PC-BSD 'Does the Job,' Review Says

Lora Bentley

If Linux is too "vanilla" for your taste, the INQUIRER's Liam Proven recommends PC-BSD 1.3. He discovered the virtues of this particular system while trying to revive an old laptop, apparently. His litany of attempts on the Thinkpad i 1200 (circa 2001) prior to PC-BSD goes something like this:

Ubuntu 6.10 and 7.04 won't start, nor will SUSE, Fedora, Mandriva or Slackware (in the form of Zenwalk) or Debian (in the form of Knoppix). They all seem to hang at the point of polling USB.

On the other hand, the FreeBSD distro that has been "tweaked" for the desktop works fine. In fact, everything about it worked fine upon install, Proven says. The system connected to the Internet with no problem and ran the setup with no evidence that the laptop's processor was taxed beyond its ability. After one reboot and some automatic updates, Proven says he added some applications (Firefox, OpenOffice, Skype, etc.) and proceeded to use the laptop with no problem.

 

Though the desktop environment installed with the system (KDE) is not Proven's favorite, its set of admin tools is complete and it does everything he needs it to do, he says.



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May 26, 2007 2:22 AM M.S.Kannan M.S.Kannan  says:
Yes the adoption to open source & the success largely depends on the choice one makes on the three vital tiers the Server Databases & the desktop/workstationsNeedless to say the right mix of interoperable fast track fetch serve process is order of the day to splice & dice the databases to host data/information to various stages of processing compounded with the complexities of matrix of relations This associated with user friendly interfaces & the APIs there of require to align with the converging technology & device supports.The Roaming profile,single sign on, role Authentication,Authorization, Data compression,encryption supports are additional challenges when it comes to desktops.The desktop design support to handle the new gen portable devices too..That said still i love to see the way BSD is progressing... Reply
Jun 11, 2007 10:17 AM Matt Carlton Matt Carlton  says:
re: PC-BSDThe goal of the PC-BSD project is to create a version of FreeBSD which the average Windows user can install and use 'right out of the box', so to speak. As a long-time Windows geek (professional) and an utter UNIX/FreeBSD newbie with several spare machines, I was a great test of the concept. As of this writing, I have loaded PC-BSD on 4 different machines (3PCs, 1 LT) with only one real hiccup. The oldest PC (PII-333 with 256mb RAM) would not load KDE. The OS itself appeared to have installed fine, however. Knowing very nearly nothing whatsoever about the OS itself, I was not able to troubleshoot past this point. The other machines, 2 of which have been re-built repeatedly - practice for me, no functionality issues - have been the easiest and most accurate installations of any OS I've done. PC-BSD is easier and faster (in terms of required user input) to install than any flavor of Windows I've ever come across. I started with DOS and have played with everything MS since. PC-BSD offers the easiest install by far. On 3 out of the 4 machines I've loaded it on so far, it worked seamlessly and flawlessly, the one partial exception likely failing due to hardware (tiny RAM on the video card) limitation rather than OS failure. Indeed, only the GUI failed to load - the rest of the OS went on and was ready for use. The KDE GUI is a very easy transition for one used to Win2k/XP, with a 'look and feel' strongly reminiscent but with a 'flavor' all its own. Settings and control layouts are intuitive and no configuration at all was required for my network cards or broadband internet connection. The system simply auto-detected everything and worked. Those of you with computer backgrounds will likely recognize the significance of that statement. Another tremendous advantage of PC-BSD is its method of installing software: while users still have access to FreeBSD's more traditional 'ports' collection, the designers have also incorporated a much easier way to do things: PBI distributions. One simply visits the www.PC-BSD.org site or www.pbidir.com and browses available (almost all legally free) software. When a piece of 'ware strikes your fancy, click to download its PBI (think installation files - like a self-extracting EXE in the WinWorld), then double-click to run it. Enter the root pw (one of the few bits on information collected during installation) and the software is installed. No command line, no messing around. Once again, the vast majority of the software (excepting a few games) I've installed from the PBI directory has worked flawlessly and offered generally highly intuitive functionality. Using PC-BSD and the free software available online, a huge number of old clunker PCs might be given new life for surfing the Web or Junior's homework. Unlike Windows PCs, the FreeBSD OS (upon which PC-BSD is built) is nowhere near as subject to virii, spyware, trojans, etc. - all the ills of the modern Internet. While some such malware certainly can attack PC-BSD, the vast majority of such software is written exclusively for Windows - so kids surfing questionable sites are largely protected without expensive anti-spyware and -virus software which often doesn't work. Reply
Jun 11, 2007 10:54 AM Matt Carlton Matt Carlton  says:
re:PC-BSDThe goal of the PC-BSD project is to create a version of FreeBSD which the average Windows user can install and use 'right out of the box', so to speak.As a long-time Windows geek (professional) and an utter UNIX/FreeBSD newbie with several spare machines, I was a great test of the concept.As of this writing, I have loaded PC-BSD on 4 different machines (3PCs, 1 LT) with only one real hiccup.The oldest PC (PII-333 with 256mb RAM) would not load KDE (the GUI).The OS itself appeared to have installed fine, however.Knowing very nearly nothing whatsoever about command-line BSD itself, I was not able to troubleshoot past this point, though I believe the limitation is hardware, not software.Of the other machines, 2 have been re-built repeatedly - hardware changes and practice - no functionality issues.The builds have been the easiest and most accurate installations of any OS I've done.They are wonderful.PC-BSD is easier and faster (in terms of required user input) to install than any flavor of Windows I've ever come across.I started with DOS and have played with everything MS since.PC-BSD offers the easiest and most initially functional install I've seen, by far.On 3 out of the 4 machines I've loaded it on so far, it worked seamlessly and flawlessly, the one partial exception likely failing due to hardware (tiny RAM on the video card) limitation rather than OS trouble.Indeed, only the GUI failed to load - the rest of the OS went on and was ready for use.The KDE GUI is a very easy transition for one used to Win2k/XP, with a 'look and feel' strongly reminiscent but with a 'flavor' all its own.Settings and control layouts are intuitive and no configuration at all was required for my network cards or broadband internet connection.The system simply auto-detected everything and worked .Those of you with computer backgrounds will likely recognize the significance of the above statement.Even more amazingly, I was able to connect to shares on my networked Windows PCs *on the first try*.Again, this is the way all computers should work (and sometimes do), but somehow usually don't.Another tremendous advantage of PC-BSD is its method of installing software:while users still have access to FreeBSD's more traditional 'ports' collection, the designers have also incorporated a much easier way to do things:PBI distributions.One simply visits the www.PC-BSD.org site or www.pbidir.com and browses available (almost all legally free) software.When a piece of 'ware strikes your fancy, click to download its PBI (think installation files - like a self-extracting EXE in the WinWorld), then double-click to run it.Enter the root pw (one of the few bits on information collected during installation) and the software is installed.No command line, no messing around.Once again, the vast majority of the software (excepting a couple games) I've installed from the PBI directory has worked flawlessly and offered generally highly intuitive functionality.Using PC-BSD and the free software available online, a huge number of old clunker PCs might be given new life for surfing the Web or Junior's homework.Even business - the OS is naturally more secure than Windows and offers multiple free/low-cost office suites - I recommend OpenOffice - available in the PBI dir.Unlike Windows PCs, the FreeBSD OS (upon which PC-BSD is built) is nowhere near as subject to virii, spyware, trojans, etc.- all the ills of the modern Internet.While some such malware certainly can attack PC-BSD, the vast majority of such stuff is written exclusively for Windows - so kids surfing questionable sites are largely protected without expensive anti-spyware and -virus software which often doesn't work. Reply
Jun 11, 2007 10:54 AM Matt Carlton Matt Carlton  says:
Thus a huge potential source of failure is dramatically restricted by simply switching operating systems to PC-BSD.I plan on transitioning fully to the OS as soon as I am able to learn more about FreeBSD - being a Geek, I want the systems to do a number of specialized things and need time with manuals to learn the requisite methods.This is definitely not Windows, and more advanced users will definitely want to play around with a test system before committing themselves wholly.The average user, on the other hand, will likely need to install some PBI software and transfer data.The system comes ready and equipped for basic work/home use.More complete office, image manipulation and other software flesh things out beautifully.It is definitely worth a try for those interested in non-MS systems which are easily installed and offer basic office functionality 'right out of the box', so to speak.Wonderful OS. Reply
Nov 23, 2007 9:47 AM freebsd software freebsd software  says:
FreeBSD is really a worth trying os. Since I tested it I never used a Linux OS ever again... Reply

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