PC-BSD vs DesktopBSD; similarities & differences


Similar to my m0n0wall vs pfSense; similarities & differences post, I thought I’d also post a “PC-BSD vs DesktopBSD; similarities & differences” overview since I get so much trafic from people trying to find out what the similarities and differences are.

A common misconception about DesktopBSD is that it is intended as a rival to PC-BSD as a BSD-based desktop distribution. Neither the DesktopBSD nor the PC-BSD project intend to rival each other; the two projects are completely independent with distinctive features and goals. PC-BSD has introduced a new package management (PBI) that lets you easily install packages, whereas DesktopBSD has developed a graphical utility that makes installing standard FreeBSD packages and ports easy. Let’s have a look at the similarities and the differences.

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m0n0wall vs pfSense; similarities & differences

pfSense logoA common misconception about pfSense is that it is intended as a rival to m0n0wall as a BSD-based firewall system, since they are similar in structure and goals. This is not the case; some developers even contribute to both projects. m0n0wall is targeted at a specific level of hardware platform, which is the Soekris or Wrap (a 486 133MHz with 64 or 128 Mb RAM and low power consumption). pfSense requires 128 Mb ram. Likewise, m0n0wall gets away with a >= 10Mb CF card, while pfSense really needs a 256Mb card or bigger.

M0n0wall logopfSense is better in that it has more features, however m0n0wall is better in that it is smaller and simpler. Which of the two, m0n0wall or pfSense, you need, just depends on your (system/business) requirements.

Interesting link: BSD Firewalling, pfSense and m0n0wall (PDF – paper delivered at BSDCan2006)

pfSense 1.2 RC4 released

pfSense logo The pfSense development team is happy to bring you the final release candidate in the 1.2 series (RC4)! The FreeBSD based pfSense firewall is designed to be a secure and easy to setup firewall server appliance. pfSense 1.2 promises a number of great features to make setting up a firewall easier and faster.

RC4 will be the last 1.2 release candidate. The final 1.2 release will come before the end of the month.

This is a summary of the changes since RC3:
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m0n0wall tipped, screencasts and beta9

M0n0wall logoThe m0n0wall project now offers a couple of screencasts that walk you through different configuration steps of a m0n0wall. Since pfSense is based on m0n0wall, some of them apply to pfSense as well.

Carla Schroder from Serverwatch.com recommended m0n0wall in the Tip of the Trade series

m0n0wall is a specialized implementation of FreeBSD + pf designed for routers and firewalls. It weighs in at well under 10 megabytes, while still delivering a complete operating system, a firewall, Web administration, traffic shaping services, a DNS and a DHCP server, SNMP, support for DynDNS updates, and a whole lot more. m0n0wall offers a nice pointy-clicky interface for setting up your stout pf firewall, but for ultimate power, you must write rules the from scratch. more…

The 9th beta of M0n0wall 1.3 was released yesterday. This beta release corrects problems with large configuration files, fixes an issue with bridging interfaces that support hardware checksum offload, and adds a kernel patch to allow m0n0wall to boot on Nokia IP110/IP120/IP130 boxes.

PC-BSD PBI Creator 4.0 released

Version 4.0 of the PBI installation program has been released, which includes several new features:

  • New wizard screen during installation, allows user to select a custom installation directory.
  • Installer now displays disk space required for program, and available space on drive.
  • Internal integrity checker confirms that program data hasn’t been corrupted in transit
  • Installer now displays the application specific icon in toolbar during install.

PBI Developers can download version 4.0 from PBIDir. In addition, PBIs being built on the PC-BSD auto-build server will have this update applied automatically. Questions or comments about this latest release may be directed towards the PBI Developers list.

m0n0wall 1.3 Beta8

Another beta for m0n0wall. The eighth.

This beta release fixes an issue with some PPPoE-based ISPs (most notably AT&T/BellSouth). MPD and PHP were updated. Two DHCP server options are exposed through the Web GUI.

Please note that the 1.3b8 image doesn’t fit on a 8MB CF card anymore (>=10MB required)

FreeBSD in 2007 – a review

2007 is over. It was a very successful year for open source software and another 12 interesting months have passed for FreeBSD. In this post I want to look back at 2007 and see how FreeBSD faired, what happened in “FreeBSD land” and how FreeBSD based operating systems have developed. This post will be a sort of summary of the messages I posted during 2007.

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We’ll be looking at:

Start of this blog

Around April last year I was toying with the idea of starting a FreeBSD related news blog with the view to raise more awareness of FreeBSD and show it’s a perfect alternative to Linux. My first post was on 17 May 2007 and since then visitor numbers have rapidly gone up and feedback from visitors indicates that there’s definitely interest in such a blog. With the continuing growth of my WordPress.com hosted blog, I wanted to get some more flexibility and the ability to install plugins and scripts. Hence my move to Bluehost/FreeBSDOS (BTW, if you’re looking for cheap and reliable webhosting, I can really recommend them).

FreeBSD in 2007

FreeBSD LogoUnfortunately 2007 didn’t see the final release of FreeBSD 7.0; just 4 beta’s and a RC1. Well, maybe not “unfortunately”, because a top-quality product is better than a rushed-out flaky one that needs to be fixed and patched soon after its release. FreeBSD 7.0 incorporates some new and exciting technologies which will put this version a-par with, if not ahead of, Linux. Exciting stuff.

The FreeBSD Foundation have issued their quarterly newsletters (Q2, Q3, Q4), keeping the world up-to-date with the latest developments and news. The Foundation received a lot of coverage online and in the blogosphere with their Absolute FreeBSD book auction and their fund raising drive. The 2007 fundraising goal was $250.000, but a total of $403,511 was achieved. Well done.

There are already a couple of Linux related magazines for sale in stores, but BSD magazines aren’t available currently. “An interesting opportunity“, Software Media LLC/LP Magazine must have thought. They will issue first issue at the beginning of Q2 2008 and will contain an article by Dru Lavigne and Jan Stedehouder (Jan used and reviewed both PC-BSD and DesktopBSD for a month in his PC-BSB: the first 30 days and DesktopBSD: the first 30 days series).

Conference-wise, the ‘normal’ BSD conferences (BSDCan, EuroBSD, MeetBSD) were held, with a new one in Turkey (BSDConTR).
CONTINUED

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DesktopBSD 1.6 final released

The wait is over. After about 20 months since v1.0, 1.6 has been released.

This release is the first stable release of the 1.6 branch and comes with a great number of new features and improvements. It is based on the second release candidate of FreeBSD’s upcoming production release 6.3 and provides the user with an enhanced KDE 3.5.8 desktop environment.

Congratulations to the DBSD Team

The most notable new features are:

  • FreeBSD 6 as a modern and reliable base system
  • X.Org release 7.3, improving support for modern graphics hardware
  • Live CD/DVD feature for testing the system without installation
  • Revised installer supporting upgrades from 1.0 and previous 1.6 RCs
  • Improved package manager usability and performance
  • Many enhancements and bugfixes for the DesktopBSD tools
  • Support for multiple processors and multi-core CPUs
  • Inclusion of the NVIDIA graphics driver for hardware 3D rendering
  • DesktopBSD build servers as an up-to-date package source

Release Notes | Download Page