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How to create a KVM Freebsd root filesystem for VNX

Follow this procedure to create a KVM FreeBSD based root filesystem for VNX. The procedure has been tested with FreeBSD 10.0, 9.0, 8.2 and 7.4.

Basic installation

  • Create the filesystem disk image:
  • qemu-img create -f qcow2 vnx_rootfs_kvm_freebsd.qcow2 8G
  • Get FreeBSD installation CD. For example:
  • wget
    cp FreeBSD-9.1-RELEASE-i386-disc1.iso /almacen/iso
  • Create the virtual machine with:
  • vnx --create-rootfs vnx_rootfs_kvm_freebsd.qcow2 --install-media /almacen/iso/FreeBSD-9.1-RELEASE-i386-disc1.iso --mem 512M
  • Follow FreeBSD installation menus to install a basic system with DHCP configured in the network interface and a user named "vnx".
  • Configure the serial console by editting /etc/ttys file and changing the line:
  • ttyu0 "/usr/libexec/getty std.9600"   dialup  off secure


    ttyu0 "/usr/libexec/getty std.9600"   vt100  on secure
  • Set dual console configuration (see
  • echo "-Dh" > /boot.config
    echo 'boot_multicons="YES"' >> /boot/loader.conf
    echo 'boot_serial="YES"' >> /boot/loader.conf
    echo 'console="comconsole,vidconsole"' >> /boot/loader.conf

    IMPORTANT: in Ubuntu 13.04 the rootfs created adding this lines does not start! It hangs on bootloader consuming 100% of CPU. Seems to be a problem with the kvm/seabios versions in Ubuntu 13.04. Just skip this step to avoid the problem (you lose startup traces on serial console).

  • Finally, halt the system:
  • halt -p


  • Restart the system with the following command:
  • vnx --modify-rootfs vnx_rootfs_kvm_freebsd.qcow2 --update-aced --mem 512M

    Note: ignore the errors "timeout waiting for response on VM socket".

  • Access the system through the text console to easy the copy-paste of commands:
  • virsh console vnx_rootfs_kvm_freebsd.qcow2
  • Install bash and change package repository (change to your nearest mirror):
  • pkg install bash # for FreeBSD 10.0
    pkg_add -r bash  # for previous FreeBSD versions
    pw usermod root -s /usr/local/bin/bash
    pw usermod vnx -s /usr/local/bin/bash 
    # only for FreeBSD 9.X 
    echo "export PACKAGESITE=" > ~/.bash_profile
  • Install perl and XML::LibXML library:
  • pkg install perl5 p5-XML-LibXML p5-NetAddr-IP  # FreeBSD 10.0
    pkg_add -r perl p5-XML-LibXML p5-NetAddr-IP   # previous versions
  • Disable DHCP on network interface by editing the /etc/rc.conf file and commenting the following line:
  • ifconfig_re0="DHCP"
  • Install VNX autoconfiguration daemon:
  • mount -t msdosfs /dev/ad1 /mnt/
    perl /mnt/vnxaced-lf/install_vnxaced
  • Optionally:
    • Allow root login thorugh ssh by editing /etc/ssh/sshd_config file:
    • PermitRootLogin yes
    • Set locales according to your preferences in /etc/profile:
    • export LANG=es_ES.UTF-8
      export LC_ALL=es_ES.UTF-8
    • Add gnome window manager with:
      • Install packages needed:
      • pkg_add -r xorg-minimal gnome2-lite gdm gnome-keyring detach xeyes xhost wmctrl # Previous FreeBSD versions
      • Add the following line to /etc/rc.conf:
      • gnome_enable="YES"
      • Add the following line to /etc/fstab:
      • proc    /proc   procfs  rw      0       0
      • Disable the screensaver and change keyboard configuration in "System->Keyboard" menu.
    • Reduce the boot timeout from 10 seconds to, for example, 3 seconds. Edit /boot/loader.conf and add:
    • autoboot_delay="3"
    • Give vnx user (or whatever one you have created during installation) permissions tu su root:
    • pw usermod vnx -G wheel
    • If you have installed gnome, you can add automatic login following the instructions in:
  • Create a file /etc/vnx_rootfs_version to store version number and informacion about modification:
  • VER=v0.25
    OS=FreeBSD 9.1
    DESC=Basic FreeBSD 9.1 root filesystem without GUI
  • Stop the machine with that script:
  • vnx_halt


If everything went well, your root filesystem will be ready to be used with VNX. You can make a simple test using the simple_freebsd.xml scenario distributed with VNX.

Note: after installing gnome, you probaly will get the following error message on the console:

acd0: FAILURE - unknown CMD (0x03) ILLEGAL REQUEST asc=0x20 ascq=0x00

To eliminate them you can execute:

hal-disable-polling --device /dev/acd0

Installing additional software

To install additional software or to modify your root file system, you just have to:

  • Start a virtual machine from it:
  • vnx --modify-rootfs vnx_rootfs_kvm_fedora.qcow2
  • Check network connectivity. Maybe you have to activate the network interface by hand:
  • dhclient re0

    Note: use "ip link show" to know which network interface to use.

  • Do the modifications you want.
  • Finally, halt the system using:
  • vnx_halt

Updating VNXACED

You can automatically update the VNXACE daemon with the following command:

vnx --modify-rootfs vnx_rootfs_kvm_fedora.qcow2 --update-aced -y

If VNXACE daemon is not updated automatically, you can do it manually by accessing the virtual machine console and type:

mount -t msdosfs /dev/ada1 /mnt/   # if virtio=no in /etc/vnx.conf
mount -t msdosfs /dev/vtbd1 /mnt/  # if virtio=yes in /etc/vnx.conf
perl /mnt/vnxaced-lf/install_vnxaced

Known problems

  • Textual consoles hang when copy-pasting. With FreeBSD 8.2 and 9.0, the textual console works well when manually typing commands. But, for an unkonwn reason, if you paste something, they get blocked and you have to restart the viertual machine to get the console working again. This problem did not happen with FreeBSD 7.4

FreeBSD tips

  • To update/upgrade FreeBSD use "freebsd-update" command. For example to upgrade from FreeBSD 9.0 to 9.1:
  • freebsd-update -r 9.1-RELEASE upgrade
  • Use of virtio drivers in FreeBSD
    • If you start a FreeBSD image created to use virtio drivers in a non-virtio environment (virtio=no in vnx.conf), the vm will not start and a "mountroot>" propmt will appear. In that case just type:
    • mountroot> ufs:/dev/ada0p2
    • Similarly, if you start a non-virtio FreeBSD image in a virtio enviroment, you have to type:
    • mountroot> ufs:/dev/vtbd0p2
    • The content of /etc/fstab when using virtio should be:
    • /dev/vtbd0p2    /               ufs     rw      1       1
      /dev/vtbd0p3    none            swap    sw      0       0
    • Similarly, the content of /etc/fstab when not using virtio should be:
    • /dev/ada0p2    /               ufs     rw      1       1
      /dev/ada0p3    none            swap    sw      0       0