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FreeBSD for power desktop Linux user?

harishankar

Active Member

Thanks: 2
Messages: 128

#1
I am a long-time power desktop Linux user, or at least based on my typical usage; as I do programming as well as some media work on my current Debian Linux platform.

I use a HP dv6314 laptop with Intel Core 2 Duo 1.7 GHz, with onboard Intel HDA sound, IPW 3945 wireless and e1000 ethernet, NVidia GeForce 7400 mobile and I use the following software:

1. Mencoder/mplayer for video conversion / editing / playing and writing to a DVD.
2. DeVeDe for writing video DVDs.
3. Python programming, PHP editing and maintaining my website.
4. Drawing and editing comics with a WizardPen-based 5.5x4" tablet in GIMP. I'm not sure if the WP driver is supported in BSD.
5. Play SDL-based games (and occasionally 3d games like Flightgear).
6. Occasionally compose music with Rosegarden and Timidity softsynth.
7. Watch YouTube videos occasionally.

I'm not sure if it's worth switching to FreeBSD, but I'd like the opinion of experienced FreeBSD users if I can even accomplish some of the above tasks in FreeBSD. Or even if I can, how much of customization I will need to achieve the results above.

On Linux, most of the hardware on the laptop is supported.

In particular, I'm concerned whether video editing etc. etc. is possible and optimal in BSD as opposed to Linux.

You might ask "why not stick with Linux?"

Actually I'm not sure either way, but of late I am very interested in BSD and would like to really find out if it can be an attractive desktop alternative for me.
 

vermaden

Son of Beastie

Thanks: 999
Messages: 2,660

#2
Hi,

1. Mencoder/mplayer for video conversion / editing / playing and writing to a DVD.
Works like a charm.

2. DeVeDe for writing video DVDs.
Havent used it personally, but its in Ports:
http://freshports.org/multimedia/devede/

3. Python programming, PHP editing and maintaining my website.
Will work like a charm.

4. Drawing and editing comics with a WizardPen-based 5.5x4" tablet in GIMP. I'm not sure if the WP driver is supported in BSD.
Dunno mate, you will have to google it out.

Code:
5. Play SDL-based games (and occasionally 3d games like Flightgear).
Works like a charm.

6. Occasionally compose music with Rosegarden and Timidity softsynth.
All in Ports:
http://freshports.org/audio/rosegarden/
http://freshports.org/audio/timidity/
http://freshports.org/audio/timidity++/

7. Watch YouTube videos occasionally.
Firefox with Gnash/Flash 9 in Linux Compatibility Mode will do the job.

On Linux, most of the hardware on the laptop is supported.
All the hardware you mentioned is supported, to get binary nVidia driver be sure to install i386 version of FreeBSD.
 

harishankar

Active Member

Thanks: 2
Messages: 128

#3
My only concern was the WizardPen driver, for which google really hasn't helped me at all. The only reference to FreeBSD and WizardPen are threads I've created myself :(

It is an Xorg input driver, so I assume it should compile in FreeBSD?

Also since I plan to heavily do video work, isn't using i386 sub-optimal.

I'd prefer the FreeBSD AMD64 version if possible, but from what you tell me, there is no 3d driver yet for it. I read on the nvidia forums that there's work going on in the AMD64 branch, but there is no stable driver yet.

By the way, thanks for the prompt reply!
 

caesius

Well-Known Member

Thanks: 19
Messages: 280

#4
Yup flash works like a charm as long as your expectations are low.

Sorry guys lets be realistic, browsing youtube/whatever will either result in a whole lot of npviewer.core's if using linux-flash, or a totally substandard experience if using gnash.

Retort with what you will, FreeBSD won't have a flash solution until it's native.
 

harishankar

Active Member

Thanks: 2
Messages: 128

#5
caesius said:
Yup flash works like a charm as long as your expectations are low.

Sorry guys lets be realistic, browsing youtube/whatever will either result in a whole lot of npviewer.core's if using linux-flash, or a totally substandard experience if using gnash.

Retort with what you will, FreeBSD won't have a flash solution until it's native.
Also Flash technology is a crappy proprietary, opaque format, but it's been embraced as the standard way to deliver multimedia content online, unfortunately. :(

However, there are worse things than Flash - say Windows Media and Realplayer plugins! �jr
 

ale

Daemon

Thanks: 165
Messages: 1,059

#6
caesius said:
Yup flash works like a charm as long as your expectations are low.

Sorry guys lets be realistic, browsing youtube/whatever will either result in a whole lot of npviewer.core's if using linux-flash, or a totally substandard experience if using gnash.
Just a note...Youtube is still compatible with older flash version, so I have no problem at all watching videos on Youtube (and few others) using linux_base-fc4 and linux-flashplugin-7.
As I've said in another thread, on 8 the default linux_base will be based on Fedora 10 and people are right now working to create a flash 10 port for it.
 

vermaden

Son of Beastie

Thanks: 999
Messages: 2,660

#7
harishankar said:
It is an Xorg input driver, so I assume it should compile in FreeBSD?
Which one exacly?

These are results on fully installed xorg package:
Code:
% find /usr/local | grep -i wizard
./share/doc/jpeg/wizard.doc
./share/doc/qt/html/qwizard-h.html
./share/doc/qt/html/qwizard-members.html
./share/doc/qt/html/qwizard.html
./share/doc/qt/html/qwizard.png
./share/doc/qt/html/wizard-example.html
./share/doc/qt/html/wizard-wizard-cpp.html
./share/doc/qt/html/wizard-wizard-h.html
./include/qwizard.h
./lib/plugins/designer/libwizards.so
So I do not see any WizardPen driver here ...

Same for Ports:
Code:
% cd /usr/ports/
% make search name=wizard | grep Path:
Path:   /usr/ports/devel/wizardkit
Path:   /usr/ports/multimedia/dv
Also since I plan to heavily do video work, isn't using i386 sub-optimal.
Why?

I'd prefer the FreeBSD AMD64 version if possible, but from what you tell me, there is no 3d driver yet for it.
Yes, it will be pain in the ass, maybe you will get nouveau driver working, but not sure.

I read on the nvidia forums that there's work going on in the AMD64 branch, but there is no stable driver yet.
Yeah, propably even testing/alpha versions are not available (I do not follow the development).

By the way, thanks for the prompt reply!
You are welcome mate.
 

harishankar

Active Member

Thanks: 2
Messages: 128

#8
This is the driver page:

http://wizardpen-drv.wiki.sourceforge.net/


About i386 vs AMD 64, since I'm using a Intel Duo Core processor, won't video encoding slow down if I use a i386 version of the encoder?

I'm not too sure technically, but I have noticed a difference in compiling speed between gcc 32-bit and gcc 64-bit. There is a difference in the usage of CPU from what I could see.

I can give up the proprietary NVIDIA driver if the open source nv driver works well for 2d games though.
 

hitest

Well-Known Member

Thanks: 35
Messages: 311

#9
harishankar,

Welcome to the FreeBSD forums! In my opinion I think you will enjoy the challenge of learning how to use FreeBSD. FreeBSD is very stable, fast, and secure. I'm currently running KDE 4.2.2 on FreeBSD 7.2-amd64.
 

harishankar

Active Member

Thanks: 2
Messages: 128

#10
Downloading 7.2 AMD64 as we speak. :) I should really be studying/revising for my Law exam Contracts-II which is the day after tomorrow.

I've read a lot on FreeBSD so far and its architecture really appeals to me as it seems to be less hodge-podge than Linux.

I even though, being a Debian user, that I should try Debian GNU/kFreeBSD, but that project hasn't released a stable version yet.
 

harishankar

Active Member

Thanks: 2
Messages: 128

#12
I'm afraid my bandwidth is severely limited, so it will take a couple of days before I can download all of 2 GB and do an installation.

However, I'll definitely report back my experience.

I used FreeBSD before (I think it was 5.3 or 5.5) and I have also tried DesktopBSD once, but I never really got it to a state of productive desktop as I wanted to.

However, with improved hardware support and this forum's support, I am much more optimistic about 7.2.
 

harishankar

Active Member

Thanks: 2
Messages: 128

#14
SuperMiguel said:
just download the cd.. dont download the dvd
Oh, I've already around downloaded 600+ MB of the DVD

Since my bandwidth is metered, I think it's better I continue downloading it rather than waste all of 600 MB.
 

hitest

Well-Known Member

Thanks: 35
Messages: 311

#15
harishankar said:
Oh, I've already around downloaded 600+ MB of the DVD

Since my bandwidth is metered, I think it's better I continue downloading it rather than waste all of 600 MB.
As your bandwidth is metered then it may be your best bet to install your DE from the DVD. KDE 4.2.2 is offered on the DVD.
Have fun!

To extract the DVD iso so you can burn the DVD:

gunzip filename.gz
 

jb_fvwm2

Daemon

Thanks: 177
Messages: 1,679

#16
relevant to the above posts, if one does
not want to install linux compatability:
Code:
pkg_add -r seamonkey
cd /usr/ports/graphics/gnash && make install
rehash
That should enable all youtube AFAIK fine. (working here
so far)
 

harishankar

Active Member

Thanks: 2
Messages: 128

#17
jb_fvwm2 said:
relevant to the above posts, if one does
not want to install linux compatability:
Code:
pkg_add -r seamonkey
cd /usr/ports/graphics/gnash && make install
rehash
That should enable all youtube AFAIK fine. (working here
so far)
Thanks all.

Unfortunately for some reason the download manager I use KGet has crapped out when I reached 1.8 GB and the whole download is starting from the beginning again. :(

x( x(
 

harishankar

Active Member

Thanks: 2
Messages: 128

#18
I've downloaded 8.0-CURRENT snapshot CD now. I'm going to try installing this on my external USB drive and that way I need not wipe out Linux on my notebook.

I think that installing to an external drive is definitely possible going by the threads I've found here as my notebook supports booting off USB drive.

This way, I can learn FreeBSD in a more comfortable way before I commit to dumping Linux (or not as the case may be).
 

wonslung

Aspiring Daemon

Thanks: 16
Messages: 850

#19
caesius said:
Yup flash works like a charm as long as your expectations are low.

Sorry guys lets be realistic, browsing youtube/whatever will either result in a whole lot of npviewer.core's if using linux-flash, or a totally substandard experience if using gnash.

Retort with what you will, FreeBSD won't have a flash solution until it's native.
This isn't true for me.

The linux compat flash works fine. It's come a long way in the past 2-3 months even. I'm using flash 9, linux compat for kernel 2.6 and f10 and i don't even get the freezes that i did originally. I haven't had a single issue with flash since then.

it could be a hardware issue, but for me personally, it works fine.
i agree that gnash isn't ideal for youtube but the linux compat, when done right, works
 

harishankar

Active Member

Thanks: 2
Messages: 128

#20
Unfortunately I cannot get FreeBSD to boot off a USB hard disk (self-powered Seagate ~ 297 GB)

I have installed FreeBSD on the external hard drive and made the partition bootable as well while installing. I also installed the FreeBSD loader on the MBR of the external drive.

I configured the BIOS so that external USB drive is booted before notebook hard drive.

Neither the BIOS nor the GRUB bootloader (when I point to the partition) recognizes the external drive though the FreeBSD installer detected it when I installed it.

I cannot seem to go past this, because it seems that it is a BIOS issue or that simply that the a self-powered USB hard drive is non-bootable. I don't want to install FreeBSD's loader on the MBR of the notebook's internal hard disk.

It is as though the external hard disk simply does not exist when I boot. The BIOS simply ignores it and does not even TRY to boot off it.
 

jb_fvwm2

Daemon

Thanks: 177
Messages: 1,679

#21
There are howto's or threads to put /boot on CF or cdr (maybe) to boot
Maybe you want to use GAG rather than GRUB to dual boot? I would if
I used linux, if it could be done. (Although I prefer a shareware
that also does backup, partition resize, etc: BootIt, still using
it from win98 FE)
If someone knew a lot more about your boot options, partitions etc.,
someone might chime in.
 

bb

Member

Thanks: 11
Messages: 42

#23
You can try the following:

When you boot the FreeBSD CDROM, you should get an opportunity to escape to the "Loader Prompt" by hitting 6 in the boot menu.

The loader is one of the best things about FreeBSD. Use the lsdev command to get a list of the devices recognized by the bios.

You should get at least an entry for the cd drive. Here an example output:

Code:
OK lsdev
cd devices:
    cd0: Device 0x0
disk devices:
pxe devices:
OK
If your USB Stick is not listed, you have a problem. In my BIOS, it is a bit complicated with some USB Storage devices. I have to first configure them to act as a harddisk.

If it shows up, you can try to boot it off the cd loader next (can be disk1 as well, of course):

Code:
unload
set currdev=disk0s1a
boot
If that works, the only problem can be in the mbr. You can reinstall the mbr in FreeBSD with the fdisk tool. You have to find out the device name of your drive first. There are a lot of ways to do it, but one nice way is the command:

Code:
# camcontrol devlist
You get the device name for each SCSI device. Actually, this doesn't work for ATAPI devices, but USB storage is implemented in the SCSI stack. Now use fdisk to reinstall the mbr (use the correct device of course):

Code:
# fdisk -B /dev/da0
 

harishankar

Active Member

Thanks: 2
Messages: 128

#24
Hi, I think FreeBSD can detect the device, otherwise it would not have installed it on the USB hard disk.

I'll try your excellent suggestion using the loader prompt on the install disk.

Regards.
 

harishankar

Active Member

Thanks: 2
Messages: 128

#25
Actually it doesn't work still. The external hard disk device is still not detected by the loader when I type lsdev. I think the FreeBSD kernel needs to load the USB modules for this to work.
 
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