Home > BSD & Darwin > The Berkeley Software Distribution OSes Have Much to Offer The Berkeley Software Distribution OSes Have Much to Offer Eugenia Loli 2004-03-08 BSD & Darwin 85 Comments What’s so great about BSD? Plenty. The old daemon might even teach the penguin a thing or two: “BSD has become a quiet success. MacOS X is the ultimate Unix-style desktop” says Linux-Magazine. About The Author Eugenia Loli Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker. Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 85 Comments 2004-03-08 9:20 pm I fully agree, I am doing an install of FreeBSD 5.2.1 right now, and I was thinking to my self about how great the combo of the /usr/src plus ports was. Complete control which is more flexible than any other package manager. 2004-03-08 9:23 pm I stilled the new freeBSD with zero problems. once you find out that *every* program is in /usr/ports, you just make install, its awsome.. it even fetches missing files.. 2004-03-08 9:25 pm It sounds like for BSD to become a desktop player, they need two things to occur. First, support for more hardware. Second a new desktop window manager (which supports QT and GTK) so that it can differentiate itself from Linux. I mean, why would I bother with an OS for my desktop that looks and appears to behave just like Linux (because it uses the same Window Managers) when it supports much less hardware and has less support? I wouldn’t. There needs to be more of an attraction then just the kernel advantages. A new superior Window Manager could be the answer though. How to prevent it from being ported to Linux is a problem though. 2004-03-08 9:31 pm Maybe just pray that linux goes fully KDE so we BSD users can have gnome all to ourselves 😀 *grin* 2004-03-08 9:33 pm First, support for more hardware. Have you seen the list of supported hardware? NetBSD runs on everything that has a CPU. The idea behind BSD is NOT (necessarily) to support yesterday the latest greatest shiniest hardware money can buy tomorrow, but to support hardware correctly. To do that, it needs time to write a driver properly, especially if the vendor keeps documentation away. Second a new desktop window manager (which supports QT and GTK) so that it can differentiate itself from Linux. Excuse me, but WHAT does a WINDOW MANAGER have to do with an operating system? Nothing. Apart from that, take a look in /usr/ports/x11-wm. You will currently find 117 entries. That should give you enough choices to pick one. … and has less support? Huh? Less support? For BSD? Take a look at FreeBSD’s handbook, that is available online as well as on your installation CD. It is undeniable the best handbook you can find for any opensource project around. 2004-03-08 9:38 pm Well the author of the article made a point in saying that both Linux and BSDs are better as server OSes. What you’re suggesting, a xBSD branded window manager, is more of an appeal to desktop use. Although there is momentum behind “desktop Linux” it’s not as strong for BSD, even Linux is slowly making its way up there. Within the Linux community, there’s always people eager to “try something new”, in the form of a new distro or new/different kernels and/or patches. People with the same mentality could go as far as trying BSD. There’s plenty of resources out there: websites, books. The BSD community just needs to get out there and start talking more. Right now the Penguin is shouting the loudest. That’s all there is to it. 2004-03-08 9:44 pm your point is valid but pherhaps not in the way that JSmith means. well netbsd supports olmost all architectures under the sun but for my desktop that dosent help me playing ut2004 with a great framerate. windowmanagers dosent have much to do with the os but that iss all an avrage joe wanting a desktop os will ever want to se. i think wath jsmith is talking about would be a kind of bsd like osx but all opensource becus otherwise it wouldnt make that great sense to switch from linux to bsd. personaly i think bsd is great i run it on alot of hardware but i would never put in my desktop. but then the bsd´s dosent seem to want to be on the desktop and thats fine every tool has it´s place 2004-03-08 9:54 pm “I mean, why would I bother with an OS for my desktop that looks and appears to behave just like Linux (because it uses the same Window Managers) when it supports much less hardware and has less support? ” Well Linux is great when you want to play around with the OS, but when it comes to just focusing on getting things done, Linux always seems like it is a distribution release away from being finished. On the otherhand, the BSD’s have great, up-to-date documentation, a consistent way to approaching the OS, and a clean user interface. When I want to have fun with my OS, I use Linux. When I want to get a job done, I use FreeBSD. 2004-03-08 10:06 pm There are some benchmarks that say that Linux 2.6 scales slightly better than FreeBSD 5.1. I am wondering if this means that there is a slowdown in BSD development. Things don’t seem that good. 2004-03-08 10:09 pm Sadly, hardware support for the latest and greatest is even worse than it is under Linux for most of the *BSDs (not their fault most of the time either), and it looks like they’ll soon be left behind even farther with OSS droppoing out of the Linux world and being replaced by ALSA. Is there any hope of an ALSA-alike system for the *BSD world? 2004-03-08 10:11 pm >>Maybe just pray that linux goes fully KDE so we BSD users can have gnome all to ourselves 😀 *grin*<< You’re welcome to Gnome. More Linux types (like me) prefer KDE anyhow. On another note, I think it’s kind of silly comparing all those Linux distros and all those BSDs. It’s kinda like “which Christian church do you prefer?” I know the devil’s in the details, so to speak, but trying to evangelize one form of the OS over another is pretty pointless to me. I love Gentoo Linux…and yes, I know it owes its Portage system to BSD. But if I was ever to convert my mom’s system (and one of these days I will), I would never subject her to it. It’s not her speed. She’s more of a Xandros or Lindows type. Just depends on who you are and what you prefer. There’s room for all of them, IMHO. 2004-03-08 10:14 pm Wow I caused some stir. Let me clarify a few things: My statement about lack of support stems from this quote in the article: “There are dozens of Linux print and online publications and barely any for BSD”. If I have problems in Linux, a quick google search can solve most of them. The article to me seems to imply that it will be harder for BSD. My statement about lack of hardware suport stems from this quote in the article: “In short, you know that Linux will almost certainly run on your machine, and that you have a wide assortment of programs to choose from. With BSD, you must be much more aware of hardware compatibility”. Sure NetBSD can run on most any CPU or architecture, but will it support all my PCI cards??? In response to Chris who said: “Excuse me, but WHAT does a WINDOW MANAGER have to do with an operating system?”, well, it doesn’t sound like you read my post to carefully. It was directed towards making the move for BSD to get onto desktop pc’s. As in home PC’s. On home PC’s the Window Manager means EVERYTHING to the average end user. In the end, my point is there needs to be more of an attraction to BSD for it to become a DESKTOP Player. In my oppinion the most strong attraction it could gain right now, is in some form of differentiation. My oppinion is that the strongest form of differentation would come in the form of a new Window Manager. 2004-03-08 10:16 pm Actually, a BSD-centric window manager makes a bit of sense. Linux is aiming at the desktop market and the GUIs are aimed at desktop users. BSDs are aimed at servers, so a desktop aimed at managing a server might be more appropriate. Even an existing window manager with more server emphasis and tools might do as a start, and someting to build on. As for the comment above: Excuse me, but WHAT does a WINDOW MANAGER have to do with an operating system? And at least 50% of an OS is the user interface, period. Without that interface, the OS is useless. 2004-03-08 10:38 pm No i think BSD is not slowing down but an almost perfect (*cough*) system does not need much evo. Linux on the other hand is getting better all the time because it was/is in a less state then BSD was/is. I think that Linux is getting real good and that the arguments for using BSD are becoming less and less. I do love OpenBSD ( i always buy every new version of OpenBSD to support it) and NetBSD and prefer them above FreeBSD because they really make a difference in comparioson with other OS’s but Linux is much more know and much more supported by businesses that is a very big plus to use it in replacment of FreeBSD. 2004-03-08 10:41 pm Considering the Linux boom, the media recognition, the companies that support it and so on, I believe that Linux should have reached the current levels AGES ago. ITOH, FreeBSD 5.1 is kind of buggy. 5.2.1 still can’t handle APIC correctly on my x86 setup, but it’s a joy to use. It’s the best Unix-like system I’ve ever used on a x86(*), thanks to the ports system and tools like portinstall, and the /usr/src tree. Knowing how to handle the /etc/make.conf file is the key. I have done extreme fine-tuning to GCC switches there, and, my goodness, the system feels fast. And now updating both source trees (/usr/src and /usr/ports) is just a matter of typing “make update” in the respective directories. FreeBSD can be extremely easy to handle if you actually read the Handbook (which I failed to do several times before). Now I’m very comfortable with it, and truly satisfied. No apt or RPM for me, thank you very much. I don’t think I’m ever going back to binary-based Linux distros, and, frankly, I tried Gentoo, and it just can’t compare with the ports system. I’m also very fond of NetBSD, however its installation system seemed just too complicated to me. I love tinkering with OSs, but I’d rather have things done without much hassle. Besides, my current setup has some fairly modern hardware with it, some of them only fully utilizable on Windows (eew), so I must either go Linux or FreeBSD. I embraced the red daemon. And I’m proud I did. *) And, of course, props to Mac OS X, too! I don’t intend to get into the PPC vs x86 fight, so I hope the right audience ca appreciate my comments on OS X Panther is *awesome* on modern Apple hardware, and it’s also the best desktop OS I’ve ever used, among with BeOS. Unfortunately, I have no broadband connection on my (333MHz rev. D) iMac, and I’m yet to save some money and put a bigger HD on it so I can “play” with the latest OS X releases. Fink is really nice if you ignore its apt-isms and just tell it to grab the sources, their dependencies, and build everything. It also requires lots of patience (heh) on my hardware, but if you have a modern G4 or better setup, by all means go for it. 2004-03-08 10:41 pm “And at least 50% of an OS is the user interface, period. Without that interface, the OS is useless. ” I guess that in your world -> user interface == GUI, right? Sweeping statements like those are not only ill informed but just plain wrong. 2004-03-08 10:46 pm I have used more operating systems that I can remember, most of which are UNIX-like, many being various Linux distributions, and of course, all of the BSDs. Of all the free/open source systems I’ve tried, the BSDs have been the nicest. The stability and security were what first drew me into the BSD world, but the elegance and simplicity of them, combined with their wonderful documentation are what kept me using BSD above all others. FreeBSD is an old favorite, but more and more I’m finding that DragonFly better suits my needs and interests. Most of the people I’ve introduced to Linux and BSD have favored BSD as well, for many of the same reasons. But everyone has their own favorites, and nothing can please everybody. 2004-03-08 10:48 pm Any link which lists all s/w with BSD style license? 2004-03-08 10:49 pm Excuse me, but WHAT does a WINDOW MANAGER have to do with an operating system? And at least 50% of an OS is the user interface, period. Without that interface, the OS is useless. Sounds like a contradiction to me. Last I checked, a Window Manager provides that “interface” you hold so dearly. Furthermore, don’t let the name “Window Manager” fool you, it doesn’t just apply to windows, it may also be inclusive of widgets/controls like buttons and boxes and such. 2004-03-08 10:51 pm MacOS X is the ultimate Unix-style desktop. Does anybody else really hate the MacOS X desktop? I know it’s done a lot for user interface, and that Quartz is probably superior to QT or GTK, and the whole technology is very impressive, etc, etc… but on a personal preference level, the actual interface handles like a cow. I always seem to end up fighting the damn thing. Maybe it’s the lack of keyboard shortcuts or something. (This is not a flame, it’s a statment that I personally don’t like using the interface, probably because I’m used to Windows/GNOME/Flux/CLI/Insert_interface_here, so please don’t anti-flame me about how my prefrence is stupid, because that’s not the question.) 2004-03-08 10:54 pm Nice, take all the credit for Apple’s success. How much of that is true? Wouldn’t you be more likely to find a relative much closer to MACH than BSD if peering into it’s internals? BSD does not need some other os’s glory, it has plenty of great features to distinguish itself and place it a notch above all others. 2004-03-08 10:57 pm The first statement was a quote from another user’s (Chris) comment. The second was Dave’s reponse to it. That’s why there appears to be a contradiction. He just forgot the “” 2004-03-08 10:58 pm well i did like the desktop ok but i absolutly dint like running my unix apps in that desktop. so i ended up with linux on my mac and after not using the osx desktop for over thre months i sold my mac and bougth a dual mp system wich im now happily running. the osx desktop is great just all the apps im running wasnt 2004-03-08 11:00 pm Another FreeBSD plus for the “net set” is its extremely fast TCP/IP stack. FreeBSD delivers TCP/IP-borne network services faster than any other operating system on the same hardware I tried to run a search but I’m working so only had a second, but OSnews ran a story that had benchmarks for 2.6 against *bsd. If I recall correctly 2.6 kernel beat all bsd’s on network/socket speed. Has something changed? 2004-03-08 11:02 pm “On the otherhand, the BSD’s have great, up-to-date documentation, a consistent way to approaching the OS, and a clean user interface. When I want to have fun with my OS, I use Linux. When I want to get a job done, I use FreeBSD.” I haven’t used FreeBSD first hand. Could you give some examples on how it has “a consistent way to approaching the OS”. I’m not trying to bust you….I genuinely want to know. Also, can you elaborate how it’s easier to get the job done with FreeBSD then with Linux? Finally, what did you mean by it has a “clean user interface”? Doesn’t it just use KDE and/or Gnome, thereby having the same UI as Linux? Thanks for the clarifications. 2004-03-08 11:04 pm Actually, a BSD-centric window manager makes a bit of sense. Linux is aiming at the desktop market and the GUIs are aimed at desktop users. BSDs are aimed at servers, so a desktop aimed at managing a server might be more appropriate. Even an existing window manager with more server emphasis and tools might do as a start, and someting to build on. What does a window manager have to do with a server? And at least 50% of an OS is the (GUI) user interface, period. Without that interface, the OS is useless. There is little point to using an elaborate GUI on a server operating system. While I don’t doubt that in some (rare) cases, a GUI can make system administration easier, but I strongly suspect most administrative tasks can, and ought to be done from the command line. 2004-03-08 11:07 pm Sorry, BSD did win in socket performance but there were some odditys. http://bulk.fefe.de/scalability/ pretty good review though. 2004-03-08 11:11 pm that depends on wath kind of server it is. a home server fore file serving they are begining be quit common ofcourse they often use some kind of webgui. a small bussnies server they dont always have the money for dedicated tecs depending of the size of the bussnies. and yhen you have your bigger compexer networks. there should be possible to make a great easy use gui for the first two tasks withot breaching security. for bigger more complex spaces a gui would probobly be more confusing than a cmd line interface. but i se no reson not to use a gui for small simpel setups 2004-03-08 11:17 pm haven’t used FreeBSD first hand. Could you give some examples on how it has “a consistent way to approaching the OS”. I’m not trying to bust you….I genuinely want to know. For starters, the system configuration is much cleaner and more easilly understood and modified than in Linux. They filesystem layout is also more consistent; third party apps for example always go in ‘/usr/local/bin’ and their associated configuration always goes in ‘/usr/local/etc’ and so on. The actual configuration files are split, there are ‘defaults’ which are not suppoesed to be modified, and there are user modifyable overrides to these files. (You could just as easilly change the defaults, but it’s not standard). FreeBSD and DragonFly have wonderful integrated build systems, there was a time when FreeBSD could be rebuilt from source using a single command (and still can with only minor tweaking). The ports/packages system (although not without their problems) are nicer (IMO) than anything I’ve used in the Linux world. Those are just a few minor examples, but hopefully it’s enough to satisfy your curiosity. If not, I would whole-heartedly recomend trying one, FreeBSD would likely be the easiest to start with, but if you don’t mind the current lack of an installer (it’s a pre-beta OS), DragonFly is pretty damned sweet. 2004-03-08 11:19 pm The comment I made about third party apps was only mostly correct, there are (like under any system) a couple oddballs (X related only in my experience) that are in ‘/usr/X11R6/bin’ and so on. Sorry for the mixup. 2004-03-08 11:38 pm I guess that in your world -> user interface == GUI, right? In terms of the desktop and average Joe it is. 2004-03-08 11:43 pm In terms of the desktop and average Joe it is. Screw Joe Average. I’m all for easier to use computers, but at some point, people can damn well learn to use the technology in front of them. I’m tired of people refusing to learn the difference between a file and folder/directory. Simplicity, Power, and Price. Pick two. 2004-03-09 12:12 am I used to run FreeBSD 4.9 on my comp for quite a while, but eventually dropped it for Slack 9.1 because of a TV-tuner purchase which I just couldn’t get working under FBSD. Anyone ever have luck getting a ATI TV-Wonder VE working? I tried all sorts of kernel options but eventually gave up, the kernel compile kept failing when I tried to include the bktr driver for some reason. @Kingston “FreeBSD is an old favorite, but more and more I’m finding that DragonFly better suits my needs and interests.” Not trolling, but I never had a chance to try Dragonfly BSD yet. As a user of both, what are the bigger differences between the two? Better hardware support? 2004-03-09 12:18 am You mean these missing keyboard shortcuts? http://developer.apple.com/documentation/UserExperience/Conceptual/… 2004-03-09 12:26 am it’s pathetic that people rant about window managers while ignoring the entire reason that OSX is actually a decent UNIX desktop system: Apple blew away Xfree and wrote their own layer. If the *BSD crowd could come to grips with the inherent superiority of the Mac desktop, and try to emulate it (ie, stop using broken claptrap like the X protocol) I think I’d give BSD a chance. So would thousands of others. 2004-03-09 12:29 am Correction, Quartz is the equivalent of the Xserver and cocoa is the equivalent of QT. Personally I prefer Mac Desktop to KDE. It’s just fancier and more professional looking. I prefer all these UIs to the Windows UI. After over a year of using KDE and about 6 months of using Mac, Windows just seems wierd, ugly and just plain wrong. Of course all this UI talk is just my opinion. 8) 2004-03-09 12:31 am Solaris is also derived from BSD. (Granted, with a fair amount of code licenced from Unix.) Were I Apple or Sun, I’d be crowing from the rooftops that my OS was SCO bullet-proof as a way of marketing it to businesses in need of servers. 2004-03-09 12:33 am Interesting to see how my comments came back. Let me try again: OS = Kernel + UI UI can be “Window Manager” ala Gnome or KDE or TWM or (fill in the blank here). Therefore, a “Window Manager” is 50% of the “OS”. Unix like systems traditionally use a CLI, therefore UI can be bash or csh or (fill in the blank here). Still though, it is 50% of the OS. Window managers can replace a CLI in most instances, and there are arguments for flexibility and power in either case. I suppose now that I think of it that dedicated systems would have little or no UI, reducing that side of the equation, but some meaningful input is required for the kernel to operate on no matter what. My original point was that a well designed GUI would provide, at a glance, system status or relevant messages or configuration information that a CLI would have a user type several commands to get at. No, I have not seen such an animal yet, but one developed for BSD in a server environment might be a good idea. In contrast to the “desktop” styles that Linux is after, the server GUI would need a lot less “eye candy” and so forth. 2004-03-09 1:17 am Not trolling, but I never had a chance to try Dragonfly BSD yet. As a user of both, what are the bigger differences between the two? Better hardware support? Better hardware support isn’t one of the advantages at this point in time (nor do I see it becoming one in the near future). Best case scenario, DragonFly supports as much hardware as FreeBSD. I’ve not the variety of hardware to say definitively though. The differences right now are purely archictectural. FreeBSD 5.x is in many cases a higher performer, as it’s nearing preoduction readyness, whereas DragonFly is pre-beta, and is still evolving too rapidly for stable APIs etc to have come about (The ‘new token’ code comes to mind). DragonFly is however evolving into a beast that will allow new functionality to be added more easilly, than the same functionality can be added to say Linux or FreeBSD, and is being redesigned from the ground up for clustering applications, which are big in the sciences (as a young biotechie, staying on top of the technologies I’ll be employing to get my work done seems to be time well spent). For the near future, FreeBSD will better serve as a desktop machine than would DragonFly, but if you’re interested in using better technology, DragonFly will be the better bet in the long run. I too have an ATI TV card, and I’ve not yet even tried to get it to work under BSD. I’ll trade a little pain now, for less pain later on, as I start to do ever more important things. 2004-03-09 1:22 am “OS = Kernel + UI UI can be “Window Manager” ala Gnome or KDE or TWM or (fill in the blank here). Therefore, a “Window Manager” is 50% of the “OS”.” Again, just because you say that a GUI is 50% of the OS doesn’t make it so. Where in heavens did you come up with the equation: OS=Kernel + UI? This is just so wrong it is not even funny. You forgot: libraries/APIs, I/O, filesystem, drivers, interrupt handlers, etc… etc.. A gui is a very small portion of what an operating system is, in fact you can have an OS w/o a gui (not even a CLI for that matter). But you could not have an OS w/o most of the elements I have listed before. “My original point was that a well designed GUI would provide, at a glance, system status or relevant messages or configuration information that a CLI would have a user type several commands to get at.” This sounds like a solution looking for a problem. There are plenty of BSD tools (both graphical and cli based that do just that), this is just another atempt at reinventing the wheel *sigh*. 2004-03-09 1:29 am LOL, stupid troll… http://www.freebsd.org/ports/x11-wm.html BSD is hard to shop for? This sounds odd… I never had a problem picking up any thing for it… lol, if I want I can even easily pick up hardware for it at wall mark… As for video? That is handled by XFree86 or what ever Xserver you have installed… 2004-03-09 1:47 am I *love* NetBSD, it’s clean, lean, and mean. But… my home network is USB/802.11b based… and wi(4) does not work on USB yet… 🙁 2004-03-09 2:05 am How am I a troll by quoting the article at question? The only other think I did was state that I think it would be a good idea for them to create a window manager to differentiate themselves. I think you need to look up the definition of troll as you sound quite confused. 2004-03-09 2:18 am you have NO idea what you are talking about at all. 2004-03-09 2:29 am Please. Explain to me how I have “NO idea” what I’m talking about, when all I did was quote the article and state an oppinion that they should do more to differentiate themselves to target the home pc market. If in fact I have “NO idea” what I’m talking about, my guess is you should be redirecting your efforts to the author of the article. 2004-03-09 3:13 am Something dealing with you can’t use X11R6, QT, and GTK on a BSD system… Which is blatantly false… 2004-03-09 3:13 am a note to average joes from an average joe. if you can read a cook book (and understand)you can have an alternative to Windows that beats Linux. remember to read but the following is the path i took (so as to get kde 3.2)and i have a great system though I still need to tweak my dvd playing apps. 1)download the minimal 5.2.1iso available and burn it/install it. 2)cd /usr/ports/sysutils/cvsup-non-gui 3)cvsup /pathto/ports-supfile. (read cvsup documentation) 3.5)make sure /usr/ports/accessibility exists. (if not steal it from somewhere a make it so.) 4)pkgdb -F after the above 5)cd /usr/ports/pathto/XFree86-4/ ans make install clean 6)go take a walk after picking the components of kde you want. 7)do sysinstall and configure X with the text based utility. (while in sysinstall change your CLI screensaver if you wish) may need to rehash here. and oh, startx is ready to go, a functional window gui thing is all ready and you can essentially forget all others. 8)cd /usr/ports/x11/kde3/ and make install clean 9)take a long long nap or just stare at the text flowing for hours after hours. something is wrong with my eyes. 10)kdm or reconfigure startx to boot kde. 11) go get linux-realplayer and mplayer for your streaming video. gimp for your graphics. mozilla first before mplayerplugin. 12)wait for gnome 2.6 and get it from http://www.freebsd.org/gnome. READ A LOT. Or skip everything after step 1 above and install links, mp3blaster, centericq, mplayer, giFT and one of the mail apps for cli. READ FOR YOURSELF. hippies will want acidwarp for cli, electric sheep (especially electric sheep) and the bomb for gui. read about portupgrade and freebsd-update utilites. also available virus scanners f-prot and clamscan. help out science with distribfold. grep for foldtrajlite(sp) if you don’t want foldit starting at boot. I think the thing you want to delete to stop the automatic start is in a folder called rc.d in /usr/etc/ maybe. grep will find it for you. READ JOE READ. if i810 then load_ich=”yes” in the correct config file for sound. get that scroll wheel to work on your mouse by adjusting another config file. READ. get GLX to load in the same config file for the gl screensavers to work. sorry about missing paths as I am in XP right now and am writing from my feeble memory. freebsd, I love you! 2004-03-09 3:15 am “on a personal preference level, the actual interface handles like a cow. I always seem to end up fighting the damn thing. Maybe it’s the lack of keyboard shortcuts or something. Edward, Mac OS X has been my default OS since the Public Beta in 2000, and don’t worry, I won’t flame you for your comments, since some of them are quite valid. I think a big part of the problem with most people coming from another interface is the fact that they expect it to act like something they’re used to, and become frustrated when their habits ingrained by long experience with something else leaves them fumbling around. Mac OS X does in fact have many, many keyboard shortcuts, and you can even turn on full keyboard access if you have zero desire to use a mouse or trackpad. Like anything new, it takes a while to feel not just comfortable, but in control. As to the perceived slowness of Mac OS X, this has been a big bone of contention for Mac users, especially those of us coming from pre-OS X systems. After using OS X for awhile, I booted up in OS 9 and things just bloody flashed around, and I cursed Apple for months for releasing this dog-slow pile of garbage. Of course, I was so enamored of true multitasking, and the strange and wonderful new world of the command-line, not to mention the beautiful look of Aqua, that I never gave any serious thought to giving up on OS X, and I with each new point upgrade, I became confident that Apple was on the right track, and that speed would follow, which it did, and I’m certain, will. It also became apparent to me that Mac OS X was far from slow; it was unresponsive. That is to say, it took a while for it to respond to what I wanted, but once it started on a task, it was pretty damn quick. I’m happy to say that Jaguar and now Panther have borne out my belief that Apple was on the right track, and I’m quite impressed with how the OS has continued to improve. I’m also thankful that they chose to base OS X on BSD (nothing against Linux folks!) because it introduced me to the amazing world of Unix and the command line. I truly believe that with OS X I have the best of both worlds. 2004-03-09 3:18 am step 6 in my last note should be place after beginning of kde3 install. geesh. 2004-03-09 3:22 am another goof. i swear i will quit soon. if your going to skip everything after step one then make sure you install the ports collection that is avaialble within the minimal iso. i bet there are no average joes reading this anyway. 2004-03-09 3:38 am “Something dealing with you can’t use X11R6, QT, and GTK on a BSD system… Which is blatantly false…” I never said that. I actually said the opposite. The whole point of my post is the fact that when BSD’s use Gnome and KDE ,they’re not doing enough to differentiate themselves if they want to compete with Linux in the home pc market. My suggestion was that they should instead create their own Window Manager (which would also support QT and GTK) to further differentiate themselves. Carefully read someone’s post before responding with “Stupid Troll”. 2004-03-09 3:44 am It’s not about winning converts with fancy UIs or bashing GNU/Linux or MS Windows. It’s about having the best performing, most consistent, most stable, and most secure OS around. 2004-03-09 4:02 am Sorry, I should have been more specfic, it wasn’t that the system was slow (this was at a university lab, and given the specs of the machines, I was willing to forgive quite a lot of slowness), it’s that the system felt clunky. Given that at the time, I was using fluxbox + CLI (at home), Windows 2000 (in another lab), and KDE2 (in yet another lab), I assumed (yes, I know), that I should be able to jump around the system with ease. Assumption is the mother of all screw ups, and I think this is what works against alternate OS’s. People assume that things will work the same as their old interface, and when they don’t, assume they can’t change it to suit them. dr_gonzo: Cheers. I’ll keep that in mind next time. Personally, I’m a GNOME/XFCE4/Fluxbox fan – but that’s me. 2004-03-09 4:47 am maybe i’m missing something, due to lack of experience with anything but mac os, i do not see any lack of keyboard shortcuts. . .i do not find them in windows to be able to do that same thing. i am still looking for a distro of linux to install on my mac to find out how it compares. nick 2004-03-09 4:48 am There are certifications for everything else IT releated. There are plenty of certs for Linux: SAIR, LPI, RedHat. There’s at least 30 certs for IT security. But, to the best of knowledge, there’s no certs for the BSDs. If the is some sort of skill cert for the BSDs, let me say D’OH! in advance. 2004-03-09 5:05 am I don’t think these guys make the BSDs for users, they make it for themselves. Starting a holy war isn’t important, it’s about making the best system they want to use. 2004-03-09 5:35 am “1)download the minimal 5.2.1iso available and burn it/install it. 2)cd /usr/ports/sysutils/cvsup-non-gui 3)cvsup /pathto/ports-supfile. (read cvsup documentation) 3.5)make sure /usr/ports/accessibility exists. (if not steal it from somewhere a make it so.) 4)pkgdb -F after the above 5)cd /usr/ports/pathto/XFree86-4/ ans make install clean 6)go take a walk after picking the components of kde you want. 7)do sysinstall and configure X with the text based utility. (while in sysinstall change your CLI screensaver if you wish) may need to rehash here. and oh, startx is ready to go, a functional window gui thing is all ready and you can essentially forget all others. 8)cd /usr/ports/x11/kde3/ and make install clean 9)take a long long nap or just stare at the text flowing for hours after hours. something is wrong with my eyes. 10)kdm or reconfigure startx to boot kde. 11) go get linux-realplayer and mplayer for your streaming video. gimp for your graphics. mozilla first before mplayerplugin. 12)wait for gnome 2.6 and get it from http://www.freebsd.org/gnome. READ A LOT. Or skip everything after step 1 above and install links, mp3blaster, centericq, mplayer, giFT and one of the mail apps for cli. READ FOR YOURSELF. hippies will want acidwarp for cli, electric sheep (especially electric sheep) and the bomb for gui.” apt-get install kde mozilla centericq xmms links (etcetera) is much easier imo. Learning APT is straightforward and user-friendly. I really don’t get all this “compile from source” cruft. It is a waste of resources and performance to me. Plus if there’s a patch needed, i’d rather grab that binary with APT on my I2/200 or P1/200. Yet, when i run a BSD or Gentoo on such computer, i’ll have to compile it from source or use sysinstall (which is afaik only up2date for -RELEASE). When there’s a patch, and yes, the kernel needs to be patched every once in a while, i’ll have to apply that patch and recompile it (which is more work than patching & compiling a kernel on Debian or Linux). There’s stuff i like in the BSD’s. But all this compile nonsense, which is a part of Gentoo too, is really not useful. I want ity OPTIONAL. apt-get -b source kde gets me my KDE source if CHOSE so.[/rant] NOFI, use what you like. Just a rant Oh, and all the FLOSS WM’s and DE’s benefit the BSD’s too. Not only the BSD’s, IRIX and Solaris and such benefit too, and not only regarding WM’s and DE’s. Take Mozilla as example for a second, and check out on which platforms and architectures it all runs. It’s not that GPL doesn’t benefit the *BSD’s. Thank you, GCC. 2004-03-09 5:39 am If ye really want a BSD-licensed WM, try E16 (Enlightenment 0.16). The upcomming E17 also looks promising. It is afaik completely BSD licensed, but i stumbled on some epplets which are GPL. [personally, i love it] 2004-03-09 7:23 am Here is an interesting quote from the article: “With BSD, you must be much more aware of hardware compatibility, and have far fewer programs to choose from. This is especially true of desktop applications” Check out: http://www.freebsd.org/ports 10357 ports 10k isnt a tiny number. Slackware has approx 9k and debian has 13k. JMHO. 2004-03-09 8:42 am Woah there! What’s all this nonsense about HAVING to compile from source when you want to install something on FreeBSD? In case you didn’t know, packages are binary versions of ports and you can install them by typing: pkg_add -r mozilla, pkg_add -r kde, etc… So that basicly invalidates your first argument. Why compile from ports instead of installing binaries? Simple. You can optimize the code for your processor (SSE/MMX/i686) instead of generic i386, you can modify the source and still compile/install it with the same ease as a binary package, and you can ensure compatibility/stability by linking against libraries that are installed on YOUR system instead of the computer of the person who compiled the binary. And as a general reply to everyone, I switched from RedHat 7.3 to FreeBSD 4.9 on my dedicated web server because like everyone has been saying, it’s just so much easier to get things done. I’ve effectly upgraded my platform from a rickety old wooden shack to a brick house on a concrete foundation. apt-get install kde mozilla centericq xmms links (etcetera) is much easier imo. Learning APT is straightforward and user-friendly. I really don’t get all this “compile from source” cruft. It is a waste of resources and performance to me. Plus if there’s a patch needed, i’d rather grab that binary with APT on my I2/200 or P1/200. Yet, when i run a BSD or Gentoo on such computer, i’ll have to compile it from source or use sysinstall (which is afaik only up2date for -RELEASE). When there’s a patch, and yes, the kernel needs to be patched every once in a while, i’ll have to apply that patch and recompile it (which is more work than patching & compiling a kernel on Debian or Linux). There’s stuff i like in the BSD’s. But all this compile nonsense, which is a part of Gentoo too, is really not useful. I want ity OPTIONAL. apt-get -b source kde gets me my KDE source if CHOSE so. 2004-03-09 9:20 am It is not *BSD’s fault that you are unable to RTFM, as someone else pointed out: You have 3 ways of getting softs into your BSD box: source tarballs,ports and packages. The flexibility is there, you can either roll your own with the source, easily target your machine with ports or just install the binary with the package. But of course you’d know that if you had actually bother to find out about the system you were using. In fact one of the biggest assets of a system like FreeBSD is its handbook, one of the best online OS references out there. But even with all that wealth of options and documentation, they can not make up for the cluelessness of the end user. 2004-03-09 9:28 am If the *BSD crowd could come to grips with the inherent superiority of the Mac desktop, and try to emulate it (ie, stop using broken claptrap like the X protocol) I think I’d give BSD a chance. So would thousands of others. So? This isn’t a race. The BSDs (I believe this applies to all of them) are supposed to be minimal, but very dependeable Unix servers. Sure, you can get XFree86 to work on it. And you can even get the same Desktops you can on a Linux system. But that’s secondary. 2004-03-09 10:22 am I’d be glad if someone ported X autoconfiguration from Linux to the BSDs. I imagine that a Knoppix-like NetBSD live-CD would quickly find lots of happy users. Configuring X Window System is always an arduous job and even reading manuals doesn’t help here if you don’t know your monitor’s horiz and vert refresh rates. As long as the BSDs lack this X autoconfig I’d rather recommend clueless newbies to try Linux first. 2004-03-09 10:55 am I understand your point. And you’re right (there should be differenciation). Or would be, if BSD targeted the desktop. Some years ago I had the same thoughts, about BSD having a default WM different from any other (and, as somebody said, based on the BSD licensed Enlightenment) and really specific to the underlying OS (KDE on FreeBSD had a lot of things ready to go, but only with Linux). I remember some guy who tried to develop a desktop OS based on FreeBSD: LainOS. I believed that project died. 2004-03-09 11:53 am Seems to be getting somewhere slowly unless this is another lainOS http://lainos.sourceforge.net/index.php 2004-03-09 12:23 pm A BSD article writen by a linux fan? this really sucks. Read it carefully and you’ll see what i’m talking about. 2004-03-09 12:42 pm This is it. 2004-03-09 1:01 pm Every time I see one of these articles, I end up installing one of the BSD’s. People make the BSD’s look so promising, but each time I install one, I am simply disappointed. The BSD’s feel slower then Linux, I get worse network performance. I always try to convince myself that ports are really nice, but have yet to find them less then frustrating in actual use. I don’t think its an unfair statement to say that the general feel and perception of maturity is only on par with the 2.0 Linux kernel to this day. Many people will recent this comment, but just install any Linux distribution, and tell me even the CLI doesn’t feel faster then with BSD. Don’t get me wrong, I like the BSD’s, I wouldn’t keep using them if I didn’t want them to be competitive, but they certainly are no better then anything else on offer. Many say that OS X is basically a FreeBSD desktop also, I have seen FreeBSD developers state this in public forums even. Simple fact is, Darwin is hardly simular to BSD in many ways, but does use a lot of its code. OS X also feels sluggish though, so you can certainly tell they are related. 2004-03-09 1:53 pm “It is not *BSD’s fault that you are unable to RTFM, as someone else pointed out: You have 3 ways of getting softs into your BSD box: source tarballs,ports and packages.” Read, comprehend, post. I mentioned sysinstall, perhaps you could correlate that with Packages yourself when i’m talking about binaries? “Woah there! What’s all this nonsense about HAVING to compile from source when you want to install something on FreeBSD? In case you didn’t know, packages are binary versions of ports and you can install them by typing: pkg_add -r mozilla, pkg_add -r kde, etc… So that basicly invalidates your first argument.” Sorry, i disagree. It basically doesn’t, because if you’d have read what i said more extensively, i said that this is only up2date for RELEASE, not STABLE. Futhermore, there are NO packages for some software in the Ports collection. Regarding Gentoo, only a small part of it is actually in binary form available. “Why compile from ports instead of installing binaries? Simple. You can optimize the code for your processor (SSE/MMX/i686) instead of generic i386” Big deal, 2% improvement! Why would one prefer this on a slow x86? For me it ain’t worth the agony in any case except when truely mandatory/required, but more importantly this isn’t even remotely special about BSD or the Ports collection. (Are you aware i wasn’t talking about x86 alone?) “[…] you can modify the source and still compile/install it with the same ease as a binary package, and you can ensure compatibility/stability by linking against libraries that are installed on YOUR system instead of the computer of the person who compiled the binary.” Fair enought, but the latter is imo unnecessary because STABLE is like, STABLE. APT and RPM can do that too. It’s not really special or something… there is no need to imply such. Compiling from source ain’t cool and there ain’t much of a “performance gain”. It is only helpful when mandatory/required; mostly it ain’t. If it is, it can be perfectly, easily done on common Linux distributions like Debian GNU/Linux and Fedora. Can we please get over this nonsense? The assertion comes mainly from Gentoo users (who established a great name among FLOSS developers with their infamous bugreports because of their “optimalisations”), but seems to have found its’ roots from the *BSD community. 2004-03-09 2:20 pm @Frank: Pointing to ‘objective’ comparisons leads to fruitless (and potentially endless) debates. So all I can say is that FreeBSD 5.2.1 in MY experience outperforms any linux I have tried. Now that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a faster linux distro. I haven’t tried Slack (I intend to) which is said to be one of the fastest linux distros. Also, my experience is limited to Debian (stable and testing/unstable), Mandrake 9.0/9.1 and RH 7.3 – all with 2.4.x kernels. And that was with the few years old (4BSD) scheduler. I have a gentoo box sitting near my desk, with 2.6 kernel, and performance is comparable and slightly better (with the new ULE scheduler) to it. I was especially surprised to see that it took half an hour more to compile kdebase on my machine than on the gentoo box. Why is that surprising? My box is a 700Mhz Duron with 256SDRAM, while the other machine is an Athlon-XP 1800+ with 256DDRAM. Desktop performance is absolutely on par on both boxes (using KDE 3.2). The only difference I saw was starting up OpenOffice, which takes 1-3 seconds more on my BSD box (given the specs, I’d say that’s nice). I also read similar experiences from users who switched, but what really gave you away as a troll is your CLI comment – and network performance. How on earth do you compare the two (lag in bash? come on!). 2004-03-09 2:53 pm From the article: ” Using FreeBSD, even more so then in Linux, a single administrator can run tens of thousands of sites.” Disclaimer: I don’t contend that this is not possible with linux. I know that it is. What I want to point out is that it is more straightforward/easier to do that in FreeBSD – which also underlies the point made by many: when it comes to administering a system, FreeBSD is easier and more straightforward to configure/maintain. (someone asked for an example for that claim. Here we go. Someone mentioned upgrading the OS and Ports in one command if you have properly set up make.conf. Properly set up doesn’t imply difficulty. You’ll only have to read man make.conf and the sample file in /usr/share/examples/etc. But I will go with an out of the box method (no configuration involved). How do you update your OS? Simple: – syncronize your /usr/src tree (the Handbook is your friend). – after customizing your kernel (if you want to), in /usr/src: make buildworld – make buildkernel KERNCONF=your_custom_kernel_conf_file – make installkernel – reboot – make installworld. Now what about deployment on 10000 puters? It is very simple. For security related updates related to userland (world): -export /usr/obj as an NFS share after buildworld, mount it on the puters (this is pretty easily automated) and make installworld (takes 5 minutes). Kernel related stuff (very rare!) -do the same, but after buildkernel stuff Entire OS (for example, an upgrade from 5.1 to 5.2.1) – its just that you need two steps. First make installkernel from the mounted NFS share than after reboot, make installworld). So you can have one build machine (or a small cluster for it) that can create binary packages every time an update is needed, and you can deploy those binaries on a large number of puters with a few commands. But we are not finished. You can actually optimize your built for any architecture. If you know that all your puters are pentium 4, regardless of the build machine architecture, you can build the entire OS targeted for p4. Even if you have a heterogenous set of computers, but you know there are no Pentium I puters (very likely), you can optimize your build with i686 as a target. Conclusion: As I said, you can do that with some linuces perhaps, but you need to tweak a lot more, and with some distroes, you can’t do that at all. In FreeBSD you have an infrastructure in place to do just that. Of course, you can maintain a local deb repo for updates, and easily deploy them over a network, but doing an entire OS upgrade is not recommended, while in FreeBSD, what I described above, IS the recommended way of upgrading your OS. And I won’t recommend anything even similar with RedHat. As to having to compile everything in BSD trolls: There is a build cluster for FreeBSD that builds packages out of ports once every month. So you have up to date binary packages available (not as up to date as in a day or week old) at your fingertips. And pkg_add -r works exactly like apt-get. Automatically resolves, downloads, installs dependencies just like apt-get install would. Even better: if you install the portupgrade port, you can have the flexibility of automating choice: ‘portinstall -P foo’ would try to fetch a package first, and if it can’t find a package that is as current as you would have in ports, it would automatically download the sources and compile them. ‘portinstall -PP foo’ would only download and install progs that are available as packages. And finally: whatever I have written above for the base OS, you can have with ports as well. You can do a ‘make package’ anywhere in your port tree, and export these binary packages to your other computers, so they will never have to build anything (and again, the advantage of this compared to ‘pkg_add -r’ – and apt-get – is that you can optimize all those packages for at least i686 if you want to. 2004-03-09 3:23 pm >>The idea behind BSD is NOT (necessarily) to support yesterday the latest greatest shiniest hardware money can buy tomorrow, but to support hardware correctly. To do that, it needs time to write a driver properly, especially if the vendor keeps documentation away. that may be the case but the article this thread is about is making claims far bigger than that so the arguement that BSD is behind in hardware support is valid because it proves the article incorrect. 2004-03-09 3:38 pm Ummm… X autoconfiguration is a part of X. It works perfectly fine on the BSDs. Besides, FreeSBIE is a FreeBSD LiveCD with all kinds of nifty autodetection beyond just X, so there you go. 2004-03-09 4:15 pm “X autoconfiguration is a part of X. It works perfectly fine on the BSDs” No it doesn’t. In my experience XFree86 -configure sucks, it has never detected monitor specs or mouse in any machine I have tried it. IMO, you just cannot compare it with the autoconfig in Knoppix. I haven’t tried FreeSBIE – if it is anything like Knoppix I might give it a go. But what I’d actually want is Knoppix-like NetBSD live-CD with hd-installation script. NetBSD would be ideal for this kind of project and pkgsrc is simply amazing. 2004-03-09 5:04 pm >> Solaris is also derived from BSD. (Granted, with a fair amount of code licenced from Unix.) Solaris is a result of a merge of the SysVR4 and BSD codebases, so it’s derived from both, your point is more correct if your talking about SunOS I’m finding zealots be they FreeBSD or linux or Windows (or whatnot!) on this site more and more tiring, why does every thread about *nix got to descend into “my OS is better then your’s cause x,y,z” *roll eyes* different strokes for different folks as the expression goes 2004-03-09 5:34 pm He’s getting REALLY tiresome.. 2004-03-09 5:35 pm I thought FreeSBIE was the kind of ‘roll your own’ project but it turns out they have a ready-made iso-image for downloading. Judging from the screenshot, it looks pretty cool. XFCE4, if I’m not mistaken. I’m downloading the iso right now. Thanks for the tip! 🙂 2004-03-09 6:07 pm I enjoy some of the stuff about it that drives other folks batty, like compiling from source. Doesn’t take long for most things. On FBSD-STABLE I can “make world” (rebuild the OS after fetching source updates with cvsup) in 25 minutes, and this is on a quite normal machine (AMD XP1800+, 2 40GB hard drives in RAID0 array, 20GB standalone drive). Downloading the updated source code (just what’s changed from the previous update) takes maybe 15-30 minutes for both the OS and all 10,000+ ports over my 28.8K dialup. Ports that will take a while, like XFree or Firefox, I just leave running overnight and there it is all fresh and updated in the morning. For OpenOffice I install the package. Lots of messages say FBSD isn’t a good desktop system, but other than installing the latest update of XFree it takes me just a couple of hours to get a desktop I’m very happy with – XFCE4, ascd (cd player), gmplayer (dvd player with gui interface), Opera (web browser), nedit (decent editor), and others. And I never thought I’d say this, but yes, it actually does seem simpler, quicker and easier to me to just tweak a couple of text config files if there are any problems than to search around for the gui tool that may or may not solve the problem. (Couldn’t stand Mandrake for that reason. So far, of the distros I’ve used, I like Slackware best, but I’m always curious to try something new.) Anyone who’s curious should certainly give the BSDs a try. I’m no genius and learning FreeBSD didn’t seem difficult to me. 2004-03-09 6:18 pm I got NetBSD installed over the weekend and got it to dial out through a USB modem. I have it running on a powernotebooks C3:16. I am really getting to like the BSD’s. I have FreeBSD on a 600E thinkpad and now NetBSD on the other laptop. I must saw that configuring ipf or ipfw seems pretty easy. 2004-03-09 7:52 pm Sorry, i disagree. It basically doesn’t, because if you’d have read what i said more extensively, i said that this is only up2date for RELEASE, not STABLE. Please take a look at: http://www.freebsd.org/ports/ Quoted from the page: The Ports Collection supports the latest release on the FreeBSD-CURRENT and FreeBSD-STABLE branches. Older releases are not supported and may or may not work correctly with an up-to-date ports collection. Over time, changes to the ports collection may rely on features that are not present in older releases. Wherever convenient, we try not to gratuitously break support for recent releases, but it is sometimes unavoidable. When this occurs, patches contributed by the user community to maintain support for older releases will usually be committed. Unless you think the FreeBSD web page is lying, it supports STABLE too. Futhermore, there are NO packages for some software in the Ports collection. Show me a linux distro that has a binary version (RPM/APT/etc…) for every single piece of software normally distributed as source code. Big deal, 2% improvement! Why would one prefer this on a slow x86? For me it ain’t worth the agony in any case except when truely mandatory/required, but more importantly this isn’t even remotely special about BSD or the Ports collection. You asked for a reason to compile from source, I gave you three. Just like you said, FOR YOU it isn’t worth the agony of compiling it on your slow x86 home pc, but for those of us running a high end server for a business processing information all day, any performance gains are welcomed. You seem to have this obsession with wanting to install only binaries on your computer. That is fine but it is by no means a replacement for compiling from source for everyone else. Due to the nature of open source software and operating systems, people with the same o/s may still have different versions of libs/software and even customized versions of those that won’t work out of the box with precompiled binaries. Remember, not everyone is running this o/s as a toy on their home PC. 2004-03-09 7:59 pm And before you say anything about the http://www.freebsd.org/ports/ web page, click on a few of the ports and you will see a link below each called “Package”. That is the binary version of it for your non-compiling pleasure. 2004-03-09 10:36 pm Why compile from ports instead of installing binaries? Simple. You can optimize the code for your processor (SSE/MMX/i686) instead of generic i386. With minimal improvement or reduced performance in some cases. Except for applications like ssh (and maybe gzip), optimizing for your processor doesn’t do all that much. I agree with whoever said that FreeBSD is lacking in good up-to-date binary packages. There should be an elegant way to provide these. Perhaps a peer-to-peer filesharing system? Whoever gets to compile a certain port first gets to share it with the others on the network? 2004-03-09 11:30 pm Well, the automatic X setup in FreeSBIE did a decent job, it gave me a fully working desktop without any need to mess with XF86Config. Something like this would be a nice addition to sysinstall. All in all FreeSBIE gave me very positive vibes so I’m going to keep it and maybe also pass a copy to a couple of friends too. 🙂 2004-03-10 1:59 am I tried FreeBSD on the desktop (actually, I used it as a desktop and development workstation). I couldn’t get PL/Perl to install for PostgreSQL, and I never could get OpenOffice to work correctly, so I had to abandon it. I say that not with glee or contempt, but with sadness. I had had it with Red Hat 9 and decided to try FreeBSD 4.8. I was really impressed. I ran it on a IBM NetVista w/ 550 MHz Celeron processor. It couldn’t run Win2K worth a damn, but with FreeBSD you just couldn’t knock it down. And a snappy desktop to boot – much snappier than Fedora Core 1. I loved the ports collection, although I didn’t necessarily appreciate the long compile times. Still, much better than dealing with RPM dependency hell (actually, Fedora is pretty good about this, but only if you play in their sandbox). For my next notebook computer, I’m going to try a FreeBSD install on it (currently running Fedora on that too). If it will run PL/Perl and OpenOffice correctly… 2004-03-11 2:03 am > I loved the ports collection, although I didn’t necessarily appreciate the long compile times. Still, much better than dealing with RPM dependency hell (actually, Fedora is pretty good about this, but only if you play in their sandbox). If you install Portupgrade, you can easily tell it to use Packages instead of Ports where they are available, so you can avoid most of the compilation time, without worrying about dependencies. There’s a couple of good articles on this subject at http://www.onlamp.com/pub/ct/15 Check out the portupgrade and Cleaning and Customizing Your Ports articles. >For my next notebook computer, I’m going to try a FreeBSD install on it (currently running Fedora on that too). If it will run PL/Perl and OpenOffice correctly… Open Office installs just fine – perhaps you need to cvsup your ports tree & try again. You might have had a faulty port.