Got PC-BSD 9.2 fashionably late

FreeBSD with KDE 4.10.5 is here! I know FreeBSD isn’t Linux Mint, but it is KDE 4.10.5.

FreeBSD with KDE 4.10 is here! I know FreeBSD isn’t Linux Mint, but it is kde 4.10

. I know I am fashionably late on this download.

BSD is often seen as Linux’s scarier cousin. Its name is

mentioned in hushed tones and

its users are thought of as elite

programmers and über sysadmins.

However, when we went to the PC-BSD

website to download the latest ISO, we

saw the main screenshot featured

Facebook and a YouTube video of funny

cats. Not exactly leet browsing material.

Perhaps it is for mere mortals after all.

PC-BSD aims to be user-friendly, like

a BSD equivalent of Linux Mint. Of

course, BSDs aren’t like Linux distros

because they don’t all share kernel –

though their features are broadly

similar, the main projects all maintain

their own. You could perhaps think of

PC-BSD, though, as a distro of FreeBSD.

Installation couldn’t have been

easier: just select Desktop or Server

and set it to work. Once it’s done, the

system walks you through creating a

user and you’re done. Frankly, a few

popular Linux distros could learn a thing

or two about user-friendly installation

“PC-BSD aims to be

user-friendly, like a BSD

version of Linux Mint.”

from PC-BSD. The install gives you a

KDE desktop, though other

environments are available. The only

slight blip was a warning message

telling us that we had less than 50GB of

hard drive space. This seemed a little

excessive, given that the install only

took up 7.2GB, and a message like this

might cause people to worry that the

install will fail. We ignored the warning

and it worked fine on our 20GB disk.

If it weren’t for the logo on the

desktop, many Linux users wouldn’t

realise they weren’t using a penguin-

flavoured OS. The range of apps

installed by default seems a little light,

though, considering the 3.4GB

download. There’s no office suite,

Konqueror is the only web browser, and

there’s little else of interest – you have

to install everything you need.

PC-BSD comes with the famous

ports package management system,

It may carry the cute exterior of KDE (pun intended), but underneath beats

the heart of a BSD.

but GUI-loving users needn’t be afraid.

There’s also AppCafe which is a fully

graphical software installation that’s

one of the best we’ve come across.

There’s only about 1,100 apps here –

we say only because there’s almost

70,000 on the Ubuntu Software Centre

– but you should find software for most

common tasks. There were a few

surprises, like Apache OpenOffice

instead of the more popular LibreOffice

(or even Calligra Suite given the OS’s

predilection for KDE). As we said,

there’s software to suit most tasks, but

you don’t have as much choice as you

may be used to. You still have the option

of installing open source software the

old fashioned way, and most Linux

software should compile on BSD.

On files

For years, the biggest difference

between BSD and Linux has been the

way they deal with filesystems. BSD’s

ZFS has long been the envy of Linux

sysadmins. This version of PC-BSD

comes with lpresnap which simplifies

the process of taking ZFS snapshots,

though at the moment it’s only available

on the command line. A graphical

version is promised for the next version.

ZFS now works on Linux, and BTRFS

is also starting to be used, so the

technical gap between the two systems

is closing. At the same time, though,

some of the BSDs (especially PC-BSD)

have become easier to use, closing the

game on Linux in that respect.

Unless you have an ideological

preference for the BSD licence over the

GPL, it’s hard to give you a specific

reason to give BSD a try – but we highly

recommend that you take it for a spin

anyway. Not because of any great

technical difference, but because it

gives you another view of a free

Unix-like OS – and it’s easy enough to

whip up in a virtual machine or on a

spare computer

One thought on “Got PC-BSD 9.2 fashionably late

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