How to: Dell Inspiron 15r se 7520: FreeBSD 12.1-RC2 + Gnome 3 Lite + Japanese support + art apps


Deleted member 58914

FreeBSD install:

Before anything, ensure you had burned your freebsd 12 STABLE .img to a usb 2.0 usb memory stick, because if it is a usb 3.0 device it will start but will encounter a error which will not allow you to enter the freebsd 12 installer.

When you computer start press once F2, and in the BIOS setup enable the LEGACY compatibility option for UEFI. Freebsd live will not work on UEFI without this change. Fully changing UEFI to Legacy is not needed. Save your changes and quit. After installing freebsd, you can disable the UEFI compatibility option again.

When your computer restarts press F12. Once the installer shows up the process is quite easy, I will just advise you to use the guided partitioning when the option appears and make a separated home partition so you can brick your freebsd 12.1 installation at will without fear of damaging your personal data (also do save it to an external HD). To speed up the installation, take note of the hotkeys for each option; for example, C is for create partition and it will be highlighted in yellow on your screen to help you locate it. To check or uncheck an option with an asterisk use the space bar.

When at the installation it asks for "Regdomain", use FCC if you live in south america.

When the installer offers it, check ntpdate and ntp for automatic time adjustments. As far as I know this cannot be done on gnome 3 in freebsd because it will always revert the changes you made to the date and time.

From the freebsd13 partition scheme proposal, leave the efi partion but delete the swap and / partitions, and do them as following after the EFI partition:
filetype | mount at | size:
freebsd-ufs | / | 30G
freebsd-ufs | /home | The remaining space -10G
freebsd-swap | | 10G

After the installer says everything is done, select the reboot option.

Gnome3 install:

After entering for the first time on your installation of freebsd, as login use "root" and as password the admin password you had set during installation. Do:

pkg install drm-kmod xorg gdm gnome-desktop gnome3-lite ja-font-std ja-ibus-mozc vlc gnome-terminal gedit eog firefox i386-wine-devel gimp inkscape blender libreoffice xf86-input-wacom rsync fusefs-ntfs sane-frontends shotcut

drm-kmod: is to be able to use your video card
xorg: is essential for a graphical desktop
gdm: is for your login screen
gnome-desktop, gnome3-lite: are for the gnome 3 desktop itself. The lite version is better because it will install only essential applications, leaving the choice of what more to install to you.
sudo: To grant admin rights to your account only for specific tasks
ja-font-std: enables standard japanese font display, so it will not appear as blocks. You can choose other fonts if you so desire
ja-ibus-mozc: allows you to input japanese text using the ibus which comes with gnome.
vlc: because totem was displaying videos at extremely low speeds.
gnome-terminal: for a better terminal
gedit: to edit simple text files
eog: to view your images
firefox: A web browser, you can choose other.
I386-wine-devel: To run some games made for windows.
gimp, inkscape and blender: if you are a graphic designer
libreoffice: for editing more complex documents
shotcut: Is an usable video editor. Openshot did not worked and pitivi produced only low quality mp4 files.
panda3d: You can install this to develop games

You can search for the package you want here

It will complain the pkg system does not yet exist and will offer to install it. Accept and it will download around 700 packages (1 GB), that will take a while.

Configuring gnome 3, video card and webcam support:

ee /etc/rc.conf

In ee, the "esc" key brings a menu where if you type "a" it will ask if you want to save (a) or discard changes (b). It is easier to use than vi and does not emit loud noises from the speaker if you do something which it does not expect.

Add these lines to it. You can add other lines depending of what you need later:
gnome_enable="YES" #Already includes hald and dbus
gdm_enable="YES" # The login manager

You will not need moused_enable="YES", but if you have problems with your mouse you can try adding it.

Add this is desired to use the drm intel graphics driver:

You can use as driver “radeonkms.ko” instead of “i915kms.ko” to get support for the radeon card. If you do, you will need to add the workaround below to /boot/loader.conf:

The issue with the workaround is which you will not be able to see the freebsd startup messages until arriving to the GDM screen. If an error happens and GDM does not launch, you will not be able to see what the error was and will need to use the live cd/dvd/usb to mount your installation and remove radeonkms and the workaround lines from the files were they had been put.

If you type an invalid video driver or do not add that line, freebsd will use an ugly, slow but functional base video driver.

To mount your installation by means of the live cd if you require, first login as “root”. A password will not be asked. Then:

mount /dev/ada0p2 /media

Then use ee to edit the required files, save and reboot.

ee /etc/fstab

Add this line and save:
proc /proc procfs rw 0 0

Using sudo:

Do from your root account:

At vi, the "i" key enter the text input mode. The "esc" key returns to the command mode. To save your changes first do ":w" and later ":q". To exit without saving the changes do ":q!". Use the "del" key to remove text.

Give your user sudo rights with and save, then exit:

To disable the annoying restart and shutdown loud beep, add the following to /etc/sysctl.conf:

Reboot and you will have your gnome desktop but using freebsd 12.1. If you had chosen to use the radeon driver, it will take longer to arrive at the login screen. Once there create the following folders: Documents, Pictures, Downloads, Music, Public and Videos. The applications will usually automatically use them.


Logitech mx anywhere2 mouse:

Works out of the box but had to select 3 at the mouse bottom for some reason. 1 and 2 did not worked.

For Japanese support:

Go to the gnome settings -> languages -> Input sources and then japan -> japan mozc. Delete the english keyboard as mozc already have the direct input option.


For my experiences recording my desktop click here

For my experiences reading usb or ntfs devices click here

For my experiences on stripping a backup from linux from dot files, click here

For my experiences on Syncing my home folder to an external HD with rsync, click here

For my experiences on making the audio go to the earplugs instead of the system speakers

For my experiences getting the wacom tablet bamboo fun CTH working

For my experiences scanning with a samsung printer/scanner C460FW

For my experiences using a logitech pro webcam

For my experiences using a samsung printer sl-c460fw

At the time of writing this edit, The Sims 4 Origin will not pass the login screen because the EA servers are down for login for any platform, be it windows or unix, for already 2 weeks.

League of legends will log in but will be veeery slow because the wine version for freeBSD is 8 months outdated.

To see how much free space remain on your home partition:

df -h

Still working on solving issues related to the maxprint bluetooth keyboard and wifi scanning.

Last edited by a moderator: