PC-BSD vs DesktopBSD; similarities & differences


Similar to my m0n0wall vs pfSense; similarities & differences post, I thought I’d also post a “PC-BSD vs DesktopBSD; similarities & differences” overview since I get so much trafic from people trying to find out what the similarities and differences are.

A common misconception about DesktopBSD is that it is intended as a rival to PC-BSD as a BSD-based desktop distribution. Neither the DesktopBSD nor the PC-BSD project intend to rival each other; the two projects are completely independent with distinctive features and goals. PC-BSD has introduced a new package management (PBI) that lets you easily install packages, whereas DesktopBSD has developed a graphical utility that makes installing standard FreeBSD packages and ports easy. Let’s have a look at the similarities and the differences.

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FreeBSD 6.3 Released

FreeBSD LogoCongratulations to the FreeBSD developers! FreeBSD 6.3-RELEASE is available now. This release continues the development of the 6-STABLE branch providing performance and stability improvements, many bug fixes, new features, new drivers, better hardware support, new commands/options and major bug fixes. Some of the highlights:

  • KDE updated to 3.5.8, GNOME updated to 2.20.1, Xorg updated to 7.3
  • BIND updated to 9.3.4
  • sendmail updated to 8.14.2
  • lagg(4) driver ported from OpenBSD/NetBSD
  • unionfs file system re-implemented
  • freebsd-update(8) now supports an upgrade command

For a complete list of new features and known problems, please see the online release notes and errata list.

Check out the announcement page for availability, downloading, upgrading, acknowledgments, MD5 checksums etc.

Cheers to the FreeBSD developers! Many thanks, guys, for all your hard work and (free) time. Waiting for FreeBSD 7.0 to be released ;-)

m0n0wall vs pfSense; similarities & differences

pfSense logoA common misconception about pfSense is that it is intended as a rival to m0n0wall as a BSD-based firewall system, since they are similar in structure and goals. This is not the case; some developers even contribute to both projects. m0n0wall is targeted at a specific level of hardware platform, which is the Soekris or Wrap (a 486 133MHz with 64 or 128 Mb RAM and low power consumption). pfSense requires 128 Mb ram. Likewise, m0n0wall gets away with a >= 10Mb CF card, while pfSense really needs a 256Mb card or bigger.

M0n0wall logopfSense is better in that it has more features, however m0n0wall is better in that it is smaller and simpler. Which of the two, m0n0wall or pfSense, you need, just depends on your (system/business) requirements.

Interesting link: BSD Firewalling, pfSense and m0n0wall (PDF – paper delivered at BSDCan2006)

(Free)BSD myths dispelled

FreeBSD myths dispelledAs the BSD projects (DragonFlyBSD, FreeBSD, NetBSD, and OpenBSD) have grown in size, a number of persistent myths have grown up around them. Some of these are perpetuated by well meaning but misguided individuals, others by people pursuing their own agendas.

This page aims to dispel those myths while remaining as dispassionate as possible.

FreeBSD in 2007 – a review

2007 is over. It was a very successful year for open source software and another 12 interesting months have passed for FreeBSD. In this post I want to look back at 2007 and see how FreeBSD faired, what happened in “FreeBSD land” and how FreeBSD based operating systems have developed. This post will be a sort of summary of the messages I posted during 2007.

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We’ll be looking at:

Start of this blog

Around April last year I was toying with the idea of starting a FreeBSD related news blog with the view to raise more awareness of FreeBSD and show it’s a perfect alternative to Linux. My first post was on 17 May 2007 and since then visitor numbers have rapidly gone up and feedback from visitors indicates that there’s definitely interest in such a blog. With the continuing growth of my WordPress.com hosted blog, I wanted to get some more flexibility and the ability to install plugins and scripts. Hence my move to Bluehost/FreeBSDOS (BTW, if you’re looking for cheap and reliable webhosting, I can really recommend them).

FreeBSD in 2007

FreeBSD LogoUnfortunately 2007 didn’t see the final release of FreeBSD 7.0; just 4 beta’s and a RC1. Well, maybe not “unfortunately”, because a top-quality product is better than a rushed-out flaky one that needs to be fixed and patched soon after its release. FreeBSD 7.0 incorporates some new and exciting technologies which will put this version a-par with, if not ahead of, Linux. Exciting stuff.

The FreeBSD Foundation have issued their quarterly newsletters (Q2, Q3, Q4), keeping the world up-to-date with the latest developments and news. The Foundation received a lot of coverage online and in the blogosphere with their Absolute FreeBSD book auction and their fund raising drive. The 2007 fundraising goal was $250.000, but a total of $403,511 was achieved. Well done.

There are already a couple of Linux related magazines for sale in stores, but BSD magazines aren’t available currently. “An interesting opportunity“, Software Media LLC/LP Magazine must have thought. They will issue first issue at the beginning of Q2 2008 and will contain an article by Dru Lavigne and Jan Stedehouder (Jan used and reviewed both PC-BSD and DesktopBSD for a month in his PC-BSB: the first 30 days and DesktopBSD: the first 30 days series).

Conference-wise, the ‘normal’ BSD conferences (BSDCan, EuroBSD, MeetBSD) were held, with a new one in Turkey (BSDConTR).
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New book: “The Best of FreeBSD Basics”

Dru Lavigne FreeBSD BasicsDru Lavigne’s popular column has been updated, improved, and compiled into a new book, The Best of FreeBSD Basics.

Dru wrote over 110 articles (over 250 web pages) documenting her (Free)BSD experiences starting in early 2000.

Being the meticulous sort, I had a journal of all of the attempts, error messages, and successes I had encountered since stumbling upon freebsd.org through an Internet search (from the book preface.)

It says ‘FreeBSD’ in the title, but I’d think everything that isn’t specifically related to FreeBSD ports applies to every BSD OS. The book is available at Amazon.com.

OSS 4.0 Released under BSD Lisence

Open Sound System OSS4Front Technologies is proud to announce the release of the source code to Open Sound System (OSS) v4.0 under the BSD license for FreeBSD and other BSD compliant operating systems.

OSS is a cross platform API that provides drivers for most consumer and professional audio devices for UNIX® and POSIX based operating systems, including Linux. Owing to its open architecture, applications developed on one supporting operating system platform can be easily recompiled on any other platform.

Full details and release notes available here.

Bounty announced for Flash9 in Opera in FreeBSD

John Kozubik has announced that he will pay $200 to anyone who succeeds in can geting Adobe Flash9 to work on FreeBSD 6.x:

… I will pay $200 to whoever can compose a working and stable recipe for running Adobe Flash 9 inside of the FreeBSD native version of Opera 9 on FreeBSD 6.x. This shouldn’t be that hard – in fact, there is already a linux-flashplugin9 port. The trouble is, even if you do convince your browser to use the plugin, it crashes frequently and generally “doesn’t work”. I think a good proof of success would be the ability to play arbitrary content on YouTube without complication, or perhaps use all of google maps / google finance without crashing.

Interested? Read further here