First Windows Replacement

Written by Michael Cole - September 4th 2015

This summer seems to be horrible so far. Now I pulled something in my shoulder. That being said, I have worked, although slowly, on replacing my first Windows machine. This is the bedroom media machine. It has turned out to be more complex than I thought.

I'm still having some issue with media disc playback. That is to say DVD and Bluray. I will work further on that.

But I will talk more about the parts I have figured out. I installed FreeBSD 10.2. I used UFS, as it only has 2GB of RAM, a little low for ZFS. For now I tried slim as my login manager for X. And I'm using XFCE as my window manager. These may change. Installing all those components worked very well. Not too much in the way of complications or interesting details.

I did however run into one issue. My built on ATI (now AMD) card has HDMI audio. That is what I was using under Windows to hand my audio. FreeBSD had that disabled. Not sure why. But I was able to compile a custom kernel (my first for FreeBSD, I have done MANY for Linux), and get the HDMI audio working. I think that the FreeBSD documentation covers compiling a kernel pretty well, so I will just cover the change that I did. It is very basic, but may help others.

First I opened the file:


Inside vi. I searched for:


And changed it from a 0 to a 1. That's it. I'm not sure why it was disabled, it seems to work perfectly. The only other thing I had to do was run:

cat /dev/sndstat 

That command will show all the audio devices and which is default. My default was not HDMI. And my HDMI was device 0, so I ran:

vi /etc/sysctl.conf 

And added:


And that pretty much fixed everything. As I said I'm still working on media discs. Of course it's slow going with my recovering arm, but hopefully I will be one Windows machine down and moving on to another soon.