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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For display only
by lucm on Wed 25th Jan 2012 00:31 UTC
lucm
Member since:
2012-01-24

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.

Reply Score: 2

RE: For display only
by karunko on Wed 25th Jan 2012 10:42 in reply to "For display only"
karunko Member since:
2008-10-28

Interesting project, but I was disappointed to learn that it's only available as a virtual machine

Find out? What do you mean find out? It's there in the summary and there's a big warning in the download page too! ;-)

But seriously: we'd love to be able to offer an actual installation, but we're just 5 guys doing this in their spare time and we don't have the resources to do that. Not to mention that it would mean going head to head with PC-BSD...

1) Pure FreeBSD is too difficult to install and make work.

I/we think the situation has improved considerably lately, especially hardware support has become fairly good and the FreeBSD Handbook is a great starting point rather than, say, having to hunt the web high and low for the info you need. Give it a try!

Arguably, it is a learning process, learning is part of the deal, but I think that learning from scratch is too painful.

Learning to walk can be painful too: you wobble a bit, you bump your head a few times, but hey! beats crawling an all fours for the rest of your life, doesn't it? And no, I'm not trying to draw any parallels here! ;-)

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.

I think I've read that with the latest version you can use whatever desktop environment suits you -- or you can always install it if it's not there.

And their package format takes up a lot of disk space

True but, let's face it, disk space is dirt cheap this days and, arguably the trade off between ease of use and disk usage is well worth it for some people.

And for the record: we investigated using PBIs too, but in the end decided against it -- for different reasons which I am not going into here.

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.

Well, in principle you could and it's been done before. Transferring over the installation is the easy part, getting your stuff to work is another matter and requires at least a bit of knowledge/patience. We could even decide to provide a guide if there's enough interest. Wink, wink, wink, nudge, nudge, nudge.

RT.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: For display only
by lucm on Wed 25th Jan 2012 19:12 in reply to "RE: For display only"
lucm Member since:
2012-01-24

"Interesting project, but I was disappointed to learn that it's only available as a virtual machine

Find out? What do you mean find out? It's there in the summary and there's a big warning in the download page too! ;-)
"

I said "learn." I learned it as soon as I had a look-see around the website.

we'd love to be able to offer an actual installation, but we're just 5 guys doing this in their spare time and we don't have the resources to do that. Not to mention that it would mean going head to head with PC-BSD...


I respect your decision, but can't understand it. Why is providing a bare metal installation considerably more difficult than providing a virtual machine? You wouldn't have to make your own installer, just a "customization" package for FreeBSD that would turn a raw, Spartan FreeBSD installation into something more friendly and usable. You know, install the window manager, configure X/xorg, help with mice and keyboard (including USB), wireless connection etc.

And what's wrong with "going head to head with PC-BSD"? By such standards, isn't PC-BSD "going head to head with FreeBSD"?

"1) Pure FreeBSD is too difficult to install and make work.

I/we think the situation has improved considerably lately, especially hardware support has become fairly good and the FreeBSD Handbook is a great starting point rather than, say, having to hunt the web high and low for the info you need. Give it a try!
"

Man, I've been trying for years.

Most of your remaining argumentation sums up like: yeah, it's tough, but suck it up and go ahead. And I've told you, I've done that and lost the enthusiasm I once had with something that apparently tries hard to be difficult.

"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.

Well, in principle you could and it's been done before.
"
In principle, I could. I could put up with two boot sequences every time the machine were turned on, and sacrifice some considerable hardware performance. In principle, I could. But can you blame me if I find that solution inadequate?

Thank you for taking the time to reply. It's always good to meet a developer or maintainer who is open to feedback.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: For display only
by phoenix on Wed 25th Jan 2012 21:05 in reply to "For display only"
phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

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.


"Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime." ;) If you don't want to learn ...


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.


I take it you haven't done any research since the first time you looked at it. PC-BSD 9.0 includes support for KDE4, GNOME2, XFCE, LXDE right on the install DVD. Pick the desktop you'd prefer to use. Or, even use the DVD to install plain FreeBSD.

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.


Again, you haven't done any research since the first time you looked at it. PC-BSD 9.0 PBI format is much improved, and supports shared libraries. Thus, install two PBIs that need the same libs, and the libs only get installed once. Much less disk space is used.

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.


Curious people, who like to learn, stick around and end up loving FreeBSD.

"Curious" people who just want to clickety-clickety on random dialog boxes end up slinking away into the shadows.

I had never heard of VirtualBSD, and it looks like just what I needed: ready to use and with a pretty good window manager.


You just described PC-BSD, GhostBSD, and a couple of others. Oh, and you described FreeBSD too, since all of that's available ... to those who want to learn. ;)

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: For display only
by lucm on Wed 25th Jan 2012 22:08 in reply to "RE: For display only"
lucm Member since:
2012-01-24

"Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime." ;) If you don't want to learn ...


Give a man a cliché, and he will use it on every opportunity for the rest of his life, even if it doesn't quite fit the situation at hand.

I already explained that I find learning from scratch too painful. I want a system that is ready, then I will explore it while I'm actually using it, without having to resort to dual boot, without approaching it just once in a while like a foreign thing. You are ignoring things I have already stated.


I take it you haven't done any research since the first time you looked at it. PC-BSD 9.0 includes support for KDE4, GNOME2, XFCE, LXDE right on the install DVD. Pick the desktop you'd prefer to use. Or, even use the DVD to install plain FreeBSD.


You are judging me without any basis whatsoever. I have tested four editions of PC-BSD, several months apart from each other, spanning across perhaps two or three years.

And I said: "I don't have a CD drive." I obviously cannot use the DVD install. You are ignoring things I have already stated. It would be a lot more considerate on your part to read the entire thread before dispensing any advice.

"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.

Again, you haven't done any research since the first time you looked at it. PC-BSD 9.0 PBI format is much improved, and supports shared libraries. Thus, install two PBIs that need the same libs, and the libs only get installed once. Much less disk space is used.
"

Again, your arrogant assumption: "you haven't done any research since the first time you looked at it." Well, then neither has karunko, since he agreed with me on that particular aspect!

Curious people, who like to learn, stick around and end up loving FreeBSD.


Nonsense. I am curious, I like to learn. I have learned Linux, programming, three shells, two foreign languages (English and French), body building, nutrition, and many other things. In fact, I was a teacher for 11 years and I know what it takes to instill confidence and enthusiasm into a pupil. The job required that I also know what it takes to destroy a student's confidence and enthusiasm, and the overall BSD attitude has a lot of it.

Apparently, you just advocate the "shut up and suck it up" attitude. You must be a BSD community member.

That's why I gave up on Slackware and the Slackware community. I have no pride in being a "toughie" and making things difficult for newcomers.

"Curious" people who just want to clickety-clickety on random dialog boxes end up slinking away into the shadows.


Uninformed, patronizing, rude and unhelpful comment.

Reply Parent Score: 2