Linked by karunko on Mon 23rd Jan 2012 22:08 UTC
Mozilla & Gecko clones VirtualBSD 9.0 is a desktop-ready FreeBSD 9.0-RELEASE built around the XFCE Desktop Environment for good aesthetics and usability, and is distributed as a VMware appliance (that can also be made to work with VirtualBox) so even non techies can be up and running in minutes. The most common applications, plugins and multimedia codecs are ready since the first boot.
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by lucm on Wed 25th Jan 2012 00:31 UTC
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Interesting project, but I was disappointed to learn that it's only available as a virtual machine and cannot be installed on bare metal. I've been looking for something like that for years because:

1) Pure FreeBSD is too difficult to install and make work. Arguably, it is a learning process, learning is part of the deal, but I think that learning from scratch is too painful.

When I learned Linux, I learned it with a Slackware-based distro that worked very, very well right out of the box, at the same time giving me plenty of room for tweaking and learning. I want to learn BSD, but I want to start with a BSD "distro" that will work well enough that I will *enjoy* booting into it, actually using it, spending as much time as possible in it, a true immersive experience, not something that will have me frown for a couple of hours then leave and boot into something else because it's so insufferable.

2) OpenBSD is about the same, except I can't even install it, because I don't have a CD drive and their ISO image won't work on a USB stick. But I know it's easier than FreeBSD if you do have a CD drive.

3) NetBSD fascinates me, but it won't install from a USB stick. I figured out a kludge to make it work and install, but then, for the life of me, I can't figure out how to use Wifi. It's the only kind of connection I have, and no one in the forums seems to be able to help me. Making NetBSD run with a decent graphical environment is too difficult, too.

4) PC-BSD is not good. There are bugs, glitches, every release fails on me for some different reason. Their USB stick image usually doesn't work. They use KDE4, which I loathe. And their package format takes up a lot of disk space, so it is something I am definitely never going to use as my everyday OS. It can be installed as a plain FreeBSD system, but then it goes back to square one: too difficult to leave it in a useable, friendly state.

BSD is interesting, but ruined by the deliberately unfriendly attitude the BSD community chooses to maintain. They actively drive curious people away, which will never strike me as a healthy, constructive decision.

I had never heard of VirtualBSD, and it looks like just what I needed: ready to use and with a pretty good window manager. But, alas, it only runs as a virtual machine. It's not something I can actually migrate into and use for so long that I might eventually decide I will never leave.

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