Installing FreeBSD 11.1 on Parallels

Installing FreeBSD from an ISO in a VM is pretty easy, just follow the menu prompts, set a root password and create a new user when prompted. There’s many step by step guides such as this one¬†if you need help.

Out of the box with a fresh install you don’t get a desktop environment installed like you typically do with Linux distros, so after the first boot there’s a few additional steps to get up and running.

First install any updates  (logon as root):

freebsd-update fetch
freebsd-update install

Next install XWindows using pkg:

pkg install xorg

You can install any of the common desktop environments on FreeBSD. To install Gnome:

pkg install gnome3

After the install completes there’s a couple of manual config steps, which are covered in this guide here.

In summary:

  • add a line to mout /proc to /etc/fstab:
proc          /proc       procfs  rw  0  0
  • edit /etc/rc.config and add the following lines:
dbus_enable="YES" hald_enable="YES"
gdm_enable="YES"
gnome_enable="YES"

During my install of Gnome I ran into an error with corrupted package during install:

After some googling and trying a few different options (pkg clean -a), a post suggested to delete the download the downloaded cached package, but didn’t say how to do that. From some searching I found what looks like the cached files at /var/cache/pkg, so a ‘rm libwmf*’ deleted the file mentioned in the error that were previously downloaded, and then kicking off ‘pkg install gnome3’ again picked back up from where it left off.

Issues fixed, gnome installed, rebooted and we’re at the Gnome desktop: