Now, who said dongles were a bad thing?  I guess they are in the sense that they’re often seen as a replacement to standard IO ports in the march toward building thinner and lighter laptops, but to be honest for the number of times I actually need to use them it’s a trade-off I’m pretty happy to make.  My MacBook that I use on a daily basis is thinner (and probably not much heavier) than the screen on the client’s laptop I’m currently using!

I found the USB Ethernet dongle for my MBA in the box I’d kept stored in the garage, so not too difficult to track down, and once plugged in and TrueOS was booted it was found and configured without any issues at all.  I thought the first job should be to update TrueOS, so with my limited FreeBSD knowledge fired up a terminal session and tried the following:

pkg update - needed sudo before it

pkg upgrade – big warning telling me to use ‘pc-updatemanager pkgupdate’ in TrueOS, and that I needed to be logged in as the root user, so ‘su root’ first

Quite a long while later and everything is up to date, so I can try and get the wireless Apple Airport card to be recognised and hopefully configured.

This article in the FreeBSD manual (see, I’ve learned a valuable lesson here, at least until I forget to RTFM again) suggests I need to install a port, and I know how to do this from FreeNAS, so:

sudo portsnap fetch

sudo portsnap extract

cd /usr/ports/net/bwi-firmware-kmod

make clean install

This tells me the firmware ‘requires kernel source files in /usr/scr’

A bit more googling and some instructions to download the latest kernel source files for FreeBSD:


tar -C / -xvzf src.txz

Running ‘make clean install’ again progresses a little further, but eventually stops so this is going to take a little longer to resolve.

I also added 


into /boot/loader.conf and installed nano as my editor of choice (sudo pkg install nano)

The good news is that at least I have network connectivity with the dongle, although this wouldn’t really work as a permanent solution.  Not much time for further investigation at the moment, but I’ll come back to this at some point…