home  /   who am i  /   my work  /   soap box

2011.11.03 - freebsd on the shuttle xs35gt

FreeBSD logo I love FreeBSD. While Linux is composed of various components developed separately and stiched together into a distribution, FreeBSD is developed as a complete operating system from userland to kernel space. Once running, the OS is cleanly organized, easily configured, and extremely stable. Typically the only grief you'll get while working with FreeBSD is driver support.

FreeBSD on the Shuttle XS35GT mini-PC, however, was a delight to setup! I built this PC to work as both a media player and a home server. My particular build has a 32GB SSD, 2GB of RAM, an nVidia ION GPU, and a dual core Intel Atom processor. The installation of FreeBSD 8.2 amd64 on this PC was the easiest installation of FreeBSD I've done yet.

All the hardware just worked. nVidia ION driver installed without any problems. Suspend/resume functionality, along with wake-on LAN, just worked. Sound played from my speakers upon logging into Gnome desktop.

To reduce the number of writes happening to the SSD, I was able to avoid creating a swap partition, turn off the recording off last access times, and mount /tmp and /var/log to tmpfs partitions.

It took a bit of time to build all the ports from source, but now that all is said and done, the server works as a Samba file server. I can easily connect to a remote desktop. It smoothly plays movies on Amazon and YouTube. If you're looking to run FreeBSD, the XS35GT is a very affordable and painless option. My complements go out to the FreeBSD team for all their hardwork on this awesome OS.