Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 4th Feb 2006 17:50 UTC, submitted by anonymous
PC-BSD LinuxHelp reviews PC-BSD, the (100% compatible) variant of FreeBSD aimed at the desktop, and concludes: "All in all, PC-BSD is an OS which has a bright future in the desktop market provided the developers provide more variety of software or at least equivalent to those found in the FreeBSD ports." Screenshots included to keep our younger readers happy.
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That is nice.
by jbalmer on Sat 4th Feb 2006 18:06 UTC
jbalmer
Member since:
2005-12-18

I have always wanted to try out FreeBSD. But the horror stories of installing it kept me from trying it out. Now maybe, I will try out PC-BSD.

Btw, I am just a Linux user whose skills lie in between newbie and intermediate level. ;)

Reply Score: 5

RE: That is nice.
by Hetfield on Sat 4th Feb 2006 18:30 UTC in reply to "That is nice."
Hetfield Member since:
2005-07-09

Ah, don't pay attention to those "horror stories". The installer does feel crappy, especially compared to those found in major Linux distros, but that's because it doesn't have nice graphics and doesn't provide a 3-click-installation. But installing any of the BSD's is extremely fast, and you can start configuring and using the system in no time at all.

By the way, I dual-boot Windows and FreeBSD, but FreeBSD is my desktop OS of choice and I hardly ever boot into Windows. I've been using FreeBSD for around 20 months now, and the last time I actually had to install it was - 20 months ago. It's pretty easy to upgrade without reinstalling, which means that once FreeBSD is installed, you'll never have to touch the installer again. ;)

Reply Score: 5

RE: That is nice.
by molnarcs on Sun 5th Feb 2006 00:02 UTC in reply to "That is nice."
molnarcs Member since:
2005-09-10

Well, the installer is no more unfriendly than Kubuntu's - you just have to read the handbook before you go ahead. The system itself - the underlying FreeBSD - is a much much more simple system than linux. I found it easier to learn as a newbie (or rather, I was at your experience level, between a newbie and an intermediate user when I switched from Mandrake). Everything makes sense, and everything is simple. For instance, I struggled with iptables for weeks, then struggled with a frontend (shorewall) for days before I gave up. In freebsd, to configure the firewall, was to read the docs (pf's docs actually) and write up a ruleset - in english. It took 1/10 times the effort to learn a lot more about PF than it took me to learn iptables. In fact, configuring PF is so simple, that it puts even the graphical frontends available for linux to shame.

The same thing is true for ... well, everything. It took half a day not to be able to figure out (and I'm used to reading man pages) how to disable modules in kubuntu (I wanted to get rid of agpgart, and use nvidia's). apropos modules showed me that additional modules should be specified in /etc/modules - which was not there in kubuntu. I had modules.conf, which was longer than all system config files taken together on freebsd. Wasn't exactly reader friendly either. I figured linux uses some hardware detection to autoload some modules - but how can you tell it not to? Then there are those runlevels - if I contrast that with my simple rc.conf in freebsd, even the graphical config utility in kubuntu seemed more complex.

Anyhow, there is a myth that freebsd, because its true unix (whatever that means) must be more difficult than linux. Well, it is not - it is not a quick replacement for windows either (that's where PC-BSD comes into the picture) - but it is much more approachable for ordinary people, because the excellent documentation, the human readable config files, the general simplicity of the system, and - importantly - the clarity (everything is at the place you would expect it - there is a very clear system layout). I would go as far as to say that FreeBSD is a unix like os for newbies (those newbies at least that are interested in the unix part as well ;) ) - much more so than linux.

Reply Score: 5

RE: That is nice.
by mario on Sun 5th Feb 2006 16:38 UTC in reply to "That is nice."
mario Member since:
2005-07-06

I have always wanted to try out FreeBSD. But the horror stories of installing it kept me from trying it out.

Installing FreeBSD is just as simple as installing Linux - if you select the right distribution of FreeBSD. Ever heard of FreesBIE? It's an excellent LiveCD distro of FreeBSD, autodetected every bit of hardware in each of my PCs, so I think it's going to work for most people out there.

Reply Score: 2

RE: That is nice.
by Joe User on Sun 5th Feb 2006 20:42 UTC in reply to "That is nice."
Joe User Member since:
2005-06-29

But the horror stories of installing it kept me from trying it out.

If you read the installation manual, you'll find that installing FreeBSD is dirt simple. Just select what you want installed, and start installation. Then it'll ask for a root password, an IP address, and basically that's it, just reboot the system.

Reply Score: 2

PC-BSD install
by Derbeth on Sat 4th Feb 2006 18:13 UTC
Derbeth
Member since:
2005-08-12

PC-BSD is really easy to install and start work with. Installer and package manager won't make any problems for people who have ever seen on Windows or Linux. After installation system works just fine (except some issues character sets for non-English translations, but they should be resolved in final version coming quite soon).

The only problem now is with the ammount of PBI packages available. It would be great if DesktopBSD project released stable version of graphical ports manager for all FreeBSD systems - it's really nice thing.

Reply Score: 4

As a FreeBSD user.
by kensai on Sat 4th Feb 2006 18:34 UTC
kensai
Member since:
2005-12-27

As a FreeBSD user I must say, PC-BSD is a great custom freebsd 6.0 system. It's .pbi system is an advanced piece of art IMHO pc-bsd has advanced in a way that many Linux distros only wish to. It still is immature but offers something new. So if you want to be on the BSD side but want things to just work out of the box just choose PC-BSD you will find the rock solid stability and security that only freebsd can give.

About the desktopbsd and pcbsd joining forces issue I must sy it is a must happen since they share same goals and need to work them together not in a separate way. If you want to fight a war against a very strong oponent please don't divide your forces unite them as much as you can and victory shall be yours. But I think this is more about ego than other things. I just see that pc-bsd is proggressing in a better way than desktopbsd but, time will tell.

Reply Score: 5

RE: As a FreeBSD user.
by spikeb on Sun 5th Feb 2006 09:30 UTC in reply to "As a FreeBSD user."
spikeb Member since:
2006-01-18

i happen to agree - join forces, damn it!

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: As a FreeBSD user.
by backdoc on Sun 5th Feb 2006 15:46 UTC in reply to "RE: As a FreeBSD user."
backdoc Member since:
2006-01-14

Speaking of joining forces, as I was reading through the article, I was thinking, "Why don't all of these OS hackers just help the major desktops better integrate their tools?" For example, why have a KDE user manager tool and a PC-BSD user manager tool? Why not just make sure that KDE's will work with your OS?

Reply Score: 4

What about the geometry bug...
by Temcat on Sat 4th Feb 2006 19:13 UTC
Temcat
Member since:
2005-10-18

...or whatever it was called? Is PC-BSD safe to install alongside Windows and Linux?

Reply Score: 2

Hetfield Member since:
2005-07-09

I haven't reinstalled FreeBSD in a long, long time, but judging from occasional posts on http://www.freebsdforums.org and the mailing lists, the geometry bug still seems to exist. If so, it has existed for years and no one has bothered to fix it, which is a real turn-off considering that FreeBSD is such a professionally developed system.

That said, I have always safely ignored the geometry bug, and it never was problem for me and many others to install FreeBSD next to other OS's.

Reply Score: 4

geekgod Member since:
2005-06-29

The geometry bug does still exist and is really annoying. It makes it rather difficult for BSD Installer to function correctly.

There is a PR filed for this bug and it would be great if some of the userbase could start pushing harder for this nasty bug to get fixed. The world no longer revolves around sysinstall so anyone trying to work outside of the sysinstall box will run into this sooner or later.

See http://www.freebsd.org/cgi/query-pr.cgi?pr=bin/90093 for the bug info.

Edited 2006-02-05 02:05

Reply Score: 2

ozonehole Member since:
2006-01-07

That said, I have always safely ignored the geometry bug, and it never was problem for me and many others to install FreeBSD next to other OS's.

I know that many people operate on the theory that you can safely ignore the geometry bug. And perhaps that's true - I've never lost any data because of it (at least none that I'm aware of). However, this bug has proven to be extremely annoying. The installation programs of many Linux distros will detect the geometry error and immediately exit without installing anything - this is more than a little inconvenient. Once you've got this geometry error, the only way to get rid of it (as far as I know) is to delete all your partitions and repartition with another tool (such as Linux's cfdisk or fdisk). If there's an easier and less destructive way to fix it, I'd like to know.

I really hope the FreeBSD developers will take the time to finally eradicate this bug - I'm sure it drives away many potential users. OpenBSD and NetBSD are not plagued by the geometry bug, so it should certainly be fixable.

If it's any consolation, Windows XP also has a geometry bug. Install XP after you've installed Linux on another partition, and Windows will wreck your Linux partitions, but it won't wreck other Windows partitions on your hard drive. I kind of wonder if this isn't deliberate.

Reply Score: 1

Anonymous Penguin Member since:
2005-07-06

"If there's an easier and less destructive way to fix it, I'd like to know."

You could try Partition Table Doctor. It is commercial software, but when you are in a desperate situation you might want to spend a few bucks.

Also if you normally don't use Windows, you can create a bootable CD from any Windows partition:

http://www.ptdd.com/ptdmoreinfo.htm

Reply Score: 1

Temcat Member since:
2005-10-18

If it's any consolation, Windows XP also has a geometry bug. Install XP after you've installed Linux on another partition, and Windows will wreck your Linux partitions, but it won't wreck other Windows partitions on your hard drive. I kind of wonder if this isn't deliberate.

Hm, XP didn't do that for me (that was a clean reinstall of XP on a machine where there were 2 Linux distros installed).

Reply Score: 1

Andrew Youll Member since:
2005-06-29

PC-BSD would never install on my Athlon64 system due to HD Geometry, I worked for many months with Kris Moore of PC-BSD, in the end we sorted it out, the bugt still maybe there, I'm not sure but it works, and I XP, GNU/Linux and SkyOS installed on that System too.

Reply Score: 5

RE: What about the geometry bug...
by ferrix on Sun 5th Feb 2006 00:36 UTC in reply to "What about the geometry bug..."
ferrix Member since:
2005-07-06

It does exist or at least it did about 6 months ago. However I since installed PCBSD several times with no trouble and my theory is that the bug only bites if you use BSD software to resize partitions or otherwise mess with partition boundaries. Ever since I partitioned my disk in Linux and then just pointed PCBSD at the partition I wanted it to use, I had no trouble.

I would very much like to hear other people's experiences that could confirm or deny this theory.

Reply Score: 4

jbalmer Member since:
2005-12-18

Actually it does. That is what my friends who have installed FreeBSD say. They say that freebsd complains if it encounters an extended partition. It has no hiccups about primary partitions though.

Reply Score: 4

Anonymous Penguin Member since:
2005-07-06

"my theory is that the bug only bites if you use BSD software to resize partitions or otherwise mess with partition boundaries. Ever since I partitioned my disk in Linux and then just pointed PCBSD at the partition I wanted it to use, I had no trouble."

Interesting. I must give PC-BSD another try.
At least the geometry bug is being acknowledged here.

When in the past I used to say: "what about the geometry bug?" the reply always was: "Huh? Which bug?", and they voted me down for daring to say something negative.

Reply Score: 1

More is on the way...
by openartist on Sat 4th Feb 2006 19:25 UTC
openartist
Member since:
2005-09-11

I just wanted to add that you can expect some great things from PC-BSD in the near future. I'm working with Charles Landemine on upgrading the user experience in all aspects of the OS.

Cheers.

Reply Score: 3

RE: More is on the way...
by Hetfield on Sat 4th Feb 2006 19:42 UTC in reply to "More is on the way..."
Hetfield Member since:
2005-07-09

Sounds great! Can you share some details with us?

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: More is on the way...
by openartist on Sun 5th Feb 2006 08:03 UTC in reply to "RE: More is on the way..."
openartist Member since:
2005-09-11

Well, I wouldn't want to get too carried away but we're in the process of designing a PCBSD theme for KDE as well as creating at least some unique key icons to the icon set. That's a small part of it really, a very small part. In general our aim is not to just create a cohesive and coherent brand but a communication strategy in general. In terms of design, open source software is like herding rabid cattle. It's very difficult for most projects to give their users a consistent brand experience because every project has a brand, and every brand is "administered" by its own patron volunteer designer or dev team. This is especially the case with some popular desktop environments. The branding is aggressive and consequently de-brands the parent project that is implementing it. This isn't really a problem for people "in the know" and who are familiar with the ins and outs of the F/OSS scene. The more elite crowd have a palette for the subtler distinctions. My grandmother does not. So in part what lies ahead is a lot of headache and heartache in structuring a map and model for creating not only a project but a successful brand experience. I'll be writing a paper about it soon so if this seems cryptic and offensive I apologize. It's 3 in the morning and I have a long meditation practice in the morning to be awake for, but expect some more news...soon.

-Paul
openartist.net (excuse the spam on my blog)

Edited 2006-02-05 08:06

Reply Score: 4

RE: More is on the way...
by molnarcs on Sun 5th Feb 2006 01:41 UTC in reply to "More is on the way..."
molnarcs Member since:
2005-09-10

Wow! I looked at your website, and its very nice! So is your FreeBSD art - so, we can expect some nice visual goodies I guess in the next release ;) ))

Reply Score: 3

PC-BSD review
by TaterSalad on Sat 4th Feb 2006 20:52 UTC
TaterSalad
Member since:
2005-07-06

Now thats the way to do a review. It states the good, the bad, and the ugly. I have PC-BSD RC1 loaded on a vmware player and tested it that way. I really enjoyed working with it. I'm just waiting on a spare drive and I'll be installing PCBSD to it so I can actually use it straight from the hardware and not a virtual machine.

Reply Score: 4

Dead Link
by lefty78312 on Sat 4th Feb 2006 22:48 UTC
lefty78312
Member since:
2005-10-18

Another dead link. I get more dead links on this site on different computers at different locations than all the other sites I visit combined.

Reply Score: 1

Just out of curiosity....
by tristan on Sat 4th Feb 2006 23:01 UTC
tristan
Member since:
2006-02-01

Hmmm, the sites seems to be down at the moment (isn't Blogspot run by Google? Odd).

But could somebody please sum up for me: what are the differences between running KDE on PC-BSD, and running KDE on, say, Kubuntu? I'm curious about both enefits and drawbacks....

Reply Score: 1

software availabilitz
by molnarcs on Sun 5th Feb 2006 00:13 UTC
molnarcs
Member since:
2005-09-10

provided the developers provide more variety of software

Yeah, indeed, some important software might be missing currently, but (as a recent PC-BSD convert) I think the goal is not only to provide good software, but enable the community to build their own. I think there is still some work to do to make PBI creation more easy (like defining a set of libraries that are present on all systems, so PBI won't have to hunt down all of them), but it is getting there. And once the infrastructure is in place, we should see a lot of new contributions.

Also, if you are a freebsd user, you might want to give PCBSD a try. I had some concerns before I installed it, for I run a customized FreeBSD before (-STABLE with some patches) - but the underlying system plays very well with PC-BSD's additions. In fact, I'm running 6.1-prerelease as a base for PC-BSD now. And for a freebsd user with some experience, the opportunity to contribute to a project might be interesting. It certainly is for me. Pbi creation is easier than ports (the porter's handbook was way over my head sometimes) - so, if you felt the urge to contribute to an opensource project, PC-BSD is an excellent opportunity. Of course, this is true for linux users as well... the howtos are clear, and if your aim is to learn something about freebsd, PC-BSD is an easy and fast way to begin. Ports are there, and you can learn everything about maintaining them, creating binary packages (like debs) from ports (it is one command!), and eventually, PBIs.

Reply Score: 3

runs on old hardware
by jtrapp on Sun 5th Feb 2006 00:24 UTC
jtrapp
Member since:
2005-07-06

I put PC-BSD on a Pentium 450 and it pushes it better than any version of Windows or Linux that I've tried.
I was prepared to turn that box into a firewall, but with PC-BSD on it I was able to give it away as a usable desktop.

Reply Score: 4

Good review
by bsdusr on Sun 5th Feb 2006 13:25 UTC
bsdusr
Member since:
2006-02-05

As one of the first using PC-BSD users, i enjoyed this review. It shows how much this project has evolved since 0.5.

Overal, i enjoyed reading this review, although i belive some things were not as well explained as i would like.

Quote:
“And immediately after that, the graphical installer is started and the user is led through the installation process which, sans the partitioning, keyboard, locale and time configuration is really just copying all the files into the partition of ones choice. At the end of installation, I was placed into a fully configured KDE desktop system.”

If i can recall correctly, the graphical partitioning isn't there because of the geometry bug. To force people to take care of the partitioning before installing PC-BSD.
I am sure that as soon as the bug is fixed, we will have a graphical partitioner again. ;)
As some one pointed out here, if the partitioning is done with a linux live cd for example, there is no problem whatsoever. I have PC-BSD, Windows and PCLINUX installed and have no problems.
The best, most practical thing to do right now, is to install PC-BSD without the BSD Boot Loader and use an external boot loader (I use GAG) to chainload the OS.
I have been doing this since the first PC-BSD release and never had problems. Grub can do this as well if people prefer it and i belive someone at the PC-BSD forums reports booting it it from LILO.

Quote:
“Fig: GUI for installing and uninstalling programs”

This subtitle is not completely right. This GUI is only for software uninstallation.
Instalation is done ala windows. Click the pbi file, enable it to execute by typing the root pasword, accept a license if it exists and choose where and if you want the shortcuts for the app.

Quote:
“Secondly, for installing and uninstalling software, PC-BSD has developed its own method which is similar to that found in Windows. That is, the software is packaged as a monolithic .pbi (pcbsd installer) file which has to be downloaded from their repository site.”

The pbi's aren't blocked to the official repository. Anyone can create a PBI site like that and host PBI's.
One of the goals of the PBI concept is to free software develpment and distribution. What the pbi site does have (because it is the official site) is a test team which checks for the quality and safety of the packages. Anyone can create a PBI and send it for inspection. If it works correctly and does exactly what it says it will be placed there. In the future the pbi certification program working there will evolve to certify pbi's globally, not just for the official repo.
The PC-BSD project expects that as the project grows and matures, official PBI's will start appearing from the software developers themselves (although other people still maintain the freedom to make their own PBI's for the apps as well, as long as they are signaled as unnoficial).
This supposedly will lead to the perfectionment of the PBI system and PC-BSD.

what do you guys think about this?

Cheers,

Renato Flórido

Reply Score: 3

64 bit PCBSD
by Haicube on Mon 6th Feb 2006 07:26 UTC
Haicube
Member since:
2005-08-06

PCBSD is progressing fine it seems. I tried a version back in the 0.6 days (which was quite recently actually). My feeling then was that the .pbi's wasn't working 100% but it seems they've fixed that matter.

I'd be delighted to see DesktopBSD and PCBSD to join forces just like many others here. On the other hand, 2 R&D groups can take different routes and share the best with eachother, as BSDs has always done.

Now to the 100 million dollar question. When is PCBSD gonna offer 64bit installations (AMD64 specifically in my interest)?

If I'm gonna switch from Windoze for my everyday working machine, it's gonna be PCBSD or Haiku (though the latter will force me to wait a while longer it seems).

Keep up the good job.

Reply Score: 1

I hope we will see some ...
by fithisux on Mon 6th Feb 2006 17:42 UTC
fithisux
Member since:
2006-01-22

PCBSD like distributions for DragonFlyBSD. NetBSD and OpenBSD.

PCBSD is good!!!

Reply Score: 1