Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 10th Oct 2006 15:14 UTC, submitted by Charles A Landemaine
PC-BSD "iXsystems, an enterprise-class hardware solution provider, announced today its acquisition of PC-BSD, a rock solid UNIX operating system based on FreeBSD. PC-BSD is a fully functional desktop operating system running FreeBSD version 6, with a KDE desktop interface and graphical system installer. Its PBI system, developed exclusively for PC-BSD, lets users download and install their applications in a self-extracting and installing format. iXsystems' acquisition of PC-BSD will provide funding to the PC-BSD project to increase distribution of PC-BSD and develop future versions of PC-BSD. Development is currently underway for a version of PC-BSD that will allow for easy installation and operation on servers, workstations, and laptops."
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My opinion
by sremick on Wed 11th Oct 2006 13:31 UTC
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Not that I have anything new to say that hasn't been said already, but I figured I'd cast my opinion(s). I write as a FreeBSD user and advocate, and I've used it as my primary desktop OS for several years. I don't use PC-BSD primarily but I do have it installed on a test laptop and I've played around with it (I prefer Gnome anyway).

First of all, I'm not worried about this purchase. iXsystems is Matt Olander's company and I've been familiar with his name and the company for a while now.

Secondly... I agree that the license debate is off-topic and a dead horse. Fight it in some other thread.

Next... I agree that FreeBSD's ports/package system isn't perfect. It has lots of room for improvement. But PBI is not the answer. The concept flies in the face of numerous established good ideas that have held for many years. While I am not against change and new ideas in-general, this isn't a "new idea". This is an old road that has been down before and did not pan out. Shared libraries are meant to be just that: "shared".

Next... I am always greatly-offended by the "RAM is cheap" argument that encourages bloated and lazy programming techniques and OS design. It is little fundamentally-wrong ideas like that early in the process that, extrapolated to the big picture, result in OSes (like we see from some vendors) with obscene software requirements. Please stay off the slippery slope "hardware is cheap" comeback... that is no excuse to not take memory-usage into account in every low-level design decision. Sure, you might look at your individual app and say that having your own private copy of alternate library versions loaded into memory only adds another 500K, but multiple that over and over... people run more than one application at a time, then there is the overhead of the DE itself (KDE in this case) and the OS. My machine has 512MB. If RAM is so cheap, feel free to send me some out of your own pocket, since you're so quick to dimiss it as an infinitely-expendible zero-cost commodity.

It is just plain rude to dismiss memory usage (and peoples' pocketbooks) like that, for a questionable return. People have a wide range of systems they like to run their OS on, and it's bad enough that both KDE and Gnome have seriously narrowed their installable market due to their rather severe disregard to memory usage. Even Firefox (my browser of choice) has taken a similar attitude and the fact that developers don't seem to mind that it takes up 2-3 times more RAM (hundreds of megabytes) than my largest WINDOWS app irks me to no end. If PC-BSD continues in its current mentality, it will by-design put both DEs to shame and become the new epitome and king of bloat (maybe they're competing with Vista for the title?).

And lastly... PC-BSD needs to seriously fix the PBI updater. It flat out doesn't work and it appears to be a known problem. That was a deal breaker for me when I set up the test system. If I can't keep my software up-to-date, my OS is broken. It's part of the reason I left Windows for FreeBSD: portupgrade -Ra

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