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PC-BSD 7 is a mixed bag

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FreeBSD is a Unix-like open source operating system that can trace its ancestry back to the original Unix. It's well known and well respected in the server marketplace, but until recently FreeBSD lacked an easy-to-use desktop version. In 2005 the PC-BSD project was started to provide just that. This month PC-BSD version 7 was released. I downloaded and installed it to see how it squares up to user-friendly Linux distributions like Ubuntu. I came away a little disappointed.

PC-BSD offers the stability and security of FreeBSD but pitches itself as "a complete desktop operating system, which has been designed with the 'casual' computer user in mind," so from the start my expectations were high. I downloaded the CD ISOs (three in total; a single DVD version is also available) and booted a test machine. The installation is straightforward and the PC-BSD guide gives detailed installation instructions if you get stuck anywhere.

The installer handles all the normal tasks, including getting the user details and passwords, disk partitioning, and package selection. In PC-BSD the default shell is csh and not bash, as is common on Linux.

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