PC-BSD 1.3 RC1 review

by rbytes.net on

PC-BSD distribution has as its goals to be an easy-to-install-and-use desktop operating system, based on FreeBSD

License: BSD License
File size: 684154K
Developer: PC-BSD
0 stars award from rbytes.net

PC-BSD distribution has as its goals to be an easy-to-install-and-use desktop operating system, based on FreeBSD. To accomplish this, it currently has a graphical installation, which will enable even UNIX novices to easily install and get it running.

It will also come with KDE pre-built, so that the desktop can be used immediately. Currently in development is a graphical software installation program, which will make installing pre-built software as easy as other popular operating systems.


The long term vision is as thus: To create a desktop OS using the FreeBSD platform, that can be used by business and home users as easily as the leading major operating systems, while still retaining the power-functionality of UNIX that makes FreeBSD such a solid platform. To accomplish this, there are several things that we believe must be done:

The software must be easy to install.

This is one of the pitfalls so many great distributions run into at the moment. Casual users, or even "semi-techies" can become intimidated by an over-glut of installation options, and the fear of choosing the wrong option can drive even some experienced computer away from using a *nix based platform. To accomplish this, we feel that the installation routine needs to be as user-friendly as possible, and not over-whelm the user with a myriad of possibilities, 99% of which they will never use.

The operating system must be minimalist.

One of the problems facing the multitude of Linux distributions is the sheer bloated-ness of their installation. Even a minimal or default install can span several CD's, and leave tons of software on a users system that will never be used. Often users will not know how to easily remove this software, and it can be difficult at install time, since removing the wrong package can result in an inoperable system. To avoid this, we believe the PC-BSD must be as slimmed down as possible, and should be clean upon install, like other popular OS's. An operating system should be just that, an operating system, upon which users can load and unload the software of their choice. For this reason KDE was chosen as the default desktop. At the moment, it is one of the most full-featured window-managers available, that when installed by itself can provide all the basic GUI requirements that the majority of desktop users come to expect.

Software must be available, and easily installed.

One of the biggest headaches for casual users and even more skilled technicians is the challenge of adding software to their *nix system. On Linux this process can be a nightmare, since every distro seems to be running different versions required libraries, and as software developers have found, it is near impossible to create a binary which supports all of them. FreeBSD has one of the best port systems in the world, and while powerful, it still is not user-friendly enough for the huge majority of desktop users. To accomplish the goal of easily installable software, we feel that a program must be created that allows users to download and install software, all within a GUI interface, and with no knowledge of the system, dependencies, required libraries, etc. This has been one of the factors that has made systems such as Windows® and even the Macintosh® operating systems so user-friendly in the past, but for some reason the various Linux / UNIX distributions can't seem to find a way to duplicate it. PC-BSD hopes to solve this problem, by building software which can be used to package, install, and remove software in this method.

The system must be dynamic, yet backwards compatible.

While the open-source world of software is growing at an amazing pace, very often this explosion is what keeps people away from it for desktop use. It seems every several months a new version of a desktop is available, which usually breaks compatibility with the previous versions, as well as with all the software loaded on the box. In a business or a home, where stability is of the upmost importance, this is unacceptable. We will make every effort with PC-BSD to make sure that software that works on previous versions of the system, will continue to work into the future.

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