This page was once a proposed addition to the FreeBSD handbook, but that was in the last century. The content has not been updated since 27 January 1998, and I do not intend to do so. I'm leaving it here as a relic, but it now is of little practical importance.

FreeBSD Handbook : Installing FreeBSD

As we saw in the section on installing, the most comfortable way to install FreeBSD is from CD-ROM. But maybe you can get it more quickly or more cheaply via the network? You can get FreeBSD from a large number of ftp sites.

But what do you download? We'll look at that question here.

FreeBSD is distributed as a number of distributions which are split up into handy chunks. This means that if you lose your ftp connection, and your ftp client doesn't support the reget command (FreeBSD does, of course), you never have to reduplicate too much. The largest file is the floppy boot image; all other files are a maximum of 240,640 bytes long.

Let's take a look at a typical ftp server. You'll see something like this:

An image of a sample directory listing under netscape. Follow the link above to see the real thing

If your browser doesn't support images, you will use ftp to download the software. You may find it more convenient to use ftp anyway. Click here to see how ftp displays this same directory.

The directories of interest here are, 2.2.5-RELEASE and 3.0-971225-SNAP. Unless you have a good reason, choose the most recent -RELEASE version, in this example 2.2.5-RELEASE. When you click on it, you see the complete 2.2.5 distribution:

This is image of the netscape top-level 2.2.5 directory list

Click here to see the ftp version of this directory.

There are only three directories that you must have. We'll look at them first.

Required files for installing FreeBSD

Check the sizes of your files after after copying with ftp: many Microsoft-based ftp clients, and even some UNIX clients, transfer in ASCII mode by default. This causes characters to be added, destroying the archive. If the size doesn't agree, this is probably the cause. There's no way to recover the archive when this happens: you'll need to transfer the data again in binary mode. On UNIX systems, you set binary mode with ftp's bin command. Check your documentation to find how to do this if you're using a non-UNIX system.

Other files

The other directories are:

Last updated January 27, 1998
$Id: what-to-download.html,v 1.4 2008/08/22 02:09:05 grog Exp $