It’s fair to say that while I’m a free software guy, I’m not a BSD guy. Like many, I’ve done the odd install here or there, used a BSD-based appliance for one task or another, but it’s never been on my mind when it comes to the desktop. There are a few reasons for this, primarily it’s because I’ve been using Linux for so long and it does everything I need. I also do much of my work via the command line and am comfortable with the way Linux lays things out and am used to the GNU utilities that Linux distros provide. I’ve also often thought of BSD as playing catch-up (rightly or wrongly) and also for other pragmatic reasons like having to deal with different partitions layouts and dual booting hassles. In the past, I have even loaded the installer and then given up when it got to partitioning. Strange for a person like me, but I just never had the motivation to pursue it further. Still, I saw this new release of PC-BSD 7.1 “Galileo” and, having read somewhere that this was to BSD what Ubuntu was to Linux (I assume they mean “things working out of the box” and “ease of use”), I thought I’d give it a try. As I said, I’m not an expert in this area, so be nice. Here goes.
Overall this install of PC-BSD was a very pleasant experience, and much more advanced that I thought it would be. For me though, because I’m so used to the Linux way of doing things, I feel like I’m a little crippled on BSD, like on OS X. That’s not to say that I couldn’t learn how BSD works, but it would mean investing time in doing so. I can’t really find any compelling reason to switch, except perhaps if I wanted to expand my skill set. For others however, I think that BSD (and PC-BSD in particular) would make a fine choice, especially if you like the idea of PBI installs. Overall, it’s fair to say that I have been very impressed by PC-BSD and can see how for many it would be an excellent desktop environment. Well worth investigating further.
Whole article (distrowatch.org 13/04/2008)