Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 5th Oct 2007 20:49 UTC, submitted by Flatland_Spider
PC-BSD Jan Stedehouder has used PC-BSD for thirty days to see what living with it is like. On day thirty, he concludes: "Does PC-BSD have the potential to be a serious contender for the open source desktop? I answered that question with a yes, because the potential is there. The solid FreeBSD roots, the very strong and very accessible information, the friendly and mature community and the PBI system provide the foundations for that potential. I don't think it is ready now and I couldn't recommend it yet to someone in the early stages of moving away from Windows to an open source desktop. But I do think that the PC-BSD team has the right target audience in mind and is building an system and a support system that addresses it's needs."
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Lets get serious
by daedliusswartz on Sat 6th Oct 2007 04:49 UTC
daedliusswartz
Member since:
2007-05-28

Lets get serious here. Any form of BSD isn't even close to being a desktop contender and wont be for a very long time.

There's a real shortage of drivers, technical support, usable desktop applications and general industry support.

Servers, for sure. Desktop, not a chance.

Reply Score: -1

RE: Lets get serious
by dindin on Sat 6th Oct 2007 05:05 in reply to "Lets get serious"
dindin Member since:
2006-03-29

"Servers, for sure. Desktop, not a chance."


I use FreeBSD at work and have tried it on laptops and I tend to agree with you. I use FreeBSD at work simply because there is no substitute for Dummynet (maybe the Linux guys can point me to one if they know). But I have been frustrated with some of the pkg_add issues; especially desktop apps. Don't get me wrong. Once you install 6.2-RELEASE and change PACKAGESITE to point to packages-6-stable you can install some of the newer ones, but pg_add does not have upgrade capability. Have tried portupgrade and have run into many issues.

So yes. If server where things don't get installed very often then FreeBSD is great. Not on the desktop - not right now. But I don't seem to be able to let go.

I am currently experimenting with Debian unstable. Gotta love apt-get.

-D

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Lets get serious
by Doc Pain on Sat 6th Oct 2007 05:23 in reply to "RE: Lets get serious"
Doc Pain Member since:
2006-10-08

"But I have been frustrated with some of the pkg_add issues; especially desktop apps. Don't get me wrong. Once you install 6.2-RELEASE and change PACKAGESITE to point to packages-6-stable you can install some of the newer ones, but pg_add does not have upgrade capability. Have tried portupgrade and have run into many issues."

It's because portupgrade relies on the ports collection. If you use portupgrade -P or -PP, it reads from the precompiled package repository pointed at by PACKAGESITE, but these packages may be older than the content of the ports collection.

You're right, upgrading installed applications can be probelmatic if you're using pkg_add. But if you use the ports collection and run portupgrade properly, only defective ports entries may harm your additional applications installation. You can also use the make update / deinstall / reinstall facility of the ports tree.

"So yes. If server where things don't get installed very often then FreeBSD is great. Not on the desktop - not right now. But I don't seem to be able to let go."

What am I doing wrong that I don't reinstall or upgrade my applications that often? Some of them were installed two years ago without any requirement of upgrade. If it works - don't touch it. Never touch a running system. :-)

Furthermore, I've installed desktop systems built upon FreeBSD for "computer illiterate" users some time ago. The systems are still running and doing everything that the users expect from it. Why is this? Maybe because some users aren't keen to do experiments with their system all day long. Allthough I have to admit that no one of them could have installed and configured such a system within a finite time, now as it's running, they're fine with it. (I think that's the approach PC-BSD is taking with its design and its connection to KDE.)

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: Lets get serious
by Doc Pain on Sat 6th Oct 2007 05:12 in reply to "Lets get serious"
Doc Pain Member since:
2006-10-08

"There's a real shortage of drivers, technical support, usable desktop applications and general industry support."

let me add shortly:

Drivers: Yes, Linux is much better here. But driver support (offering drivers or at least release specifications) is a matter of hardware manufacturers. You cannot expect OS and driver developers to invent everything for free, especially if the hardware manufacturer creates something non-standard.

Technical support: The camps who develop the BSDs are no commercial corporations such as MICROS~1, they can just deliver documentation, along with platforms where users can discuss. By the way, the BSDs always impressed me by the high quality of the documentation. Here, Linux can learn a bit. Or an octett. :-)

Usable desktop applications: Now you can blame nearly all Linusi, too. What do you think the big KDE is for? It offers nearly everything a desktop user might need. The rest is available from the PBIs, and the rest of the rest is available via ports or packages. Not to insult you, but what do you mean with "usable desktop applications", then?

General industry support: Another problem, I agree. Indistry is extremely poisoned by MICROS~1 marketing strategy and decisions made where no usable education is present - many hardware and software managers don't have a clue what they're talking about. But finally, the BSDs are all standard-compliant. Nearly every existing standard is implemented in one or more ways, so if it's about standards, the BSDs are inside the boat.

"Servers, for sure. Desktop, not a chance."

When you're talking about a significant usage share (and maybe oh joy oh market share), you are right. PC-BSD is not wide spread. This is because the BSDs are simply not designed to be used by average desktop users. They require a bit time to get into it, the ability to read some documentation and, of course, the opinion that you sometimes have to get your hands dirty in order to get something working. It's simply for people who don't have strange expectations (such as "If I plug in my camera, I want the OS to download all the pictures." - you can implement this easily.).

Finally, please note: FreeBSD (and the other BSDs, too) are not a Linux distribution. They are "just" an OS - nothing more, nothing less. PC-BSD now extended the OS with a GUI (KDE) and some preconfiguration and autodetect / automount / autofoobar functionalities in order to make it more appealing to users who know the same functionalities being brought by a Linux distribution out of the box.

But I have to say it clearly: In general, I agree to your statement.

There are exceptions: I'm using FreeBSD (not PC-BSD) as my main desktop OS since approx. 2000 now and I can't imagine to use something else. It perfectly fits my needs (my "desktop needs", to say so). Of course, I would not claim this could be true for average users, this can be assumed simply because I built the system myself, I am not using KDE or Gnome, and I have some nonstandard and "obsolete" hardware I need to use. FreeBSD is the only OS where everything works perfectly.

That's nothing bad - maybe the BSDs are not for Gewerken by das Dummkopfen... computers aren't easy... or, in other words: The BSDs are user friendly, they're just picky about their users. :-)

Edited 2007-10-06 05:15

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[2]: Lets get serious
by SK8T on Sat 6th Oct 2007 16:38 in reply to "Lets get serious"
SK8T Member since:
2006-06-01

Mac OS X is a BSD, too.
Drivers…: Software and Hardware came from the same company, products you buy for this system have a driver included.
Market share: not too much yet, 25 million is the last number I know, but growing ;-)

So I think BSD has a chance on the desktop. But I think, the Desktop is not the target for the FreeBSD developers.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: Lets get serious
by marafaka on Mon 8th Oct 2007 09:02 in reply to "Lets get serious"
marafaka Member since:
2006-01-03

What's your definition of serious? Like: accept my crap without thinking? I do not feel any greater shortage of drivers for FreeBSD than for any other OS; maybe it's exactly the opposite: every time I have to reinstall a MS infested machine I curse because I can't even get on the net without some long lost CD's!

I manage several FreeBSD desktops and my clients run mostly native Gnome + multimedia + office + net stuff with some Java, Wine, Linux and game console emulation. I'm not a casual buzzword victim so would you care to enlighten me what's missing here for the holy desktop nirvana?

Reply Parent Score: 2