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Posts Tagged ‘pc-bsd’

Distro hopping: shutting down PC-BSD

October 14th, 2015 2 comments

Like the other distros before it the time has come for me to move on from PC-BSD. This has been an interesting experience as it is really my first time working with BSD up to this point.

Welcome to your PC-BSD desktop

Welcome to your PC-BSD desktop

Pros:

  • Neat standard technologies (like ZFS, file system compression, jails, etc.).
  • Really not that different from Linux so it feels very familiar.
  • Good software selection for the most part, although it could be more clear as to what the differences between some versions are. Common software makes it easy to jump between PC-BSD and other operating systems.

Cons:

  • Weirdly AppCafe which is designed to make installing software easier gave me a lot of problems. Sometimes clicking install wouldn’t actually install anything. Other times there would be errors but redoing the same process a second time would make it work. Once I somehow initiated a system update while trying to install a program and it wasn’t very clear what was happening or how much longer it would take before I could continue.
  • Konqueror is unnecessary with Firefox installed by default and often times doesn’t even work well. This is especially odd because I haven’t had as many problems using Konqueror in the past on Linux so the problems may be unique to PC-BSD.
  • I know this will likely start a religious debate but from a practical day-to-day desktop user perspective I’m not quite sure what would draw someone to using PC-BSD over Linux. That isn’t to say PC-BSD is bad or even lacking but with the much larger software library and support for Linux and very little differences between the two it seems like a no brainer to stay with Linux.

Other:

  • How come PC-BSD uses /usr/home/{account}? It still requires a link from /home/{account} (I assume for compatibility) so why not just keep it all under /home?

Where will I distro hop to next? Stay tuned!

This post is part of a series:




I am currently running a variety of distributions, primarily Linux Mint 18.
Previously I was running KDE 4.3.3 on top of Fedora 11 (for the first experiment) and KDE 4.6.5 on top of Gentoo (for the second experiment).
Categories: PC-BSD, Tyler B Tags: , ,

Distro hopping: installing Plex Media Server and Home Theater on PC-BSD

October 10th, 2015 No comments

Back when I was using elementary OS I made a post on how to install Plex Home Theater on Linux. While Plex officially supports Linux in most cases it did not for Home Theater but that thankfully didn’t stop me from getting it working. When it comes to PC-BSD things get a little more complicated. The only BSD download that Plex officially supports is Plex Media Server and even then only for FreeBSD. As I’m not overly familiar with BSD yet I’m not sure if I can just use that download on PC-BSD or not.

A search through the AppCafe

Thankfully PC-BSD comes with this nice application called AppCafe that is basically a big repository of software (like an app store). Searching for Plex in there finds Plex Media Server:

AppCafe

AppCafe

However if I check the box that says “Search all available PBIs and packages” then not only do I get a newer version of Plex Media Server but also Plex Home Theater as well.

Even more options!

Even more options!

The newer version of Plex Media Server was called ‘Plex Media Server – Plex Pass’ and as I don’t have a Plex Pass I chose to just install the slightly older version instead. Maybe this is the beta channel download or something? Anyway the install went well and Plex Media Server was good to go. One odd thing I did notice was that the local Plex management website wouldn’t fully load in Konqueror for some reason, only in Firefox…

Plex would only load in Firefox for some reason...

Plex would only load in Firefox for some reason…

Installing Plex Home Theater was a similar experience. I simply grabbed it from the AppCafe and away it went.

Because who doesn't love Big Buck Bunny?

Because who doesn’t love Big Buck Bunny?

So all told it really wasn’t that different of an experience installing Plex Media Server and Home Theater in PC-BSD compared to elementary OS. This mirrors what I’ve seen elsewhere in PC-BSD during my time with it as well. Basically as a long time Linux user I must say that so far BSD really isn’t that much different in day-to-day operations.

This post is part of a series:




I am currently running a variety of distributions, primarily Linux Mint 18.
Previously I was running KDE 4.3.3 on top of Fedora 11 (for the first experiment) and KDE 4.6.5 on top of Gentoo (for the second experiment).
Categories: PC-BSD, Tyler B Tags: , ,

Distro hopping: so what comes with PC-BSD?

October 6th, 2015 No comments

In my previous post I talked about the differences between Linux and BSD and quickly showed the installation process. Now I will go through what comes with a default install of PC-BSD.

Just like Manjaro, for some reason PC-BSD ships with a number of development utilities including tools for Qt interface builders. It also comes with something called Easy PBI. I have no idea what a PBI is but apparently it’s easy to make one!

EasyPBI

EasyPBI

Interestingly the next two on the list didn’t even start when I tried to launch them… The first was Marble which claims to show a globe (again I can’t confirm that), and the second is AMOR which might be a game?

The graphics menu is full of little utilities but the real heavy weight there is the venerable GIMP.

For browsers PC-BSD comes with both Firefox and Konqueror. This is likely due to Konqueror being a big part of KDE but it still feels like an unnecessary addition that could confuse new users. Even weirder Konqueror is the set as the default which I guess actually makes Firefox the odd inclusion… very confusing indeed.

Two browsers for the low, low price of FREE!

Two browsers for the low, low price of FREE!

For media playback it also comes with two options in the form of VLC and SMPlayer. Again I’m not quite sure why both are included in the default install as each would have been a decent choice in their own right.

You also have your choice of default media players

You also have your choice of default media players

Beyond the major applications PC-BSD comes loaded with Adobe Flash saving you an install as well as a number of additional utilities. I’m not sure why it doesn’t come with an office suite by default like most Linux distributions but I suppose that’s not a huge deal.

So there you have it. A quick walk through of what comes with PC-BSD by default. Check back soon for my ongoing adventures in the world of BSD!

This post is part of a series:




I am currently running a variety of distributions, primarily Linux Mint 18.
Previously I was running KDE 4.3.3 on top of Fedora 11 (for the first experiment) and KDE 4.6.5 on top of Gentoo (for the second experiment).
Categories: PC-BSD, Tyler B Tags: ,

Distro hopping: a Linux user tries PC-BSD

October 6th, 2015 No comments

That’s right, the next hop on the great distro hopping experiment of 2015 is not a Linux distribution at all but a BSD instead! While some of us have briefly used BSD on The Linux Experiment before, including PC-BSD, I personally have not and so this is a bit of a new experience for me. I’m looking forward to seeing what the differences are and if I end up preferring one over the other but first what exactly are the technical differences between the two?

If you would like a full list of differences I would highly recommend checking out the following excellent links from which I will summarize below.

  • Different kernels
    • Linux distributions start by using a version of the (shocker!) Linux kernel whereas each BSD maintains their own BSD kernel.
    • While the distinction is largely a technical one the other main difference is that while Linux is worked on by many people it is Linus Torvalds, the creator of Linux, who maintains control over the direction of the project. For BSD each project team maintains their own control, although within each project there is usually a small group or single individual who has last say as well.
  • Linux is just a kernel
    • As mentioned above Linux is actually just a kernel, thus that whole GNU/Linux thing. BSD projects on the other hand maintain all software in one place, including things like the applications (Firefox, KDE, etc) as well. That doesn’t mean that BSD projects create all of that software mind you so the differences again are largely minor.
  • Different software licenses
    • Linux is released under the GNU General Public License while BSD is released under the BSD License. The major difference between the two are that if you make a change to Linux you must make the source code for that change available upon request and it must also be licensed under the GNU GPL. The BSD license on the other hand has no requirement for you to make your changes available to the public.
  • Not compatible with each other (well… sort of)
    • While Linux and BSD software are compiled differently and technically incompatible many BSDs come with libraries that can run Linux programs almost natively making the difference (at least in that direction) somewhat moot.

Without further ado I give you a walk through of the install process for those who are interested in seeing how it may differ from a standard Linux install.

Welcome to the graphical installer for PC-BSD

Welcome to the graphical installer for PC-BSD

On the first screen you get to choose the type of install (i.e. Desktop or Server) as well as customize the additional software you want to install. PC-BSD uses KDE by default which should provide some familiarity.

System Selection

System Selection

By default PC-BSD uses the ZFS file system and appears to enable compression on a number of directories which may not be unique in the BSD world but is certainly something new for a Linux user.

Default disk layout

Default disk layout

Here is one thing all operating systems have in common: loading bars…

Installing the system

Installing the system

A quick reboot and some minor user configuration later we get to log into our desktop.

A pretty basic login screen but not the worst I've ever seen

A pretty basic login screen but not the worst I’ve ever seen

Welcome to your PC-BSD desktop

Welcome to your PC-BSD desktop

In my next post I’ll go through the default applications that come with PC-BSD and provide my initial thoughts on using it.

This post is part of a series:




I am currently running a variety of distributions, primarily Linux Mint 18.
Previously I was running KDE 4.3.3 on top of Fedora 11 (for the first experiment) and KDE 4.6.5 on top of Gentoo (for the second experiment).
Categories: PC-BSD, Tyler B Tags: ,

Initial thoughts about PC-BSD

January 16th, 2014 No comments

[Please note: this is a historical post – I’m no longer running *BSD in 2014, and this is a collection of thoughts on its setup in case I decide to return to the operating system. Further posts from me will focus on other Linux experiences.]

So after not too much effort, I’ve gotten PC-BSD to replace my FreeBSD installation and am back up and running. Some minor tips, interesting facts and tweaks:

  • Default filesystem and mountpoints all seem to be ZFS, which would make PC-BSD probably the quickest and easiest way to get a functional desktop environment running with this neat filesystem.
  • To enable Flash playback in Chromium (and I assume Firefox), run
    flashpluginctl on

    from the terminal (under your own user account, not root) and restart the browser. Thanks to the PC-BSD forums for this answer.

  • Enabling SSH server: add sshd_enable=”YES” to /etc/rc.conf, then /etc/rc.d/sshd start. You’ll also need to allow TCP port 22 inbound through the firewall in the PC-BSD Control Panel/Networking/Firewall Manager application.
  • Sound worked out of the box without any driver finagling, and is a much more simplistic setup:

 

From the PC-BSD Control Panel, a very simple way to select the default sound device.

From the PC-BSD Control Panel, a very simple way to select the default sound device.

I’m assuming the situation would have been better than the Kubuntu trials and tribulations with PulseAudio – all the possible nVidia HDMI output ports are listed in this dropdown list, as well as my onboard sound and USB/stereo audio adapter. In Phonon, the list is much simpler:

No greyed-out cards or shenanigans - Phonon just shows the default sound card from PC-BSD.

No greyed-out cards or “missing sink”s – Phonon just shows the default sound card from PC-BSD.

 

So far this has been a pretty great introductory experience – the desktop is polished, KDE integration appears to work well, and manual configuration has been limited to what I’d consider more advanced functionality like the SSH daemon.




I am currently running Ubuntu 14.04 LTS for a home server, with a mix of Windows, OS X and Linux clients for both work and personal use.
I prefer Ubuntu LTS releases without Unity - XFCE is much more my style of desktop interface.
Check out my profile for more information.
Categories: Flash, Jake B, PC-BSD Tags: , ,