FreeBSD II.

Oh wow, do people really use that OS? I have tested some of the window manager packages and only dwm 9wm and fluxbox seemed to work out of the box. As far as I have looked no windows manager registers itself in /usr/local/share/xsessions. So what you cant do is install GDM, install a bunch of window managers – and then switch quickly between them. The lack of quality reminds me a bit on Sabayon Linux. I guess the non-desktop related stuff must be much better. Otherwise I cant understand why anybody wants to use it. Or maybe people onyl use selected stuff which then is working better. Also when i reset Xorg with Ctrl-Alt-Del sometimes the xserver takes minutes to reload.

From the file infrastructure its a bit weird that afaik only FreeBSD plants home directories under /usr – which stands for user usable libraries and executables, which by definition of the filesystem hierarchy standard should be read-only.

So far one things is clear to me, that is that I wont stick with that OS. If I talk a bit more about Conary and Foresight – its not that I am satisfied with both, but at least I can easily make my own packages – and even consider making a small conary based distro myself. Mainly for testing purposes. As a first stage I like to build a minimum Linux with conary packages using the Linux from Scratch guide.I know, I know – we already have 400+x distros out there. But maybe many of them were created out of curiosity. I am not knowing how far I will go. I am just a bit frustrated to work with a lot of predefined decisions and packages where I dont really know why they were chosen. That way you cant understand the considerations. Sometimes you got to make your own experience and learn the hard way by making errors – and also you might already find out that you may find new ways   to do things because you rethought thinks from a new perspective. So going down a road does not mean you have to go till the dead end – you can slo decide to go back into a main road and contribute your experiences to other projects. (haha now that sounds nice, doesnt it? )

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4 Comments

Filed under Free Software

4 responses to “FreeBSD II.

  1. Actually, lots of us use FreeBSD, and on the desktop even. It’s been my primary desktop OS since I ditched Windows 2000 years ago. I currently run Gnome, although I’ve had KDE, Xfce, Blackbox, and others working in the past as well.

    FreeBSD’s file hierarchy actually makes a lot of sense, far more than Linux’s. Not sure what you’re talking about… nowhere in your referenced article does it say that /usr should be read-only, and FreeBSD has /home as symlinks to users’ home directories under /usr. Considering that site defines /usr as “Secondary hierarchy for user data”, user home directories also fit the bill. Part of the reason for the differences is that, unlike Linux, FreeBSD has a well-defined “base system” versus “userland”. That’s why config files for base system programs are in /etc while for anything installed in ports they are in /usr/local/etc. FreeBSD’s file hierarchy is very strict and consistent (and the most “Unix-like”), while Linux will vary from distro to distro.

    Regardless, the structure is well-defined and documented:

    http://www.freebsd.org/doc/en_US.ISO8859-1/books/handbook/dirstructure.html

  2. You always write Linux vs. FreeBSD – actually I dont see that. I am a big fan of OpenBSD and I dont see that OpenBSD and FreeBSD are very similar. In file hierachy sense OpenBSD is more near to Linux than to FreeBSD.

    About read-only: http://www.pathname.com/fhs/pub/fhs-2.3.html#THEUSRHIERARCHY
    “/usr is shareable, read-only data.”

    Well and about Linux varying file locations: Sure – FreeBSD doesnt very in itself – but it varies a lot to other BSDs. On Linuxes all configurations are in /etc – it mostly only varies on distro specific files. But even on BSDs you dont find two distros where “pkg_add” behaves the same, although they all have the same ancestor – but in Linux rpm and dpkg commands behave the same. Why I was so critical? Because so many people tell me how stable and clean FreeBSD is – but from my experience it isnt really the case. I believe – from what I have read that this was true for FreeBSD till release 4 maybe. Right now the only really nice BSD that I have tested is OpenBSD, especially the documentation is the greatest I have ever seen.

    BTW: I dont see file hierarchy as a really big issue – I just see that FreeBSD seems to be the only free Unix that seems to ignore FHS. Which makes it less easy to get comfortable with.

  3. Personally I’ve used FreeBSD as a desktop since about 1996 and it’s great.

    I’ve been using ubuntu at work lately and I think all the criticisms are probably valid – if you want your apps to interfere with each other, your config files to all be generated for you and mostly work ok and so on.

    On the other hand from the point of view of having everything work very cleanly and nicely it’s far easier in the long run with BSD. At least I think so, and I still run Solaris, OSX, Linux and even the odd Windows setup.

    A bit more initial nurture is required for FreeBSD, but once it’s done, it can be very nice to use.

    I wouldn’t suggest that the original poster tries it again until perhaps not expecting to find the same features and benefits of his other OS’s.

    It’s good to have the choice I think.

  4. Sorry, but mixing FreeBSD with general BSD is just not fair. I would rate OpenBSD as 10x cleaner at least than FBSD.

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