freebsd-advocacy Digest, Vol 84, Issue 3

omegadraconis at omegadraconis at
Wed Dec 29 15:41:40 PST 2004

> Message: 3
> Date: Tue, 28 Dec 2004 07:50:29 -0700
> From: Jon Drews <jon.drews at>
> Subject: Re: How to deploy FreeBSD desktops ?
> To: freebsd-advocacy at
> Message-ID: <8cb27cbf04122806501424c274 at>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=US-ASCII
> Thanks so much Guys:
>  I would also like to ask what was the reaction from the end users
> when they began using the FreeBSD desktops?  I ask because I installed
> some NetBSD 1.6.2 desktops for students, at a small University center
> here. The NetBSD worked very well in my opinion. I had Gnuplot, Scilab
> and Gnumeric installed for the students, along with Firefox 1.0. I
> also got sound working on them and the NetBSD boxes can play mp3's,
> CD's or stream Ogg Vorbis (from Virgin Radio).
>  However the students complained about having to log in, which I
> thought was odd. They don't use them much and are reluctant to learn
> the basic commands (startx, shutdown -h now etc. ). 

Being the typical collage student, well I'm a bit more opensource than
most but, I know a few and their not going to want to learn a bunch of
new commands. They are all looking for the a gui not command line. I
don't know too many of my friends who know any windows commands let
alone a unix command.

> Also I did not
> install Xdm/Gdm and had them use "startx". I guess that was a big
> mistake. I did that because these computers are old (255 MHz PII - 400
> MHz PIII) with about 150 Mb of ram on each. I wanted as much memory
> free as possible. I was using Xfce 4 and Gnome 2.8 as the desktops. A
> guy who is a sysadmin advised me to install Kde, so I did. However it
> took quite a while to compile so I only did it on one machine.

I would recommend using a gui called fluxbox( It's
light wieght, has some nice themes and also will run both kde and
gnome programs. I think you did go the right way with installing the
music software (mp3, ogg, etc.) and firefox but, the collage student
will probably want to have some im software like gaim or some other
things like that. Also I would make sure that you have flash and java
plug-ins installed for firefox.

> Still
> the students were reluctant to use them. Truth be told I have not been
> able to meet with them that often. I did the installs as a volunteer
> project. I would think the NetBSD boxes would have appealed to them as
> I have some nice software installed on them. I also included,
> Gperiodic (periodic table of elements), Rasmol (molecular viewer) and
> GTK Chemtool (molecular drawing), for the chemistry and biology
> students. Where have I gone wrong and what should I do to entice the
> students to give them a try ?

Most collage kids aren't going to know what Gperiodic or any of the
other programs are. Mabey try having an faq or something like that
pop-up when they login to tell them hey this is what this program is
or does and this the where to find the help file.

Best of luck, Jason Hensler

> On Tue, 28 Dec 2004 08:19:16 -0500, Jan Schaumann
> <jschauma at> wrote:
> > Shamelessly plugging myself :-), I'd like to point out that I presented
> > a framework for just this at EuroBSDCon this year.  Well, not FreeBSD
> > desktops, but NetBSD, but the underlying principle is obviously the
> > same.  So you may find this paper helpful:
> >
> >
> >
> Thanks so much Jan, I will be looking into these.
>                                             Kind regards
>                                             Jonathan
> ------------------------------
Jason Hensler
omegadraconis at
Aim: jasonhensler

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