Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 24th Apr 2014 23:06 UTC, submitted by sheokand
PC-BSD

The PC-BSD project is developing its own desktop environment from scratch! The ultimate plan is for Lumina to become a full-featured, open-source desktop environment that may ultimately replace KDE as its default desktop environment.

A Phoronix reader, Ryan Bram, wrote in to share word on this new desktop environment being developed by the PC-BSD crew, the popular desktop-focused derivative of FreeBSD. This new desktop is called Lumina and is being developed as a home-grown desktop environment catered toward this BSD operating system.

While it's obviously cool, I wonder if it's a wise idea to undertake such a huge endeavour. I honestly doubt PC-BSD has the developers, testers, and users required for creating, maintaining, and improving an entire desktop environment.

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It actually makes sense
by ddc_ on Fri 25th Apr 2014 01:09 UTC
ddc_
Member since:
2006-12-05

Though whis undertaking seems to be obvious stupidity (KDE/GNOME/XFCE are out there, requires resources, etc), from BSD perspective it is not os obvious:

1. KDE, GNOME and XFCE are increasingly Linux-only. Among BSDs, only OpenBSD succeeded porting GNOME 3 (FreeBSD is close, but not there yet). And this port is done by exmployees of M:Tier, who provides commercial support for OpenBSD, including commercial desktop deployment. KDE appears to be an easier task, but, as OpenBSD port maintainer said, porting KDE means developing KDE. XFCE is yet easier, but the port still lacks some features of Linux version. In fact, neither BSD has desktop environment on par with Linuxes. There is LXDE, but...
2. Everything comming from Linux tends to increasingly depend on systemd. While ubiquitous on Linux, systemd doesn't fit BSDs in any way. Frankly, much of the desktop stuff that comes from Linux doesn't make sense on BSDs.
3. Building desktop environment is not as difficult task as it was say 10 years ago. Lots of already BSD-enabled libraries that can be used. I won't be at all surprised if building desktop environment, that would be on par with GNOME on Linux, requires less effort then porting desktop environments.
4. PC-BSD is backed by iX systems, rather well-off company that earns its money selling BSD hardware and services. They pay BSD awareness, FreeBSD events, etc. They largerly benefit from any positive news about BSDs. Given that desktop environments are one of the most problematic areas of desktop BSD adoption, most likely they would sponsor the effort.

Reply Score: 15

RE: It actually makes sense
by shmerl on Fri 25th Apr 2014 12:22 in reply to "It actually makes sense"
shmerl Member since:
2010-06-08

Good points about Linux only (like systemd and etc.). Same goes for Wayland for example.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE: It actually makes sense
by hobgoblin on Fri 25th Apr 2014 15:36 in reply to "It actually makes sense"
hobgoblin Member since:
2005-07-06

IMO, Systemd is the real problem. It seems to pretty much be only built for one user (Red Hat) and for one purpose, rapid boot.

Best i can tell, this so that RH can be used to spin up server instances in cloud services similar to Amazon EC2.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[2]: It actually makes sense
by shmerl on Fri 25th Apr 2014 18:20 in reply to "RE: It actually makes sense"
shmerl Member since:
2010-06-08

Systemd is not a problem for Linux. But it's not portable to BSDs or Solaris / illumos for example, so for them it's a problem if systemd becomes a hard dependency for the desktop environment like KDE or Gnome and etc.

Edited 2014-04-25 18:21 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: It actually makes sense
by Soulbender on Sat 26th Apr 2014 07:48 in reply to "RE: It actually makes sense"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

I think it's because now that everyone has (finally!) realized what a enormous clusterf--k SysV init is RH needs something else that is "enterprise" (another world for "overly complex and complicated") to woo their customers.
As much as I dislike SysV init, systemd is an even worse solution. Jesus, all we need is service management and that was solved years ago in daemontools/runit (and even Upstart) by running the daemon in the foreground. No need for this cgroup nonsense to track daemons that "backgrounds" and blah blah blah. Just write your daemons correctly to begin with.

Edited 2014-04-26 07:53 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: It actually makes sense
by andrewclunn on Mon 28th Apr 2014 14:10 in reply to "It actually makes sense"
andrewclunn Member since:
2012-11-05

Good post. I was worried about the whole "developed form scratch" thing until I saw that it's being built on top of Qt, so no it's not really being built from scratch, and porting applications won't suffer form it.

Reply Parent Score: 2