New PBI’s Available for 9.0 – Desktop Utilities

With PCBSD 9.0 rapidly approaching completion, I wanted to take some time over the next week or so to inform the community about many of the new 9.x PBI’s that will be available through the AppCafe.

Today I am going to list the new PBI’s within the “Desktop Utilities” category (ports/deskutils in FreeBSD language). One of the main aspects that I wish to point out is that while many of these programs are designed to work within specific desktop environments (GNOME, KDE, etc…), the PBI format ensures that these programs should work with any of the PCBSD 9.0 desktop environments, regardless of the program description! For example: Katapult is a KDE application that, when installed as a PBI, works successfully on a system with IceWM rather than KDE installed. I hope this will allow users to utilize the applications that they are familiar with, while running the desktop environment of their choice!

Some of the new PBI’s for the desktop utilities category are listed below (in alphabetical order):

Alacarte, BlogTK, BookReader, Cairo-Dock, Drivel, FBReader, GanyRemote, GBirthday, Genius, Gnote, GnoTime, Gourmet, Griffith, GRuler, GTG, gToDo, Gucharmap, GXNeur, Katapult, KBLTicker, KLuJe, KnowIt, Krefty, KTagebuch, Labyrinth, Launchy, NoteCase, Orage, Parcellite, Pinot, Planner, QTM, Recoll, RedNotebook, Rubrica, TaskCoach, Virt-Manager, Wammu, XPad

Thanks to Jesse Smith for creating many of the modules for these PBI’s.

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Written by Ken Moore. Posted in 9.0, pbis

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Comments (7)

  • J.C. Denton
    November 17, 2011 at 4:41 pm |

    All this is very interesting. Thank’s for your effort in bringing BSD to the masses! Nevertheless I’m wondering about PBI in general. Unfortunately I haven’t yet understood the difference between ports and PBI as well as pkgsrc and PBI. Therefore I suggest to explain the inner workings of PBI on this website (FAQ section) in a way beginners and experts (who use different operating systems) may understand it. I think it would be grweat to compare PBI with several package and source management systems (ports, portage, pkgsrc, apt, rpm, etc.). Finally I’d like to know how the system can be operated when PBI fails or is not wanted anymore. In which way does PBI coexist with FreeBSDs native source management?

    • Roger
      November 22, 2011 at 11:46 am |


      you got the point I’m also very worry about that.
      Now there is the own creation called “Appcafe”, special for simple use in the PCBSD world.
      Others are related to FreeBSD and his rich apps of software. It seems to me
      if you don’t like to make you an expert you wait until someone provide a new
      PBI. But that’ s not the future, in my opinion. If the PCBSD team is no willing/able to provide access to the FreeBSD app software, we have an other isolated OS with limited use.
      I think this will be an main handicap to all expierenced user, which want to use the software they know from there Linux distri.
      The limits of the AppCafe and the PBI’s are the limits PCBSD has to deal with.
      PCBSD limits his high potential to be an powerful alternative for Linux and slides down to a “me too distribution” as we can find many of them as derviates of main Linux distris.

      But maybe I wrong and there will be a jail break and a unlimited access to the more than 20.000 FreeBSD apps for all PCBSD users. In real I’m not very optimistic, but still there is hope!

      Have fun!

      • Ken Moore
        November 22, 2011 at 1:24 pm |

        Sorry for the delay (out of town at the moment).
        To answer your question: PBI files are pre-compiled, self-contained collections of the desired program and all of its dependencies. These PBI files are generally created by building all the FreeBSD ports necessary in a clean build environment that is independent of the system files using the “pbi_makeport” CLI command. Once built, build dependencies are then pruned, leaving only the run-time dependencies and required libraries for the program to be packaged into the PBI file. As such, there is a very close connection between FreeBSD ports/packages and the PBI’s available within the Appcafe. There is also a “pbi_create” CLI command that packages a directory into a PBI. This is a possibility for those who wish to convert programs in other formats or user-written programs into a PBI file as well, it simply may require some additional work to ensure that all the dependencies are included for large programs.

        The main difference is the system by which PBI’s are installed onto the system. The PBI method of installation unpacks the PBI file into a separate location on the system (/usr/pbi), and sets up hard and soft links as appropriate to ensure that the installed PBI is kept separate from both the system and all other installed PBI’s, while still allowing sharing of runtime libraries between PBI’s to utilize the computer’s memory as much as possible. Because of this, PBI’s can be both installed and uninstalled with impunity, without affecting either the system or other installed PBI’s.

        Since PC-BSD is running a FreeBSD system, it is also possible to install FreeBSD ports/packages into the PC-BSD system. However, this has the possibility of changing your system configuration and breaking some of the PC-BSD tools. As such, we always recommend building FreeBSD ports/packages into a “port jail”, a clean build environment that is unable to interact with your system packages, while still being visible and accessible to the user.

        To summarize, there are three distinct methods (that are supported) for installing programs on PC-BSD:
        1) System FreeBSD ports/packages: Can effect the overall PC-BSD environment
        2) Jailed FreeBSD ports/packages: Safe method for FreeBSD port/package installations
        3) PBI installation: Quick, simple to use package management system that is independent of both system packages and port jails.

        If you have any further questions about PBI’s, the PC-BSD wiki page and user handbook supply an abundance of information:

  • Roger
    November 23, 2011 at 6:58 am |


    thank you to clear the position of the PCBSD-Team. Of course you are right, there are
    solutions to access the FreeBSD apps today.
    If you compare Linux and there package management with easy access for every user than you will get my point.
    New PBIs tested and available stand for that what the user want. An easy secure way to install or to remove a package. This is also for what the Appcafe stands for. The simple problem is, there are to less tested apps in the AppCafe compared to a Linux distribution. Why should a user change from Linux to PCBSD. What is the real profit?
    I tell you my expectations for a change:

    1. More available apps than in Linux cause of the access to FreeBSD
    2. Reliable and stabile cause of it’s System
    3. Faster than Linux

    If this points are fulfilled the PCBSD will soon find a lot of friends, I’m sure about that.

    Have fun!

    • Ken Moore
      November 23, 2011 at 7:25 am | link included below:

      You are correct in that we currently do not have the numbers of available Apps within the Appcafe to compare to a Linux distro. We are actively working on this however, and I think that we are getting to be much more competitive in that regard.
      Your post also reminded me of a fourth method for installing applications that is available on PC-BSD, using the Linux emulation layer for installing Linux apps. I am not as sure about the specifics of how these apps fit into the system configuration because I don’t generally use it, but I think that it is similar to installing to the system, but with the somewhat limited access of a port jail. In a somewhat recent benchmark testing by Phoronix ( link ) they discovered that a linux app installed into PC-BSD 8.2 through the emulation layer actually ran faster than the same application installed into a native linux environment (Ubunto 11.04).

      I hope this helps to ease some of your concerns!

  • New PBI's Available for 9.0 – Desktop Utilities | Official PC-BSD Blog | BSD - Vše o BSD
    November 28, 2011 at 11:57 am |

    […] the original article here: New PBI's Available for 9.0 – Desktop Utilities | Official PC-BSD Blog Štítky:appcafe, bsd, computer, desktop, freebsd, genius, installed, november, pc-bsd, pcbsd, […]

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