Since I haven’t tried FreeBSD in a long, long time (years), I gave it a shot these days and I must say I was surprised. After almost a day of using it, it didn’t feel different than any other modern Linux distribution. It even have a graphical update manager that didn’t work! Jokes aside, FreeBSD had made some huge progress in desktop usability and if we consider the server tools and its awesome documentation, it’s an interesting operating system.
Installing GNOME was so easy that I really have nothing to add. There’s no tips and trick, just follow the manual and you’ll have GNOME installed in like half an hour. If you want to have an enjoyable experience as a desktop, you have to read and apply these tips from the handbook and… there you have it, a fully usable FreeBSD desktop. With Flash, NVIDIA driver and Java support just a few pkg_add command away.
FreeBSD is so simple to install that offers really no challenge so if I made a blog about me using it, I’m afraid there wouldn’t be much to write about. On the server side, FreeBSD brings a few tools on the table that really worth taking a look at: ZFS, jails and virtualization. Not bad FreeBSD, not bad.
I was also tempted to install Solaris 11, but after a quick IRC chat I found out that Oracle doesn’t supply free security updates. That’s not funny. Open source implementation of Solaris and its features are spread between different projects (SmartOS, ProjectIndiana, etc) so until they stabilize and deliver an usable product, I think FreeBSD have it all: really good server tools, best desktop experience, without being owned by a ruthless corporation.
So back to our OpenBSD, after a wonderful trip trough FreeBSD realm. It’s nice to know there is an operating system like this and it continues to evolve. I will probably fail to make OpenBSD my desktop operating system, but I’m pretty sure I could get used to FreeBSD as quickly as I could with any other Linux distribution.