Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 10th Mar 2009 15:03 UTC, submitted by Reece Tarbert
FreeBSD If you wanted to try FreeBSD but didn't have the right hardware, or enough time to make it useful on the desktop, VirtualBSD might fit the bill: it's a VMware appliance based on FreeBSD 7.1-RELEASE and features the Xfce 4 Desktop Environment and a few of the most common applications to make it very functional right out of the box. If you're curious you can have a look at the screenshots, or proceed to the download page and grab the torrent file right away (note: VirtualBSD also works in VirtualBox 2.x as long as you create a new virtual machine and select the virtual disk from the archive instead of creating a new one).
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Comment by foldingstock
by foldingstock on Tue 10th Mar 2009 15:34 UTC
foldingstock
Member since:
2008-10-30

Looks interesting. Is this an attempt to get more people to try FreeBSD?

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by foldingstock
by karunko on Tue 10th Mar 2009 16:12 UTC in reply to "Comment by foldingstock"
karunko Member since:
2008-10-28

Yes, that's the main reason for VirtualBSD. As the FAQ says: "FreeBSD is a very well regarded OS but, regrettably, it's not exactly popular -- especially on the destkop".

As long time FreeBSD users and supporters we'd like to see more people trying it out and we think a virtual appliance is a very straightforward way to do that.



Reece

Reply Score: 2

VirtualBox
by SEC_BSD on Tue 10th Mar 2009 15:56 UTC
SEC_BSD
Member since:
2009-03-10

FreeBSD does not work well in VirtualBox. Under high processor/memory loads, the system hangs with a sigreturn:eflags error. It has been an ongoing problem, still generated in v2.1.4.

Reply Score: 1

RE: VirtualBox
by robojerk on Tue 10th Mar 2009 16:12 UTC in reply to "VirtualBox "
robojerk Member since:
2006-01-10

=\
I have a love/hate relationship with VirtualBox. It works really well for some things. For others I want to yell and scream at it. Installing RedHat/Fedora/CentOS as a guest for example never seem to work for any host machine I try to use. It does work very well with anything Windows/deb based linuxes without any issues and I can easily replace VMware with those guests.

Maybe it's just me or I'm missing something.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: VirtualBox
by darknexus on Tue 10th Mar 2009 17:18 UTC in reply to "RE: VirtualBox "
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

Same here, running Virtualbox 2.1.4 on an OS X host. It runs a basic windows VM fine when I tested it, but I can't get acceptable performance out of any Linux or *BSD variant even after installing the guest tools. When compared to VMWare, it's at least 4x slower. As for Opensolaris, it won't even start X, it drops to the console with a segfault. Eventually I just gave up and continued with VMware. Open source or not, Virtualbox just doesn't want to work in the way I need it to.

Reply Score: 4

RE: VirtualBox
by karunko on Tue 10th Mar 2009 16:46 UTC in reply to "VirtualBox "
karunko Member since:
2008-10-28

Yes, unfortunately FreeBSD is not officially supported by VirtualBox -- it mostly works but, according to many reports, only as long as you don't try anything that's stressing the virtual disk to much (like compiling a port or the kernel, for instance.

That's why VirtualBSD mentions VMware Player (or better) explicitly and only places hints about VirtualBox in /boot/loader.conf and /etc/X11/ReadmeVirtualBox.txt (you may also want to run /usr/local/bin/vmware-uninstall-tools.pl as you won't need them any longer).

As I see it, the only problem is that there is no free VMware Player for OS X as the only option is VMware Fusion -- and I don't know if Parallels can run VMware appliances, but that one ain't free (as in beer) either.


Reece

Reply Score: 1

Right Hardware
by AndyM103 on Tue 10th Mar 2009 17:35 UTC
AndyM103
Member since:
2008-03-18

As far as I knew FreeBSD was quite well supported on most hardware! The only reason I'm not running it now on my laptop is that I quite like graphical effects with an NVIDIA card and Ubuntu or Fedora run fine for me.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Right Hardware
by karunko on Tue 10th Mar 2009 17:47 UTC in reply to "Right Hardware"
karunko Member since:
2008-10-28

Okay, let me clarify things: FreeBSD supports a lot of hardware as long as you run it as a server and don't need fancy graphics, audio, and whatnot -- and does a fine job at that. But try it on a modern, off the shelf PC, notebook or netbook and you won't be so lucky. I mean, even an onboard NIC might be problematic!

That said, this is clearly not FreeBSD's fault (as vendors seldom release specifications and stick to binary drivers for select Linux distributions at best) but the result doesn't change: it's a very daunting task to get any kind of modern desktop oriented FreeBSD (that's not their goal either, but I digress).



Reece

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Right Hardware
by hadyn on Tue 10th Mar 2009 21:03 UTC in reply to "RE: Right Hardware"
hadyn Member since:
2006-05-14

Okay, let me clarify things: FreeBSD supports a lot of hardware as long as you run it as a server and don't need fancy graphics, audio, and whatnot


Bit of a generalization there regarding hardware support. I have been running FreeBSD as my main desktop now since 2000 and in that time I haven't found it to be lacking in hardware support.

As with any open source operating system it pays not to have the very latest hardware as developers need time to write drivers.

Any way great to see any effort that gets people trying out FreeBSD.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Right Hardware
by Doc Pain on Wed 11th Mar 2009 13:34 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Right Hardware"
Doc Pain Member since:
2006-10-08

I can only second your comment. But allow me a few additions:

"Okay, let me clarify things: FreeBSD supports a lot of hardware as long as you run it as a server and don't need fancy graphics, audio, and whatnot


Bit of a generalization there regarding hardware support. I have been running FreeBSD as my main desktop now since 2000 and in that time I haven't found it to be lacking in hardware support.
"

First of all: FreeBSD isn't tied to a specific use such as "server" or "desktop". It's a multi-purpose OS which serves well in both areas. Because we're not talking about servers now, let me emphasize that I'm using it on my desktop exclusively since version 4.0 now without any problems.

Key statement for hardware support is: What hardware do you use? Did you purchase it after verifying that it is compatible to FreeBSD? It's always a good choice not to buy "Windows"-only devices because they are known for bad compatibility and lack of standard conformness.

FreeBSD generally supports all hardware that is conform to existing standards.

As with any open source operating system it pays not to have the very latest hardware as developers need time to write drivers.


You realize a certain delay in driver support, that's completely true, especially for all the fancy desktop devices such as "high end" GPUs or crappy webcams. I won't be so silly to claim the opposite. There is hardware that isn't supported at all. But then, the question is: Is this stuff even worth using at all?

Any way great to see any effort that gets people trying out FreeBSD.


Yes. But I may add that you can experience the beauty, the robustness, the speed and the features of FreeBSD best when you run it purely. :-)

FreeBSD is a great OS with high quality and a good development philosophy behind it. It's really worth trying, and I welcome every means that makes this trying more easy.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Right Hardware
by sakeniwefu on Thu 12th Mar 2009 07:55 UTC in reply to "RE: Right Hardware"
sakeniwefu Member since:
2008-02-26


That said, this is clearly not FreeBSD's fault (as vendors seldom release specifications and stick to binary drivers for select Linux distributions at best) but the result doesn't change: it's a very daunting task to get any kind of modern desktop oriented FreeBSD (that's not their goal either, but I digress).


It is FreeBSD's fault in part because they often support hacks(Linux emulation and blob drivers) to get hardware to work until they get a free driver, either by themselves or from the other BSD operating systems.

While this is good for the owners of such hardware it doesn't get the message across.

Users of open source software should get to know, that for them to really have a choice they must buy hardware with open specs.

I actively bought such hardware, and this allowed me to enjoy open source operating systems. If I had bought from NVIDIA and company I would have a blinking terminal at most.

Hopefully my provider will get the message and build more open hardware.

If more people got the message and supported open vendors instead of the likes of NVIDIA which can leave you without a driver(in Linux, of course, but also in Windows if you dont suck the latest version from Microsoft) at any moment.

Just like you can have fun without drugs, you can use a PC and even play games without NVIDIA cripplehardware.

Reply Score: 2