It is very tortuous install FreeBSD desktop

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wblock@

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#26
Suspend works for some systems on amd64 10-STABLE and later now. I agree that it's important, but have hardly tested it. Is it absolutely required for a "desktop" (as in GUI) system? It is important for notebooks, less so for desktops.
 
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teo

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#27
wblock@ said:
Suspend works for some systems on amd64 10-STABLE and later now. I agree that it's important, but have hardly tested it. Is it absolutely required for a "desktop" (as in GUI) system?
Of course it is important for users with a graphical desktop, that would give huge profits to this great system. :)
 

drhowarddrfine

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#28
AzaShog said:
If you're a power user, I'm sure you'll find the inability to suspend or hibernate your workstation a real PITA.
As a power user I sit at my computer all day long and only find such things an irritation when they shut down while I'm thinking. My computers stay on all the time so it's not value to me and I know people who feel the same but ... meh.


I disagree. As long as the majority of its ecosystem is open source, and as long as the shared lib model is prevalent, Linux will never be Windows-like.
It has turned away from the philosophy of Unix and is trying to be more Windows like. The users have wanted that for years and turning its back on Unix definitely no means it is no longer a Unix-like system. I've said elsewhere that, if you don't want to say it's Windows-like, then you can say it's now just Linux; not resembling any other OS and is Linux unto itself.

There is nothing wrong about Linux evolving into something that is not UNIX-like any more.
Unless there is. On reddit (and oh how I loathe reddit), there's a sysadmin trying to educate people about how systemd has affected people like him in the real world of a large Linux center. A "trials and tribulations" story. Things he never had problems with are now major headaches. So moving away from and "not being Unix-like" is OK unless it's not something as good or better. From what I read, it's definitely not been better.
 
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BSDBernd

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#29
Durden said:
wblock@ said:
I disagree. The things that make FreeBSD a great server also make it a great desktop. There are two difficult things about creating a desktop system out of FreeBSD. The first is installing and configuring all the desktop software. That's not impossible, just annoying. The second is an automatic update that is robust enough to be run automatically. That is more difficult.
We'll have to agree to disagree then. FreeBSD in my nearly 20 years experience is an absolutely atrocious desktop. I say this as a FreeBSD advocate and long time user. I wouldn't use FreeBSD as a desktop, unless I was working on nothing but FreeBSD servers all day and just needed a terminal to work from. Even then I would be far more productive on anything else, including Windows from a PuTTy shell.

FreeBSD lacks pretty much everything that a modern desktop requires and is quickly falling behind even Linux as far as desktops go. FreeBSD will likely not see Wayland and with GNOME and KDE and all the others signing on to Wayland, FreeBSD will soon be stuck in legacy hell with XFCE (which really isnt developed anymore) and plain Jane Window Managers.

If you don't use a desktop for anything productive then FreeBSD is fine. Most people however could not use it on a day to day basis, and by most people I'm talking 99.99%. The people on this forum could, most could not.
1) Well the two most used operating systems in the world don't use GNOME, KDE, and Wayland, one of them even contains a lot of BSD in it.
If your goal is to built a comfortable desktop os out of FreeBSD, then I see no reason why you necessarily have to use GNOME, KDE, and Wayland for this, these terms don't show up in the formulation of your task.
2) Could you provide a list of 10 things, the most important things you would say a desktop os should have and explain why this cannot be achieved when you don't follow the linux trends and build up on what you already have?
 

aht0

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#30
hashime said:
You can always try PC-BSD. It is basically FreeBSD with a GUI installer and some extra (half/not working) applications.
I wish it was only applications. Until PC-BSD 10.0.2 I could not get my Geforce GTX 660Ti work on PC-BSD. Well, I could but it was maddening before I could work out, just how to do it. Xorg worked fine during installation phase, correct driver included.
But on first boot it all failed somehow and it's looping custom scripts kept pushing wrong automatic config, also immediately writing over all changes I tried to make. As a result, all I got was looping text on console flickering in and out. Not even vesa driver worked. My Roccat mouse and Trust eng/rus keyboard seemed to give additional fits to the OS - I had to install xf86-input-mouse and xf86-input-keyboard ports manually, both seemed to be left out from installation.
Finally, after getting around those issues (it meant killing PC-BSD looping shell scripts, installing new Nvidia drivers etc), I found that in Xorg itself, my mouse kept freezing in every 15-30 seconds, each time for half a second. Compared to Linux desktop distributions, PC-BSD 10 left me quite bad impression with it's literally endless issues. Tried PC-BSD 10, 10.0.1, 10.0.2. Different builds inside those versions included.

At some point in September, I gave up and destroyed PC-BSD installation in my PC, thinking to make one attempt using plain FreeBSD. Downloaded FreeBSD 10.1-BETA2 iso and had Nvidia v337.25 drivers on USB flash stick ready. Setting up KDE desktop took about 5 hours because I wanted to compile as much as possible from ports. If some package gave an error, I tried to solve the error or after giving up on it, installed pre-built package from net. Using Intel i5/i7, it would probably have gone slightly faster (I used FX-8350). Mouse issue is gone, 3D acceleration works, Flash works. Nothing left to pick on :beergrin
 

jrm@

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#31
Durden said:
FreeBSD lacks pretty much everything that a modern desktop requires and is quickly falling behind even Linux as far as desktops go. FreeBSD will likely not see Wayland and with GNOME and KDE and all the others signing on to Wayland, FreeBSD will soon be stuck in legacy hell with XFCE (which really isnt developed anymore) and plain Jane Window Managers.
GNOME on GNU/Linux is doing much better. :p
 
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teo

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#32
Durden said:
FreeBSD lacks pretty much everything that a modern desktop requires and is quickly falling behind even Linux as far as desktops go. FreeBSD will likely not see Wayland and with GNOME and KDE and all the others signing on to Wayland, FreeBSD will soon be stuck in legacy hell with XFCE (which really isnt developed anymore) and plain Jane Window Managers.
How can you say such a thing? In CLI you can build a FreeBSD desktop with KDE. Hopefully soon spreading to the FreeBSD system GUI.
 
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cuq

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#33
I have used FreeBSD on my laptop for almost ten years now and it is kind of painful to set up but I don't miss almost anything, Netflix is the great void, that's it. I love the clean light i3; it is fast as hell and everything works great once you learn how to use and configure it. Suspend-resume would be nice but I don't think it's such a deal breaker. It's fantastic to have all the tools on your desktop, I could not live without grep, cut, sort or sed and the Linux distributions all have some kind of annoying subtleties that I don't get. Sometimes there are no man pages even. I agree that the learning curve is steep but nothing out of this world and it pays back! You will have a tool powerful enough to convert hundreds of videos from one format to another with a few lines of sh. That you can't do in Windows and in Linux, well, is not that much fun.

Cheers :)
 

bryon

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#34
This is an interesting thread; many thoughts. My favorite install is OpenBSD - not necessarily for the desktop though. I like how fast and to the point it is but any BSD can be a pain when you have to manually dig into graphics drivers, Xorg and sysctl settings to get things running how you want. That said, vanilla FreeBSD is getting closer step by step and the documentation is really coming along nicely.

Initially what aggravated me, when setting up a FreeBSD desktop, was the constant changes (from -RELEASE to -RELEASE) in how KDE needed to be configured. Also, the Linux mindset that comes with the KDE desktop and network utilities; many things just don't jive. I believe that comes from KDE developers being all over the map as concerning which distribution they use and how different distributions attract specific types of users with varying technical demographics. I will say there are very helpful and understanding people working on KDE and they see more and more FreeBSD users all the time, so within a year or two integration could possibly become nearly seamless.

Lately I'm fine with using a 50/50 approach to setting up a desktop. I want some automation and some manual work. GNOME works fine as a package, I know how to locate Xorg settings for just about any monitor and graphics drivers just take a little pre-planning. The rest of it is machine dependent sysctl stuff like kernel thresholds or stuff that's easily found in the manual or wiki.

There are the goofy, albeit expected, things like Skype dropping the Linux-based FreeBSD port (out of nowhere). Oh well. That ball was picked up rather quickly though. LibreOffice can be a learning curve for some coming from a Windows environment, who need to work with docx files, but hey, it's a pretty smooth alternative to OpenOffice.Org (which sometimes chokes). Other than that it boils down to setting up and staying on top of Linux compatibility depending on just how Windows-y I want life to be.

Imagining starting from scratch (no BSD experience at all) I might say it would be nice to have a system scanning tool that makes desktop specific suggestions based on all of the latest changes between RELEASEs. The notes at the end of packages and ports are great and for experienced users they are really all that's necessary but sometimes it's hard to keep track of everything that needs to be done - especially for newer users (or if, like me, you never do anything all at once).
 

rmoe

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#35
I have multiple Linux installations (VMs) much below 10 GB disk space. And usually they run a nice window manager, too. I also have a FreeBSD based firewall running with way less than 4 GB disk (CF) space. And I had quite a few FreeBSD systems running with a full graphical desktop in well below 20 GB disk space.

As for Skype, etc. So what? There are quite some alternatives available. I've yet to find some functionality that I could have on Linux but not on FreeBSD.

Concerning "tortuous", I personally found Linux less pleasant than FreeBSD because their package managers look comfortable at first sight but soon turn out to create trouble because they hide much (like configuration options). Those few that are not a nuisance turn out to be rather FreeBSD-like (Arch, Gentoo).

But then, we are all free to do as we please and if someone prefers Skype and such alike he is free to install Windows. Would I ever complain in a Windows forum that I don't get source code or that I can't build my own kernel? Certainly not.
 

jjthomas

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#36
I came from Fortran; CP/M, DOS, Windows 3.10, WFWG, through Linux and now, onto FreeBSD. I'm not sure I would consider any of it tortuous. I built a computer that saved data to a cassette deck. I've even used punch cards (yep, I'm old). I love working on computers. I've had lots of failures on Windows, Linux and even FreeBSD. After two years, I've finally got a home media server running on FreeBSD. Along the way I had multiple problems, I got most of them fixed. My last solution involved changing hardware.

I'm planning to put a web site on OpenBSD using a re-purposed laptop. Once 5.6 comes out, I will give it a go. If it works, awesome; if not, I'll troubleshoot and make the decision to fix what got broke, or look at something else to run my website on.

I'm also running Windows 8.1, it does what I want. Skype, Digital Audio Workstation. Video and photo work.

My media server does have the Xfce desktop. It's perfectly fine for what I do. Admittedly, when I start working on a project, I have at least two terminal windows open.

I agree, that in some ways, some of the Linux distributions are becoming more Windows-like. An idea I'm not comfortable with. I like Slackware and FreeBSD because I have to turn things on. I don't like Ubuntu, too much automation. I've tried PC-BSD, but it would do things I did not want it to do.

If I have a problem with a port, I look for a solution. 90% of the time, someone else had the same problem and has a fix for it. I've fixed a few problems, myself. If all else fails, there are other ports.

We all started from scratch, at some point. I still remember compiling my first kernel, under Red Hat. Talk about trembling. The first couple of times I compiled a kernel, I had the shakes. The other day I compiled a FreeBSD kernel. I got it configured, and compiled it. It was no big deal. I've installed from ports, I've installed packages.

One of the reasons it took two years to get a media server going, was when things went sideways, I returned to Linux. But through determination and failure, I was able to get MythTV running on FreeBSD.

I have no complaints about Linux or FreeBSD. If anything, I have gratitude. Let's be honest, if it wasn't for all the developers and volunteers of both projects, we might all be using Windows Vista. Or worse, the AS/400. Now that's torture.

-JJ
 

sulman

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#37
Besides, that Linux is becoming less UNIX-like is not really a bad thing. There's plenty of options if you need UNIX or UNIX-like OS, namely the BSDs. There is nothing wrong about Linux evolving into something that is not UNIX-like any more. Does it have to be? And it's really not becoming Windows either. But I agree, at some point, saying that Linux is a UNIX-like system will have to stop.
I look at it as a set of design and engineering principles that have been proven over time; not a hard set of defined standards.

What's happening with Linux (systemd's growth in particular) is a tightly-coupled scheme is exposing the Linux ecosystem to a big fat bundle of risk over the coming years. Falling for the siren song of convenience and the lure of standardisation isn't worth much when it is costly in the long run.
 

arevans

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#38
As a recent convert from OS X, I have to say that I've had hardly any trouble whatsoever in setting up a FreeBSD desktop. Any problems that I did have were easily solved either by the documentation or by a quick search of these forums. Of course, my needs in a desktop system are likely to be different from the next person's, so whether or not installing a FreeBSD desktop is straightforward enough is quite obviously an entirely subjective matter, but I think describing it as "torturous" is a tad unfair by anyone's standards. If anything, I find it to be a valuable lesson in learning to adapt and become technically independent. The only thing I'm currently missing is Skype, but I still have my Mac so I don't really care about that too much.
 

rmoe

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#39
(Upfront: I'm a European).

As Skype comes up pretty frequently as an issue with FreeBSD I'm wondering whether we should build and offer an NSA interface for FreeBSD, too, as relatively many seem to miss that.
 

sulman

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#40
The only thing I'm currently missing is Skype, but I still have my Mac so I don't really care about that too much.
I used to miss Skype, but they really murdered the client in the last update. It's a bit of a shit sandwich on all platforms.

As regards NSA stuff, I quite like SELinux. I really, really did not at first, but once I understood it better it's really not bad.
 

tankist02

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#41
Here is my experience of building a home desktop. With every new FreeBSD release I spend a few days building a desktop machine and in the end I have to go back to Linux.

Official packages are built with very conservative options. E.g. freetype2 has sub-pixel rendering off (patented). Mplayer has VDPAU off (why?). But for a good desktop experience these and other options should probably be on. Thus the necessity to build your own ports where you can turn these options on. But then I read that mixing packages and ports is not recommended unless you are a FreeBSD guru. I am not one. It means everything needs to be built as ports. Then what is the point of having a great package system such as pkg if official packages may not be best for desktop usage?

Maybe PC-BSD packages are built with the desktop in mind? But then again, perhaps they may conflict with official FreeBSD binaries?

As for just settling on PC-BSD - they chose to use ZFS only. I had a drastic performance drop with extensive writing activity. I tried reading up on ZFS tuning and quickly got overwhelmed. My impression is that ZFS is great for servers, but may be an overkill for a desktop.

Another negative is hardware support. E.g. I have Haswell HD 4600 graphics and it is still not supported after more than a year on the market. Years ago I had problems with a/the 64 bit Nvidia driver, SATA support, USB support, KMV switch not working, being unable to print, etc.

Some software I use may lag behind. E.g. rawtherapee in ports is 4.1 and doesn't support my Nikon D610 well. Version 4.2 was released a few days ago, it supports my camera and is available on Linux (or easy to build). I don't know how long I'll have to wait for this version to be ported to FreeBSD. Before that I had to wait for XBMC, avidemux and darktable latest and greatest. Pan still doesn't work.

I want to use FreeBSD, it has a lot of great points as discussed earlier. But from a practical point of view Linux is so much easier and everything I need just works.

Sorry for the rantey message, I know FreeBSD developers are wonderful people that work hard and then give away their system for free. It is just sentiments about FreeBSD not being suited for casual modern desktop arise from time to time and I feel they are somewhat justified.
 

rmoe

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#42
tankist02,

I understand your point of view and I think there is a certain point that had a tendency to create misunderstanding, namely the fact that many FreeBSD users say that FreeBSD is perfectly fine for desktop use. In fact, I'm one of them. Thinking about your post I discovered what I think might be the misunderstanding. "Desktop" can mean a whole lot of things. Quite some of your problems are about new (or considered current) versions of some software and about software I never heard about.

When I say "desktop" I mean something like "does run the usual GUI stuff, can run Office software, GIMP, browsers, etc." In other words: I come from the server and/or console side and "desktop" for me is "GUI stuff on top. FreeBSD can do that, too. Cool!"

You and many others, on the other hand, tend to come from a GUI world; to you, it's probably cool that, say, Linux can run servers, too. Your expectation, however, is very different than that of many FreeBSD users.

(From my perspective) that's in a way funny because history repeats itself there. Some time ago potential Linux users would try Linux and compare it along a line like: "Windows has and can do this and that. Can Linux do that, too?" (and be disappointed). Let's take a messenger as an example. On Windows one had some messengers and it was quite normal to chat with a camera running. On Linux that was not yet available and Linux guys seemed to be the underdogs having but rather basic messengers available.

Linux, BTW, seems to have chosen the path of trying to close the gap and to, in a way, reach a point where they could say: "If you can do it in Windows, you can do it in Linux, too". I also remember similar stories concerning hardware support where one had a driver for everything on Windows while one had to carefully check whether Linux (let alone FreeBSD) supported some device, too.

And now, FreeBSD seems to be in the underdog role. But, in fact, it isn't because FreeBSD was and is a real Unix and is happy to be just that (and not a Windows competitor). Of course, times change and so do users' needs and technologies and FreeBSD tries hard to keep up (and succeeds quite well). But - and that's a big but - FreeBSD was never "anti-Windows" nor did it have the goal to be a 98% replacement.

If you're interested in FreeBSD that's great. You should by all means have a VM or a secondary machine running FreeBSD. But looking at your needs, you should probably stick with Linux for your main system.

(I myself do something similar if the other way around. I have Windows on a partition on a secondary system for cases like gaming, etc.)

As for ZFS, I personally think that's a grossly exaggerated hype, particularly for desktop systems. And I avoid it like the pest and I don't trust it because it may run, yes, but a file system should be very mature before being used in production.
 

jb_fvwm2

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#43
These issues (pkg being too new to have extensive guides, Haswell not being supported fully yet and PC-BSD using ZFS), taken singly and not lumped together, can usually be sidestepped. I'd simply skip ZFS and install most from pkg install and build a few from ports. And most of the functionality of others that are not up to Linux versions can usually be duplicated with others from the same category. And quickly found and tested. One using Linux may do this quite a lot slowlier and settle for less in the long term. Not always, but often enough. Not to mention grub breaking too often (in some distributions) and other impending steep technologies.
 

Martillo1

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#44
I see some people avoiding ZFS for a "desktop". I can understand it for a laptop or notebook, but a real desktop PC has room for several disks, hence using a ZFS mirror is very suitable if you want to keep your data safe even from "bitrot".

Add geli and you have a fortress on "top" of your "desk" :D
 

AzaShog

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#45
Not to mention grub breaking too often (in some distributions) and other impending steep technologies.
Oh? Care to mention the distributions? Because with the mainstream ones like Fedora, Debian, CentOS and Gentoo I haven't had broken GRUB in years, across many desktops and servers.
 

jb_fvwm2

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#46
The one I follow daily is a rolling release. The forum gets two or three "booting broken by update" threads daily lately it seems. I'm not (I apologize) wishing to name it, persons reading this post may have better use of their time probably than reading its forum every day like I do, most of them anyway.
 

AzaShog

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#47
The one I follow daily is a rolling release. The forum... two or three "booting broken by update" daily lately it seems. Not (I apologize) wishing to name it, persons reading this post may have better use of their time probably than reading its forum everyday like I do, most of them anyway.
Oh so it's not your experience at all, but you're making assumptions based on some forum titles? So, by that logic, FreeBSD and especially ZFS are broken too often just by looking at the frequency of titles on this forum?
 

sulman

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#48
Oh so it's not your experience at all, but you're making assumptions based on some forum titles? So, by that logic, FreeBSD and especially ZFS are broken too often just by looking at the frequency of titles on this forum?
To be fair, in Arch Linux land you will at some point experience downtime due to an update. I've had it happen around three times in the last couple of years. It's not necessarily actionable items (per Arch's web page) either; they are just aggressive enough in some updates that some configurations will be broken by it.
 

AzaShog

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#49
That's not being fair at all. To begin with, I was talking about GRUB.

And as for Arch, it is a bleeding edge rolling release distribution. It is by design bound to break often because they don't do weeks or months of package testing before they roll them out. That's not a fault or flaw, that's the design of it. Something breaks, users report it, it gets fixed. That's the cost of running a bleeding edge rolling release distribution.

There are distributions designed for that, there are distributions designed for maximum stability. And when people cherry-pick issues to generalize against distributions as a whole, that's called spreading FUD.
 

sulman

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#50
That's not being fair at all. To begin with, I was talking about Grub.

And as for Arch, it is a bleeding edge rolling release distro. It is by design bound to break often because they don't do weeks or months of package testing before they roll them out. That's not a fault or flaw, that's the design of it. Something breaks, users report it, it gets fixed. That's the cost of running a bleeding edge rolling release distro.
This is against my better judgement, as it is getting a bit 'arguing on the Internet', but it most certainly applies to Grub, that being the bootloader, and that being the thing (particularly GRUB2 - look around at Gentoo) that has proved difficult on occasion.

It's definitely not a reach to suggest some things in Linux land aren't terribly reliable - it has always been the place where better can be the enemy of good.
 
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