Once that is finished, I start building my favorite windows manager. Currently, this is KDE, which is a very, very long build; the kind of build you start before going to bed in the hopes that it will be finished by the time you wake up in the morning. So, I'll start its build in one terminal:
cd /usr/ports/x11/kde3 make install clean
I'll then go to a second terminal and install the XFree86-4 libraries before I forget; most of the applications I'll be building require these:
cd /usr/ports/x11/XFree86-4-libraries make install clean
And on a third terminal, I'll configure the XFree86 Server. This is the
first time I had configured a system with an USB mouse; during the install, I
answered yes when it asked if I had a USB mouse. I'll now double-check
that I have the following lines in
usbd_enable="YES" moused_flags="/dev/ums0" usbd_flags="-vv"
Before configuring your own XFree86 Server, make sure you have the following information:
- The make and model of your video card.
- The amount of memory in your video card.
- The type of mouse and what com port it is on, if it is a serial mouse.
/stand/sysinstall Configure XFree86 XF86Setup (if you have an unsupported video card and get an error message, choose xf86config instead)
If you're prompted to configure your mouse, do so, and test it 'til it works. You will then be able to use it to select your video card and desired settings. Hopefully, all will go well for you fairly quickly.
Once I had a running XFree86 Server, I left the superuser account and
.xinitrc file in my home directory that contained the following
Once KDE finally finishes building, I'll be able to type
receive my KDE desktop.
Next comes the browser. I've been pretty satisfied with Mozilla; it has its flaky moments, but for the most part it is speedy, configurable, and supports plugins and skins.
cd /usr/ports/www/mozilla make install clean
Next, I'll create a custom kernel that supports Java and sound:
cd /usr/src/sys/i386/conf cp GENERIC MULTIMEDIA
I'll then add the following lines to
options USER_LDT #used by java options CPU_ENABLE_SSE #used by DVD device pcm #builds PCI soundblaster support
I've always had good luck with the SoundBlaster PCI 128; it's a reasonably-priced soundcard that only requires one line in the kernel configuration file in order to work.
Once I've saved my changes to
cd /usr/src make buildkernel KERNCONF=MULTIMEDIA make installkernel KERNCONF=MULTIMEDIA
Once the kernel is installed, I'll ensure that I've saved all of the work on my other terminals, then:
Now, I'll use Mozilla to download the files I need for Java support:
- Click on "Linux GNUZIP Tar shell script."
- Accept license agreement.
- Save to
- Click to download JavaTM 2 SDK 1.3.1 (requires free registration).
- Save to
- Click on "Download the latest BSD JDK 1.3.1 patchset."
- Agree to download Patchset7.
- Save to
cd /usr/ports/java/linux-sun-jdk13 make install clean cd /usr/ports/java/jdk13 make install clean
To see if it worked, restart Mozilla and go to Help -> About Plug-ins. You should get about a page's worth of Java plugins. A short trip to javaboutique.internet.com should convince you that Java is indeed functional.
Next comes streaming multimedia:
cd /usr/ports/www/plugger make install clean
This port installs
Finally, the Flash plugin:
cd /usr/ports/www/flashplugin-mozilla make install clean
Before installing this plugin, be advised that Flash is a registered trademark and it was "designed solely for the Windows PC and Macintosh desktop operating systems." There are also redistribution issues, which means that the GPL version does NOT support full Flash functionality. This means that some Flash sites will work, some will hang, some will crash your browser.
For example, if you install the Flash plugin, don't bother heading over to www.shockwave.com unless you want to watch your browser crash. And I've found that it depends upon the phase of the moon and a certain combination of mojo whether or not the Flash ecards at Hallmark will show me anything other than a grey screen. However, my browser seems to have no problems displaying those annoying Flash introductions that are becoming increasingly popular on Web sites. Go figure.
Now that Mozilla supports plugins, I'll move on to installing some skins. Go to the Edit menu -> Preferences. Click on Appearance -> Themes, then click on the hyperlink for Get New Themes.
I liked the themes at mozdev.org. SkyPilot looked interesting, so I clicked on its link, then on SkyPilot again in the Install row of the chart. I then checked "Use this theme" in the Confirm box and pressed OK. Once the install did its thing, I went back to Preferences, highlighted SkyPilot and pressed OK. Mozilla informed me the changes would take effect the next time I started Mozilla.
Now that my browser looks pretty awesome, I'll head over to my favorite wallpaper site:
To change the wallpaper in KDE, right click the desktop and choose Configure Desktop. Click on the Background icon, the Wallpaper tab, and browse for your favorite wallpaper.
In next week's article, we'll move on to the wonderful world of sound and some utilities that will impress even your Windows buddies.
Editor's note: a previous version of this article mistakenly used
make installworld instead of
make installkernel. As well, the link to the plugger testing grounds has been fixed. We
apologize for the inconvenience.
Dru Lavigne is a network and systems administrator, IT instructor, author and international speaker. She has over a decade of experience administering and teaching Netware, Microsoft, Cisco, Checkpoint, SCO, Solaris, Linux, and BSD systems. A prolific author, she pens the popular FreeBSD Basics column for O'Reilly and is author of BSD Hacks and The Best of FreeBSD Basics.
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