Chapter 4 Hardware compatibility

4.1. Does FreeBSD support architectures other than the x86?
4.2. I want to get a piece of hardware for my FreeBSD system. Which model/brand/type is best?
4.3. What kind of hard drives does FreeBSD support?
4.4. Which SCSI controllers are supported?
4.5. Which CDROM drives are supported by FreeBSD?
4.6. Which CD-RW drives are supported by FreeBSD?
4.7. Does FreeBSD support ZIP drives?
4.8. Does FreeBSD support JAZ, EZ and other removable drives?
4.9. Which multi-port serial cards are supported by FreeBSD?
4.10. Does FreeBSD support my USB keyboard?
4.11. I have an unusual bus mouse. How do I set it up?
4.12. How do I use my PS/2 (``mouse port'' or ``keyboard'') mouse?
4.13. Is it possible to use a mouse in any way outside the X Window system?
4.14. How do I cut and paste text with a mouse in the text console?
4.15. Does FreeBSD support any USB mice?
4.16. My mouse has a fancy wheel and buttons. Can I use them in FreeBSD?
4.17. How do I use the mouse/trackball/touchpad on my laptop?
4.18. What types of tape drives are supported?
4.19. Does FreeBSD support tape changers?
4.20. Which sound cards are supported by FreeBSD?
4.21. Workarounds for no sound from es1370 with pcm driver?
4.22. Which network cards does FreeBSD support?
4.23. I do not have a math co-processor - is that bad?
4.24. What other devices does FreeBSD support?
4.25. Does FreeBSD support power management on my laptop?
4.26. Why does my Micron system hang at boot time?
4.27. Why is FreeBSD not finding my internal Plug & Play modem?
4.28. Does FreeBSD support software modems, such as Winmodems?
4.29. How do I get the boot: prompt to show on the serial console?
4.30. Why does my 3Com PCI network card not work with my Micron computer?
4.31. Does FreeBSD support Symmetric Multiprocessing (SMP)?
4.32. The boot floppy hangs on a system with an ASUS K7V motherboard. How do I fix this?

4.1. Does FreeBSD support architectures other than the x86?

Yes. FreeBSD currently runs on Intel x86 and DEC (now Compaq) Alpha architectures. As of FreeBSD 5.0, the SPARC-64 architecture is also supported. Most recent additions to the list of upcoming platforms are IA-64, MIPS and PowerPC, join the FreeBSD IA64 porting mailing list, the FreeBSD PowerPC porting mailing list or the FreeBSD MIPS porting mailing list respectively for more information about ongoing work on these platforms. For general discussion on new architectures, join the FreeBSD non-Intel platforms porting mailing list.

If your machine has a different architecture and you need something right now, we suggest you look at NetBSD or OpenBSD.

4.2. I want to get a piece of hardware for my FreeBSD system. Which model/brand/type is best?

This is discussed continually on the FreeBSD mailing lists. Since hardware changes so quickly, however, we expect this. We still strongly recommend that you read through the Hardware notes for FreeBSD 5.1 or 4.9 and search the mailing list archives before asking about the latest and greatest hardware. Chances are a discussion about the type of hardware you are looking for took place just last week.

If you are looking for a laptop, check the FreeBSD-mobile mailing list archives. Otherwise, you probably want the archives for FreeBSD-questions, or possibly a specific mailing list for a particular hardware type.

4.3. What kind of hard drives does FreeBSD support?

FreeBSD supports EIDE and SCSI drives (with a compatible controller; see the next section), and all drives using the original ``Western Digital'' interface (MFM, RLL, ESDI, and of course IDE). A few ESDI controllers that use proprietary interfaces may not work: stick to WD1002/3/6/7 interfaces and clones.

4.4. Which SCSI controllers are supported?

See the complete list in the Hardware Notes for FreeBSD 5.1 or 4.9.

4.5. Which CDROM drives are supported by FreeBSD?

Any SCSI drive connected to a supported controller is supported.

The following proprietary CDROM interfaces are also supported:

  • Mitsumi LU002 (8bit), LU005 (16bit) and FX001D (16bit 2x Speed).

  • Sony CDU 31/33A

  • Sound Blaster Non-SCSI CDROM

  • Matsushita/Panasonic CDROM

  • ATAPI compatible IDE CDROMs

All non-SCSI cards are known to be extremely slow compared to SCSI drives, and some ATAPI CDROMs may not work.

The official FreeBSD CDROM ISO, and CDROMs from Daemon News and FreeBSD Mall, support booting directly from the CD.

4.6. Which CD-RW drives are supported by FreeBSD?

FreeBSD supports any ATAPI-compatible IDE CD-R or CD-RW drive. For FreeBSD versions 4.0 and later, see the manual page for burncd(8). For earlier FreeBSD versions, see the examples in /usr/share/examples/atapi.

FreeBSD also supports any SCSI CD-R or CD-RW drives. Install and use the cdrecord command from the ports or packages system, and make sure that you have the pass device compiled in your kernel.

4.7. Does FreeBSD support ZIP drives?

FreeBSD supports SCSI and ATAPI (IDE) ZIP drives out of the box, of course. SCSI ZIP drives can only be set to run at SCSI target IDs 5 or 6, but if your SCSI host adapter's BIOS supports it you can even boot from it. It is not clear which host adapters support booting from targets other than 0 or 1, so you will have to consult your adapter's documentation if you would like to use this feature.

FreeBSD also supports Parallel Port Zip Drives. Check that your kernel contains the scbus0, da0, ppbus0, and vp0 drivers (the GENERIC kernel contains everything except vp0). With all these drivers present, the Parallel Port drive should be available as /dev/da0s4. Disks can be mounted using mount /dev/da0s4 /mnt OR (for dos disks) mount_msdos /dev/da0s4 /mnt as appropriate.

Also check out the FAQ on removable drives later in this chapter, and the note on ``formatting''in the Administration chapter.

4.8. Does FreeBSD support JAZ, EZ and other removable drives?

Apart from the IDE version of the EZ drive, these are all SCSI devices, so they should all look like SCSI disks to FreeBSD, and the IDE EZ should look like an IDE drive.

I am not sure how well FreeBSD supports changing the media out while running. You will of course need to dismount the drive before swapping media, and make sure that any external units are powered on when you boot the system so FreeBSD can see them.

See this note on ``formatting''.

4.9. Which multi-port serial cards are supported by FreeBSD?

There is a list of these in the Miscellaneous devices section of the handbook.

Some unnamed clone cards have also been known to work, especially those that claim to be AST compatible.

Check the sio(4) manual page to get more information on configuring such cards.

4.10. Does FreeBSD support my USB keyboard?

FreeBSD 4.X and later supports USB keyboards out-of-the-box. Preliminary USB device support appeared in FreeBSD 3.1, but might not always work as of version 3.2. If you want to experiment with the USB keyboard support in FreeBSD 3.X, follow the procedure described below.

  1. Use a version of FreeBSD 3.X later than 3.2.

  2. Add the following lines to your kernel configuration file, and rebuild the kernel.

    controller      uhci0
    controller      ohci0
    controller      usb0
    controller      ukbd0
    options         KBD_INSTALL_CDEV
    
  3. Go to the /dev directory and create device nodes as follows:

    # cd /dev
    # ./MAKEDEV kbd0 kbd1
    
  4. Edit /etc/rc.conf and add the following lines:

    usbd_enable="YES"
    usbd_flags=""
    

If you want to use a USB keyboard in FreeBSD 4.X or later, you just need to enable USB support in /etc/rc.conf.

Once you have USB keyboard support enabled on your system, the AT keyboard becomes /dev/kbd0 and the USB keyboard becomes /dev/kbd1, if both are connected to the system. If there is the USB keyboard only, it will be /dev/ukbd0.

If you want to use the USB keyboard in the console, you have to explicitly tell the console driver to use the existing USB keyboard. This can be done by running the following command as a part of system initialization.

# kbdcontrol -k /dev/kbd1 < /dev/ttyv0 > /dev/null

Note that if the USB keyboard is the only keyboard, it is accessed as /dev/kbd0, thus, the command should look like:

# kbdcontrol -k /dev/kbd0 < /dev/ttyv0 > /dev/null

/etc/rc.i386 is a good place to add the above command.

Once this is done, the USB keyboard should work in the X environment as well without any special settings.

Hot-plugging and unplugging of the USB keyboard may not work quite right yet. We recommend connecting the keyboard before starting the system and leaving it connected until the system is shutdown to avoid troubles.

See the ukbd(4) manual page for more information.

4.11. I have an unusual bus mouse. How do I set it up?

FreeBSD supports the bus mouse and the InPort bus mouse from such manufactures as Microsoft, Logitech and ATI. The bus device driver is compiled in the GENERIC kernel by default in FreeBSD versions 2.X, but not included in version 3.0 or later. If you are building a custom kernel with the bus mouse driver, make sure to add the following line to the kernel config file

In FreeBSD 3.0 or before, add:

device mse0 at isa? port 0x23c tty irq5 vector mseintr

In FreeBSD 3.X, the line should be:

device mse0 at isa? port 0x23c tty irq5

And in FreeBSD 4.X and later, the line should read:

device mse0 at isa? port 0x23c irq5

Bus mice usually comes with dedicated interface cards. These cards may allow you to set the port address and the IRQ number other than shown above. Refer to the manual of your mouse and the mse(4) manual page for more information.

4.12. How do I use my PS/2 (``mouse port'' or ``keyboard'') mouse?

The PS/2 mouse is supported out-of-the-box in all recent versions of FreeBSD. The necessary device driver, psm, is included in the GENERIC kernel.

If your custom kernel does not have this, add the appropriate following line to your kernel configuration file and compile a new kernel.

In FreeBSD 3.0 or earlier, the line should be:

device psm0 at isa? port "IO_KBD" conflicts tty irq 12 vector psmintr

In FreeBSD 3.1 or later, the line should be:

device psm0 at isa? tty irq 12

In FreeBSD 4.0 or later, the line should be:

device psm0 at atkbdc? irq 12

Once the kernel detects psm0 correctly at boot time, make sure that an entry for psm0 exists in /dev. You can do this by typing:

# cd /dev; sh MAKEDEV psm0

when logged in as root.

Note: You can omit this step if you are running FreeBSD 5.0-RELEASE or newer with devfs(5) enabled, since the proper device nodes will be created automatically under /dev.

4.13. Is it possible to use a mouse in any way outside the X Window system?

If you are using the default console driver, syscons(4), you can use a mouse pointer in text consoles to cut & paste text. Run the mouse daemon, moused(8), and turn on the mouse pointer in the virtual console:

# moused -p /dev/xxxx -t yyyy
# vidcontrol -m on

Where xxxx is the mouse device name and yyyy is a protocol type for the mouse. The mouse daemon can automatically determine the protocol type of most mice, except old serial mice. Specify the auto protocol to invoke automatic detection. If automatic detection does not work, see the moused(8) manual page for a list of supported protocol types.

If you have a PS/2 mouse, just add moused_enable="YES" to /etc/rc.conf to start the mouse daemon at boot-time. Additionally, if you would like to use the mouse daemon on all virtual terminals instead of just the console, add allscreens_flags="-m on" to /etc/rc.conf.

When the mouse daemon is running, access to the mouse must be coordinated between the mouse daemon and other programs such as X Windows. Refer to the FAQ Why does my mouse not work with X? for more details on this issue.

4.14. How do I cut and paste text with a mouse in the text console?

Once you get the mouse daemon running (see the previous section), hold down the button 1 (left button) and move the mouse to select a region of text. Then, press the button 2 (middle button) to paste it at the text cursor. Pressing button 3 (right button) will ``extend'' the selected region of text.

If your mouse does not have a middle button, you may wish to emulate one or remap buttons using mouse daemon options. See the moused(8) manual page for details.

4.15. Does FreeBSD support any USB mice?

Preliminary USB device support was added to FreeBSD 3.1. It did not always work through early versions of 3.X. As of FreeBSD 4.0, USB devices should work out of the box. If you want to experiment with the USB mouse support under FreeBSD 3.X, follow the procedure described below.

  1. Use FreeBSD 3.2 or later.

  2. Add the following lines to your kernel configuration file, and rebuild the kernel.

    device  uhci
    device  ohci
    device  usb
    device  ums
    

    In versions of FreeBSD before 4.0, use this instead:

    controller        uhci0
    controller        ohci0
    controller        usb0
    device            ums0
    
  3. Go to the /dev directory and create a device node as follows:

    # cd /dev
    # ./MAKEDEV ums0
    

    Note: You can omit this step if you are running FreeBSD 5.0-RELEASE or newer with devfs(5) enabled, since the proper device nodes will be created automatically under /dev.

  4. Edit /etc/rc.conf and add the following lines:

    moused_enable="YES"
    moused_type="auto"
    moused_port="/dev/ums0"
    moused_flags=""
    usbd_enable="YES"
    usbd_flags=""
    

    See the previous section for more detailed discussion on moused.

  5. In order to use the USB mouse in the X session, edit XF86Config. If you are using XFree86 3.3.2 or later, be sure to have the following lines in the Pointer section:

    Device          "/dev/sysmouse"
    Protocol        "Auto"
    

    If you are using earlier versions of XFree86, be sure to have the following lines in the Pointer section:

    Device          "/dev/sysmouse"
    Protocol        "SysMouse"
    

Refer to another section on the mouse support in the X environment.

Hot-plugging and unplugging of the USB mouse may not work quite right yet. It is a good idea connect the mouse before you start the system and leave it connected until the system is shutdown to avoid trouble.

4.16. My mouse has a fancy wheel and buttons. Can I use them in FreeBSD?

The answer is, unfortunately, ``It depends''. These mice with additional features require specialized driver in most cases. Unless the mouse device driver or the user program has specific support for the mouse, it will act just like a standard two, or three button mouse.

For the possible usage of wheels in the X Window environment, refer to that section.

4.17. How do I use the mouse/trackball/touchpad on my laptop?

Please refer to the answer to the previous question. Also check out the Mobile Computing page.

4.18. What types of tape drives are supported?

FreeBSD supports SCSI and QIC-36 (with a QIC-02 interface). This includes 8-mm (aka Exabyte) and DAT drives.

Some of the early 8-mm drives are not quite compatible with SCSI-2, and may not work well with FreeBSD.

4.19. Does FreeBSD support tape changers?

FreeBSD supports SCSI changers using the ch(4) device and the chio(1) command. The details of how you actually control the changer can be found in the chio(1) manual page.

If you are not using AMANDA or some other product that already understands changers, remember that they only know how to move a tape from one point to another, so you need to keep track of which slot a tape is in, and which slot the tape currently in the drive needs to go back to.

4.20. Which sound cards are supported by FreeBSD?

FreeBSD supports the SoundBlaster, SoundBlaster Pro, SoundBlaster 16, Pro Audio Spectrum 16, AdLib and Gravis UltraSound sound cards. There is also limited support for MPU-401 and compatible MIDI cards. Cards conforming to the Microsoft Sound System specification are also supported through the pcm driver.

Note: This is only for sound! This driver does not support CDROMs, SCSI or joysticks on these cards, except for the SoundBlaster. The SoundBlaster SCSI interface and some non-SCSI CDROMs are supported, but you cannot boot off this device.

4.21. Workarounds for no sound from es1370 with pcm driver?

You can run the following command every time the machine booted up:

# mixer pcm 100 vol 100 cd 100

4.22. Which network cards does FreeBSD support?

See the Hardware Notes supplied with each release of FreeBSD for a more complete list.

4.23. I do not have a math co-processor - is that bad?

Note: This will only affect 386/486SX/486SLC owners - other machines will have one built into the CPU.



In general this will not cause any problems, but there are circumstances where you will take a hit, either in performance or accuracy of the math emulation code (see the section on FP emulation). In particular, drawing arcs in X will be VERY slow. It is highly recommended that you buy a math co-processor; it is well worth it.

Note: Some math co-processors are better than others. It pains us to say it, but nobody ever got fired for buying Intel. Unless you are sure it works with FreeBSD, beware of clones.

4.24. What other devices does FreeBSD support?

See the Handbook for the list of other devices supported.

4.25. Does FreeBSD support power management on my laptop?

FreeBSD supports APM on certain machines. Please look in the LINT kernel config file, searching for the APM keyword. Further information can be found in apm(4).

4.26. Why does my Micron system hang at boot time?

Certain Micron motherboards have a non-conforming PCI BIOS implementation that causes grief when FreeBSD boots because PCI devices do not get configured at their reported addresses.

Disable the ``Plug and Play Operating System'' flag in the BIOS to work around this problem. More information can be found at http://cesdis.gsfc.nasa.gov/linux/drivers/vortex.html#micron

4.27. Why is FreeBSD not finding my internal Plug & Play modem?

You will need to add the modem's PnP ID to the PnP ID list in the serial driver. To enable Plug & Play support, compile a new kernel with controller pnp0 in the configuration file, then reboot the system. The kernel will print the PnP IDs of all the devices it finds. Copy the PnP ID from the modem to the table in /sys/i386/isa/sio.c, at about line 2777. Look for the string SUP1310 in the structure siopnp_ids[] to find the table. Build the kernel again, install, reboot, and your modem should be found.

You may have to manually configure the PnP devices using the pnp command in the boot-time configuration with a command like

pnp 1 0 enable os irq0 3 drq0 0 port0 0x2f8

to make the modem show.

4.28. Does FreeBSD support software modems, such as Winmodems?

FreeBSD supports many software modems via add-on software. The comms/ltmdm port adds support for modems based on the very popular Lucent LT chipset. The comms/mwavem port supports the modem in IBM Thinkpad 600 and 700 laptops.

You cannot install FreeBSD via a software modem; this software must be installed after the OS is installed.

4.29. How do I get the boot: prompt to show on the serial console?

  • Build a kernel with options COMCONSOLE.

  • Create /boot.config and place -P as the only text in the file.

  • Unplug the keyboard from the system.

  • See /usr/src/sys/i386/boot/biosboot/README.serial for information.

4.30. Why does my 3Com PCI network card not work with my Micron computer?

Certain Micron motherboards have a non-conforming PCI BIOS implementation that does not configure PCI devices at the addresses reported. This causes grief when FreeBSD boots.

To work around this problem, disable the ``Plug and Play Operating System'' flag in the BIOS.

More information on this problem is available at URL: http://cesdis.gsfc.nasa.gov/linux/drivers/vortex.html#micron

4.31. Does FreeBSD support Symmetric Multiprocessing (SMP)?

Yes. SMP is not enabled in the GENERIC kernel, so you must recompile your kernel to enable SMP. Take a look at /sys/i386/conf/LINT to learn what options to put in your kernel config file.

4.32. The boot floppy hangs on a system with an ASUS K7V motherboard. How do I fix this?

Go into the BIOS setup and disable the ``boot virus protection''.

This, and other documents, can be downloaded from ftp://ftp.FreeBSD.org/pub/FreeBSD/doc/.

For questions about FreeBSD, read the documentation before contacting <questions@FreeBSD.org>.
For questions about this documentation, e-mail <doc@FreeBSD.org>.