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FreeBSD first overview versus using Linux

andreyves

New Member


Messages: 5

#1
Hi folks, I was just testing out for the first time FreeBSD 10.0 today. I am coming from the Linux world and have been using Linux for around 4-5 years. Some people will ask why I did a move to FreeBSD. I will start with what features I do expect from an operating system in 2014:

Pros
  1. Full disk encryption, if it is not even an option at the setup, then just forget about it, not even done for professional computing.
  2. Fonts, fonts are ugly on Linux, I tried to fix them for hours since years.
  3. Hardware support stability (unplug headset and have to restart the X server?), that is bad, but I do not have this issue on FreeBSD.
  4. Good documentation on how to configure stuff.

Cons
  1. The installation is only available in text mode, what about if I am a loser using FreeBSD?
  2. Hands on, I had some fun around getting the Nvidia driver to run out of the box. Once done, I did say a few F*** because the mouse and keyboard were not working. I had to install some extra package.
  3. Sound was not working out of the box. F*** again, but I found the solution.

This thread is not intended to create a flamewar, it is more to give feedback about what I would like to see in the next few years (GUI installer, better Nvidia support and more automatic X configuration). After going through this pain one time, once everything is configured, the system is super stable, super secure and I am very happy with it! To terminate this, I've been out the Windows world since more than five years :).
 

OJ

Daemon

Thanks: 253
Messages: 1,038

#2
Welcome!

That said, I'm not sure what could possibly be achieved in a thread making comparisons and wishing for features. For example, in the case of a GUI installer, I'm an old fart and can't read pictographs very well (my eyes aren't so good) so typing works better for me - hence the command line. So you see, I'm hoping for the opposite vision of the future. This sort of thing isn't really something that one can discuss. Like they say: "De gustibus non est disputandum."
 

andreyves

New Member


Messages: 5

#3
I agree as well that sometimes a GUI installer sucks. I wanted more to say that I would like to have the choice at the boot menu to either do a GUI install or a text install. On servers a GUI install when you use the console is bad as well for me :), but when you are a new user (I mean non-experienced users, which I am not part of), then you need something more intuitive to be able to use this operating system as a desktop OS. However, I love to charlenge [change? challenge? -- mod.] things, are there any Windows users able to install their own Windows? Finally, text install is probably good then.
 

andreyves

New Member


Messages: 5

#4
What I am amazed the most about is the font rendering. This is the first time that fonts are not sucking. When you use a 32 inch monitor, you see really fast when fonts are crappy.
 

andreyves

New Member


Messages: 5

#6
So what I really want to show here is that first I am a power user, I am a Sys Admin sysadmin and I am able to do alot a lot to get stuff working, but what FreeBSD is missing out on, as well as Linux, is to get it working for the losers.
 

nakal

Active Member

Thanks: 34
Messages: 245

#7
Consider FreeBSD as a distribution for experienced users and they want exactly the opposite: they don't want to be considered as dumb people. We have a dilemma here.

For me, too, nothing is more annoying than reducing complexity of a system, by sacrificing choices that people might need. That's a dumb approach which will make me change a system soon.

A graphical installer would be nice (but mostly for people who like visually appealing software). It does not dumb down the system, but FreeBSD has problems with graphics drivers support at the moment; for a very long moment (since years). So text mode is a better choice for now. Secondly, a graphical installer cannot be the primary option, because many people install FreeBSD on hardware that does not have a graphics adapter.

Also, don't forget that there are FreeBSD sub-distributions like PC-BSD or GhostBSD that also exist for the dumber part of the world.
 

drhowarddrfine

Son of Beastie

Thanks: 820
Messages: 2,610

#8
@nakal brought up the real issue. If you have a GUI installer, what happens if your graphics card doesn't work? Then it's one more issue to fix before you can install or you have to use text mode anyway. So just use text mode and get things working first.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

tzoi516

Well-Known Member

Thanks: 12
Messages: 368

#9
I don't know if I would call the typical user a "loser" or "dumb" - I've met a lot of people who didn't know a lot about computers but they knew more about other things than I did.

That being said, GUIs are where the future is at - I used to love my 27" CRT TV and remember playing "Halo" co-op with three other people on it. Then I bought an HDTV. I'm also not going to demand from people who develop FreeBSD on their own time to give me what I want - it's that "don't look a gift horse in the mouth" thing.
 

protocelt

Daemon

Thanks: 404
Messages: 1,253

#10
tzoi516 said:
I don't know if I would call the typical user a "loser" or "dumb" - I've met a lot of people who didn't know a lot about computers but they knew more about other things than I did.

I'm also not going to demand from people who develop FreeBSD on their own time to give me what I want - it's that "don't look a gift horse in the mouth" thing.
I am in complete agreement with both of the above statements.

As always, use the best tool for the job at hand that works best for you. If FreeBSD fits that bill it's a most excellent choice. If not there is Windows, Mac OS X, hundreds of Linux distributions, and even a fully preconfigured GUI based FreeBSD system as mentioned above in PC-BSD that may fill your needs. Also, if your programming skills are adequate, you are welcome to help out with FreeBSD development to add your missing needs. Whatever they may be. ;)
 

gkontos

Daemon

Thanks: 454
Messages: 2,094

#11
The title is really wrong. It should read: FreeBSD first overview versus using Linux AS A DESKTOP.

When you start dealing with servers you will see that all GUIs are irrelevant, fonts are useless and sound cards don't even exist.
 

nestux

Member

Thanks: 2
Messages: 63

#12
FreeBSD was made for servers, in Desktop on the desktop the system has some cons front [compared to? -- mod.] Linux like hardware support. For instance, I can't get the sound working on my motherboard GA-Z77X-UD5H. I'm not a developer, so I have to wait until someone fixes this with a driver or something like that.

Besides that, FreeBSD is a great OS and I love the "non GUI" feeling on the installer :)
 

ShelLuser

Son of Beastie

Thanks: 1,260
Messages: 2,676

#15
I too have some serious doubts about a GUI installer, also because I have the impression that it might not fit too well in the current setup. FreeBSD consists of the base system, which sourcecode you can download using Subversion. And that is basically all you need. Not only to build the OS itself, but it can also be used to build your own distribution or distributable media (the # make distribution target).

So I can't help wonder if adding a new (graphical) layer on top of this wouldn't result in a huge overhead. Because now you're not merely looking at building the base system (which can take quite some time depending on your hardware) but also a complete graphical layer. I can't help wonder if the overhead wouldn't outweigh any possible advantages, but that's just my idea.

Either way; if they would decide to go this way (which I doubt considering the existence of PC-BSD) my only preference would be to make this component optional. It's the one thing I disliked with a passion on many Linux distributions; in some cases there was no way to avoid using the graphical installer and simply fall back to a text based installation, which can be extremely annoying at times.
 

kpa

Beastie's Twin

Thanks: 1,680
Messages: 6,084

#16
As long as the base system does not include the X11 windowing system or an equivalent system for implementing the graphics primitives we can forget all talk about graphical installers in the base FreeBSD. The base system must be installable without any dependencies to ports and packages, that's a requirement that just can not be worked around. I don't see how X11 would be suddenly made part of the base system, on the contrary I predict that even more of the heavy components will be "weeded out" in the future and replaced with more lightweight ones. For example sendmail(8) will probably go because it's an overly complicated system for just delivering local mail. Something like the VESA console that is use in Linux could be sufficient to draw graphics on the console, maybe now that there's work going on with the Newcons project it could be used as starting point for a lightweight console graphics system.
 

wblock@

Administrator
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Developer

Thanks: 3,580
Messages: 13,850

#17
While I don't feel any great need for a graphic installer, I'm also of the opinion that an installer does not have to be in the base operating system. In other words, there's nothing stopping anyone from making a text or graphic installer that uses whatever ports it wants. None of those applications need to end up in the installed system. An Ubuntu live CD could do it (and would be fairly amusing). The idea that the installer has to be in the base has limited the capabilities. The current installer is written in C and sh(1), neither of which is particularly good for the job. It uses dialog(1), which is really limited and makes installation more difficult by not being able to present more powerful screens.
 

hitest

Well-Known Member

Thanks: 35
Messages: 311

#18
I prefer text based installation routines. If I want graphical installers there are other OSs that have that capability.
 

jrm@

Daemon
Developer

Thanks: 454
Messages: 1,177

#20
Edsel said:
If you want a GUI installer, the GUI installer from PC-BSD can be used to install FreeBSD.
I played around with PC-BSD over the holidays and I didn't see that option any more. This was with PC-BSD 9.2.
 

ikbendeman

Well-Known Member

Thanks: 12
Messages: 268

#21
nestux said:
FreeBSD was made for servers, in Desktop on the desktop the system has some cons front [compared to? -- mod.] Linux like hardware support. For instance, I can't get the sound working on my motherboard GA-Z77X-UD5H. I'm not a developer, so I have to wait until someone fixes this with a driver or something like that.

Besides that, FreeBSD is a great OS and I love the "non GUI" feeling on the installer :)
Try adjusting hw.snd.default_unit and hw.snd.default_auto using sysctl or /etc/sysctl.conf. These were 2 on my last motherboard, and need to be 1 on my current motherboard (for HDMI-passthrough). Use the search engine for more information. Here's my sysctl.conf:
Code:
# $FreeBSD: release/9.2.0/etc/sysctl.conf 112200 2003-03-13 18:43:50Z mux $
#
#  This file is read when going to multi-user and its contents piped thru
#  ``sysctl'' to adjust kernel values.  ``man 5 sysctl.conf'' for details.
#

# Uncomment this to prevent users from seeing information about processes that
# are being run under another UID.
security.bsd.see_other_uids=1
vfs.usermount=1
hw.snd.default_unit=1
hw.snd.default_auto=1
# Move and use the following in /boot/loader.conf, experiment with values
#kern.ipc.shm_allow_removed=1
#kern.ipc.shmmax=67108864
#kern.ipc.shmmax=134217728
#kern.ipc.shmall=32768
#kern.ipc.shmall=65536
#kern.ipc.shmmni=1024
#kern.ipc.shmmni=2048
#kern.ipc.shmseg=1024
#kern.ipc.shmseg=2048
#kern.maxfiles=25000
#kern.maxfiles=30000
kern.module_path=/boot/kernel;/boot/modules;/usr/local/modules
net.link.tap.user_open=1
hint.acpi_throlle.0.disabled=1
kern.ipc.shm_allow_removed=1
 

throAU

Aspiring Daemon

Thanks: 142
Messages: 910

#22
andreyves said:
The installation is only available in text mode, what about if I am a loser using FreeBSD?
This one always makes me laugh.

An installer needs to do two things: display information to you in text form, and require user input, which is typically either up arrow/down arrow or text input. Why is that required to be graphical? If text-mode is a barrier to being able to install the OS, you're probably out of your depth installing ANY operating system anyway.
 

Crivens

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator

Thanks: 528
Messages: 1,457

#23
One other point comes to my mind, regarding the benefits of text mode installation. Some weeks ago I met a software developer who is blind, but that does not really stop him. But the thing is, you can use some kind of braille terminal. Now try that with these graphical installers or GUIs. What would be the reason to lock there people out?
 

fonz

Son of Beastie

Thanks: 365
Messages: 2,560

#24
throAU said:
If text-mode is a barrier to being able to install the OS, you're probably out of your depth installing ANY operating system anyway.
You said it, I wanted to but backed out thinking I probably shouldn't ;)

Just to play the devil's advocate, though, let me (re)phrase it this way: besides a niftier look, what would be the advantage(s) of a GUI installer? It may look spiffier (and thus more inviting), but I don't see how it would actually make the installation any easier.
 
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