sábado, 13 de marzo de 2010

Taking a look at PC-BSD 8.0

Toward the end of 2009 I took FreeBSD 8.0 for a test drive on an old PC. The experiment went so well that I was immediately looking forward to trying out PC-BSD, a desktop variant of the popular FreeBSD operating system. Unfortunately for me, the new version of PC-BSD wasn't to arrive for several weeks. Like a penniless child with his nose pressed up against the window of a candy store, I went over to the project's website.

The PC-BSD site maintains a very similar look and feel to its FreeBSD counterpart. That is to say, it's well crafted, easy to read, painless to navigate and filled with lots of useful information. The installation documentation especially is a well-done piece of work. Open source projects, and their developers, often take flak for putting so little effort into the user manual. This is not the case with PC-BSD. While browsing, I read the teaser for the upcoming release - and good things were planned. New features include better ZFS support, a live DVD, improvements to the package updating system, the ability to run 32-bit applications on a 64-bit system and better binary support for Linux programs.

It felt like a long wait, but in February the PC-BSD team released their latest offering, version 8.0, and I downloaded their live DVD. It's a hefty image, weighing in at just over 3 GB. There's also a USB image file for people who like to carry their operating system in their pocket. For my PC-BSD test drive I used a desktop machine (2.5 GHz CPU, 2 GB of RAM), my HP notebook (dual-core 2 GHz CPU, 3 GB of RAM) and a virtual environment, provided by VirtualBox.


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