So you want to build a system which doesn’t use KDE and GNOME as your desktop environment. Your reason? Your hardware could be old, you don’t have “big” RAM, or you just want to build a system from scratch. This guide will help you in setting up a FreeBSD system that is light on resource and is ideal for the “not so powerful” computers you have.
First, you have to download the first disc of FreeBSD 8.1-RELEASE i386 at
It is a 650MB disc image that you will burn and use.
After burning it to a disc, you will now set your BIOS primary boot device to your CD/DVD drive and start the installation.
I will not cover the entire installation process as it is covered at
After you have successfully installed FreeBSD, you will now add the necessary packages to have your desktop ready. You will need an Internet connection here. With root privilege, type the following commands to install packages. (xorg – your x window system, fluxbox – your window manager, fox-filer your file manager, abiword – your word processor, gnumeric – your spreadsheet, firefox3 – your web browser, xine – your multimedia player, eterm – your transparent terminal, zip, unzip, and unrar for your archiving tools). You can add more packages that you want to.
# pkg_add -r xorg
# pkg_add -r fluxbox
# pkg_add -r rox-filer
# pkg_add -r abiword
# pkg_add -r gnumeric
# pkg_add -r xine
# pkg_add -r zip
# pkg_add -r unzip
# pkg_add -r unrar
# pkg_add -r eterm
# pkg_add -r firefox3
After installing all the package (a lot of patience needed here, sigh…), you must configure your X Server. With root privilege, type the command below
# Xorg -configure
# cp /root/xorg.conf.new /etc/X11/xorg.conf
Then you have to create your .xinitrc in your home dir.
# touch ~/.xinitrc
# echo “fluxbox” >> ~/.xinitrc
Then modify your rc.conf and add the following lines
Restart your system
shutdown -r now
Then start your Fluxbox after logging in
You need to edit your fluxbox menu to include all the packages you have installed. (this is not included in this tutorial)
Google for configuring fluxbox menu, and setting up Eterm.