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TrueOS: anyone using it on a laptop?

Trihexagonal

Aspiring Daemon

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#26
I looked through some of my old posts yesterday and it was pretty embarrassing in places.

I was looking for /usr/ports/ports-mgmt/portsnap when learning to use ports. :rolleyes:

I started using it at PC-BSD v0.75 and stuck with it for 7 years before moving to FreeBSD in 2012, so I have actually used it longer.
 

ivosevb

Member

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Messages: 30

#27
TrueOS is a really great project and all they need is support. They try to make FreeBSD desktop wihtout any linuxism. I'm not developer, but i'm pretty shure that KDE, GNOME, XFCE and others are developed with only Linux in mind, with all those systemd, hald, pulseaudio ... things. It's not easy with every new version of GNOME or KDE to have a system where "everything just works". I use FreeBSD only dekstop on all my computers and must say - it's incredible good. And TrueOS and iXsystems are doing really great job for community, so ... Also, do we have any other similar project?

ps. Sorry for my bad english.
 

ekingston

Active Member

Thanks: 41
Messages: 145

#28
TrueOS is a really great project and all they need is support. They try to make FreeBSD desktop wihtout any linuxism. I'm not developer, but i'm pretty shure that KDE, GNOME, XFCE and others are developed with only Linux in mind, with all those systemd, hald, pulseaudio ... things. It's not easy with every new version of GNOME or KDE to have a system where "everything just works". I use FreeBSD only dekstop on all my computers and must say - it's incredible good. And TrueOS and iXsystems are doing really great job for community, so ... Also, do we have any other similar project?

ps. Sorry for my bad english.
I think GhostBSD (http://www.ghostbsd.org/) is doing something similar. I haven't tried it.
 

herrbischoff

Active Member

Thanks: 68
Messages: 144

#32
If only the Lumina desktop the project touts so much wouldn't be one of the ugliest pieces of software I have ever seen... Its UX is just terrible. Is that because they don't have any designers worth their salt or because it's an engineer-run company?
 

Snurg

Aspiring Daemon

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Messages: 795

#33
... whereas it might langush in the FreeBSD bug trackers for months/years due to senseless bickering before finally getting committed. We have had a number of things on TrueOS (such as some new Intel wifi chipset support that was brought over from DragonflyBSD) long before it was accepted into the FreeBSD source tree. In fact, committing driver updates to TrueOS first often helps the changes cut through the arguments that arise on the FreeBSD submission system because it has already been "proven" to work on live systems.
These are two sides of the medal:
-the "rock-stable" philosophy of FreeBSD on the one side
-and on the other side its drawback, that things have to have reached a particular quality level before being accepted into the core.

TrueOS as a testbed is a very valuable thing for the FreeBSD community, of course.
On the one hand, TrueOS profits from that reputation of FreeBSD, but on the other hand there is the potential problem that things like the permanent update problems (which do not originate from FreeBSD) damage FreeBSD's reputation as a reliable OS.

2. TrueOS's update utility is still called pc-updatemanager, but it has almost no resemblence to the old utility from the PC-BSD days.
Complete rewrite? Or just beautified?
Could you provide a bit more detail, what actually makes the difference between old and new pc-updatemanager?
To make you understand better what I mean: Won't you be cautious to buy without some actual detail information, even if somebody said you "this is a new Ford Pinto" ?

In fact, we have been trying to get our administration utilities committed/updated within the FreeBSD ports tree in a timely manner already, so that "pure" FreeBSD users can also benefit from our work.
That's good! Thank you, keep this up! I'll look into that soon.

... Windows®™ control panel.
In my honest opinion it is much better to configure something via simple configuration file.
The "control panel" is ideal for the less computer literate, and the config files for the advanced users.
Using both should always be possible imho.
Bad thing is that GUI based config tools often do not behave, clobbering config files, so you cannot edit manually anymore.
That is a big problem, but probably avoidable by adequate programming manners.

Lumina... Its UX is just terrible. Is that because they don't have any designers worth their salt or because it's an engineer-run company?
It seems to be an one-man's (Beanpole) project. In my personal opinion Beanpole is a very skilled and talented developer. He could really do far better things than wasting his skills into developing yet another Windows 95®™ GUI clone. So sad.
 

herrbischoff

Active Member

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Messages: 144

#34
Bad thing is that GUI based config tools often do not behave, clobbering config files, so you cannot edit manually anymore. That is a big problem, but probably avoidable by adequate programming manners.
I guess that's how the XML configuration files of macOS came to be. Not ideal in any regard but apparently it solves the GUI/text file configuration conundrum. The problem with writing reliable GUI config tools that respect plain text configuration files is probably the multitude of different formats in use. You'd have to write a sane parser, lexer and writer for all of those.

It seems to be an one-man's (Beanpole) project. In my personal opinion Beanpole is a very skilled and talented developer. He could really do far better things than wasting his skills into developing yet another Windows 95®™ GUI clone. So sad.
If the result looks like Lumina I agree the effort is wasted and the energy should be better spent on other pursuits. Especially when it is occupying the talents of a skilled developer. Appears to be a fish-out-of-water kind of situation.
 

malco_2001

Member

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#35
Dear beanpole
And, by the way.
What would you say if there is a FreeBSD desktop project and these guys rip from PC-BSD/TrueOS these GUI admin components that are actually usable, like the zfs disk manager, and incorporate them into a FreeBSD "desktop admin tools metapackage" or the like?
I believe that is what sysutils/desktop-installer was intended to do. The last I checked there was even an option for Lumina which is the default DE for TrueOS developed by the TrueOS project.
 

sko

Well-Known Member

Thanks: 155
Messages: 332

#36
It seems a lot of criticisms against TrueOS are based on old PCBSD or very early TrueOS experiences. I also remember having some rough times with PCBSD when I tried it.

Today I'm using TrueOS as my desktop OS on 3 desktops and my laptop. My main workstation is running TrueOS since sept. 6th 2016 according to the root dataset creation timestamp (it was installed after one of the HDDs began dying and debian/devuan linux silently corrupted a lot of data on the md-raid1 before finally dying...). The laptop was set up with TrueOS a bit earlier (dual-booting)

Yes, early on with TrueOS there were sometimes issues with updates (most I had were related to drm-next drivers for the integrated intel GPUs) - thanks to boot environments that are automatically created you are back up and running in no time.
Apart from a small glitch with the last update on one (out of currently 9) systems with TrueOS (STABLE) I manage, I didn't have any issues with updates since around spring this year (and never since the transition to STABLE/UNSTABLE branches).

On the one hand, TrueOS profits from that reputation of FreeBSD, but on the other hand there is the potential problem that things like the permanent update problems (which do not originate from FreeBSD) damage FreeBSD's reputation as a reliable OS.
As said: didn't have any issues for quite some time now. The STABLE branch has worked without a problem on my 4 machines (3 desktop + 1 laptop) and all 5 clients of our TrueOS test-deployment here in the company which is about to be extended to most (if not all) clients early next year.

Could you provide a bit more detail, what actually makes the difference between old and new pc-updatemanager?
pc-updatemanager is basically just a wrapper for pkg, beadm, zfs and some other standard tools to automate the update process in a safely manner. It's a shell script - so you could easily recreate the steps manually or modify/rip out everything you don't like/need/want...

Bad thing is that GUI based config tools often do not behave, clobbering config files, so you cannot edit manually anymore.
As far as I can tell, all the GUI tools used to modify system settings usually directly use the config files, not some own special magic in the background like e.g. pfSense does for all of their configuration. I couldn't detect any clobbering or strange behaviour if the files were also modified not using the tools. Also everything TrueOS/Lumina-specific I needed to configure was found in config files that could be edited directly (although sometimes not recommended).
Our clients get configured via ansible, which directly deals with the config files either modifying or replacing them, and I haven't found any issues with that yet. The only problem I've encountered so far, is that the graphical user manager uses either pw and/or directly modifies /etc/passwd and /etc/group, which breaks NIS configurations because e.g. if a user changes his password, the entry will be written to /etc/passwd instead of relayed to the NIS server e.g. via yppasswd. To prevent this, /etc/passwd and /etc/group are set to immutable for now to prevent accidents and users have to set their password (amongst other things) during an initial config script that is fired at first login.

I still have to incorporate sysadm into the whole configuration, which should make some tasks easier and safer. Currently I'm using sysadm only via GUI for remote manual changes to single clients.


If only the Lumina desktop the project touts so much wouldn't be one of the ugliest pieces of software I have ever seen... Its UX is just terrible. Is that because they don't have any designers worth their salt or because it's an engineer-run company?
As always: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
I like that Lumina is delivering a full DE without being utterly bloated and pulling tons of dependencies (most of which are owed to linux-cruft that gets dragged in on other DEs). Configuration to suit my workflow is relatively minimal (mostly keyboard shortcuts) and easily accessible and shareable between systems. That being said - a DE for me is 80% for managing my open terminal windows and 20% for some browser windows, mail client and very few other programs or tools. I can't stand a desktop that gets in my way when working, especially if its only for the sake of "being pretty" or "user friendly".
Yes, one could also configure fluxbox manually to get some similar result, but not everyone wants to spend hours for this task and then constantly try to find yet another tool/hack for every new task or use case to finally end up with a working DE after weeks/months of "fine-tuning". For someone who actually WANTS to set up the whole system from scratch, TrueOS or Lumina of course isn't the right choice, but so is ubuntu, GhostBSD, Gnome or KDE. This would be like someone complaining about a station wagon being too big if he wants to buy a motorbike anyways...
Also - talking of the typical desktop user in a work environment - not everyone is mentally capable of putting together a DE manually. As said: we're about to roll out TrueOS over most/all our clients that currently still run Windows. For these scenarios you just need a DE that is relatively minimal and already has all loose ends knotted together or your archetypal Windows-users will die of dehydration from constant whining and crying. The fact that everything in Lumina is still easily configurable through text files makes adaption to user habits even at scale not only feasible but only possible (especially compared to windows where you're stuck with whatever crap Redmond is forcing on you/your users).


Finally regarding OpenRC: Yes, there were some rough edges during the transition, but because the approach was more of a slow transition with fallback/compatibility in mind and parallel support for rc (it still reads rc.conf!), there was never a point where a system wouldn't boot or shutdown properly and the few glitches were relatively easy to find and fix. In fact the few problems I encountered with services not properly starting (esp. on DHCP-configured systems) were all fixed with the adaption of the "net-online" service and setting the service dependencies accordingly.



To sum it up: My experiences with TrueOS have been very positive and I can only recommend that everyone who had bad experiences with PCBSD should try out a recent TrueOS release - its a whole new OS now.
 

herrbischoff

Active Member

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Messages: 144

#37
As always: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
In this case, no, it's really not. Just about everything is out of proportion, it has no coherent visual style and the overall feel of the environment is quite reminiscent of using a Motorola phone circa 2004: the hardware is great but the software feels just wrong. There's a reason why no free software desktop environment has ever (and by the direction all of them are going, never will) come even close to the user experience macOS or (sadly) Windows offers. Quite frankly, if you don't spend days/weeks/months fine-tuning every aspect, they are just crap for most users. If you spend most of your time in terminal windows, the desktop environment really matters very little. To most users however, the desktop environment actually IS the computer.

Then again, there's no accounting for taste. When everything you've got at your disposal is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. More bluntly put: if you're used to looking at crap, it tends to be what you expect.
 

malco_2001

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#38
Then again, there's no accounting for taste. When everything you've got at your disposal is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. More bluntly put: if you're used to looking at crap, it tends to be what you expect.
I strongly disagree. Windows 10 is an awful user expereince for me. Sure maybe with releases like Windows 7, and Windows XP it was not quite as bad. Even macOS cannot stay consistent all of the time. As soon as you install Chrome that consistency goes out the window. If you want total consistency then maybe iOS is there. This really is a matter of preference. It is impossible to be all things to all people.
 

Trihexagonal

Aspiring Daemon

Thanks: 417
Messages: 898

#39
As said: we're about to roll out TrueOS over most/all our clients that currently still run Windows. For these scenarios you just need a DE that is relatively minimal and already has all loose ends knotted together or your archetypal Windows-users will die of dehydration from constant whining and crying.
Perhaps my first impressions as a TrueOS user will be beneficial in that area.

Minimal requirements show as 64-bit processor and 4GB RAM so I used one of my Thinkpad T61 with Intel Core2 Duo T7300 @ 2.00GHz and 4GB RAM. The install process went smoothly and the driver for my Quadro NVS 140M was offered. The choice to use Lumina or Fluxbox was available so I chose x11-wm/fluxbox as that's what I normally use.

The TrueOS version is at 1.3.1, ports is at 1.3.7 and there is no terminal or file manager available. You cannot start x11/xterm and the xterm command is non-existent:

Code:
% xterm

CORRECT>Eterm (y|n|e|a)? no
xterm: Command not found
(x11/eterm is missing fonts and fails to start with that error.)

So with not many other options I moved to Lumina, which seems to be a big point of contention. As such, I won't post a screenshot of another OS but here is a link to how I have it set up for anyone who is interested in the esthetic aspect:

Lumina screenshot

Personally, I could get used to looking at it and it may well look better than my x11-wm/fluxbox configuration, if not for deskutils/lumina-fm. And this is where IMO it really falls short.

I can't believe I am the only person using this that transfers files, but if there is a way to do it I'd like you to show me. File Operations are limited to Cut, Copy, Delete and Archive and I could not see a way to move-to or copy-to a file or directory. Drag and drop crashed it.

There is also very little room on the business end of things that I feel detracts from what pleases me about it. Too much wasted space at the bottom (and menu) and very little room to work from compared to x11-fm/xfe. The main window cannot be resized that I could see. This is more along the lines I'd like to see it:

xfe.png

And why can a user enter their credentials and open the Insight file manager as root? That seems counterintuitive. I entered my root password twice before I noticed it wanted my user password.

The AppCafe was still using .pbi installer last time I used it but after familiarizing myself it became apparent it was just a front-end to pkg, and adding programs using pkg install pulls from the same repository. I did not use ports for anything.

pf has been replaced with ipfw and it works as intended. There was 1 preset rule in the Firewall Manager GUI and I deleted that.

After setting everything up and tweaking it I no longer felt like I was looking at TrueOS but at FreeBSD. I did, however, expect it to do more of the work for me. ZFS seems to be doing alright, but this is the first time I've used it. If it updated anything overnight it did so successfully as it was still running this AM.

I said I would give it a fair try, these are just my first impressions and I will continue to use it for a while to do so, but I prefer to build my own desktop from ports.
 

Handsome Jack

Member

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Messages: 57

#40
Tried to install TrueOS Stable (Current Release: 17.12) ;
Wrote .img file on USB stick, first with dd, and day later with Mint Image Writter from live iso;
Installer starts and after few seconds there is black screen with white trueos logo, after that noting more happen (no visible/audible signs of activity in next few minutes, only logo frozen).
I know this is not trueos forum, and reason to mention this is:
Booting in non-uefi mode produces almost twice bigger trueos logo than booting in uefi mode, which maybe is a hint that there will be same problem with nVidia boot/console resolution/fonts as described here and here .
I'll try booting from DVD/.iso when I find some free time.
 

Trihexagonal

Aspiring Daemon

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#41
Installer starts and after few seconds there is black screen with white trueos logo, after that noting more happen (no visible/audible signs of activity in next few minutes, only logo frozen).
I wasn't going to mention it but I tried to use my W520 with Optimus first because it has an i7 and 8GB RAM. I got the same screen with multiple renditions of the boot screen I do with FreeBSD but switched to discreet graphics, used mode 0 during the boot process and continued with the installation.

It offered the nividia driver and looked like it was going to be alright as far as resolution but I tried 3 times and it stopped each time sometime during the build with a plain gray screen and the cursor frozen in the middle. I attributed this to possible I/O errors on my machine as I did experience them the last time I transferred a large amount of files at once and used another.
 

Handsome Jack

Member

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#42
Solution for broken installer [ link ]
Few notices:
- GELI + UEFI unavailable (GELI was main reason I decided to try FreeBSD)
- GELI available on non-UEFI installation
- non-UEFI installation has (on my system) bad resolution (800x600?) with too big fonts, and I will not going to install that; I already reinstalled FreeBSD from nonUEFI to UEFI because of that.
- there is installer option "Install into Boot Environment" - sounds jummy, but I am new to ZFS miracles, and have no idea if that will nuke my FreeBSD system, since I see TrueOS as an extremely unpolished buggy and unfinished (sorry devs, no hard feelings, just my newbie view) system which does not add to positive picture of FreeBSD to potential newcomer.
- installer on booting immediately asking for passphrase for my FreeBSD ada0p5 and gpt/zfs0, and not accepting passphrase, so I doubt it will success "installation into Boot Environment".
 

malco_2001

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#43
- non-UEFI installation has (on my system) bad resolution (800x600?) with too big fonts, and I will not going to install that; I already reinstalled FreeBSD from nonUEFI to UEFI because of that.
.
The installer uses VESA in the case of bios boot, and SCFB in the case of EFI. After install a proper driver can be selected, and changed at anytime using the display manager. This was to allow everyone a chance to get the system installed when graphics support might not be available, or might crash the system.
 

Trihexagonal

Aspiring Daemon

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#45
- non-UEFI installation has (on my system) bad resolution (800x600?) with too big fonts, and I will not going to install that; I already reinstalled FreeBSD from nonUEFI to UEFI because of that.
I got that at first on my W520 but was able to make things out and move from one screen to the next till it got to the driver selection screen. Once I set the driver the resolution corrected itself and went on with the process normally.
 

malco_2001

Member

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#46
since I see TrueOS as an extremely unpolished buggy and unfinished (sorry devs, no hard feelings, just my newbie view) system which does not add to positive picture of FreeBSD to potential newcomer.
This is probably why you do not see desktop distributions popping up for OpenBSD. NetBSD, and DragonlflyBSD. Imagine how terrible those would work! Is it not better to have some effort for a FreeBSD desktop distribution than none at all?
 

Handsome Jack

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#47
There are fixes for this in FreeBSD but the work is still in peer review the last I checked.
If You mean FreeBSD-UEFI+GELI, I know that, that is my current default encrypted healthy installation; and on TrueOS this work is under development, I hope will be finished next year.

I got that at first on my W520 but was able to make things out and move from one screen to the next till it got to the driver selection screen. Once I set the driver the resolution corrected itself and went on with the process normally.
As I said here , I didn't have problem during FreeBSD installation or when booted into (nvidia) DESKTOP/GUI, problem appeared when switching from desktop to consoles (non-UEFI installation), so reinstalled system in default UEFI installer and so far EVERYTHING works perfect.
So I was thinking that TrueOS, since is based on FreeBSD, will also have GELI+UEFI available ESPECIALLY when is using version 12.
 

Handsome Jack

Member

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Messages: 57

#48
Is it not better to have some effort for a FreeBSD desktop distribution than none at all?
Of course, I like idea of TrueOS very much, and every year or so I'm trying TrueOS, to see "maybe they managed to solve this or that", but no luck so far (my subjective opinion).
Fortunately, with one half printed page of instructions and notes, it is very easy to get FreeBSD installed and running Desktop Environment.

This begins to be a little off-topic, so I'll stop now.
 

Snurg

Aspiring Daemon

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#49
Thank you very much malco_2001 for hinting at that project !
I read the whole script.
It is like a valuable stash of configuration goodies one should know about when implementing a postinstall tool. A very good start!

As I am going to have to set up a few computers the next time, and want them as similar as possible, I am practically forced to make a setup script anyway.
So I guess I'll make that a bit more beautiful than I normally do for my own purposes.
Just to show what I am thinking of. If people like it, they can use it and help improve the thing by suggestions and contributions.
 

ILUXA

Well-Known Member

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#50
May be if they'll remove "SysAdm" and all that Qt stuff, it won't be such a bad idea.
If only the Lumina desktop the project touts so much wouldn't be one of the ugliest pieces of software I have ever seen... Its UX is just terrible. Is that because they don't have any designers worth their salt or because it's an engineer-run company?
Lumina is also a bunch of nasty "Qt stuff", also it is not even a DE, what "Lumina" is:
fluxbox+compton+some Qt applications, panels and pop-up windows.
IMO it is much better to use lxappearance, to configure your DE, and if you like fluxbox,
use fluxbox as a WM, as a compositing manager use compton, and as a panel, use lxpannel(or mate-panel or xfce4-panel).
Or use x11-wm/fvwm2 as a WM and create your own panel. I don't really see the point why Lumina exist,
taking into account that so many people don't like it (or even hate). The biggest problem for Lumina
is that almost nobody like Qt apps and DE-s, because it is ugly, glitchy and remains Windows 98
or at best Windows Vista. Even KDE is dying now.
 
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