Installing FreeBSD from a Local FTP Site

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Creating a Local FTP Site with a FreeBSD Disc

FreeBSD ISO images (discs) have a layout similar to the FTP site. This makes it very easy for you to create a local FTP site that can be used by other machines on your network when installing FreeBSD. See FreeBSD ISO layout for more details.

Mount a FreeBSD CDROM


On the FreeBSD computer that will host the FTP site, ensure that the CDROM is in the drive, and mounted on /cdrom.

# mount /cdrom

This only mounts the first CD. To recreate the entire FTP site keep reading.

Mount a FreeBSD CDROM Image


Mounting ISOs under FreeBSD 5.x (also applies to 6.x)


Obtain software that will mount an iso image.

  • Daemon Tools 3.4.7 ("Free" for non-commercial use. Not Open Source. Proprietary License.)
    • Note: More recent versions contain adware.
    • Install the software and mount the iso.

Copy All Files to a New Directory to Recreate the FTP Site


# cp -Rp /cdrom /ftproot

Create Anonymous FTP Account

Create an account for anonymous FTP in /etc/passwd. Do this by editing /etc/passwd using vipw(8) and adding this line:


Enable FTP Service


Ensure that the FTP service is enabled in /etc/inetd.conf.


Anyone with network connectivity to your machine can now chose a media type of FTP and type in ftp://your machine after picking “Other” in the FTP sites menu during the install.

Note: If the boot media (floppy disks, usually) for your FTP clients is not precisely the same version as that provided by the local FTP site, then sysinstall will not let you complete the installation. If the versions are not similar and you want to override this, you must go into the Options menu and change distribution name to any.

Warning: This approach is OK for a machine that is on your local network, and that is protected by your firewall. Offering up FTP services to other machines over the Internet (and not your local network) exposes your computer to the attention of crackers and other undesirables. We strongly recommend that you follow good security practices (ie, use sftp instead of straight-up ftp) if you do this. If you are determined to open a bare ftp server to the internet, a chroot ftp configuration offers a reasonable security compromise if your OS provides this. It won't protect you from abuse of your bandwidth by the gratification-deprived, and you will have to plan your storage allocation more carefully, as chroot environments will refuse to follow symlinks to other file systems on your ftp host.

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