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The PicoBSD FAQ
<p><B>What is PicoBSD ?</B></p>
<P>PicoBSD is a floppy sized version of popular operating system FreeBSD.
It fits within a single bootable 1.44MB floppy and runs on a minimum i386
with 8MB RAM. PicoBSD currently comes in four flavours: dialup, net, router and
isp. For a description of how each of the flavours differ, take a look
at the <B><A HREF="http://www.freebsd.org/~picobsd/picobsd.html">PicoBSD
<p><B>What is this "pico" in the name?</B></p>
<p>It's an SI measure unit, which is equivalent of 10e<sup>-12</sup>.
This is a good approximation of more colloquial "extremely small".</p>
<p>You can also think of normal FreeBSD as a system infested with
fully grown daemons, and PicoBSD as a system infested with
"the little people" :-). </p>
<P><B>What version of FreeBSD is PicoBSD based on ?</B></p>
<P>PicoBSD has versions based on FreeBSD 3.2-RELEASE, 4.0-current and
<A HREF="mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org">Andrzej Bialecki</A> maintains the <A HREF="http://www.freebsd.org/~picobsd/picobsd.html">FreeBSD
3.x-RELEASE and -current versions</A> and
<A HREF="mailto:email@example.com">Dinesh Nair</A>
maintains the <A HREF="http://info.net-gw.com/picoBSD/">FreeBSD
2.2.5-RELEASE</A> version. Both the versions are different:
the 3.x-RELEASE version is the one actively maintained, and provides support
for many new devices</li>
the 2.2.5-RELEASE version is not maintained anymore - the only difference is
that it has lynx on board.</li>
<p><b>What is current version of PicoBSD?</b></p>
<p>Current version of PicoBSD is @VER@.</p>
<P><B>What can PicoBSD do?</B></p>
<P>With the TCP/IP capabilities of FreeBSD included in and based on the
strong 4.4BSD TCP/IP stack, PicoBSD can be used as a low cost Network Computer.
With a text based HTML 3.2 compliant browser (2.2.5-RELEASE version only)
and Internet access tools such as telnet and ftp, it can serve as a low
cost Internet dialup client. With support for mounting MSDOS and Unix harddisks,
it also can be used as a portable OS which you can carry around in a floppy.
The net and isp flavours would allow you to make use of those redundant
i386es as a low cost router or dialin PPP server. With SNMP and firewall
support built-in, PicoBSD provides the functionality of dedicated routers
and dialin terminal servers.
<P><B>What are PicoBSD's minimum requirements?</B></p>
<P>PicoBSD runs on a minimum i386 with 8MB RAM for the dialup flavour and
10MB RAM for the net and isp flavours. Diskspace requirements are a single
1.44MB floppy. For on-demand PPP access, a modem would be required, either
external or internal.
For LAN access, an Ethernet NIC (support for 3Com, NE2000 etc available)
would also be required.
<p>In case of "router" flavor, its requirements are even smaller: it can
run in as low as 4MB of RAM, on a 386SX CPU.</p>
<P><B>Where do I get PicoBSD?</B></p>
PicoBSD is available at the following
<A HREF="http://www.freebsd.org/~picobsd/picobsd.html">PicoBSD based on
FreeBSD 3.0-RELEASE and -current</A> maintained by Andrzej Bialecki</LI>
<A HREF="http://info.net-gw.com/picoBSD/">PicoBSD based on FreeBSD 2.2.5-RELEASE</A>
prepared by Dinesh Nair</LI>
Additional mirror sites will be brought online as demand increases. If
you're interested in mirroring the PicoBSD distribution, please get in
touch with <A HREF="mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org">Dinesh Nair</A> or
<A HREF="mailto:email@example.com">Andrzej Bialecki</A>.
<P><B>How do I copy it to the floppy?</B></p>
<P>The binary images provided as part of the PicoBSD distribution are 1.44MB
sized floppy images. They cannot be copied to a floppy using the <I>MSDOS
COPY</I> or <I>Unix cp</I> commands. Instead, an image copy must be done
using tools such as <A HREF="ftp://ftp.freebsd.org/pub/FreeBSD/tools/rawrite.exe">rawrite.exe</A>
or f<A HREF="ftp://ftp.freebsd.org/pub/FreeBSD/tools/fdimage.exe">dimage.exe</A>
under MSDOS and <B>dd</B> under Unix.
<P>Under DOS you would do something like this:
<PRE><B>C:\> fdimage.exe picobsd.flp a:</B></PRE>
while under Unix you would use something like:
<UL><B>dd if=picobsd.flp of=/dev/rfd0</B></UL>
<p><B>How do I configure dialup PPP access on the Dialup flavour?</B></p>
<P>There is an auto-configuration script to configure PPP dialup access.
Run <I>/stand/dialup</I> after booting up from the floppy and make the
relevant menu selections. Once you've tested it to work, you should make
your changes permanent by committing them to the floppy using <I>/stand/update</I>.
<P><B>How do I set my DNS server ?</B></p>
<P>Use the provided <I>/stand/ee</I> editor and edit <I>/etc/resolv.conf</I>.
Replace the <U>domain</U> with your domain and change the <U>nameserver</U>
IP address to your nameserver or your ISP's nameserver. You may have as
many <U>nameserver</U> lines as you want. Don't forget to run <I>/stand/update</I>
to commit your changes to the floppy.
<p>NOTE: starting with version 0.4, the <i>dialup</i> script asks you to
set your nameserver as well as default domain name.</p>
<p><b>I can't execute the <i>/stand/update</i> on the "router" floppy.</b></p>
<p>The "router" floppy doesn't contain any real shell, so some commands work
differently (and some don't work at all). In order to use this script you
have to 'source it in', i.e.:
(48)/# . /stand/update
<P><B>How do I set my hostname ?</B></p>
<P>Edit /<I>etc/rc.conf</I> and change the value of the <U>hostname</U>
<p><b>PicoBSD has "mkdir" but not "rmdir". How can I delete
<p>"rm -d" will delete directories.</p>
<p><b>Can I use a modem configured on COM3/COM4 instead of COM1, COM2?</b></p>
<p>Yes, but these ports are initially disabled - most machines have only
two serial ports anyway. You have to enable them in UserConfig.</P>
<p>Here are the preferred settings:</p>
<li> sio0=COM1: port 0x3f8, irq 4, used by default for mouse (/dev/cuaa0)
<li> sio1=COM2: port 0x2f8, irq 3, used by default for modem (/dev/cuaa1)
<li> sio2=COM3: port 0x3e8, irq 5, disabled by default
<li> sio3=COM4: port 0x2e8, irq 10, disabled by default
<p><b>I see a configuration conflict the first time I boot PicoBSD. What
should I do?</b></p>
<p>Disable those devices which are not present in your machine. If there is
still some conflict, change the settings (I/O port, IRQ etc.).</p>
<p><b>Exception:</b> if you're using a PS/2 mouse, the visual configuration
tool will display CONF for sc0 and psm0. The default settings are correct,
and you should simply ignore the warning.</p>
<p><b>What kind of SCSI support is there?</b></p>
<p>None. Either build your own version of PicoBSD, or just install normal
<p><b>Using version 0.4 I get many strange messages on my console...</b></p>
<p>This is related in large part to DEVFS subsystem - it is still somewhat
experimental, and its author left some diagnostics turned on.. They are
harmless. Versions 0.4x, x>0 don't use DEVFS at all, as it was too
experimental to work reliably...</p>
<P><B>How do I connect using PPP ?</B></p>
<P>Just run the PPP process, <I>/stand/ppp</I>. at the <B>ppp on pico></B>
prompt, type <U>dial</U> and sit back and wait for the modem to sing it's
mating tunes. When the <B>ppp on pico></B> prompt is capitalized to <B>PPP
on pico></B>, you've managed to succesfully achieve a link-level PPP and
TCP/IP connection with your ISP. Additionally, the PPP program will enter
<I>Packet Mode</I>. Remember, don't <U>quit</U> or <U>close</U> the PPP
connection if you want to continue to access the Internet. Type <U>help</U>
at the <B>ppp on pico></B> prompt for a list of PPP commands.
<P><B>The PPP process is running on my screen. How do I use the browser
or telnet to a host ?</B></p>
<P>PicoBSD has many virtual terminals, 10 on the dialup flavour. You have
run PPP on the first virtual terminal. You can switch to the others and
run the browser and telnet clients there. Switching thru the VTs is done
by ALT-F1 for VT0, ALT-F2 for VT1, ALT-F3 for VT2 etc. From these terminals,
you could use telnet or the lynx browser cum newsreader.
<p><b>I can't establish a PPP connection. The mouse pointer randomly appears
and disappears. and moving the mouse has no effect.</b></p>
<p>You have the mouse driver configured to use the modem's serial port.
Issue a 'ps -ax', remember the pid (process ID) of 'moused', then issue a
'kill -9 <pid>'. Edit /etc/rc.conf to specify the correct mouse port. Issue
an 'update' commmand to save new configuration to the floppy, and reboot.</p>
<P><B>I saved my lynx configuration but it was not there when I rebooted.
<P>The lynx configuration is saved in <I>/etc/lynx.cfg</I>. You should
run /<I>stand/update</I> to commit this to the floppy when you change the
configuration. In effect, anything you change in /etc can be committed
by running /<I>stand/update</I>.
<P><B>How come there are no manual pages ?</B></p>
<P>Well, this is a floppy-sized OS, so there's not enough space for full
manpages. Instead, short help descriptions are given with the <I>/stand/help</I>
program. If you need more detailed descriptions, take a look at the <A HREF="http://www.freebsd.org/handbook/">FreeBSD
Handbook</A> or the <A HREF="http://www.freebsd.org/">FreeBSD Home</A>.
<CENTER><FONT SIZE=-1>More FAQ points will be added as feedback from the
PicoBSD user community comes in. And big thanks to all of you who already
sent us some suggestions!</FONT></CENTER>
<P><B><FONT SIZE=-1>Last Modified: