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Installed FreeBSD - what next?

balanga

Daemon

Thanks: 68
Messages: 2,068

#1
OK so I know how to install FreeBSD, I can ping 8.8.8.8, run gpart, access other media, install pkgs, build from ports, and get a web server up and running. That's all very well for a server, but what should I do to enhance my desktop experience?

What changes are recommended to /etc/rc.conf or /boot/loader.conf or other files I should look at? If I look at a system installed a few years ago I have no idea what some of the entries do...(yes, I know, they should have been commented).

I've installed various WMs but in a random, suck it and see manner, rather than in a structured way. I installed TrueOS recently and that provides a nice desktop environment without me needing to know which video driver is necessary. When I install x.org sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, but even when I get Xfce working, it doesn't seem to work as well as it does on Debian.

If anyone knows of a step by step approach for setting up FreeBSD in a desktop envirnment, please share.
 

tobik@

Daemon
Developer

Thanks: 1,336
Messages: 1,908

#4
I've installed various WMs but in a random, suck it and see manner, rather than in a structured way. I installed TrueOS recently and that provides a nice desktop environment without me needing to know which video driver is necessary. When I install x.org sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, but even when I get Xfce working, it doesn't seem to work as well as it does on Debian.
IIUC then this thread is really about Xfce on FreeBSD. So for starters: What problems do you have with Xfce on FreeBSD when compared to Debian?
 

SirDice

Administrator
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator

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#6
I note that it is a guide for FreeBSD 11.0-RELEASE which is no longer supported. There may be changes in 11.1 which make some of that info no longer applicable - that's one of the problems with FreeBSD guides.
I'm quite sure that some of the Debian tutorials you're following are for older versions of Debian than the one you're using. So why would this be a problem on FreeBSD?

Tutorials or howtos are for showing you the how and why to do things. It's up to you to apply that knowledge to your situation.
 

balanga

Daemon

Thanks: 68
Messages: 2,068

#7
You already know this, it's in the handbook: Chapter 5. The X Window System
The problem with The Handbook is that it refers to 'recent versions' and 'older versions' of this and that. FreeBSD has been around for over 25 years. it is not clear what constitutes 'recent' or 'older' and it is not clear whether sections of The Handbook are in keeping with the current release of FreeBSD.

Also it mentions which settings are required for various video cards, but I haven't noticed where it tells you how to discover which video card you have installed.
 

balanga

Daemon

Thanks: 68
Messages: 2,068

#8
I'm quite sure that some of the Debian tutorials you're following are for older versions of Debian than the one you're using. So why would this be a problem on FreeBSD?
I don't read Debian tutorials. Debian just seems to know what to do. I only use Debian sporadically when I can't figure out something on FreeBSD. It's not meant to be a comparison, because it's GUI is automatically bolted on. Having just started using TrueOS recently, it seems to be able to figure out how to set things up. I'd like to know how it can figure this out without lots of questions.
 

p3rj

Member

Thanks: 24
Messages: 44

#9
By pure chance, I installed xfce twice a week or so ago (in VMs inside VirtualBox though, each VM with a fresh install of 11.1-RELEASE). I think it mostly boiled down to
Code:
pkg install xorg xfce
echo "exec startxfce4 --with-ck-lunch" > .xinitrc
sysrc "dbus_enable=YES"
sysrc "hald_enable=YES"
After restarting, startx would bring up xfce, I think. Of course, this leaves out the graphics card driver, which in this case was provided by the VirtualBox additions I installed before.
I think that's basically from the handbook and some searching (possibly leading to posts here on this forum or even the tutorial by Trihexagonal that's linked to above, but I don't remember exactly). This may even be more then required, but at least the machines have been working ok for me for the tasks I wanted them for.
Don't know if it matters, but I had both machines set to use the latest packages instead of the quarterly branch.
 

scottro

Daemon

Thanks: 401
Messages: 1,179

#10
You haven't described your hardware. If you're on a laptop that is less than 3 or 4 years old, 11.1's video drivers for Intel cards may not work well. I have a little page on getting it working with CURRENT (which isn't supported on these forums) at http://srobb.net/freebsdintel.html
This only holds if you are running FreeBSD on a laptop with an Intel card. The fact that you mention TrueOS, which is based on CURRENT, does a better job with X, would make sense if we are referring to a laptop.
 

michael_hackson

Active Member

Thanks: 74
Messages: 131

#11
Well, the question "What next?" may be something for you to answer because it boils down to what you want to do with your system and how you see it best fit. You can enhance the server experience with learning proper jails and VMs (and all other things I myself has yet to learn).

If you are interested in the desktop experience this can be a thread of worth for you:
Thread softwarerecommendation_newsystem.63270

If it's "rice" you are after you can essentially watch any *nix-related porn Online and read up on how you can apply it to your system: maybe you want this urxvt-terminal with transparency, use conky for systeminfo on desktop, see if Wayland is a fun thing to try over Xorg, use compton together with a WM of your choice etc.

I would also suggest you study the rc.conf() to see what you can enable and learn more about different services, play with cron() and continue through the system administration chapters of the handbook. :)

All and all you can choose if you want to install a whole DE or if you want to take your free time to change a WM's appearance or functions in their conf files. There are different languages to pick even: x11-wm/hs-xmonad uses Haskell, x11-wm/awesome is configured with Lua and then you have x11-wm/windowmaker with a lot of config through GUI.

# When it comes to software inspiration and rice:ing I have been following Luke Smith on YouTube:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2eYFnH61tmytImy1mTYvhA

[He's no BSD guy *as it seems* but he has great tutorials.]
 

Trihexagonal

Daemon

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Messages: 1,014

#13
Thanks for that. I note that it is a guide for FreeBSD 11.0-RELEASE which is no longer supported. There may be changes in 11.1 which make some of that info no longer applicable - that's one of the problems with FreeBSD guides.
balanga, if there is one thing you see that is out of date in my tutorial, please point it out to me here so I can fix it. I updated it include changes in the 11.0 installer. Have there been others I don't show?

I stay on top of that and have tweaked it twice in the last month or so with advise that SirDice was kind enough to make me aware of about files and commands.

That is, for all purposes, exactly how I build my systems and I am a stickler for accuracy when it comes to my work. I do set up pf first thing and don't show that.
 

balanga

Daemon

Thanks: 68
Messages: 2,068

#14
balanga, if there is one thing you see that is out of date in my tutorial, please point it out to me here so I can fix it. I updated it include changes in the 11.0 installer. Have there been others I don't show?

I stay on top of that and have tweaked it twice in the last month or so with advise that SirDice was kind enough to make me aware of about files and commands.

That is, for all purposes, exactly how I build my systems and I am a stickler for accuracy when it comes to my work. I do set up pf first thing and don't show that.
I didn't mean to imply an criticism, and I really appreciate sticklers. I am not sufficiently knowledgeable about the differences between 11.0 and 11.1, but anyone installing FreeBSD today will probably be using 11.1, so there will immediately be a question mark in their mind as to whether the guide is applicable to them. I'm speaking from personal experience having followed instructions for various programs only to find they were out of date.

I'm not saying that your guide does not work with 11.1, it just that there may be some differences. Maybe I'll follow it tomorrow using 11.1 to see if there are any differences.
 

Trihexagonal

Daemon

Thanks: 501
Messages: 1,014

#15
balanga, I am always open to suggestions and constructive criticism, and did not see your comment as an insult in any way. I am sorry if it appeared that way, as that was not my intention. My text can often appear more harsh than I intend it to. It's my manner of speaking.

I am very polite when ready to respond to what I consider a personal attack, but this was not the case and I don't want to bode ill will or bad intent here.
 

Handsome Jack

Member

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Messages: 56

#18
Ehm.., I did not yet installed gimp (I am using it often, but on some other distro), because I am not ready yet to switch to FreeBSD as my main OS.
But so far, I am pleasantly surprised with it; wine + Steam works flawlessly :)
 

Trihexagonal

Daemon

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Messages: 1,014

#19
TBH, I had a harder time figuring out The Gimp than I did how to run Linux, as that was the first time I had used either.. :)
 

balanga

Daemon

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Messages: 2,068

#20
When I was installing XFCE4 on 11.1, i read somewhere that hald_enable="YES" is not needed nowadays, and my Desktop is working very well without it. Just my 2 cents.
This use of hald_enable="YES" has always confused me. I'd prefer not to use things I don't need but sometimes when you don't understand something there a fear of breaking something. I guess I won't set it until I need it.
 

Trihexagonal

Daemon

Thanks: 501
Messages: 1,014

#21
ports-mgmt/portmaster brings up the hal screen when I'm installing The Gimp, and if it deems something necessary during the build I go with it and trust it to do the job right.

A lot of the things I do are carried over from my PC-BSD days, too.. I also use

Code:
mixer_enable="YES"
But recently heard that is the default setting now. Well, nobody told me about it till then, and I get good sound out of my machines, so if it isn't broke I don't fix it.

I also use this in my ~/.xinitrc file, and am probably the one here that does:

Code:
fluxbox exec
I've been asked if I didn't mean "exec fluxbox" at least once.
 

Handsome Jack

Member

Thanks: 23
Messages: 56

#23
Just checked, GIMP installed via "pkg install" works OK without hald_enable="YES" .
Fired from concole it only says:
Code:
(gimp:928): GVFS-RemoteVolumeMonitor-WARNING **: remote volume monitor with dbus name org.gtk.vfs.GPhoto2VolumeMonitor is not supported
but so far - no malfunctions.
 

Trihexagonal

Daemon

Thanks: 501
Messages: 1,014

#24
Handsome Jack, I've only used pkg to install graphics/gimp once.

Without reservation it installed graphics/OpenEXR which had an active vulnerability at the time. ports-mgmt/portmaster wil stop the build at that point and you have to intercede to continue. You can use pkg delete OpenEXR and The Gimp will still function, or choose not to install it with the Master of Ports.

It also failed to make a machineid file which I had to look up to fix, as I had never had that problem in the past. It's one reason I think it good for new users to use ports.

drhowarddfine, I'm glad to see your input and have always taken particular interest in what you have to say. In small part, because you are a web developer and we happen live in the same general area.

I install a set number of programs as a rule, and I can't remember during which offhand, but am positive that hald and dbus screens are brought up by
ports-mgmt/portmaster during my 3rd party program build process. I don't blindly click through and read each screen carefully as I go, disabling variables like "google backend", but if it deems something necessary I trust it to be doing it right and go with it.

I think it does have the tendency to be a little too "all-encompassing", and I could probably do with less using make install clean.
 

Handsome Jack

Member

Thanks: 23
Messages: 56

#25
I'm not familiar with portmaster. As newbie, I just thought that "pkg install <some apps>" is easiest and fastest way to install needed applications. Quick search shows me that portmaster is used to update ports and not to install them. If I understand correctly portmaster is for ports and it will not update apps installed by "pkg install" (?). Anyway, this is the point where my knowledge about FreeBSD is still blank. :(
 
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