How to Install FreeBSD 10.2 with Mate Desktop

FreeBSD/free Unix-like operating system is advanced computer operating system used for modern computer, desktop and embedded platform. FreeBSD available for all platform include PowerPC and ARM. It is advanced operating system for networking, security and storage, with these advantages make a FreeBSD the platform of choice for many big company, including Apache, Apple, Cisco, Citrix etc.

FreeBSD is derived from BSD, the version of UNIX developed by Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD) and released under BSD License. You can install it for your server, and you can use it too for your primary computer desktop with many Desktop Environment such as Gnome, XFCE, KDE and Mate etc.


in this article will be taught step by step to install FreeBSD on a desktop computer, I use FreeBSD 64 bits with the following specifications :

  • Memory 1 GB
  • Disk 25 GB

and also continued with a guide to install a desktop environment "Mate" on FreeBSD, so you can use it for your daily activity.

Installing FreeBSD 10.2

1. Download FreeBSD from and make a bootable from it. You can use file ".iso" if you want to burn to the CD/DVD, and if you want to make a USB Bootable, you must download ".img" file. If you use ubuntu/other linux distribution, you can use "dd" command to make a FreeBSD usb bootable. I'm here use a USB for media installation, so you can make a bootable by this command :

dd bs=4M if=/file/img/FreeBSD.img of=/dev/sdX && sync

2. When a USB bootable been made, please setting your BIOS to make it boot from a USB flashdisk and then reboot your system, and after that you will see a FreeBSD menu, you can choose number "1" or just press "Enter".

FreeBSD Boot Option

3. Once boot complete, you will see a "Welcome to FreeBSD!" with many options. And select "Install" to install a FreeBSD.

Install FreeBSD

4. Next step you will be displayed about keymap configuration, I'm use a default keymap, a "US" keybord map. Please choose "Select".

Keybord Map FreeBSD

5. Now type your hostname for your system, I'm here use "tadokoroBSD" as my hostname.


6. Choose the FreeBSD Components to install and select "OK".

  • doc : additional documentation for freebsd, install into "/usr/share/doc".
  • games : some BSD games, including rot13, fortune etc.
  • lib32 : collection of libraries for running 32-bit application in 64-bit version of freeBSD.
  • ports : collection of files which automates the downloading, compiling and installing third-party software packages. You can search in "/usr/ports".
  • src : Complete FreeBSD source code for the kernel and userland. it is required to build a driver, kernel modules or some ports app collection.
Select Package

7. In this step you need to setup a disk partition for freebsd. you need to choose the option :

  • Auto (UFS) : this is automatic create a "UFS" partition for freebsd.
  • Manual : this option allow you to create and setting the partition by your self.
  • Shell : this is allow a user to configure the partition from the shell using fdisk or gparted etc.
  • Auto (ZFS) : this options will create encrypted root-on-ZFS system.

In this tutorial we choose "Manual" option.

Configure Dis Partition

8. After choose the "Manual" option, you must configure a partition scheme/partition table for the disk we have prepared - 26GB disk. Please select "Create" and then choose "GPT" as partition scheme because we use 64-bit architecture.

Choose the disk
Choose GPT Partition Scheme

9. Now "GPT" partition scheme created, and then you must define the partition. You need to create 3 partition :

  • freebsd-boot - 512 KB
  • freebsd-swap - 2 GB
  • freebsd-ufs - filesystem for freebsd with "/" root as mountpoint.
Create Partition

Select "Create" and define the partition, press "Tab" to move the option, and then select "OK" and press "Enter" to confirm.

Create Boot Partition

Create Boot Partition

Create Swap Partition

Create SWAP Partition

Create root Partition

Create root Partition

10. Now the partition was defined, and now select "Finish" and choose a "commit" to begin the installation.

Finishing Partition

Commit or save changes.

Save Changed

11. Wait the fetching, verifying and extracting distribution files.

Wait extraction

12. Once all requested distribution files have been extracted, you need to configure/change "root" password for your freebsd. Just type the password you want and press "Enter" to confirm.

Change root Password

13. Now step to configure the "Network Interfaces". Here I've one network adapter, if you have a multiple netwotk adapter, choose the adapter you want to use and select "OK".

Choose Adapter for Network Interfaces

14. Then choose IPv4 for the interface and select "Yes". And now we use a DHCP for obtaining the ip address for this interface and choose "Yes".

Configure IPv4

Obtaining ipadress with DHCP

Select DHCP

Select "No" for IPv6.

No IPv6

15. Now you can configure the DNS Resolver. for the first I use local dns and the google dns for second dns resolver and select "OK".

Choose DNS Resolver

16. In this step will be shown to you about "Time Configuration". Please choose "No" here to select a specific timezone. I'm here choose "Asia" and select my country and my timezone and then select "OK". Select "Yes" to confirm.

Select No

Choose Timezone "Asia"

Asia Timezone

Specific Timezone

Specific timezone2

17. Now you need to configure a service that start on the boot time, you can select the service by press "Escape" on your keybord and then select "OK" to confirm.

Service on the boot time

18. And now you will be ask to create new user account and please select "Yes" and type a username and password you want.

Add New User2

look this example :

Add New User2

Type "yes" and press "Enter" to confirm all user configuration. and then you will be ask about to "add Another User", just type "no" for it.

Confirm New User

19. Now installation is finised and please select "OK".

Installation Finished

And you will be ask about to add a new "Manual Configuration" and select "No".

No for additional configuration

Now choose "Reboot" and remove the media installation, in this tutorial is USB.


After rebooting, just press "Enter" to boot the FreeBSD. and then login with username "root" and your password.

Login Screen

Login Screen root

FreeBSD 10.2 installed

FreeBSD 10.2 Installed

Installing MATE Desktop

The MATE Desktop Environment is the continuation of GNOME 2.  It provides an classic and lightweight desktop environment using traditional display for Linux and other Unix-like operating systems. And so we will install SLIM as our display manager, other alternative, LightDM, GDM or LXDM.

1. Before install a mate desktop, you need to configure your user that has been created - "megumi". Login to the freebsd as root and install sudo and nano with "pkg" command :

pkg install sudo nano

and then allow a user "megumi" to execute "sudo" command by editing sudoers file with command :


and below the line "root", add user "megumi" :

megumi ALL=(ALL) ALL
Adding user to sudoers

2. Now install Mate Desktop and the all needed by it.

pkg install xf86-video-fbdev mate-desktop mate xorg

Installation need more 1GB disk space, so make sure your system have more disk. And then add the services to the boot time by editing file "/etc/rc.conf" with nano editor :

nano /etc/rc.conf

Add the following script at the bottom line :


Save and exit.

3. Installing "SLIM Display Manager" with "pkg" command :

pkg install slim

and add SLIM to run on the startup/boot time with this line :

Slim and Mate boot configuration

4. And the last you must configure a user "megumi" to login with MATE Desktop. Log out from the root shell and switch to megumi shell. Add new file ".xinitrc" to the home directory of user megumi :

cd ~
nano .xinitrc

add the line :

exec mate-session

and Reboot your system.

After rebooting, you will be shown a SLIM Display manager, just type your username "megumi" and the password, and then you will log in to MATE Desktop.

SLIM Display Manager

Slim Display Manager

Mate Desktop

Mate Desktop


FreeBSD is derivered from BSD, the version of UNIX developed by Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD) and released under BSD License. It is advanced operating system for networking, security and storage. Using by BIG company such as Apache, Apple etc. FreeBSD Avilable for all platform, so you can install it for your server operating system, or you can use it as primary computer with many desktop environment such as MATE Desktop. It is easy to install and configure.

4 Comments... add one

  1. Hi, everything went well with my installation. But I never see slim. Only a black screen.

    I then removed the slim enabled, and tried startx. Still black screen and only way to see something is powering off. Any ideas?

    I have a acer laptop with Intel hd4000


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