Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 2nd Oct 2007 21:54 UTC, submitted by Flatland_Spider
PC-BSD Two reviews of PC-BSD 1.4. The first one concludes: " If you are a new user, there is everything here for you; equally so if you are an experienced techie you can get into the FreeBSD ports tree and compile to your hearts content. Something for everyone here, no matter their level of knowledge or expertise." The second one: "PC-BSD is an extremely user friendly and secure BSD, based on the rock solid FreeBSD 6.2 stable core, with a easy to use package management system, a friendly installation GUI and great hardware recognition. It is easy enough for average users and interesting enough for advanced users."
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RE[2]: It's ok.
by zugu on Wed 3rd Oct 2007 17:18 UTC in reply to "RE: It's ok. "
zugu
Member since:
2007-08-28

Wow, I'm extremely surprised someone said it.
PC-BSD is the ONLY *NIX distribution that got it right. Having bottled applications is the way to go.
PBIs make it easier to develop, deploy, use and maintain software. Everything is in one place, no dependency hell at all, both the developer and the user don't even have to care about what's already installed on the system and what's not.

Windows got it right: there's no central "repository", except for maybe updates and security patches. The software market is free and sky is the limit. Mac OS X made it trivial: just download the container and run the application. It's as simple as that.

Whereas in Debian, Fedora or Ubuntu one has to upgrade the whole operating system just to get the latest version of Firefox or other basic piece of software. This approach is stupid, clumsy, messy and definitely a turn-off for users coming from the Mac or Windows world.

Of course, changing this paradigm in a Linux distro nowadays is almost impossible: the sheer number of libraries needed for various software could easily bring a modern HDD to its knees, not to mention the amounts of RAM required. But who am I to argue, when we all know "choice is good". Look where aimless development has brought the Linux world: in chaos. I am not arguing for voluntary boycott of toolkits, libraries or programming languages, but for more responsibility on behalf of developers and less ego.

Security issues are indeed more easier to fix when using a centralized package management system, however, that does not mean it's impossible or even hard to fix them when we use the decentralized approach. Staying current with the latest vulnerabilities should be the developer's job. Installing the security updates from upstream should be the user's job.

Since we're discussing package management, lame excuses like "you can always compile the software you want" are just that: lame. Compiled software is software the package manager is NOT aware of. Worse, try installing Firefox 2 on Dapper or Firefox 3 on Gusty - whether compiled or installed from a deb - it's the same thing. The means of installation are irrelevant, what's certain is you now have a more recent version of Firefox that can break the fragile ecosystem in the OS. Same for any software the Ubuntu Backports team refuse to backport. They clearly state they won't backport vital software since there's a high chance something will go wrong.

Centralized models such as Ubuntu's are a developer's hell. How is one supposed to write software for a constantly moving "platform"? Every six months the applications have to undergo major changes just to be compatible with the new release.

Where's the base system? Oh, right, there is none. The software on the install CD is just a part of a repository that is a snapshot frozen in time of whatever was available at the moment of the release. These guys managed to b0rk the definition of an operating system by trying to shove every existing piece of software in the repositories. A tedious, sisiphyc task that can be easily avoided if a decentralized model is used. Hell for testers, hell for package maintainers, hell for users.

And when something like PC-BSD appears the zealots bash it just because it's different. How about you continue to use your Debians, your Fedoras and your Ubuntus and leave PC-BSD alone?

FYI, I am not a PC-BSD user, because I dislike KDE. But I can praise real achievements when I see them. Kudos to the PC-BSD team for daring to create the PBI system in a world full of ignorance.

Reply Parent Score: 14

v RE[3]: It's ok.
by Windows Sucks on Wed 3rd Oct 2007 17:42 in reply to "RE[2]: It's ok. "
RE[4]: It's ok.
by Oliver on Wed 3rd Oct 2007 17:57 in reply to "RE[3]: It's ok. "
Oliver Member since:
2006-07-15

>Unless you use PORTS which is just like using APT

It's like Gentoos portage, but it's not even comparable to aptitude. You cannot change options with aptitude and yes it's possible even for the beginner, just mark the choosen option in the ncurses interface - it's that easy. Try this with Debian.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[4]: It's ok.
by zugu on Wed 3rd Oct 2007 18:06 in reply to "RE[3]: It's ok. "
zugu Member since:
2007-08-28

Yet ironically, in Windows I get to install whatever I want, and Microsoft does not act like a nanny, continuously telling me what I should install and not.

With great power comes great responsibility. I manage to keep my Windows installations safe because I know what I'm doing. People who get malware wholly deserve it.

As for the Mac people and the backwards compatibility that lasts no more than a version back, please notice the distance between OS X releases; or compare it with the 6 month cycle used by Ubuntu. Sure, Debian releases rarely, too, except it doesn't allow me the freedom to install whatever packages I want in the meantime. Unless I want to get into the dirty business of compiling, and believe me, I don't want to.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[4]: It's ok.
by puenktchen on Wed 3rd Oct 2007 18:44 in reply to "RE[3]: It's ok. "
puenktchen Member since:
2007-07-27

On the Mac it what you said sounds good, but that is really not the case which is why you can not user older versions of Mac OS (No more then 1 version back) because software will not work if there are newer library's in the newer version of Mac OS.

if you can't use an app with old versions of osx it's probably because it uses new functions of the os. of course it won't work. but most old apps will work just fine on newer versions of osx.

one example, just because it was the first app i could think of which has been around since nextstep: launchbar.

launchbar 1 = nextstep 3.0 and openstep 4.2 on m68k, hp-risc. sparc & x86.
launchbar 2 = osx server 1.2 (aka rhapsody)
launchbar 3 = osx 10.1 or later
launchbar 4 = osx 10.2 or later, ppc & x86

four major versions in ca. 15 years, and you can still use a 5 year old version on the last release of osx.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[3]: It's ok.
by BluenoseJake on Wed 3rd Oct 2007 18:58 in reply to "RE[2]: It's ok. "
BluenoseJake Member since:
2005-08-11

"Whereas in Debian, Fedora or Ubuntu one has to upgrade the whole operating system just to get the latest version of Firefox or other basic piece of software. This approach is stupid, clumsy, messy and definitely a turn-off for users coming from the Mac or Windows world."

That is entirely untrue. You don't have to update the whole OS to get a new version of any app on Linux. You can install new apps from the backports repository in Debian or Ubuntu. You can download a .deb file and type dpkg -i yourapp.deb. You can compile the damn app from source. In Debian and Ubuntu, you can even install software from rpm files using Alien.

Compiling apps from source is not easy, but installing 3rd party .deb files is, and so is using backports.

My OS of choice is FreeBSD, and I really like PC-BSD. Exaggerating the problems in Linux package management does not help PC-BSD. It just confuses the issue.

"Where's the base system? Oh, right, there is none. The software on the install CD is just a part of a repository that is a snapshot frozen in time of whatever was available at the moment of the release. These guys managed to b0rk the definition of an operating system by trying to shove every existing piece of software in the repositories. A tedious, sisiphyc task that can be easily avoided if a decentralized model is used. Hell for testers, hell for package maintainers, hell for users"

What do you think the Ports system is? it is the same as the repositories in the linux world. Very similar to the portage system in Gentoo. The PBI system is very nifty, but it takes somebody to package an app into a pbi before it can be installed in that manner. If an application is not available as a pbi file, then you have no choice to fall back to the ports system, or the package system. To get the newest software on BSD, ports is the way to go, and if there is no pbi file, then it is the way to go in PC-BSD too.

Reply Parent Score: 6

RE[3]: It's ok. (1/2)
by Doc Pain on Wed 3rd Oct 2007 20:48 in reply to "RE[2]: It's ok. "
Doc Pain Member since:
2006-10-08

"Wow, I'm extremely surprised someone said it.
PC-BSD is the ONLY *NIX distribution that got it right. Having bottled applications is the way to go."


For average users, I completely agree, as long as stable and tested versions are botteled. For developers or professional users this may differ, because they may have the requirement to use and test bleeding edge software, along with the ability of updating underlying libraries without having to reinstall applications that are based on these libraries.

"PBIs make it easier to develop, deploy, use and maintain software."

I'm not sure if a command line driven PBI installer exists. The way of downloading and clicking makes it more complicated to automate software installation.

How much does the use of PBIs make it easier to develop software, or to maintain it? I don't understand, please elaborate on this.

"Everything is in one place, no dependency hell at all, both the developer and the user don't even have to care about what's already installed on the system and what's not."

That's correct and, by the way, a very comfortable thing. But finally, you sometimes "pay" for it with having to download bigger packages or getting more disk space occupied. But we do have enough of both, don't we? :-)

"Windows got it right: there's no central "repository", except for maybe updates and security patches. The software market is free and sky is the limit."

I don't think so. Requiring the user to google around for drivers and applications is annoying. In PC-BSD, you can simply advice a user to search for, let's say, "digikam", let him download and install it. Or you can tell him to simply enter "pkg_add -r xmms" inside a terminal. Can you do on "Windows"? No, of course not.

FreeBSD's classic ports are free, too. Every developer may contribute to it, let his piece of software enter the repository, and benefit from the already existing automations inside the ports system. Using this way, even precompiled packages are made available by the FreeBSD ports team.

To find out more, feel free to read here:

http://www.freebsd.org/doc/en_US.ISO8859-1/books/handbook/ports.htm...
http://www.freebsd.org/doc/en_US.ISO8859-1/books/porters-handbook/

"Whereas in Debian, Fedora or Ubuntu one has to upgrade the whole operating system just to get the latest version of Firefox or other basic piece of software."

Pardon my question, but why do you think so? Allthough I'm not a regular Linux users, this sounds stupid to me and I never had to do a system update in order to get Firefox or any other piece of basic software running...

"Of course, changing this paradigm in a Linux distro nowadays is almost impossible: the sheer number of libraries needed for various software could easily bring a modern HDD to its knees, not to mention the amounts of RAM required."

That's the same way MICROS~1 OSes and applications develop. But for the average user, it does not matter, because he usually has a high-end PC at home. Users with limited ressources and basic UNIX knowledge surely would prefer to build an own system based on FreeBSD rather than using PC-BSD.

"But who am I to argue, when we all know "choice is good". Look where aimless development has brought the Linux world: in chaos. I am not arguing for voluntary boycott of toolkits, libraries or programming languages, but for more responsibility on behalf of developers and less ego."

Choice is what makes me able to get a full-featured UNIX system running on a 150 MHz Pentium with 128 MB RAM, because I can still use light-weight applications. I am not forced to use KDE or Gnome. This choice is available in Linux, as it is in PC-BSD.

But "aimless" development? I think the term development implies an aim...

"Security issues are indeed more easier to fix when using a centralized package management system, however, that does not mean it's impossible or even hard to fix them when we use the decentralized approach. Staying current with the latest vulnerabilities should be the developer's job. Installing the security updates from upstream should be the user's job."

I'd say, it could (!) be the OSes job, as long as the issue is system related, and the package subsystem's job, as long as the issue is related to an application or library that is installed. But let's assume applications A, B, C, D and E use library K. In K, a security problem has just occured. The developers of A up to E would need to be up to date here, and provide a new botteled update from A(K) to A'(K') etc., and the user would need to reinstall A .. E or install a binary fix from his A .. E to A' .. E'. He cannot simply update K to K'.

"Since we're discussing package management, lame excuses like "you can always compile the software you want" are just that: lame. Compiled software is software the package manager is NOT aware of."

FreeBSD provides a solution here: You can install portinstall / portupgrade with provides a package database to be used with pkgdb. Now ports and packages easily know about each other, and you can use frontends to the ports and the packages. Of course, you get warnings if you try to overwrite libraries. This way, "dependency hell" is avoidable.

Example:

# cd /usr/ports
# make update
# pkgdb -aF
# portinstall -P audio/xmms
# portupgrade audio/xmms

This example shows how to install xmms via package (equ. pkg_add -r xmms), and then update via ports. Of course, installation from source would have the same effect. One uses packages, one uses the ports. portinstall and portupgrade update the pkgdb before and after installation and check for the existance and version numbering of dependencies. So you cannot "smash" other applications that rely on a certain version of a library, for example. Furthermore, you can use the classical ports and packages together with pkgdb.

# pkg_add -r xmms
# pkgdb -aF

# cd /usr/ports/audio/xmms
# make install
# pkgdb -aF

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[4]: It's ok. (1/2)
by antik on Wed 3rd Oct 2007 20:55 in reply to "RE[3]: It's ok. (1/2)"
antik Member since:
2006-05-19

I'm not sure if a command line driven PBI installer exists. The way of downloading and clicking makes it more complicated to automate software installation.

# ee /home/me/automated_PBI_install.sh
------------------
#!/bin/sh
cd /home/me/PBI
./YourFavoritePBI.pbi -text
./YourOtherFavoritePBI.pbi -text
...
------------------

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[3]: It's ok. (2/2)
by Doc Pain on Wed 3rd Oct 2007 20:49 in reply to "RE[2]: It's ok. "
Doc Pain Member since:
2006-10-08

"[...] you now have a more recent version of Firefox that can break the fragile ecosystem in the OS."

How can additionally installed software do any harm to the OS? For example, you could remove every (!) non-OS software (rm -rf /usr/local/) and still have the OS running withoug any change.

"Where's the base system? Oh, right, there is none. The software on the install CD is just a part of a repository that is a snapshot frozen in time of whatever was available at the moment of the release. These guys managed to b0rk the definition of an operating system by trying to shove every existing piece of software in the repositories."

This is exactly where PC-BSD did a great approach: Take a complete and "only" OS, FreeBSD, add KDE, add applications. But you can get rid of KDE and all these applications and still have a fully functional OS ready to be used with XFCE, if you want to. The applications provided by PC-BSD and the PBI repository nearly include everything the average user seems to need.

"And when something like PC-BSD appears the zealots bash it just because it's different."

I honestly applaude the developers of PC-BSD for their great work, but I may say that PC-BSD definitely is not designed for me, because I first would have to deinstall everything. :-) I prefer a system built on the basis of FreeBSD with applications installed one by one, exactly as needed and intended. Mst of them I install via pkg_add. Some (e. g. mplayer) I need to install from source due to the selection of several options.

My neighbor uses PC-BSD since 1.2 and is completely happy with it. He's not very "computer literate", but he didn't have any problem. This was different when he tried to use "Windows".

"FYI, I am not a PC-BSD user, because I dislike KDE. But I can praise real achievements when I see them. Kudos to the PC-BSD team for daring to create the PBI system in a world full of ignorance."

I agree and may add: PBI has it disadvantages as you will surely acknowledge, but it's a great thing for the average user. This is who PC-BSD is targeted at. PBIs provide basic and tested functionality.

One downside of PBIs is that they don't cover the existing requirement of having options set at compile time. As an example I'd like to mention mplayer where several settings can be customized via Makefile.local in order to get codecs running the way as intended. You may want to select codec Y and not to include codec Z. What would the PBI solution be? For every possible combination one PBI? One for WITH_SDL, WITH_VORBIS, WITH_GUI, WITHOUT_RUNTIME_CPUDETECTION each, and one for every possible combination, and everything with various combinations out of CFLAGS+= -O3 -pipe -mfpmath=sse -ffast-math? No, of course not, that would be too much. Just to complete this: PC-BSD encourages the user to use Kaffeine instead of mplayer / kmplayer because of the better integration with KDE, but still codecs need to be installed afterwards.

To come back on topic: The reviews mentioned were interesting. There's something I'd like to ask. One thing I have noticed: The desktop themes used today (in general, but to be seen in the review, too) usually look like "Vista". There are even Linux distros that tend to ecactly copy "XP"'s look and feel. Why is imitating "Windows" so popular when presenting a Linux / UNIX OS (or GUI)?

Reply Parent Score: 4