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Open Source BSD News

PC-BSD 9.0 Release 117

PuceBaboon writes "It's worth noting that, in addition to the main FreeBSD release covered here recently, PC-BSD has also released their 'Isotope' edition, based on FreeBSD 9.0. Why would you be interested? Well, PC-BSD, while not the first, is certainly the most current version of FreeBSD aimed squarely at the desktop user. Pre-configured for the desktop and using a graphical installer, the 9.0 release includes KDE, GNOME, XFCE and LXDE desktop environments, an update manager, WiFi 'quick connect,' BootCamp support and auto-configuration for most common hardware. Live-CD, VirtualBox and VMware release images for 32- and 64-bit architectures also make it easier than ever for users to test the release before committing to a full install. Check out the torrents (scroll down), main download page and the PC-BSD 9.0 manual pages."
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PC-BSD 9.0 Release

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  • Re:Full review (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 15, 2012 @12:10AM (#38703348)


    parent linked video of SELFMUTILATing PENISES

  • by bleedingsamurai ( 2539410 ) on Sunday January 15, 2012 @12:22AM (#38703398)
    I wouldn't classify myself as solely a BSD fan, if it is Unix I'm fairly happy. But the short answer is BSD was/is Unix hackers porting Unix to the PC platform while GNU/Linux tends to be PC hackers porting Unix to the PC platform. There isn't as much hardware support in BSD but with BSD you tend to have much more rock solid code. Another attractive thing is that the entire source is developed and maintained in one branch by one community. (in some ways this is also a bad thing) Unless you get into the nitty gritty of implementation and design structure, you won't really feel a huge difference though.
  • by rubycodez ( 864176 ) on Sunday January 15, 2012 @12:30AM (#38703446)
    The special packages it uses are jailed versions, which means I can't use some of the things I want to use from regular freebsd repository. that jailing is a feature pc-bsd has to protect the system from getting clobbered by the user.... maybe most desktop users wouldn't care about those "server" type softwares though.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 15, 2012 @01:08AM (#38703632)

    I've finally had enough of Apple's vendor lock-in, I think I'll be on this for good.

  • by rubycodez ( 864176 ) on Sunday January 15, 2012 @02:03AM (#38703828)
    Some advantages of PC-BSD over GNU/Linux

    a. a lot of new devices are supported in 3.x kernels, Debian will get there someday
    b. zfs (and even regular bsd ufs is more robust than Linux's ext3 and 4
    c. choice of desktop manager, not just KDE
    d. better documentation
    e. developers work on a distribution rather than just a kernel with ad-hoc add-ons

    (if my employer didn't require me to do certain task, I would run BSD desktop as main machine)
  • by Demonoid-Penguin ( 1669014 ) on Sunday January 15, 2012 @03:13AM (#38704026) Homepage

    Debian will get there someday

    Are you from the past? []

  • by wagnerrp ( 1305589 ) on Sunday January 15, 2012 @05:01AM (#38704372)
    You've got the original BSD4.3, which spawned FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD, Darwin, and more recently DragonFly BSD. Then you've got various offshoots like NanoBSD, FreeNAS, pfSense, DesktopBSD, GhostBSD, and a number of other stalled projects. I like BSD. I've got it running on my firewall and home server. I just don't see where this singular community you speak of is.
  • Re:Actually... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Per Wigren ( 5315 ) on Sunday January 15, 2012 @06:23AM (#38704558) Homepage
    In MacOS X, [a subset of] BSD is just one of several subsystems running on top of the Mach microkernel, providing some core stuff like filesystems and the TCP/IP stack. They also use parts of the BSD userland. They don't use BSD for things like hardware drivers and device handling for example. The Mac-BSD-relation status is "it's complicated". It's way too different to be able to say that it's "based on" BSD, or even part of the family tree line. It's more like the friendly neighbor who let you borrow their stuff.
  • by unixisc ( 2429386 ) on Sunday January 15, 2012 @06:50AM (#38704628)

    If you're thinking about using a non-Apple PC, and the UI matters to you, there is an OS called PearOS [] (albeit Ubuntu based, not BSD) where you can enjoy an almost identical user experience of a Mac but on a PC. It's a reverse of running Windows on Macs. It uses Gnome 3.2, but has finetuned it to look like OS-X, instead of the usual Gnome 3.2 interface that one has. Unfortunately, that interface hasn't been brought to PC-BSD - if Gnome 3.2 doesn't work on BSD (which many would consider a plus), then this kind of port cannot be carried out there, at least via this path. Which is a tad disappointing - hope that someone puts that PearOS interface on a BSD.

    If however, you specifically want BSD and not Linux, then PC-BSD would be the way to go. Of course, all the DEs are very different from the Mac, although for people who ever used NEXT, WindowMaker would be familiar terretory.

  • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Sunday January 15, 2012 @08:10AM (#38704882) Journal
    One big thing you will notice is that the BSD teams are a bit less deprecation-happy than Linux developers. Over in Linux land, components seem to have two states: unfinished and deprecated. BSDs tend not to replace things that work, tend to favour incremental improvements over complete rewrites, and care a lot about interface stability. Most of the administrative stuff I learned when I first used FreeBSD a decade ago is still valid now - the implementations have changed a lot, but the tools still appear to act the same way. They also put a lot of effort into maintaining binary compatibility for the core system.
  • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Sunday January 15, 2012 @08:24AM (#38704932) Journal

    I guess, but for normal desktop use is there really much to gain? These are 'desktop' distros/respins we're talking about here. I run ext4 on my main workstation and am happy.

    ZFS is one of those things that you don't really appreciate until you've used it. Creating ZFS filesystems is about as hard as creating new directories, so with ZFS you generally create a lot of filesystems - they're dynamically sized, so the typical downside of this is not there.

    Turning on compression or deduplication, or maybe encryption, for a particular filesystem is a single command. If you've got some really important data then you can tell it to store multiple copies on a single disk, so block-level errors are recoverable, not just detectable, even without RAID.

    The most useful feature, however, is snapshots. It's trivial to set up a cron job that snapshots a filesystem every day, hour, or whatever. Ever deleted a file by mistake, or had a program error corrupt a document? With automatic snapshots, you can simply mount the old version of the filesystem and restore it. I think GNOME has a GUI for this (Time Slider or something) letting you just move a slider to go back to an earlier state of a filesystem.

    It's also great for testing. Not sure if something is safe to run? Clone the filesystem, try it, and then destroy the clone and do it on the live fs. Or, if nothing else will be modifying the filesystem, just snapshot, run it, and roll back if it doesn't work.

    On FreeBSD, ZFS integrates nicely with jails (on Solaris, s/jails/zones) so you can run untrusted programs in a jail by just cloning a jail that's set up for test systems and then throwing it away at the end.

    Snapshots and clones in ZFS are cheap to create. It stores everything using reference counting and copy-on-write semantics, so all you need to do to create a clone is increment a reference count for a filesystem root. Modifications to either the clone or the original will create new copies of the files (they will anyway, because ZFS supports transactional I/O, so the FS is always in a consistent state).

  • Re:Not a desktop (Score:5, Informative)

    by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Sunday January 15, 2012 @08:28AM (#38704938) Journal

    No recent open source AMD ones either. The recent open source AMD and Intel '' drivers are so full of Linux kernel dependencies that it's difficult to port them. This is a shame, because a lot of smaller operating systems (e.g. Haiku) base their 3D support off FreeBSD's DRI port. There is currently work underway to support the stuff needed for the Intel drivers, but AMD ones are a bit further away. The nVidia blob drivers are the best supported by FreeBSD.

    If anyone at AMD or Intel is reading this: please get your driver team to pay a bit of attention to portability...

  • by DannyO152 ( 544940 ) on Sunday January 15, 2012 @02:48PM (#38706968)

    My FreeBSD box has to be seven or more years old. It's gone from one of the 5's through 9.0 without a reinstall. I don't use it 24/7 (but I have). Its primary purpose is to be my cvs code repository. To tech-date the system, subversion was just emerging, hence, cvs. Probably should go git.

    I did use a FreeBSD system for a desktop, but this was for a year and a half around 2001. I got an iBook in September 2001, but I had already left the Windows fold for my home computing, so the desktop went FreeBSD. I do prefer OS X because of the gui integration. For a small business where I was the de facto IT guy, I used FreeBSD/squid for a web proxy and solved some huge problems with an ancient Windows SMB server at zero cost: I had used an off lease machine that was constitutionally unsuited for the business's CAD work.

    Documentation for BSDs is great. I was considering a wipe and reinstall, as the path of least resistance, as I went from 8.2 to 9 yesterday, but I ate my veggies, built character, and went and looked up the step I had forgotten from the last time a version upgrade occurred. An up to date manual for FreeBSD is available at It also is downloadable as part of the system sources and the local version is kept in sync via cvsup/make. At the site, you might find the release engineering, errata, and security update histories illuminating.

    PC-BSD has some interesting ideas and I do run it virtually. It has had application sandboxing for a while, which is something I see the popular, consumer oses implementing. The project is also working on the package dependency issue and I like the way they are thinking. So, while PC-BSD is relatively new, the project keeps its kernel and userland synchronized tightly with FreeBSD. They got good folks there and I expect that its stability should be good, though not as good as FreeBSD, because of the concerns with third-party windowing parties.

    Now, as I look at your summary of your problem, I'm not sure that it quite makes sense as a general question for guidance. The computers that are off-lease have to be 2 or 3 years old. You don't need seven more years from them. If you could, you'd have put Windows 7 on them. Well, PC-BSD is no more a substitute for Windows than Windows is a substitute for PC-BSD. (Yes, that's right, if one has set up a productive Unix-like environment, then Windows is a degraded experience, with quite a few "You can't get there from here." issues.) I hope this isn't a case when someone sets up a problem in order to have others offer suggestions that are swatted down, because the constraints are such that it has moved out of the power spot of the technology being discussed. Besides, the applications are far more important than the underlying os in terms of box longevity. If the cost of wiping and reinstalling saves thousands of dollars in licensing fees, well?

    Any way, to summarize, you need seven more years of Windows or Windows-substitue usage from your computers and Windows 7 is too expensive, there's only to be one more wipe and reinstall, Linux doesn't help you out, and the BSDs, with their windowing systems being orthogonal to the kernel development, though very stable, may not support the applications and processor that you want to keep using. Then, I wish you good luck, because I don't think any one else other than you is trying to solve your precise problem.

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