Best way to switch from Linux to BSD

Mehmet Erol Sanliturk m.e.sanliturk at
Tue Mar 29 11:03:20 UTC 2011

On Tue, Mar 29, 2011 at 1:32 AM, Jason Hsu <jhsu802701 at> wrote:

> I've been trying to switch from Linux to BSD for my everyday computing
> (email, word processing, spreadsheets, etc.), but I couldn't get things to
> work properly.  I've been so spoiled by the quickness and user-friendliness
> of antiX/Swift Linux and Puppy Linux for so long.  I have a backlog of stuff
> to do, so I'm sticking to Linux for now as my main OS.  However, I might try
> BSD in VirtualBox and on my laptop.
> Are there any good tutorials for using BSD on the desktop?  I'm having much
> more difficulty finding good information on BSD than was the case for Linux.
>  In retrospect, this shouldn't be a surprise given that Linux is relatively
> mainstream while BSD is very obscure.
> Some questions:

> 1.  Is it possible to install KDE, GNOME, or other DE from the FreeBSD CD
> in a reasonable amount of time?  KDE and GNOME are huge programs, and having
> to download them would take too long.

> 2.  What's lighter than PCBSD and GhostBSD?  I tried the live DVDs on my
> laptop (1.4 GHz processor, 1.25 GB of RAM) and found both BSD distros to be
> very sluggish.  Ubuntu and Mint were faster and fit on a CD, and these two
> distros have been criticized as bloatware.  Also, the keyboard didn't work
> in GhostBSD.

> 3.  How do I triple-boot Puppy Linux, antiX/Swift Linux, and DragonflyBSD?
>  I already use a Puppy Linux/Swift Linux dual boot.  For the life of me, I
> couldn't figure out what to put in the menu.lst file to allow DragonflyBSD
> to boot.  (By contrast, antiX Linux and Swift Linux automatically add the
> appropriate entries in menu.lst.)

> 4.  What are the Linux Mint and Puppy Linux of the BSD universe?  I
> consider these two distros to set the standard in the Linux universe,
> because they're so user-friendly.  These are the distros I've set out to
> compete against in developing Swift Linux.
> --
> Jason Hsu <jhsu802701 at>

1. Within FreeBSD RELEASE 8.2 DVD , there are GNOME , and KDE . Therefore ,
it is not necessary to download them .
    During install , both of them may be installed . After installation , it
is possible to select either GNOME or
    KDE by specifying them in rc.conf , or .xinitrc files .
    All of these steps are explained very well in the Handbook .

There is NO need to compile FreeBSD for installation , but if it is
necessary to customize some of its features , it can be compiled by using
information given in the Handbook .

2. I am experiencing very slow behavior in amd 64 Release 8.2 ( I could NOT
be able to understand the reason ,
    FreeBSD base is very fast but problem is GNOME and KDE ) , but i386
Release 8.2 is sufficiently fast .
    I am using Intel DG965WH main board which may be the cause of slowness ,
but I do not know , because I do not have any other main board to check
apart from the fact that other distributions ( other than than BSD based  )
on the same main board are not exhibiting such a slow behavior . I think ,
this is a temporary problem and in the new stable releases , this problem
will not be present .

3. Personally I never use any hard disk for multiple operating systems .

4. PC-BSD is very user-friendly with respect to installation and usage .
Most parameters are set in the distribution . It comes     with GNOME , KDE
( default ) , XFCE . Any one of them selectable in any time during boot .
PC-BSD is completely based on FreeBSD with added ready made GNOME , KDE ,
XFCE and others as pre-installed . It is possible to install FreeBSD (
ignoring PC-BSD added features ) during installation of PC-BSD as an
alternative .

FreeBSD is not worse than PC-BSD but it requires very well knowledge of the
Handbook , because all of the settings should be specified by the user in
configuration files .

FreeBSD is a well-designed and important operating system and it is a
complex software to perform significant processing in servers .

Single user desktop side is a little weak with respect to parameter settings
Instead of being permissively set defaults , they are set restrictively .
This feature is causing very big difficulty for the beginners and preventing
wide adoption ( with respect to my opinion ) .

For example , my need is to use USB stick and DVD/CD auto-mount frequently .
I have set all of the parameters with respect to the information given in
the Handbook . Even I studied PC-BSD to complete possible missing parts .

As a root , auto mount is possible in GNOME or KDE as when they are inserted
, it is possible to see their contents by the file manages ( Nautilus or
Dolphin )  . When I login as a user , a very ridiculous feature called
PolicyKit , is saying that mount is NOT permitted although all of the
parameters are set by the root permitting user mounts of these media . Why ?
I do not know .

In PC-BSD , this is possible . This shows that , I am missing some settings
, but I could not be able to find which ones .

This very small difficulty is preventing my daily use of FreeBSD and it is
diverting me to Linux x86_64 .
( GNOME and KDE in PC-BSD Release 8.2 are very slow in amd64 , means they
are unusable ) .

My suggestion is to use another computer for installing and working on
FreeBSD , PC-BSD to properly learn
their structure instead of trying to install them in existing hard disk with
actually used for other operating systems .

If your laptop/computer allows USB boots , it is also possible to use
external hard disks for installations and using them . Even they can be
installed on USB sticks having sufficient capacity . I prefer external hard
disks because their prices are not very higher than USB sticks ( for example
,  32 GB USB sticks ranges from $ 55 to $ 110 , whereas external 500 GB HDD
prices ranges from $ 68 to $ 100 given in an internet site of a computer
shop with the advantage that HDD is much and much faster than USB sticks . )

If your need is daily use of FreeBSD or PC-BSD , PC-BSD is easier to use .
Its additional package system is PBI but it is possible to install any port
or package from FreeBSD by using pkg_add , pkg_delete , pkg_info , etc. , in
an ( administrative terminal window selected from menus ) .

Thank you very much .

Mehmet Erol Sanliturk

More information about the freebsd-stable mailing list