Today may be a good day to at least do a formal comparison between DesktopBSD and PC-BSD. I guess it can’t be avoided. Two FreeBSD-based open source desktops with similar goals, but finding different solutions.
The similarities between PC-BSD and DesktopBSD are there of course. Both use a graphical installer to assist the new user with getting FreeBSD on his/her system and both have chosen for the KDE desktop. DesktopBSD allows to boot into a live environment before actually dedicating it to your harddrive, while PC-BSD ships with Compiz Fusion.
The default software collections are different as well. DesktopBSD has chosen for Firefox, Thunderbird and Pidgin. A choice that makes sense as these applications are well-known and used on Windows and Linux. PC-BSD seems to stick more to KDE-based programs like Konquerer, Kontact and Konversation. However, these are minor differences.
DesktopBSD sets itself apart through the DesktopBSD tools and particularly the Package Manager. This graphical frontend for the packages and ports collection provides an easy tool for installing, upgrading and managing the software on your system. Working with Package Manager shouldn’t be a problem for Linux users that have experience with similar tools (Synaptic, Adept, Portage).
For PC-BSD the PBI’s are unique. The work on the PBI Build Server is progressing and that will result in a far larger collection of packages. This should contribute to a wider adoption of PC-BSD among people who used to work under Windows, since the PBI system emulates their “double-click-and-install” experience the most.
There is no need to try to figure out which one is better. I just marvel at both developments and I can see they both provide an answer to the needs of different groups of users. I can imagine a future where the DesktopBSD tools are enhanced to allow installing and managing PBI’s for FreeBSD-based systems, even if only for PC-BSD systems.
The Vietnam BSD/Linux Mirror is the only public mirror available in Vietnam to promote open source technology within Vietnam managed by the Saigon Linux Group with the bandwidth and IP address donated by GHP Far East Co., Ltd.
The SLG hopes to continue it’s support of both BSD and Linux by offering more distributions and software on it’s servers in the new year.
Source: saigonlinux.com (05/12/2007)
- Better performance by disabling SMP on single core/processor computers
- Fixed installation on disks with special partition names
- Inclusion of the FreeBSD ports collection on the DVD
The new release candidate comes with Xorg 7.3 and uses KDE 3.5.8 as its desktop environment.
Many desktop applications are included, such as:
- Amarok 1.4.7
- K3B 1.0.3
- KTorrent 2.2.2
- Mozilla Firefox 188.8.131.52
- Mozilla Thunderbird 184.108.40.206
- OpenOffice.org 2.3.0
- Pidgin 2.2.2
- VideoLAN Client (VLC) 0.8.6c
Upgrades from 1.0, previous release candidates and even the i386 version are supported. Language packages for 18 different languages are included and can be installed from the DVD.
Like AMD64 snapshots, they are built every Saturday from the latest DesktopBSD Tools, the most recent FreeBSD 6-STABLE sources and an up-to-date ports collection. Additionally, the i386 snapshots include the Nvidia video driver.
Jan Stedehouder has been reviewing PC-BSD for 30 days in September. Now (November) he’s using DesktopBSD for 30 days and writing about his experience on his blog:
The PC-BSD series was well written, balanced and fair. The PC-BSD has been following the series with great interest and have taken the feedback and suggestions to heart. I’m sure the DesktopBSD team will do the same.
A new day, a new month and a new challenge. For the next thirty days I will again plunge into the world of *BSD, this time using DesktopBSD. This is the second “30 days” series. For those who are interested, the first series was about PC-BSD and can be found here. My aim is to write everyday about my experiences with DesktopBSD, the pros and cons, the good and the bad, the smart and the stupid.
The release cycle of DesktopBSD is rather slow, since the developers spend a lot of time making sure the release is almost bug-free. For those who are always excited about trying the latest and greatest features, DBSD provides now weekly snapshot ISOs. They are built every Saturday from the latest DesktopBSD Tools, the most recent FreeBSD 6-STABLE sources and an up-to-date ports collection. The ISO contains a live system that can be booted without installing first, an installer that copies the operating system to your hard disk and a large selection of packages for most of your every-day needs.
For now, the snapshots are only available for the AMD64 architecture, but i386 snapshots will soon folow. You can download the ISO files here.
Jan Stedehouder used PC-BSD for thirty days to see what living with it is like. On day thirty, he concludes:
Does PC-BSD have the potential to be a serious contender for the open source desktop? I answered that question with a yes, because the potential is there. The solid FreeBSD roots, the very strong and very accessible information, the friendly and mature community and the PBI system provide the foundations for that potential. I don’t think it is ready now and I couldn’t recommend it yet to someone in the early stages of moving away from Windows to an open source desktop. But I do think that the PC-BSD team has the right target audience in mind and is building an system and a support system that addresses it’s needs.
He has now finished that journey and he’s going to do the same with DesktopBSD from Nov 1st.
Check his website for the daily updates.