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NetBSD 10.0 amd64 quick start

13th April 2024: Installed NetBSD 10.0 RC 5 and then upgraded to RC 6, and finally 10.0 release. Updated packages.

Installing NetBSD 10.0 RC 5 on a Thinkpad T60 Core Duo laptop with 3Gb RAM and a 500Gb mechanical hard drive. The laptop has Intel integrated graphics. Wifi disabled in BIOS. I use a cable into the router for installing packages because I use this old laptop as a writing machine because of its nice keyboard and large scale monitor. Suspend to RAM works. Firefox is actually ok with ublock origin installed but I don't use it much. Everything else is snappy.

Install the base system (more or less default)

The Thinkpad has a 1024x768 pixel screen. If you get an error from the sysinst installer script about 'screen too narrow' drop to a command prompt and use the work around below.

# wsconsctl -dw font=Boldface

Then exit the command shell to resume the installation.

Set up a desktop and install software

I install a small number of graphical applications.

Connect to wired network

Put the lines below into /etc/rc.conf and reboot with cable connected.

I had to supply a hostname for the laptop in /etc/myname possibly because I installed offline and did not configure a network interface.
T60$ cat /etc/myname

As you can see, the hostname is used as the prompt in a terminal window.

Install binary packages with pkg_add and pkgin

The .profile for the root account has the URL of the package repository commented out - just uncomment and then install packages. I used pkg_add once to install pkgin.

I used pkgin to install Firefox, GIMP, abiword, gnumeric, xpdf and some other bits and pieces to do with groff typesetting. I eventually installed fluxbox as the default window manager ctwm was a step too minimal. I also installed xbattbar to provide a battery indicator. Installing Libreoffice brought in 2.5Gb of dependencies but worked fine.

I also installed the Intel microcode package and enabled microcode in /etc/rc.conf.

Start daemons using /etc/rc.conf

You have to enable demons in /etc/rc.conf. Below is my collection. Includes basic power management, wired internet connection, and Japanese knot weed dbus.

#[snipped a dozen lines of comments]
# If this is not set to YES, the system will drop into single-user mode.

# Add local overrides below.

Fluxbox and Xorg stuff

I added my time zone to my ~/.profile so that British Summer Time is correctly picked up here.

export TZ=Europe/London

I used a minimal .xinitrc

T60$ cat .xinitrc
xrdb -merge /home/keith/.Xdefaults
uxterm -ls &
exec /usr/pkg/bin/fluxbox

And my usual .Xdefaults

T60$ cat .Xdefaults
! Font settings for TTF fonts
Xft.dpi: 96
Xft.autohint: 0
Xft.lcdfilter: lcddefault
Xft.hintstyle: hintslight
Xft.hinting: 1
Xft.antialias: 1
Xft.rgba: rgb
!uxterm stuff
*xterm*reverseVideo: true
UXTerm*scrollBar: true
UXTerm*rightScrollBar: true
! Pinched from a blog post
! https://aduros.com/blog/xterm-its-better-than-you-thought/
UXTerm.vt100.translations: #override \n\
    Ctrl Shift N: scroll-back(1, halfpage) \n\
    Ctrl Shift T: scroll-forw(1, halfpage) \n\
    Ctrl Shift C: copy-selection(CLIPBOARD) \n\
    Ctrl Shift V: insert-selection(CLIPBOARD) \n\
    Ctrl Shift H: set-altscreen(toggle)
! I find the overstrike bold letters harder to read with bitmapped fonts
UXTerm*allowBoldFonts: false

Fluxbox is stock apart from some additions to the root menu.

      [exec] (uxterm) {uxterm -ls}
      [exec] (firefox) {firefox}
      [exec] (abiword) {abiword}
      [exec] (gnumeric) {gnumeric}
      [exec] (gimp) {gimp}
      [exec] (xpdf) {xpdf}

I like my xterms to be login sessions so I use uxterm -ls to start a terminal window.

Twiddly bits: sound, locale

Sound 'just works' when playing an mp3 file using mpg123, including the volume keys on the Thinkpad keyboard. That is about as far as I have got with multimedia.

The language and keyboard settings that I set in the installation carried over to the installed system fine. So I have a GB / UK keyboard layout both in X and in the ttys. All UTF-8.

Upgrading 10.0 RC 5 to RC 6 and then to release

I used the upgrade from installation image method.

31-Mar-2023: same procedure worked to update to the release from the NetBSD 10.0 amd64 image.

Then I checked the /root/.profile for the URL of the package repository. See below

export PKG_PATH="https://cdn.NetBSD.org/pub/pkgsrc/packages/NetBSD/$(uname -p)/$(uname -r|cut -f '1 2' -d.|cut -f 1 -d_)/All"

The path is automatically set to the appropriate version, but the $(uname -r|cut -f '1 2' -d.|cut -f 1 -d_) command removes the _RC6 section of the operating system version string in the RC versions. It is still present on the release version but does nothing.

Lots of updates after two weeks: running the pkgin update command downloaded a new package database, then running the pkgin upgrade command resulted in about 1.5Gb of package updates including the usual suspects: Libreoffice now version 24 and Firefox now version 123.01 but still marked 'nightly'.

Keith Burnett, 13th April 2024.