FreeBSD 11.2 on The Vault

Last Updated On May 17, 2019
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Overview

FreeBSD is an open source Linux operating system that has been successfully installed on all of the Vault platforms. This link describes how to install FreeBSD on the Vault and uses version 11.1 as the example.

FreeBSD 11.2 Issues

With the release of FreeBSD 11.2, one of the kernel defaults was changed such that some of the Vaults do not automatically boot up correctly during installation via USB and also after subsequent bootups from mSATA. This issue is described exactly in the FreeBSD forum at this link: https://forums.freebsd.org/threads/install-freezes-at-consoles-efi-consoles.61243

The symptom of the affected Vaults is that during boot, the console will freeze at a “Booting” message and never get any further. The system is actually booting, but there is no console I/O.

A bug has been filed regarding this issue at this link: https://bugs.freebsd.org/bugzilla/show_bug.cgi?id=230172  and it includes a workaround, specifically Comment 10 in the bug.

The FreeBSD bug affects the FW1, FW2, and FW4A platforms, but not the FW2B, FW4B, and FW6 platforms.

When this article was originally written, the workaround instructions were described below in “FreeBSD 11.2 Console Instructions”. However, a simpler solution has been  found and tested. Following the instructions below in “FreeBSD BIOS Configuration” will solve the issue and it is not required to follow “FreeBSD 11.2 Console Instructions”.

FreeBSD BIOS Configuration

  • Verify that the Vault is powered down
  • Verify that the monitor is connected
  • Verify that the USB keyboard is plugged in
  • While powering up the Vault, press “DEL” key and verify that it boots to the BIOS.
  • Select “Advanced” tab
  • Select “CSM Configuration”
  • Select “Boot option filter”
  • Select “UEFI only”
  • Press “F4” to save and exit the BIOS
  • Power off the unit and insert the USB install drive into the other USB port on the Vault
  • While powering up the Vault again, press “F11” key and verify that it boots to the BIOS boot options screen.
  • Select the USB drive UEFI partition to boot from
  • Verify that the Vault boots and begins the installation process
  • Verify the system continues to boot up normally
  • Install FreeBSD as described at the link above
  • Verify that the installation continues and the “Reboot” prompt appears
  • Reboot the system
  • Verify the “sync” messages are displayed as the unit reboots and the screen goes blank
  • Immediately remove the USB drive from the unit and verify that the unit boots to FreeBSD login prompt

FreeBSD 11.2 Console Instructions

General instructions for installing FreeBSD can be found at this link mentioned above. The workaround is summarized below.

  • Download the FreeBSD 11.2 installer (amd64, memstick) image
  • Create a bootable USB as described at this link
  • Install the image from the USB
  • Verify the FreeBSD installation menu appears
  • Select the space bar to pause the boot
  • Select “3” to go to the Loader prompt
  • Verify the prompt “OK” appears
  • Type “set kern.vty=sc”, RET
  • Type “boot”
  • Verify the system continues to boot up normally
  • Install FreeBSD as described at the link above

At this point, FreeBSD has been installed on the mSATA. However, the same issue regarding the console with the USB boot will be present now that the system is booting from the mSATA.

  • Select “Reboot” and verify the system boots from the mSATA drive with the new installation
  • Follow the same instructions above to set the console parameter
  • Verify the FreeBSD boot menu appears
  • Select the space bar to pause the boot
  • Select “3” to go to the Loader prompt
  • Verify the prompt “OK” appears
  • Type “set kern.vty=sc”, RET
  • Type “boot”
  • Verify the system continues to boot up normally to FreeBSD
  • Login as “root” with the “password” that was set during installation

At this point, FreeBSD is available for use during this session. However, we want to configure the system to permanently fix the console issue so that manual intervention is not required every time it boots.

  • Change Directory to /boot, type “cd /boot”
  • Verify the file “loader.conf” is present, type “ls loader.conf”
  • For safety sake, copy “loader.conf” to another file for backup, type “cp loader.conf loader.conf.orig”
  • Edit loader.conf using a text editor such as “vi”
  • Add the following line in loader.conf, kern.vty=”sc”, enclosing quotes around “sc”
  • Save the file and exit
  • Type “reboot”
  • Verify the system reboots successfully without hanging at the console

At this point, FreeBSD 11.2 should be successfully installed on The Vault.  However, if you experience any issues, please feel free to reach out to us at: support@protectli.com.