PC-BSD 9 Review
PC-BSD 9 is a BSD distribution that is based on the latest version of FreeBSD 9 and uses KDE 4.7.3 desktop environment as it’s default desktop. It is somewhat more geared to novice and intermediate based users of BSD like how Ubuntu is for Linux users, but we won’t go into the differences between BSD and Linux in this review.
PC-BSD 9 installation is quite straight forward, there wasn’t too much tinkering to do and you can also customize what you want installed. You can easily choose GNOME as your default desktop if you don’t like KDE or go with a lighter desktop of XFCE, or even Fluxbox. For this review we’ll stick to default desktop environment in KDE.
Installation seemed a little bit lengthy on both my test machine as well as in my Virtual machine, but the responsiveness of PC-BSD was quite quick once everything was installed and ready to run. Once you’re ready to run, you can’t tell there’s a difference under the hood.
What makes PC-BSD user friendly and stand out? Its package system that was created to make things so much easier. PBI files are programs packaged specifically for PC-BSD where you can search for a program you want to install, say, Firefox for example, you just open AppCafe type in Firefox then click download and there you go. There are so many apps now in PBI format that I would be surprised to find something missing. It takes a lot of time from developers and volunteers to convert a program to PBI to make things easier for its user base so there might be a slight delay for a newly updated program to appear.
The PC-BSD Control Panel application allows you to change certain settings in PC-BSD. Here for example, if you want to install another desktop you can easily go to System Configuration and go to Desktops and choose another desktop you want to use. It will download everything it needs for you to make it functional.
As far as software goes, there’s a lot of software that comes with PC-BSD, Konqueror and KMail are your default Internet and email programs respectively. For office productivity, KOffice is the default productivity suite which contains KWord, KSpread, KPresenter. There are also quite a few games that come pre-installed with PC-BSD.
I’ve used PC-BSD for quite a few years back when it was just starting out and one of the main things it was executing on was user-friendliness on a BSD platform. Back then, it failed due to lack of support, but now, I am happy to report that support grew quite a bit and I’m not worried that PBI package system will be a failure.
I’ll give props to the developers for writing a 250 page user guide on how to use PC-BSD and its applications; as a well written manual is quite scarce nowadays but a free one is even rarer. For those who want to use PC-BSD as their full time operating system it would not hurt to print out some of the manual and familiarize yourself with what you can do with the programs you have at your fingertips.
I’ve enjoyed using PC-BSD for this review and did not have any qualms about it.
View: PC-BSD 9 Gallery