FreeBSD on Dell Mini 10v

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  • Download the FreeBSD installation Image
 -- or in case your not working on a BSD system
  • put it on your pen drive
 dd if=FreeBSD-8.2-RELEASE-i386-memstick.img of=/dev/daX  [replace X with your disks identifier e.g.: da1]
 -- for linux users
 dd if=FreeBSD-8.2-RELEASE-i386-memstick.img of=/dev/sdX  [replace X with your disks identifier e.g.: sda]
  • next step is to boot your mini and boot from the pen drive. while booting just press F12 to get the boot menu and select the USB-Disk
  • now you should see the usual FreeBSD boot and sysinstall should be started.
  • follow the steps described in the FreeBSD Handbook and reboot
  • if you want to use FreeBSD beside any other OS please consider [1] for XP or [2] if you use grub already.



  • in case you want to know your battery life in percent just do
 sysctl -n

or do following

 cd ~
 echo 'alias precmd "echo -n \'[`sysctl -n`%]\'"' >> .cshrc
 source .cshrc

you should now see the remaining battery life on your commandline


  • grab a root shell and install portupgrade
 cd /usr/ports/ports-mgmt/portupgrade
 make install clean
  • in case you want to log every build (recommended on small screens)
 mkdir /var/log/portupgrade
 alias portinstall 'portinstall -L /var/log/portupgrade/portinstall.' 


  • follow [3] (sry, german only) or [4] for a quick intro on distcc (distributed compiling)


  • install xorg-server and drivers
 su -
 portinstall -vP xorg-server xf86-driver-intel xf86-driver-fbdev xf86-input-mouse xf86-input-synaptics xf86-input-keyboard
  • next start dbus and hal
 echo "dbus_enable=YES" >> /etc/rc.conf
 echo "hald_enable=YES" >> /etc/rc.conf
 /usr/local/etc/rc.d/dbus start
 /usr/local/etc/rc.d/hald start
  • let's install xterm and xinit
 portinstall -vP xterm xinit
  • change to a user account and do
 cd ~
 echo "xterm -fg white -bg black" > .xinitrc
 echo "xterm -fg white -bg black -geom 80x20+500+0" >> .xinitrc
 echo "xterm -fg white -bg black -geom 80x20+500+320" >> .xinitrc
 echo "xterm -fg white -bg black -geom 80x20+0+320" >> .xinitrc
  • now you should have a running X server with 4 xterms to work with :)


  • to enable sound do following as root
 echo "snd_hda_load=\"YES\"" >> /boot/loader.conf
 kldload snd_hda

Brightness Control

  • to enable brightness control do as root
 echo "acpi_video_load=\"YES\"" >> /boot/loader.conf
  • set brightness via
 sysctl (where X is one of the supported values)
 -- to get info about supported values and all other fancy stuff acpi_video brings you
  • UPDATE: a slightly different version of my patches against acpi_video are now in HEAD and STABLE-8 just update your kernel to get the backlight control keys working

  • the multimedia keys will not at the moment but i'm working on this
  • the get the multimedia keys to work do following
 patch /usr/src/sys/dev/acpica/acpi_video.c < acpi_video.diff (as root)
 cd /usr/src/sys/modules/acpi/acpi_video
 make install clean
  • now you should have all benfit from acpi_video and the FN buttons working


  • Alexander Motin wrote a nice wiki entry how to reduce the powerconsumption of FreeBSD [5]


  • Currently the Wireless Chipset BCM4312 is not supported by bwi, so we need to use ndis (4)
  • get the driver from
  • extract .sys and .inf files
  • generate kernel module
 ndisgen /path/to/driver.inf /path/to/driver.sys
 kldload ./driver.ko
  • to load the module on boot do following again as root
 cp /path/to/driver.ko /boot/modules
 echo 'driver_load="YES"' >> /boot/loader.conf
  • to create the device you have to (new since FreeBSD 8.0)
 ifconfig wlan0 create wlandev ndis0
  • you should now have a wlan0 interface, to configure it follow [6]