Bad experience switching to SSD on FreeBSD 10.3

Manish Jain bourne.identity at
Fri Jun 24 20:26:06 UTC 2016


I have a rather bad experience switching to SSD on FreeBSD 10.3 amd64. Things would have been much worse had the SSD switch not worked for my other OS - Windows XP, a bit surprising because XP does not support SSD TRIM.

For my upgrade, there were 3 components which I upgraded simultaneously :

1) Keyboard -> LED backlit keyboard (Cooler Master Devastator, USB)
2) 2 GB DDR3 RAM -> 8GB DDR3 (G Skill)
3) Sata HD -> SSD (Samsung EVO 500 GB)

The keyboard upgrade itself failed for FreeBSD. The moment I switch on the LED backlight light for the keys, console output freezes till I turn off the backlight. This is surprising because the keyboard works well on XP, which was developed almost 2 decades back. The reason this is important for me is because I love working in the dark, with no bright lights around. LED keyboards make that possible. Not just that, the keyboard looks sensational - particularly with LED on, when the thing looks futuristic.

So I resigned myself to working without the LED. Upon installation of FreeBSD and Gnome3, the desktop started crashing. I suspected the RAM to be defective and reinstalled the whole OS with the RAM switched to the original 2 GB - which was working flawlessly on previous FreeBSD 10.2 installation. Upon reinstall, things were much better, but then Gnome Tweak Tool just does not work. This makes it impossible to get the Applications menu and the Window list, which I find absolutely essential. There is no way I can work the Activities system that Gnome ships with as default. Hotspot makes things much worse, although I think there is an extension that disable hotspot. But first I have to get the Activities menu and the Window List, without which I just can't use Gnome. If I can't get Gnome to work for me, FreeBSD itself becomes useless as a desktop OS.

So I crapped the FreeBSD installation and switched to Windows XP + Cygwin. On XP, the whole thing works fantastically. My system is much faster, roughly 3 times compared to when I had the SATA HD. Now I am stuck with Windows XP, when the entire upgrade had targeted removal of XP and FreeBSD as the only OS. The LED keyboard situation is unwarranted - FreeBSD should by now be having support for USB LED keyboard. The Gnome situation is an equal concern. FreeBSD is famous for making sensible choices. The Gnome developers have screwed up the desktop environment with rotten user interface choices, and the thing now needs to be fixed with extensions and tweak tools. This leads directly to inavailability of FreeBSD for me for the time being. I was prepared to go without the keyboard - I could have tried passing the USB commands to Widows XP hosted under VirtualBox. That might have been possible, although I am not sure it would have worked. But the additional Gnome problem leads me to revert to XP as the only OS for the time being. Hopefully things will be fixed with FreeBSD 11.0. Luckily for me, I used MBR partitioning when initializing the SSD - against the advice from this forum. Because of that, I was able to try out XP, rather than having to roll back the whole upgrade.

I hope developers at FreeBSD and Gnome become aware of my experience - I dearly wish things will be fixed ASAP.

Thank you.
Manish Jain

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