Sep 21, 2007

Ladies and Gentlemen: PC-BSD

Continuing with my capstone class series, I have been testing some alternates to the distros that were chosen for me. These alternates are basically different distros of the same operating systems. For instance, I mentioned last night that I had found an Ubuntu based Solaris distro called Nexenta. I played with it a bit last night, but I decided not to use it because it is still in its Alpha stages.

Some of the reason for looking into alternates is for hardware support, but also, because my partner in that project has almost no Linux experience at all. We all had a Linux class in school, but it was pretty much worthless. It taught us some of the basics, but really didn't go in depth enough for anyone that hasn't took the time to learn it on their own to really teach them anything useful.

The other alternate I wanted was for FreeBSD. I am the team lead on the project, so I decided to split up the responsibilities for the distros. I gave DSL and FreeBSD to my Linux impaired partner. After a little help from me, he got DSL installed. He was able to get FreeBSD installed, but couldn't make Gnome work. He kept trying different things, and I even pointed him to some documentation, but in the end FreeBSD proved to be too much for him. I could jump in and do it for him, but honestly, I don't want to end up doing the whole project on my own.

I also want to be able to finish this project, and because I am the team leader, I am ultimately responsible. I decided to look for a different FreeBSD based distribution that wouldn't be too much for him. I found it in PC-BSD. PC-BSD is actually made for the casual PC user, and the installation process literally only takes a few clicks of the mouse. After you're done you have a fully functional, easy to use BSD workstation with a KDE interface.

Like some other 'NIX operating systems out there, it has an easy to use software package install system. Like Redhat uses RPM's and Debian uses DEB's, PC-BSD uses PBI's. They have a whole store of software that you can download for your new PC-BSD computer at

So now everything is dependent on getting wireless to work on Slackware, Solaris and OpenSUSE. You could say that we are back at square one, but things are going very well.

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