PC- BSD Review

I run FreeBSD 7.0 at home in a dual boot with Slackware 12.1.  PC-BSD is a user-friendly version of Unix based on FreeBSD which has a clear, easy to understand installation routine.  I’ve tried PC-BSD before, the installation is painless.  BSD is another alternative to Windows.

PC-BSD Review

Looks very slick, but I really wish they didn’t perpetuate that whole “wizard” approach to doing things.  That drives me crazy, because it makes users learn to just click “next… next  … next… next…” without reading what’s going on.

Yep, but “Windows-like” interfaces can be a great gateway drug into the alternative operating system world. It’s great to get people in the door, doing the exact same things with their computer that they were doing with Windows.

It just drives me crazy, because now you’re seeing the same thing on Mac OS X. 

For example, with Microsoft Office, you have two options for installing: 

  • You can drag the folder to the Applications folder, which is the paradigm that is most Mac-like.  One step, and you’re done.  You uninstall by removing the folder.
  • You can run the “installer” that has about 10 screens and you keep clicking “next … next … next … next…” 


At least the new OpenOffice 3.0 beta seems to have abandoned that in the latest build.  Let’s hope they keep it up for the official release.

I think a part of it is trying to shield your average user from seeing how his or her hard drive actually contains things, or maybe it’s a reaction to Windows DLL hell or something.

Why does Windows warn you when you just try to navigate to where your programs are located?  WTF?  That folder should be prominent, so you’d know what you have installed, etc.  Don’t hide it.

Here’s what OpenOffice installer looks like on OS X  (Firefox, VLC, and a bunch of Mac-native apps all follow this model now too):

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MiG:  I think the OS X developers have the right idea.  Just drag the fricken folder into the applications folder.  Done.  When you don’t want it, drag it to the trash.  Simple.  Clean.  Neat.

Eso:  Agreed.  I love the approach that the newer Linux/Unix distros are using to coax Windows users into a different realm of computing.
I’m really happy that Linux/Unix distros are slowly starting to get it that people just want their computers to work.  The people that want to can venture under the hood.

Well, I think Ubuntu and similar distros get it right, with aptitude and the other apt-get utils.  Want VLC?  Just choose it and it will be installed.

But just for shits and giggles, here’s a comparison of installing VLC on Windows and Mac OS X.  The Windows version is 8 screens. (spread over the next two posts).

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Now you average user ignores all that text, or has no idea what it means.  They’re asked where to install it, but huh?  If they dare go to “C:\Program Files” they get the scary warning that they’ll screw things up.

Your average user has no idea what to do about this message, even if they do read it:

“It is recommended that you close all other applications before starting Setup.  This will make it possible to update relevant system files without having to reboot your computer.”


Why perpetuate this crap?  That isn’t “user-friendly” and it’s not what’s keeping Windows users from using Linux.  Putting this crap in Linux is pointless.  Just install the thing, thanks.

thanks Hitest going to install on laptop tonight and give it  try… :smiley:

Compare to “drag the VLC application into your applications folder.”  They even give you a shortcut to your Applications folder for you.  One step, you’re not divorced from the reality of where your stuff is being installed, and you don’t have to go through all that crap.

You want Windows users to use Linux or BSD, it should be better than Windows, not make the same dumb mistakes that windows makes.

Just have it on a list of available packages and let users select it.  That’s the best and most user-friendly way.  Installers, ug.

Installing VLC on Xubuntu = un-Windows-like, no installer “Wizard” and super easy:

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Very cool. :sunglasses:

Agreed.  Ubuntu comes closer in their approach to installing the OS.  Clear, concise language and easy-to-use steps.  Their non-destructive resizing of a Windows partition is brilliant when setting up a dual boot with Windows-Ubuntu Linux.  My preferred distros of choice (Slackware, Debian, FreeBSD) have shitty text-based installers.  The only upside of a text-based installer is that it uses less system overhead to install the OS.
Linux/Unix is getting there…albeit slowly:-)

You’re welcome, Astro.  I hope you like it.  Back-up your stuff before the install ( I know I don’t have to tell you this) :smile:
I hope things work out for you.  If PC-BSD doesn’t run well on your laptop I recommend that you give Ubuntu 8.04 a try.  Ubuntu has the best hardware detection of any distro I’ve tried.  Also, Ubuntu comes as a live CD so you can try out the OS before you install it to your HD. :sunglasses:

I installed Linux Mint on an old “Terminator 900” box last week. There’s a “Windows Drivers” area… thinking of trying it on my laptop with the oddball wireless card.

Cool. :sunglasses:  I haven’t tried that one:-)  It looks good, an Ubuntu variant.

Linux Mint

I’m still looking for a good distro for an old 12" Dell.  I’m installing PC-BSD right now to try that.

So far my favourite Linux is definitely Xubuntu, but it doesn’t do wireless very well on the Dell.  I haven’t tried 8.04 on it yet, though.  Shouldn’t 8.10 be out soon?

Yeah.  In less than a month:-)

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Sarah Palin shows up on the PC-BSD installer?

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