PCBSD(FreeBSD for dummies) vs. Linux

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PCBSD(FreeBSD for dummies) vs. Linux

Postposted on Wed Jan 25, 2012 9:32 pm

I tried PCBSD on one of my towers. It configured itself and worked with all of my hardware, except my sound card. Of course that is an OSS flaw. I've found OSS 4 to be much more robust than PulseAudio or Alsa. I read somewhere that the reason Linux dropped OSS support was because of licensing issues, not inferior technology. PCBSD is pretty cool, and I would swtich to it from Linux if the hardware support was better. I ran it on my machine for almost a week, and rarely ever had to reboot. PCBSD takes forever to boot, but once it's up and running, it's way way way faster than Windows or any flavor of Linux I've used(even with the Liquorix kernel). I would like to see PCBSD pushed as a serious contender in the desktop OS arena. But maybe I'm wrong. I only used it for about a week. Maybe there are some serious flaws with it.
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Re: PCBSD(FreeBSD for dummies) vs. Linux

Postposted on Wed Jan 25, 2012 10:18 pm

Disclaimer: I've been using Linux whenever possible since about 2000.

Now onto my comments: I saw a demo of PCBSD last year from one of the project's promoters and it looked like a pretty nice project. I've heard (but don't quote me) that you can even get some proprietary drivers for Nvidia video cards so you can take advantage of your hardware. Additionally, most if not all of the open-source projects out there are either in the ports tree or are easy to get compiled. Your issue with the sound card is one big thing that might make people choose Linux instead. The level of hardware support in Linux has expanded *greatly* since I really started relying on it over 10 years ago, and the much-smaller BSD community doesn't have the resources to give the same level of support.

So overall it sounds like an interesting alternative. You can be a true rebel against those mainstream Linux sellouts :wink:
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Re: PCBSD(FreeBSD for dummies) vs. Linux

Postposted on Wed Jan 25, 2012 10:41 pm

PCBSD would be a great alternative(In my opinion anyway), if the hardware support was there. PCBSD had no problem configuring the proprietary drivers for my NVIDIA GTX 460(fermi). I could probably use the onboard sound on my machine in the meantime until, or if, they get support for my Essence ST sound card. That's the problem with somewhat exotic hardware, lack of support. I also don't like the direction Linux is taking. PulseAudio, Zeitgeist, killing Gnome 2 regardless of protest,(and the Mate fork doesn't seem to be turning out well). It seems financial decisions by Novell, RedHat, and now, Ubuntu, seem to be driving Linux development, instead of true freedom. Now I do know that FreeBSD or PCBSD isn't as, shall we say, open-source and free to change as Linux, but at least they are more honest. Whereas the Linux philosiphy seems to be more of a motto, kind of like Google's "don't be evil", which is a joke to those who are anti-corporate(I'm not anti-corporate, but just trying to make a point). Linux seemed great when I first started using it. But in protest, I would like a good alternative, even if it is more strictly governed, as long as they are honest about it.
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Re: PCBSD(FreeBSD for dummies) vs. Linux

Postposted on Thu Jan 26, 2012 1:31 am

BSD is indeed the true heir to the UNIX throne; but the focus (for non-Windows OSes) has mostly shifted to Linux now, so that's where the latest hardware is best supported. I agree that PulseAudio has issues; it was a total train wreck early on. It has improved quite a bit, but I'm still not particularly happy with the general state of audio on Linux. I think it is pretty safe to say that OSS is an "also ran" at this point though... ALSA and PulseAudio are the path forward.

You say "I ran it on my machine for almost a week, and rarely ever had to reboot".... but that's not impressive at all. Any modern OS on decent hardware should be able to do that.
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Re: PCBSD(FreeBSD for dummies) vs. Linux

Postposted on Thu Jan 26, 2012 8:42 am

The BSDs are more free than Linux, the BSD license has fewer restrictions than the GPL.

The BSDs typically have fewer resources developing them than Linux so they tend to lag behind Linux in functionality and features.

I'm surprised when you say it was faster than Linux. Most UNIX variants are good at getting out of the way of the user program and letting it run, unless you are talking about desktop responsiveness - that may be due to the smaller amount of stuff and fewer wizzy effects running in a BSD desktop compared with a Linux desktop.
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Re: PCBSD(FreeBSD for dummies) vs. Linux

Postposted on Thu Jan 26, 2012 1:03 pm

moresmarterthanspock wrote:I tried PCBSD on one of my towers. It configured itself and worked with all of my hardware, except my sound card. Of course that is an OSS flaw. I've found OSS 4 to be much more robust than PulseAudio or Alsa. I read somewhere that the reason Linux dropped OSS support was because of licensing issues, not inferior technology. PCBSD is pretty cool, and I would swtich to it from Linux if the hardware support was better. I ran it on my machine for almost a week, and rarely ever had to reboot. PCBSD takes forever to boot, but once it's up and running, it's way way way faster than Windows or any flavor of Linux I've used(even with the Liquorix kernel). I would like to see PCBSD pushed as a serious contender in the desktop OS arena. But maybe I'm wrong. I only used it for about a week. Maybe there are some serious flaws with it.


FreeBSD is a nice *ix. I like it better then Linux. It's well laid out, well documented, and it just makes more sense to me. Plus it's pure Unix, which is something you don't get when messing around with the Red Hat or Debian flavor of Linux.

I haven't tried PC-BSD in a while. I used to prefer DesktopBSD over PC-BSD, but DesktopBSD is defunct now. My problem was the old programs in the pbi repo and compiling from ports would break stuff. I'm not sure if this has changed, but I should find out.

The OSS creator shifted to trying to monetize his work and closed OSS development. In response ALSA was created, and yeah, OSS is probably better since the guy who wrote it is a sound geek.

The only serious flaw is that it's FreeBSD based, which means you'd be a smaller minority in the UX minority, and Adobe will never port Flash.

moresmarterthanspock wrote:Now I do know that FreeBSD or PCBSD isn't as, shall we say, open-source and free to change as Linux, but at least they are more honest. ... I would like a good alternative, even if it is more strictly governed, as long as they are honest about it.


FreeBSD is just as open and free to change as Linux. The FreeBSD code repos are open to anyone.

If you mean how the community engineers it more then Linux, yes, they try to pick a technology that will solve the problem and be viable in the future. This is a consequence of being a smaller community and Unix heritage. They're just as open to contributions, some will argue more open since one person does not own the kernel, but they have a reputation for being more insular and demanding of code.

just brew it! wrote:I think it is pretty safe to say that OSS is an "also ran" at this point though... ALSA and PulseAudio are the path forward.


The path forward for Linux.

notfred wrote:The BSDs typically have fewer resources developing them than Linux so they tend to lag behind Linux in functionality and features.

I'm surprised when you say it was faster than Linux. Most UNIX variants are good at getting out of the way of the user program and letting it run, unless you are talking about desktop responsiveness - that may be due to the smaller amount of stuff and fewer wizzy effects running in a BSD desktop compared with a Linux desktop.


Hardware support, yes. Functionality and features, yes and no. It lags behind Linux because everyone references technologies that come from Linux rather then looking at the native FreeBSD technologies. Graphics are it's biggest failing right now, and that's mainly because FreeBSD focuses on servers.

It's been known for a while Linux isn't tuned for responsiveness or low latency, so with a different scheduler and different everything else under Xorg it's possible PC-BSD is more responsive.
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Re: PCBSD(FreeBSD for dummies) vs. Linux

Postposted on Thu Jan 26, 2012 2:58 pm

That is how I should have stated it. More responsive. PCBSD took quite a bit longer to boot than Linux does, for me anyway. But once on the desktop, opening a window, or running a program was pretty much instant. I'm going to build a new desktop, since my old one was fried in a lightening storm(Idaho gets pretty bad thunderstorms), and I've been using a loaner for about a year now. It's an old HP Pavilion with a Core 2 Duo E4400 running at 2 Ghz. Anyway, PCBSD, everything opens and runs in a snap, whereas in any distro of Linux I've used, there is a bit of a lag when opening windows and program, at least on this machine. Also, I was very impressed at how self-aware PCBSD seemed to be. In linux, every time I install the proprietary NVIDIA drivers, it always tells you to reboot the machine. In PCBSD, it installed the proprietary NVIDIA drivers, and automatically restarted the X server, without having to reboot the whole machine. I was pretty impressed by that, which probably means i need to get outside more.
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Re: PCBSD(FreeBSD for dummies) vs. Linux

Postposted on Thu Jan 26, 2012 4:51 pm

notfred wrote:The BSDs typically have fewer resources developing them than Linux so they tend to lag behind Linux in functionality and features.

Don't forget about Darwin (currently based on FreeBSD 5) http://goo.gl/hrKu7
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Re: PCBSD(FreeBSD for dummies) vs. Linux

Postposted on Thu Jan 26, 2012 5:37 pm

If apple would lower their prices, I would consider getting a mac. However, anything you can do with a mac, you can do with Windows or Linux. You just do it differently. I can't justify spending so much money on a mac, when all it is is a PC with a chip in it so OSX will know it's a Mac. Yes, Mac's are nice to use, but they are wayyyyy overpriced.
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Re: PCBSD(FreeBSD for dummies) vs. Linux

Postposted on Thu Jan 26, 2012 6:42 pm

moresmarterthanspock wrote:If apple would lower their prices, I would consider getting a mac. However, anything you can do with a mac, you can do with Windows or Linux. You just do it differently. I can't justify spending so much money on a mac, when all it is is a PC with a chip in it so OSX will know it's a Mac. Yes, Mac's are nice to use, but they are wayyyyy overpriced.


That's not true. You can't look hip and elite at a coffee shop with Windows or Linux. You can't spend more money then you needed to, or only select between strips or no strips as a motif. ;)

I tried OS X, but FreeBSD and Linux worked more like I thought a Unix should. I'll probably get another Mac at some point, because I'm an OS whore like that. It's like the seven year itch. Yeah, it is almost seven years since my last Mac.
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Re: PCBSD(FreeBSD for dummies) vs. Linux

Postposted on Thu Jan 26, 2012 6:53 pm

I had a mac once in college. It was a powerbook G4. It was really small, but quick. The only problem I remember was when I was sitting upstairs in the Student Union building at Boise State University, and cute girls would walk by, smile, and say, "Wow, that is really small." That's not good for a guys ego, even if they did mean the laptop. But it was a good icebreaker, and it did manage to get me a few dates without much effort. :D
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Re: PCBSD(FreeBSD for dummies) vs. Linux

Postposted on Thu Jan 26, 2012 8:59 pm

Flatland_Spider wrote:I tried OS X, but FreeBSD and Linux worked more like I thought a Unix should.


OSX is a Unix, though; it's got the certification and everything. :P
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Re: PCBSD(FreeBSD for dummies) vs. Linux

Postposted on Thu Jan 26, 2012 9:29 pm

OSX is pretty tightly tuned thought. Log into the terminal in OSX, and it's easy to break your install. I was always reinstalling OSX on my PowerBook G4, because I was always messing around in the terminal. I did find a way to get rid of the apple logo during boot and watch all of the services start up, just like in Unix. Of course, Apple, didn't design OSX to have people tinkering around in the terminal.
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Re: PCBSD(FreeBSD for dummies) vs. Linux

Postposted on Fri Jan 27, 2012 1:11 am

moresmarterthanspock wrote:OSX is pretty tightly tuned thought. Log into the terminal in OSX, and it's easy to break your install. I was always reinstalling OSX on my PowerBook G4, because I was always messing around in the terminal. I did find a way to get rid of the apple logo during boot and watch all of the services start up, just like in Unix. Of course, Apple, didn't design OSX to have people tinkering around in the terminal.

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Re: PCBSD(FreeBSD for dummies) vs. Linux

Postposted on Fri Jan 27, 2012 1:32 am

True, that was almost 10 years ago and I have brushed up on *nix skills since then. I even know how configure Pulseaudio in gedit now and disable IPv6 during boot in Linux. I have even compiled and installed ALSA from source. :) I know that isn't much, but still, pretty good for a redneck for Idaho. durp dee derp. Yeehaw! Oh, and I have never taken a programming class in my life of any kind. Yet I do remember reading the DOS 5.0 manual, and learning to write batch files, which are basically very simple scripts. :-?
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Re: PCBSD(FreeBSD for dummies) vs. Linux

Postposted on Fri Jan 27, 2012 1:53 am

moresmarterthanspock wrote:If apple would lower their prices, I would consider getting a mac. However, anything you can do with a mac, you can do with Windows or Linux. You just do it differently. I can't justify spending so much money on a mac, when all it is is a PC with a chip in it so OSX will know it's a Mac. Yes, Mac's are nice to use, but they are wayyyyy overpriced.

I disagree. A MacBook Pro may be more expensive, but it is literally the best notebook hardware on the market, and not by a small margin. The build quality of the unibody chassis is better than any of the plastic models available, which is pretty much the entire PC market. And there simply is not a better trackpad on any other notebook, period. Plus all the little things, like the backlit keyboard with auto-dimming, the auto-dimming display, the magsafe power adapter, etc. Put it all together, and it's clear that it's built out of higher quality components, which justify a higher price.

Now, I totally understand cost-benefit analysis, and if a PC fits your bill for a cheaper price, then that's perfectly sensible. But MacBook's are not THAT much more, and they have a clearly evident superiority in build quality that justifies a higher price.

You might try getting a refurbished model, or getting a used one off CraigsList.
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Re: PCBSD(FreeBSD for dummies) vs. Linux

Postposted on Fri Jan 27, 2012 3:58 am

Buub wrote:I disagree. A MacBook Pro may be more expensive, but it is literally the best notebook hardware on the market, and not by a small margin. The build quality of the unibody chassis is better than any of the plastic models available, which is pretty much the entire PC market. And there simply is not a better trackpad on any other notebook, period. Plus all the little things, like the backlit keyboard with auto-dimming, the auto-dimming display, the magsafe power adapter, etc. Put it all together, and it's clear that it's built out of higher quality components, which justify a higher price.

Now, I totally understand cost-benefit analysis, and if a PC fits your bill for a cheaper price, then that's perfectly sensible. But MacBook's are not THAT much more, and they have a clearly evident superiority in build quality that justifies a higher price.

The "unibody" MB Pros do look sleek, svelte, and beautifully built brand new but from what I've seen, they don't hold up as well over time compared with well-constructed plastic laptops. Bumps and dings that are inevitable for computers on the go accumulate on aluminum until seams no longer line up perfectly and corners are noticeably distorted while composites flex and bounce back into shape. Granted, with some of the examples I'm thinking of, their owners aren't the most careful types but, still, a more expensive machine should look at least as good as cheaper ones a couple years down the road without any special treatment.

For what it's worth, I own a 15" MacBook Pro of the current design and a pair of Windows laptops.
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Re: PCBSD(FreeBSD for dummies) vs. Linux

Postposted on Fri Jan 27, 2012 9:42 am

bthylafh wrote:
Flatland_Spider wrote:I tried OS X, but FreeBSD and Linux worked more like I thought a Unix should.


OSX is a Unix, though; it's got the certification and everything. :P


It is. I just don't think it particularly acts like one with it's binary configs and non-X11 GUI. Dang kids today.... :)

malicious wrote:...they don't hold up as well over time compared with well-constructed plastic laptops. Bumps and dings that are inevitable for computers on the go accumulate on aluminum until seams no longer line up perfectly and corners are noticeably distorted while composites flex and bounce back into shape.


My 12" G4 PowerBook met it's end when my roommate caught the cord on his foot and pulled it off the desk. It bent the frame where the battery is located, and it was never able to run off the battery after that. I still have it, and it still runs off of the powercord. It's a hassle resetting the clock every time though, and it's slow.
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Re: PCBSD(FreeBSD for dummies) vs. Linux

Postposted on Fri Jan 27, 2012 9:53 am

malicious wrote:The "unibody" MB Pros do look sleek, svelte, and beautifully built brand new but from what I've seen, they don't hold up as well over time compared with well-constructed plastic laptops. Bumps and dings that are inevitable for computers on the go accumulate on aluminum until seams no longer line up perfectly and corners are noticeably distorted while composites flex and bounce back into shape. Granted, with some of the examples I'm thinking of, their owners aren't the most careful types but, still, a more expensive machine should look at least as good as cheaper ones a couple years down the road without any special treatment.

For what it's worth, I own a 15" MacBook Pro of the current design and a pair of Windows laptops.


What seams? There are none. Its the cover on the bottom and the glass/rubber seam around the screen and thats it...
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Re: PCBSD(FreeBSD for dummies) vs. Linux

Postposted on Fri Jan 27, 2012 9:54 am

Flatland_Spider wrote:
just brew it! wrote:I think it is pretty safe to say that OSS is an "also ran" at this point though... ALSA and PulseAudio are the path forward.

The path forward for Linux.

...and when it comes to Open Source *NIX implementations, Linux appears to be the path forward. :wink:

Yes, I understand that BSD is technically superior in many ways, and has a more flexible license. What BSD doesn't have is the large (and still expanding) community of users and developers, or *any* device driver support to speak of for new devices from hardware manufacturers. Other than OS X (which is essentially a proprietary fork...) BSD will find it very difficult to ever get more than a tiny slice of what is already a niche market.
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Re: PCBSD(FreeBSD for dummies) vs. Linux

Postposted on Fri Jan 27, 2012 12:41 pm

It seems financial decisions by Novell, RedHat, and now, Ubuntu, seem to be driving Linux development, instead of true freedom. Now I do know that FreeBSD or PCBSD isn't as, shall we say, open-source and free to change as Linux, but at least they are more honest.


This sort of ideological distraction isn't helping things much, IMHO. I'm not so sure the assertions would stand much inspection, either. I don't know what is meant by "true freedom" in this context, either, but I do know that "true" in front of things like freedom ranks up there with "people's republic" as something worth close inspection and scepticism.

BSD lost out because, at the time, it was too 'proprietary' and Linus couldn't pick it up and run with it.

The reason Apple went towards BSD rather than Linux is also interesting, especially in regards to that "true freedom" and anti-market ethos quoted.

As for the pseudo "vs" thing in the thread title, that depends upon context. If you are an end user, hardware compatibility and support are probably the major factors and Linux has it there. If you are a company with a protectionist bent like Apple, then BSD probably has the edge due to its licensing. If you are a student of operating systems, algorithms, and such things, then you have nice comparison and contrast between the two as a laboratory.

I think it would be also a good idea not to forget the GNU project and what it contributes to both. There is the kernel and then there is all the stuff that makes it useful and provides a common set of capabilities and functions in a consistent manner. In many respects, the BSD vs Linux issue is really only a minor part of the entire software set being compared.
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Re: PCBSD(FreeBSD for dummies) vs. Linux

Postposted on Fri Jan 27, 2012 4:37 pm

just brew it! wrote:...and when it comes to Open Source *NIX implementations, Linux appears to be the path forward. :wink:

What BSD doesn't have is the large (and still expanding) community of users and developers, or *any* device driver support to speak of for new devices from hardware manufacturers. Other than OS X (which is essentially a proprietary fork...) BSD will find it very difficult to ever get more than a tiny slice of what is already a niche market.


That is true. Linux has become the de facto Unix for the 21st century. It has won the most mindshare and subsequently reached critical mass. It's even reached cultural significance and become a buzzword. My Dad knows what Linux is, and he's a retired newspaper publisher who I don't talk tech with.

It's true most major applications are written for Linux these days and then get ported. That's not saying the BSDs are dying. They still have very health communities, and they are gaining exposure because of Linux. They're getting DRI and KMV because people want to run it as a desktop as an alternative to Linux. In 2006 those two technologies was just a pipe dreams.

There are new drivers all the time. Just not from manufacturers, which is better for the alt OS ecosystem.

The BSDs may never challenge Linux, but I don't think they are going anywhere.

bryanl wrote:
It seems financial decisions by Novell, RedHat, and now, Ubuntu, seem to be driving Linux development, instead of true freedom. Now I do know that FreeBSD or PCBSD isn't as, shall we say, open-source and free to change as Linux, but at least they are more honest.


This sort of ideological distraction isn't helping things much, IMHO. I'm not so sure the assertions would stand much inspection, either. I don't know what is meant by "true freedom" in this context, either, but I do know that "true" in front of things like freedom ranks up there with "people's republic" as something worth close inspection and scepticism.


The way to steer GPL projects is to contribute the most code, and the Big Vendors steer Linux with code and money.

In this context, freedom means not being beholden to corporate interests and having the ability to engineer the best overall solution. Rather then engineering the solution that best fits the goals of the corporation. Of course, the BSDs have their share of corporate sponsors too; they're just less visible.

BSD lost out because, at the time, it was too 'proprietary' and Linus couldn't pick it up and run with it.


It helps that Linux is a SysV clone, and it was picked by industry early on to replace Unix. DEC was a very early supporter, like version 1.0 or so.

I think it would be also a good idea not to forget the GNU project and what it contributes to both. There is the kernel and then there is all the stuff that makes it useful and provides a common set of capabilities and functions in a consistent manner. In many respects, the BSD vs Linux issue is really only a minor part of the entire software set being compared.


GNU is slowly being phased out of in favor of a BSD userland for the BSDs, so it's importance is decreasing. Eventually, they BSDs may be the more important FOSS project to the wider OS universe since their insistence on good engineering practices and liberal license makes reusing code possible. For instance, the wireless drivers in FreeBSD, which originated in OpenBSD, have been ported to OpenSolaris and Haiku, and the BSD TCP/IP stack has been used by many other operating systems. The stable BSD interfaces allow for code reuse in other projects while the unstable Linux interfaces encourage contributions to Linux. Neither way is wrong or right. It just depends on what the goal is. The BSD way is better for code reuse as well as software as a whole, and the Linux way is better for Linux.

Linux is kind of moving in the direction of stable interfaces by freezing them with an LTS kernel, but they'll still tell you to commit code to make sure everything works a the next release.
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