This is my kind of Unix

FreeBSD has a lot going for it. It's directly related to 4.4 BSD which is my favorite kind of Unix. It has a nice installation utility. also, it has PCMCIA support included unlike BSD/OS (which depends on Wildboar for PCMCIA support).

Installation options

You can buy a FreeBSD CDROM from distributors such as Walnut Creek CDROM. (I've also heard that you can get the CDROM for free if you visit their booth at a trade show!) However, I don't have a CDROM drive for my Butterfly so that's not very interesting to me.

The other main installation option is an Internet installation. I am very impressed with this. Start at the FreeBSD web site and follow the links to one of the distribution sites. Next, ftp an installation floppy image, copy it to a floppy and boot it. After navigating the menus, you soon find your self installing the OS over the Internet.

Sharing the hardware clock with PC operating systems

Normally, Unix runs the hardware clock on GMT. This means when you boot a PC operating system such as Windows, the clock will be fast. To solve this problem under FreeBSD, simply create the following zero length file:
# touch /etc/wall_cmos_clock
It appears to be necessary to first create this file, reboot and then set the clock before the change takes effect.

Booting tricks

The FreeBSD boot loader is very slick. If you give it -c, it puts you into a boot configuration shell that allows you to enable and disable various devices and override defaults such as IRQ and base I/O address. For example, I like to run my 3Com 3C589 ethernet card at IRQ 9 so when I install FreeBSD, I boot using -c and change the IRQ.

Restoring the "Boot Easy" boot loader

If you clobber the boot loader (perhaps while installing Windows 95) you can restore it under DOS using Boot Easy. You need to fetch: and then run BOOTINST.EXE from DOS. (If you use ftp to retrieve the files, don't forget to set binary mode.)
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Craig Leres