Feature Suggestions for 9.0

It’s still very early days for planning the features that will go into PC-BSD 9.0, but there is a start of a task list and some details on improvements that will be made to the PBI format.

We definitely want to hear from you about what you’d like to see included / changed / made better for this release. Currently we have two places you can make a suggestion: as a comment here and the Feature Requests forum. We’re also looking for other ways to have more interactive discussions. Some possibilities include:

  • BOFs at conferences (there is something to be said for face to face conversations)
  • scheduled periodic chat sessions on IRC spread over different dates with each date catching various time zones (e.g. Australia one week, Europe another week, etc.)

What are your suggestions?

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Written by dru. Posted in 9.0

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Comments (27)

  • August 27, 2010 at 7:00 pm |

    I’d like to see differential PBI file updates instead of downloading the whole file for every update. Thanks in advance.

  • Michael
    August 27, 2010 at 7:04 pm |

    I would list these:

    1) Better laptop / netbook handling. ACPI, battery life, CPU throttling.
    2) Better integration of FreeBSD packages into PCBSD.
    3) A better-integrated light weight desktop environment. Last time I tried the XFCE pbi, it didn’t work very well.
    4) ARM port for all these iPad type of devices.

    • August 30, 2010 at 1:49 pm |

      Regarding number 3, have you tried the built-in fluxbox? I’ve found it to be very light-weight and it integrates with all of the PC-BSD utilities. You can access it by logging out and selecting Fluxbox from the drop down session menu.

      Do you remember what was flaky about XFCE so we can look into it? Or, if anyone has time to try the PBI on 8.1 and report back any problems, please do so!

  • vojacik
    August 28, 2010 at 9:23 am |

    Similar to Med Berdai above: Downloading with integrated to use all mirrors simultaneously.

  • vojacik
    August 28, 2010 at 9:29 am |

    Oops! One more try, excuse me (crashed anchors)
    Similar to Med Berdai above:
    Downloading with aria2 [ ] integrated to use all mirrors simultaneously.
    See e.g. Mandriva Linux –

  • Stefan Gies
    August 30, 2010 at 3:01 am |

    Please integrate the browser google-chromium and the encryption software truecrypt.

    • August 30, 2010 at 9:54 am |

      Yes, we’re all waiting with baited breath for Chromium 🙂 The Foundation is waiting for the final word from the lawyer so the port can be released. Once the port is legally okay to release, a PBI will most likely follow shortly thereafter.

      Not so sure if anyone will port Truecrypt. There have been discussions on this topic before (e.g. that seem to get mired somewhere between GEOM is good enough and the need for interoperability. Perhaps a reprod on that thread wouldn’t hurt?

      • August 30, 2010 at 1:36 pm |

        Actually, the port looks quite doable for truecrypt. I’m currently adding PBI requests for both chromium and truecrypt.

  • Obitori
    August 30, 2010 at 9:54 am |

    First and foremost, I think PC-BSD is a great idea. Its stable presentation of a useful desktop with the necessary “whiz-bang” features will attract newbies and mid-level techies. Like Ubuntu for GNU/Linux, this is a big stride forward in making FreeBSD attactive to non-computer science majors or those of us with limited time to build a system.

    That being said, I see the current system of maintaining distinct libraries for each app as a bit of a hack. It really runs counter to the entire purpose of libraries…To share and reuse code. If this PBI approach is to really be a permanent part of PC-BSD, one must question whether the applications should be hard-coded against the libraries so that only the necessary routines/files are compiled into the application at compile time, versus copying multiple copies of a library into different app directories.

    Die-hard computer enthusiasts will ultimately reject the current PBI approach as a waste of RAM memory and disk memory. Although cheap memory and HD space makes this criticism less important today, I think that the fact that this approach runs counter to accepted practice will lead to commentator criticism. This has the potential to scare new users off.

    The real beauty of PC-BSD is that it provides a click-thru install process that allows users to build a system and install apps without resort to a command line process. I believe that the long-term goal (starting with 9?) should be to build a PBI that sits entirely on top of the ports directory and graphically installs those ports. It should also install binary packages. That is all that FreeBSD’s ports and packages system really lacks.

    If PC-BSD requires more tweaking of the underlying ports than I have allowed for here, I believe that the transitional step should be to a /ports/pcbsd subfolder that contains the tweaked ports but shares the overall ports db and other subcomponents for managing ports. Ultimately, as many of those packages as possible should be merged into the other /ports sub-folders. Alternatively, a PCBSD binary packages suite to be added via pkg_add would be preferable to offering PBI as a third alternative.

    Overall, PC-BSD is a great product that offers new users a chance to really enjoy the FreeBSD desktop. I look forward to its continued growth.

  • Feature Suggestions for 9.0 | Official PC-BSD Blog – bsd - dowiedz się więcej!
    August 30, 2010 at 12:38 pm |

    […] Więcej: Feature Suggestions for 9.0 | Official PC-BSD Blog […]

  • edogawaconan
    August 30, 2010 at 3:29 pm |

    more “built-in” components/libraries. While having a completely self-contained application is nice, a smaller package linked with libraries guaranteed to be available in a system (while still self-containing everything else) would be better. Downloading 70 MB just for a browser is quite ridiculous.

    • Przemysław Pawełczyk
      August 31, 2010 at 12:53 pm |

      Hi folks,

      You suggest the PC-BSD to get rid of its foundation upon it was build. Do you really want to end up with, if not pure FreeBSD, then not more than FreeBSD Enhanced?

      Die-hard computer enthusiasts – Linux users?
      accepted practice – there’s rather vulgar adage – “one mln flies can’t be wrong” – (it is very derisive expression – nothing is far from the truth then the “one mln flies which stick to pile of s***”). Why “accepted practice” must be optimal for a given project? VHS standard won but was inferior to Betamax. Do you want to create another “Linux distro” based on zillions of libraries self-intertwined between themselves and found in Debian Linux for example?

      PBI for Packages?
      What’s the difference between proverbial “Windows button” and the make command issued on packages?

      Downloading 70 MB just for a browser is quite ridiculous.
      My answer:
      Downloading 200 MB just for (the fun of watching FLV movie from YouTube) is quite ridiculous.
      Downloading 700 MB just for (silly Recover Linux LiveCD ISO) is quite ridiculous.
      Downloading 3800 MB just for (PCBSD8.1-x64-USB.img) is quite ridiculous.

      Let’s say it – signum temporis…


  • Obitori
    September 1, 2010 at 2:08 pm |


    I’m very interested in discussing how to improve PC-BSD and not interested in a flame war. It would be great to hear your comments.



    • September 1, 2010 at 2:57 pm |

      We’re all interested in discussing how to improve PC-BSD and improving PBIs is certainly a lively topic.

      Everyone, let’s keep this polite and on track.

  • October 28, 2010 at 8:35 am |

    another suggestion is to include VirtualBox additions (VGA driver & mouse integration) by defaults.

    • October 28, 2010 at 8:52 am |

      Is this functionality provided by the port virtualbox-ose-additions? If so, I’ll add a PBI request. If not, how do you install these additions?

      • October 29, 2010 at 11:39 am |

        Yes, it’s provided by the ports but it will be great if at least vboxvideo driver is provided by default in the display manager like any other video driver. For mouse integration, it can be offered as an optional PBI when installing PC-BSD or downloaded later on by the user.

        • November 2, 2010 at 2:36 pm |

          Good idea. I’ll bring it up at the next meeting.

  • Pako
    November 2, 2010 at 1:40 pm |

    Hi, also is good idea increase compatibility with wireless cards, especially realtek cards, case i have some problems with those cards working in pcbsd and can not install my card RLT8187B in pcbsd.


    • November 2, 2010 at 1:44 pm |

      Yes, I have the same unsupported card on my laptop. Improved wireless (and Intel graphics) support will definitely be a topic of discussion at this week’s DevSummit prior to MeetBSD.

  • mato
    November 13, 2010 at 2:54 pm |

    Hi Dru,
    I tried to send you email 3 months ago but probably didn’t guess the address right. Since I commented on PC-BSD 8.1 user experience I guess this is appropriate place to re-raise:

    I am not first hand PC-BSD user but I do occasionally install PC-BSD for my
    friends and family. And as I have just installed the latest version 8.1 for a
    friend, I would like to share my experiences and comments with you.

    I used USB image and installation was smooth. However, there is no place to
    specify hostname and timezone during installation. And timezone cannot be
    easily changed afterward as KDE’s Date/Time settings pane has no admin mode.
    So I had to change it from command line. This has been issue AFAIR.

    Computer used had USB webcam attached. As audio device it supports recording
    only but it was selected as default device and I had to change it in
    loader.conf. Built-in ICH audio device was enumerated as pcm1. Not good.
    Checking console messages it seemed webcamd was being started 3 times. It
    failed with message like “ld-elf cannot find” but I could see
    the lib was available (at /usr/local/lib IIRC).

    I wanted to install ddclient but did not understand what ports jail is for.
    Also the handbook mentions runports command but that was not available from
    shell. So I just used pkg_add -r.
    Btw, when I ran portversion -v it errored out (due to dependencies broken) and
    I had to run pkgdb -F just to find out that several ports (kde*) had
    dependencies that were not installed (fonts usually). Please note that this
    was freshly installed system without any modifications. (!)

    In “System Manager/Settings” (?) there are two buttons to download the ports
    tree. Why? What’s the difference ?
    Similarly there are Services Manager and Service Manager, one PC-BSD’s and
    other KDE’s, both having same icon. Things like these are confusing.

    There’s a check box to enable DMA for ATAPI but no tooltip explanation.
    Perhaps there should be a check box to disable ZFS module loading, especially
    on i386.

    There are not enough PBIs available at pbidir. If you want users to use ports
    than a GUI should be provided. But I suggest PBIs is the way. And I remember
    long time ago it was announced that PBIs can be automatically created from
    ports yet there are so few of them at pbidir. Also I could not find some I
    used with PC-BSD 7.x (especially Wine based (e.g. IE)).

    And btw Skype PBI is broken — upon installation Skype launched from KDE menu
    is run under admin. When run from command line it works OK.

    Well, this is enough for now as I am already sleepy. 🙂
    Please make use of or forward this information as appropriate.
    And thank you for all your work!

    • November 16, 2010 at 8:05 am |

      mato (and everyone else):

      I apologize ahead of time if wordpress mangles the urls and sticks them at the beginning of this comment. To address your points:

      You can always reach me at dru at freebsd dot org.

      The hostname/timezone has been fixed for 9.0. You can see the screenshots for what’s new in the installer at (I’ll be updating these as 9.0 changes during the testing phase).

      I know some webcam stuff was fixed since 8.1 was released. Please test webcam when the 8.2 beta is available so we can make sure that everything is now working. I’m also working on man pages for webcamd and all of its drivers so hopefully these are available soon (definitely in time for 8.2).

      I’ve been working on updating the section of the Handbook. Please leave comments on the Discussion page for any page that is still unclear or did not answer everything you were hoping for.

      The 9.0 control panel will no longer mix both KDE and PC-BSD stuff (e.g. system and services manager). Also, I updated the page last week. Again, use the Discussion tab if the information on the page is still unclear or incomplete.

      We’ll be adding help text to PC-BSD menus in 9.0 and you can help us write the text at Again, the System Manager page of the Handbook was updated as mentioned in the previous paragraph.

      If a PBI you need is missing, please add it to the PBI Requests forum (

      Please report any bugs in existing PBIs to so they can be fixed.

      You’re welcome!

  • bsdnewbie
    November 28, 2010 at 1:03 am |

    hey Dru,

    appreciate great work in popularising a awesome OS like FREEBSD.

    I have a small suggestion :
    I would request for wvdial pre installed in 9.0 release, I hope this can be done as it simplifies configuration of 3g modems,phone tethering etc in BSD. I do see there are few posts in bsd forums on the very
    same topic.

    The other package i would request for is usb-modeswitch. This automatically convertes a usb modem when detected as a mass storage device to be converted to switch to a modem

    Other OS’s like ubuntu also has this and also has profiles for various isp’s around the world…i guess including or even planning to include these pacakages would be a welcome first step.

    Other suggestion is to allow custom [artitioning during install. The installer only allows for custom partitioning when we select option use entire drive(or did i get this wrong ? :-))
    for example there are issues like say if we select to install everything with autopartition like ports/open office ,source and all the software it does end up with no space in a partition and KDE doesnt start ..

    thanks for patient reading ….good luck..

    bsdnewbie 🙂

    • November 29, 2010 at 5:38 am |

      Thanks for the pointer to wvdial. We’ll see if it can be ported to BSD, and if not, if there are any good ideas we can use in the PC-BSD network configuration tool. I know Kris has been working on updating this tool for 9.0 and that we want to test the changes on as many modems as possible before 9.0 is released.

      We’ll look at usb-modeswitch again. IIRC, the last time we looked at this we were told it was deprecated by the new USB framework, but we’ll doublecheck that.

      Can you double-check your custom partitioning. I’m pretty sure you can custom partition on any selected partition.

  • Mub
    April 5, 2011 at 6:26 am |

    Hi Dru,

    Hope we have something similar to wvdial in place for 9.0 ? I am just revisiting this after a long time. If you need me to test something with my modem i would be happy to do the same as well.



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