Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 19th Jun 2007 18:35 UTC, submitted by troy.unrau
PC-BSD "PC-BSD is not a Linux distribution, but rather it could be considered among the first major FreeBSD-based distributions to live outside of the official FreeBSD. Like most distributions, it has implemented certain features in a way that attempts to distinguish it from the competition, and I will focus mostly on these differences. This test drive is intended to give an overview of what PC-BSD is and why one would consider using it."
Thread beginning with comment 249088
To view parent comment, click here.
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
RE[2]: Not a fan
by Doc Pain on Tue 19th Jun 2007 23:42 UTC in reply to "RE: Not a fan"
Doc Pain
Member since:
2006-10-08

"the purpose for this distro is to be able to be used simply by the average user. what you did takes skill and an above average level of understanding of your system."

No, it just requires the user to be able (and wanting) to read instructions from the excellent FreeBSD documentation (i. e. the handbook). Installing and configuring a "real" FreeBSD is some work, I agree, but it's not as hard as you may think. Of course, it does require basic knowledge.

"most people want to just have something work, not have to work at it. I think PC-BSD has succeeded in that area"

I think so, too. PC-BSD does not aim at professional users who want to tweak their system to maximal speed and usability. The target is Joe Q. Sixpack who wants to click on the pretty pictures.

My neighbor uses PC-BSD for more than a year now - happily. For me, too, because I do not have to do any "free support". :-)

PC-BSD's preconfiguration and preloaded applications do fit the average home user's needs. It's a solution that's welcome there. One of the best arguments is the easy to use PBI package installation system (allthough "pkg_add -r xmms" is faster than clicking around, downloading and clicking again - useful for automated procedures). Another advantage is that you can use the PBI system together with the classical methods of precompiled packages (pkg_add) and the ports collection (make install). Furthermore, beneath all this KDE, there's a FreeBSD, which allows you to edit configuration files if you want to have your result very fast and without searching through dialog boxes.

Personally, I prefer a "real" FreeBSD where I usually use pkg_add to install software; the ports are used when special tweaking at compile time is needed (e. g. mplayer due to various options). If I would have to use PC-BSD, I first had to customize the CLI subsystem (which is no fun to use by default!), the console mode, then uninstall KDE and install everything I need. So, PC-BSD definitely is not designed for me, but it has its target audience.

As it has been mentioned before, a minimum kernel makes your system run faster. It requires you to know exactly what hardware you have. Of course, you can load kld modules along with the GENERIC kernel, but know that it includes much hardware that you usually do not have installed. The same is true for some applications that are build with a certain -O optimization. (NB: Do not -O2 or -O3 building kernel and world.)

Final note as always: Use the right tool for every task.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[3]: Not a fan
by Zoidberg on Wed 20th Jun 2007 01:54 in reply to "RE[2]: Not a fan"
Zoidberg Member since:
2006-02-11

No, it just requires the user to be able (and wanting) to read instructions from the excellent FreeBSD documentation (i. e. the handbook). Installing and configuring a "real" FreeBSD is some work, I agree, but it's not as hard as you may think. Of course, it does require basic knowledge.

For people who barely know how to turn their computer on I think that is asking way too much. Again PC-BSD is not aimed at people who know that much about computers, or people who want to read technical manuals and do all that work.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[4]: Not a fan
by antik on Wed 20th Jun 2007 07:38 in reply to "RE[3]: Not a fan"
antik Member since:
2006-05-19

I don't know from where this "PC-BSD is not suitable for die hard FreeBSD hackers" come from. In reality hackers need working system "right now" and won't tinker around for week to design their own custom installation because they just can. Time is money you know. More tinkerfree time- more beautiful code. PC-BSD is unmodified FreeBSD without any custom optimization, except preconfigured configuration, enabled functionality like OpenBSD PF firewall, DRM(Direct Rendering Manager for graphics acceleration) and ALTQ (QoS- Quality of Service) in modified GENERIC kernel.

Only major differences are written from scratch in Qt graphical installer (not based on RedHat Anaconda like some Linux zealot may think), PBI (Push Button Installer) and system configuration tools like "network/wifi/pppoe manager" etc.

Everything is BSD licensed and anyone who want to make PC-BSD tools available in FreeBSD ports are welcome.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[3]: Not a fan
by Chuck Norris on Wed 20th Jun 2007 11:22 in reply to "RE[2]: Not a fan"
Chuck Norris Member since:
2007-03-24

No, it just requires the user to be able (and wanting) to read instructions

And you know that geeks aside, no one wants to read documentation, so we shouldn't expect computer users will read documentation ever.

PC-BSD does not aim at professional users who want to tweak their system to maximal speed and usability.

You can do that on PC-BSD too. It's basically a FreeBSD system with additional configurations and tools. You can compile your kernel on PC-BSD if you want.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[4]: Not a fan
by Doc Pain on Wed 20th Jun 2007 20:06 in reply to "RE[3]: Not a fan"
Doc Pain Member since:
2006-10-08

"And you know that geeks aside, no one wants to read documentation, so we shouldn't expect computer users will read documentation ever."

I know, I know... they even throw away the instructions coming with hardware, along with the driver CDs, then start complaining that nothing no work... :-)

If everything works by itself - fine! But in some cases this assumption will fail. Then, documentation, instructions and procedures are the tools that help the user solving the problem himself. But he does not want to do something by himself, he expects someone else to do it. Because that's real intelligence: Don't do work - let someone else do the work. (I think this is the reason why so many MICROS~1 products are considered "user friendly", "intelligent" or "working by itself" - the people who say this usually let others solve their problems so they do not get confronted with the problems most of us surely know.)

"You can do that on PC-BSD too. It's basically a FreeBSD system with additional configurations and tools. You can compile your kernel on PC-BSD if you want."

Because PC-BSD is FreeBSD, you can do anything with PC-BSD that you can do with FreeBSD in fact. But building a custom system that is not based mainly on KDE is easier when you do this using a bare FreeBSD installation instead of first ripping PC-BSD into peaces and then start installting everything else (except the stuff that came with PC-BSD).

That's why I think PC-BSD is a really great solution, because it's "good enough" for both stereotypes (Joe Q. Sixpack and Cody McHackman). :-)

Reply Parent Score: 3