Greg Helledy on 18 Feb 2015 13:21:49 -0800

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Re: [PLUG] PLUG West - "systemd: The Anti-BusyBox" by Rich Freeman

I downloaded a VMWare image of PC-BSD 10.1.1 yesterday and played around with it a little. Subjectively, I'd describe it as being like using a linux distribution from 10 years ago: things were fundamentally there, but I ran into rough spots.

*the download didn't provide a .vmx file, only a .vmdk. I had to look up how to tell VMWare Player I wanted to create a new VM and install my own OS, then delete the virtual hard drive it created and tell it I wanted to use the .vmdk as the hard drive.

*the apps unique to PC-BSD (app store, configuration utilities) have the feel of linux 10 years ago. Not visually polished, choices run off the edges of fields, etc. Not an obstacle to use but the type of thing that would make a nontechnical user lack confidence.

*I was notified by Player that I should install VMWare Tools. When I configured the VM, I told Player it was FreeBSD, since there was no PC-BSD choice and I'd read that PC-BSD is essentially FreeBSD. All clicking the "install" button did was download a compressed file, which I extracted, read the directions, and ran the script. The script failed saying I needed to install a "compat6x-amd64" package. I could not find one using the app store. After researching online, I managed to do the equivalent of "apt-get install compat6x-amd64" and it worked. I ran the install script again and it failed because of some incompatibility with X configuration files. I tried opting out of host/guest file sharing and drag-and-drop file transfer, but the install still failed. So I never got VMWare Tools installed. For those not familiar, it's not technically essential but does make using a VM much easier. Maybe there's a PC-BSD version of VMWare Tools that would work, and maybe I'd have had a better experience using VirtualBox, but I felt like I wasted a lot of time on this. *When I logged in, there was no panel on my KDE screen. The panel is the thing at the bottom of the screen where the application launcher ("start" button) and buttons for each running application sits. I tried adding a panel, and could add one at the top, left or right edge of the screen, but not at the simply disappeared when I tried. I tried mousing all over in case there was a panel with autohide turned on, but couldn't find one. So I settled for a panel at the top of the screen.

On a positive note, applications chosen from the app store do seem to install and run correctly. The KDE applications I tried run just like on linux. So, as I wrote at the beginning, the guts seem to be there but I was left with the feeling that using PC-BSD 10.1.1 I'd be reverting to where I'd be sailing along and need to do something new and it wouldn't work as described, I'd be left scratching my head at an error on the CLI.

The versions of Linux Mint I'm using are supported through 2017 and 2019, so I'm in no hurry. I do think it would be great if BSD can be more polished by then, to offer people who don't like systemd a choice.

Greg Helledy
GRA, Incorporated
P:  +1 215-884-7500
F:  +1 215-884-1385

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