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Unix BSD Technology

PC-BSD 8.0 Release Focuses On Desktop Use 154

donadony writes "Last Monday PC-BSD 8.0 was released. PC-BSD is based on FreeBSD and uses KDE as its default desktop environment. PC-BSD is designed to make BSD much easier for desktop use. The 8.0 release includes support for 3D acceleration with NVIDIA drivers on amd64 and improvements in the USB subsystem. The PC-BSD team has also developed a friendly package manager system with a simple-to-use GUI tool (see the screenshots tour). For a full list of changes, refer to the changelog."
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PC-BSD 8.0 Release Focuses On Desktop Use

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  • I tried the last version of PC-BSD. Was excited to have some ZFS support. Unfortunately it would freeze under moderate (read: 1 VirtualBox VM running) load.
    • How much RAM? ZFS loves RAM. I was locking up until I upgraded to 4GB. (I was hoping to go to 8GB but RAM prices shot up).

      It makes a rock solid home server. NFS, SMB, CCXstream (XBMC), AFS (It's my time machine disk).

      Congrats on the installer. Now you just need to Root on ZFS [freebsd.org] into the installer. (If you have any experience and can follow instructions, it's not hard at all, just long.)

      • I had 4GB of ram on a dual core AMD 2ghz computer.
      • The problem with ZFS root is that you need ZFS support in the boot loader, which cannot be hooked in by default for license reasons (loader is BSD, ZFS code is CDDL, all non-BSD stuff must be enabled by the user after 1st boot), but a few months back FreeBSD implemented a separate ZFS enabled boot loader for -CURRENT. All they lacked at last check was sysinstall hooks for doing it all. Maybe you should file a PR asking for zfsboot to be backported to 8-STABLE in FreeBSD so that PC-BSD can have it in 8.1 as
      • I'll second the need for RAM. I like virtual machines, use them a lot. I wouldn't consider building VM's on a machine with less than two full gig of memory, and really consider 3 gig to be minimum. 4 gig or more are in order if you're going to run multiple machines at the same time. Even if the individual VM's are only allocated a half gig of memory, there is overhead involved.

    • I believe the last version was based on FreeBSD 7 and ZFS support was still experimental. The first production ready build of ZFS on BSD is version 8. So I would imagine that it would be less buggy.

    • Most people will say you need more RAM; they are wrong. What you need is more ram reserved for the kernel. The basic problem is that the ARC (file system cache) has no upper limit, but kernel addressable memory does.

  • by CSHARP123 ( 904951 ) on Friday February 26, 2010 @12:39PM (#31286414)
    Using Linux Binary compatible layer does all the Linux drivers work too or just applications? Does anybody know?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by ig88b ( 1401217 )
      Just applications.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by bsDaemon ( 87307 )
      I used to use XiG Acclerated X Linux binaries on top of the linux abi on FreeBSD 3.3 back in the day, because the Voodoo3 drivers were better than the 'native' ones for XFree86 where at the time. I wouldn't try sticking network drivers or anything in, but I'm not really a kernel expert. There is an ndiswrapper-type thing for FreeBSD/PC-BSD if you need that for wifi, though.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by V!NCENT ( 1105021 )

      The layer is for the ABI, in other words the Application Binary Interface (it's like the API of a Kernel for applications). This is because FreeBSD is not Linux. With Linux the drivers are from within the kernel, or somewhat outside of it with modules.

      However... If you want open source graphics drivers (I am sorry... I do not know your level of knowledge/expertice so just ignore what I am about to say if it makes you go like *whoooosh* ;) ) than these are tied into X.org (the graphical foundation upon which

    • No, binary emulation is for userland, not kernel objects.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by BitZtream ( 692029 )

        I should expand on that, really what FBSD binary emulation is ... is just syscall emulation. You still use all the Linux libraries (some slightly patched to be more efficient on FBSD under the emulated syscall interface, but essentially unchanged and unchanged versions directly from a linux box will work).

        The only thing the emulation layer does is tell the runtime linker to use a different syscall interface and a different library path for Linux libs, with some minor patches to the linux libs to make thing

  • Wait (Score:2, Funny)

    by eclectro ( 227083 )

    The BSD community is no longer beleaguered??

  • Bad Headline (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Vyse of Arcadia ( 1220278 ) on Friday February 26, 2010 @12:52PM (#31286676)
    Every PC-BSD release focuses on desktop use. It's a desktop distribution.
    • by Trepidity ( 597 )

      I read it as essentially, "PC-BSD 8.0 Released: Tagline about wtf PC-BSD is", or perhaps even "PC-BSD 8.0 Released: Why not just use FreeBSD?"

  • Been testing it (Score:3, Informative)

    by WinterSolstice ( 223271 ) on Friday February 26, 2010 @12:57PM (#31286780)

    And this is a BIG improvement over version 7. Still some bugs to be worked out, but it's got far better integration with the PBI installer (similar to synaptic), a very good GUI installer, and the very latest nvidia drivers.

    Very nice, very well executed. They turned it out pretty fast too.

    • Actually PBI isn't much like synaptic at all... it's more like sandboxing, where each application has all of its' dependancies. The hard part is there wasn't much in place for dependence on packaged frameworks like Java, Mono, Python, Ruby etc, in order to have some things centralized for applications that run under these environments. This may have changed, to be honest the last time I really looked into it was around PC-BSD 5-6. I had it as part of my tagline/summary for a while. I honestly like PC-BS
      • To be fair, it doesn't really take very much to deliver a better impression than the stock FreeBSD installer. True, it works well enough, but a "You're done, please reboot" screen would be nice.

        • You should have seen the 5.x installer.

          The "new" installer, is rather comfy and user friendly in comparison.

      • Well, the synaptic analogy is for the Linux guys :D

        I couldn't agree more with the 'getting to a desktop' part. There are some gotchas and some non-intuitive steps to getting KDE or Gnome running on a BSD box (like installing X11, configuring /etc/ttys and whatnot). So PC-BSD is very good at being a clicky-clicky come back later to a desktop kind of thing.

        I still prefer the FreeBSD vanilla, just because I don't care for KDE, but I very much respect what they've done.

        • I have to agree, I'm more of a Gnome guy myself. I just love getting to a FreeBSD desktop without the huge hurdles (and the swamp).
  • Sweet! (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 26, 2010 @01:28PM (#31287360)

    It's finally the year of the BSD desktop! I knew this day would come.

  • that link is wrong (Score:3, Informative)

    by tresstatus ( 260408 ) on Friday February 26, 2010 @01:35PM (#31287466)
    not to point out the obvious, but when you go to the change log link from the summary, you actually wind up going to http://www.unixmen.com/content/view/151/11/ [unixmen.com] which tells you how to install nagios. here is a link to the pcbsd 8.0 changelog... http://www.pcbsd.org/content/view/151/11/ [pcbsd.org]
  • PBI files (Score:5, Interesting)

    by abigor ( 540274 ) on Friday February 26, 2010 @01:45PM (#31287648)

    One of the nicest things about PC-BSD is the whole PBI idea, which are basically like .pkg files on OS X. When installing apps via PBIs, you get all the dependencies in one shot, which means you don't destabilise your whole system when installing from a central repository where app A requires a library version that breaks apps B, C, D.... This is particularly true when you want to use third party repositories.

    PBIs are simply downloaded and installed from places like http://www.pbidir.com/ [pbidir.com], the process is graphical, and they are easily uninstalled without fuss.

    • Re:PBI files (Score:4, Informative)

      by WinterSolstice ( 223271 ) on Friday February 26, 2010 @01:53PM (#31287796)

      I'm a huge fan of the PBIs and I think they're a really good way to quickly install objects that would otherwise require ports and complex dependencies.

      The best part is they don't interfere with each other, unlike some of the apt-get/yum type packages. For the most part they encapsulate everything that would have been in the ports build.

      When the PBI is updated, you get a notification and can just clicky click to upgrade it (without trashing the rest of your system just because Gimp 9.9 requires some lib that everything else hates)

      Easy to make too - just get the PBI installer, and then build them from the existing port. Porting still remains an exercise for the reader ;)

      Installing Firefox, Quake, America's Army, Rhythmbox or Gnome like this is awesome. I hope that it takes off as a model.

      • by abigor ( 540274 )

        Well, like I said, OS X uses a similar system already. Unfortunately, similar efforts on Linux never went anywhere, so users are locked into the vendors' repositories, unless they are knowledgable/brave and use third party ones.

        Weirdly, it's these same people who often complain about iPhone lock-in with the app store...just saying.

        • Wait wait... downloading and installing a deb from a third party requires knowledge and bravery (apparently it's very scary to click the download link, then 2x click the package in Nautilus and say "yes" when it asks if you want to install it), but using a PBI is all beauty and light?


          • ROFL

            I think the point is that PBIs are internally consistent, whereas a deb or rpm can make system-wide changes.

            If I install a deb that upgrades something in /usr/lib without intending to, other apps may have issues.

            • ROFL

              I think the point is that PBIs are internally consistent, whereas a deb or rpm can make system-wide changes.

              If I install a deb that upgrades something in /usr/lib without intending to, other apps may have issues.

              So a PBI ships with *all* it's dependencies? Isn't that, you know, horribly inefficient? What about system libraries like glibc, libstdc++, etc?

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                http://www.pcbsd.org/content/view/20/26/ [pcbsd.org]

                Pretty much everything that isn't included in the base install of the system. Each one is a full delta snapshot, so far as I understand it.

                Yes. This is less disk efficient, but FAR more user time efficient, which is kind of the point.

                • It's not just disk inefficient, it's memory inefficient, too. In fact, this is really the definition of bloat. Every application that uses Gnome, Gtk, KDE, Qt, or some other large package might have to be shipped with a full set of libraries, all of which would have to be loaded into memory at runtime (no code sharing, since the libraries aren't actually shared). That's a *very* silly thing to do for, I would contend, a relatively small gain in user convenience.

                  • Actually, the default install includes KDE (which is the only fully supported desktop), so any KDE app uses merely it's specific dependencies.

                    I'm sure I can run a vmstat or whatever you'd like and show you that the vast majority of the memory used is KDE, as opposed to any of the PBI apps.

                    But you are, of course, entitled to your opinion :)

                    • So, wait, the entire KDE stack *isn't* shipped with KDE apps? So if a PBI is built against a newer version of KDE, it won't work...

                      How is it that PBIs are better, again?

                    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                      Ok, I think you missed something.

                      All PBIs are a delta snapshot of a specific PC-BSD release, and then whatever that app needs to run.

                      Therefore a PBI built on 8.0-RELEASE will not install on a PC-BSD 7 system. At all. It won't partially install and break things, it just won't install.

                      That's the whole point of the design. It's like someone else said with the app store, or like building from ports. If your system is wrong, it stops and says "Sorry". It won't break your system. The PBI builder is designed to be

                    • Ok, I think you missed something.

                      All PBIs are a delta snapshot of a specific PC-BSD release, and then whatever that app needs to run.

                      Ah, interesting, I see. So if someone built Amarok against a newer version of KDE, then it'd be shipped with KDE in the package. Otherwise it'll just use the base version, because that was what it was built against.

                      So you still have to build packages against a given release, just like you do in any other distro. It just gives the package builder freedom to build against a n

                    • I think that's pretty much it :)

                      Glad I could help - it's a pretty cool tool.
                      I'm playing with trying to get some other WMs and DEs in there :D

          • The problem is that the 3rd party package has to be correctly constructed and play nice with other packages in the repository. I've had all sorts of problems with this using the OpenOffice.org from PPA. It does weirdness with the language packages and after installing from the PPA it would be impossible to get localization configuration to believe the languages were properly installed. The same thing can happen where a system breaks because a non-repository package writes a file and suddenly you can't inst
          • It does when somebody updating a new library doesn't bother to double check that all the function calls for the old library work the same way in the new library, and your .deb requires the updated library.

            Now if you need to update the software dependent on that function that was changed you're hosed and you'll have no idea what caused it.

            It happens, and it's a pain in the ass.

            • by Qzukk ( 229616 )

              Yes, but if your distribution is sane (ie is Debian) and you're sane (ie not using Unstable), you won't have a version of Gimp that requires libraries that the rest of your distribution can't use, unless you try to get it from somewhere else.

              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                by tepples ( 727027 )
                And as I understand it, the idea of PBI is to simplify the case where "you try to get it from somewhere else".
    • As a mostly Mac and Windows user I adore PBI's. Don't get me wrong a package manager is good stuff too, but PBI's are very farmiliar to those of us tied to non-free OS's. Free-BSD really is a great OS frankly, if only it had games!
    • I've tried PC-BSD a couple of times and liked it but I've never stuck with it. The lack of a PBI to install a proper usenet newsreader has always been the deal-killer for me.

      • There isn't a PBI for Mozilla Thunderbird or KNews? PC-BSD uses KDE as its desktop environment, right?

        Those two are pretty decent Usenet clients IMO...

    • by Hatta ( 162192 )

      Sounds like you get a lot of redundant libraries that way. Why not just go back to statically linking everything if you're going to do that? The proper solution is to support multiple versions of a library in your package manager. I don't know why package managers don't do that.

      • And a big library is, what 100k? Maybe?

        Seriously, redundant libraries were a big deal 15 years ago, now it's just smart.

        Repeat after me: Redundancy is a good thing, not a bad thing.

        The proper solution is to support multiple versions of a library in your package manager. I don't know why package managers don't do that.

        Because it's freaking hard to get right. See all of Microsoft's efforts to deal with this, it's the #1 flaw of the dll system (any shared library system, actually) and it has been from the start, the system used in .Net is their best effort so far - it uses manifests for each library to track and point software to the correct ve

        • And a big library is, what 100k? Maybe?

          Uhuh. Try again buddy:

          -rw-r--r-- 1 root root 1027760 2010-01-10 09:52 libstdc++.so.6.0.13
          -rw-r--r-- 1 root root 4231296 2010-01-24 13:54 libgtk-x11-2.0.so.0.1800.3
          -rw-r--r-- 1 root root 8932320 2009-10-07 12:17 libqt-mt.so.3.3.8

          Now multiply those sizes by the number of processes you're currently running, as the lack of shared libraries means no shared code pages. Suddenly RAM usage spikes, your disk cache is wasted, and performance drops as a consequence. Yeah... gr

    • We've had this for well over a decade in FreeBSD, it's called Ports. It may not be GUI, but going cd /usr/ports/whatever/i/want make install clean isn't that hard.

  • Question - and I'm hoping for an honest answer.

    I've been using Linux now (SUSE > openSUSE > Ubuntu) for several years now in both a desktop and server environments. My office still has a few HP 3000 (MPE) servers lying around running applications.

    In speaking to other analysts and whatnot, while advocating Linux, the question comes up - why not UNIX?

    I honestly can't answer. Can someone tell me why one would choose UNIX over Linux or the other way around? Is there an advantage to one over the other?
    • Go for it if you want, OpenSolaris is well developed. It isn't going to be nearly as flexible, and there isn't nearly the community development behind it, but there's nothing stopping you.

      Linux isn't 100% Unix compliant, so a lot of the goodies probably don't work, but it is certainly a powerful system.

      I wouldn't really recommend it for desktop purposes though, much less so than I recommend Linux (which is not at all).

    • The best answer I've seen is basically that *BSD is a much more cohesive experience, with a smaller number of contributors and a project that is under tighter control. This has some real downsides - progress is slower in some areas - but things also feel more unified, like they came from one source rather than many.

      Mind you, a good Linux distribution will do its best to give you that same impression, and there are always going to be programs that don't look or act quite like anything else on the system, but

  • I love it (Score:4, Interesting)

    by not already in use ( 972294 ) on Friday February 26, 2010 @03:14PM (#31289192)
    I would love nothing more than to see a BSD licensed solution succeed on the desktop, if nothing more, than to prove to FSF folks the definition of irony when it comes to being "free and open."
  • Bah! (Score:4, Funny)

    by OverZealous.com ( 721745 ) on Friday February 26, 2010 @05:59PM (#31291224) Homepage

    BSD will never work on the desktop! It's far too Unixy.

    Now, excuse me as I get back to work on my user-friendly Mac.

Research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing. -- Wernher von Braun