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.
When it comes to firewalls, most people are fine with a consumer grade solution like a Linksys, Netgear or D-Link “router,” but these devices lack in features. With a Pentium II 200MHz processor and 1GB of RAM, you can create a firewall that’s way more powerful than the standard cable/DSL router you get from a computer shop, and thanks to free software it has features those other devices can only dream about. Here, is a quick and small comparison between Smoothwall Express 3.0 (based on Linux) and M0n0wall 1.231 (based on FreeBSD).
Both Smoothwall and M0n0wall run on low end hardware just fine. For both systems, you’ll want at least a Pentium 2 and 128MB of RAM. Smoothwall requires more hard drive space than M0n0wall, which only needs about 8MB! Machines like this are available at auction sites, flea markets and garage sales for next to nothing. Keep in mind that these machines will use more power than a consumer “router,” but M0n0wall does have an option to turn off the hard drive after a few minutes of being idle. Now, on to the feature comparison.
Smoothwall offers many more features than M0n0wall, including a caching web proxy server, DNS server, intrusion detection system, instant messenger logging, NTP server and email virus scanning.
By design, M0n0wall is only a firewall. It keeps to the Unix programming concept of doing one thing very well. If you want things like a proxy server, IDS or DNS, you’ll want to use Smoothwall. If you want things like 1:1 NAT, M0n0wall is your best choice. Both systems offer web based management and traffic shaping.
The bottom line is that both of these systems are excellent firewalls. Smoothwall has more features, but requires higher-end hardware, while M0n0wall’s web management of firewall rules and traffic shaping seemed to be easier to use.
This is a summary of a post found on Linux Brain Dump
Another interesting post from Penguin Pete: “The BSD Community Compared to the Linux Community”:
“I’ll tell you the number one thing right off that I like better about BSD than Linux: the peace and quiet.
An amazing experience occurred when I began to run BSD. It was a Jedi event. I was jolted by something that suddenly stopped when I started BSD, something I hadn’t been aware of until it was gone. I experienced a great calming in The Force; as if a million screaming voices suddenly shut up!
Here is the story of two free Unix systems. BSD, at this time, is about twice Linux’s age. Many of the same programs will run on both. Much of the same kind of person who likes one should like the other. Yet on Linux’s side of the fence, there is this massive war going on; while on BSD’s side, you can step out on your porch at night and hear nothing but crickets.
Nobody is preaching that BSD has to do this, this, and this to suit some agenda.
Nobody is threatening to tar and feather the BSD users for being elitists.
Microsoft isn’t shaking any clubs at BSD and threatening to sue it for millions of patent violations.
Nobody is snapping up BSD distros in patent-protection racket deals.
Pundits are not shrieking about what BSD has to do to “make it on the desktop”.
Nobody’s threatening to blackball me out of the community if I don’t give them all my money to advertise BSD with.
Nobody’s gaming Distrowatch to try to get BSD distro A ranked above BSD distro B.
Nobody is wringing their hands about how to dumb BSD down, make it suitable for idiots, or turn it into I-Cant-Believe-Its-Not-Windows.
SCO isn’t suing over BSD.
Amazing, isn’t it?
Carry on reading here
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.
Fareast has written a quick comparison of DesktopBSD and PC-BSD on Dailykos.com:
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.
And 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.
First, Linux is a kernel — not an OS — that Red Hat combines with other software they choose to form the production Red Hat distribution of Linux, currently Red Hat 7.3. As you no doubt are aware, there are hundreds of distributions of Linux. With FreeBSD, there is only one “official” production version of FreeBSD (right now version 4.6). Many would say that with the BSDs one has a complete operating system…with Linux, you have a kernel anybody can use to roll their own operating system. In fact, there is a Linux distribution called Linux From Scratch that guides you in doing just that — rolling your own Linux “distro” from scratch.I’ve asked about the merits of FreeBSD .vs Linux at a few places online. The consensus of what I’ve been told by those with more experience than me (I’m still new to *nix, but learning) is:1) FreeBSD is regarded as better for a webserver OS. IMO, folks regard FreeBSD as more stable, having less downtime, easier to keep upgraded via the FreeBSD ports system, and not to have as many security holes over time come to light for it as come to light for Red Hat Linux.2) Red Hat Linux in particular, and Linux in general have much more hype and mindshare going for them than FreeBSD. This means if you need an OS to have the latest software drivers for hardware, you are more likely to have that with Linux than with FreeBSD. This is important for gamers in particular. With either OS, one needs to be aware that not all hardware is supported by Linux or FreeBSD. For most, the best option is to download a free ISO image from the internet, burn to CD and see if it installs OK. If not, figure out what hardware you need to replace, and decide if it’s worth the money to you…..or if another flavor of *nix, such as Mandrake Linux, might work better.3) People regard FreeBSD to *be* a Unix operating system, whereas any Linux distribution is a “Unix-like” OS, rather than a Unix proper. One of the major things people point to is the directory structure of FreeBSD being more “right” in a Unix-ish way than Red Hat’s directory and file structure, which may change with each distribution. People find the more logical to their Unix thinking minds file layout of FreeBSD to help with system maintenence over the file layout of Red Hat Linux. Many Linux advocates regard Slackware Linux to be the most Unix-like Linux distribution.4) There are fundamental differences in how each of the two operating systems do things “under the hood” that one can learn about to one’s hearts content online, but is not worth going into here…and I’m not knowledgeable enough to be either OS’s spokeperson in this regard.
5) There are differences in how various commands and utility programs work under both OSs…but they are still both Unix-ish and more similar to each other than either one is to windows. Learn one, and you know most of what you need to be functional with the other one, IMO.
6) Both operating systems have their strong supporters that sing the praises of their chosen OS and bash anyone preferring the other OS.
7) There is more information online and geared to *nix newbies for Linux in general, and Red Hat Linux in particular than exist for FreeBSD. However, some would say the online and print documentation for FreeBSD is superior in quality to that available for Linux — and is totally adequate, too.
8). As with most things technical, the answer of which one is “best” is….as usual….”it depends”. It depends on what your purposes are. If I wanted to dive into the world of unix from a Windows background by loading one or the other OS on a personal computer at home to see what all the *nix fuss is about, Red Hat Linux would be an excellent choice. There are many GUI tools to help when just starting out with most Linux distributions (Mandrake is an excellent example….and choice for newbies, too).
Please note, this is an old post (31 July 2002) that I came across and wanted to save here, so please bear in mind that some of the information is out of date. For instance FreeBSD 6.2 is the most current version, with 7.0 in full development.
Browsing some forum I came accross the following quote which I want to share with you. I don’t want to start a Linux-BSD flame war, but to me, being a BSD fan, I think there’s some truth it (slightly edited):
BSD rules because it’s time-tested and stable. Linux peeps can’t even get their act together with all their distros and different userland apps.
Picture it this way.
BSD is like the mafia. Professional (stable), organized (one coherent Unix system), hit men who never miss (can last turned on for years without a crash), and who act like The Transporter.
Linux are like Los Angeles drive-by shooters, shooting in all directions (many distros), not organized (no coherent testing on whether new versions of dependencies and libraries work with all the apps in the distro), not professional (most distros are amateur knockoffs of the real distros, Debian, Gentoo, Slackware, etc.), and, although cool in their diversity, need to really stabilize ONE package manager standard, and fix “dependency hell”. An example: PC-BSD PBI system, which is easy to use, easy for users to maintain, and NEVER modifies the base system, ensuring system stability and coherence.
ANd like hitmen, when things just don’t work the “professional” way (meaning, Linux apps or plugins are needed), they can get gansta dirty and use Linux Compatibility Mode to “be” like Linux gangsters when they “need to be”. Linux can’t be BSD, but BSD can be Linux.
So, I think the war is over. Have your petty Linux gangbang drive-bys…but no Linux EVER dares to go into BSD Mafia territory (Server-land). Those that do, end up dead (don’t last more than 5 months turned on, while BSDs can last years).
Soure: Linuxganster website