I want to try BSD

General questions about the FreeBSD operating system. Ask here if your question does not fit elsewhere.

I want to try BSD

Postby drunk_mexican » 17 Jun 2009, 21:04

Ok guys here I go. I want to try BSD but I'm not sure which one to try. You've probably heard this before but I'm a Linux guy and I am really just curious. I would prefer to just do a clean hard drive install and have BSD function as a desktop. I will not dual boot, it's got 2.4 Ghz, 40 GB HD, and 512 mb of RAM. I do not need wifi or printing or some ridiculous proprietary drivers. What I will need is flash, mp3/mp4, and dvd playback support.

I was looking at PcBSD because it seems simpler to use and because it comes with multimedia and flash codecs already. Then I did some reading that FreeBSD is the mother of that "distro" (or whatever they are called) so I was wondering what the difference is.

I noticed on distrowatch.com that FreeBSD is more popular than PcBSD. Is that because FreeBSD can do everything PcBSD can do and more?

Lastly, I understand BSD is not Linux and I can accept that there will be some bit of a learning curve and that is ok it is why I want to do this. What does package management work like in BSD? Does package management work in a similar way as apt-get or yum? Or is it from source and more like Slackware tarballs? In other words do the BSD package managers resolve dependencies for me?


I know I have a lot of questions and I apologize for it. I appreciate any help you all can offer.
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Postby anomie » 17 Jun 2009, 21:12

IMO, given your needs and experiences (as I understand them) PC-BSD probably is a very good choice. Of course it is FreeBSD under the covers, but it does some obfuscation and polishing for you that you might appreciate as a desktop user.

As for your other questions (including package management), I highly recommend reading: the FreeBSD Handbook

It's well organized and contains a lot of helpful information. Once you've had a pass through that, if you still have questions, that's what the forum is here for. ;)
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Postby DutchDaemon » 17 Jun 2009, 21:12

http://www.freebsd.org/doc/en_US.ISO8859-1/books/handbook/ports.html
[man=7]ports[/man], [pman=8]portmaster[/pman], [pman=1]portupgrade[/pman], [man=8]portsnap[/man]
[man=1]pkg_add[/man]
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Postby anomie » 17 Jun 2009, 21:17

drunk_mexican wrote:I noticed on distrowatch.com that FreeBSD is more popular than PcBSD. Is that because FreeBSD can do everything PcBSD can do and more?


One more thing: my WAG is you're seeing that because FreeBSD is a very popular server OS.
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Postby Brandybuck » 18 Jun 2009, 04:15

anomie wrote:One more thing: my WAG is you're seeing that because FreeBSD is a very popular server OS.


Nah, it's because FreeBSD is the basis for PC-BSD. To use an analogy, FreeBSD is plain vanilla, while PC-BSD is plain vanilla with bits of chocolate mixed in. Many BSD users prefer the plain vanilla.
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Postby wonslung » 18 Jun 2009, 17:59

i'm a freebsd newb myself but i'm pretty good with linux and i have been able to make the transition really well. This forum is a gold mine, they have been amazingly helpful. I haven't tried PC-BSD but i'm on a laptop right now with freebsd 7.2 amd64 and have no problems with flash via the linux compat setup
found here
http://crnl.org/blog/2008/11/01/flash-9-for-freebsd-71

i actually didn't follow the guide 100% this time, i used f10 instead. I'm also running ZFS on the laptop and it's really cool to do snapshots and then browse them later via normal file manager means. The laptop hasn't crashed since i've installed it and i've only had to reboot it once.

I also run Freebsd on my router and 3 servers. A couple gotchas for me:
Wine doesn't work in amd64, not a huge deal as i rarely use windows programs anyways. I was going to use wine for utorrent but it turns out once you get used to rtorrent it's just as good, if not better

NoMachine NX server doesn't work in amd64...again, not a big deal, theres quite a few other things that will work.

There aren't any nvidia graphics drivers for amd64, not a problem for me because i'm using an intel GMA based laptop and the one nvidia computer i do have still looks fine for normal net stuff. If you need 3-D and you have Nvidia, use 32 bit.


That's about all i can think of, like i said, this forum is great. I wouldn't have gotten as far as i have without it.
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Postby jdr » 20 Jun 2009, 14:13

Brandybuck wrote:Nah, it's because FreeBSD is the basis for PC-BSD. To use an analogy, FreeBSD is plain vanilla, while PC-BSD is plain vanilla with bits of chocolate mixed in. Many BSD users prefer the plain vanilla.


what is chocolate then? ;)
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Postby Brandybuck » 21 Jun 2009, 02:34

jdr wrote:what is chocolate then? ;)


It's plain vanilla with chocolate stirred in.
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Postby hedwards » 21 Jun 2009, 03:20

drunk_mexican wrote:I was looking at PcBSD because it seems simpler to use and because it comes with multimedia and flash codecs already. Then I did some reading that FreeBSD is the mother of that "distro" (or whatever they are called) so I was wondering what the difference is.

I noticed on distrowatch.com that FreeBSD is more popular than PcBSD. Is that because FreeBSD can do everything PcBSD can do and more?

Because it's better. ;)

Well, not really better, but most FreeBSD users seem to prefer to do it yourself, PC BSD isn't a bad choice, you get most of the advantages of FreeBSD with a more newbie focused environment.

There really isn't anything inherently wrong with using PC BSD, it just tends to run a bit behind FreeBSD since it's mostly a small set of patches to make it more acceptable to people that aren't looking to geek out their computer.

Lastly, I understand BSD is not Linux and I can accept that there will be some bit of a learning curve and that is ok it is why I want to do this. What does package management work like in BSD? Does package management work in a similar way as apt-get or yum? Or is it from source and more like Slackware tarballs? In other words do the BSD package managers resolve dependencies for me?

PC-BSD or DesktopBSD are probably pretty similar to most Linux distros in terms of learning curve. As in there really isn't much. I'm playing around with PC-BSD because their PBIs intrigue me. If you've got a processor with support for some of the newer VT technology, it seems to run fine in virtualbox.
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Postby drunk_mexican » 21 Jun 2009, 20:19

I installed PcBSD and everything is working fine. I set this aside as a weekend project. I got everything up and running with very little help from online resources. It is fairly straight forward if you know anything about computers. It has a cool KDE desktop, wine, and other stuff default. I had no problems at all....a pleasant surprise.
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Postby GD » 21 Jun 2009, 22:42

DutchDaemon, you can add porteasy to that list :)
Cool tool: ports-mgmt/porteasy
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