Getting started with FreeBSD

cothrige cothrige at
Tue Oct 10 23:20:48 PDT 2006

* Garrett Cooper (youshi10 at wrote:
> Btw (Off-topic, but true):
> Nothing in Gentoo (or FreeBSD or any other variant of Unix for that 
> matter) says you have to install KDE ;). You can install the same 
> metapackage in any Unix OS, if you love the bloat--uh, I mean 
> functionality--or use another DE/WM to navigate around your desktop.

Oh, absolutely.  I don't actually use KDE or anything.  Can't stand it
personally.  However, I inevitably want to use something which
requires something which requires on of these giant bloated monsters
like KDE or Gnome.  And then I am faced with the question of compiling
it.  I can still remember the seventeen hour build of kdelibs on
Gentoo, and I don't want to do it again.  Though, I admit you very
quickly start to make better decisions about what software you really
need in that situation.

> I find it interesting that a former Slackware user would be complaining 
> about compiling stuff, but you probably used slapt-get to update your 
> packages.

Well, I am probably coming off whiny.  However, I am pretty typical of
the Slackware crowd in that much of what I am running I compiled from
source.  But the base system is still binaries and that does speed
things up.  Pat doesn't patch everything endlessly and so it works
well and as intended, so there is really no trade off.  I am all for
compiling, but why do it when nothing is any different?  Firefox works
great from binaries, and so I have never bothered to try compiling it.
Same for openoffice and java.  Even in Gentoo I installed the binaries
of those.

What I guess is troubling me here though is just figuring stuff out.
I have been having some trouble seeing the forest through the trees.
The handbook is quite honestly awesome, but only in the details.  For
the big picture it is fairly indistinct.  So, getting my trifling
brain around what exactly is going on in the thing has been nagging at
me.  How do I set it up?  Where do I go next?  Those kinds of things.
I installed from binaries, and there are packages on the servers, and
the tools have options for installing packages.  I naturally thought
there would be package updates and I was messing things up, or
misunderstanding what tools to use, in order to get to those packages.

However, after reading you post, I am thinking that the packages are
only available for the snapshots labelled RELEASE.  Am I right?  All
updates and changes made in between one release and the next are via
sources.  Would that be accurate?  If so, I can say that is also
fairly simple, simply non-intuitive.  In some ways like having a
separate ports system from the base.  Simple, even sensible, but in
some ways non-intuitive.  Certainly for those not used to that
approach.  It is too bad that the documentation doesn't have a clearer
introduction which approaches these simple though not necessarily
natural approaches and make them clearer to newbies like myself.  It
would save a lot of trouble trying to figure out how to open the front
door with a can opener. ;-)

Let me know how ridiculously off-base I am in my current
understanding.  That is really what I am trying to do, find out what I
should do to maintain things as move along the learning curve.  Thanks
for the help.


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