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The Installation Process

After you've started your old computer from the first floppy disk you created, it will load everything on it and ask for the second disk. After loading the second floppy, you'll see what a NetBSD startup process looks like. The system will try to identify all the hardware in your computer, and tell you about it on the screen in a verbose, and horribly technical way. You'll probably notice some product names flashing by, such as the manufacturor of you hard disk. Ignore all that.

When things go wrong

Please remember that the installation software will always try to do the best thing, but should it fail, it will allow you to configure things by hand. This might be complicated. The documentation on NetBSD are helpfull, and if they can't help you, mail us.


After a minute or so, you'll be greeted with a welcome screen, and three options - install NetBSD, reboot the computer, or exit the install system. Naturally, you'll pick the Install NetBSD to hard disk option. If you want to install the system with support for dynamic IP addresses from your provider, the first thing it will try to do is get an IP address from your provider.

Erase the disk

You'll be given a reminder that this procedure will erase your hard disk, so if you forgot to make a backup, now would be a good time to stop.

Next, the system will tell you about the hard disk it found, and how it is listed in your computer's BIOS. Usually, all you need to do at this point is hit the Enter key. We ask this question because in some older systems you might need to tell the system exactly what your hard disk looks like. In that case, you'll probably find the information you need on the label of the hard disk. Most modern computers figure all this out correctly, however.

When the system is wiping your hard disk, it is again giving you all kind of technical details. Unless things go wrong, you can safely ignore them.

Getting the rest of the software

The next step is to fetch and unpack the rest of the firewall software. The installer will attempt to do that for you, but first it will ask you about your Ethernet cards. It will list all the network devices it found, like this:

ep0: flags=8863<BROADCAST,NOTRAILERS> mtu 1500
address: 00:20:af:2d:79:ea
media: Ethernet 10baseT
ex0: flags=8863<BROADCAST,NOTRAILERS> mtu 1500
address: 01:20:af:2d:79:ea
media: Ethernet 10baseT
lo0: flags=8009<LOOPBACK,MULTICAST> mtu 32976
ppp0: flags=8010<POINTOPOINT,MULTICAST> mtu 1500
ppp1: flags=8010<POINTOPOINT,MULTICAST> mtu 1500
sl0: flags=c010<POINTOPOINT,LINK2,MULTICAST> mtu 296
sl1: flags=c010<POINTOPOINT,LINK2,MULTICAST> mtu 296

This looks far more complicated than it is - in the sample output above we've colored red the relevant information: first the name NetBSD gives to the ethernet card, here ep0 and ex0, and the hardware address you collected earlier. Thanks to the hardware address, you should now know which card is which, and you should be able to tell the installer the name of the card you wish to use to connect to your cable modem or ADSL.

Network Information

If you are going to run the sytem with a fixed IP address, the installer will ask you for the information the ISP provided you - domain name, IP, netmask (leave the default unless you have specific instructions from your ISP), the IP address of the ISP gateway, and the address of the name server your ISP uses. If you are going to run with a dynamic address, this question will be skipped - since your service provider will have given this information automatically.

Also, it will ask you for the cable type you use. 10baseT is the standard twisted pair cable, 10base2 is coax, and 10base5 is thick ethernet.

Next, it will ask you the name of the second ethernet card.

Going out on the network

At this point, the installer will attempt to go out on the Internet and get the rest of the firewall software. If this works, you can be pretty sure the rest of the installation will be a piece of cake. If it doesn't, you probably made a mistake, such as picking the wrong ethernet card connected to the cable or ADSL modem, or entering wrong IP addresses.


After the installer finishes getting it's stuff from the network, ik will tell you it's done, and offer to reboot the computer. You're done! Next, check if it actually works...