Jun 111998

The installation

This page describes my first week of FreeBSD and how I blustered my way around the operating system.

As mentioned in the introduction, I was given an old 486 machine by a friend.  When I got it home, I had a hard time figuring out how to get FreeBSD installed.  My home subnet isn’t that unusual.   In fact, I’m guessing it’s quite typical of many homes that have more than one computer.

My first goal was getting all of the machines talking to each other.  That didn’t take too much time.  I had to configure ed1 to talk to the subnet.  This worked well.  I could ping from one machine to another and everything looked great.   The next step was to connect my FreeBSD box to my ISP.

But first, I knew I had to get natd and ipfw running.  But that’s another story.

I using ifconfig to set up ed0.  I made it look the same as the NIC on NT1 because NT1 was my primary access.  I connected everything up just as it appears in the topology page.  I could ping everywhere within my subnet, but I couldn’t ping my ISP.  All the cards seemed fine.  All the settings seemed fine.  Hmmmm.

The next day I rang my ISP.  Unfortunately, they knew less about what I was trying to do than I did.  So much for technical support.  But after all, they are a phone company.  After talking with Jay I confirmed my suspicions.  It was a DHCP issue.  I had assumed that that IP assigned to me was static.  I was wrong.  It was dynamic (hence the D in DHCP).

The next step was to install DHCP on FreeBSD.  I found a very good reference and followed it exactly.  And it worked.  First time.  I was connected!

It seems that the IP address is related to the MAC address which is hardcoded into each network card.  The DHCP server sees that MAC address and assigns you an IP.  When that same card asks for an IP again, my DHCP server assigns the same IP.  Or so it seems.

8 August 1998

One thing I noticed during my resolv.conf problems is that /etc/dhclient.conf should be configured after you install DHCP.  The default value in my file was:
interface "ep0"{

Our gateway uses ed0, not ep0, so I changed the line to be:

interface "ed0"{

What you need will depend on your network cards.