FreeBSD at the desktop: It didn’t make it

It is a sad day. With due pain in my chest, I have decided not to go through with FreeBSD at the desktop. I absolutely love FreeBSD’s basic concepts of clean system setup, clearly dividing kernel, base system and userland, and the best documentation I have ever seen on any open source project. So nothing but “kudo’s” there, and I will keep using it at my home server, and I will keep supporting it for that purpose. But no, right now, it is not the thing as it comes to the desktop.

Some of the things that tipped me over were:

  • No 64bit support for the nvidia drivers. This will be fixed in 8.0, though, and is actually not that big of a deal – just run i386 or use the nv drivers;
  • No decent flash support, I had to install a linux version through the linux emulator. This is far from ideal;
  • I couldn’t get Eclipse/PDT to work properly;
  • Somehow (and I couldn’t figure out why, and frankly, I don’t want to be spending my time figuring it out) my external HD (Which is a WD MyBook 1TB) had several troubles running. This was probably a combination of NTFS and the hardware of the MyBook, since I have seen more posts out there of people having trouble;
  • I have some trouble getting my sound card’s ports to work as I want.

I feel the need to point out that none of the issues above are FreeBSD problems really. It is mostly a lack of support, or at least, lack of people using FreeBSD at the desktop. I do think you can get around all of these issues, but I’m done with it. It has been a very cool experience though, and it has taught me a lot about FreeBSD, which actually was worth it, because I have become more and more a fan of FreeBSD itself.

So, summing up, I have been putting to much time in getting it to work properly, so here comes the search for the perfect Linux desktop distro. I have given Ubuntu and Linux Mint a try already, and they bloated my system up with so much muck it really reminded me of Vista (sorry guys), and I gave them only 15 minutes per piece. I think Gentoo would be the best next thing compared to FreeBSD, but given the fact that that’s gonna take a lot of time again, I have decided to first give Fedora a try, and if it doesn’t suit me well, I’ll probably go for Debian unstable.

I will keep the progress posted. By the way, I have also tried PC-BSD, for however thinks that is a good alternative; no it really isn’t. It compares best to KUbuntu, not really to the “from scratch, I know every little piece on my machine”-approach which I ultimately prefer.

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