on this forum, I was able to get Xfce up and running!

6642


I have a blog post at https://www.linuxphoto.com/2019/06/25/how-i-installed-xfce-on-freebsd/ with easy-to-follow instructions. I made sure to give credit where it was due.

Thank you so much to The FreeBSD Forums!
 
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