Linked by Amjith Ramanujam on Thu 2nd Oct 2008 20:50 UTC
PC-BSD Recently the PC-BSD team released their latest stable version (PC-BSD 7) code-named Fibonacci Edition. Some of major changes from the previous version include a newer kernel, an experimental ZFS module, and a KDE 4 for desktop environment. Being a Linux junkie, I thought of this as a perfect opportunity to venture into the BSD arena.
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Missing screenshots
by edogawaconan on Fri 3rd Oct 2008 15:03 UTC
edogawaconan
Member since:
2006-10-10

Clicking on the images give me 404 error as they have wrong extension on the url. .jpg should be .png

Also, FreeBSD's port system installs programs by compiling from source (except if you choose to do binary install with pkg_add which usually out-of-date).

Reply Score: 2

RE: Missing screenshots
by amjith on Fri 3rd Oct 2008 15:19 UTC in reply to "Missing screenshots"
amjith Member since:
2005-07-08

Mea Culpa. It is fixed now. Thanks for the heads up.

About the FreeBSD ports system, I was referring to the packages that I installed through the pkg_add command. But you are right port system can also install it by compiling from source. Using the KPorts program I could see that it was compiling it from the source.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Missing screenshots
by Liquidator on Fri 3rd Oct 2008 16:15 UTC in reply to "RE: Missing screenshots"
Liquidator Member since:
2007-03-04

Nice article, although it would have been nice to proof-read it.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Missing screenshots
by dexter11 on Sat 4th Oct 2008 10:10 UTC in reply to "RE: Missing screenshots"
dexter11 Member since:
2008-01-11

The first and the last pic still has the wrong extension (png).

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Missing screenshots
by mintar on Sat 4th Oct 2008 12:29 UTC in reply to "RE: Missing screenshots"
mintar Member since:
2008-09-26

Ehm, no. Sorry for bickering, but some of the screenshots still don't work, although they now all have a .png extension.

Thanks for the article, BTW!

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Missing screenshots
by amjith on Sat 4th Oct 2008 14:25 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Missing screenshots"
amjith Member since:
2005-07-08

but some of the screenshots still don't work, although they now all have a .png extension.


I've updated the links and it works only intermittently. Turns out it is not a problem with the extension but using picasa for embedding pictures is a bad idea, it buckles under load. I am sorry about the inconvenience, I'll be cautious next time.

In the meantime if you get a 404 error try refreshing a couple of times you might get lucky ;) .

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Missing screenshots
by Tor85 on Sat 4th Oct 2008 18:58 UTC in reply to "RE: Missing screenshots"
Tor85 Member since:
2006-07-04

Hey, screenshots are still missing for me.

Reply Score: 1

dtrace for FreeBSD?
by project_2501 on Fri 3rd Oct 2008 15:10 UTC
project_2501
Member since:
2006-03-20

I know ZFS in freebsd is coming along, as it is in macosx .... but what happened to the efforts to port DTRACE? Its fairly well done in MacOSX.

The relevant pages seem not to be updated anymore:
http://dtrace.what-creek.com/
http://people.freebsd.org/~jb/dtrace/todo.html
http://kerneltrap.org/mailarchive/freebsd-current/2008/2/5/728124

any more recent news?

I also think its time for the Linux people to admit defeat with SystemTap and perhaps rethink a new framework that will do what DTRACE does, but maybe better?

Reply Score: 1

RE: dtrace for FreeBSD?
by segedunum on Fri 3rd Oct 2008 15:43 UTC in reply to "dtrace for FreeBSD?"
segedunum Member since:
2005-07-06

Who cares about DTrace? Look how pretty the damn thing is :-).

Reply Score: 2

RE: dtrace for FreeBSD?
by tankist on Fri 3rd Oct 2008 17:16 UTC in reply to "dtrace for FreeBSD?"
tankist Member since:
2007-01-19

I think DTrace should be included in FreeBSD 7.1

Reply Score: 2

Nice Review!
by TaterSalad on Fri 3rd Oct 2008 15:33 UTC
TaterSalad
Member since:
2005-07-06

Thanks for the review, well thought out. I've tried earlier versions of PC-BSD like 1.5 and it was pretty good. I tried to load the new version into a virtualbox session but it wouldn't load, just kept rebooting. It could have been that I was using the net install cd image. You've inspired me to download the full cd's or dvd and install it from there.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Nice Review!
by Punktyras on Sat 4th Oct 2008 09:30 UTC in reply to "Nice Review!"
Punktyras Member since:
2006-01-07

I tried to load the new version into a virtualbox session but it wouldn't load, just kept rebooting. It could have been that I was using the net install cd image.

DVD install on VirtualBox does the same to me. I'd like to have it as main system, but fact that PCBSD does not have amd64 discs keeps me from doing it...

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Nice Review!
by amjith on Sat 4th Oct 2008 10:20 UTC in reply to "RE: Nice Review!"
amjith Member since:
2005-07-08

Is there a specific reason why you need the AMD64 version of the OS? Because as I mentioned in the article even though the PC-BSD was only a 32-bit OS, it was quite fast and snappy. Visibly faster than my Mandriva on the same system.

Edited 2008-10-04 10:21 UTC

Reply Score: 1

Someone Who Gets at Least Some of it
by segedunum on Fri 3rd Oct 2008 15:41 UTC
segedunum
Member since:
2005-07-06

It's not a Linux distributor either :-).

The look and feel of KDE 4 was nice and polished. PC-BSD has nicely integrated it's administration tools into the KDE environment.

What? Not Yet Another Setup Tool or Control Centre? You actually used the native tools of the desktop to create something that fitted in? Say what? I take it these tools didn't take several years to develop and eat lots of VC funding either?

Double clicking on this file in KDE will launch a graphical installation wizard (root password is required) and guide you through the installation of the software.

I still find it astonishing to this day that all Unix-like systems, and especially Linux ones, don't get how much of a big deal it is for developers to be able to get software to their users, and for their users to be able to install and configure that software easily.

They've also chosen a desktop that actually gives them fairly easy ways of creating lots of desktop applications and applets (plasmoids) and allows easy installation there as well. They can create lots of well integrated GUI tools to their hearts' content. From a multimedia perspective, they also have something that allows them to focus multimedia support for BSD in one place whilst making sure that applications don't need to are or be ported (Phonon).

If they really go to town on the development tools side of things with this and get developers developing for PC-BSD then the future looks pretty damn bright.

Reply Score: 3

Liquidator Member since:
2007-03-04

and get developers developing for PC-BSD then the future looks pretty damn bright.


No need. All you need is either the source code and the team will add it to their automated build server to have the application available as .pbi, and updated, or if it's a proprietary application, all you need is a FreeBSD version (or Linux version) and the PBI server can pack it every time there's a new version.

Reply Score: 3

segedunum Member since:
2005-07-06

No need. All you need is either the source code and the team will add it to their automated build server to have the application available as .pbi

Not quite what I was driving at. The source is important in being able to distribute and install lots of software easily (open source stuff anyway - that's how its usage has increased), but what is needed is a distribution and installation method when you getting the source and packaging it up is not an option. It distributes the effort and resources required, and increases the software written for your system, and ultimately usage, by allowing users to get hold of software where your software installation method doesn't fit - i.e. proprietary off-the-shelf software etc.

Thus far, PC-BSD is the only system where I have seen someone at least get that and at least take it seriously. Of course, an installation system is a lot more than what they have there currently, and there are some real pitfalls where your packaging system ends and third-party installation starts, but it is definitely a start.

Reply Score: 3

BSD is leading again
by Arabian on Fri 3rd Oct 2008 15:50 UTC
Arabian
Member since:
2007-01-23

Wait for the mass desktop, and laptop deployment. ;)

Edited 2008-10-03 15:50 UTC

Reply Score: 1

Yea
by Xaero_Vincent on Fri 3rd Oct 2008 16:35 UTC
Xaero_Vincent
Member since:
2006-08-18

I migrated to PC-BSD 7 last week.

The experience has pretty been good except for some dependency errors with binary packages in the ports free and horrible ATI drivers.

There isn't a native Flash player but bleeding-edge versions of Swfdec and Gnash work well enough. The Windows Firefox Flash player plug-in also works great in Wine. The Linux Flash player 9/10 will likely run better in FreeBSD/PC-BSD 8, when the Linux kernel emulator is upgraded to 2.6.16.

However, I cannot say the same about the video drivers. The terrible r300 driver was nearly a show stopper for me and my ATI Radeon 9600XT. The F/OSS Xorg driver has implemented most OpenGL extensions, so there weren't really any graphical artifact issues and missing textures but the performance is just horrible. Choosing between EXA and XAA X-server acceleration architectures made no difference.

Example: I received about 5-10 FPS on VDrift (N64 quality graphics) and 30-40 FPS in Doom 3 at 800x600 on Windows using the proprietary drivers.

Reply Score: 2

Not any more on BSD ...
by dindin on Fri 3rd Oct 2008 17:29 UTC
dindin
Member since:
2006-03-29

It was one of the painful thing I had to do ....

I wiped out my FreeBSD system and installed Linux over it. I need a few features that BSD has not caughtup with and PC-BSD does not fix that either but the one that forced the switch was Virtualization - I was hoping they might port VirtualBox or VMware to FreeBSD but has not happened (is there anything like that?).

BSD folks seem to focus a lot on running Linux software but I think a solution like KVM on Linux will be of far greater benefit.

Hope I can still convert back once something is available (QEMU is not it - unless kqemu includes some of KVM work on native virtualization).

What happened to Xen on FreeBSD?

Reply Score: 3

RE: Not any more on BSD ...
by Xaero_Vincent on Fri 3rd Oct 2008 18:03 UTC in reply to "Not any more on BSD ..."
Xaero_Vincent Member since:
2006-08-18

KVM has been ported to FreeBSD

http://feanor.sssup.it/~fabio/freebsd/lkvm/

I read that Xen support is coming for FreeBSD 8.

VirtualBox OSE can be ported to FreeBSD as the code is open-source for that version.

But there is Win4BSD.

http://www.win4bsd.com/content/

Reply Score: 4

v Why KDE?
by tuaris on Fri 3rd Oct 2008 18:09 UTC
RE: Why KDE?
by BluenoseJake on Fri 3rd Oct 2008 18:34 UTC in reply to "Why KDE?"
BluenoseJake Member since:
2005-08-11

Perhaps you could just install Gnome? It's in the ports system, and then uninstall KDE, and poof, a BSD Gnome system. That's the beautiful thing about FOSS, if you don't like it, tweak it, change it, rearrange it.

And If you like any sort of customization at all, Gnome is horrible. The people who matter like to customize things, hence KDE.

Edited 2008-10-03 18:36 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE: Why KDE?
by irbis on Fri 3rd Oct 2008 18:50 UTC in reply to "Why KDE?"
irbis Member since:
2005-07-08

Many BSD-based operating system projects seem to prefer KDE over GNOME. There may be many reasons, but one reason seems to be that KDE may be easier to manage and package, according to many, which matters to small projects with few developers and maintainers.

Also some Linux distributions, Slackware, GoboLinux etc. have preferred KDE over GNOME for the same reason. Slackware's Patrick Volkerding explains the reasons for dropping its GNOME support here: http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2004/10/27/1098667821639.html

Reply Score: 6

RE[2]: Why KDE?
by Soulbender on Fri 3rd Oct 2008 18:56 UTC in reply to "RE: Why KDE?"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

but one reason seems to be that KDE may be easier to manage and package


KDA is also, at least according to the OpenBSD folks, easier to port to non-Linux systems with good results.

Reply Score: 6

RE: Why KDE?
by Luminair on Sat 4th Oct 2008 04:37 UTC in reply to "Why KDE?"
Luminair Member since:
2007-03-30

ouch

that is harsh

Reply Score: 2

RE: Why KDE?
by zombie process on Sat 4th Oct 2008 15:46 UTC in reply to "Why KDE?"
zombie process Member since:
2005-07-08

Or they could shit into a cardboard box and stuff it into a pbi. You know, for the the people that really matter.

Reply Score: 3

Just one thing
by Ultimatebadass on Sat 4th Oct 2008 08:40 UTC
Ultimatebadass
Member since:
2006-01-08

The look and feel of KDE 4 was nice and polished.

This is right under a system tray screenshot where you can see black background on all the icons. Polished is not the word i'd use ;)

Although I must admit I like the dark feel of the desktop, somewhat ruined of course by the default grey theme of KDE.

Reply Score: 0

Gave it a try
by righard on Sat 4th Oct 2008 13:38 UTC
righard
Member since:
2007-12-26

After reading this article I tested the OS yesterday on my laptop. I'm an advanced Linux user but every time I tried to look at BSD I couldn't get it to work properly. This in contradiction to PC-BSD, the installation went very smooth and after it was finished I got greeted with a full working KDE session.
The drivers for my ATI card worked poorly, but this can be forgiven for it's a crappy on board card that doesn't even work wonders in Linux.
I thought I would not like the way you install packages in PC-BSD, and for my personal use I prefer the way of most Linuxes, but for a average desktop computer it seems quite good; I'm sure it feels more natural to Windows and OSX users.

The best compliment I can give the new PC-BSD is that I threw it all off again, I don't like OS'es that are that easy to use, not geeky enough.

One critique though; KDE4 ran very poorly on my 2 year old laptop, when I started a little QT game called KrisK my laptop started panting placing there was a delay of atleast 0,25 seconds between click and action. Is this an issue with my computer if any-one knows? I tested KDE4 on Linux once with the seem computer and it ran much more smoothly.

P.S: I wonder does BSD have some kind of different version of Vim, it's my most used piece of software but I couldn't work with this one. Sometimes it went out of insert mode when I went a line up, after which it refused to go back in it again, I felt stupid hearing all those error beeps

Reply Score: 1

RE: Gave it a try
by sakeniwefu on Sat 4th Oct 2008 14:56 UTC in reply to "Gave it a try"
sakeniwefu Member since:
2008-02-26

It's likely you weren't using vim at all but nvi. nvi is a part of the base BSD system and behaves exactly like the original UNIX vi.
vi!=vim. You are doing it wrong if you are typing vi to bring it up. Most Linux distributions symlink vi to vim, in non compatible mode which is the behavior you are expecting. If you want vim, you will have to install it if it isn't, or type v-i-m.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Gave it a try
by amjith on Sat 4th Oct 2008 15:17 UTC in reply to "Gave it a try"
amjith Member since:
2005-07-08

After reading this article I tested the OS yesterday on my laptop.

Wow! That is the best compliment I've gotten so far ;) . Now to address your issues. I was able to run vim without much trouble. I tried GVim and it looked like crap (it was still using GTK 1.2 or something). So I compiled my own GVim from source with GTK 2.0 and it worked like a charm.

I thought I would not like the way you install packages in PC-BSD, and for my personal use I prefer the way of most Linuxes,

As far as the package installation goes, the FreeBSD ports will do a good job of satisfying a power user who wants things to be not so easy. After all the list of PBI files is so limited I find myself using the ports more often. Have you tried the pkg_add command? That is the equivalent of apt-get install or urpmi or emerge in a Linux environment. If you find that too easy, there is always ./configure && make && make install.


One critique though; KDE4 ran very poorly on my 2 year old laptop, when I started a little QT game called KrisK my laptop started panting placing there was a delay of atleast 0,25 seconds between click and action.

Could this be related to the ATI driver? If it works smoothly on Linux, then it makes me wonder if you need to tweak your Xorg.conf. Try to copy your Xorg.conf from the Linux partition (if you still have it) and replace the BSD's Xorg.conf file. You might need to modify the file a little bit to make it work. (Always backup your working Xorg.conf file, before trying anything funny).

Reply Score: 2

State of suspend/resume ?
by mksoft on Sun 5th Oct 2008 13:27 UTC
mksoft
Member since:
2006-02-25

Thanks for the review.

You've mentioned installing on a laptop. Did you try suspend/resume (must have feature for me) ?

Last time I've tried (FBSD 7.0 beta), it didn't work for me (I know it might be hardware depended, mine is Thinkpad X60s, in case it's relevant).

Reply Score: 1

Pretty cool but not for me yet
by bozotheclown on Mon 6th Oct 2008 06:18 UTC
bozotheclown
Member since:
2008-10-06

I doenloaded the installation dvd, backed up my nvraid-0 Vista x64 install and booted with the PC-BSD7 dvd.

To my surprise it recocnised everything in my pc and the installation went fast and smooth. After the installation including addind Firefox, Openoffice and a user, it rebooted to present me with a very decent desktop but, I had to select the resolution first which didn't work.
It kept telling me selecting the resolution had failed and defaulted back to 1024x768 whilst it was running in 1900x1200 already.
I skipped the resolution selection and got the desktop which, as I stated, is nice.

The desktop I was presented with was running in the default resolution of my DVI connected 24" of 1920x1200 which is good but it seemed to do only 16bit color and I couldn't find a way to change that.

I did find a way to enable KDE animations etc. but enabling that left me with a black desktop.

Switching away from the desktop with ctrl+F1 got me prompt and switching back to the desktop with ctrl+F8 or F9 (don't remember) got me the black desktop again. I found no way to get a working desktop again.

Anyway, this is just a glitch, it's fantastic that even my nvraid-0 is supported. Now it seems my dual 8800GTS512 is not supported very well but I'll keep looking at the support forum and once that changes I'll try it again.

Reply Score: 1

Multiple copies of libraries! OH, My!
by linuxiac38 on Mon 6th Oct 2008 17:58 UTC
linuxiac38
Member since:
2008-10-06

Installed several machines, at GiftFromGodComputerFoundation.org
where we fix donated systems, and pass them on to school aged children who have none!

Failed test, because some of our systems only have 8.4 to 10.2 GB hard drives, and the INSTALL wanted 8 GB!

Installed Ubuntu 8.04.01 and it used 1.7 GB!

Debian 4.0 also used about 1.7GB of hard drive space!

PC-BSD is very good, except for install of the same libraries for each application, making it a hog of drive space!

Reply Score: 1