[FreeBSD]Installing Dragonfly BSD

Dragonfly is a FreeBSD distribution, the installation wizard is the command line type of menu, I had a feeling of nostalgic, I am a Windows and Linux user on modern Linux desktop distribution especially those forked from Debian or Ubuntu have very intuitive and attractive installation wizard which even tries to dynamically detect the hardware you have including keyboard, sound and other hardware peripheral. But dynamic does not exist in Dragonfly BSD installation wizard you need to know some stuff in order to customize the installation, I am a fan of automation and user experience and in my opinion BSD based distribution is definitely not to my taste, I am not saying BSD is bad just that I am not expert enough to use this OS.

I am documenting this installation guide for myself just in case throughout my IT career I have to do testing or work with unix based system.

The installation is based on virtual machine hence on actual hardware the installation requirement might differ slightly, and also it is best to test the live cd first to check for hardware compatibility before installation.

The dragonfly BSD does not contain desktop environment out of the box, you will need to install it yourself, and I am using this reference for my desktop environment installation.

As for the file system I am using the recommended Hammer2, there was a warning that I need to do hammer2 bulkfree to free up the space, so I will set up a cron job to do this as a scheduled task.

To install packages you need the pkg command.

Booting from live iso

Start installation: Choosing your hard disk
To install the BSD you login as username installer.

The installation menu is very self explanatory, you will need to do some customization after installation.



This process is also straight forward, i only have one virtual harddisk created with VMware workstation.




Choosing a file system
I am following the recommendation to choose hammer2 as the file system.


I did not add a /build on previous menu hence this notification.

This is a warning that you need to do some house keeping yourself on hammer2 FS.

Installation starts


This sounds like GRUB to me, I would need this installed else I think I will see a blank screen after reboot…


Configure the system


Root password
Take note that root password cannot contain symbols.

Add user account
Though my user is in wheel group, there is no sudo in the installation iso. You will need to install sudo with pkg, to search for a package use pkg search.

Configure network

Configure hostname
Will need this for RSA key pairs for ssh. SSH is included out of the box.


Update packages
There is no sudo, hence I need to login as root. Update the pkg cache.

Upgrade the pkg.

Install text editor: nano
Ok I love nano, because it is straight forward.


Temporarily allow root login to ssh
I will turn this off after I have done what I needed to do.


The reason I need root login for awhile because the screen in the vm kind of small so i want to use putty in order to get a bigger picture. you will need to restart the ssh daemon service sshd restart after changes to the /etc/ssh/sshd_config.

Install sudo

Login as normal user
So I remove the PermitRootLogin entirely in /etc/ssh/sshd_config. Now I login as normal user.

Grant user with privilege
You will need to take note that softwares which you think should be in the package of Dragonfly BSD is not included, such as usermod this is a given in Linux Mint, not in Dragonfly BSD, in BSD you need to get the package you need yourself.
I should have guessed this, since it did not even have sudo out of the box.

Though it does not have usermod, it does include chown and chmod.

Ok in the BSD package repo there is no usermod, another way is to edit the sudoer file with root using visudo. But I would rather use this nano /usr/local/etc/sudoers.
So since my username is in wheel group, I uncomment the wheel.

Install desktop environment: XORG
This is based on this reference.

Install xorg, then slim then xfce. XFCE is a lightweight desktop environment, slim is a login manager which XFCE does not provide. XORG is the GUI server.

There are a lot of dependencies that need to install xorg.
53, there is not -y to acknowledge "yes" to installation, which I do not like.


There are 155 packages to install xorg system.

Install slim
XCFE does not provide login splash screen, hence slim is the program to compliment this.

After slim installation is finished.

Install xfce

XCFE total size and number of packages required.

Configure rc.conf
This is to start the slim and xfce whenever the system boots up, otherwise i will need to run the startx script, this is nostalgic as in the past BackTrack Linux used to do this to start the gnome desktop.

Edit the /etc/rc.config with nano. According to this, xfce uses dbus to communicate messages. The slim is enabled for login splash page.

Create .xinitrc in user home directory


Then restart the system, sudo reboot.

After restarted, try it
Ok, I am fortunate that the steps I have done worked lol... Below is the Slim login splash.

The XFCE desktop, but I cannot move my mouse....

Modify rc.conf to enable mouse movement
So my mouse could not move in xfce, but fortunately I have ssh enabled, so i used putty and do sudo nano /etc/rc.conf, and add hald_enable="YES" and moused_enable="YES".
Reference: USB mouse not working under X


So after I reboot with sudo init 6, my mouse can move in the xfce.

Install firefox and office in xfce
So firefox browser and libreoffice are not part of the xfce package, I have so got used to how Linux mint provided which I took it for granted that xfce also supply. So to install the softwares I use pkg install.

This is the default packages come with xfce.

This greatly made me appreciate the Linux mint team for their effort to package the distribution nicely for people to use, usability in my opinion is the same as user experience, but Dragonfly BSD is obviously not for casual users who expect things out of the box.

Install vmware video and mouse driver
I found that the dragonfly package does not include the open-vm-tools and the vmware workstation does not have the perl vmware-tools for freebsd anymore.

To install the vmware drivers:

Then disable the xorg, by rm /tmp/.X0-lock, then run /usr/local/bin/Xorg -configure

Then cp xorg.conf.new /etc/X11/xorg.conf.

Edit the Xorg.conf and change the driver from mouse to vmmouse.

Then ensure the device driver for the video is vmware.

The vmware driver actually made the graphics sharper...


One thought on “[FreeBSD]Installing Dragonfly BSD

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s