PC-BSD 0.7.8 has been released and I also recently conducted an interview with PC-BSD Project leader Kris Moore.
1) What made you decide to start PC-BSD?
I’ve been an off / on user of various linux distros over the past few years. I would always end up getting frusterated at things such as package installation, and bloat. Eventually something clicked, and I decided to try my hand at it, and PC-BSD was born. FreeBSD was always a “safe” place for me, things just seemed to make sense, and I spent more time actually using the OS, then actually trying to make things work.
2) Why use FreeBSD as its base opposed to NetBSD, OpenBSD, etc?
Stick with what you know. To be honest, I’ve only tried the other BSD’s a few times, and FreeBSD has always been my bread and butter. Their documentation and availability of information on the web has always been a huge help when troubleshooting problems. I’ve just always felt more comfortable with it.
3) What benefits over other package systems does PBI offer?
Probably the most important one of all… Usability! Don’t get me wrong, from a technical standpoint the ports system, or RPM may be very advanced, but from an “ease of use” standpoint, it really is a step back for your average user. People migrating over from Windows or Mac just want to download a file, and double click it to install. No and’s, if’s, or’s, or but’s. This is something that I think has greatly hindered other open source products on the market. Being forced to A) download programs in a project’s app list, or B) being forced to compile from source, are really not options for 98% of normal computer users out there. I couldn’t imagine having to download apps for my OS from microsoft.com, but this is normal for many Open Source OS’s out there. My goal is to instead keep the OS and the packages as seperate and distinct as possible. Which is in my opinion, the way it should be.
4) Other projects like Desktop BSD and NetBSD-Office have appeared since PC-BSD’s arrival on the scene, what do you think of their offerings and ideaology?
To tell you the truth, I haven’t had a chance to take a look at any of the other projects yet. Just trying to keep up with PC-BSD has been crazy enough.
5) What do you think it is about PC-BSD that makes it unique when compared to these other “Desktop” BSD releases?
Well, as I said before, I’m hoping that my take on software installation will be the key.
6) As we know PC-BSD is a KDE orientated BSD Distro, are there any plans for a GNOME based version? Such as in Ubuntu and Kubuntu?
Not at the moment, but it could happen down the road a bit. For now I’m just trying to focus on getting to 1.0, and have the OS be as full-featured as possible. Trying to support multiple WM’s would slow me down a bit in this reguard. However, I will be open to the idea once things are more finalized here.
7) What are your views on the newly started Kamel project to provide PC-BSD with a GUI based on KDE?
I’m excited to see people taking ideas like this and trying to put them into action. Hopefully it’ll come to fruition and I’ll probably be among the first to try it out.
8) What features are going to be present in the next release of PC-BSD?
Well, 0.7.8 was just released, but I’m already thinking ahead. A couple of the biggies I want to get implemented is the Online Update Manager, so that people won’t need to keep reloading the OS to get the latest features. Along with that, I want to get the installer setup so that you can “upgrade” your existing OS, I.E. install new version of PC-BSD, and not format the HD, keeping your programs / settings on the box.
9) How will these features benefit the end user?
It will help people commit to the OS, by knowing that they don’t need to reload in a month when I get something else, something newer finished.
10) When FreeBSD 6.0 is released will PC-BSD’s base system be updated accordingly?
Depends. I haven’t had a chance to play with 6.0 yet, and I’ll probably wait a bit just to ensure that its stable and solid before looking at updating. Once 6.0 gets there, I will probably consider migrating.
11) Can you see PC-BSD breaking away from its FreeBSD roots to form a new BSD kind of like what Apple did with Darwin, or are you dedicated to maintaining compatibility with FreeBSD?
I want to try and stay as 100% compatible with FreeBSD as possible. I don’t want PC-BSD to become a fork of FreeBSD at all. My goal is to provide the tools / utilities for the graphical desktop, so that your casual computer user can sit down and be productive on the machine, with no command line interaction at all. But for the power-users out there, I want to keep FreeBSD as pure as possible, so that they can modify / tweak things to their heart’s content. It’s an ambitious goal, but one worth having.