Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Personal Computing - BSD Style

Filed under
Reviews
BSD
-s

A milestone was reached on April 29 and I couldn't let it pass without a look. I'm speaking of the release of PC-BSD 1.0, their very first stable release. Almost a year ago Tuxmachines tested 0.6 of PC-BSD, considered a beta release, and was quite impressed then as I recall. I saw .7, .8, .9 and increments get released, but I just had to revisit the user-friendly bsd again on this wonderful occasion. How did PC-BSD stack up on this their "new era of stability and simplicity?"

It all starts with a boot of the cd. The first image is a boot screen giving several choices for booting the system with extras of Escape to bootloader prompt, boot FreeBSD with usb keyboard, or Reboot. I just went with the default and hit <enter>. Next, one sees a beautiful silent splash screen featuring a close-up of pretty yellow flowers. It states one could Press Any Key to view startup details, but escape seems to be the only one that worked for me - or perhaps it was a question of timing. In any case, eventually one is brought to another screen with choices. They are: Start graphical install, Reset X to default VESA driver, Change Resolution to 800x600, System Utilities, and Reboot.

        

Choosing to start the graphical install ...you guessed it, starts the graphical install. Here begins a great looking professional quality install process. It looks nice, but it is also really easy. It asks where to install and then begins. My choices were limited to the primary partitions on my disk, but I had two blank ones at the beginning of this newest harddrive in the Master position. I simply chose hda1 (in linux speak) and let it install. The actuall system install was quite fast, taking about 15 minutes and then one is asked for a root password, to setup a user, and where to install the bootloader. You can choose to skip installing a boot loader with PC-BSD, and I did. Instead, I took a lesson learned from FreeBSD and edited my everyday lilo.conf as follows:
other=/dev/hda1
table=/dev/hda
label=PC-BSD

        

When setting up an user account, you are given the opportunity to select auto-login and X start if desired. I did and upon boot I was taken straight to a 1024x768 KDE 3.5.2 desktop. Sound was auto detected and setup as I was greeted by the default kde login sound as well as a really beautiful wallpaper. The wallpaper is a landscape of a lush green valley with a field of those same pretty yellow flowers all in front of a majestic mountain range. Other than a slightly customized panel and menu, the rest seems your basic default KDE.

        

        

On the desktop are two icons other than Trash. One opens the PC-BSD wiki in the default browser, Konqueror. This is an online documentation site with links to some other handy tools such as an user forum. The other icon is even more exciting. Again it opens up a browser, but where it takes you is an online repository of software. From this varying list, one can download software, and easily install onto their system. Installing is as easy as clicking the file. It reminded me of my windows days actually. Click the pbi file downloaded, an installation wizard opens and installs the software. Some of the applications available are kmplayer, firefox, opera, OpenOffice, java, and a coupla kde themes. I tested several packages and all went really well.

        

There is also an update application. Although at this time, there were no updates, so testing was limited.

My final thoughts: I found PC-BSD to be even better than the last time. It's prettier, easier, and more complete. Installation was smooth, hardware detection was good and performance was great. The system was stable and all applications tested worked fine. The only probably I had was finding the Flash browser plugin in their repository. If you've been wanting to try a BSD clone, you couldn't go wrong with PC-BSD. Again this time as with the last, I'm very impressed with all the work that has obviously gone into this system to make it so easy for anyone to have a BSD. I believe they have met their goals and then some.

PC-BSD Homepage.

Download or Purchase PC-BSD.

PC-BSD Screenshots.

More in Tux Machines

Graphics: Mesa 19.2's Feature Freeze and Display Stream Compression (DSC) for AMD Navi

  • Mesa 19.2's Feature Freeze / Release Candidate Process Beginning Tomorrow

    Mesa 19.2 was supposed to be branched marking its feature freeze two weeks ago on 6 August along with the issuing of the first release candidate. That milestone has yet to be crossed but should happen tomorrow. Mesa 19.2 development dragged on for the extra two weeks to allow some extra features to land. Those extra features were metrics/counters support for Intel Iris Gallium3D, CCS_E modifier support, and slice/sub-slice hashing optimizations for Intel -- a big performance win. Now that those blockers have landed, the release process is expected to get underway on Tuesday.

  • Display Stream Compression (DSC) for AMD Navi
    This patchset enables Display Stream Compression (DSC) on DP 
    connectors on Navi ASICs, both SST and DSC.
    
    8k60 and 4k144 support requires ODM combine, an AMD internal
    feature that may be a bit buggy right now.
    
    Patches 1 through 5 enable DSC for SST. Most of the work was
    already done in the Navi promotion patches; this just hooks
    it up to the atomic interface. The first two reverts are of temporary
    changes to block off DSC. The third is of a commit that was
    accidentally promoted twice. The fourth and last revert fixes a 
    potential issue with ODM combine.
    
    Patches 6 and 7 are fixes for bugs that would be exposed by 
    MST DSC. One fix is with the MST code and the other in the DSC code.
    
    Patches 8, 9, and 10 are small DRM changes required for DSC MST:
    FEC, a new bit in the standard; some export definitions; and
    a previously uninitialized variable.
    
    Patches 11 through 14 are the DSC MST policy itself. This includes
    the code for detecting and validating DSC capabilities, enabling
    DSC over a link, computing the fair DSC configurations for
    multiple DSC displays, and adding to atomic state crtcs that might 
    need reprogramming due to DSC.
    
  • AMD Posts Navi Display Stream Compression Support For Linux

    One of the kernel-side features not yet in place for AMD's newest Navi graphics processors on Linux has been Display Stream Compression support but that is being squared away with a new patch series. Fourteen patches posted today adding more than six hundred lines of code to the AMDGPU Linux kernel driver enable Display Stream Compression support for DisplayPort connectors on Navi GPUs. VESA's Display Stream Compression is for low-latency lossless compression performance for power-savings and higher resolution/refresh-rates based on bandwidth and enabling the likes of DisplayPort Multi-Stream Transport (MST) technology.

Audiocasts/Shows: Jupiter (Linux Academy) and TLLTS

Android Leftovers

KMyMoney 5.0.6 released

The KMyMoney development team today announces the immediate availability of version 5.0.6 of its open source Personal Finance Manager. Another maintenance release is ready: KMyMoney 5.0.6 comes with some important bugfixes. As usual, problems have been reported by our users and the development team fixed some of them in the meantime. The result of this effort is the brand new KMyMoney 5.0.6 release. Despite even more testing we understand that some bugs may have slipped past our best efforts. If you find one of them, please forgive us, and be sure to report it, either to the mailing list or on bugs.kde.org. Read more