FreeNAS® 8.2.0 introduced the ability to extend the built-in NAS services by providing a mechanism for installing additional software. This mechanism was known as the Plugins architecture and is based on FreeBSD jails and PC-BSD PBIs. This allowed users to install and configure additional applications once they had created and configured a plugins jail.
FreeNAS® 9.x simplifies this procedure by providing two methods for software installation. The plugins method, described in this section, is meant for users who prefer to use the GUI. It does not require them to first create a plugins jail as the first time they install an application, the plugins system automatically installs and configures the plugins jail. Users no longer have to download a plugins PBI or search for PBIs to install as the new plugins mechanism now provides a listing of available PBIs.
Users who prefer more control over software installation and who are comfortable working from the command line can also choose to use the Jails method.
Due to ABI (application binary interface) changes, FreeNAS® 8.x PBIs can not be installed on a 9.x system.
NOTE: a ZFS volume is required to use Plugins. If you have created a UFS volume, you will need to instead use Jails to install additional software.
Installing a FreeNAS® PBI Using Plugins
To install a FreeNAS® PBI using the plugins method, click Plugins to see the screen shown in Figure 9.1a.
Figure 9.1a: Using Plugins to Install a PBI
This screen provides the following buttons:
- Refresh: used to refresh the list of PBIs which are available for installation.
- Upload: if the PBI has previously been downloaded, use this button to browse to the location of the saved .pbi file to install.
The location of the list of available PBIs is set in the Configuration tab, shown in Figure 9.1b:
Figure 9.1b: PBI Repository Location
NOTE: if the list of available PBIs is not displayed, open Shell and verify that the FreeNAS® system can ping an address on the Internet. If it cannot, you may have to add a default gateway address and/or DNS server address in Network → Global Configuration.
To install a FreeNAS® PBI, highlight its name in the list of available PBIs. In the example shown in Figure 9.1c, the Transmission Bit Torrent PBI is selected for installation.
Figure 9.1c: Selecting a PBI to Install
Click "OK" to start the installation. It will take a few minutes as the system will first download and configure a jail to contain the installed software. It will then install the PBI and add it to the "Installed" tab as shown in Figure 9.1d. Be patient as it may take a few minutes for the installation to finish.
Figure 9.1d: Transmission PBI is Installed
Managing an Installed FreeNAS® PBI
As seen in the example shown in Figure 9.1d, entries for the installed PBI will appear in the following locations:
- the Installed tab of Plugins
- the Plugins section of the tree
- the Jails section of the tree
The entry in the Installed tab of Plugins will display the plugin name and version, the name of the PBI that was installed, the name of the jail that was created, whether the application status is ON or OFF, and a button to delete the application and its associated jail. If a newer version of the application is available, a button to update the application will also appear.
Before you can use an installed PBI, it must first be configured and started. To configure the PBI, click its entry in the Plugins section of the tree to open the edit screen that contains its available configuration options. The options that are available will vary by PBI. You should always review a PBI's configuration options before attempting to start it as some PBIs have options that need to be set before their service will successfully start. If you have never configured this application before, check the application's website to see what documentation is available. A link to the website for each available PBI can be found in Available FreeNAS® PBIs.
If the application requires access to the data stored on the FreeNAS® system, click the entry for the associated jail in the Jails section of the tree and add a storage as described here.
If you need to access the shell of the jail containing the application to complete or test your configuration, click the entry for the associated jail in the Jails section of the tree. You can then click its shell icon as described in Managing Jails.
Once the configuration is complete, click the red OFF button in the entry for the PBI. If the service successfully starts, it will change to a blue ON. If it fails to start, click the jail's shell icon and type tail /var/log/messages to see if any errors were logged.