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24-hour Test Drive of PC-BSD

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the might-get-a-few-reluctant-IT-folks-on-board dept.

Operating Systems 285

An anonymous reader writes "Ars Technica has a concise introduction to PC-BSD, a FreeBSD derivative that emphasizes ease of use and aims to convert Windows users. The review describes the installation process, articulates the advantages of PC-BSD,and reveal some of the challenges that the reviewer faced along the way. From the article: 'In the end, I would suggest this distribution to new users provided they had someone to call in case of a driver malfunction during installation. I would also recommend PC-BSD to seasoned Unix users that have never tried using FreeBSD before and would prefer a shallower learning curve before getting down to business.'"

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Will somebody please explain... (-1, Flamebait)

fm6 (162816) | more than 7 years ago | (#19569869)

...why BSD has any hope of success where Linux has failed?

Re:Will somebody please explain... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19569981)

A cuter mascot?!?

Re:Will somebody please explain... (2, Interesting)

laffer1 (701823) | more than 7 years ago | (#19570001)

Linux hasn't failed, it just takes a long time to gain market share from Microsoft. Open source is at a disadvantage sometimes. Most of us don't have the money to get developers to write the uninteresting code that no one wants to write themselves. I guess the Linux community has that advantage with companies like Redhat, IBM and Novell in the picture.

What I find interesting is the interest in BSD distros. I know some people don't like me using the term distro as applied to BSD, but its the easiest way to explain what it really is. What I don't understand is the duplication of effort. PC-BSD and DesktopBSD are both KDE and FreeBSD based desktop environments. At least my project is original, albeit unpopular.

The fundamental reason many of us think free desktops will prevail is still there. Think of BSD systems as a backup in case Linux fails in the desktop market. Even if we all fail, we may force Microsoft and Apple to innovate to stay ahead of us.

Re:Will somebody please explain... (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 7 years ago | (#19570525)

Linux hasn't failed, it just takes a long time to gain market share from Microsoft.
In this context, "failing" and "not gaining market share" are the same thing.

Re:Will somebody please explain... (3, Insightful)

jettawu (1030820) | more than 7 years ago | (#19570769)

Ah, but you modified the statement. Is Linux "not gaining market share" as you said or is it just taking a while like the parent said?

If it's just taking a while, it hasn't failed (yet) unless you define that it must gain a certain market share in a certain amount of time.

I don't know the actual stats on any of that, but my guess is that Linux is probably not losing market share... just gaining it more slowly than some want it to. It may never get a majority market share, and that could be considered a failure, but I think it's too early to say.

Re:Will somebody please explain... (1)

misleb (129952) | more than 7 years ago | (#19570627)

The fundamental reason many of us think free desktops will prevail is still there. Think of BSD systems as a backup in case Linux fails in the desktop market. Even if we all fail, we may force Microsoft and Apple to innovate to stay ahead of us.


If Linux failed on the desktop, wouldn't BSD fail for the same reasons? I mean, it is all the same user-land software. FreeBSD doesn't really have much more/different to offer beyond the kernel. Heck, even as a sysadmin, I dont' really feel that FreeBSD and (certain distributions of) Linux are all the different. Again, they both run pretty much the same software.

-matthew

Re:Will somebody please explain... (1)

Applekid (993327) | more than 7 years ago | (#19570013)

Seems to me like it's aiming to be BSD-based competition for Ubuntu.

My question is whether this would pull Windows users into it that might be put off by GPL or if it would snipe users of Ubuntu.

Re:Will somebody please explain... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19570527)

My question is whether this would pull Windows users into it that might be put off by GPL

  What, both of them? But seriously, I'm sure there are LOADS of windows users who'd like to try an alternative OS, but just can't get past the restrictions the GPL puts on them. ...

  BWA-HA-hahahahahah!

Re:Will somebody please explain... (1)

brunascle (994197) | more than 7 years ago | (#19570049)

twice the leetness!

on a more serious note, with its very different license, i imagine it'd be more likely to get support from those outside the FOSS community. whether or not that's a good this is a matter of opinion.

Re:Will somebody please explain... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19570077)

It won't. I don't say that because I'm some BSD hater, actually, I love BSD. I even have openbsd on some sparcstation lx at home. (sun4m iirc). The last full install I did was 4.10 forever ago, and I never touched 5. So about 4 months ago I say 'im gonna throw the newest bsd on my comp get busy'. Put 6 something on there. I got everything set up like I like it, and went go get x setup so I could game. Imagine my surprise when my 9750xt still didn't have anywhere near full functionality. I was so disgusted I killed that partition in shame.

when bsd gets videocard support surpassing that which linux has, it will be a good contender. until then, its server only.

Re:Will somebody please explain... (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 7 years ago | (#19571183)

when bsd gets videocard support surpassing that which linux has, it will be a good contender. until then, its server only.

Considering that it runs the exact same drivers as every other X.org-based X server, that will basically never happen. In other news, neither Windows nor OS X have better X.org drivers than Linux.

Re:Will somebody please explain... (1)

notamisfit (995619) | more than 7 years ago | (#19571337)

It depends on the BSD release. PC-BSD, being based on FreeBSD, has DRI/DRM support in the kernel. The 9750XT (presumably a Radeon R300-based card, the 9700 is) *could* work with DRI using the open source r300 drivers, but not optimally. ATI/AMD does not make their fglrx driver available for *BSD. I'm not sure whether or not the FreeBSD kernel has the most recent DRI code, and I know that unless it was released in the past few weeks, PC-BSD is still based on Xorg 6.9, so I can see it being behind on 3d acceleration. the GP mentioned gaming).

Re:Will somebody please explain... (1)

vfrex (866606) | more than 7 years ago | (#19570087)

You imply that Linux's "failure" is some sort of permanent state. All open source operating systems have gotten significantly easier to use over the past few years. We might not be able the point where the average joe can handle it, but we might be at the stage now where the average wannabe techie can. And all in all, both FreeBSD and derivatives, and Linux variants are generally getting easier to use. Open source operating systems are making great progress, so I'm not really sure where you are coming from.

Re:Will somebody please explain... (1)

Ant P. (974313) | more than 7 years ago | (#19570171)

You make it sound like failing to overrun a *nix operating system with a deluge of whiny Windows lusers is a bad thing.

Re:Will somebody please explain... (4, Interesting)

Goaway (82658) | more than 7 years ago | (#19570329)

It doesn't need hope. It's already succeeded, in Mac OS X.

Re:Will somebody please explain... (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 7 years ago | (#19570621)

Please. OS X is not BSD. It's a mostly new OS that was built on top of NextStep, which in turn was re-engineered from the Mach OS (ironic name, that). Mach uses BSD libraries, but that doesn't make every OS based on it BSD.

Re:Will somebody please explain... (3, Insightful)

node 3 (115640) | more than 7 years ago | (#19571201)

It's got a complete BSD user space, and its kernel (xnu, not Mach) is a mixture of Mach and BSD.

If you were to completely excise BSD from OS X, even though most of what makes OS X what it is would remain, OS X would no longer function.

OS X is a Unix (properly certified, even, in Leopard), and it's derived in no small part from BSD.

Re:Will somebody please explain... (1)

Charles Dodgeson (248492) | more than 7 years ago | (#19570593)

I can only speculate as to why someone thinks that BSD will succeed where Linux has so far failed.
  1. They may think that the (alleged) advantages of FreeBSD over Linux will carry over to desktops for the masses.
  2. They may think that one day one of these attempts will actually succeed and so would like to have a finger in the pie of mixed metaphors.
  3. FreeBSD is what they do. So when trying to make one of these Unix for the masses distro's that is what they started with.
I'm not optimistic, in particular because many things that end users may want on their systems (e.g., Flash) aren't native to FreeBSD but must run in linux compatibility mode.

I don't want to start a FreeBSD vs Linux flaming session here. As long as most people recognize that a reasonable person (even if incorrect) could believe that FreeBSD has advantages over Linux than those (perceived) advantages may reasonably be seen as giving PC-BSD a better chance.

fp (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19569875)

fp

Re:fp (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19570257)

Try PC-BSD for your next fp. Goes from 0 to 2 GHz in 1 nanosecond.

Am I the only one.. (4, Funny)

WarwickRyan (780794) | more than 7 years ago | (#19569885)

..who read that as 24hrs of Blue Screen of Death testing? :(

Yes, Yes you seem to be the only one. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19570665)

Why the rhetorical? You can not parse a sentence?

I have not installed BSD for a while (1)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 7 years ago | (#19569895)

But when I did (usually FreeBSD) I always found it a quick and easy and once installed it was very fast. Linux always gave me more problems but to be fair I generally didn't care about getting sound drivers and maxing out the video drivers etc with FreeBSD since it was almost always a server.

"a FreeBSD derivative that emphasizes ease of use" (5, Funny)

skeevy (926052) | more than 7 years ago | (#19569915)

Isn't that a Mac?

Flame On!

No (1)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 7 years ago | (#19569987)

iphone. Probably easier to use than a Mac.

Re:"a FreeBSD derivative that emphasizes ease of u (2, Insightful)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 7 years ago | (#19570829)

This is where people will point out that OSX is a Mach kernal, etc., but basically I agree with the above poster. I got my feet wet with Linux then moved to FreeBSD and then on to OS 10.2 about 5 years ago and never looked back.

With mac/darwin ports, I get all the ease of install of my favorite tool sets just like the ports tree with BSD and I can even purchase that *evil* commercial software like Quickbooks, Office, and *gasp* Photoshop.

I personally found FreeBSD easy to deal with and the ports tree a much better way of installing software than on the Linux systems of the day as there was no standard way to do this between distros. At least with FreeBSD, there was pretty much ONE FreeBSD.

If I was going to set up a simple inexpensive webserver, FreeBSD would still be my first choice on some cheap PC hardware.

Summary: Experiment failed (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19569927)

No need to read the article. The computer with BSD didn't even boot.

T_A

Do we really need this? (2, Interesting)

toofast (20646) | more than 7 years ago | (#19569929)

Seems everyone is in the business of making a user-friendly OS. No one has yet understood that we have tons of user-friendly OSes and that the OS is not the problem?

Re:Do we really need this? (1)

vfrex (866606) | more than 7 years ago | (#19570203)

Tons of user-friendly OSes? Can you please point them out to me?

Re:Do we really need this? (2, Insightful)

rm999 (775449) | more than 7 years ago | (#19570331)

I am still waiting for a user-friendly FREE OS.

I tried to install Ubuntu last week, and it couldn't figure out my monitor's resolution of 1920x1200 (a pretty common one nowadays). After an hour of fiddling with it and reading technical advice on forums, I accidentally crashed the X-server and could no longer log into the GUI.

That is far from user friendly

Re:Do we really need this? (1)

coredog64 (1001648) | more than 7 years ago | (#19570417)

Same here (well, 1680x1050). DPMS didn't work for shit until I installed the non-free nVidia drivers.

Re:Do we really need this? (1)

8-bitDesigner (980672) | more than 7 years ago | (#19570969)

Yeah, I don't know if it's intrinsic to xOrg or if it's an Ubuntu package issue but I've run into this issue a fair deal (usually on laptops), and it's crippling for a new user who's excited to try out the system.

Hell, that being said, the OS is quite good once you have it installed, but the installer needs some serious work.

Re:Do we really need this? (2, Insightful)

DogDude (805747) | more than 7 years ago | (#19570425)

Yeah, I'm waiting for a user-friendly FREE car. Let's see who gets their wish first, huh?

Re:Do we really need this? (1)

mike2R (721965) | more than 7 years ago | (#19570773)

Hmm, the hasn't happened yet vs the impossible...

You wouldn't fancy a little wager would you?

Re:Do we really need this? (0, Redundant)

griffjon (14945) | more than 7 years ago | (#19570585)

I for one welcome our new, user-free, friendly OS overlords.

Re:Do we really need this? (1)

jsdcnet (724314) | more than 7 years ago | (#19570785)

I would guess it's more likely related to your video card than your monitor. I have a 1900x1200 monitor and Ubuntu detected it just fine.

Re:Do we really need this? (1)

rm999 (775449) | more than 7 years ago | (#19571373)

Probably not, because the common solution is to modify the xorg.conf file, which is an OS file. I know the drivers I had installed could handle the monitor and its resolution - it was the OS refusing to believe that.

Re:Do we really need this? (1)

bfields (66644) | more than 7 years ago | (#19571385)

I would guess it's more likely related to your video card than your monitor.

Yeah, it's the drivers that always lag. The best supported stuff at this point is the integrated Intel chips, but for that you may need either a very new distribution with the latest driver, or 915resolution, to trick it into picking the right mode. And for the proprietary ati/nvidia stuff, I have no idea what the situation is....

Re:Do we really need this? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19570963)

I am still waiting for a user-friendly PROPRIETARY OS.

I tried to install Windows last week, and it required special drivers to recognize the hard drive. Worse than that, it demanded I enter all kinds of activation keys and jump through various hoops just to get work done. It also didn't include an office suite (a pretty common productivity tool nowadays). After an hour of fiddling with it and reading the useless quickstart guide, I accidentally got infected with malware and could no longer use the computer.

That is far from user friendly. In fact, I would almost say that it was user-hostile.

Of course, different people have different definitions of 'friendly.'

Re:Do we really need this? (1)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 7 years ago | (#19571367)

I've recently run into problems installing debian and ubuntu on a machine at home, and two at work. After the whole process of installation, I got error code 16 when grub loaded( IIRC -- it was some even 'teenage' number, maybe 12 ).

At home I was frustrated, decided that Linux was *still* not ready for the desktop, and loaded something else ( this was maybe 6 months to a year ago).

Recently at work, I loaded Debian Etch ( 4.0 ), and got the same problem on two machines with the same hardware specs. The stakes were higher, so I looked up the error code. It said that it was a problem with the MBR. Rather than fiddling around editing GRUB, I went through the install process again, this time making a 100 MB boot partition at the beginning of the drive, marking it as bootable, and setting its mount point at /boot. This worked, so I did that on the other machine, and no problem.

I was surprised that I got this on two different machines, with such recent versions of Ubuntu and Debian. What surprised me more was that there wasn't more discussion about this error and how to fix it. I would think that this problem was affecting more people, so the distro creators would either fix the grub install, or at least make Ubuntu automatically set up a bootable /boot partition. Maybe it was just my experience, though. Still, it's something that I wouldn't expect to have happen in 2007 with a linux distro, especially one touted as grandma-friendly like Ubuntu. I've never had a problem having an MS OS properly make itself bootable, since the days of DOS 3.x!

Re:Do we really need this? (2, Interesting)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 7 years ago | (#19570403)

Maybe you have a different definition of "user friendly." Lets see what my experiences are:

-Gentoo: Only took me a combined (installed it maybe 3 times) 3 days, 7 tries and 2 forum searches (for getting around a bug in the install process) to get running. Worked fine but one I wanted to try wouldn't install period.

-Debian: Worked fine mostly, a lot of manual stuff and the docs downright suck (compared to Gentoo with its forums). That is till I tried getting suspend mode working only to have it keep locking up. Then it fried itself for some yet unknown reason and would no longer start up.

-Ubuntu: I had a lot of hope for this one. That is till it failed to start up after installing because the kernel was not compatible with my system (via epia). Of course this has been known for 6 months, no solutions were given anywhere and no notices were given during the install itself. I do not have time to recompile a kernel so I said F it.

-Windows: Works well unless it doesn't then you just scratch your head. The dock on my laptop causes endless problems, mouse won't get recognized for example. Hibernate keeps locking my laptop up more often than it should. Odd freezing when coming out of hibernate that causes the process to take almost 10 minutes sometimes. Every once in a while something stops working and I need to futz around with restarting/disabling.enabling various crap.

Re:Do we really need this? (1)

griffjon (14945) | more than 7 years ago | (#19570623)

Don't forget:

-Mac OSX - pricey, but seems to just work.

Re:Do we really need this? (3, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 7 years ago | (#19570745)

Mac OSX - pricey, but seems to just work.

Not if you're trying to install it on a PC.

Re:Do we really need this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19570877)

-Mac OSX - pricey, but seems to just work.
Tell that to the legions of people for whom the spinning-pizza-of-death heralds a total system lockup on a nightly basis.

The fanboys can try to hush it up all they like, but OS X has its fair share of bugs and even crashes. (Remember the good old 10.1 days where you were lucky to go a week without a kernel panic?)

Re:Do we really need this? (1)

JerkBoB (7130) | more than 7 years ago | (#19570641)

Maybe you have a different definition of "user friendly." Lets see what my experiences are:

I love these kinds of posts. "I have tried 14 different Linux distros and they all suck and why can't stuff just work and oh by the way I have some screwball hardware that maybe 200 other people in the world still use."

Moral of the story: Shitty hardware == shitty results.

Re:Do we really need this? (1)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 7 years ago | (#19570813)

Huh?
They failed to work on a new Via Epia which is used quite extensively by people or the problems were not hardware related. Before that I used an Athlon XP system with linux on once again hardware that was quite popular at the time, linux mostly worked fine on that minus some occasional problems (suse had network and mouse cursor bugs, it only 7 hours of my time to fix that).

Also anytime windows does not have the same problems it doesn't much matter how unique the hardware is, linux does worse for that hardware.

Re:Do we really need this? (1)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 7 years ago | (#19571021)

Also since you apparently have trouble reading let me repeat what the last item in the list says: WINDOWS. I mean I never even knew windows was a linux distro, thanks for enlightening me.

If your fanboy mind can't take criticism of your oh so precious linux then too bad for you.

Re:Do we really need this? (5, Funny)

serviscope_minor (664417) | more than 7 years ago | (#19570651)

I think your computer is broken.

Re:Do we really need this? (1)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 7 years ago | (#19570947)

The computers work fine (yes this was done across 3 different systems), I don't see how any of my problems were due to the hardware. The Gentoo problems were noted by other people as well or are simply part of the nature of the beast. The Ubuntu one is also well known and I can even tell you exactly which kernel option needs to be changed. The debian death was an odd ball and not something I blame on the OS itself but the suspend mode problems seems purely software (getting it to even run was a downright pain, 10 page complex guides are not a good thing).

My point wasn't that a given OS is bad but that in my experience no OS is truly user friendly.

Re:Do we really need this? (1)

BlakeReid (1033116) | more than 7 years ago | (#19570459)

No one has yet understood that we have tons of user-friendly OSes and that the OS is not the problem?


Your logic is self-defeating. If there are operating systems purporting to be user-friendly and yet there exists a 'problem' with the user-friendliness of said operating systems, then the operating system have the problem, not the user.

It's this sort of attitude among developers that leads to software that is, well, difficult to use.

Re:Do we really need this? (1)

CowTipperGore (1081903) | more than 7 years ago | (#19570653)

It is much easier than creating OS-friendly users.

Re:Do we really need this? (2, Insightful)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 7 years ago | (#19570743)

Seems everyone is in the business of making a user-friendly OS. No one has yet understood that we have tons of user-friendly OSes and that the OS is not the problem?

How about you shut up, and go do something, versus tell other people what NOT to do.

I'm a Windows user who runs Linux servers (not very good at the latter, especially without my admin), and when I saw this article advertising shallower learning curve for Windows users, I downloaded it. And I plan to evaluate it and very likely use it.

Friendly name (1)

niceone (992278) | more than 7 years ago | (#19569947)

PC-BSD us a pretty friendly name, but I think I would have gone for uBSunDto.

Dear "people who wish to convert other people" (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19569997)

Whatever it is, and that goes for *all of you*,
I DON'T FUCKING CARE.
You just discovered something that sits well with your limited brain patterns, and all of a sudden you feel this violent need to validate it.
Here's a hint: A very big hint: IF YOU CONSTANTLY NEED TO FEEL VALIDATED ABOUT YOUR CHOICES, THEN THEY WERE BAD CHOICES.
I am not going to join your stupid fucking cult. Deal with it.

Re:Dear "people who wish to convert other people" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19570289)

Switch to decaff. Seriously.

Re:Dear "people who wish to convert other people" (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19570375)

What is it with you cunts and your fucking "decaff"? Don't you get it?
How about this:
"Switch to re-caff, doubly fucking caffienated, you fucking wussy!"
No?
You like your coffee the way it is?
Well fancy that!
Stop telling me what to do, and I'll stop punching you in the face. It's THAT SIMPLE.

Re:Dear "people who wish to convert other people" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19570319)

I find your ideas intriguing and would like to join your anti-cult cult. I hope you have a newsletter?

Re:Dear "people who wish to convert other people" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19570897)

Yes I have a newsletter. Please send a stamped, addressed envelope to:
I want to join a cult,
    Because I can't think for myself,
        1, Brain Cell,
            Retardshire,
                1AM F1K
Enclose $1000 for processing. No refunds.

Re:Dear "people who wish to convert other people" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19570991)

Retardshire,
1AM F1K

Certainly! Oh boy, I'm so excited! I can't wait to... wait a moment. That doesn't look like a United States address....

I knew it! You're a communist agent implanted to do away with truth, liberty, justice, and apple pie! DIE YOU COMMIE BASTARD!!!

Re:Dear "people who wish to convert other people" (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19570349)

A surprisingly excellent post in a sea of otherwise illucid responses. Thank you.

no dependency issues with apps (4, Interesting)

anagama (611277) | more than 7 years ago | (#19570015)

I tried this out recently after being given a disc at a linux fest. It's pretty nice. The guy giving out the discs explained that when you install applications, the applications come bundled with all of their dependencies included. This makes the apps use a little bit more disc space, but avoids the issue of two apps requiring two incompatible dependencies. That's pretty nice.

The downside, at least a couple months ago, was that the disc is an install disc rather than a live one. I think he said it takes over the whole drive as well, but I won't swear to that and it may have changed since then. Anyway, I had it in parallels for a while and although it wasn't enough to convince me to abandon ubuntu, I will say that installing software was brain dead easy -- not that synaptic is hard, but with synaptic you do need to know the name of what you want. With PC-BSD, you just pick from a menu of shiny icons and descriptions.

Re:no dependency issues with apps (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#19570323)

The guy giving out the discs explained that when you install applications, the applications come bundled with all of their dependencies included. This makes the apps use a little bit more disc space, but avoids the issue of two apps requiring two incompatible dependencies. That's pretty nice.

This is something that's always puzzled me anyway. Unix in general, at least on systems with shared libraries (everyone now) generally specifies version numbers in the libraries. So there's nothing stopping you (in theory) from having and using GTK+ 1.2.3 and 1.2.4 at the same time. If you need a specific version, you link to the full version number (1.2.3, perhaps) whereas if you only need a specific major version, you link the major version via a symlink made by ldconfig.

So it follows that "incompatible dependencies" is an issue of the package management system and nothing else. Has anyone tried to make a package manager that addresses this issue?

Re:no dependency issues with apps (1)

Dan Ost (415913) | more than 7 years ago | (#19570733)

Gentoo allows packages to have "slotted" versions. For example, I've got 3 different versions of python installed currently and seven different versions of automake. Many libraries have slots, but the slot resolution depends on the judgment of whomever wrote the ebuilds (I think).

Re:no dependency issues with apps (1)

8-bitDesigner (980672) | more than 7 years ago | (#19571065)

Oh sweet fancy moses, I'm having headaches just thinking about the Gentoo "slot" system. Mind you, my shiny new MacBook has a similar feature through Ports, so I'm not entirely rid of it. Personally I just want to apt-get php and go on my merry way.

Re:no dependency issues with apps (1)

burndive (855848) | more than 7 years ago | (#19571433)

Oh sweet fancy moses, I'm having headaches just thinking about the Gentoo "slot" system. Mind you, my shiny new MacBook has a similar feature through Ports, so I'm not entirely rid of it. Personally I just want to apt-get php and go on my merry way.

No one ever said you had to think about it. It's yet another portage feature that "just works" when you install something that depends on an incompatible version of a dependency from the one required by a different package already on your system. Off hand, I couldn't tell you how many versions of PHP I have installed on my Gentoo system, because I don't particularly care as long as everything that I have installed works.

That's the beauty of portage: it pulls in what you need, and gets rid of what you don't need. Under normal circumstances, you don't really need to know what's going on under the covers with your dependencies.

If you just want something analogous to your "apt-get php" on Gentoo, "emerge php" will do the exact same thing.

Re:no dependency issues with apps (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 7 years ago | (#19571297)

The FreeBSD ports system seems not to have this issue, although it does have the opposite problem; that I frequently get into the state where I have several versions of a library installed because I have other ports that depend on them. The only way of cleaning that up is to re-build the apps that depend on the old library and link them to the new one, unless the library authors kept binary compatibility between versions (somewhat uncommon in Free Software).

Re:no dependency issues with apps (1)

MMC Monster (602931) | more than 7 years ago | (#19570541)

Actually, (If I recall correctly) Ubuntu has something similar in it's applications menu. It lists a number of popular applications by type and lets you install them with a single click (and typing in the administrator password, of course).

Re:no dependency issues with apps (1)

8-bitDesigner (980672) | more than 7 years ago | (#19571145)

not that synaptic is hard, but with synaptic you do need to know the name of what you want. With PC-BSD, you just pick from a menu of shiny icons and descriptions.

Actually I think Ubuntu already has a program that does this, labelled "Add Software" under the Applications menu. I'm not at my Feisty Desktop right now, but it is basically a Mom-friendly version of Synaptic, broken down into categories (such as "Office", "Games", "Web", etc.).

Learning curve (4, Insightful)

vga_init (589198) | more than 7 years ago | (#19570043)

I would also recommend PC-BSD to seasoned Unix users that have never tried using FreeBSD before and would prefer a shallower learning curve before getting down to business.

I don't know... I always thought the learning curve for FreeBSD was pretty shallow. I used GNU/Linux for years before trying FreeBSD, and Linux distributions were all over the board; you never knew what bizarre software configuration you were going to get, or how the system was going to behave or configure. Even after steady use, Linux confused the hell out of me. When I tried FreeBSD, it took a little effort to learn the basics of managing the system: installing, updating, removing software packages. After that it was easy street. Tweaking the base system conf files was obvious... a little too obvious. They say editing text files isn't "intuitive", but this is as close as it gets. For the stuff you can't figure out, the documentation is complete and readily accessible.

Having a front end that helps you autoconfig stuff doesn't actually lesson the learning curve, but in my opinion steepens it. When the autoconfig goes wrong, you're pretty much stuck without a clue.

Re:Learning curve (1, Insightful)

Bluesman (104513) | more than 7 years ago | (#19570647)

This mirrors my experience. If FreeBSD were a Linux distribution, everyone would be using it. It's just that well put together, and documented.

Re:Learning curve (1)

notamisfit (995619) | more than 7 years ago | (#19571437)

Personally, I think that the docs are the "make or break" point for FreeBSD, as well as BSD in general. Very well laid out and well written top-level stuff, the online man pages are excellent, and the GNU man/info schizophrenia is generally limited to the toolchain.

Sadly, I think that's the problem with an "easy to use" FreeBSD: The differences that matter for those of us who love the system really aren't going to matter to someone new to *nix. It's just like having an Ubuntu box.

Re:Learning curve (1)

kwark (512736) | more than 7 years ago | (#19571321)

"Having a front end that helps you autoconfig stuff doesn't actually lesson the learning curve, but in my opinion steepens it."

Yes, all those evil linux distros are forcing you not to use $EDITOR to configure your stuff.

Note to Open Source OS pushers... (2, Insightful)

ProppaT (557551) | more than 7 years ago | (#19570051)


Go back to the drawing board with the name. Windows users want something simple sounding. Putting BSD, Linux, or some pun based on the names of a Linux distribution in the title isn't going to help. In fact, it's probably going to hurt because Linux and BSD sound difficult and dorky. You use Linux and BSD as a selling point when people don't want Linux or BSD. Don't go out of your way to advertise it as a Linux or BSD project, make it look like something other than BSD or Linux, and go from there. As someone who works with marketing, it just always blows my mind that one of the simplest things the OS community could do, give a project an easy, accessible, and non-dorky name, is never even attempted.

Re:Note to Open Source OS pushers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19570373)

As someone who occasionally works with marking folks it blows my mind how far those people will go to mislead a person, dare I use the term mark, in an attempt to sell their product with false promises.

Rant aside, is Windows or OS X (is that oh ess ex or os ess ten?) really more catchy or easy to remember than BSD or Linux?

Re:Note to Open Source OS pushers... (1)

Per Wigren (5315) | more than 7 years ago | (#19570517)

OS X (is that oh ess ex or os ess ten?)
It's oh, sex!

Re:Note to Open Source OS pushers... (1)

mulvane (692631) | more than 7 years ago | (#19570429)

And Apple's OSX is easy and non dorky sounding?

Re:Note to Open Source OS pushers... (1)

Pentavirate (867026) | more than 7 years ago | (#19570589)

People don't buy OS X. They go out and buy a mac.

Re:Note to Open Source OS pushers... (1)

Cctoide (923843) | more than 7 years ago | (#19571249)

I think it helps that OSX can sound like "oh eh sex" once the interlocutor is suitably grogged up.

Re:Note to Open Source OS pushers... (1)

CowTipperGore (1081903) | more than 7 years ago | (#19570703)

Exactly. We should have less dorky and accessible names, like OSX, OS/2, Windows XP, PS/2, and DOS. BSD is just so outrageous!

Re:Note to Open Source OS pushers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19570955)

Dorky? You don't know much about marketing. One man's dorky is the other's hip and cool. Non-standard names provide a few functions.

One is they're a twit-filter. When you're introducing a new product, the very last thing you want is statistically mainstream clients, because they are adverse to change. They will be unhappy with your new product, because it's not their old product.

Make the name a little fun, a name that requires a little agility of intellect and character to accept, and you'll have an initial client group that is more accepting of, and interest in, things that are different. The result is a core user base that is positive about the product, and that will keep your product alive through rough times, while more and more of the mainstream is attracted by the positive-vibe of your happy clients.

Care for a dorky name? How about "Apple"?

Another thing those positive people do is get involved. Do I even have to explain why that is important to Open Source projects? It's not just coding, though that's included. It's about making blogs about the project. About setting up and using forums about the project. It's about instant self-forming community - real community.

Got no dorky name? Got no hip core people? Got just, as you suggest, the same shit that's already everywhere? Well then I suppose all you can do to get any sort of (brief) attention is /pay/ for "professional" marketing to make some noise for you. It will be mostly yelling "Get Your Same Shit Here!", if they follow your advice. It'll be a complete money-hole that will only, equally briefly, enrich some marketing droids. Though a good marketing firm will probably suggest adopting a dorky name.

But of course you work in marketing -- I shouldn't expect you could know that.

Re:Note to Open Source OS pushers... (1)

Bent Mind (853241) | more than 7 years ago | (#19571211)

I have to agree with you. I switched my brother to a Linux-based system a while back. He uses his digital camera quite a bit. The first thing that confused him was not needing to install the Windows software from his camera's CD. He got over that. However, in Windows, he used Adobe's Photoshop Elements. He wanted to know what to use to edit his pictures on the new system. I still remember his response, "Gimp? Gimp? You want me to use a program called Gimp? Why would I use a program whose name means crippled?"

Links, links, links... (2, Informative)

Life700MB (930032) | more than 7 years ago | (#19570073)


Official PCBSD web [pcbsd.org] and download page [pcbsd.org] .

--
The easiest way to earn money with your web [text-link-ads.com] .

Re:Links, links, links... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19571163)

Put your goddamned spam in your signature where I don't have to see it.

Re:Links, links, links... (1)

yorugua (697900) | more than 7 years ago | (#19571263)

Of course it's a good thing to have options, but maybe it might help having PCBSD and http://www.desktopbsd.org/ [desktopbsd.org] help each other to bring an easier experience to end-users.

Already done.. (0, Redundant)

jshriverWVU (810740) | more than 7 years ago | (#19570079)

there already is a FreeBSD derivative that's easy to use and attracting Windows users. It's called OS X :) Not trolling just trying to be funny. More power to them.

Baffled by the hardware (1)

gelfling (6534) | more than 7 years ago | (#19570129)

As always I am baffled by the hardware platform. Clearly cost is not an issue for this test. Which means that any other factor is the driver. Security? Personal preference? Certainly not compatibility. So with this test and with any other, Ubuntu, Linspire, etc etc etc the point is not going to be the cost of the desktop and we can simply ignore the cost of Vista when looking at any head to head to comparison.

Re:Baffled by the hardware (1)

Jiilik Oiolosse (717106) | more than 7 years ago | (#19571327)

Hey - I wrote that article :P The hardware is just my desktop machine, with a blank SATA drive attached for testing operating systems. I did not test it in some lab, and run comparitive tests -- that was not the point of the article. I only added the hardware specs at the request of my editor :) Regarding hardware compatibilities, the issue with the "nv" driver is an anomaly, and I still cannot understand why it did not work (as it works just fine with the same X version in Linux). The point of the article is to show some of the features of PC-BSD that distinguish it from the crowd. I'll let the other guys do the performance and compatibility testing in the lab -- I don't have a lab. :)

What's the real difference (-1)

jshriverWVU (810740) | more than 7 years ago | (#19570225)

Between Linux and *BSD? To my understanding they are just kernels. Both using the gnu/fsf/x GPL'd code for the system. ls on BSD and linux I'm guessing is the same, both run Xfree86 or X.org, apache, php, MySQL, gimp, whatever it is. I bet if you had a FreeBSD box and a Linux box sitting next to each other, with the same UI (KDE/GNOME, OpenOffice, Gaim) running you wouldn't notice a difference. So besides that, what *IS* the difference from a user perspective or is it all lower level API differences (BSD not use int 0x80h sys calls?).

Re:What's the real difference (2, Informative)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 7 years ago | (#19570395)

Actually BSD doesn't use as much GNU stuff as Linux does otherwise RMS would be screaming that you should call it GNU/BSD.
For a while commercial Linux developers where using the BSD libc so they could statically link it to get around some major library problems Linux was having.
There are difference between BSD and Linux. For one BSD tends towards stability over features. It is a different set of trade offs.

Re:What's the real difference (1)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 7 years ago | (#19570613)

Not quite. Linux technically refers to just the kernel, but most people refer to it as the whole system (GNU,X,KDE/GNOME,etc). A BSD is generally a specific distribution that includes a kernel, a minimal set of core applications, and X (although X is optional).

Re:What's the real difference (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19570655)

BSD is a whole operating system, with a full userland. Linux is just a kernel. As an example, the FreeBSD kernel is vastly different than the OpenBSD kernel, but Redhat and Ubuntu use basically the same kernel.

Re:What's the real difference (2, Informative)

l0b0 (803611) | more than 7 years ago | (#19570799)

Here are two [over-yonder.net] comparisons [freesoftwaremagazine.com] and a (shameless plug) novice user's perspective [l0b0.net] .

VMWare image available (5, Informative)

athloi (1075845) | more than 7 years ago | (#19570401)

I've already got VMs out the nose with different OSs I just had to try. The PC-BSD folks make one readily available at the following location:

PC-BSD VMWare Image [pcbsd.org]

I recommend this method of trying out new OSs, or avoiding corrupting your computer's virtue by installing one is made by whichever large West Coast corporation you dislike.

Why is Windows the measure of easy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19570479)

As a Mac user, I don't really understand all this effort to make Linux (or BSD) as easy to use as Windows. I don't find Windows particularly easy compared to the Mac.

Now if you could make Linux (or BSD) as easy to use as a Mac....

I recommend the same for Windows users (4, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 7 years ago | (#19570521)

From the article: 'In the end, I would suggest this distribution to new users provided they had someone to call in case of a driver malfunction during installation.
Just earlier today, I had to replace a failed HD. The replacement drive was empty leaving me to reinstall. I chose not to use the restore method that automatically installs all drivers and crap software that the machine ships with. Instead, I installed only the OS and the minimal apps needed for the job. One problem with that approach.

If this machine had been acquired without OS and the user, instead, decided to buy WindowsXP separately, this user would have had the same problems I had. In my case, the video device wasn't detected, the sound device wasn't detected and the network device wasn't detected. A beginner would also need to rely on someone with experience to get those issues resolved.

I have rather become accustomed to the idea of loading the OS and resolving driver and other hardware configuration issues as part of the installation process. It's the same in Windows as it is for Linux. (Not usually the case with Mac, but they control both the hardware AND the software and there's good reason for that.) The exceptions for this are when a hardware maker cobbles his own OS+Apps+Driver installation software to match the hardware or when, by some uncommon scenario, all hardware in the configuration is identified and supported by whatever comes with the OS. (It happens but it's rare.)

It shouldn't be said about Linux or Windows or *BSD that an expert or experienced user should be available in case of trouble as if this were a problem exclusive to it or to other OSes. It should be said because it's generally true of all.

Its not OS features, its not even applications... (1)

Glowing Fish (155236) | more than 7 years ago | (#19570901)

I've heard that what users care about is applications, and that is why even though Ubuntu is clearly ahead of Windows in many categories, it still hasn't crossed over to mass desktop use. I don't think that is true, because most of the applications people use for basic productivity are loaded on to Ubuntu already.
What seems to be the new stumbling block is peripherals. Its about whether you can hook up a digital camera, an ipod, or an all in one machine, and and have it work out of the box.
And so, is there anything technically in BSD that would make any of this easier? Probably not. Which makes me think this project isn't going to find its niche too quickly.

I've also test driven PC-BSD (4, Interesting)

joe 155 (937621) | more than 7 years ago | (#19570977)

I've given this one a go. I'm mainly a linux man myself. I'm no stranger to the command line and often find bash the easiest way to fix problems with linux. This however did not give me any grounding for this BSD. Maybe this is just my fault... I suppose I should have been expecting some troubles. I think the biggest issue I had was with updating software. I wanted to upgrade firefox from the version that came on the DVD I was given (I think that it was 1.5.0.3 or something.

The first thing I thought of was going to the firefox site and see if they had an installer for BSD but couldn't find one. Then I decided to search online to see if there was an easy way to do it. The thing I looked at suggested cd-ing into the directory /.../www/firefox (that might be wrong, but you get the idea) and then type "make install clean". I tired to do that and just got loads of text output which didn't seem to be going anywhere. After about 15 mins I decided to kill that and look around.

I found another site which listed the 9 ways he'd tried to update firefox and how in the end none of them work properly. He got flamed in the comments on his blog with comments calling him an ignorant n00b etc. (which would be an image which would put me off going on the forums... or at least make me nervous). In the end I decided that it'd just be a hell of a lot less of a headache to go back to fedora and do "yum update" to update the whole system - there's even a GUI if thats your thing.

So if you think that I've missed something really obvious about this OS or that I've got it totally wrong, you could be right... it doesn't really matter. It still highlights the fact that it just isn't a "user friendly windows alternative" in the same way that a lot of linuxes are.

userfriendly? (5, Funny)

mixenmaxen (857917) | more than 7 years ago | (#19571419)

I was able to boot into safe mode, log in as root, remount the filesystem as read-write, and try to edit my xorg.conf file. In safe mode, I found that something was wrong with the line terminations when using vi, so I had to use less to view the files and then construct a sed substitution to change the video driver from "nv" to "vesa." Upon reboot, everything worked swimmingly.


Sounds terribly userfriendly, even my mother would have no trouble installing this.

wait...
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