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On cloud 9 with FreeBSD and VirtualBOX


Active Member

Thanks: 30
Messages: 119


This is a 'little' post to share with you what I've been doing with FreeBSD, what I like, and a few hiccups I encountered along the way. I wanted to have a computer able to crunch HD video tracks for quite some time. So, early this year, I built myself a nifty little system from the requirements of the video editing software I wanted to run, Lightworks to name it, plus my own requirements, fastest CPU available today, lots to RAM, Quadro video card, and an insane amount of mirrored disk space. Hating the direction where Microsoft is heading with Windows and its pointless and expensive upgrades, I decided to switch to UNIX, more precisely, FreeBSD. I tried a few Linux flavors, but they all had issues that ended up only leaving bad taste in my mouth. Linux systems often would not install at all (and not enough documented to proceed), and those I installed would easily break because of some incompatible software being installed. This is totally stupid and unacceptable. The FreeBSD approach lets the user compile the whole system if he wants, and that's what I like. That's what I did. It seems more logical to me to have libraries at a certain version, and applications using them at the version they are. Library version conflicts should be the exception instead of the rule if they are well built.

The only serious problem I encountered was spontaneous computer reset and reboot episodes during the FreeBSD installation process, i.e, port compilations. I'd love to help the developer team isolate the problem, but I'm not sure about all tools I need to install and learn to be of any help for them at this time. Some old forum posts suggested it might be the CPU overheat protection kicking in, but I tried to adjust the BIOS setting to be more tolerant, plus I have a few fans in there. It's ridiculous! The problem still persists to this day. What I can tell you is that spontaneous computer reset and reboot episodes occurred during huge port compilations like gnu compiler development systems, xorg and huge common graphic environment libraries. What I did to work around it was to make sure that the file system wasn't compromised afterward using 'fsck', 'make clean' the files just compiled, followed by 'make install' again. I'm using an ASUS Z97-K motherboard with Intel Core i7-4790K CPU. I installed the 64bit FreeBSD 10.1-RELEASE #0 r274401 release.

The Lightworks video editing software ended up being a huge disappointment for me, especially for a supposedly "open source" software. It would never run on my old computer because it was not strong enough for their taste, not even able to run at a lesser speed than optimal. The free version is protected by an obscur clock monitoring copy protection, and generates badly/ugly compressed movie files. I'm definitely not confident that these problems would go away if I purchase the feature upgrade license from them. But hey, I now have a powerful computer. Finding or creating a new video editing software is my next project.

With the increased CPU power, I also had the intention to run my old systems using VirtualBOX. What a software gem that is. I now have 6 computers in one. Take a look here:

All systems are now UP and RUNNING !!!

I have a Windows NT 4.0 system where I do my 32 bit program development. Everything ran as is once the disk drive was transferred into the virtual machine of VirtualBOX. I have a Windows 2000 system with the photo editing software that I'm very comfortable with, in an environment that I'm very comfortable with. Why change this, Bill? Why? I also have a Windows XP system because newer software that I purchased would not run on my preferred system. Far fetched, but just in case, I also installed a DOS virtual machine. I typed DIR just for the fun of it. And the 6th computer you ask? Well, it's an APPLE ][ computer emulator.

Perhaps you noticed that my FreeBSD installation runs Xorg with the QVWM window management. It's a look and feel that I'm very comfortable with. I have yet to learn how to create software ports so QVWN doesn't fall into oblivion. It's not perfect, but I like the QVWM environment a lot, and I'm pretty sure it can stand the test of time quite well, and not getting on my nerve. Bored developers or broke/hungry software companies try to fix things that don't need to be fixed. The only thing I want is stability and efficency. Should I need some random hardware upgrade in the future, I know that the software base that I installed is solid and stable, and I shouldn't encounter any incompatibility issues in the future. Who can say that about their Windows 8 system?

PS: My Windows systems are now FreeBSD's bitches! Lol!!!

Dominique. :D