FreeSBIE - Live Bootable FreeBSD
Posted July 16th, 2004 in Linux/Unix/BSD (Updated March 25th, 2005)
FreeSBIE is a live, bootable CD based on FreeBSD (like Knoppix and Ubuntu for Linux). Pop the CD into your CDROM, reboot the system and you have a live working FreeBSD system using the XFCE desktop without harming the rest of your system. FreeSBIE 1.0 uses FreeBSD 5.2.1
I have so far only tested this on one PC (the one I normally use as my Windows desktop) and within a VMWare environment. It boots up fairly quickly; once you start up the GUI it can take some time for individual applications to start running but this is because they must be loaded off the CD before they can run. This is typical for all live CD distributions.
Some screenshosts (and comments) of FreeSBIE are shown below:
Boot Menu and Options
After booting up this is the menu you first get. After 9 seconds it will automatically start the default option 1, which is to boot into FreeSBIE. There are also options to boot with ACPI disabled, in safe mode, in single user mode, with verbose logging, escape to a loader prompt or to reboot the system. I only tried the default option.
Select Language and Keyboard Layout
After selecting the boot option you get to select your language...
and keyboard layout. Being an English speaker I chose the US English option and didn't bother to try other language options. Note that some of the applications (in particular the file browser shown in the last screenshot) have Italian menus.
After the system has booted up a message is displayed showing you your
various options. This scrolls off the screen so to read it you need to use
less /root/.message. I have a copy of the full text from this
I did have some problems with getting my network connection working;
for some reason it wouldn't get an IP address from my local DHCP server so
I had to manually allocate one using the
ifconfig command. I
don't have a modem in my desktop so I don't know how well (or if at all)
FreeSBIE works with a modem and dial up connection.
If you stay using the console the screensaver will pop up now and then. This is shown above. This is the FreeBSD daemon mascot.
To start the GUI from the command line, type
xinit at the
command line. This starts the XFCE GUI desktop environment. Some example
screenshots of this environment are shown below.
The background is reminiscent of the default Windows XP background. The taskbar at the bottom of the screen autohides. Move your mouse over the area at the bottom of the screen and it will appear. Move it away and it disappears. There's also a similar bar at the top of the screen which shows the current running applications.
The application running off to the right is a system monitor type application, displaing information such as date and time, processor usage, number of running processes, number of users logged in, network activity and memory usage.
I could not work out if there is any way to mount the exisitng hard drives (my desktop has both Windows NTFS and Linux ReiserFS drives) but my knowledge of FreeBSD is somewhat limited so I am not sure if this is possible or not.
There are a number of applications to try out including Mozilla Firefox, Nmap, GFTP, Mutt, Pan, Bluefish, Ethereal, Evolution, Gaim, XMMS, The Gimp and many others.
This screenshot shows the file browser overlaid on a command line console.
The screenshots were captured from FreeSBIE running in VMWare on Windows.