Thursday, December 09, 2004

FreeBSD Configuration

I figured out what the problem was with my mouse on FreeBSD, and learned some interesting things in the process. The problem with the configuration was that my mouse is not supported by the FreeBSD system, which caused the mouse to behave very erratically. The mouse that I was using at the time was a PS/2 LabTec Optical Wheel mouse. I am now using a Packard Bell PS/2 2-button mouse. I'll have to find a supported optical wheel mouse to use with this system.

An interesting thing about FreeBSD is that you have two options when configuring the mouse. You can use what is called moused to control the mouse, or you can let X control the mouse. If you use moused to control the mouse, you have a mouse even in the console when X is not running. There are a couple of different settings to adjust when using one or the other, but neither is difficult to configure. If you are using the 'sysinstall' program to configure the mouse, you don't have to touch any configuration files. You can just type 'sysinstall' from the command prompt as the root user, then select 'configuration', then select 'mouse'. At that point you will be prompted with setting the port, protocol, and enabling the mouse. Configuring the mouse to work with X is the same process as when configuring X on Linux.

Another interesting item to note is that when you use the 'sysinstall' program to configure the system, it does not delete entries in the /etc/rc.conf file, it shows the changes and maintains the old settings as a history. This feature is very useful, as you can see what the old settings were and when you changed them. I heartily recommend this feature to any developers for integration into existing systems.

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