2.5. Introducing bsdinstall

bsdinstall is a text-based FreeBSD installer program written by Nathan Whitehorn and introduced in 2011 for FreeBSD 9.0.


Kris Moore 's pc-sysinstall is included with PC-BSD, and can also be used to install FreeBSD. Although sometimes confused with bsdinstall, the two are not related.

The bsdinstall menu system is controlled by the arrow keys, Enter, Tab, Space, and other keys.

2.5.1. Selecting the Keymap Menu

Depending on the system console being used, bsdinstall may initially prompt to select a non-default keyboard layout.

Figure 2.4. Keymap Selection
Keymap Selection

If [ YES ] is selected, the following keyboard selection screen will be displayed. Otherwise, this selection menu will not be displayed, and a default keyboard mapping will be used.

Figure 2.5. Selecting Keyboard Menu
Selecting Keyboard Menu

Select the keymap that most closely represents the mapping of the keyboard attached to the system, using the up/down arrow keys and pressing Enter.


Pressing Esc will use the default keymap. United States of America ISO-8859-1 is also a safe option if the choice of keymap is not clear.

2.5.2. Setting the Hostname

Next, bsdinstall will prompt for the hostname to be given to the newly installed system.

Figure 2.6. Setting the Hostname
Setting the Hostname

The entered hostname should be a fully-qualified hostname, such as machine3.example.com

2.5.3. Selecting Components to Install

Next, bsdinstall will prompt to select optional components to install.

Figure 2.7. Selecting Components to Install
Selecting Components to Install

Deciding which components to install will depend largely on the intended use of the system and the amount of disk space available. The FreeBSD Kernel and userland (collectively the base system) are always installed.

Depending on the type of installation, some of these components may not appear.

Optional Components
  • doc - Additional documentation, mostly of historical interest. Documentation provided by the FreeBSD Documentation Project may be installed later.

  • games - Several traditional BSD games, including fortune, rot13, and others.

  • lib32 - Compatibility libraries for running 32-bit applications on a 64-bit version of FreeBSD.

  • ports - The FreeBSD Ports Collection.

    The ports collection is an easy and convenient way to install software. The Ports Collection does not contain the source code necessary to compile the software. Instead, it is a collection of files which automates the downloading, compiling and installation of third-party software packages. Chapter 5, Installing Applications: Packages and Ports discusses how to use the ports collection.


    The installation program does not check to see if you have adequate space. Select this option only if you have adequate hard disk space. As of FreeBSD 9.0, the FreeBSD Ports Collection takes up about 500 MB of disk space. You can safely assume a larger value for more recent versions of FreeBSD.

  • src - System source code.

    FreeBSD comes with full source code for both the kernel and the userland. Although not required for the majority of applications, it may be required to build certain software supplied as source (for example, device drivers or kernel modules), or for developing FreeBSD itself.

    The full source tree requires 1 GB of disk space, and recompiling the entire FreeBSD system requires an additional 5 GB of space.

All FreeBSD documents are available for download at http://ftp.FreeBSD.org/pub/FreeBSD/doc/

Questions that are not answered by the documentation may be sent to <freebsd-questions@FreeBSD.org>.

Send questions about this document to <freebsd-doc@FreeBSD.org>.