PC-BSD meets software piracy?

I have been a fan of PC-BSD for sometime now; however, it was after discovering this page that had me disturbed. Using PC-BSD’s awesome packaging methods, the webmaster of this site has apparently packaged some applications that might cause some licensing concerns. Not in violation of the GPL, as this is the BSD license in force here. No, rather the fact that we are seeing potential piracy, or at the very least, an over zealous user distributing ‘trial’ versions of Photoshop and MS Office ’97.

No Piracy After All? My discovery of this resource actually started with some Q&A regarding video codec playback for PC-BSD, which led me to stumbling on the link above. After further investigation, I discovered something that led me to believe that perhaps, there was no issue of piracy going on at all. In actuality, the scripts offered here for MS Office and Photoshop may simply be ‘installer’ PBIs instead of the full versions of the applications themselves? It certainly appears so, PC-BSD even provide users with the graphics needed to create their own PBI packages for closed source software installation.

What is even more interesting is how much much flexibility PC-BSD’ers have with their application selection than those using Linux. Rather than relying on WINE for your Windows applications, some creative users have been using the PBI packaging format to make getting those critical applications like Dreamweaver on your BSD box just that much quicker.

Is PC-BSD worth a look for beginners? With the PC-BSD 1.3.01 released and the Beta release already out for version 1.4, it may be worth looking into PC-BSD, even if your last experience was not a great one. If it was me, I would try out the Beta release, as many improvements have been made there.

For those who are generally happy their current OS, but are dying to know what is up with the the packages regarding Photoshop and MS Office, you might consider taking the Live CD for a test drive instead. I believe software installations are possible from there as well.

PC-BSD: A viable option for Windows users. I don’t think there is really any question about it, PC-BSD may actually make more sense for casual Windows users than Ubuntu Linux. And because of its very loose BSD licensing, you should not find yourself getting caught up in GPL crunch. And living in a world like Windows where closed and open source software is able to play together is pretty fantastic. Think about it, an OS where you can install IE 6 without WINE. It’s pretty wild, to say the least.

There are still a few things I enjoy more with Ubuntu than PC-BSD, but with their new Beta ready to try, I’m going to be taking the ISO for a test drive on Virtual Box later this week. The point I want each of you to understand is not to jump to conclusions as I did. When I first discovered that www.pbis.in was hosting what appeared to be proprietary software that was not legal to freely distribute, I assumed the worst. In the end, I discovered that installing closed source apps, often times designed for Windows, could easily be installed on another Unix variant. And the assumption of piracy being the motivating force behind the logos posted on random websites was for little more than doing something that these software developers should have been doing in the first place – getting their applications onto other platforms, legally.

Source: OSWeekly – column written by Matt Hartley

PC-BSD for Ubuntu users

Dru Lavigne has followed up her quick comparision of Kubuntu vs PC-BSD with an article titled “PC-BSD for Ubuntu Users

Ubuntu is known as Linux for Human Beings, because it’s driven by the philosophy that “software should be available free of charge, software tools should be usable by people in their local language and despite any disabilities, and people should have the freedom to customize and alter their software in whatever way they see fit” .

PC-BSD, on the other hand, “has been designed with the casual computer user in mind. Installing the system is simply a matter of a few clicks and a few minutes for the installation process to finish. Hardware such as video, sound, network, and other devices will be auto-detected and available at the first system startup. Home users will immediately feel comfortable with PC-BSD’s desktop interface, with KDE 3.5 running under the hood. Software installation has also been designed to be as painless as possible, simply double-click and software will be installed”.

Having used both operating systems extensively, PC-BSD is the one I recommend and the one I install in desktop environments. If you’ve used Ubuntu before, but haven’t tried PC-BSD, give it a try. The increase in responsiveness (i.e., everything seems to just run faster) and ease-of-use will surprise you.

In this article, I’ll compare Ubuntu 7.04 (Fiesty Fawn) with the (as of this writing) upcoming release of PC-BSD 1.4.”

Dru deals with the following topics

  • Installation
  • Window Manager
  • Installing Software
  • Running Windows Applications
  • Common Tasks
  • Keeping Up-to-Date
  • Getting Help

and she summarises the article
“PC-BSD provides a fun, easy-to-use desktop operating system with the added benefits of stability and security. Better yet, the price tag is free! If you haven’t taken PC-BSD for a test drive, what are you waiting for?”

Read the whole article here

pfSense 1.2 RC 2 released

The second release candidate of pfSense, a FreeBSD-based firewall, is ready for testing:

pfSense logopfSense 1.2-RC2 has been released. Here are just a few of the new improvements and features that have made their way into this new version: automatically restarts racoon (ipsec-tools if it wedges); ensure CARP status page cache is cleared before load; updated lighttpd to 1.4.15; APC updated to 3.0.14; update to DNSMASQ 2.3.9; ensure that rules are cleared from UPNP when service is stopped; correctly show IPSEC firewall rules tab when Mobile IPSEC is enabled; quality graph miscellaneous alignments; backport show username on captive portal status screen; do not allow aliases named ‘pptp'; TCP timeout time fixes.

Read the complete changelog for full details.

Kubuntu v.s. PC-BSD

Dru Lavigne has posted a short Kubuntu vs. PC-BSD comparison on her blog

I played a bit with Kubuntu this morning in preparation for the article “PC-BSD for Ubuntu Users”. It made sense to me to compare the two operating systems if they were both running the same window manager (KDE) so I wouldn’t be distracted by Gnome v.s. KDE issues. That was my first mistake….

I wanted to test on the same hardware to get an idea of performance/responsiveness (I have other PC-BSD systems in my home lab for side-by-side comparisons). So yesterday I did a fresh install of the latest snapshot of PC-BSD 1.4 (which is still in beta) on my test system. Took about 15 minutes. This morning I did a fresh install of Kubuntu 7.04 on the same system, this one took over an hour. And it was one boring install, but I digress as those who have installed both know what I mean.

With the conclusion/rant:

If I’m sounding fiesty (pun intended) it is because installing software shouldn’t be rocket science, even for new users. It’s the job of the package manager to properly handle dependencies, not the user, not even the superuser. And having software repositories spread all over *** half-acre is a lousy way to distribute software. Give me pbidir.com or freshports.org anyday.

Interview with Jeff Starkweather, Chris Buechler and Scott Ullrich

Centipede Networks has recently entered a partnership with BSD Perimeter to offer commercial support for two important free software projects, pfSense and m0n0wall.

The Free Software Magazine talked to Jeff Starkweather (CEO of Centipede Networks), Chris Buechler (BSD Perimiter’s CTO) and Scott Ullrich (Chief Architect at BSD Perimiter).

TM: Hello everybody, and thank you for answering my questions! Jeff, Chris, Scott please introduce yourselves and your companies to our readers.

JS: My name is Jeff Starkweather and I am the CEO of Centipede Networks. Centipede Networks is a dba of S4F, Inc. in Tulsa, OK, U.S.A. The company started out about 10 years ago as an ISP providing dialup access that had content filtering bundled with the service. As time progressed we branched out into products which included an internet security appliance that provides firewall, content filter and spam and virus filtering services.

CB: My name is Chris Buechler and I am the CTO of BSD Perimeter, a co-founder of the pfSense project, and a long time m0n0wall contributor. I’m not a developer on either project, but possess a deep understanding of networks and security that has enabled me to contribute heavily to both projects in project direction, testing, documentation and support.

BSD Perimeter was founded in Louisville, KY, U.S.A. by Chris Buechler and I to provide commercial backing and support for the pfSense and m0n0wall projects.

SU: My name is Scott Ullrich, and I am the Chief Architect of BSD Perimeter, the other co-founder of pfSense, and its primary developer.

Read the whole interview here

Trying out PC-BSD

Feedback from a happy PC-BSD user.

I’ve been getting that itch to go back to Unix again lately. So I went and grabbed PC-BSD, the pre-configured version of FreeBSD. I used to log a bit of time in BSD but always hated tweaking X to get it the way I liked it. This takes a lot of the work out of that and gets you going ala Linux, but without having to deal with actually having Linux when you’re done.

Anyhow, I slapped it on a laptop today (dual booting with XP of course) and I’ve been able to get all the hardware working, even the wireless card. I haven’t been digging through .conf files like this since I made a PPP dial-on-demand server out of a Pentium 75 back in high school. It feels good to be back.

Now to get started slapping apache and python and all that other good stuff on it. Programming for the web in windows just seemed wrong.

Source: richhosler.com