NomadBSD is a 64bit live system for USB flash drives, based on FreeBSD®. Together with automatic hardware detection and setup, it is configured to be used as a desktop system that works out of the box, but can also be used for data recovery, for educational purposes, or to test FreeBSD®'s hardware compatibility.
NomadBSD performs well on USB 2.X flash drives, but writing many small files can be very slow. To improve performance, you should consider using a USB 3.X flash drive even on a USB 2.X port, as they tend to be faster. See USB 3.0 Flash Drive Roundup. Do not use cheap no-name thumb drives they sell at super markets and drug stores. These drives are very slow and unreliable.
Instructions for writing the image to a flash drive from different operating systems can be found here.
When you boot NomadBSD for the first time, it will run the setup wizard which
allows you to set your locale, timezone, keyboard settings, password,
encryption, and default applications. The setup creates a new partition for
/home directory which uses the remaining space on the storage device.
Depending on the size, creating the file system can take several minutes.
The program DSBAutostart (Openbox menu -> Settings -> DSBAutostart) allows you to control which programs are automatically executed when the graphical interface starts. Further, it allows you to enable/disable some components of the NomadBSD desktop. The changes take place after logging out and in again.
Open your preferred graphical file manager, and navigate to
You can also get there by clicking the shortcut Applications on the side pane.
Use Drag&Drop to add application icons to the plank panel.
The display manager, Slim, used by NomadBSD is configured to automatically log in the default user nomad. The program nomadbsd-dmconfig (Openbox menu -> Settings -> Display manager settings) allows you to change/disable the default user, and to enable/disable auto login. Furthermore, it lets you change the theme. If you want to add a new theme, copy the theme's directory to /usr/local/share/slim/themes/. To see a preview in nomadbsd-dmconfig copy a screenshot of the login screen to /usr/local/share/slim/themes/your-theme-name/preview.png.
If you want to add a further preconfigured user account use nomadbsd-adduser (Openbox menu -> System -> Add user). Since NomadBSD is configured to automatically log in the user nomad you need to change that behaviour in order to be able to log in as another user. See nomadbsd-dmconfig.
Execute the command
dsbmc-cli -a to automount all currently connected
storage devices, and to enable automounting on devices attached later to the
system. To start this command automatically on session start, open
DSBAutostart, and add a new entry for the above command.
The following subsections describe how to extend the filesystems support. Rebooting the system, or restarting DSBMD is not necessary.
# pkg install autoconf # pkg install automake # git clone https://github.com/relan/exfat.git # cd exfat # autoreconf --install # ./configure # make && make install
Install the package fusefs-lkl for BTRFS, ReiserFS, and XFS support.
# pkg install fusefs-lkl
By default, NomadBSD enables all connected outputs (monitors). The tool
(Openbox menu-> Settings -> ArandR) allows you to configure
the position, resolution, etc. of your monitors. Save your changes to
~/.screenlayout/default.sh which is automatically executed on session start.
The program (Openbox menu-> Settings -> DSBDisplaySettings) allows you to change the brightness, gamma, screen mode, display power management (DPMS) settings, etc.
Right-click on the speaker/volume indicator icon in the panel, and choose Preferences from the menu. In the preferences window go to the Default device tab, select the sound card/device, and click on Ok. In order to take effect make sure to restart your audio application(s).
If you are a tester, or your experiments with the systems left a total mess, you might want to reset NomadBSD.
Warning: The reset will delete
/usr.local.etc. Make a backup if there are any files
you want to keep.
You can reset NomadBSD as follows:
2in the boot menu.
After rebooting you'll be greeted by the setup again.
If you have modified or deleted system files from directory trees other than
you might not be able to cleanly reset NomadBSD.
If you want to disable the graphics driver menu, add
initgfx will try autodetection, but you can instead define a
default driver to use by setting
If you want to create your own graphics driver settings, you can disable
initgfx by adding
Start Openbox menu -> System -> NomadBSD Installer and follow the instructions.
/homepartition, but since we intend to run it from an image file, we increase the (potential) size of the image as follows:
truncate -s +4G nomadbsd-x.y.z.img. If you need more or less extra space, change the
VBoxManage internalcommands createrawvmdk -filename ~/nomadbsd.vmdk -rawdisk /full/path/to/nomadbsd-x.y.z.img
Start VirtualBox™, and create a new virtual machine. Select Use an existing virtual hard disk file in the Hard disk settings, and choose nomadbsd.vmdk which we created in 3.
Go to Settings -> Display and set the video memory to 128MB or more.
# kldload linux # sysrc linux_enable=YES # pkg install linux-sublime
If you experience any problems, consult the
NomadBSD Errata first.
If you are booting a system with ATI/AMD graphics via UEFI, you might experience some problems. Due to a conflict with the EFI framebuffer, NomadBSD might crash or hang when the graphics driver gets loaded, or it just isn't able to start the X window system.
Try the following workaround:
Onby pressing the key matching the item number.
Note: You won't see any boot messages until the graphics driver gets loaded.
If you see an error message like
device_attach: nvidia0 attach returned 6
you could try to add
If you happened to see that the screen content seems to be squished into the upper 1/3 of your monitor you can try the following:
3at the boot menu.
gop set 0 boot
If that didn't solve the problem, enter the loader prompt as described above,
list gop to see a list of supported modes. According to the list
try another mode number for the
gop set command in 2.). If you found a mode
that resolves the problem, you can save that setting by adding the line
exec="gop set X" to
X is the mode number.
Another way to solve this problem is to boot your system in legacy mode. Consult your EFI/BIOS manual.