Bouke Groenescheij

My personal adventures in the quest for virtual perfectness.

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Put freesco onto virtual ext2 hdd

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Triggered by @esloof his post on Freesco 0.4.3, I wanted to create such router into a VM, but for version 0.4.4. I also wanted to move it to a virtual disk so I could make an OVF and do multiple deploys. While trying to get this to work after a few hours, I finally found a really fast and reliable method to do it myself in like 10 minutes (and so can you after reading this manual).

What do you need?

- freesco, get it from here (download the ZIP)
- ext2-0.4.4-lewis.pkg get it from here


- unpack the .ZIP
- inside the extracted folder, you should find: freesco-0.4.4.iso
- Create a new VM with the following specs:

  •  - Typical
  •  - Any name you like e.g: "Freesco"
  •  - Any host in your cluster
  •  - Any destination storage (with enough space, but you don't need much)
  •  - Linux, Version: "Other Linux (32-bit)"
  •  - Put it on a network you can reach, Adapter: "Flexible"
  •  - Accept the disk, you can make is smaller - but we remove this one anyway
  •  - Enable "Edit the virtual machine settings before completion" and then "Continue"
  •  - Right-click VM and "Edit Settings..."
  •  - Remove "Hard disk 1" and "Floppy drive 1"
  •  - Add a "Hard Disk", create a new one, pick a size (like 280MB), your Provisioning format (like Thin Provision) and keep the location default, stored with the VM.
  •  - IMPORTANT: Put the Virtual Device Node to "IDE (0:0)", Next, Finish...

You should have a config like this:


You can lower the memory somewhat (at least 32MB is required). And click "Finish".

Start the VM, use the CD/DVD Drive icon, and connect the iso you extracted earlier (Connect to ISO image on local disk...). Press Ctrl-Alt-Del to reset and boot from the ISO.

Boot menu should come, press "Enter" and allow it to boot.

After a few seconds you should get a booted FREESCO.

By default it picks up a DHCP address, and FTP is open - so now start your favorite FTP Client, or start FTP and use the following commands:

  • > open ip-address of your FREESCO router
  • - User: root, Password: root
  • > lcd location where you saved the lewis pkg file
  • > bi
  • > cd /mnt/ram1
  • > put ext2-0.4.4-lewis.pkg
  • > bye


Go to the console of your VM and login with root, password root

Run the command: pkg -r /mnt/ram1/ext2-0.4.4-lewis.pkg


Run the command: rc_ext2 setup

rc ext2 setup command

Press to accept the default [n] for software raid

Press to run cfdisk and start with a zero table, create 2 partitions where 1st partition is boot enabled, 2nd partition is type 82 (swap) - not larger then 127MB

You will get a message cfdisk is not able to write, but that's fine - it's trying to do something on the CD which is read-only.

Format disk 1 /dev/hda1

Format swap /dev/hda2

Choose [y] to Copy FREESCO to your esx2 partition now.

Choose [c] to do Clean install, [n] for 3rd party driver.

Unless you know what your are doing, no to edit lilo.conf, but [y] to run it.

Now you're done!


Shutdown the VM (AND TO NOT ALLOW THE FREESCO TO START). Add some tweaking in the BIOS, like removing the CD-ROM, disable Serial/Parallel and floppy devices. Put the IDE controller only on Primary. It is also nice to add the 'keyboard.typematicMinDelay=2000000' to the VMX file.

If you want to save yourself the trouble, you can also download the file here.

If you've got any question, just leave a comment or send me a mail.


Last modified on


  • Dave Thursday, 21 November 2013

    Great Post Bouke. Admittedly, the CFDISK process during the workflow seems a bit bug-ridden, as it throws an error (as you stated). Unfortunately, it looks like to the casual user that the entire procecss failed (CFDisk showing Zero partitions), when in fact they are there!

    One last thing, per this posting on the VMware communities website https://communities.vmware.com/message/2179166, you need to manually modify your VM's VMX file and change to ethernet1.virtualDev = "vlance", or else when you boot Freesco, it will balk and say it could not detect your NICS..

  • zimmermann Monday, 24 November 2014


  • Sandro Saturday, 02 January 2016

    Great guide! Thank you very much! :)

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Guest Thursday, 21 September 2017