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On the desktop: FreeBSD vs PC-BSD vs Debian

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kpa

Beastie's Twin

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#76
For what it's worth, I chose Debian (8.1) for my laptop when I threw out the Windows 7 installation that was on it. It just works and does the job it's supposed to do. I saw no point in trying to tinker with PC-BSD or FreeBSD to get everything working, my time is too limited for that.
 
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Beastie7

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#77
For what it's worth, I chose Debian (8.1) for my laptop when I threw out the Windows 7 installation that was on it. It just works and does the job it's supposed to do. I saw no point in trying to tinker with PC-BSD or FreeBSD to get everything working, my time is too limited for that.
+1 One of many reasons why I stick with OS X.
 
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shepper

Aspiring Daemon

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#78
I'll throw out my two cents as a OpenBSD/FreeBSD/Debian desktop user. I essentially have the same custom desktop running on all three systems - the only thing that visually distinguishes them is the logo I pasted into the GIMP derived wallpaper. I even run lpr(1) printing in Debian.

From my standpoint, customization is relevant. No one produces the exact system I use out of the box.
Starting with bare installs, I add the same software in all three systems and utilize the same configuration files between all three systems (printcap/ghostscript filter, .muttrc, .Xdefaults/.Xresources, OpenBox menu.xml)

I think the OP could help guide the discussion by listing the specialized tasks that he/she needs to accomplish. For example: accessing an Office2010 exchange server, desktop publishing, CAD drafting/3D printing, dropbox/backup solutions . . . . . .
 
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OJ

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#79
There's always going to be problems. I've been an open source advocate since I found out what it was and I can't help but notice how the Mac people that I deal with are having trouble interacting with the world when it comes to e-mail, file formats, general compatibility, and just getting things to work. I'm not at all putting down Macs, but just wish to say that what is probably the most polished and stable offering out there is still not a complete solution for everybody.

As for Debian, I've used it for years. However, having just gotten a new monitor, I'd like to say that FreeBSD (thankfully my main machine) was able to deal with it without a glitch. That's how it should be with monitors, but another machine with the latest Debian on a 10 year old Intel board took me a day's worth of frustration to get to work. I had to use Xrandr to force it. Linux isn't always ahead on hardware.
 

Oko

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#80
For what it's worth, I chose Debian (8.1) for my laptop when I threw out the windows 7 installation that was on it. It just works and does the job it's supposed to do. I saw no point in trying to tinker with PC-BSD or FreeBSD to get everything working, my time is too limited for that.
This is a disingenuous statement. If you said you bought a laptop pre-installed with Ubuntu which is based of Debian and "everything" worked out of box I would believe you. Installing vanilla Debian on a random laptop is no different than installing any BSDs. IIRC vanilla Debian doesn't include much proprietary crude beyond vanilla Linux kernel so quite a bit of tinkering is needed to get things working (at least first time around).

I am not arguing with a taste and Debian is a fine OS but many things are just completely non-UNIX. That might be a good thing but people like me who love UNIX find it irritating.
 

abishai

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#81
PulseAudio (the latter another heap of [self-censored]).
What's wrong with pulseaudio? I use it on all my FreeBSD desktops without any issue and with very small memory footprint (~4MB). It just works and have easy interface to assign sound devices to applications.
 

Patrick Bär

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#82
For what it's worth, I chose Debian (8.1) for my laptop when I threw out the windows 7 installation that was on it. It just works and does the job it's supposed to do. I saw no point in trying to tinker with PC-BSD or FreeBSD to get everything working, my time is too limited for that.
True words. But I have to add, that FreeBSD was not more problem than Debian. Saying this, I did a minimum install without any gnome or KDE or XFCE, which would prove assistants for everything. I think, PC-BSD with preconfigured KDE works just like Debian.

I think the OP could help guide the discussion by listing the specialized tasks that he/she needs to accomplish.
Nothing like that, actually. My "special task" was to run without problems. The reason for turning my back to FreeBSD was this very latest problem with USB. What shall I say? For work I installed debian and it worked well for me. (Intel chipsets made me do it) At home I tried latest FreeBSD, but not working USB is deadly. My data-harddrive did not work with my notebook, so what should I do? File a request and wait until somebody solves the issue, before I get to my data? I do understand, development of some notebook driver is not number one on the list, but USB?

There's always going to be problems. I've been an open source advocate since I found out what it was and I can't help but notice how the Mac people that I deal with are having trouble interacting with the world when it comes to e-mail, file formats, general compatibility, and just getting things to work. I'm not at all putting down Macs, but just wish to say that what is probably the most polished and stable offering out there is still not a complete solution for everybody.
Every user will say, her OS is the only stable and easy-to-use one. The others plain suck. Always.
 

hwagemann

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#83
Hello Patrick Bär,

I'm new here and wants to give FreeBSD a try tomorrow, so I cannot say much to FreeBSD. Also with PC-BSD I've only little experience, but to this statement
I think, PC-BSD with preconfigured KDE works just like Debian.
I can say something: On Fujitsu Notebook of my wife with an Intel Quadcore, 4 GB Ram and Intelgrafic (not Haswell) a Debian 8.1 with KDE4 (I'm familar with Debian GNU/Linux since 2003) sprints and a PC-BSD creeps, using it is a pain. And I think this has not to do with the quality of PC-BSD but with the decision of developers to cancel support for UFS2 and chosing ZFS as standard filesystem. If you've a workstation, more than 8 GB DDR3 1600 Ram, a fast CPU and a NVIDIA Card then I guess you'll have a great preconfigured KDE system based on FreeBSD.

Kind regards,
Holger
 

ANOKNUSA

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#84
I do understand, development of some notebook driver is not number one on the list, but USB?
I'm tired of this ignorant rambling. As you've been politely reminded twice already, things don't get fixed if you don't tell the right people they're broken. It's not that the developers don't focus on USB, it's that they don't know there's a problem. And seeing as how (as you already pointed out) USB is an industry standard, and not just used on notebooks, I'd say the devs have a rather good incentive for looking into that. You just don't know what you're doing, and don't want to bother learning or contributing. So don't. Give it up and leave, already.

Every user will say, her OS is the only stable and easy-to-use one. The others plain suck. Always.
Well, you certainly would say that. I'd say that every operating system has a learning curve, that no one can know its capabilities without investing time and energy into learning and applying those capabilities, and that one's experience with it is predicated on one's willingness to shirk one's own ignorance in opposition to one's preformed expectations.
 

jrm@

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#85
For what it's worth, I chose Debian (8.1) for my laptop when I threw out the windows 7 installation that was on it. It just works and does the job it's supposed to do. I saw no point in trying to tinker with PC-BSD or FreeBSD to get everything working, my time is too limited for that.
To each his own, but spending time tinkering and finding the corner cases and submitting bug reports and patches, so that things just work for everyone else can be a nice way for users to contribute back. I have spent time tinkering and, for me, it's paid off. I feel like I own my FreeBSD desktop.
 

Patrick Bär

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#86
I'm tired of this ignorant rambling.
As tired as I am of your persisting "You don't share my opinion, so you are stupid and not worth being listened to"-attitude. I do not think there is an advantage in answering you, I am sorry.

To each his own, but spending time tinkering and finding the corner cases and submitting bug reports and patches, so that things just work for everyone else can be a nice way for users to contribute back. I have spent time tinkering and, for me, it's payed off. I feel like I own my FreeBSD desktop.
Well, of course this is an attitude I respect. But considering this, what kind of advice can you give me for my situation: I have a single private computer at home and it runs FreeBSD 10. In the evening, I would like to see some nice pictures of my wedding, which I stored on a portable hard drive, that is working with Windows 7 and Linux. I plug the drive in and receive an error. I google the net and find a couple of people having the very same error, but no solution available. I would like to see my wedding pictures.
 

jrm@

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#87
But considering this, what kind of advice can you give me for my situation: I have a single private computer at home and it runs FreeBSD 10. In the evening, I would like to see some nice pictures of my wedding, which I stored on a portable hard drive, that is working with Windows 7 and Linux. I plug the drive in and receive an error. I google the net and find a couple of people having the very same error, but no solution available. I would like to see my wedding pictures.
If you're looking for help, the first step is to post the technical details in a new thread. The most obvious points are the specs for the drive and the errors you see [1]. Details about the partitioning and the filesystem might also be relevant. So, my advice is to follow up with the problem, so things improve.

[1] Maybe you posted this somewhere already, but a quick scan didn't turn anything up for me.
 

kpa

Beastie's Twin

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#88
To each his own, but spending time tinkering and finding the corner cases and submitting bug reports and patches, so that things just work for everyone else can be a nice way for users to contribute back. I have spent time tinkering and, for me, it's paid off. I feel like I own my FreeBSD desktop.
I have done some contributions to FreeBSD, mostly on the pkg/poudriere projects. I just don't feel I should restrict myself to using a single OS for everything nor should I feel any kind of "brand loyalty", that can very quickly make you lose sight of what is out there.
 
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jrm@

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#89
I just don't feel I should restrict myself to using a single OS for everything nor should I feel any kind of "brand loyalty", that can very quickly make you lose sight of what is out there.
I completely agree.
 

OJ

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#90
I plug the drive in and receive an error. I google the net and find a couple of people having the very same error, but no solution available.
I'm guessing the reason you didn't find any answer is that it is likely not a problem with specific hardware (which you may have been Googling?) but a matter of knowing how to mount a USB drive by hand when it doesn't automount. This is a trivial situation if you recognize it and go about it the right way. I've had the same aggravation by the way. This thread is not about that, but only mention it because you seem to put a lot of weight on this one thing. :)

Edit to add: To me one of the plusses of FreeBSD is that when I found out how to deal with that I made a note, and several years later I can still refer to it. The fact that FreeBSD changes slowly (I call that "stable") makes my note still relevant whereas for Linux I've found the constant churn making my notes irrelevant. Linux is still great, and I use it constantly, but am just pointing out one of my personal points of preference.
 

Patrick Bär

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#92
you guessed wrong

PS: Sorry for being moody. I know you probably did not read the full thread and wanted to help. I was still upset about Anok's silly posts. When somebody with an overwhelming eight months experience with FreeBSD comes up to me, behaves as if he was the god of UNIX and then tells the world that everybody who does not have the same opinion, has no right to use this divine OS and should leave immediately, I tend to become a little bit annoyed ;)

People like him are obviously not willing to understand, there are people out there who do not have the same life as they do and hence need different things from their computers. Twenty years back, when I had a room in the basement full of old CRTs and humming old boxes, I had no problem to spend a week or two waiting for a solution to a connectivity problem of a little text-box in the corner. But those days are long gone by!

Today I am out in the field. Imagine I am at customer's office and she hands me a portable HDD and says "Ok here are the database dumps and all the documentation, please have a look". So I get my notebook out, open it and FreeBSD starts booting. Her sparkling eyes look at the letters flying around on the screen and she admiringly says "Oh, this is FreeBSD. I heard so much about it, it needs a lot of experience, doesn't it?" So with a swanky grin I log in (console of course), fire up i3, open a console, type a line or two of text and .... "Error ugen0 device not configured, unretryable error, abort abort abort" Her shiny blue eye(s) look at me and say "EXPLAIN!" So I say "Oh, well I guess you should go for lunch with your colleagues now, while I stay here and fix this issue".

After 30 minutes she is back and I say "Ok well, I have googled the problem, modified some BIOS settings, tried a patch I found somewhere, but to no avail. I opened up a request at the developer's site and we need to wait for an answer. What do you think, shall we make a new appointment in, say, three months, when next release comes up?"

If I haven't been kicked out by then, she might ask "So why don't you use a different OS, one that does not have issues with hardware?". If I answer "You say that because you are a baboon who is just used to her old OS and you are not willing to learn!", how long will it take my FreeBSD notebook to google the next job centre? What do you think?
 

Beastie7

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#93
and within those 30 minutes you could've submitted a PR, and while waiting for a patch posted the issue on the mailing lists for a quick answer and/or resolution. But I guess it's easier complaining on the forums where there's little developer attention downplaying FreeBSD for its' lack of hardware support than proactively looking for solution.
 

OJ

Daemon

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#94
I'm just an amateur so I have the luxury of running a bunch of machines with different operating systems. If something isn't working on one and I'm in a hurry, it'll work right away on another. Surely a professional has even more tricks than some bungling old fart like me. :)
 

hashime

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#95
Installing vanilla Debian on a random laptop is no different than installing any BSDs.
There are *worlds* between them. Starting with a working X, FN keys, touchpad gestures, brightness etc. etc.



I am a happy FreeBSD Server user(besides the mess after upgrading to 10.2), but on Desktops/Laptops ... It is just not its strong side and probably will never be. That's nothing new, old news. It will fit plenty of people perfectly on a workstation, no doubt, but for the majority of users another OS is more fitting (like Patrick (and me))
Luckily in the opensource world we have the freedom of choice. Use something that works for you and your usecase, be happy with it. In my case Ubuntu works best on my Desktop, even systemd did not give me any headaches(yet).

So no reason to get all worked up over such trivial things. Different people like different stuff.

Patrick Bär FreeBSD 11 fixed my USB problem, maybe you can retry in another year or ask someone to backport it (not sure if that's even possible)
 

wblock@

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#96
Yes. You could check back every year. Or you could spend ten minutes now submitting a bug report.
 

hashime

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#97
Yes. You could check back every year. Or you could spend ten minutes now submitting a bug report.
I think you highly overestimate the level of involvement and knowledge of the average user.
It's not as straight forward to report a bug either. No GUI Interface on the OS itself to file a bug, no CLI tool like "ubuntu-bug" makes it too complicated for most Computer users. Plus the reputation of the FreeBSD community being elitist jerks (as partly displayed here in this very thread) may prevent newcomers from reporting something.
Not saying FreeBSD needs such tools, or such users, just offering a different POV.
 

mzperx

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#98
I tried FreeBSD back in 2013 but stayed with / change to Debian. As written by other you need to pick your OS according to your needs and what I need from a Desktop OS is to be able to watch movies on a flatscreen. I am regularly checking FreeBSD for (1) Intel SNA support and (2) sound through HDMI but I just can't find a simple way / guide on how to do it. The closest I go to it was this: https://lists.freebsd.org/pipermail/freebsd-announce/2014-July/001570.html but new_xorg repo does not seem to exists anymore. Debian works out of the box and I can easily change sound output (laptop / HDMI) with pavucontrol. Anyone would know a clear guide on this I would give FreeBSD another try. Thanks.
 
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wblock@

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#99
I think you highly overestimate the level of involvement and knowledge of the average user.
Possibly. The thing is that with a volunteer project like FreeBSD, helping to fix problems is beneficial to the user experiencing them and to others. My experience is that if I have a problem with something, not fixing it pretty much guarantees that I will hit the exact same problem again the next time that situation comes up. It's easy to say "Somebody should do something!". It takes only a little more effort to be that somebody doing something.
 

Beastie7

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I think you highly overestimate the level of involvement and knowledge of the average user.
It's not as straight forward to report a bug either. No GUI Interface on the OS itself to file a bug, no CLI tool like "ubuntu-bug" makes it too complicated for most Computer users. Plus the reputation of the FreeBSD community being elitist jerks(as partly displayed here in this very thread) may prevent newcomers from reporting something.
Not saying FreeBSD needs such tools, or such users, just offering a different POV.
It's funny because your suggested solutions aren't any more straight forward than setting up an account on Bugzilla or posting the issue on the mailing list; using a web browser. If you want involvement from the community for help, you have to do your part as well. You are only compounding the problem when you complain without perseverance.
 
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