Intended Audience

The DragonFly newcomer will find that the first section of this book guides the user through the DragonFly installation process and gently introduces the concepts and conventions that underpin UNIX®. Working through this section requires little more than the desire to explore, and the ability to take on board new concepts as they are introduced.

Once you have travelled this far, the second, far larger, section of the Handbook is a comprehensive reference to all manner of topics of interest to DragonFly system administrators. Some of these chapters may recommend that you do some prior reading, and this is noted in the synopsis at the beginning of each chapter.

For a list of additional sources of information, please see Appendix B.

Organization of This Book

This book is split into three logically distinct sections. The first section, Getting Started, covers the installation and basic usage of DragonFly. It is expected that the reader will follow these chapters in sequence, possibly skipping chapters covering familiar topics. The second section, System Administration, covers a broad collection of subjects that are of interest to more advanced DragonFly users. Each section begins with a succinct synopsis that describes what the chapter covers and what the reader is expected to already know. This is meant to allow the casual reader to skip around to find chapters of interest. The third section contains appendices of reference information.

Chapter 1, Introduction

Introduces DragonFly to a new user. It describes the history of the DragonFly Project, its goals and development model.

Chapter 2, Installation

Walks a user through the entire installation process. Some advanced installation topics, such as installing through a serial console, are also covered.

Chapter 3, UNIX Basics

Covers the basic commands and functionality of the DragonFly operating system. If you are familiar with Linux or another flavor of UNIX then you can probably skip this chapter.

Chapter 4, Installing Applications

Covers the installation of third-party software using NetBSD®'s Packages Collection pkgsrc®.

Chapter 5, The X Window System

Describes the X Window System in general and using XFree86 and on DragonFly in particular. Also describes common desktop environments such as KDE and GNOME.

Chapter 6, Configuration and Tuning

Describes the parameters available for system administrators to tune a DragonFly system for optimum performance. Also describes the various configuration files used in DragonFly and where to find them.

Chapter 7, Booting Process

Describes the DragonFly boot process and explains how to control this process with configuration options.

Chapter 8, Users and Basic Account Management

Describes the creation and manipulation of user accounts. Also discusses resource limitations that can be set on users and other account management tasks.

Chapter 9, Configuring the DragonFly Kernel

Explains why you might need to configure a new kernel and provides detailed instructions for configuring, building, and installing a custom kernel.

Chapter 10, Security

Describes many different tools available to help keep your DragonFly system secure, including Kerberos, IPsec, OpenSSH, and network firewalls.

Chapter 11, Printing

Describes managing printers on DragonFly, including information about banner pages, printer accounting, and initial setup.

Chapter 12, Storage

Describes how to manage storage media and filesystems with DragonFly. This includes physical disks, RAID arrays, optical and tape media, memory-backed disks, and network filesystems.

Chapter 13, Vinum

Describes how to use Vinum, a logical volume manager which provides device-independent logical disks, and software RAID-0, RAID-1 and RAID-5.

Chapter 14, Localization

Describes how to use DragonFly in languages other than English. Covers both system and application level localization.

Chapter 15, Desktop Applications

Lists some common desktop applications, such as web browsers and productivity suites, and describes how to install them on DragonFly.

Chapter 16, Multimedia

Shows how to set up sound and video playback support for your system. Also describes some sample audio and video applications.

Chapter 17, Serial Communications

Explains how to connect terminals and modems to your DragonFly system for both dial in and dial out connections.

Chapter 18, PPP and SLIP

Describes how to use PPP, SLIP, or PPP over Ethernet to connect to remote systems with DragonFly.

Chapter 19, Advanced Networking

Describes many networking topics, including sharing an Internet connection with other computers on your LAN, using network filesystems, sharing account information via NIS, setting up a name server, and much more.

Chapter 20, Electronic Mail

Explains the different components of an email server and dives into simple configuration topics for the most popular mail server software: sendmail.

Section 21.1, Updating DragonFly

Describes the development paths of DragonFly, and how to stay up-to-date.

Chapter 22, Linux Binary Compatibility

Describes the Linux compatibility features of DragonFly. Also provides detailed installation instructions for many popular Linux applications such as Oracle®, SAP® R/3®, and Mathematica®.

Appendix A, Obtaining DragonFly

Lists different sources for obtaining DragonFly media on CDROM or DVD as well as different sites on the Internet that allow you to download and install DragonFly.

Appendix B, Bibliography

This book touches on many different subjects that may leave you hungry for a more detailed explanation. The bibliography lists many excellent books that are referenced in the text.

Appendix C, Resources on the Internet

Describes the many forums available for DragonFly users to post questions and engage in technical conversations about DragonFly.

Appendix D, PGP Keys

Lists the PGP fingerprints of several DragonFly Developers.

Conventions used in this book

To provide a consistent and easy to read text, several conventions are followed throughout the book.

Typographic Conventions


An italic font is used for filenames, URLs, emphasized text, and the first usage of technical terms.


A monospaced font is used for error messages, commands, environment variables, names of ports, hostnames, user names, group names, device names, variables, and code fragments.


A bold font is used for applications, commands, and keys.

User Input

Keys are shown in bold to stand out from other text. Key combinations that are meant to be typed simultaneously are shown with `+' between the keys, such as:


Meaning the user should type the Ctrl, Alt,and Del keys at the same time.

Keys that are meant to be typed in sequence will be separated with commas, for example:

Ctrl+X, Ctrl+S

Would mean that the user is expected to type the Ctrl and X keys simultaneously and then to type the Ctrl and S keys simultaneously.


Examples starting with # indicate a command that must be invoked as the superuser in DragonFly. You can login as root to type the command, or login as your normal account and use su(1) to gain superuser privileges.

# dd if=kern.flp of=/dev/fd0

Examples starting with % indicate a command that should be invoked from a normal user account. Unless otherwise noted, C-shell syntax is used for setting environment variables and other shell commands.

% top

Examples starting with E:\> indicate a MS-DOS® command. Unless otherwise noted, these commands may be executed from a ``Command Prompt'' window in a modern Microsoft® Windows® environment.

E:\> tools\fdimage floppies\kern.flp A:


The book you are holding represents the efforts of many hundreds of people around the world. Whether they sent in fixes for typos, or submitted complete chapters, all the contributions have been useful.

The DragonFly Handbook was originally built from an edition of the FreeBSD Handbook. The FreeBSD Handbook was created by the collective hard work of hundreds of people, and the DragonFly Documentation Team appreciates all their labor. Included here is a list of all individually identified people and corporations that contributed resources to this handbook.

Eric Anderson, Satoshi Asami, Bojan Bistrovic, Neil Blakey-Milner, Andrew Boothman, Harti Brandt, Jim Brown, BSDi, Andrey A. Chernov, Peter Childs, Munish Chopra, Joe Marcus Clarke, Nik Clayton, Mark Dapoz, Matt Dillon, Jean-François Dockès, Alex Dupre, Josef El-Rayes, Udo Erdelhoff, Marc Fonvieille, Dirk Frömberg, Robert Getschmann, James Gorham, Lucky Green, Coranth Gryphon, Jake Hamby, Brian N. Handy, Guy Helmer, Al Hoang, Tillman Hodgson, Jordan Hubbard, Robert Huff, Tom Hukins, Christophe Juniet, Poul-Henning Kamp, Aaron Kaplan, Martin Karlsson, Sean Kelly, Seth Kingsley, Holger Kipp, Nate Lawson, Chern Lee, Greg Lehey, John Lind, Ross Lippert, Bill Lloyd, Pav Lucistnik, Julio Merino, Mike Meyer, Hellmuth Michaelis, Jim Mock, Marcel Moolenaar, Moses Moore, Bill Moran, Rich Murphey, Mark Murray, Alex Nash, Gregory Neil Shapiro, David O'Brien, Eric Ogren, Gary Palmer, Hiten M. Pandya, Bill Paul, Dan Pelleg, Steve Peterson, John Polstra, Andy Polyakov, Randy Pratt, Jeremy C. Reed, Tom Rhodes, Trev Roydhouse, Peter Schultz, Piero Serini, Christopher Shumway, Marc Silver, Mike Smith, Brian Somers, Gennady B. Sorokopud, Wylie Stilwell, Murray Stokely, Greg Sutter, Bill Swingle, Valentino Vaschetto, Robert Watson, Wind River Systems, Michael C. Wu, and Kazutaka YOKOTA.

Contact the Documentation mailing list for comments, suggestions and questions about this document.