PC-BSD 9.0 (alpha) available for testing

Kris Moore announced the availability of PC-BSD 9.0 (alpha):

I’m pleased to make available our first 9-Current alpha snapshot for you to begin playing with. This testing snapshot contains MANY new features and improvements that we plan on including in the eventual release of 9.0. However, by no means is this snapshot “feature complete” or to be considered stable. Expect to find bugs and things to change over the coming months as we refine features. Consider yourself warned!

Some of the major changes are:

  • Ability to to customise your installed desktop and choose from KDE4, Gnome2,XFCE4, and LXDE.
  • New PC-BSD Control Panel
  • PBI format has been completely overhauled and reimplemented as CLI

BSDTalk has an interview with Kris done last weekend at the MeetBSD Conference talking about PC-BSD 9  (18 minutes). Will and Kris talk about the following new features:

  • new environments will be available (no longer KDE only)
  • softupdates with journaling and USB 3.0 (new in the underlying FreeBSD 9.0 Head)
  • Re-implementation of the PBI package format. It is now completely shell-driven and the QT4 GUI sits on top of the scripts. To find out more about the new PBI CL utilities, check out the PBI Manager 9.0 section of the PC-BSD Handbook
  • And this is a big one: reduced disk space taken by PBI’s by sharing libraries. Though modern hard drives are large and fairly cheap, it’s been a often-heard complaint that PBI’s are hard drive space waisters.
  • PBIs are now signed by the build server
  • PBI’s can be patched by applying binary diffs, so there won’t be a need to download many megabytes to install a new version of a particular PBI (updating OpenOffice for example is a nightmare)

All in all, PC-BSD 9.0 promises to be one of the best versions so far.

Before downloading/installing this alpha, be aware there are some issues.

Download PC-BSD 9.0 Alpha

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