Is Freebsd graphical?

Bill Moran wmoran at
Thu May 20 16:42:12 PDT 2004

Doug Lawrence wrote:
> I am very new to anything but Windows and some MAC. I bought a retail 
> box of 4.7 about 2 years ago.It had no printed material.I tried for 
> about a month to get it up and running but I gave up. I was to new. I 
> talked to people in my department about how to learn the program and 
> they suggested I get Redhat 9 off our UCI mirror site. I have done that 
> and have learned a  lot over about  one year.I got a copy of 5.2.1 off 
> your site and began again.I have done ok now but have questions.I 
> understand what I should be doing to install but areas I believe I 
> should select ALL I cann't figure out how to select the all choice.One 
> spot I select all and the next screen says no packages selected and I 
> cann't backup.This time I am not giving up. Can you help me get back on 
> track?  Doug Lawrence

You're hitting up against a major difference in the design mentality of
FreeBSD compared to just about any other software out there.

FreeBSD is developed primarily as a server operating system for people
knowledgable about Unix.  That's not to say that it won't work as a
desktop operating system for the average Joe ... my mother is completely
computer illiterate and she uses FreeBSD on her computer ... she didn't
install it, though.

This isn't because the FreeBSD folks don't care about the average Joe
who wants FreeBSD on his/her desktop, it's because the _volunteers_ who
develop FreeBSD are simply more interested in making the most technically
advanced multi-user operating system available, and that takes a lot of
work, but they only have so many hours in a day.

Once you've got FreeBSD installed and configured, I'm sure you'll find it
just as easy to use as Redhat ... getting to that point takes a bit more
work.  As I'm sure you've already noticed, Redhat has an option to
configure it for workstation use, while FreeBSD has no such install
option.  This means that you'll have to _manually_ tweak the configuration
for workstation use, after doing a generic install.  The bad news is that
this is a bit of work to get done.  The good news is that you'll learn a
lot in the process, and there is plenty of documentation to help you out.

Based on the subject of your email, I'm guessing you're getting frustrated
by the fact that your FreeBSD installs end up with a text login instead of
a graphical login.  If you _are_ successfully getting to the point that
you have a text login, then congratulations!  You've actually succeeded in
installing FreeBSD, you simply have to go through the manual process of
configuring XFree86 on your machine (RedHat systems, by contrast, have an
automatic XFree86 configure program that does this for you)

I recommend that you read through this chapter of the handbook:
and proceed with setting up XFree86.  If you hit specific problems, don't
hesitate to ask for help on this list again.

Bill Moran
Potential Technologies

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