Installing FreeBSD 10 (amd64) on a ThinkPad T400

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FreeBSD is an UNIX operating system for x86 and others compatible architectures. It is derived from BSD, the version of UNIX® developed at the University of California, Berkeley. It is developed and maintained by a team of individuals.

FreeBSD offers advanced networking, performance, security and compatibility features which are still missing in some of the best commercial operating systems.

FreeBSD makes an ideal Internet or Intranet server. It provides robust network services under the heaviest loads and uses memory efficiently to maintain good response times for thousands of simultaneous user processes. But on notebooks it is a very usable operating system with many features for customization, including power management.

With over 20,000 ported libraries and applications for desktop, server, appliance, and embedded environments, there are many applications which were designed specifically for notebooks.

The best is that FreeBSD is free, and the open source BSD license it is distributed under make sure it will continue to be free. Since FreeBSD is open source and a framework has been set up to easily do so, it is possible to build a custom kernel, allowing faster booting and operation since you can remove any features unneeded in your specific operations.


The best way to install the 64 bits version of FreeBSD (amd64) on a ThinkPad T400 is to download the ISO files and burn them. There are also image files for an USB stick. You can find the ISOs and image files right here: FTP Server of FreeBSD. Choose the version you want to install.

To get the most benefit of your Thinkpad T400 use only the files whose filename contains amd64. This is the 64 bits version of FreeBSD.
It is better to choose one of the mirrors which you can find here: List of mirrors

Known Issues

Post-Installation Setup

General System Settings


CPU controlling

To enable frequency control the kernel module cpufreq.ko must be loaded, four lines added to /etc/rc.conf, and the computer rebooted:

Add this line to load the module cpufreq.ko on each boot, allowing the CPU frequency to be modified:
Add these four lines to enable automatic control of the CPU frequency:
powerd_flags="-a adaptive -b adaptive -n adaptive"

This enables the automatic control of frequency parameters of the CPU. By default, the computer runs in a state called C1. During periods of low activity, it is possible to shut down parts of the processor, including clocks, and disconnect from the system bus. In the C2 state, the CPU shuts down clocks. In the C3 state, additional power can be saved by disconnecting from the system bus and shutting down the CPU for a short time. This can provide significant power savings without any real cost. Using the paramters performance_cx_lowest and economy_cx_lowest, it is possible to tell powerd the maximum state to put the CPU into. When allowing powerd to use C3, it can be beneficial to add a line like the one below to /boot/loader.conf:


This modifies the interrupt rate of the kernel. By default it is 1000 interrupts per second. With a very slight increase (9ms!) in time between interrupts, it is possible to maximize the benefit from using C3. This might make the computer slightly less responsive, but with significant power gains.






MATE Desktop



Additional Hardware

USB Mouse

USB Memory Sticks

Tips and Tricks

In this section some tips and tricks are described.

Thinkpad buttons


The following man pages are important for understanding:

External links