FreeBSD Notes

I started using FreeBSD about a year ago for my home server (then running Apache 1.3; now running Apache 2, Postfix, UW IMAPd, SquirrelMail, webmin, etc.). I needed to replace an aging Mac running Linux, and wanted to explore FreeBSD. I work with a couple other FreeBSD systems which I didn't set up, and wanted to learn more. I also wanted to avoid Red Hat x86, which is an obvious target for network attacks, and I already knew.

I've been very happy with FreeBSD. Servers that significantly exceed my needs cost under $400, and stability has been excellent. The biggest problems I've had have been with -STABLE builds that go awry (part of tracking -STABLE, which I decided to accept rather than sticking with RELEASE or SECURITY releases, or tracking -CURRENT), and complications building some ports. An advantage to Red Hat RPMs, by comparison, is that they are more modular and predictable, and less interdependent. On the other hand, most of my trouble has been with programs that require configuration at compile time (Postfix, UW IMAPd, and Apache & modules), which would also present some of the same issues under Red Hat, where I might not be able to use RPMs at all.

The FreeBSD Handbook is also very impressive. I'm posting my installation procedure in the hopes that it will help someone else configure their FreeBSD system -- if you find my procedure useful, I'd appreciate hearing about it.

Modified: Feb 2004