We’re still in the process of porting the LXDE login manager which will be used in 9.0. Earlier versions of PC-BSD used KDE’s login manager which defaults to logging into KDE and also requires a lot of dependencies. LXDE’s version is much lighter weight, meaning that we will be able to provide CD versions of PC-BSD (currently, the dependencies required by KDM make the ISO too large to fit on a CD).
If you are testing alternate desktop environments using the current alpha snapshot, it still uses KDM. This means that you should not choose “auto-login” during the installation, or else KDM will attempt to log you into a non-existing KDE installation. In other words, your desktop will look pretty lousy. However, you should still be able to logout, click the session manager icon at the login screen (circle with lines through it located in lower left corner), select the desired window manager, and input your user account’s password.
We’ll also be clarifying the layout of the System Selection screen in the installer. MythTV isn’t a desktop environment, meaning you’ll get an error if you deselect everything else. If you want to give MythTV a go, select it as well as one of the desktops, such as KDE or GNOME.
If you find any bugs in the desktop environments, don’t forget to post them to the appropriate desktop forum.
Just a heads up if you choose the Network/Internet option in the System screen of yesterday’s alpha snapshot: you will need to manually enter the FTP location for your architecture:
64 bit: ftp://ftp.pcbsd.org/pub/snapshots/9-CURRENT-20101030/amd64/netinstall/
32 bit: ftp://ftp.pcbsd.org/pub/snapshots/9-CURRENT-20101030/i386/netinstall/
This section of the Handbook discusses network installations. Click the “Install from specified server” button which will allow you to input the FTP server name and directory path.
Kris has just announced that the first testing snapshot is available for download (both 32 and 64 bit versions). You can help us make 9.0 an awesome release by trying out the snapshots (there will be many between now and the first beta some time next spring) and providing feedback about any bugs you find. Since these are testing snapshots, it is recommended that you try them out on a spare system or using a virtual environment such as VirtualBox. If you’re planning on trying out all of the new desktop environments, you should use a virtual machine of at least 20 GB.
From the announcement:
I’m pleased to make available our first 9-Current alpha snapshot for you to begin playing with. This testing snapshot contains MANY new features and improvements that we plan on including in the eventual release of 9.0. However, by no means is this snapshot “feature complete” or to be considered stable. Expect to find bugs and things to change over the coming months as we refine features. Consider yourself warned!
With that being said, here’s a short list of some of the major changes from the 8.x series:
Ability to select system “meta-pkgs” at install / post-install time
This is a huge departure from previous PC-BSD releases. Now you will be able to customize your installed desktop easily, with various window managers such as KDE4, Gnome2, XFCE4, and LXDE. After installation, you can easily add / remove components of these meta-pkgs via the System Manager.
New PC-BSD Control Panel
Due to the new multiple desktop environment support, we have consolidated PC-BSD specific tools and utlities into a central location which can provide a consistent experience across window managers. When you first boot up, you will notice a new “Control Panel” icon on your desktop, which is your gateway to utilities such as Software Management, Network Config,
Firewall settings and more.
PBI format has been completely overhauled and reimplemented as CLI
Our servers are busy cranking out new 9 PBIs for testing, so you will not be able to download them via the Software Manager at the moment. However, you can download 9.0 PBIs which have successfully built directly from the 64-bit and 32-bit build servers
Installing a 9.x PBI is easy: simply double-click the .pbi file from your particular file-manager, or if that fails, use the “runpbi
the new pbi_* commands have associated man-pages, which should get you started exploring the new features.
Some of the new PBI9 features are digital signing, the ability to share identical libraries between applications, binary patch files, and more.
Code tree cleanup
Along with the new features mentioned, our code tree has been cleaned up, making it much easier to rebuild for testing and development. If you’ve installed the base-devel and kde-sdk meta-pkgs, you’ll have all the tools necessary to checkout the source, and do a rebuild of our PC-BSD specific tools using the instructions below:
# svn co svn://svn.pcbsd.org/pcbsd/current pcbsd-current
# cd pcbsd-current
Rebuilding the QT4 based gui tools can be done with this command:
# cd src-qt4 ; qmake-qt4 *.pro ; make install
Rebuilding the shell-based toolchain can be done with this command:
# cd src-sh ; make install
There are a couple of known issues with this snapshot. First, the networking utilities may not save your configuration to /etc/rc.conf properly. Checking out the source as described above and rebuilding the src-qt4 tools should fix this issue.
Also, the nvidia drivers included in this snapshot are currently from the 8.x series and will probably not function. We will be updating them in a future snapshot; in the meantime, please use the “nv” or “vesa’ drivers.
Reporting and Fixing Bugs
This snapshot is based upon FreeBSD 9-Current, and testers who find bugs in the base-system can help the FreeBSD team by reporting the issues using FreeBSD’s Gnats PR system. If this is your first PR, please read the instructions for Writing FreeBSD Problem Reports first.
Of course, detailed error reports are appreciated, and any patches to correct the target bug.
Download the Snapshots
The snapshots are currently available for download from our FTP site.
We’ll be giving away PC-BSD 8.1 DVDs and cool swag in the Exhibition area during LISA, November 10–11 in San Jose, CA. Registration is free for the Exhibition, so we hope to see some of you there! Stop by the booth and chat for a while.
The following PBIs are now available through Software Manager:
DesktopBSD Tools: a collection of applications designed to make life easier and increase productivity. Even inexperienced users can easily perform administrative tasks efficiently, such as configuring wireless networks, accessing USB storage devices or installing and upgrading software.
Duplicity: backs directories by producing encrypted tar-format volumes and uploading them to a remote or local file server. Because duplicity uses librsync, the incremental archives are space efficient and only record the parts of files that have changed since the last backup. Because duplicity uses GnuPG to encrypt and/or sign these archives, they will be safe from spying and/or modification by the server.
TightVNC: optimized to work over slow network connections such as low-speed modem links. While original VNC may be very slow when your connection is not fast enough, with TightVNC you can work remotely almost in real time in most environments. Besides bandwidth optimizations,TightVNC also includes many other improvements, optimizations and bugfixes over VNC. Note that TightVNC is free, cross-platform and compatible with the standard VNC.
Thanks to Jesse Smith for creating the PBIs and to dejamuse and bsdimp for requesting the PBIs.