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Operating Systems Open Source Software BSD Linux

Ask Slashdot: Workaday Software For BSD On the Desktop? 267

An anonymous reader writes So for a variety of reasons (some related to recent events, some ongoing for a while) I've kinda soured on Linux and have been looking at giving BSD a shot on the desktop. I've been a Gentoo user for many years and am reasonably comfortable diving into stuff, so I don't anticipate user friendliness being a show stopper. I suspect it's more likely something I currently do will have poor support in the BSD world. I have of course been doing some reading and will probably just give it a try at some point regardless, but I was curious what experience and advice other slashdot users could share. There's been many bold comments on slashdot about moving away from Linux, so I suspect I'm not the only one asking these questions. Use-case wise, my list of must haves is: Minecraft, and probably more dubiously, FTB; mplayer or equivalent (very much prefer mplayer as it's what I've used forever); VirtualBox or something equivalent; Firefox (like mplayer, it's just what I've always used, and while I would consider alternatives, that would definitely be a negative); Flash (I hate it, but browsing the web sans-flash is still a pain); OpenRA (this is the one I anticipate giving me the most trouble, but playing it is somewhat of an obsession).

Stuff that would be nice but I can live without: Full disk encryption; Openbox / XFCE (It's what I use now and would like to keep using, but I could probably switch to something else without too much grief); jackd/rakarrack or something equivalent (currently use my computer as a cheap guitar amp/effects stack); Qt (toolkit of choice for my own stuff).
What's the most painless way to transition to BSD for this constellation of uses, and which variety of BSD would you suggest?
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Ask Slashdot: Workaday Software For BSD On the Desktop?

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  • by Pope Hagbard ( 3897945 ) on Thursday November 20, 2014 @02:58PM (#48428733) Journal

    It's basically a respin of FreeBSD with some packages preinstalled and a nice desktop from the get-go. It includes Firefox and Flash in a default install, works as a VirtualBox guest and host, there's a Java implementation for your Minecraft fix, and there's good documentation.

    You can also choose between several DEs and WMs, such as KDE, Cinnamon, FVWM, Xfce, and many others.

    • by Bengie ( 1121981 ) on Thursday November 20, 2014 @03:50PM (#48429199)
      PC-BSD is just a wrapper on top of FreeBSD. Their installer supports upgrading an existing FreeBSD install or even doing naked FreeBSD only install. highly recommended
    • While PC-BSD would work for a lot of people who want a desktop, it didn't work for me. There was simply too much cruft. I installed FreeBSD 10.1 and am much happier with it than I was with PC-BSD.

      The problem with PC-BSD is not the system, but the add-ons installed-by-default things that I don't want, like the control panel, or the software centre. Now, I could have simply uninstalled those things but I wasn't sure what dependencies existed that might kill my install. With FreeBSD it is all terminal only, u

    • He says he's a Gentoo user. He doesn't need "FreeBSD with some packages preinstalled", he just needs to know that they're there.

    • I'm looking for a small desktop BSD, something that runs Xorg and fits in a GB or less of disk, so I can run multiples of them as virtual machines. I need some kind of browser that can run YouTube, plus ssh, and otherwise I don't much care what it does, but small disk is good.

  • FreeBSD (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 20, 2014 @02:58PM (#48428741)

    Just go with FreeBSD. It's the one with most broad hardware support and easiest to transition from Linux. The major desktop projects (KDE, XFCE, GNOME (probably not any more) try to have FreeBSD support as their priority. Less so for the other BSDs.

    OpenBSD and NetBSD have their pluses, and excel in their respective areas. I think that after getting used to FreeBSD, you will have an easier time with OpenBSD on your firewall and NetBSD on your toaster :P

  • off chance (Score:4, Interesting)

    by NikeHerc ( 694644 ) on Thursday November 20, 2014 @03:08PM (#48428817)
    I have been a huge supporter of Linux since I brought up my first Linux box in September of 1996. I sneaked Linux onto the raised floor of a multi-billion dollar Fortune 500 company in about 1998. By the time I left that job, RHEL was the preferred O.S. with well over 200 (virtual + physical) systems in use.

    On the off chance that someone in a position of authority over Linux development reads this, you people are cutting your own throats with lunacy such as systemd and networkmanager.

    Like the original poster, I am starting to look for alternatives to Linux.
    • by matria ( 157464 )

      Why am I not seeing anything about the Solaris clones like Illumos/OpenIndiana? I've had great fun playing with OpenIndiana. This from three years ago might help address the OP's questions http://viritxian.deviantart.co... [deviantart.com]

    • by ruir ( 2709173 )
      Amen, I used Linux and promoted it in a lot of places, and still am the one that put Debian here, but I will go back to FreeBSD after all those years. I once left FreeBSD because the alternative was more open, had more choice and specially because it had a better package management system, but after all those years, these reasons are disappearing. And oddly enough, every single time you talk about this, there comes an idiot insulting you, or trying to diminish your talk dragging you with him in the mud.
  • by MacTO ( 1161105 ) on Thursday November 20, 2014 @03:25PM (#48428963)

    If most of your applications are open source, switching to BSD will be fairly straight forward on that front. That's particularly since you're coming from Gentoo (i.e. you'll probably have to compile a lot of the software that you want to run under BSD).

    The biggest hurdles are going to be the sorts of things that a generic question cannot address. Is your hardware compatible with the version of BSD that you've selected? Unlike Linux, where everyone is using the same kernel and has almost the same access to kernel modules, different implementations of BSD use different kernels. As such, selecting an implementation depends as much on low level details as it does on the userspace. (While I've pointed out hardware compatibility, any feature that is found in the kernel needs consideration.)

    Another consideration is whether you're comfortable with managing BSD systems. Unlike hardware support, this is difficult to assess objectively. Some people like the core OS being a unified system that you update all at once. Other people like the piecemeal approach of Linux. Keep in mind that the core OS could mean everything from the kernel, to development tools, to the X server. (It does vary a bit from implementation to implementation.)

    You will also run into a bunch of stuff that you'll have to relearn, particularly if you're accustomed to working in the shell. Software packaging and installation is the first one you'll bump into, but BSD also has it's own set of utilities. Some of these utilities are quite similar to the GNU utilities, but the extended functionality is quite different.

    If you want to switch to BSD, I suggest doing it on a secondary computer first. If you run into specific issues, ask specific questions. Odds are that those issues can be resolved, but it will take time to sort through all of them. BSD can be an immense pleasure to use, but it involves a lot more than which applications are and aren't available.

    • you'll probably have to compile a lot of the software that you want to run under BSD wrong Unlike Linux, where everyone is using the same kernel oh god youre funny As such, selecting an implementation depends as much on low level details as it does on the userspace. don't even know wtf you're saying
  • ...think you wouldn't be able to find a modern browser, media player or window manager for FreeBSD; Firefox, mplayer and XFCE are all available there. It's as if you think the BSD family is something completely different and incompatible with the rest of the UNIX world.
  • FreeBSD (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    FreeBSD is the fastest, easiest to use and most widely supported option you will find. You can run any program that you can run on Linux, you'll never have to worry about running out of RAM due to FreeBSD's advanced memory optimization algorithms, and installing software is a cinch. You have two ways to do everything, and you don't have to worry about being locked in to the vendor's way of using the software that's available to you, because FreeBSD gives you all the control you could want. Additionally Free

  • by Noryungi ( 70322 ) on Thursday November 20, 2014 @03:29PM (#48429001) Homepage Journal

    Both OpenBSD and NetBSD come with XFCE, OpenBox, Firefox, mplayer (or equivalent). NetBSD pkgsrc may be a bit closer to Gentoo than OpenBSD ports/packages, but both are excellent package systems. You may get more games with NetBSD, including Minecraft and others but I haven't checked, so don't quote me on this.

    If you are used to Gentoo, picking one or the other should not be too difficult, but OpenBSD, while a bit picky when it comes to hardware, is also a bit easier to use: if a piece of harware is supported, it is supported. Period. NetBSD often requires compiling a specific kernel to add this or that peripheral. OpenBSD usually supports everything out of the box, as long as it is in its harware compatibility list. Plus, there is this schweet schweet security goodness, now with LibreSSL gooey core!

    Here is a quick example: I have had a motherboard die on me. I just ripped off the main HDD out, put it into a slightly different machine, and OpenBSD just picked up the harware changes, reconfigured, checked the filesystems and worked without making a fuss. I have used OpenBSD for many years in a second-hand laptop, where everything was supported, and it was a pleasure to use as my main machine. The update procedure is quick and easy, and a new version of the OS comes out every 6 months like clockwork.

    So there you go, hope this helps.

  • by Above ( 100351 ) on Thursday November 20, 2014 @03:33PM (#48429033)

    You don't want to use BSD on the desktop.

    I'm not saying you can't, all the usual stuff is in FreeBSD ports, there are distributions like PC-BSD that attempt to be good for desktops out of the box. If you really want to make it happen, you can. I've watched many Linux and FreeBSD folks spend countless hours making their desktops work.

    Even going to a hard core sysadmin conference, you're going to see a sea of Mac's, some folks even using Windows, and a smattering of the hard core on Linux desktops. Why? To work with other people in their company or at other companies they need Skype, or WebEx to work. They need Excel to open the quotation for hardware, and flash player to view some mandatory training. They want resource browsing that just works so they can print to a printer in the office.

    The reason BSD is great in the data center is lots of people use it for that. It's a network effect. You're standing on the shoulders of other folks. It's the same reason Windows and OS X dominate the user desktop market, the software you need just works on them, someone else has made it work. If I told you to replace all of your data center servers with Windows 8 boxes you'd probably laugh at me, and yet the opposite question does not provoke the same response!

    So if you want to, try. It can be done, with much blood, sweat, and tears. You might find that fun, if so enjoy! You might work for a small enough company or even just yourself where you can mandate BSD, and LibreOffice and be happy. If so, you are extremely lucky. Otherwise as a long term, die hard, FreeBSD supporter I can tell you from 20+ years experience, you're going to just frustrate yourself.

    • You don't want to use BSD on the desktop.

      I'm not saying you can't, all the usual stuff is in FreeBSD ports, there are distributions like PC-BSD that attempt to be good for desktops out of the box. If you really want to make it happen, you can. I've watched many Linux and FreeBSD folks spend countless hours making their desktops work.

      Even going to a hard core sysadmin conference, you're going to see a sea of Mac's, some folks even using Windows, and a smattering of the hard core on Linux desktops. Why? To work with other people in their company or at other companies they need Skype, or WebEx to work. They need Excel to open the quotation for hardware, and flash player to view some mandatory training. They want resource browsing that just works so they can print to a printer in the office.

      The reason BSD is great in the data center is lots of people use it for that. It's a network effect. You're standing on the shoulders of other folks. It's the same reason Windows and OS X dominate the user desktop market, the software you need just works on them, someone else has made it work. If I told you to replace all of your data center servers with Windows 8 boxes you'd probably laugh at me, and yet the opposite question does not provoke the same response!

      So if you want to, try. It can be done, with much blood, sweat, and tears. You might find that fun, if so enjoy! You might work for a small enough company or even just yourself where you can mandate BSD, and LibreOffice and be happy. If so, you are extremely lucky. Otherwise as a long term, die hard, FreeBSD supporter I can tell you from 20+ years experience, you're going to just frustrate yourself.

      Which is why I run it from a VM in VMware Worksation under Windows 7. There is virtualbox too which is free. I also run turnkey Linux for certain needs where I fire up and appliance for php testing etc. I have a VM for Windows domain controllers and my router is a configured OpenBSD VM with only takes 64 megs of ram for my virtual network for access.

      I do not think it is blaspheme at all to use a real desktop OS like Windows 7 or MacOSX or even Linux if you hate SystemD, but use a vm for your real work to co

  • Seriously? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nine-times ( 778537 ) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Thursday November 20, 2014 @03:36PM (#48429071) Homepage

    Maybe I'm just in a bad mood and being an asshole, but I can't quite wrap my head around this post. "Hi everyone, I'm a random anonymous person on the Internet. For reasons I won't explain, I've decided I don't like Linux, and I want to try BSD. My needs are that I really want to play 3 specific games and run Firefox." I'm not even seeing where he actually asks a question, but timothy wants to know how Mr. Anonymous can fix his undisclosed Linux problems by moving to BSD.

    Well, let's see. First, since you're apparently just running games, who cares what OS you're using? Does your current OS play those games? If yes, keep it. If not, look to see what operating system supports those games, and choose one of those operating systems to try out. Firefox and some kind of view player? I don't think that'll be much of a problem. Somehow the issue of hardware support isn't raised.

    You know what? Use PC-BSD. AFIAK, it's basically the only BSD distribution, aside from Mac OSX, that's specifically targeting desktop use. Or maybe, since you only need a web browser and a couple of games, you should use whatever OS runs those games and stop worrying about it.

  • by david.given ( 6740 ) <dg@c[ ]ark.com ['owl' in gap]> on Thursday November 20, 2014 @03:54PM (#48429241) Homepage Journal

    ...is a Debian userland on top of the BSD kernel. It lets you use all the tools you're used to while also getting all the FreeBSD kernel goodness, like in-kernel ZFS, etc.

    It's still a work in progress and not all packages are built for it, but it works really well and is very pleasant to use; plus you get dpkg and apt.

    Of course, one possible downside is that you don't get the BSD userland, which has a flavour all of its own. Whether you think this is a good thing or a bad thing is purely a matter of personal taste.

  • OSX (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jtara ( 133429 ) on Thursday November 20, 2014 @04:00PM (#48429321)

    | which variety of BSD would you suggest?

    OSX

    • You mean Hackintosh? Since a lot of people like the submitter wouldn't want to buy an expensive Mac just to run their Free OS.
      • by ihtoit ( 3393327 )

        OSX is a Mach microkernel with bits of BSD bolted on. It's not a pure BSD. Neither is it a UNIX. And it'll run on x86/64 (I run it almost daily on my AMD E350).

        There's also an open source variant called "Darwin".

  • by Celarent Darii ( 1561999 ) on Thursday November 20, 2014 @04:07PM (#48429375)

    I've been using BSD for a long time, both in OpenBSD and FreeBSD. FreeBSD is fantastic. I use mostly just plain Xorg and i3 window manager. With emacs, LaTeX and conkeror I can accomplish all that I need to do, and do it efficiently. However you can put as many bells and whistles on your installation as you want. True, you could do that with linux but there are some very important advantages with using FreeBSD:

    1/ ZFS file system. This alone is worth switching to FreeBSD. If you don't know what it is, learn how to use it. What is extremely useful is doing "zfs send" of snapshots to another machine. Need more storage? Just add a disk to the pool. ZFS is very much production grade in FreeBSD 10.1.

    2/ Jails. These are better than VirtualBox in my humble opinion, but they do have a learning curve. The advantage is putting each jail on a zfs filesystem where you can do snapshots of different stages of your application deployment and if something doesn't work you can simply rollback. Yes, I know you can do this with VMWare and the rest but jails allow me to access the filesystem directly in the command line and in general it is much more intuitive for my work habits. Note that you can also install jails of different flavors - for instance a debian jail where you can run everything just like it is on linux.

    VirtualBox works just fine on FreeBSD, but I'll admit I haven't used it much.

    3/ General simplicity of the system. Linux is fastly becoming as non-unix like as possible [though to be fair GNU is Not Unix]. Just a simple install of Ubuntu and you will see tons of processes running that you sometimes wonder what they are all up to. This may provide some utility for some people, but most people will never use those features. In FreeBSD I know exactly what each process is doing and it is very easy to turn off or enable as I desire. FreeBSD provides me control because I know the system, and the system is easier to know because it is much simpler and in my opinion more coherently designed.

    4/ Much better documentation. FreeBSD (and BSD in general) has a good reputation for providing documentation. Almost everything you need is in the handbook. Also there is a lot of stability in the way things are done. Often in Linux the entire manner of doing things is changed from one version to another. Plus there are no monstrosities like NetworkManager which are opaque and not very well documented.

    5/ More secure - a system is only as secure in as much as you know how it is working and what it is doing. In this case FreeBSD is more secure because I know more of what it is doing. With Ubuntu giving web searches every time you try to find a file on your machine, there is just asking for trouble.

    6/ The system is more responsive. FreeBSD simple feels more 'alive' in the sense it is doing only what you want it to do. You don't have to wait for that useless application to stop doing what it is doing because it is not there. You don't need to wait for the indexing of the harddrive to give you back control of the system, as you decide when it should be done, etc. But I think even the UI elements are much smoother even on large desktops like KDE. The scrolling of windows for instance seems much more responsive than it is on linux, but that could be due to all sorts of factors.

    As to your particular needs:
    A/ Minecraft works just fine. http://minecraft.gamepedia.com... [gamepedia.com]
    B/ I have no idea, but an acquaintance tells me it works. In the forums they mention FreeBSD so someone must be using it.
    C/ Mplayer works just fine, but I've seen a lot of people use VLC.
    D/ Firefox works extremely well, though I use Conkeror which is simply a different shell to the same browser.
    E/ Flash works with a multiple of different options.
    F/ No idea to be honest about OpenRA. If there is source code I'm sure you could get it to run. At the very worst there is a linux-emulation layer.
    G/ All the major Desktop Environments are in

    • by ruir ( 2709173 )
      To be fair, I used to be a rookie sysadmin in the BSD land when I switched to Linux. Enduring the crossing of desert with RedHat till I found Debian. In reality I concede over the years Linux overcame much of the bridge of performance that it was lacking from FreeBSD. It is true indeed that it has much more fluff and a lot of strange processes installed, but any half decent sysadmin can control that, and not installing/deactivating them. However, I the death knell for me of Linux is this whole systemd fiasc
  • I've done this myself as an experiment a few weeks ago. With the exception of FTB (the site has a jar file for it, so it'll likely work) everything you mentioned is available in ports. http://www.freshports.org/ [freshports.org]

    There's also a binary packing system (pkg) but packages seem to randomly go missing there. A couple of weeks ago it was Xorg, until yesterday no Firefox. BTW can anyone explain the dynamics behind that?

    The best way to get in is head first, install it on the least fancy PC you have. I'd strong
    • by adri ( 173121 )

      Yeah, I can explain that.

      The current setup replaces the repo each time - and if a package fails to build, all the dependent packages can go away.

      I've had chrome disappear from my freebsd-head install (which i manage with pkg from the test repositories, so as to dogfood our own stuff) and it's generally been because it's been marked as having a security problem and the port wasn't built.

  • by mgmartin ( 580921 ) on Thursday November 20, 2014 @05:12PM (#48429921)
    I just went through this a few days ago. Seems every year or two, I re-visit FreeBSD and ask myself, what would I miss if I switched entirely. A brief description of my encounters with FreeBSD 10.1 this week below:

    1. ZFS cross platform worked beautifully. I have a multi-disk "ZFS on Linux - created" pool. I had no problems importing the pool with FreeBSD. And, as I switched back after running the pool under FreeBSD for a few days, I encountered no issues re-importing the pool under ZFS on Linux.

    2. I have many KVM/qemu VMs. I'd love to run bhyve, but many VMs are Windows. It's not too hard to convert the images to boot up under VirtualBox. VirtualBox under FreeBSD works very well. For managing multiple VMs across several servers, I prefer virt-manager /KVM, but VirtualBox could certainly fill this need.

    3. While copying large vm images, I realized BSD's cp command doesn't support sparse files. One is left to use rsync. There is the linux/compat cp command which does support sparse, however this cp command crashed on me while copying large files.

    4. Minecraft -- It worked great under FreeBSD -- just be sure to follow the directions to point to the correct Java runtime in your Minecraft profile.

    5. I installed serveral other programs I use frequently (some binary installs from pkg and some source compiles): Chromium, Thunderbird, Blender, KDE, Gimp, Kdenlive, LibreOffice, OpenJDK , NVidia driver using a 3-headed display, VLC, MPV, HandBrake, FFMpeg, and others. All these worked fine. For the most part, my FreeBSD desktop was indistinguishable from my Linux desktop.

    6. I set up several NFS4 exported mount points. No issues mounting these from multiple Linux hosts.

    7. Webcam tested no issues. I had to install webcamd and follow the instructions.

    8. Audio tested and worked well out of the box.

    9. VNC server and clients worked fine.

    Overall, I'm -- once again -- very impressed. Setup was fast ( even ports package compiles were very fast ). I'm familiar with FreeBSD, so that helps with the install time. Newcomers should always expect to put in extra time (As mentioned, PCBSD can help get you into a graphical environment quickly, so less of a learning curve). What would I miss if I switched over 100%??? I would miss KVM/virt-manager, native cp support of sparse files, native mkvmerge, and I'd love to get a native Eclipse IDE Luna port., and an intel 7260 Wifi driver. To be fair, I still need to give it more time. I might try again this weekend and coming week, since I'll have some free time. If you enjoy tinkering and learning the details of configuring your OS, FreeBSD is great. For a quick, get-it-up-and-working, PCBSD works very well.
    • by adri ( 173121 )

      (I really should write the damned 7260 driver. Ugh.)

      I didn't realise our cp didn't support sparse files. Would you mind filing a FreeBSD bug about it? We use Bugzilla now, it's not AS bad as GNATS.

      Thanks!

      -a

    • With regards to Eclipse, I've always found its windowing toolkit to be less than satisfactory, and prone to crashes. I don't know whether or not it is even an option for you, but NetBeans (latest version) runs much better on FreeBSD in my experience. Maybe give it a try. At the very least NetBeans is a lot more functional out of the box than Eclipse.

      Now if only JavaFX 2+ would work on FreeBSD I would be a happy man.

  • by rl117 ( 110595 ) <rleigh.codelibre@net> on Thursday November 20, 2014 @05:17PM (#48429961) Homepage

    Also due to "a variety of reasons", I've also been looking at BSD on the desktop. Co-incidentally, I was just trying out the new PC-BSD release in a VirtualBox VM as this article appeared. It gave me a nice KDE desktop and so far looks pretty slick. The other stuff there like the package manager and control panel is enough to give Ubuntu a run for its money. I'll be interested in seeing how good it is in practice after a few weeks of real use.

    Over the last year I've been slowly moving my software away from Linux. It's now mostly on FreeBSD or in the late stages of porting to BSD (adding BSD-specific features e.g. ZFS support, jail support). The desktop is really the only thing I still keep a Debian system around for. My last system will be a GNU/kFreeBSD jail instance on a FreeBSD server. I'll do a bare metal PC-BSD install in a few days and give it a try. If it works nicely, I think my last Debian unstable system will be removed in the near future. I was trying out (since 10.0) the newcons console and radeonkms stuff; mostly worked fine, and now with the new Xorg, no different than with Linux (maybe better, even, due to missing the worst parts of the freedesktoppy crap).

    Linux in general, and Debian in particular, have been the major focus of my life over the last 14-16 years. It's been quite sad to let it go after the amount I've invested into it personally, but with systemd becoming unavoidable in unstable, it's no longer a system I wish to use or develop for, and developing went from being a joy to quite unpleasant. The enthusiasm I had was killed by several years of systemd flamewars and the last sparks were extinguished by bad interactions with a certain number of gnome and systemd people. It was clear over 18 months back this was an inevitable outcome unless something dramatically changed (which hasn't happened), and that my needs, goals and wishes were almost diametrically opposed to the new world order. systemd is the straw which broke the proverbial camel's back. Over the last few months I've had a few bug reports for my software. All due to systemd changing how the system works fairly fundamentally, and yet every upstream is supposed to work around this. This is code which is pretty much just using POSIX features directly out of APUE (Stevens). The lack of care for backward compatibility is unbelievable for such a fundamental part of the system, and altering the behaviour of basic POSIX features even moreso.

    • by ruir ( 2709173 )
      Amen, I also have invested 10-15 years in Debian, and I am also considering to switch. But no, it is not only the present and past. I had a very clear strategy for the future how I wanted to do administration with Linux, and now I will have to think it over. For now I have managed to install Debian 8 servers in my pre-production/testing networking to start exploring it *without* systemd, not without first had to pin to -1 systemd, but I do not have any doubts over the next versions it will become increasin
  • How the hell does this absolute crap get posted?
  • by DMJC ( 682799 ) on Thursday November 20, 2014 @05:47PM (#48430153)
    Seriously. This is getting silly. If people want to flee the main Distro's because they think that Debian is getting stupid. Can they please just fork Debian and improve on it? Apt-get works really well. I just feel that a ton of people are throwing the baby out with the bathwater. The Linux kernel does not mandate systemd. There is no reason to ditch Linux. If the problem is distributions mandating systemd then it is time to start a distro that removes systemd and Gnome. Let's not kid ourselves here. Right now it's Gnome and systemd that are pushing this move on everyone. If people don't like it, they should be looking to fork a distribution and fixing the issue. Maybe brand themselves as a POSIX/SYS-V init Compliant distribution.
    • Damn straight.

      Ian Jackson, if you choose to accept the mission ...

    • I just encountered a link about refracta. It turns out to be absurdly easy to fork Debian, at least for now.

      Refracta is rather close to Debian testing. Its home page
      is http://www.ibiblio.org/refract... [ibiblio.org]

      At http://forums.debian.net/viewt... [debian.net] it is described as
      (for testing, without libsystemd0, it's pinned).

      It even uses the Debian repositories!

      Are there any other forks?

      -- hendrik

    • by ruir ( 2709173 )
      You do not get it. I am in Debian because I did not want to compile things by hand and FreeBSD was too much work compared to Debian. That was a decade ago, after using most of the commercial distros under the sun. But being in Debian because I am lazy does not means I can not go back. I prefer to go back to something more flexible than having a lot of work to sidestep artificial limitations.
  • The answer to all your questions is "it is there". For any future questions of the same kind, go to http://www.freshports.org/ [freshports.org] and search for the package that you want.

  • "...browsing the web sans-flash is still a pain..." Is it? Which sites now require Flash? I recently reinstalled my OS and decided to forgo adding Flash as a little experiment to see how well it would work. I've managed 3 weeks so far without it.

    Positives: YouTube works better in HTML5. Flash-based ads do not appear in uTorrent.
    Negatives: There was some news site where the video wouldn't play, but it's a 50/50 chance whether that was due to Flash or Noscript. In any case, I'm used to those not working, a
  • While I think that most of the posts to use FreeBSD or PC-BSD are spot on, I think I should cover what you shouldn't use in the BSD world due to your requirements.

    My own os, MidnightBSD, does not have virtualbox. The nvidia binary drivers work from FreeBSD on it, but that won't be the case forever.
    MirBSD wouldn't support at lot of the software you mentioned and doesn't have recent java support for minecraft.
    OpenBSD might work, but you would have to check on a few packages.
    NetBSD is probably your next best

  • A few things on that list are where BSD is lagging behind, just like linux is lagging behing on ZFS. Last I looked Virtualbox was not working at all. However with X you don't have to run the software on the same machine and the one you sit in front of.
    There's plenty of stuff where there are linux binaries available but nothing for BSD - however so long as they are 32 bit there's an emulation layer that's pretty solid, even for flaky Adobe stuff or antivirus scanners written to be run on linux. I should g
  • With FreeBSD you've got to be a little bit more picky about the hardware. I can highly recommend using an nVidia video card. This will allow you to get full OpenGL acceleration (for Minecraft) and h264/vc1 acceleration in mplayer with libvdpau (makes sure to build the port manually, as that option is not selected by default). Flash is a little more finicky, as it uses the Linux emulation layer. Fortunately the internet is moving to html5 video which is well supported by Firefox/Chrome on FreeBSD. So youtube

  • Twelve years ago I grew tired of trying to make Linux work on a Desktop. I noticed that when I wanted to have some work done I ended up using Slackware. Slackware uses the BSD init type, instead of SVR4 most of Linux systems were using at that time (and that is now being replaced with an upstart or systemd). I also noticed FreeBSD discussion forums that had simple instructions *that worked* for configuring things like switching keyboard layouts in Xwindow.
    So I have tried FreeBSD 4.something. It worked great

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