Author Archive


PC-BSD: Much Faster Than “Linux”

Larry Cafiero over at has recently switched over from Linux to PC-BSD/FreeBSD, and has been writing articles about the switch. Today, he published an interesting article specifically about PC-BSD, with a lot of nice things to say such as this great quotable:

Linux was fast enough on this machine. But in street racing parlance, with PC-BSD I’m burning rubber in all four gears.

If you are on the fence about PC-BSD or just curious about another person’s experience in switching over, you should definitely give this one a read.


Original Article: “The Devil & BSD: Leaving Linux Behind”

Current Article: “Is That Linux? No, It’s PC-BSD”


Lumina Desktop 0.8.7 Released!

The Lumina desktop environment has just been updated to version 0.8.7! Pre-built packages for this version are already available on the PC-BSD “Edge” pkg repository (x11/lumina[-i18n]), and will be included in next months 11.x “development” image as well.

This version also includes a few PC-BSD specific changes, such as now we have a custom “PCBSD” compile time option which installs the pre-configured settings for PC-BSD desktop systems, and removes the need for an additional file overlay by the PC-BSD project. If you are using “pure” FreeBSD, you may also install the PC-BSD settings by enabling that compile time option when you build the port.

For the full release announcement, head over to the Lumina website!


PC-BSD 10.2-RC1 Now Available

The PC-BSD team is pleased to announce the availability of RC1 images for the upcoming 10.2 release. Please test these images out and report any issues found on our bug tracker:


PC-BSD 10.2 Notable Changes

  • FreeBSD 10.2 base system
  • Many bugfixes and enhancements to installer to dual-boot setups
  • New CD-sized network installation media, with Wifi Configuration via GUI
  • Switched to “iocage” for jail management backend
  • Disk Manager GUI now available via installer GUI
  • Bug-fixes and improvements to Life-Preserver replications
  • Improved localization options for login manager
  • Options to Enable / Disable SSHD or IPv6 at installation
  • New “Plugins” system for AppCafe, allowing download of pre-built jail environments
  • Improvements to look-n-feel of AppCafe for package management
  • Improved fonts and better support for 4K monitor setups
  • Enterprise package repo, which only has security updates, allowing users to run a server / desktop or jail with fairly consistent package versions.
  • FireFox 39.0
  • Chromium 43.0.2357.134
  • Thunderbird 38.1.0
  • Lumina 0.8.6



Users currently running the EDGE package repo can now update their packages via the updater GUI or “pc-updatemanager” utility to be brought up to date with RC1. Updates for users on the 10.1.2 / PRODUCTION repo will be available once 10.2-RELEASE is announced.


Getting media

10.2-RC1 DVD/USB media can be downloaded from the following URL via HTTP or Torrent.


Reporting Bugs

Found a bug in 10.2? Please report it (with as much detail as possible) to our bugs database.


Lumina Desktop 0.8.6 Released!

Just in time for PC-BSD & FreeBSD 10.2 (coming soon), the Lumina desktop has been updated to version 0.8.6! This version contains a number of updates for non-English users (following up all the new translations which are now available), as well as a number of important bug-fixes, and support for an additional FreeDesktop specification. The PC-BSD “Edge” packages have already been updated to this version and the FreeBSD ports tree will be getting this update very soon as well.

In addition, the Lumina desktop now has its own website! While we are still working on cleaning up some of the visuals, all the information about Lumina (how to download/install it on various OS’s, a summary of the features, description of the project, screenshots, etc..) is all there and up-to-date. We are also working on a full handbook for Lumina (similar to the PC-BSD/FreeBSD handbooks) which can also be viewed directly from the website. Please check it out and let us know what you think!


Changes Since 0.8.5:

  1. Localizations
    • Add the ability to set system-locale overrides (used on login), allowing the user to “mix” locale settings for the various outputs.
    • Add the ability for the user to switch the locale of the current session on the fly (all locale settings changed for the current session only), and these settings will be used when launching any applications later.
    • Fix up the translation mechanisms of the Lumina interface, so everything will instantly get re-translated to the new locale.
    • More languages are now fully translated! Make sure to install the x11/lumina-i18n port or pkg to install the localizations and enable all these new features!
  2. Add support for the “Actions” extension to the XDG Desktop specifications.
    • This allows applications to set a number of various “actions” (alternate startup routines) within their XDG desktop registration file.
    • These actions are shown within Lumina as new sub-menus within the Applications menu as well as in the User button (look for the down arrow next to the application icon).
  3. Change the Lumina OSD to a different widget – allowing it to be shown much faster.
  4. Add new “_ifexists” functionality to any session options in luminaDesktop.conf. This allows the distributor to more easily setup default applications (browser, email, etc..) through an intelligent tree of options (which may or may not be installed).
  5. Bug Fixes
    • Apply a work-around for new users which fixes a bug in Fluxbox where the virtual desktop windows could still be changed/closed by various Fluxbox keyboard shortcuts. If an existing user wants to apply this fix, you need to replace your ~/.lumina/fluxbox-keys file with the new Lumina default (/usr/local/share/Lumina-DE/fluxbox-keys) – which will overwrite any custom keyboard shortcuts you had previously setup.
    • Fix some bugs in the new window detection/adjustment routines – fixing up issues with full-screen apps that change around the X session settings to suit their own temporary needs.
    • Fix a couple bugs with the automatic detection/load routines for the new QtQuick plugins.
    • Add in the “Ctrl-X” keyboard shortcut for cutting items in the Insight file manager.
    • Fix up the active re-loading of icons when the user changes the icon theme.



Lumina Desktop 0.8.5 Released

The next version of the Lumina Desktop Environment is now available! This version includes a significant number of updates, particularly to the main desktop session/interface, so I highly recommend that you update to the new version as soon as possible. While the full list of changes is posted at the bottom of the announcement, there are a few that I want to highlight here:

  • The user button has received a significant speed boost, and can now be used for full browsing of the user’s home directory (files and directories).
  • Desktop icons have received a large number of changes in styling, amount of visible text, and functionality. There is also a new feature to automatically generate plugins for items in the user’s Desktop directory – where each plugin may be individually moved/changed (not trapped within a container like the “desktopview” plugin).
  • A new desktop plugin for monitoring the system hardware status (memory/CPU usage, CPU temperature, disk I/O). This functionality requires support for your particular OS, and is currently only available for: PC-BSD, FreeBSD, and Debian
  • A new desktop plugin container for running custom QtQuick/QML scripts. While there is only a single “sample” plugin of this type available at the present time, it is now possible for users to create their own custom interface plugins using the QML scripting language (similar to javascript or CSS). See the “New Plugins” section in the change log below for details about where these scripts need to be placed/named.


  • Lumina has now been fully translated to German, Russian, and Spanish, and almost-completely translated to Catalan (89%), Chinese (61%), Estonian (53%), Indonesian (76%), Polish (89%), Portuguese (89%), Portuguese-Brazilian (89%), Swedish (91%), and Turkish (88%). Thank you to all our translators for all your hard work!!
  • To install the translation files on PC-BSD/FreeBSD, you will need to install the (new) x11/lumina-i18n port/package. These translations files are located in the lumina-i18n repository on GitHub, if you wish to package up the translations for your particular OS/distribution as well. Details about how to install those translation files are listed in the repository information.
  • To contribute to the translation effort, you may create an account on the PC-BSD translation website and get started today!

 Package Availability:

  • PC-BSD users currently running the EDGE package repo will be able to update their packages via the updater GUI or “pc-updatemanager” utility within the next couple days. Updates for users on the PC-BSD 10.1.2 / PRODUCTION repo will be available once 10.2-RELEASE is available later this year.
  • FreeBSD users may now update Lumina directly from the FreeBSD ports tree (x11/lumina), or wait until the FreeBSD package repository is updated with the latest changes before updating with pkg.
  • For other Linux/BSD users, please contact the packaging team for your distribution/OS to determine the availability of pre-built packages.

Source Repository

  • The Lumina-DE source repository is available on GitHub, and contains a detailed list of instructions on how to build/install Lumina on various types of systems.
  • A static archive of the sources for this release may also be downloaded directly from GitHub, to aid in the creation/distribution of pre-built packages for your particular OS.

Reporting Bugs

  • Found a bug in Lumina 0.8.5? Please report it (with as much detail as possible) to our bugs database.


  • The new system for desktop plugin settings requires that any desktop plugins will be reset back to defaults on upgrade to this version of Lumina.
  • There is a known bug/conflict between Qt 5.4+ and Fluxbox 1.3.7 which results in the “close” button on unlocked desktop plugins having no effect when clicked. To work around this issue, you may right-click on the title for the plugin and select the “close” option from the menu to remove the desktop plugin. Alternatively, you may also remove desktop plugins from the Lumina configuration utility (lumina-config).

Contact Us



Conference Videos/Slides

Kris and Ken attended BSDCan 2015 last week and had an amazing conference. The videos of the conference were just put online within the last couple days, so if you were not able to attend, you might want to take a look!

  • BSDCan 2015 Videos from the conference (not all of them were video recorded, but a lot were).
  • The video of Ken’s session about Lumina-DE. There is a bit missing at the beginning of the talk, but not too much was missed. The video is fairly dark, but you can also find all of Ken’s slides on SlideShare.
  • It does not appear that a video was recorded for Kris’s session about package/jail management, but you can find the summary/paper on the conference website linked above.
  • EDIT: There was a video recording of Kris’s session, but it has just not been put up yet. Stay tuned to the BSDCCan playlist to catch it when it gets uploaded. You can also find Kris’s slides from the session here.

At the same time as BSDCan, Joshua Smith attended the SouthEast Linux Fest (SELF) and gave a presentation titled “PC-BSD 10.1.2: Whats New?”.

If you have the opportunity to attend one of these conference in the future I highly recommend going!

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