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8.1 Review">PC-BSD 8.1 Review

LinuxBSDos​.com has a review of PC-BSD 8.1. The review begins with:

PC-BSD 8.1 was released on July 20, 2010, roughly five months after version 8.0 was released. Some of the suggestions made in the review of PC-BSD 8.0 have been carried out in this latest release. In fact, the changes were made within one month of that review being published. It is an encouraging example of how some distro developers respond to suggestions (or critical reviews).

While I still think that PC-BSD is not yet ready for the masses, it is coming along very well. This review will offer another detailed look at some of the good and bad sides of this FreeBSD-based distribution, with the attendant recommendations and suggestions for improvement.

Let me begin by looking at the bright side of this distribution. And as always, it has to start with the …

Installation: PC-BSD’s installer is one of the most intuitive graphical installers available on any distribution – Linux or BSD. It is both simple and fully featured. It is not perfect, does not have some of the bells and whistles of Anaconda, the Fedora installer, but it is a lot better than the Ubuntu and Mandriva installers. One aspect of the PC-BSD installer that I especially favor, is that at every step, there is a Back and an Abort button.

You can read the complete review here.


Submitting PBI Requests

How to do so has been a common topic on the #pcbsd Freenode IRC channel. We’ve  provided two ways for doing so and updated the Handbook as follows:

Submit PBI Requests

Want to request a specific application to be made available in PBI format? This is an excellent way to let PBI developers know which applications are most useful to PC-BSD users. Before requesting a PBI, please do the following:

  • check in Software Manager to see if a PBI already exists. If one does but you want to request a more recent version, please say so in your request.
  • search at Freshports to see if there is an existing FreeBSD package as it is much easier and quicker to make a PBI from an existing package. If a package does not already exist, please say so in your request.
  • check to see if a request has already been made in the PBI Requests Forum or PBI-dev Mailing list.

You can make your request one of two ways:

Whatever method you choose, please include the name of the PBI you are requesting in the thread name or email subject line. This way it is easy for PBI developers and other PC-BSD users to know which applications have already been requested.

Once a PBI developer has made a new PBI, the request will be removed from the PBI Requests Forum. Please note that it takes anywhere from 27 days for a new PBI to show up in Software Manager as it needs to be built and tested to make sure everything works.

If you wish to help test the resulting PBI before it has been approved, you may do so at the sites below:

If you wish to be notified whenever a new PBI is added or an existing one is upgraded to a newer version, subscribe to the Latest PBI RSS feed.


New PBIs

The following PBIs were added this week and are available for installation in Software Manager:

  • Workrave: Workrave is a program that assists in the recovery and prevention of Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI). The program frequently alerts you to take micro-pauses, rest breaks and restricts you to your daily limit. These can be customized and it stops the counter when you stop. The program can be run distributed on one or more PCs. All connected PCs share the same timing information. When you switch computers, you will still be asked to pause on time.
  • Geany: Geany is a small and lightweight integrated development environment. It was developed to provide a small and fast IDE, which has only a few dependencies on other packages. Another goal was to be as independent as possible from a special Desktop Environment like KDE or GNOME.
  • R: R is an integrated suite of software facilities for data manipulation, calculation and graphical display. It includes an effective data handling and storage facility, a suite of operators for calculations on arrays, in particular matrices, a large, coherent, integrated collection of intermediate tools for data analysis, graphical facilities for data analysis and display either on-screen or on hardcopy, and a well-developed, simple and effective programming language which includes conditionals, loops, user-defined recursive functions and input and output facilities.

Many thanks to Jesse Smith and Sam Lin for taking the time to create these PBIs!



Just a quick heads up that changes to the Handbook and FAQ will be slower this week as I’m being kept busy with the final technical review for the BSDP exam objectives document which hopefully will be ready for publication by end of next week.

PC-BSD will definitely be rocking the Ohio LinuxFest in mid-September. This is an awesome event and they’re expecting 2000+ attendees this year. Last year we ran out of PC-BSD DVDs and beastie horns in under 10 minutes so this year the BSD booth will be well prepared. Our goal is to have every attendee sporting blinkey red horns and carrying the latest version of PC-BSD.

I’ll be giving a presentation entitled “PC-BSD: An Easy to Use BSD Desktop”, proctoring the BSDA certification and LPI exams, and hanging out at the BSD booth. Kris Moore, founder of the PC-BSD project, will also be helping out at the BSD booth along with other members of the iXsystems/PC-BSD team: jpaetzel, bsdimp, and molander. If you’re able to make it to this event, be sure to drop by the booth and say hi!


Great FAQ Rewrite Has Begun

Something else that should keep us busy for the next few months is updating the FAQS. There are currently several hundred and nearly all of them are out-of-date. Part of our evil plan is to have the FAQS available as an off-line version that can be included with every release. Having the FAQS available as a document means it will also be easier to provide translations for all of the FAQS, once that document becomes stable.

During the rewrite, there will be two FAQ locations. The rewritten and up-to-date FAQS will be available on the wiki. If you are looking for the answer to a question, go here first. The original (not updated yet) FAQS will be at the FAQ website. If you can’t find your answer on the wiki, try that website but be forewarned that the answer may not apply to current versions of PC-BSD.

If you need the answer to an FAQ that is outdated or that does not exist at either location, post your question here so it can be prioritized in the rewrite.


WordPress Ideas?

I’m still learning the various quirks of WordPress and would appreciate some help/advice from those with more experience.

Can anyone recommend a good archive utility that allows for easy navigation without taking up the whole sidebar? I’m envisioning something with a drop down menu that lets you select the month and/or another drop down menu that lets you select a post within a month. Since we blog nearly daily, there will be 25+ posts per month which will quickly start to add clutter.

I offer bonus points, some infamy, and a free beverage of your choice if I ever meet you in person if you can help us solve the hyperlink problem that only occurs in comments. Browse the comments and look for those with hyperlinks to get a visual of the problem (basically, wordpress embeds the URL correctly but prepends the domain name to the first word in the comment).

I’m not happy with the current Events Calendar plugin. It lets me add a description when I create the event (e.g. come visit us at the BSD booth on Saturday and pickup a PC-BSD DVD and some horns), but the description never shows up when you hover over the event. I’m envisioning a calendar that lets you scroll through a month, click on a day, and read more about the event details (e.g. what’s happening, the location, time, etc.).

I have some cool poll software and am looking for poll ideas of interest to you.

Any other plugins that you think would be useful to add onto this blog?

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