FreeBSD Challenge

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Taking the dive into FreeBSD for a few weeks.  Without a doubt, this should be quite a fun experiment.  After using Linux for 9 years, I wanted to explore the other side of the fence for a bit.  I’ll be setting up common computing options with potential exploration of administrative tasks.  Can I use FreeBSD in the same way I can on Arch Linux and equivalents?  Can this be a “daily driver,” so to speak, for the average user?  Of note, I also wanted to explore this experience of using FreeBSD over suggested alterntives, such as OpenBSD and PC-BSD.  At the end of the challenge, I will make a decision on what I feel I should stick with personally.

Also, this is not so much a “30 days to setup” challenge, rather a use case for 30 days on how well I can use it to adapt my normal daily routine, as a desktop alternative other than Arch Linux.  I almost certainly can use PC-BSD, and get up and running very quickly, but the alure of a good challenge is what brought me to giving this a good run, and an extensive use test.

The Purpose Of This Challenge

The purpose of my FreeBSD Challenge, is to evaluate FreeBSD as an alternative desktop to Linux.  Obviously, the focus of *BSD is more tailored and meant for server tasks rather than the desktop experience of an average user, but I know a few that use it almost to that point, not just for the system design.  So, the question has to be asked, why not?  I’m sure I will stumble and fall along the way, but always the exciting aspect to Linux and Unix.   Questions so far are this:

  1. Can BSD be used fully as a full desktop?
  2. How difficult is *BSD to install and configure vs. the Linux alternatives?
  3. By comparison, what skill set should you foresee to have before and after?
  4. Is driver support sufficient for common desktop applications?
  5. Are common packages available for desktop use?
  6. How does the community fare when asking for help?
  7. How is the project documentation?
  8. Would I recommend this to Joe Schmo, or my Grandmother?  If not, an average user?
  9. What gaps or shortfalls are there, if any?

Please, please, keep in mind I am not a professional journalist, or Linux/Unix professional.  While I hold a professional Information Services job in my daily life, that does not qualify me as such.  I will do as well as I can to highlight key areas of the journey, and very much welcome corrections, insight, and guidance along the way.  As always, thank you for reading.

-Mikey D


About professorkaos64

Posted on 20131208, in Distro Test Drive, Distros and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. Jack Kirby

    Can I do the PCbsd challenge? It will install within the same amount of time as a Linux distro.
    The BSD kernel is tuned for desktop and laptop computers. Did you do any tuning on your kernel?

    I would hope you could do the community a real service by doing the PCbsd challenge.
    There I have thrown down the gauntlet.

    • professorkaos64

      I could give it a go, again using Virtualbox after this is done, (only about 1/3 of the way done with 30 days). You did say “Can I*” not me, but I assume you meant me. In that respect as PC-BSD, I planned on doing a short blurb on it on my last day, as it will likely be my go to BSD for my new laptop from ZaReason. Will that be ok for you? I will make it a lengthy post, with a few quick bullets on the differences. Thanks for reading.



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