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FreeBSD 10.1 on HP 6560b ProBook

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HP 6560b

The HP 6560b is a laptop running an i5 processor with 4Gb RAM.

It is heavy and not very pretty. It has a big 15.6" screen with a not so big resolution - 1366x768 (WXGA Wide).

The laptop has the sex appeal of a brick wall, However, it has a very sturdy housing and the specs are great - besides the screen that is. Because I am a great fan of text mode applications this screen is something I can easely live with, so I am happy with it.

I got it from an acquitance, for which I am very thankfull. It was already some years old and had become obsolete. For me it is a great piece of hardware which probable will be able to run Debian or FreeBSD for many years to come.

FreeBSD 10.1

At the time I got this laptop, FreeBSD 10.1 was the current production version of FreeBSD.

FreeBSD is a great open source operating system, that dates back to 4.4BSD. FreeBSD is very stable and has been used for tons of servers over many years. Also on the desktop FreeBSD is awesome.

Another benefit is that FreeBSD is a systemd-free operating system :)

I have been using Linux since 1996, most of my boxes run Debian, some FreeBSD, so it is nice to have a FreeBSD laptop for a change. There is a lot to discover and I don't have much ZFS-experience. So this is a nice opportunity to play with ZFS.

It is a pitty that FreeBSD lacks a hypervisor like KVM, but work is underway to catch up. FreebSD Jails are awesome and mature, so there are plenty pseudo-virtualisation options.

FreeBSD 10.1 on the HP 6560b

Installing FreeBSD 10.1 on the HP 6560b is a no-brainer.

Putting FreeBSD on this laptop is not much of a challenge. Yust download an installation image, put it on an USB memory stick and boot from it.

I choose for Root-on-ZFS with full disc encryption. On laptops you should allways encrypt the hard discs. With encryption, size does matters. Make your passwords long.

I installed the 64bit version of FreeBSD 10.1. The installation is very simple, and does not take long.

After the installation process was done I installed additional software, only binary packages with the new pkg tool.

My setyp includes X with the ratpoison window manager and ratmen menu system, urxvt, and stuff like screen, zsh, vim, w3m and Firefox. Also I downloaded and compiled Vimprobable on the machine. Vimprobable and w3m are my favorite browsers, because of they are light and use vim-like keybindings.

My experencies:

  • Wifi works right from the start
  • Xorg works without any configuration
  • The mouse (trackpad) works without any configuration
  • Sound works without any configuration
  • ZFS makes the laptop really fast

So installing FreeBSD 10.1 was a very simple job and was done in a jiffy.

To discover

  • I have not used Pandoc and Tex on FreeBSD, but I presume this will work flawless.
  • Because of the vast amount of diskspace I am thinking about using this laptop for photo management.

I have not tried bluetooth nor the camera on this laptop and probably keep it that way (no need for it :)