FreeBSD Installation So Far

Hello everyone,

I’m setting up FreeBSD on my Librem 13 (and will do the same for the 15 when it arrives). This is a summary of the process and any the issues I’ve encountered. I will be providing updates as I progress, and I’ll publish some guides once I hit 100% support.

= Installation =

I installed FreeBSD 11 from a memstick, with a root-on-ZFS setup. Note that you will have to use the boot menu to switch boot devices. The only issue that I ran into was the first memstick I was using was incredibly cheap, and apparently has a quirk that the FreeBSD USB driver couldn’t resolve. Switching memsticks solved the problem.

A note on ZFS: if you use this filesystem and have an SSD, I recommend using part of the SSD for a cache and log device. I have the following partition scheme on my SSD: 16GB log/48 GB swap/rest (~120GB cache). This will have the effect of making almost all reads and synchronous writes go at SSD speeds, while being backed by the spindle drive.

= Hardware =

There was a boot-hang issue, which is resolved by having something plugged into one of the USB ports. There was also an issue with a USB hub timing out during detection. Both issues went away after I did a kernel update, so I recommend immediately fetching the latest sources and building at least a new kernel.

The keys, including the fn-key variants all seem to work without issue. I’ve never actually had the fn-keys work out of the box, so this is a welcome boon. Note that there is a “mouse disable” fn-key combination, which can accidentally lead one to believe that the mouse doesn’t work.

Most of the hardware is detected and works fine, with the exception of the two issues noted below. Note that I have not yet tried X.

The hard-off switch for the camera seems to work more or less OK, aside from the timeout messages that appear when it is turned off. Tried both booting with it off and on. If you boot with it off, then switch it on, the kernel will detect it like any device. When you switch it off, you’ll get timeout messages, but nothing worse. There may be a way to tell the USB system to treat it as a detachable device.

== Known Issues ==

Wireless Card: The wireless card is detected, but the radio doesn’t seem to work. My investigations show it doing scans, but it doesn’t seem to actually send or receive anything. The pciconf tool reports some errors. I will have to boot linux from a memstick to see if the same happens in Linux.

Blank Screen on Resume: After suspending/resuming, I am getting a blank screen. This is almost certainly a FreeBSD issue.

== TODOs ==

Intel Graphics KMS driver: Jean-Sebastian’s updated i915 KMS driver is still in testing. Need to give it a shot.

X: Make sure everything works fine in X.

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What does pciconf say about the wifi? Is it by any chance an Atheros AR9462? Because I have that particular card in my laptop and it works OOTB in freebsd 10.3 and 11.

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