I've given FreeBSD 11 release a fair go as a desktop, but just isn't for me. The final straw was trying to get a USB to auto mount for the 'user'. After loads of reading and configuring for much too much time it just kept complaining about /media/.hal-mtab lock.

As for updating ... I've read myself in circles on that front, to the extent I don't feel comfortable with freebsd.

Sadly without new users such as myself, future potential supporters/developers will be lost to alternatives such as Debian Linux (where I'm headed).

Thanks ... the experience was interesting. I could have just left without saying goodbye, but thought I'd just leave a note to explain why.

Have you tried TruOS? It's a little more like Linux in terms of setting up a Desktop (since it comes with one). It has an automount setup preconfigured ...

FreeBSD isn't trying to be like Liinux (sigh of relief).
Hi rufwoof,

what a bummer! If it's not too late yet, may I suggest the ports sysutils/dsbmd and sysutils/dsbmc?

All you have to do is to install both ports, add dsbmd_enable="YES" to your /etc/rc.conf, and start the service (or reboot): service dsbmd start
Now you can mount, unmount and eject your devices using the GUI dsbmc, without further configuration.
Sadly without new users such as myself, future potential supporters/developers will be lost to alternatives such as Debian Linux (where I'm headed).
Users who can't install FreeBSD or a desktop aren't the users we need. FreeBSD is a professional operating system for professionals.

There. I got my dig back at him.
I think I'm the opposite. I spent ages working out how to *disable* the auto mounter on Fedora Linux. There is nothing more annoying than attempting to `dd` an image onto a flash card only to realize it had sneakily been mounted. This meant that not only did I have to wait for `dd` again but had also managed to confuse the heck out of the kernel and could probably expect a panic in the near future ;)

It is however sad to hear a frustrated user. I might add that if you install a bare bones Linux (i.e Debian) without the default GUI, then it also will not provide you with auto-mounting. Likewise with FreeBSD, the bare-bones install will not do it, thats why we have projects like TrueOS which are full fledged desktop OSes with all the conveniences and functionality. If you can, give it one more shot!
When I undid everything the handbook suggested ... it works as expected. I can only assume that there were conflicts with what MATE installed and configured.

Reading through the updating side of things ... for one who is just using pre-built binaries (pkg install), it looks to me that
freebsd-update fetch
and if reported updates (if any) look ok
... along with
pkg upgrade

might generally suffice for keeping a single user desktop setup security patched (running RELEASE). If so then its all pretty much well setup/usable.

I like the gnome (2 type) style, but with a bit of gnome3 like feature thrown in i.e. I've installed brightside and set the top left corner to be a hot corner that activates toggle-show-desktop. So if in full screen window ... mouse into the corner and the desktop icons are available to be launched. I'm using on a single desktop, but you could have multiple desktops for different groups of icons ... and scrollwheel through those desktops to get to the desired choice.

We all get frustrated, some day more than the other. It's your choice. After all, P stands for personal in PC, so it's up to you.
The only *normal behavior of automounter (though more related to NFS) I've observed on Solaris and HP-UX. Everywhere else it's just weird ..

I'd suggest to try FreeBSD first as a VM, e.g. in VMware or VirtualBox. Nowadays it's way easier to get familiar with a new OS this way. And can spare you of some frustration too ..

* subjective comparison
Glad to see you changed your mind about leaving. :D

I've had my share of bad days, too.