PC-BSD meets software piracy?

I have been a fan of PC-BSD for sometime now; however, it was after discovering this page that had me disturbed. Using PC-BSD’s awesome packaging methods, the webmaster of this site has apparently packaged some applications that might cause some licensing concerns. Not in violation of the GPL, as this is the BSD license in force here. No, rather the fact that we are seeing potential piracy, or at the very least, an over zealous user distributing ‘trial’ versions of Photoshop and MS Office ’97.

No Piracy After All? My discovery of this resource actually started with some Q&A regarding video codec playback for PC-BSD, which led me to stumbling on the link above. After further investigation, I discovered something that led me to believe that perhaps, there was no issue of piracy going on at all. In actuality, the scripts offered here for MS Office and Photoshop may simply be ‘installer’ PBIs instead of the full versions of the applications themselves? It certainly appears so, PC-BSD even provide users with the graphics needed to create their own PBI packages for closed source software installation.

What is even more interesting is how much much flexibility PC-BSD’ers have with their application selection than those using Linux. Rather than relying on WINE for your Windows applications, some creative users have been using the PBI packaging format to make getting those critical applications like Dreamweaver on your BSD box just that much quicker.

Is PC-BSD worth a look for beginners? With the PC-BSD 1.3.01 released and the Beta release already out for version 1.4, it may be worth looking into PC-BSD, even if your last experience was not a great one. If it was me, I would try out the Beta release, as many improvements have been made there.

For those who are generally happy their current OS, but are dying to know what is up with the the packages regarding Photoshop and MS Office, you might consider taking the Live CD for a test drive instead. I believe software installations are possible from there as well.

PC-BSD: A viable option for Windows users. I don’t think there is really any question about it, PC-BSD may actually make more sense for casual Windows users than Ubuntu Linux. And because of its very loose BSD licensing, you should not find yourself getting caught up in GPL crunch. And living in a world like Windows where closed and open source software is able to play together is pretty fantastic. Think about it, an OS where you can install IE 6 without WINE. It’s pretty wild, to say the least.

There are still a few things I enjoy more with Ubuntu than PC-BSD, but with their new Beta ready to try, I’m going to be taking the ISO for a test drive on Virtual Box later this week. The point I want each of you to understand is not to jump to conclusions as I did. When I first discovered that www.pbis.in was hosting what appeared to be proprietary software that was not legal to freely distribute, I assumed the worst. In the end, I discovered that installing closed source apps, often times designed for Windows, could easily be installed on another Unix variant. And the assumption of piracy being the motivating force behind the logos posted on random websites was for little more than doing something that these software developers should have been doing in the first place – getting their applications onto other platforms, legally.

Source: OSWeekly – column written by Matt Hartley

PC-BSD for Ubuntu users

Dru Lavigne has followed up her quick comparision of Kubuntu vs PC-BSD with an article titled “PC-BSD for Ubuntu Users

Ubuntu is known as Linux for Human Beings, because it’s driven by the philosophy that “software should be available free of charge, software tools should be usable by people in their local language and despite any disabilities, and people should have the freedom to customize and alter their software in whatever way they see fit” .

PC-BSD, on the other hand, “has been designed with the casual computer user in mind. Installing the system is simply a matter of a few clicks and a few minutes for the installation process to finish. Hardware such as video, sound, network, and other devices will be auto-detected and available at the first system startup. Home users will immediately feel comfortable with PC-BSD’s desktop interface, with KDE 3.5 running under the hood. Software installation has also been designed to be as painless as possible, simply double-click and software will be installed”.

Having used both operating systems extensively, PC-BSD is the one I recommend and the one I install in desktop environments. If you’ve used Ubuntu before, but haven’t tried PC-BSD, give it a try. The increase in responsiveness (i.e., everything seems to just run faster) and ease-of-use will surprise you.

In this article, I’ll compare Ubuntu 7.04 (Fiesty Fawn) with the (as of this writing) upcoming release of PC-BSD 1.4.”

Dru deals with the following topics

  • Installation
  • Window Manager
  • Installing Software
  • Running Windows Applications
  • Common Tasks
  • Keeping Up-to-Date
  • Getting Help

and she summarises the article
“PC-BSD provides a fun, easy-to-use desktop operating system with the added benefits of stability and security. Better yet, the price tag is free! If you haven’t taken PC-BSD for a test drive, what are you waiting for?”

Read the whole article here

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