FreeBSD USB Installer

Years ago I got a copy of Designing BSD RootKits by Joseph Kong. A combination of lack of hardware and probably my own ability has stopped me from working through the book so far. But now with 57 North up and running and an influx of free machines I have everything I need.

The machine I have been given is part of an old biomed cluster and is really over powered for what I need. As a 2U server it doesn't have a floppy or CD drive to easily install an OS, but it does have the ability to boot off of a USB stick.

The first thing I tried to get a FreeBSD installer running was burning an ISO image to a USB stick with UNetBootin. I think the project might actually be dead as the newest version of FreeBSD it supports is 8.0. UNetBootin takes forever to set up the USB stick and after the second failed attempt I couldn't stomach another.

I dug around the FreeBSD install guides for a while and then found something that should have been really obvious. FreeBSD supports installation from USB and provides a pre packaged .IMG file to dd to the USB.

All the information is here with the USB stuff near the bottom. FreeBSD is nice enough to include simple instructions that work even from windows. This meant I could test the new media from work and all seems good.