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Interview With the PC-BSD Team 130

GeekyBodhi writes "FOSSEngineer.com has an interview with a couple of guys from the PC-BSD development team after the distro recently released their first stable version 1.0. PC-BSD is built on top of FreeBSD and aims to dumb down installation and daily usage, enabling a non-technical user to run it as his primary desktop. The guys talk about their pre-release journey, features unique to PC-BSD and why a minimal installation system is a good thing."
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Interview With the PC-BSD Team

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  • Mod parent down. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by despisethesun ( 880261 ) on Monday May 08, 2006 @09:42PM (#15289741)
    Your comment is a little bit redundant. Anyone who's used both will attest that FreeBSD is a very different beast from OS X. OS X may use a lot of FreeBSD's userland, but it is NOT FreeBSD.
  • Dumb (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Brandybuck ( 704397 ) on Monday May 08, 2006 @10:14PM (#15289904) Homepage Journal
    ...and aims to dumb down installation and daily usage...

    Why the hell would I want that? I would like a simplified interface that is easier to use, but no fscking way do I want something that's dumbed down!

    p.s. Of course, PC-BSD is not dumbed down. It hasn't been stupidified. The submitter should have read the article and realized that it's 100% hardcore FreeBSD. Unfortunately, the poor choice of adjective will lead many to think that this is just the BSD version of Linspire. Sigh.
  • So? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Jeff DeMaagd ( 2015 ) on Monday May 08, 2006 @10:17PM (#15289919) Homepage Journal
    If I may be so bold, if you know enough to know the difference between KDE and gnome, you aren't the target user. What matters is that it works, not whether it caters to a particular set of preferences. Even giving a neophyte choices can build up to rejection if there are too many choices that seem redundant or unimportant to them and their needs.
  • by eno2001 ( 527078 ) on Monday May 08, 2006 @10:40PM (#15290060) Homepage Journal
    OK... what's the correct procedure to clean up the registry when an errant program makes a mess of it? Especially after you attempt to uninstall. Or... what options are there to make Windows more flexible in a heterogenous environment without using SFU? Or... What is the single most important change you can make to your Windows installation to prevent or reduce the occurrence of spyware on your system (hint: it's not spyware removal tools)? Bonus points if you can do any or all of the above free of charge. Unless someone has the right answers to those questions I don't think they can say they know much about computers. I'm not attacking you BTW. I'm bringing up the questions to point out that there's always more to learn and that there isn't much point in getting into computers unless you're always learning something. With that said, Linux and the BSDs are much better learning tools for PCs than Windows. You learn a lot more about how the system works. And that knowledge is priceless.
  • Re:name (Score:3, Insightful)

    by aussersterne ( 212916 ) on Monday May 08, 2006 @10:41PM (#15290068) Homepage
    You mean start making up nonsense words that only have meaning if there's a giant marketing department behind them, like "Pentium" or "Zeta" or "Ubuntu?"

    Okay, how about we rename it from PC-BSD to any of the following:

    - Bonedai 1.0
    - Genufal 1.0
    - Marada 1.0
    - Notege 1.0
    - Imboldos 1.0
    - Drimium 1.0
    - Turbalus 1.0

    At least you can explain that PC-BSD actually is representational in nature: Personal Computer Berkeley Software Distribution.

    Better than "Zzemdaxa" or "Mmulema" or "Panaxap" or [insert another nonsense word here, maybe with the words "Desktop 1.0" after it].

    One more for good measure, say, Eetharalia Desktop 1.0 Pro.
  • Re:Why oh why (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Poppler ( 822173 ) on Monday May 08, 2006 @11:44PM (#15290447) Journal
    Just why would anyone want a FreeBSD desktop?

    Why not?
  • by goMac2500 ( 741295 ) on Monday May 08, 2006 @11:52PM (#15290493)
    I don't think most NIX users get it. I like dumbed down installs and self configuring stuff. That said, I'm a programmer. I like dumbed down installs because I don't like wasting my time configuring everything. At the same time, I don't like installing distros which require me to track down additional software. Why not release a distro which includes a bunch of software and gui configuration tools? I mean, command line utilities are great, but I don't really want to learn them unless it's necessary. I want something that I don't have to learn, or spend much time setting up. I'm sure I might get flamed from the "you should learn how all your software you use works" crowd, but honestly, I don't want to compile, I don't want download libraries, I just want to freakin software to work. I don't want to have to spend time reading man pages, I want to hit buttons. If I decide I want to use the CLI to find tune settings, that's great, but that's not priority to getting some piece of software usable first. Dumbed down shouldn't be minimal learning curve with minimal software. Dumbed down should be minimal learning curve with more software. So far Fedora comes closest to this for me. A lot of common tasks can be done in not very much time with the gui configuration tools.
  • Downside of choice (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Beryllium Sphere(tm) ( 193358 ) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @12:23AM (#15290671) Homepage Journal
    >too many choices that seem redundant or unimportant to them and their needs.

    Redundant, unimportant, or SCARY specially when making the wrong choice might lead to a broken system and a support geek being patronizing because *everyone* knows that option was incompatible with that kernel version if you're running an AMD and an early rev of the wireless card firmware from right after the vendor switched chipsets.

    Choices should be possible to make given the information available. Too many installations are like the one in Dilbert which said "To configure the system, enter the name of next year's Academy Award winner".
  • What about Java? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @01:16AM (#15290896)
    The big thing for me is Java. I would have switched to OpenBSD as my desktop long ago if there were work-ready Java environment. In case you didn't know, desktop Java is back, and server-side Java (Tomcat) is stronger than ever. I would like to have my NetBeans, etc. Desktop Java should be the ideal Open Source platform, because it will let the same binary run on desktop MS Windows computers and desktop Linux computers. That's an ideal way to get a larger base of software for Linux and to get people ready to switch. And Swing (once you get into it) is a fantastic UI development tool.

    This is the one area where *BSD is the most problematic. The free/open Java components (GNU CLASSPATH, gcj, kaffe, and JamVM) are not yet up to real "work" use. I know that Eclipse now can run with pure free Java, but NetBeans is probably six months away, and Tomcat 5.5.* doesn't run at all.

    I'm sure those things will be working on the free Javas later this year, and then I can finally have my OpenBSD / Java desktop.

    Carry a gun in California, legally [californiaccw.org]

  • Re:Dumb (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MidnightBrewer ( 97195 ) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @01:26AM (#15290939)
    I agree. Some people seem to think that if you don't lose a pint of blood while setting up your computer, you're not using a *real* operating system.

    If something as powerful as BSD can be made usable by more people, I think that would be better called "streamlining" or "making it more elegant." I find that Fedora or OSX are both good examples of OSes that allow you to just start the computer and get stuff done if that's all you need, and let you get down-and-dirty for the more demanding power user.

    A good programmer can write useful software; a great programmer can make it usable.
  • by kestasjk ( 933987 ) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @01:32AM (#15290968) Homepage
    <insert the "I use and like BSD, but" preamble here>

    Who is PC-BSD for? Who specifically wants to use BSD, and not Linux, yet isn't comfortable installing BSD?

    If you want a desktop unix there are plenty of Linux distros out there, which have support for more proprietary drivers and software than BSD, and have larger teams and communities behind them.
    If you want to use BSD because you prefer BSD to System V then you'll be perfectly happy using the not-quite-so-friendly installers of the regular BSDs.

    What would have been better is if they had created a friendlier installer for FreeBSD, and a better GUI for the ports system, and tried to get that into FreeBSD, rather than creating a whole new brand of BSD.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @04:06AM (#15291396)
    Here you go. [debian.org] Setup your own repository, either on a central server, or on removeable media. I guess slipstreaming is possible also, but I find this solution a lot more elegant...

The unfacts, did we have them, are too imprecisely few to warrant our certitude.