Linked by Gabe Yoder on Tue 11th Nov 2003 21:51 UTC
FreeBSD We've all heard the age old argument second only to the vi vs. emacs religious wars: FreeBSD Vs Linux. As a long time linux user, I decided that is was time I spent some time on the other side of the fence to see if it was any greener. Oh, and by the way, vi rules.
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Re: printing problems (and other comments on copmpatibility)
by rycamor on Wed 12th Nov 2003 03:59 UTC

The two best ways I have found to print from FreeBSD are apsfilter and gimp-print (both of which are mentioned in that recent Onlamp.com article). With apsfilter, all you need to do is have lpd running, and use the 'apsfilter' command-line wizard to automatically configure /etc/printcap. It just walks you through a series of questions; no need to manually edit any files.

Gimp-print is included in any recent install of the Gnu Image Manipulation Program (www.gimp.org). I haven't done much with it, but when printing from Gimp itself, it is surprisingly easy to use.

I have been using FreeBSD servers for years, but only recently started actually using it as my main workstation. I have to say that with FreeBSD 4.9 and KDE 3.1, I have been pleasantly surprised at how good FreeBSD is getting as a desktop system. Really the biggest problems with FreeBSD as a desktop are related not to the open source movement, but rather how certain commercial entities have reacted to it. For example, you cannot have an unattended install of Java on FreeBSD (that was why the writer couldn't have an unattended install of OpenOffice) simply because Sun hasn't given its official blessing for FreeBSD as it has with Linux (it's a business problem, not a technical one, in other words). Ditto for multimedia, with the Macromedia Flash player and Real Player, which provide versions for Linux, but not for generic X Window systems. This attitude spills into the server side also, with more difficulties installing Jakarta, JBoss, etc... just because of the aforementioned Java problem, and lack of support for commercial database systems such as Oracle or Sybase.

But the FreeBSD people, rather than grumble about these things, simply bend over backward to be cross-compatible and standards-oriented. They have also provided a Linux compatibility layer which runs most Linux binaries arguably as fast as Linux itself. (This is how I get Flash player on FreeBSD)

But look around, and you will notice that all the truly "open" technologies run just fine on FreeBSD. It is only where open source and proprietary meet that there are a few problems.