Servers are FreeBSD, time to workstation...

Hello everyone!
Long time lurker here.

I've migrated my servers and router to FreeBSD quite a while ago, so I am not necessarily a new user. However, I've been inspired by many posts on the Internet of folks who migrated to FreeBSD and never looked back, and I am considering the same.
(a few things in Linux are also pissing me off too much)

Initially, I considered a ThinkPad X230 but I had troubles with graphics after installing coreboot and going full way with SeaVGABIOS instead of Intel's binary blob. It can't modeset properly and the remote install frustrated me too much. So now that ThinkPad runs Qubes OS with 16GB of RAM and I am satisfied, as it is my "take everywhere" machine now.

My daily job as DevOps engineer gets me running tons of VMs, and our application is built on C# and runs in Linux containers. However, I need to test multiple versions and I am accustomed to leveraging ZFS to quickly clone, test, revert everything, accessing from my servers at home.

But now I got a lovely ThinkPad W530 that I want to use as my "work from abroad" machine and I'm very excited that my current employer lets me use any machine. My 2009 Mac Pro should be able to run FreeBSD fine (and I have a multi NVME carrier, so I can dual boot when needed) and I am very interested in getting the W530 running a native boot of FreeBSD, and using bhyve or VirtualBox to spin multiple instances of Windows and Linux to test my application.

So, besides what I've been seeing around - is there a way to get the built-in color calibration system to work? Should I try to get the fingerprint reader up? Or better to just keep a Windows partition (or disk) and dual boot when I do some of my personal things (windows is basically games and photos at this point - the rest I do in an agnostic in Linux, Mac or FreeBSD - my personal workflows are almost fully portable and the data stays in my servers).

My personal fleet has everything from Power Macs to PA-RISC, SGIs and all the sort, so I can usually get around quite complicated things, but I want to avoid getting stuck in cases where the community has already found solutions or given up.

Any other tips or things I should consider to make the best of my W530 in FreeBSD? Any other tips for my migration to FreeBSD in general? Thank you!
 
Thanks guys!
I spent Saturday until 3am getting everything up and running. There are so many possibilities that I spent quite a good chuck of time on it.

I am happy. I followed the many guides for suggestions and got to a system that does all I need, but boots with only 50MB RAM usage. Two things that I am still struggling with:

- WiFi detects all networks but my own. My network is 5GHz-only. Does it have anything to do with it? When I boot Windows, it's all fine.
- Even if I force on BIOS to disable Optimus and run on the dedicate GPU only, and even installing the newest driver that supports my GPU (470) - the automatic nvidia config generator runs ok but when I try to start X, it says it can't find the GPU. Any good source available for nvidia GPU tips? I can reboot to switch - manual/automatic runtime switching is a bridge too far for now.

If I set it to Intel-only in the BIOS, I can run it fine with either "intel" or "modeset (modprobe?)" drivers. Which one you recommed? Tear-free seems to work only with intel, but I don't use the computer for multimedia nayway.

Listing the applications was a good tip. I honestly managed to run everything with no stress, except gimp (had to install adwaita). I wrote a script in Windows to move the latest ICC profile generated by the Pantone calibrator to my NFS and I can fetch it in FreeBSD. I'll look later into how to load the profiles...

Thank you so much!
 
Check your regdomain for wlan and if your wifi is within the parameters (ETSI = Europe). Something lile that:

cat /etc/rc.conf
create_args_wlan0="country AT regdomain ETSI"

You should be able to load your ICC profiles to Gimp via Preferences / Color Management / RGB Profile.

A quick guide (modprobe):

 
- Even if I force on BIOS to disable Optimus and run on the dedicate GPU only, and even installing the newest driver that supports my GPU (470) - the automatic nvidia config generator runs ok but when I try to start X, it says it can't find the GPU. Any good source available for nvidia GPU tips? I can reboot to switch - manual/automatic runtime switching is a bridge too far for now.
This sounds very similar to the issue I have on my Dell E5570 with an AMD Radeon GPU. Since you have an nVidia GPU, you might check out x11/nvidia-secondary-driver or x11/nvidia-hybrid-graphics.

If I set it to Intel-only in the BIOS, I can run it fine with either "intel" or "modeset (modprobe?)" drivers. Which one you recommed? Tear-free seems to work only with intel, but I don't use the computer for multimedia nayway.
I have had performance issues running the intel X driver. The system response was very laggy. Switching to modeset resolved the issues immediately. I would only run the intel driver if you needed it for something specific.
 
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