Other Installing CDE on FreeBSD

Hi there. This is an ooooooolder post but let me share with you my how-to use CDE over FreeBSD:

Install some base packages:
pkg install -y xorg git iconv bdftopcf libXp libXScrnSaver ksh93 open-motif tcl86​

Edit the file /etc/rc.conf and add those lines:

Reboot the system:
  • reboot
Lets clone the CDE sources from the official repo:
Lets compile everything:
  • cd cdesktopenv-code/cde
  • make World

If you see any error message during compiling time, then you should install the libs or utility that message says and re-compile again.

When you finish the compiling process then you need to install the files as root:
  • cd admin/IntegTools/dbTools
  • ./installCDE -s /path/to/cdesktopenv-code/cde ***Here you need to replace with the compile path where source files where downloaded, generally some folder up: ../../../
Lets run CDE!!!:
Way 1: Using the CDE login manager (manually or adding it to /etc/defaults/rc.conf for autostart)
  • /usr/dt/bin/dtlogin -nodaemon
Way 2: Starting it as an standar user. Not as root.:
  • startx /usr/dt/bin/Xsession
I hope you enjoy it. Regards.


There's also a port at x11/cde- not sure if you missed that or it wasn't working for you. Please let me know if so!
I have read this thread and still could not figure out how to start dtlogin by at boot. Can anybody clarify the working method, please?

Also, some good news! I have been able to compile and run CDE on raspberry pi 3B+.
The build process is:

1. Install dependencies:
   pkg install -y xorg git iconv bdftopcf libXScrnSaver open-motif tcl86
2. Edit /etc/rc.conf by adding:
3. Reboot
4. Build the development version of ksh93 from here:
git clone https://github.com/ksh93/ksh
cd ksh
bin/package make
5. Install ksh93 manually (needs to be root):
cp arch/$(bin/package host type)/bin/ksh /usr/local/bin/ksh93
cp src/cmd/ksh93/sh.1 /usr/local/man/man1/ksh93.1
6. Building CDE (The working one is this one at the moment but if you like experimenting you can use this recent one. If you decide to proceed with recent one, please follow instructions there):
git clone https://github.com/Maselko/freebsdrpi-cde
cd freebsdrpi-cde/cde
make World
7. Install CDE (needs to be root)
cd admin/IntegTools/dbTools
./installCDE -s /path/to/freebsdrpi-cde/cde
***please replace /path/to to the path where you have cloned the CDE repo.
8. Start CDE (needs to be root)
/usr/dt/bin/dtlogin -nodaemon

Hope somebody finds this useful.
Best regards,


I have read this thread and still could not figure out how to start dtlogin by at boot. Can anybody clarify the working method, please?
Just edit /etc/ttys:

ttyv8    "/usr/local/bin/xdm -nodaemon"    xterm    off    secure

Change that to

ttyv8    "/usr/dt/bin/dtlogin -nodaemon"    xterm    on    secure

Then, kill -HUP 1.


Did you also change 'off' to 'on'? :)

Have a look in /var/log/Xorg.0.log and /var/log/messages for clues.


Alternatively, reuse the rc script for the port:

# svnlite cat https://svn.FreeBSD.org/ports/head/x11/cde/files/dtlogin.in | sed 's,%%PREFIX%%,/usr,' > /usr/local/etc/rc.d/dtlogin
# chmod +x /usr/local/etc/rc.d/dtlogin
# sysrc dtlogin_enable=yes

(Don't forget to add dtspc to inetd.conf as well)