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 Post subject: Just Installed FreeBSD
PostPosted: Mon Dec 13, 2010 12:19 am 
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I just installed FreeBSD 8.1 Release on a "new"* computer at home to replace my Sawtooth G4 that I've been using as my web server since around the time God invented dirt. The G4 isn't quite quick enough to comfortably do some of the things that I'd like to do, and it's getting harder to maintain.

On the FreeBSD machine I installed KDE since I didn't have any experience with it. Strictly speaking, I didn't need X11 at all, but I thought I should see what I was missing, and plus it'll probably be useful to open a local terminal window at substantially higher resolution than the standard FreeBSD console.

So far so good. FreeBSD itself is a nice little operating system that I've used a bit in the past. KDE and X11 in general, are more-or-less miserable. They're fine window managers, but aren't very pleasant as soon as you start talking about anything other than windows. Everything is fiddly, brittle, and annoying. The design reminds me of something cobbled together to look sort of a little bit like Windows with a dash of OS X, built on top of X11, which of course it is. There's no cohesive approach to anything at all, and everything feels sort of glued together. I haven't figured out how to get menus to appear at the top of the screen rather than the top of windows...maybe it's not possible, but it slightly ruins any menu-driven interface. Oddly, the biggest thing that jumps out at me visually is the absence of anti-aliasing on most fonts.

On the plus side, KDE4 has some fun screensavers. Also, anything that isn't sort of inherent in the architecture can generally be tweaked, which is nice. I've replaced, for example, the 23rd century ultra futuristic streamlined mouse pointer with one that looks just about the same as the Mac's, which is higher contrast and vaguely comforting.

It should b a great server even with an unnecessary X11 installation. The FreeBSD ports system is excellent and it has been very easy to get all sorts of things and their dependencies installed correctly, on the first try, with minimal fuss. The system is really lovely outside of X11.

Can someone explain to me why Linux is apparently so much more popular than FreeBSD? Sure, I prefer iptables over ipfw, but am I missing something big? Is it just the license? Hype? Friends in high places??

- Anonymous

* Actually a $49 surplus several gigglehurts Pentium something with a discrete PCIe GPU and 80 GB hard drive. I need to upgrade the drive to a mirrored RAID, but 80 GB is plenty of space for my needs.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 13, 2010 12:38 am 
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I think the Linux fanboys can't get over the fact that there's an entire Unix branch out there that doesn't follow SysV conventions. Plus so many of the Linux distributions these days assume that you're going to want a GUI, and rarely lightweight ones at that, and they're installed by default, so an OS that isn't reasonably similar to what they're used to is a fate worse than death. I tried explaining BSD vs. Linux to my boss at work once and he got a glazed look over his eyes, since to him, Unix is Linux because that's all he's ever touched.

If you feel like playing, ArchLinux is kind of interesting. It's Linux, but (I think) startup and runlevels are implemented BSD-style (at least it seemed that way, though I haven't played with a BSD other than OSX in a long time). It's a very roll-your-own distribution though, it dumps you at a CLI after install and you have to figure it out from there. It includes a Debian-esque apt-get replacement though, so installation is relatively painless... though if I remember right there was no way of actually querying for valid package names. Probably a list online someplace.

Also check out the LXDE window manager - it's a less CPU intensive than KDE but (to me at least) looks a lot better. I'm pretty sure you're going to be stuck with menus on windows, though I didn't look too hard.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 13, 2010 3:01 pm 
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Although I never used either system, I've only ever read positive things about FreeBSD.

I'd say that Linux is more popular simply because there's a distro for everybody and their grandma and it's developed faster than FreeBSD. The perception is that there is more happening on the Linux kernel.

Is the Sawtooth being retired or kept for Classic?

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 13, 2010 6:44 pm 
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Avon B7 wrote:
Is the Sawtooth being retired or kept for Classic?

It'll probably be retired but kept for nostalgia.

As for KDE and the eternally imminent "year of Linux on the desktop," you've gotta be kidding. KDE and X11 suck ass as a desktop experience. KDE was clearly designed by programmers and suffers ignominious death of all human interfaces designed by programmers. It's like there's an inescapable gravitational well between pathetic derivative UIs and heaps of glop that could have only been vomited up by a programmer trying to design them. KDE has settled in to that pit of failure, combining the worst impulses of Windows with the friendly efficiency of a Rube Goldberg contraption perched on a landmine. It's just that terrible. It's as cohesive as a pile of marbles: sure they're shiny, but that doesn't mean you should set your glass of beer on them. Seriously, it's a complete mess as far as interacting with the computer goes. Everything is fiddly, awkward, and miserable. Everything you do is like reaching for a shiny animated mousetrap. I'd no more with this upon, say, my grandmother than I'd send her in to unclog a jammed chipper-shredder. Every time I try to do something I'm left, mouth agape, wondering what on Earth they were thinking. I have little patience for Windows, but Windows is like caviar compared to this rotting boiled shoe leather of an interface, excuse me, well polished rotting boiled shoe leather of an interface. Adding a garnish of very fine parsley and delivering it on a silver platter just completely fails get at the real problem. It's a great interface for interacting with the interface, but almost unusably bad as a general tool to interact with the computer. Interfaces are not ends in and of themselves; they're only useful if they let you solve general problems. KDE and X11 are rigid monstrosities built to solve different problems imagined in different eras.

I've thought about this issue for a while and concluded that the X Window System, as the foundation for a good UI, has no future. It'll never work. It can't happen. As long as anyone tries it will fail. Next year will always be the year of "Linux on the deskop," unless people who proclaim these things either all die of old age, or give up in dejected recognition of complete burning hopeless failure.

But I'm happy with FreeBSD.

- Anonymous


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 10, 2013 3:05 pm 
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@anonymous:

I'll offer my less than $.02 opinion . . . I'm with you on the thumb's down for KDE DE, but not for aesthetic reasons, but in PPC Kubuntu desktop systems I would lose windows and the mouse would suddenly stop working--needing a cold reboot to get out of . . . . So, now, in the 'buntu flavors I've got Xubuntu loaded as base with LXDE added to give some options in PPC.

In terms of FreeBSD, on one of the Linux forums, one of the guys who has since been banned there, suggested that for Apple computers and PPC that FreeBSD is the ONLY good option . . . . I tried to figure out how to do the install, but from what I see, it's not like Linux where you can download an .iso . . . burn it to CD/DVD . . . and install. It looked like three different installs? Just didn't have time to figure it out . . . that to me explains why it's not as "popular" as Linux . . . . If it was an easier install I'd be happy to try it out.

e.e.p.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 10, 2013 3:30 pm 
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Seen these?

http://forums.freebsd.org/showthread.ph ... stall.html

http://people.freebsd.org/~grehan/install.html

http://www.freebsd.org/platforms/ppc.html#1


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 10, 2013 4:13 pm 
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BDAqua wrote:


BDAq:

Thanks for that, looks like a little more instruction on the install, but doesn't make it look any easier to do . . . . But, if I get my iMac revived from near extinction I might try to learn how to get the FreebSD system installed . . . sounds interesting, probably a heck of a lot more stable than Linux . . . but difficult . . . .

e.e.p.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 10, 2013 4:26 pm 
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Yeah, doesn't sound easy as such, but once done seems it'd work... yet to try myself.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 10, 2013 7:37 pm 
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I didn't have too much trouble installing it. On my personal system, the install worked after only two tries! And although I didn't try installing it on a PowerPC system, there is a bootable PowerPC ISO for it available from this page. That said, there's plenty of room for the installation to go wrong, but it's been long enough since I last did it that I don't remember exactly where I ran in to problem.

- Anonymous


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 10, 2013 7:57 pm 
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@anonymous:

Cool, thanks for sharing that, I might have that data . . . but it looks like the .iso is for powerpc64, which might be for 64 bit??? . . . and usually the powerpc older computers are 32 bit? But, the .iso is still a partial aspect of the whole process, the issue with not having gparted as part of the installer . . . is kind of a "problem" . . . or increases the steps to do in the process . . . .

e.e.p.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 10, 2013 8:27 pm 
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Yeah, you'll need to handle the partitioning separately unless you want to completely erase the drive. On my system I didn't have any interest in dual booting, so handling the partitioning was simple enough.

As for the 64-bit question, didn't notice that. You could try this link. 32-bit PowerPC is a "tier 2" system, which means that it's sort of second in line for the full release testing and treatment, or as they put it, "tier 2 platforms are not supported by the security officer and release engineering teams."

- Anonymous


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2013 7:15 am 
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@anonymous:

Thanks, yeah, from my memory of looking thru the options for my PPC computers, "tier two" is my choice . . . not enough capacity for 64 bit. Might be a rainy day project . . . few other things to do first.

e.e.p.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 12, 2013 3:28 am 
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Anonymous wrote:
Avon B7 wrote:
Is the Sawtooth being retired or kept for Classic?

It'll probably be retired but kept for nostalgia.....

is there anything worth selling out of it like 512MB Ramchips and a fast(er) than 450mhz CPU???

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