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

IBM/Red Hat/Fedora Leftovers

  • Fedora 34 Aims To Further Enhance Security But Will Lose Runtime Disabling Of SELinux

    Currently on Fedora the Security Enhanced Linux (SELinux) functionality that's there by default can be disabled at run-time via the /etc/selinux/config but moving forward with Fedora 34 they are looking at removing that support and focusing just on disabling via selinux=0 at the kernel boot time in order to provide greater security. At present on Fedora, those wanting to forego the security safeguards can either pass selinux=0 as the kernel command line option to disable the support at boot time or by disabling it within the /etc/selinux/config file that in turn disables the support at run-time.

  • Getting started with the Red Hat Insights policies capability

    Many customers I talk to have gotten a lot of value out of Red Hat Insights, which allows Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) customers to proactively identify and remediate risks in their RHEL environments. These risks can include items related to security and compliance, performance, availability, and stability. However, one common request I’ve heard is that customers would like a way to add their own internal checks that are specific to their environment into Insights. This type of functionality is now available with the Policies capability in Red Hat Insights, which allows customers to define their own policies which are evaluated when Insights data is uploaded from RHEL hosts. If any of the policies are evaluated to match, an email or webhook action can be triggered.

  • IBM Z Day 2020: A record-shattering event!

    Thank you, one and all, for making IBM Z Day 2020 such a huge success!

  • Red Hat, Samsung Join Hands To Deliver 5G Networking Solution

    Red Hat has teamed up with Samsung to deliver an open source networking solution built on Red Hat OpenShift. The solution will integrate with Samsung’s key networking applications and is aimed at helping service providers make 5G a reality across use cases. [...] Containerized network functions (CNFs) and virtualized network functions (VNFs) provide a path to transformation for modern telcos. As such, Samsung has achieved Red Hat’s vendor validated VNF Certification and plans to have full CNF Certification.

Graphics: Zink, Navi, Disman and CUDA

  • Mike Blumenkrantz: Will It Blend

    For the past few days, I’ve been trying to fix a troublesome bug. Specifically, the Unigine Heaven benchmark wasn’t drawing most textures in color, and this was hampering my ability to make further claims about zink being the fastest graphics driver in the history of software since it’s not very impressive to be posting side-by-side screenshots that look like garbage even if the FPS counter in the corner is higher. [...] The Magic Of Dual Blending It turns out that the Heaven benchmark is buggy and expects the D3D semantics for dual blending, which is why mesa knows this and informs drivers that they need to enable workarounds if they have the need. [...] In short, D3D expects to blend two outputs based on their locations, but in Vulkan and OpenGL, the blending is based on index. So here, I’ve just changed the location of gl_FragData[1] to match gl_FragData[0] and then incremented the index, because Fragment outputs identified with an Index of zero are directed to the first input of the blending unit associated with the corresponding Location. Outputs identified with an Index of one are directed to the second input of the corresponding blending unit.

  • New Linux kernel update may have tipped AMD's hand by leaking Big Navi specs

    Nvidia may have all the headlines with the GeForce RTX 3090 making the rounds in benchmarks, but AMD might swoop in to steal the show next month. Thanks to a sharp-eyed Reddit user, we may have gotten a sneak peek at AMD’s act. Reddit user u/stblr dug through a recent version of Radeon Open Compute (ROCm), version 3.8, includes firmware for AMD’s upcoming GPUs, codenamed Sienna Cichlid and Navy Flounder. Sienna Cichlid is also known as Navi 21 (or Big Navi), and Navy Flounder denotes either Navi 22 or 23. The code in the update confirms that Sienna Cichlid (Big Navi) will have 80 CUs and a 256-bit memory bus, while Navy Flounder will have 40 CUs and a 192-bit memory bus.

  • Disman Continues Taking Shape As Display Management Library For X11/Wayland

    Disman is the display management library forked from LibKScreen as part of KWinFT. Last week at XDC2020 an update was provided on this Qt/C++ library for display management. KDE developer Roman Gilg presented on Disman at the 2020 X.Org Developers' Conference along with KDisplay as a GUI front-end interfacing with this library. Disman is capable of properly configuring multiple displays and working across different X11 windowing systems as well as compositors. Under Wayland, Disman supports the likes of wlr_output_management_unstable_v1, kwinft_output_management_unstable_v1, KDE's output management protocol, and D-Bus interfaces around it. This allows Disman to work seamlessly on X11 with RandR and under Wayland by the likes of KDE's KWin, the KWinFT fork, and also WLROOTS-based compositors.

  • NVIDIA CUDA 11.1 Released With RTX 30 Series Support, Better Compatibility Across Versions

    NVIDIA has released version 11.1 of their CUDA toolkit that now supports the GeForce RTX 30 "Ampere" series graphics cards. CUDA 11.0 released back in July brought initial Ampere GPU support while CUDA 11.1 today formally supports the Ampere consumer GPUs in the RTX 30 series. Once we receive samples of the new GPUs we'll be putting the new CUDA release through its paces under Linux with the RTX 3070/3080/3090 series. [...] CUDA 11.1 also brings a new PTX compiler static library, version 7.1 of the Parallel Thread Execution (PTX) ISA, support for Fedora 32 and Debian 10.3, new unified programming models, hardware-accelerated sparse texture support, multi-threaded launch to different CUDA streams, improvements to CUDA Graphs, and various other enhancements. GCC 10.0 and Clang 10.0 are also now supported as host compilers.

Mozilla: Rust, Firefox 80/81, Golden Era of Computing and Firefox Nightly

Python Programming

  • Strptime Python

    Strptime python is used to convert string to datetime object.

  • Book review – Effective Python, by Brett Slatkin (and a free chapter for download)

    Those among you who have already learned some Python or may even have used it in some projects will certainly have heard the expression “Pythonic Code”, which conveys a general and somewhat wide meaning of “clean code and good software development practices in the context of Python”. With Effective Python, the author presents you with nothing less than 90 practical examples on how to adopt a pythonic developer mindset and how to write better Python code.

  • Application and Request Contexts in Flask

    The first blog post provides examples of how to the Application and Request contexts work, including how the current_app, request, test_client, and test_request_context can be used to effectively used to avoid pitfalls with these contexts. The second blog post provides a series of diagrams illustrating how the Application and Request contexts are processed when a request is handled in Flask. This post also dives into how LocalStack objects work, which are the objects used for the Application Context Stack and the Request Context Stack.

  • Python Community Interview With David Amos

    I discovered programming by accident when I came across the source code for the Gorillas game on my parents’ IBM 386 PS/2 computer. I guess I was about seven or eight years old. I found something called a .BAS file that opened up a program called QBasic and had all sorts of strange-looking text in it. I was instantly intrigued! There was a note at the top of the file that explained how to adjust the game speed. I changed the value and ran the game. The effect was instantly noticeable. It was a thrilling experience. I was obsessed with learning to program in QBasic. I made my own text adventure games. I even made a few animations using simple geometric shapes. It was tons of fun! QBasic was a fantastic language for an eight-year-old kid to learn. It was challenging enough to keep me interested but easy enough to get quick results, which is really important for a child. When I was around ten years old, I tried to teach myself C++. The ideas were too complex, and results came too slowly. After a few months of struggling, I stopped. But the idea of programming computers remained attractive to me—enough so that I took a web technology class in high school and learned the basics of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. In college, I decided to major in mathematics, but I needed a minor. I chose computer science because I thought having some experience with programming would make it easier to complete the degree requirements. I learned about data structures with C++. I took an object-oriented programming class with Java. I studied operating systems and parallel computing with C. My programming horizons expanded vastly, and I found the whole subject pleasing both practically and intellectually.

  • PyCharm 2020.3 EAP – Starts now!

    The Early Access Program for our next major release, PyCharm 2020.3, is now open! If you are always looking forward to the next ‘big thing’ we encourage you to join the program and share your thoughts on the latest PyCharm improvements! [...] If you’re on Ubuntu 16.04 or later, you can use snap to get PyCharm EAP and stay up to date. You can find the installation instructions on our website.

  • Extracting two SDF data items with chemfp's text toolkit

    This is part of a series of essays about working with SD files at the record and simple text level. In yesterday's essay I showed several examples of using chemfp's text toolkit API to process records from an SD file. In some cases, reading the entire record is too much work so in this essay I'll show some examples of extracting just two pieces of information (a title and a single SDF data item value, or two data item values) from the records. [...] In yesterday's essay I noticed that most records in the ChEBI SDF distribution ChEBI_complete.sdf.gz contain a SMILES data item. (112,938 out of 113,902 to be precise.) Let's extract those to make a SMILES files! (We could of course use a chemistry toolkit to parse the connection table into a molecule then generate a SMILES, but that's not the point of this essay.)

  • Talk Python to Me: #283 Web scraping, the 2020 edition

    Web scraping is pulling the HTML of a website down and parsing useful data out of it. The use-cases for this type of functionality are endless. Have a bunch of data on governmental sites that are only listed online in HTML without a download? There's an API for that! Do you want to keep abreast of what your competitors are featuring on their site? There's an API for that. Need alerts for changes on a website, for example enrollment is now open at your college and you want to be first to get in and avoid the 8am Monday morning course slot? There's an API for that. That API is screen scraping and Attila Tóth from ScrapingHub is here to tell us all about it.