Rebuilding the boot loader
The Soekris comBIOS seems to have a little bug in its serial console emulation - if you boot a standard FreeBSD bootloader on it, it will spread the characters (e.g. the "swoosh" (- \ | / - ...) all over your terminal. When the kernel boots, things are normal again, but it may be important to see the error messages in case the bootloader cannot boot the kernel. To fix this, we have to recompile the boot loader (don't worry, it's easy and quick).

Edit /sys/boot/i386/libi386/Makefile and comment out the line that reads:

CFLAGS+= -DTERM_EMU

Save the changes and leave the editor.

(Note: When you run make install for the boot loader, it will fail if the various man directories under /usr/share/man don't exist. Check to make sure they exist. If they do not exist, simply create them before running make install.)

Type the following:
mkdir -p /usr/share/man/man{1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8}
Now you need to compile and install the boot loader. Type the following:

cd /sys/boot
make clean
make
make install

That's it. Now continue to the next section.