Does Desktop have a future on BSD?

mark_j

Aspiring Daemon

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If you like to tinker then FreeBSD is a great system for desktop. If you just like to use your computer for your work then modern Linux is quite comfortable and usually works from the box. As I aged I gradually moved from the first category to the second. When a new FreeBSD release is created I think about trying out. Then I read my notes on previous tinkering I had to do in order to have a decent desktop and change my mind.

It takes me about 10 minutes (probably less) to set up a desktop for FreeBSD.
Yes, unlike a "distro", FreeBSD makes you work and think about the process. There's no hand holding other than installing the OS for you. If you want a "distro" there's always GhostBSD. If you don't want to use FreeBSD, good on you.
 

mark_j

Aspiring Daemon

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My experience with both Linux and FreeBSD is that less and less tinkering is required release after release.
You could say that about FreeBSD, but not about Linux, because Linux is a kernel not an OS and every "distro" has different traits and there's literally thousands of them. :rolleyes:
 

wolffnx

Aspiring Daemon

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If you just like to use your computer for your work then modern Linux is quite comfortable and usually works from the box

I'dont want to start one Xos vs Xos discusion,but are you serious? systemd? today Linux is a slut with too much makeup and work overload and
too many dumbs kids, Linux is not anymore Linux
 

aragats

Daemon

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Let's start with Android Studio, TeamViewer, Simplify3D a 3D slicer ... there is stuff, Skype? Then umm, XOscope, then a damn plugin called Silverlight(?) or something like that (but to be true i don't know if it works in Linux) .
TeamViewer perfectly works in emulators/wine (its Linux version IS using wine!). Skype is barely working in general. 99.9% of my former Skype contacts have switched to WhatApp. I'd like to have Skype for Business working (since it's a de facto standard in the company I work for), but it doesn't exist even for Linux. And it's almost dead anyway ― MS is trying to push their "Teams" now. Silverlight? Is it alive? I think it's dead for few years, nobody's using it.
 

Sevendogsbsd

Daemon

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Skype is a steaming cesspool even on its native Windows. Teams is worse: once a week the process spins out of control, spiking the CPUs and disk utilization to close to 100%, until the process is killed.
 

tankist02

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My apologies if I offended somebody's feeling towards FreeBSD. I should have said "personally for my needs blah blah blah..." and do not generalize too much.

I'm happy if FreeBSD is a great desktop for some people. I think it is not healthy that all the desktop fame goes to Linux these days. We need more competition in that area.

Here is one concrete detail about my recent experience with FreeBSD as desktop. Usually I check every new release, so this time I wanted to kick the tires on 12.1. One of my major work is processing raw photographs on my home workstations. I use darktable and RawTherapee for this task. Recently one of RT developers created a new program ART which is based on RT. ART is simpler overall than RT and has some new quite useful tools. I love ART because it allows me to get nice results with the least amount of work. Yes, I don't want to tinker if I can avoid it. So on Linux I can get ART official packages or I can build it from the sources. But ART is not (yet?) available on FreeBSD. I asked the RT maintainer if he has any plans to port ART and he replied it is too soon to think about it, ART is too new.

Another example is my Home Theater clients at home. 2 of them are connected by WiFi, I'm too lazy to open my floors and lay a lot of Ethernet cables around. WiFi works just fine on Linux, but on FreeBSD the speed is too slow to play HD content because 802.11ac is still not supported. I know, there are not too many people working on FreeBSD WiFi stack and hardware companies do not offer their support either.

Yet another example is my old HP printer. It works on Linux because HP created a special driver for it. The driver is missing for FreeBSD. Am I supposed to go out and buy a new printer just to run FreeBSD and be able to print? Sorry, I have other things to do with my time and money.
 

kpedersen

Son of Beastie

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Am I supposed to go out and buy a new printer just to run FreeBSD and be able to print? Sorry, I have other things to do with my time and money.

Well kind-of yes. People go out and buy a Macbook all the time just to run macOS.

Likewise you often need to go out and by a new printer for it to work on the latest Windows 10. I doubt my old Windows XP canoscan scanner has Win10 compatible drivers these days.

You are expected to buy compatible hardware for any OS you run.
 

gpw928

Well-Known Member

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Am I supposed to go out and buy a new printer just to run FreeBSD and be able to print? Sorry, I have other things to do with my time and money.
I agree. For what ever the task is, choose the tool that's right for you. I don't use FreeBSD for everything. Nor do I want to.
 

Nicola Mingotti

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TeamViewer perfectly works in emulators/wine (its Linux version IS using wine!). Skype is barely working in general. 99.9% of my former Skype contacts have switched to WhatApp. I'd like to have Skype for Business working (since it's a de facto standard in the company I work for), but it doesn't exist even for Linux. And it's almost dead anyway ― MS is trying to push their "Teams" now. Silverlight? Is it alive? I think it's dead for few years, nobody's using it.

TeamViewer. According to this page it should exist and there is no reference to Wine. I use AnyDesk and push people to work with me to do the same. It works well in FreeBSD. The free version is unrestricted, unlike TeamViewer.

WhastApp, this quite bad. I just changed to Telegram, which works exellent in FreeBSD and in my 3 other devices at the same time ! give it a shot. The only thing it lacks is video call, for the rest it is superior to WS from all points of view. Ah, BTW, it has an API you can code. I did it on a little script to send pictures from my phone to one of my computer directory, it is freaking awesome.

Silverlight. Unfortunately I tried to watch AT&T tv months ago and I can ensure that a crappy plugin was required. I had to use the Mac AFAIRemember. I changed house last summer so I can't check. I can't find this for Linux, so probably it needs Wine anyway so it was not a good example.

I can look for other programs but the fact exist. There is more sofware for Linux, from drivers to applications. Please don't deny this because it is obvious.

Then, if you need to run a specific sofware 90% of the time a VM is enough. For Mac stuff it may be a problem, e.g. OmniGraffle. I tried to run the Mac in a VM, I made it but the user experience was far from exciting.

If you need some really special stuff. Eg. Big fat 3D CAD, or Apple dev stuff then run FreeBSD in a VM as I do, all the time.

bye
n.
 

aragats

Daemon

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TeamViewer. According to this page it should exist and there is no reference to Wine.
It always existed. But you're right, the current version is a Linux ELF binary, they finally built it for Linux. I wonder why it depends on Qt5 libs. Windows version is linked statically.
However, they still have older versions, which are wine-based:
Code:
$ ll teamviewer/tv_bin/
total 38912
drwxr-xr-x  8 sm  wheel   512B  6 Oct  2016 .
drwxr-xr-x  6 sm  wheel   512B  6 Oct  2016 ..
drwxr-xr-x  2 sm  wheel   512B  6 Oct  2016 desktop
drwxr-xr-x  2 sm  wheel   1.0K  6 Oct  2016 resources
drwxr-xr-x  4 sm  wheel   512B  6 Oct  2016 RTlib
drwxr-xr-x  2 sm  wheel   1.0K  6 Oct  2016 script
lrwxr-xr-x  1 sm  wheel    17B  6 Oct  2016 TeamViewer -> script/teamviewer
-rwxr-xr-x  1 sm  wheel   8.5M  6 Oct  2016 TeamViewer_Desktop
-rwxr-xr-x  1 sm  wheel   5.2M  6 Oct  2016 teamviewer-config
-rwxr-xr-x  1 sm  wheel    11M  6 Oct  2016 teamviewerd
-rwxr-xr-x  1 sm  wheel   3.4M  6 Oct  2016 TVGuiDelegate
-rwxr-xr-x  1 sm  wheel   4.7M  6 Oct  2016 TVGuiSlave.32
-rwxr-xr-x  1 sm  wheel   4.7M  6 Oct  2016 TVGuiSlave.64
drwxr-xr-x  6 sm  wheel   512B  6 Oct  2016 wine
drwxr-xr-x  2 sm  wheel   512B  6 Oct  2016 xdg-utils
I use AnyDesk and push people to work with me to do the same. It works well in FreeBSD. The free version is unrestricted, unlike TeamViewer.
Yeah, AnyDesk is much better. Also, Teamviewer's license is too expensive, and the free version disconnects frequently.
 

Nicola Mingotti

Well-Known Member

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I wonder why it depends on Qt5 libs. Windows version is linked statically.

Considering you show it was previously running with Wine it means they made the Linux native version recently. The choice of Qt seems a natural one, I don't program in C++, but I tried it in PySide2, in my opinion Qt is a pleasure to work with (at least in Python). Starting from its very good documentation.

Why depends on libs? Umm... I don't know but it may have something to do with the license. It maight be that to compile a full static binary using Qt you need to pay. But I never studied the Qt license so I let others give a more informed view on this.
 

drhowarddrfine

Son of Beastie

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tankist02 When one runs a construction company, and drives a MAC truck for that, he doesn't bring the truck home when Mom wants to drive the kids to soccer practice. He buys a van instead.

Too many times the driving force for some people is home usage such as games and entertainment. That is the purview of Windows and the area Linux is most interested in. FreeBSD is more interested in technical competency, accuracy and stability for professionals at work. When you see carpenters at work, you see them using fundamental tools that have worked for centuries and decades and not pretty, blinking lights on hammers and saws.

I understand your point that it would be nice to be able to play games on lunch break at work but many technology companies that supply tools for the office and home chase the market and not the technology. That is, most users are on Windows and that's where the dollars are so they focus on that. Linux wants to compete with Windows so the have a lot of their people focus on packaging that software to work for them.

In the meantime, FreeBSD doesn't have spare kernel or networking programmers to work on games in their spare time--as if they had spare time. Occasionally one will read about some FreeBSD developers running FreeBSD on a Mac. The reason, I'm sure, is because it's a true UNIX that contains parts of BSD but let's them have access to "family friendly" software.

The problem with family friendly software is you wind up with...Linux. A thousand distros and no solution to the problems of KDE, Gnome, my desktop is better than yours, compatibility, stability, etc.
 

Sevendogsbsd

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I am very different than most people in the way I think. I don't like doing things the way the "masses" do and have been a rebel my entire life, not just in the IT realm. This is why once I got into IT and discovered open source operating systems, I dove in head first. Here was an entire population of folks who shunned what the masses were doing. I knew nothing about FreeBSD until a few years ago and although I have bounced back and forth between it and Linux during the past couple of years, I am back on FreeBSD as a desktop and am very happy with it.

My "difference" in IT means that I change the way I do things to accommodate the tools I wish to use. Maybe I am the guy that drives that MAC truck to the grocery store. If I can't play a specific game on FreeBSD, I have my PS4 to placate me, or I find another game that does work on FreeBSD. Gaming using "Steam" is the only thing I can't do on FreeBSD that Linux brings to the table, but I am not willing to move away from something so simple and rock steady just for that.
 

20-100-2fe

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But ART is not (yet?) available on FreeBSD.

It works on Linux because HP created a special driver for it. The driver is missing for FreeBSD.

I came to Linux 25 years ago because it was a great occasion for sharing, learning and contributing. But since Intel, IBM and Microsoft rule its destiny, it is no longer such and this made me actively look for an alternative, which I have found with FreeBSD.

I have a Brother laser printer that just got supported under Linux but not under FreeBSD. Because the driver is open source, I could create a port fort it. It was an occasion for me to learn, share and contribute. This is what I wanted, what makes me happy.

If you're not looking for that, but are just interested in being able to use your computer comfortably - which is perfectly legitimate - then you're right to select an OS that allows you to do it.

FreeBSD not addressing your needs doesn't make it a bad OS - good and bad don't exist for neither has a universal definition. As a famous German once said, everything is relative.
 

gpw928

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Too many times the driving force for some people is home usage such as games and entertainment. That is the purview of Windows and the area Linux is most interested in.
I can't agree with the view that Linux is predominantly intended as a games and entertainment platform.

In the last decade, Linux has become the dominant "Unix" server variant in every IT department I have seen. It has a major presence, often rivaled in numbers only by Windows servers.

Solaris is effectively gone. AIX is being slowly and quietly deprecated. They are mostly being augmented and replaced by Redhat Linux, with at least one eye firmly fixed the cloud.

Redhat customers are not "most interested" in Linux for "games and entertainment" in the home. IBM bet $34 billion on that.
 

ralphbsz

Son of Beastie

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... is home usage such as games and entertainment. That is the purview of Windows and the area Linux is most interested in.
A: Windows is interested in many things. It doesn't actually make all that much money from games and entertainment. In terms of windows sales, I think the order is (1) servers, (2) professional desktop users, and (3) home users. Furthermore, today Microsoft is more of a cloud company, and somewhat of an application company (Office and related stuff), and only to a small extent an operating system company.

B: The statement "the area Linux is interested in" makes little sense. There are many Linuxes. There is the foundation, which is funded by a whole lot of entities, and employs Linus and a few other people, but does not have power over everything. Kernel development is done in many places, without central command and control. There are lots of distributions, the biggest ones being RedHat, SUSE, Debian, Ubuntu, and so on. Nobody knows what their market share is, and even more interestingly, comparing the market share among servers, desktops, and machines with paid support is meaningless. Each of those distributions has their own interest and goals.

One thing that is very clear is that the market share of Linux (and by extension all free Unixes) on the desktop/laptop market is tiny. That market is still dominated by Windows, with ChromeOS in second place, and MacOS in third, and all the rest are in the single-digit percent. So the question "what is Linux interest in the desktop market" is not only meaningless, it is also irrelevant.

Occasionally one will read about some FreeBSD developers running FreeBSD on a Mac.
I know a few BSD developers, and my hunch would be that among them the most popular machines are Macs (running MacOS) and Chromebooks. That's because real development doesn't happen on one's desktop machine, but on remote machines, so the choice of what to use as a user-interface and what to code on becomes decoupled.
I came to Linux 25 years ago because ... But since Intel, IBM and Microsoft rule its destiny, ...
The statement that Intel, IBM and Microsoft rule Linux' destiny is complete nonsense. Paranoid nonsense. It is true that Intel and IBM (as the new corporate home of RedHat have some influence, but many other companies and people also have influence. Microsoft has very little influence.

In the last decade, Linux has become the dominant "Unix" server variant in every IT department I have seen. It has a major presence, often rivaled in numbers only by Windows servers.
Exactly correct. Among the TOP500 supercomputers, Linux has 100% market share. Let me repeat that: There is no single supercomputer worth mentioning that runs an OS other than Linux. Among cloud machines (at the companies often referred to as FAANG, plus their Chinese counterparts), Linux servers absolutely dominate (with a little Windows here and there, and a small number of FreeBSD-derived machines at "N"). In IT departments, it is as you said: overwhelmingly Linux, a little Windows.

Solaris is effectively gone. AIX is being slowly and quietly deprecated.
While that is true, there is interestingly still a thriving market in older OSes. AIX is still sold and supported (it is the last major Unix still standing). You can still get HPUX on Itanium, but that will end in a few years. But non-Unix OSes are still shipping, and have commercial support contracts, including Nonstop (Tandem's old operating system), OpenVMS (the old Digital Equipment OS), MVS/TSO and VM (today in the guise of zOS on IBM mainframes), GCOS (formerly known as GECOS, the GE -> Honeywell -> Bull operating system, still enhanced and supported by Bull), IBM iSeries (formerly known as AS/400, which enhanced the series of System 34, 36 and 38 operating systems), and even HP's old MPE can still get support (I think only from third parties today). While all this is only in support of legacy applications, it is still a multi-billion $ industry. One could actually say that IBM made all the money for buying RedHat by selling mainframe computers, which use a 50-year old CPU architecture and run a 50-year old OS.
 

drhowarddrfine

Son of Beastie

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Windows is interested in many things. It doesn't actually make all that much money from games and entertainment.
It's the area we are talking about in this thread.
The statement "the area Linux is interested in" makes little sense. There are many Linuxes.
Which is part of the problem I talked about. The multitude of Linux-i, or whatever you want to call it, focused on this are.
 

drhowarddrfine

Son of Beastie

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I can't agree with the view that Linux is predominantly intended as a games and entertainment platform.
I didn't say that. I said Linux is focused on competing with Windows on the desktop where games and entertainment dominate. Go to any forum--or even this forum and this thread, I think--to see people say they need Linux to play their games. I'd venture to say that 80% of all Linux users on reddit wouldn't even own a computer if it weren't for games.
 

jiaxing

New Member

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I do use Linux to substitude Windows 7 as I don't want to move to Windows 10 and it hardware support is excellent.
 

justinnoor

Active Member

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I am struck by the attitude of the BSD developers which can be summarize as "it's a server, why are you trying to use it for your desktop?".

Absolutely amazing how often this question comes up. FreeBSD can be anything you want it to be - that’s the beauty of it. Philosophically it’s somewhat comparable to Arch Linux. It’s not just a server - it’s whatever you make it. If it’s missing something you want, make a contribution.
 
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