Easiest desktop BSD distro

Charlie Kester corky1951 at comcast.net
Tue Mar 29 22:16:41 UTC 2011

On Tue 29 Mar 2011 at 13:59:44 PDT Jerry McAllister wrote:
>On Tue, Mar 29, 2011 at 02:45:27PM -0500, Jason Hsu wrote:
>> I want to learn BSD.  I find that the best way to familiarize myself with a distro is to adopt it as my main distro (for web browsing, email, word processing, etc.).  
>> But the challenge of BSD have so far proven too much for me.  It would take too long to configure FreeBSD to my liking.  I couldn't figure out what to enter in GRUB to multi-boot Linux and BSD.  I tried PC-BSD, GhostBSD, and DragonflyBSD in VirtualBox.  I've found PC-BSD agonizingly slow to install and operate, and KDE didn't even boot up when I logged in.  GhostBSD has too many things that don't work, such as the keyboard on my laptop and my Internet connection on my desktop.  DragonflyBSD didn't boot up in Virtualbox.
>> I recommend Linux Mint as a first Linux distro.  It's user-friendly, well-established, widely used, includes codecs/drivers that Ubuntu doesn't, and has a Windows-like user interface.  For those with older computers, I recommend Puppy Linux or antiX Linux as a first distro.  I'm looking for the analogous choice in the BSD world.
>> So what do you recommend as my first desktop BSD distro?  What desktop BSD distro is so easy to use that even Paris Hilton or Jessica "Chicken of the Sea" Simpson can handle it?
>> Please keep in mind that I have a slow Internet connection, and these BSD distros are ENORMOUS.  It took some 12-14 hours to download PC-BSD.
>FreeBSD is just one OS.   There are some other BSD's such as PC-BSD, 
>but it is not like Lunix with many different candy coatings over the 
>same chewy carmel center.  In BSD, each is its own OS, although there 
>are definite similarities.
>If you really mean to learn BSD, then download the latest FreeBSD RELEASE
>(which is 8.2 at the moment) installation ISO, burn it,  install it, 
>configure it and use it.   Everything goes on it easily from /usr/ports/...  
>Just follow the handbook.   In FreeBSD, the handbook is your friend 
>followed by the man pages and Google.  They are very good compared to
>what you find elsewhere on other systems.
>If you are not willing to do that, then really you are not that
>interested in learning it, so why bother.

To put what Jerry said in another way, if what you mean by "configuring
FreeBSD to my liking" is making it look, feel and behave as much as
possible like the Linux and Windows systems you're familiar with, you
aren't really learning FreeBSD at all.  

To really learn any operating system, you have to approach it on its own
terms and be willing to accept that it has its own way of doing things.
Its own idioms and paradigms.  It has its own history of design
decisions, unforeseen consequences and problem resolutions.  Some
problems that arise on one OS never come up on another, because they
approach things from entirely different angles.  

There are also some rather significant differences in the goals and
tastes of the user communities associated with different OSes.  BSD folk
don't necessarily have the same interests as Linux folk, just as Mac
people are different from Windows people, and Windows people are
different from anyone in the world of Unix-like operatings systems.

And Plan 9 people are different from all the rest of them put together.

The whole point of learning more than one OS, in my opinion, is to
explore the strengths and weaknesses of different designs, development
philosophies and ways of using computers.  Otherwise, you're just being
a software dilettante.

>So, just whack on FreeBSD and learn it.   Once you know it pretty well
>you can play around with dual booting Lunix if you still want to or
>maybe you will discover the cleaner and more straightforward BSD system
>more to your liking and just stick with it.  Who knows.  It should only
>take a few days.

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