Easiest desktop BSD distro

four.harrisons at googlemail.com four.harrisons at googlemail.com
Wed Mar 30 16:32:34 UTC 2011

When I find things in FreeBSD difficult to accomplish (eg. first time upgrading world & kernel from source) I reflect on something I read I think in the introduction to 'Learning Perl' which applies equally to FreeBSD.

If there is a choice between making things easy to learn and easy to use, the design principle is to make it easy to use - even if that comes at the cost of a steeper learning curve.

Once you've scaled the learning curve, you will appreciate how easy it is to achieve things with FreeBSD compared to other OS which attempt to make things 'easy' for you (wireless networking springs to mind - in my experience if Windows can't do it 'automagically' then you haven't a hope in hell of finding out what's wrong and fixing it).

So the easiest BSD? Any of them, if you're prepared to invest the time learning it.


Peter Harrison

-original message-
Subject: Easiest desktop BSD distro
From: "Jason Hsu" <jhsu802701 at jasonhsu.com>
Date: 29/03/2011 21:14

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.

Jason Hsu <jhsu802701 at jasonhsu.com>
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