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Old 09-15-2009, 09:01 PM   #1
MBybee
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PC-BSD - where is it going?


This is just soliciting opinions and comments -

I am a long time FreeBSD user, going back to 2.x. Finally decided to play with PC-BSD 7.1 on a whim and I was overall really disappointed. The installer couldn't handle actually creating disk slices, the PBI seems extremely wan (especially compared with Synaptic or any other modern software collection) and the over all experience left me feeling it was a beta release. Unfortunately, this is several years and many versions in.

Is it going anywhere? Was my experience just unusual? What experiences have you guys had with it?
 
Old 09-16-2009, 05:13 PM   #2
ramram29
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I was a long time BSDoer myself but switched to Linux. In the past also used Solaris and SCO . I don't see a good enough reason to go back to old Unix. Linux has everything that Unix has and more.
 
Old 09-16-2009, 09:41 PM   #3
MBybee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ramram29 View Post
I was a long time BSDoer myself but switched to Linux. In the past also used Solaris and SCO . I don't see a good enough reason to go back to old Unix. Linux has everything that Unix has and more.
I hear that - I use Linux myself (Debian, usually), and for work I support AIX, Solaris, VMS(Tru64), BSD, and Linux.

Have you tried the PC-BSD frontend at all, or just FreeBSD/NetBSD/OpenBSD?

Last edited by MBybee; 09-16-2009 at 09:42 PM. Reason: clarified Tru64 in addtion to VMS - wouldn't make sense otherwise ;)
 
Old 09-17-2009, 04:42 AM   #4
Johnnie J
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As a Unix/Linux noobie I can say that PC-BSD is extremely easy to install and use and I suspect that is the point, the where they are going. I think they would like to see greater uptake in the workplace. I have four or old P4 systems at home and it has installed easily and worked quite well on those. So, it should run very well on any/most workplace computers for endusers.

And for noobs like me it's simple to get up and running but still gives us the opportunity to learn Unix from the command line as time and inclination allow.
 
Old 09-17-2009, 08:08 AM   #5
ramram29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MBybee View Post
Have you tried the PC-BSD frontend at all, or just FreeBSD/NetBSD/OpenBSD?
In the past I worked mostly with NetBSD. I liked it but I prefer Linux, it's easier to troubleshoot and customize. Also there's more documentation and more involvement.
 
Old 09-17-2009, 10:03 AM   #6
MBybee
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Originally Posted by Johnnie J View Post
As a Unix/Linux noobie I can say that PC-BSD is extremely easy to install and use and I suspect that is the point, the where they are going. I think they would like to see greater uptake in the workplace. I have four or old P4 systems at home and it has installed easily and worked quite well on those. So, it should run very well on any/most workplace computers for endusers.

And for noobs like me it's simple to get up and running but still gives us the opportunity to learn Unix from the command line as time and inclination allow.
Which version did you install, out of curiosity?
I'm glad to hear you are liking it! Do you use the PBI system much, or largely ports? On mine I'm mostly using ports, but that probably has to do with habit.
 
Old 09-17-2009, 10:38 AM   #7
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I'm using PC-BSD 7.1 on a little old emachines P4. It works well, but I have no doubt it would run faster with GUI that had less overhead. I use the auto-updater which checks for PBI updates and system (possibly kernal?) updates.

When installing PC-BSD I believe there is an option to manually configure slices.
SEE http://docs.pcbsd.org/guide/ section 3.1.7

Presently, I have PC-BSD on one computer, DesktopBSD on another, and Ubuntu on my wife's laptop. I'm going to order OpenBSD and a couple of books on that soon and see if I can build a little, hopefully coherent, home network.

As a new user, no Linux/UNIX experience I've found the three ditros I've mentioned to be highly functional. But I just use to surf.
 
Old 09-17-2009, 05:54 PM   #8
MBybee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnnie J View Post
When installing PC-BSD I believe there is an option to manually configure slices.
SEE http://docs.pcbsd.org/guide/ section 3.1.7
This would actually be the piece that was failing for me - and not just me: http://forums.pcbsd.org/viewtopic.ph...12615&start=15

I ended up having to create the slices with FreeBSD before the PC-BSD installer would grab them. Auto also worked, which is good, but the default swap is really small (at under 500MB) for a system with 4GB of RAM.

I am delighted to hear some success stories from you guys, especially the ones new to BSD. BSD doesn't have a lot of the tools to ease a user into it that Linux has, being focused more on the grumpy old Unix guys (like myself). Heck, I don't think the sysinstall tool has changed since the early 90's.

The more I've used the PC-BSD frontend the more it has grown on me, though I do plan to compare it head to head with a FreeBSD 7x system tonight (instead of comparing it with a well-worn 6x system).

I do like the PBI site - it's sort of an interesting and linux-ish way to install packages. I still think Synaptic leads the pack, but I like my Linux to be Debian-flavored
 
Old 09-17-2009, 06:34 PM   #9
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I certainly agree that the BSDs have a steep learning curve and there are far too few books, IMHO. I'm going try a set up a small network using OpenBSD, which for 4.6 has a new installer. Although I've installed and scrapped it often enough on one of my compu,ters that I don't find that part daunting, anymore.

I was considering OpenSolaris because there are new books available, but I like much of the philosophy behind OpenBSD. The focus on security and emphasis on correctness of code. They even have their own version of Apache, I think they started that due to a change in Apache's license. Could be wrong about that though.

My little networking project should keep me busy of the winter.
 
Old 09-18-2009, 01:54 PM   #10
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Hi MBybee,

I'm curious about the test you were going to conduct between PC-BSD and FreeBSD. Have you had time to set up both? If you did, what do you think?
 
Old 09-22-2009, 01:04 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Johnnie J View Post
Hi MBybee,

I'm curious about the test you were going to conduct between PC-BSD and FreeBSD. Have you had time to set up both? If you did, what do you think?
I had to change my plans a bit, as PC-BSD won't install on the box I was planning to use it on. Brand new system that was running Debian Lenny, but when I put in the CD for PC-BSD it just would constantly reboot. So I've gotten PC-BSD on my alternate box instead, and I'm putting FreeBSD on that one now.

So far I've installed several PBIs and built a few ports. The PBI system is nice so far. The ports are working just as I would expect.

KDE 4x is really pretty, and is performing well even on the slightly older machine I had to put it on. I haven't tried getting accelerated 3D on there yet as it is ATI.

My wife is a big fan - it's currently her second favorite system to use, after her Mint-based NetBook.

Speed-wise it's doing ok. I am starting to do some heavy lifting with it this week, as I plan to do all my main work from it as a test.

I'll let you know
 
Old 09-22-2009, 07:47 AM   #12
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I installed PC-BSD 7.1 here some time ago and had some minor issues. It gave an endlessly error message in console when I was at X, and KDE4 gave an error message about akonadi, when starting, if not mistaken.

IMHO the PBI system is like retrocede to Windows. I know a lot of people like it, and feel it's easier. But in the end of the day I think it's better to give 5 min to look at the ports documentation.
And their PBI site had few packages, its incomplete. Din't even have Nethack! Soon or later you will have to use ports. For the instabilities, could it been just KDE4? But overall the feel was that. And as I felt so disappointed I downloaded FreeBSD 7.2 (I had used FreeBSD in the past, but was away from it), because that is what I really like.

FreeBSD is perfect for me, it gives that feeling of rock solid. And think of all the customizable power it gives.

Conclusion: Although I feel they could care more for the testing (as OP said about it seeming beta), maybe it's just my preferences for command line and minimalism. But don't take me wrong, I wish good luck to the project and maybe will test it another time in future versions.

Last edited by egregor; 09-22-2009 at 07:52 AM.
 
Old 09-22-2009, 09:29 AM   #13
Johnnie J
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Hi egregor,

I have no doubt that there are better ways to do things, if you are comfortable with the BSDs. I think, though, that PC-BSD is designed to be an OS that provides easy functionality to the masses, like MS Windows. It also provides noobs, like me, with opportunity to use the commandline and start learning about BSD/Unix functionality without that initial sharp learning curve.

PC-BSD, being based on FreeBSD 7.1, can probably run a lot of the ports and packages available on the FreeBSD site. I'm just guessing about that though.

Hopefully, PC-BSD will gain a large enough user base that it will be around for a long time. It would be great to have some large companies pick it up as the desktop system of choice.
 
Old 09-22-2009, 02:24 PM   #14
MBybee
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Hi egregor,
PC-BSD, being based on FreeBSD 7.1, can probably run a lot of the ports and packages available on the FreeBSD site. I'm just guessing about that though.
PC-BSD is FreeBSD 7, so yes. Every port works as expected so far as I have tested. PC-BSD is just FreeBSD 7 with the PBI system, a graphical installer, a newer version of KDE, and some other nice entry features.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnnie J View Post
Hopefully, PC-BSD will gain a large enough user base that it will be around for a long time. It would be great to have some large companies pick it up as the desktop system of choice.
This would be nice. I would rather they not gain too much widespread adoption - take a look at the bloat and fragmentation in Linux. Be careful what you ask for, you just might get it
 
Old 09-22-2009, 03:44 PM   #15
Johnnie J
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Hi MBybee,

You're right about the Linux bloat. I just read a little article about that yesterday on the The Register. Still much better than MS though, in many way to my limited understanding.

I've also been looking at the Haiku project. They have an Alpha out now and I think I'll give it a try tonight. Are of you familiar with OS?
 
  


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