Kubuntu v.s. PC-BSD

Dru Lavigne has posted a short Kubuntu vs. PC-BSD comparison on her blog

I played a bit with Kubuntu this morning in preparation for the article “PC-BSD for Ubuntu Users”. It made sense to me to compare the two operating systems if they were both running the same window manager (KDE) so I wouldn’t be distracted by Gnome v.s. KDE issues. That was my first mistake….

I wanted to test on the same hardware to get an idea of performance/responsiveness (I have other PC-BSD systems in my home lab for side-by-side comparisons). So yesterday I did a fresh install of the latest snapshot of PC-BSD 1.4 (which is still in beta) on my test system. Took about 15 minutes. This morning I did a fresh install of Kubuntu 7.04 on the same system, this one took over an hour. And it was one boring install, but I digress as those who have installed both know what I mean.

With the conclusion/rant:

If I’m sounding fiesty (pun intended) it is because installing software shouldn’t be rocket science, even for new users. It’s the job of the package manager to properly handle dependencies, not the user, not even the superuser. And having software repositories spread all over *** half-acre is a lousy way to distribute software. Give me pbidir.com or freshports.org anyday.

Trying out PC-BSD

Feedback from a happy PC-BSD user.

I’ve been getting that itch to go back to Unix again lately. So I went and grabbed PC-BSD, the pre-configured version of FreeBSD. I used to log a bit of time in BSD but always hated tweaking X to get it the way I liked it. This takes a lot of the work out of that and gets you going ala Linux, but without having to deal with actually having Linux when you’re done.

Anyhow, I slapped it on a laptop today (dual booting with XP of course) and I’ve been able to get all the hardware working, even the wireless card. I haven’t been digging through .conf files like this since I made a PPP dial-on-demand server out of a Pentium 75 back in high school. It feels good to be back.

Now to get started slapping apache and python and all that other good stuff on it. Programming for the web in windows just seemed wrong.

Source: richhosler.com

PC-BSD 1.4 BETA Released

After months of hard work, the PC-BSD team is pleased to make available he 1.4 BETA release. This version includes many exciting new features and software, such as:

  • 3D desktop support via Beryl
  • Adobe Flash (Youtube & Google Video)
  • Many Nvidia, ATI and Intel video cards supported
  • KDE 3.5.7
  • FreeBSD 6.2
  • Xorg 7.2
  • New GUI tools & utilities
  • Optional Components, and much more!

PC-BSD 1.4 BETA can be downloaded via our mirrors or via Torrent on the the download page.

As this is a beta release, please report any and all bugs to the Bugs database or our testing list:

More information:

PC-BSD may be the next Linux

This is een interesting article by Brian Proffitt after iXsystem’s acquisition of PC-BSD. Slightly dated, but still of worth a read.

With all of the BSD variants available for download, it’s easy to incorrectly assume all of them are pure, incompatible forks from each other. Actually, there are more shades of BSD out in the world than just separate forks. One in particular made the news a couple of weeks ago when it was commercially acquired.

The BSD in question is PC-BSD. The company that bought it (for the ubiquitous “undisclosed” terms) is iXsystems, a systems deployment and integrator firm out of San Jose that has pretty strong experience implementing *BSD, Unix and Linux systems for its customer base. So, why, pray tell, did the company up and buy PC-BSD?

The answer may lie in the type of operating system PC-BSD is. Unlike other, incompatible, BSD variants, PC-BSD is completely compatible with its antecedent FreeBSD. It is, for all intents and purposes, a FreeBSD distribution, in much the same way Red Hat or SUSE are Linux distributions. In fact, the similarity runs a bit deeper than that, since PC-BSD has long been designed with business users in mind. Its acquisition only solidifies that commonality.

Currently, PC-BSD is at release 1.2, and is based on FreeBSD 6. Unlike FreeBSD and other BSD variants, which rely on a packages and ports installation solution (similar in many ways to most Unix flavors, including Linux), PC-BSD uses something called PBI – an installation approach that contains everything an application needs to be run. Just click on it and off you go. The advantages for newer users are clear:

PBIs mean no more dependency hell while trying to install the latest and greatest on your server or workstation.

The other key difference between PC-BSD and its FreeBSD parent is the desktop extensions that enable users to run a KDE desktop interface.

In all other respects – and this is key – PC-BSD is compatible with FreeBSD, to the degree that you can go into power-user mode and use FreeBSD’s ports and packages management system on PC-BSD.

What iXsystems likes about the PC-BSD distribution is that it really is a pretty functional Unix environment with an integrated desktop and an installation system that will not confuse the heck out of Windows users coming over to the operating system for the first time. And with such an operating system in their repertoire, it’s pretty clear iXsystems will be able to get PC-BSD-and FreeBSD-deployed into more and more commercial environments.

The plan, according to iXsystems, is to start offering commercial-level support for PC-BSD for their customers, which as we all know removes a big potential hurdle for anyone thinking about migrating away from their current supported system, whether it be Windows, Solaris or Linux. And, remember that key point about compatibility: What’s good for PC-BSD support will no doubt be good for FreeBSD.

The obvious question is, will this plan work? Early indicators say yes, as long as iXsystems doesn’t try to overdo it and try to become the next Red Hat overnight. The PC-BSD development team claims about 100,000 known users, which is a decent-sized user base. FreeBSD’s base is likely significantly larger. If iXsystems develops a focused strategy for commercial markets, there’s no reason it can’t pick up more market share at a steady clip.

Which means Microsoft may just have one more competitor to worry about.

Source: ServerWatch.com – October 25, 2006

DesktopBSD vs PC-BSD review

Fareast has written a quick comparison of DesktopBSD and PC-BSD on Dailykos.com:

DesktopBSD logoAfter reading a very not-nice review of DesktopBSD a couple of weeks ago, and in light of the fact that I just adore PC-BSD, it’s a bit strange that I would be reviewing it here.

Still the hunger to try out some new and untried open source system got the better of me, and I downloaded the latest release 1.6, just to see what the deal really was. I installed the system under vmware-server, allotting 256M ram, and a bit over 2G hard drive space, just to make things more interesting.

The idea behind DesktopBSD is the same as that of PC-BSD; to make an easily installable version of the FreeBSD open source operating system through a graphical interface, coupled with a nice shiny front end to run it all on. This is significant because FreeBSD, while not that difficult to get up and running, is a considerable time hog when you want to get a modern day window manager running on it, i.e., downloading and compiling KDE from source (a huge package), with a conservative estimate being anywhere from fifteen to twenty hours just for that alone.

I have to admit that by setting up the specs so tough, that I kind of wanted DesktopBSD to choke; I’m really into the way that PC-BSD has their pbi directory set up with the install wizards, plus the ability to use the traditional ports method of FreeBSD to update your system, that I didn’t want to see anything endangering that crown.

Sadly, I was let down. If anything, DesktopBSD is easier and faster to setup than PC-BSD, and the speed that it showed with so little ram was nothing less than astonishing. I pulled up Firefox, surfed over to youtube and Flash was working out of the box; opened up a BBC news story and scrolled around, and it was very smooth.

One thing sorely lacking in the install were any office suite apps of note–no open office, no abiword or gnumeric or really anything; considering that DesktopBSD is just FreeBSD with the nice desktop, and no pbi directory like PC-BSD, means that if you want open office you need to compile it from source, just like in a normal,vanilla FreeBSD.

Does the system have the ability to do what I want it to do without a huge amount of effort, those things being: playing music, surfing the web (Flash included), using email, watching vids, and a bit of eye-candy thrown in, or at least some of the shiny on a slower machine? If the answer is yes to those simple requirements, then we have a winner, and a system that I want to install to my machine. Joe Sixpack/Average User can use Windows Vista if that is what is best for him, and I’m none the worse for wear.

PC-BSD LogoAnd PC-BSD, with the ability to do both the traditional compile from source, as well as offering the packages through their nifty pbi directory has DesktopBSD beat in this category. Make no mistake, DesktopBSD is an excellent system that offers all the strength and flexibility of a vanilla FreeBSD setup with a huge time savings, it’s just that PC-BSD is that brilliant, and in comparison, there simply is none.

Read the full review here. Bold by me.

There’s more detailed information on the differences and similarities between PC-BSD and DesktopBSD on the FBSD Projects Page.

PC-BSD 1.4 LiveCD

If you are interested in BSD live CDs, here is another interesting option: PC-BSD LiveCD. This CD is probably one of the best live desktop BSD products built to-date. Based on FreeBSD 6.2, it includes KDE 3.5.6, X.Org 7.2, Kaffeine media player with support for MP3, OGG, DIVX and MPEG formats, Konversation IRC cleint, Smb4k samba client, Fusefs file system, Midnight Commander, and a total of 503 pre-compiled FreeBSD ports. The PC-BSD live CD is not fully automatic though; it boots into a terminal and it requires running “X -configure” before launching the KDE desktop with “startx”. Download it from here: pcbsdlive240607.iso. LiveCD ISOs will soon be available on the snapshots page at devs.pcbsd.org

PC-BSD LiveCD