Despite the much reported demise of BSD and its variants (namely FreeBSD) in the wake of Linux, I have to say that yet again FreeBSD was called upon and didn't let me down.
In my shack was a Gentoo box had been going strong since mid-2003. Gentoo's portage system of updates was a godsend, avoiding RPM hell, dealing smartly with dependencies and just being quiet about the whole thing. The box worked flawlessly for web browsing, email as well as a nice convenient file dump.
That was, until the past month or so when Gentoo appears to have just lost its collective minds. A hotplug update rendered the machine unable to reboot, a ReiserFS update no longer can replay the journal and I have no idea what they've done to xorg, but the only way to get a desktop was to rebuild XFree86.
So, not wanting to dink around with a fresh installation of Gentoo (which can take days), I had a 6.2 release of FreeBSD and installed it.
In 20 minutes I had a clean, stable desktop machine. 20 minutes, with no bloat, no RPM nightmare. This seven year old PC is just fast.
My file/print server runs Free BSD sans X. It's the energizer bunny.
Ditto on Gentoo.
I was running it when D Robbins was still the honcho. All the way back to 1.0. Seems since he left, or was pushed, the project has been overrun with uber geeks who don't care one whit about stability. The project seems more interested in bleeding edge than usability.
The Xorg change happened when the Xorg project decided to go to modular architecture rather than monolithic. There was just as much uproar when they (Gentoo) switched from devfs to a not quite ready udev system.
I've come to the point in my Linux "career" that I care more about stability, ease of install, config, and admin. The less time spent futzing around in the system, the more time spent using it. I'm using Arch as my "geeky" distro and Kubuntu as my everyday.
The BSD's are getting better on the desktop but are still a step or two behind Linux.
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and yet, I've had a BSD system as my desktop since 1983.
Originally Posted by [b
I noticed that Gentoo appeared to be quickly moving toward the "hey, lookit what we have running now" mentality. Which is great, if you happen to fork over a few grand a couple times per year for new machines and the latest and greatest. But I don't, and when I do buy new machines, they're of the Apple variety.
My PCs have always been on the order of 3 or 4 years old. Either in true age or technology because why should I buy new when there's a newer Apple in the house? Having a machine in the shack that quickly runs X is important, and lately all the Linux distributions seem to be pretty bloated and pokey on older hardware.
X on FreeBSD 6.2 is still a bit behind the curve, but it is very snappy. I expected to be firmly seated in font-hell, but for the most part the fonts are good and it wasn't a problem to get the font caching and non-aliased fonts working. I'm not expecting much anyway, if I want to admire the desktop, I'll just swipe the Mac off my wife's lap.