If you’d like to use FreeBSD as a desktop system, you’ll have to invest a lot of time in setting up the operating system and installing all the right packages. Obviously, this is a serious barrier for a lot of Linux users who are interested in trying out FreeBSD. PC-BSD fills in this gap by offering a completely usable and user-friendly FreeBSD desktop install with all kinds of stuff pre-configured. In a way, PC-BSD is to FreeBSD what Ubuntu is to Debian.
A new year, a new series of FreeBSD Conferences. Mark them in your diaries if you’re planning to go.
iXsystem, FreeNAS, PC-BSD and the FreeBSD Foundation will be represented at SCALE Linux Expo 2012. The Southern California Linux Expo (SCALE) is an annual Linux, Open-Source, and Free Software conference held in Los Angeles. This event will be held in Los Angeles from 20-22 Jan.
Based upon FreeBSD 9.0-RELEASE, this is the first release of PC-BSD which offers users a variety of desktop environments to choose from, such as KDE, GNOME, XFCE, LXDE and more!
Also available are pre-built VirtualBox and VMware images with integrated guest tools for rapid virtual system deployment, and native support for installing directly to OS X BootCamp partitions.
Some 9.0 highlights:
- Based upon FreeBSD 9.0-RELEASE.
- Support for installing a variety of Window Managers, such as KDE, GNOME, XFCE, LXDE and more!
- Improved PBI system, allows library sharing, binary diff updating, custom repositories, digital signing and more!
- Support for “freebsd-update” via the System Update GUI.
- New Control Panel, providing consistent configuration options across various Window Managers.
- Improved networking utilities, including wifi quick-connect.
- Enhanced “Life-Preserver” utility for doing off-site rsync backups of user data.
- New VirtualBox / VMware disk images, with integrated guest tools.
- Support for UFS+Journaling out of box.
- New graphical boot options page.
- Support for installation to BootCamp partitions on OS X systems.
- And much more!
Check out the press release: iXsystems Announces Release of PC-BSD 9.0 Isotope Edition
This release contains numerous bug fixes and enhancements, and can also be downloaded as VMware and VirtualBox images.
Some of the changes and improvements are:
- Fixed the default KDE wallpaper / desktop theme
- Add option to skip performing system upgrades at bootup, in case the user doesn’t have the time to wait.
- Fix bug starting the port jail from rc.d
- Make sure we clear any KDE cache during upgrade
- Fixed bugs installing some PBIs from AppCafe causing seg faults
- Load ext2fs automatically
- Default LXDE clock to AM/PM time
- Add default openbox wallpaper / menus
- Load the “iir” raid driver on install media
- Add extra meta-pkg for VMware guest support
- Reduce CPU usage while checking for system updates on the tray
- Add new graphical boot loader enabled by default
- Updated the handbook for 9.0
- Speed up the download process of system upgrades
- Add patch for GDM which corrects issues with auto-login
Via: PC-BSD 9.0-RC3 now available (PC-BSD blog)
As most of you will be aware, PC-BSD 9.0-RC2 became available about a week ago.
There is an issue with upgrading from RC1 to RC2, but it’s easily fixed. This is due to some changes in KDE which also affects the look and feel. So if you have the bandwidth, it’s probably best to download a new ISO instead of upgrading.
pfSense is Seven
The pfSense (which stands for…) project exists 7 years this week, well, that is the age of the pfSense domain. I’m sure the project existed long before that in Chris Buechler, the project founder’s head.
Congratulations to Chris and his team for the great job they’re doing and all the work they’ve done so far. According to some update stats there are currently ca. 100,000 known live pfSense installs.
pfSense and PBI’s
Some say that PC-BSD‘s PBI package format is not needed in addition to other *BSD ways of installing software, and that it’s “un-UNIX”. I think it’s a very user-friendly, point-and-click way for installing software, and advanced users don’t need to use it.
Moving packages to PBIs – the package system in 2.1 will switch to using the PBI package system, originally from PC-BSD, though also used by some on stock FreeBSD installs. The benefit of using PBIs is each package has all its dependencies included in the package, which eliminates the dependency messes that can happen currently, such as one package requiring a certain version of a dependent package but another requiring a different version, uninstallation of one package stomping on another package by uninstalling a dependency it requires, uninstallation of a package breaking the base system by deleting things it uses (though we already work around that one automatically), easing clean uninstall of packages, amongst other benefits. This will be a great improvement in the package system for 2.1. (source)
If you’re looking for a feature rich (BSD) firewall, why not consider pfSense?
Notable changes in this release are:
- Added support for installing to BootCamp partitions on Apple OSX systems
- Added checks for invalid characters in the username
- Added button to installer allowing toggle between US keyboard layout and currently selected
- Added improved portjail init scripts
- Life-Preserver now defaults to backing up to a remote directory set as the client hostname
- Add some sanity checks to pbi-manager when creating new repositories
- Fixed bugs setting the proxy server in pbi-manager / AppCafe (Uses the default config in networking GUI)
- Improved the default firewall ruleset
- Enable IPv6 support on all nic’s by default
- Added options to pbi-manager which enables tmpfs memory building
- Improved pc-thinclient setup to use pre-built FreeBSD world instead of building from source
- Fix bug in pbi-manager when doing binary updates to ensure it is only attempted on the correct build
- Fix issues installing with mirrors / raidz on ZFS
Source: PC-BSD 9.0RC1 Available (PC-BSD blog)
Following the release of FreeBSD 9.0-BETA3 earlier this week, Kris Moore has release PC-BSD 9.0-BETA3 now. This release includes the latest FreeBSD 9.0-BETA3 base, along with numerous bug fixes and enhancements.
Notable changes in this release:
- Fix issue enabling flash plugin after installation
- Fix bug with handbook not launching in LXDE
- Fix issue performing updates on ZFS systems with separate /boot UFS partition.
- Add lxmenu-data port, which provides nicer LXDE menu framework
- Fix enabling ibus from GDM
- Include “mga” driver in base
- Add option to install only “openbox” as a window-manager
- Fix bug doing PBI patching and checking the FreeBSD version
- Improve PBI manager allowing ~/bin entries to point to wrapper scripts
- Fix bug upgrading and installing the nvidia driver
- Fix bugs installing from LIVE mode
When updating to BETA3 from BETA2, please apply the “System Updater Bugfixes” patch first, in order to ensure that your update process goes smoothly.
Should you come across any show stoppers or issues, please share them on the PC-BSD Testing Mailing List.
Taking PC-BSD 9.0-BETA2 for a spin
Rares Aioanei tested BETA2 and wrote up his experience on linuxcareer.com (taking pc-bsd 9.0-BETA2 for a spin) and he concludes with:
Everything seems to fall into place pretty neat, and we sure like the ride so far. You might wanna ask : “why would I want to switch from my Linux desktop?” Well, if you’re happy with your Linux desktop, just continue using it. However, I think BSD might offer the same or a little more: the system is one big entity (kernel plus userland), as opposed to Linux, which is a kernel having userland tools “glued” on top, ZFS, DTrace, live upgrades, good documentation and a fantastic community, among others. We recommend you at least try PC-BSD and see if it’s your cup of tea.