Benjamin Walkenhorst krylon at
Thu Feb 19 07:19:49 PST 2004

On Tue, 17 Feb 2004 19:25:23 -0500
"Patrick Rooney" <patrickrooney1 at> wrote:

> Want to give it a try!

"it" is FreeBSD, I suppose?
I hope you'll enjoy FreeBSD as much as I do. =)

> Very experienced with all versions of windows, have been building
> computers for 15 years.. Sick of the windows restrictions.....

Well, I can see why. =) When I first came to non-windows systems, it was
Linux, too. I was just curious, but I came to like Unix a lot. Doing any
real work on Windows machines has become an annoyance to me. 
I mean, you can't even set the input focus to follow the mouse... 

> What am I in for??????????????????
> Have tried many versions of Linux.....There are too many anymore.....

Well, what was it you did not like that much about Linux? 
FreeBSD is very similar to windows, in many ways, from a user's point of
view. The basic command-line tools are more or less the same (differing
in detail, though), X11 is the same, you got the same desktop
environments and window managers available (like KDE, GNOME,
Windowmaker, ...), mozilla's there, too, all the network services...
Unlike some distributions of Linux, FreeBSD does not have any graphical
tools for installing or configuring the system.
It uses a text-based tool called sysinstall for installing and some
system-configuration, but once you got the system installed, you're on
your own, more or less. So far, this is pretty similar to Debian or
But if configuring the system by command-line and config-files does not
scare you, you'll probably find FreeBSD very easy to configure. Unlike
Linux, FreeBSD is a complete system which can look back on a long
history, and you see that - FreeBSD is very tidy and reasonable in
respect to what config-file belongs where, where applications are
installed, and so on. 
Compared to Linux, FreeBSD has a reputation for being very reliable (not
that Linux was entirely unreliable) and performant (though I don't know
if/how much this has changed with Linux 2.6).
Also, installing applications is very easy to do, as is upgrading the

What you're in for depends on what you want or need.
If you have some knowledge of Unix-systems already, you'll feel pretty
familiar and will probably like FreeBSD a lot.
If you want to do mainly desktop-stuff (office, email, mozilla, ...),
you'll be fine - I do so, too. I also use FreeBSD to watch movies (DVD,
DiVX, ...), listen to music and watch TV.
If you want to do development, you'll find an excellent environment, the
GNU C Compiler is part of the base system, as well as Perl, compilers,
interpreters and libraries for a number of other languages are easily

> Where is a good place to start?

But since you're writing to this mailing list, I suppose you found that
site already. =)

> What's a good read to get up 2 speed???????

First, there's the FreeBSD manual, which is *great* - it's available
online ( -> Documentation -> Manual), and it's also
installed with the base system. Numerous translations are available, as

If you want a printed book, I can recommend "The Complete FreeBSD" by
Greg Lehey. Mr. Lehey is an active developer of FreeBSD, and a great
author as well. 

"Absolute BSD" by Michael Lucas is said to be very good, too, I don't
own that book myself, though, so I can't tell for sure.

If I'm not mistaken, you'll find more tips on books on the

> (work) I have time to read

That's good. Unless you have much experience with Unix, you'll have to
read a lot. Whether or not that's bad depends on you. 
I'm a big reader, so I even enjoy it, mostly. 

> patrickrooney1 at<mailto:patrickrooney1 at> (home) I have
> time too play with new operating systems

Well, as I said, I hope, you'll enjoy FreeBSD as much as I do. I like
playing around with different operating systems, too, Linux
distributions mainly. 
If you like FreeBSD, you might want to give one of the other free
BSD-based systems a try. There is NetBSD ( and OpenBSD
(, plus some 'spin-offs' (DragonFlyBSD, EkkoBSD, to name
just two, there's more...).
Before someone thinks of flaming me, I should hasten to add that FreeBSD
- in my view - is the best system for 'first-contact' among these. It
also somehow feels like it is the best *BSD-system for desktop-work and
especially multimedia, but I might be wrong here. =)

If you give FreeBSD a try (CDs are available for free download as well
as from several vendors), you'll probably run into further questions.
Before asking the mailing-list, you should consult google, or this
mailing-list's archive (which you can find at the FreeBSD-website, too),
as well as the manual. This is considered an act of politeness by some,
but it tends to be the faster way, too, since with
google/archives/documentation you find your answer pretty quickly in
most cases, while on the mailing-list you have to wait for someone to
look at your problem and answer.
Also, if ask the mailing-list, you should include as much of the
information you have on your problem, as is possible. This greatly helps
solving it. =)
You'll find the mailing-list to be a very friendly one, though. It's
rare for people to get flamed here, and the crowd is very kind in
You might also consider looking at other FreeBSD-mailing-lists like

> thanks
> pjr

Kind regards,


If you want to know what god thinks of money, just look at the people
he gave it to.
                -- Dorothy Parker

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