First look at PC-BSD 7.1 – has taken PC-BSD 7.1 for a spin and written up a fair review in Issue 298 (13 April 2009).

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 ( 13/04/2008)

iXsystems releases PC-BSD 7.1 “Galileo Edition”

pcbsd-galileo-boxThe PC-BSD Team announced last week the availability of PC-BSD 7.1 – Galileo Edition. 

I was on holiday, hence the late announcement here.

Version 7.1 contains a number of enhancements, improvements and bugfixes from the 7.0 series. 

  • FreeBSD 7.2-Pre
  • KDE 4.2.2
  • The new KDE 4 printer applet enables users to easily add and manage printers and print jobs without using the CUPS web interface.
  • The Add / Remove Programs tool and the Update Manager have been consolidated into “Software & Updates.”
  • The Updater Tray has been modified into a small tray-only applet that shows users when updates are available. This is far less taxing on the CPU than its previous versions.
  • FreeBSD ports and packages can now be installed in a clean localbase by utilizing the “runports” command.
  • Greater stability for Flash 9 allows users to get higher quality from Flash sites such as Hulu and Youtube.
  • Enhancements have been made to PC-BSD’s System Installer, including upgrade functionality for those who wish to upgrade / repair PC-BSD while preserving their user data.
  • Fixes have been made to bugs in the Wi-Fi and Networking tools, as well as to previous Linux Emulation problems.

Links: Download | Official Press Release | Changelog | Release Notes

PC-BSD 7.1-RC1 released

The PC-BSD Team has announced the availability of PC-BSD 7.1-RC1, running FreeBSD 7.2-Pre, and KDE 4.2.1

Version 7.1RC1 contains a number of enhancements and bugfixes from beta1. For a full list of changes, please refer to the changelog.

Version 7.1-RC1 of PC-BSD is available for download from the mirrors, as well as bittorrent from Also, translators are encouraged to check the Pootle Translation page to confirm that their language is fully translated in preparation for 7.1-Release. As with the beta, please report any and all bugs to the Testing mailinglist!

Website | Changelog | Download | Release Notes 

beta release: PC-BSD 7.1-Beta1

PC-BSD LogoThe PC-BSD Team has announced the availability of PC-BSD 7.1-BETA1, running FreeBSD 7.1-Stable, and KDE 4.2.1

Version 7.1 contains a number of enhancements and improvements. For a full list of changes, please refer to the changelog. Some of the changes are:

  • KDE 4.2.1
  • Xorg 7.4
  • Separate PC-BSD and FreeBSD localbase, allows running both PBIs and FreeBSD ports without touching the desktop.
  • Upgrade option during sys-installation preserves users PBIs, ports and home directory while updating PC-BSD.
  • Improved Online Update Manager, uses less CPU resources.
  • Desktop speed improvements

Version 7.1-BETA1 of PC-BSD is available for download from the mirrors, as well as bittorrent from

Also, the Pootle Translation page has been updated with the latest strings, translators should now be able to finish localizing PC-BSD into their languages.

In order to prepare for 7.1-Release, please report any and all bugs to the Testing mailinglist!

Links:  Download | Changelog | Website

PC-BSD 7.1(“Galileo”) Alpha1

Now that KDE 4.2 is available for FreeBSD, the PC-BSD Project has released a first alpha-built of PC-BSD 7.1.

PC-BSD LogoHighlights of the build are:

  • FreeBSD 7.1-Stable
  • Xorg 7.4
  • KDE 4.2

As you will remember the PC-BSD version numbering changed last year to reflect the version of the underlying FreeBSD system. PC-BSD 7.1 is based on FreeBSD 7.1 (stable)

There were some initial problems  with the Xorg update to 7.4 which caused a new slew of problems which had to be fixed before even getting to alpha quality. It looks like Xorg 7.4 is the cause of some problems, but they should be fixed up inthe ports a bit more right now.


Here’s the DVD ISO for 32bit to play with:
MD5 (PCBSD7.1-ALPHA1-x86-DVD.iso) = 1de22b5129211e745ec53bb9fceea7fd

This is ALPHA quality, expect bugs, but please report them to help us improve the software. This will require a fresh install, the upgrade
portion will be working later on, after the new System Installer is committed and included.

Should you come across any problems or bugs, please report them to the PC-BSD Testing mailinglist.

A quick review of PC-BSD 7.0

Adriaan de Groot has posted some feedback on his initial experiences with PC-BSD:

It would never do to return from FOSDEM with the same OS on my laptop as when I left; so now I have been running PC-BSD instead of OpenSolaris for a week;

For the rest I’m bouncing back and forth between “that’s really cool” and “it’s FreeBSD, of course it works.” I won’t comment on the package management system (PBI, alongside the usual FreeBSD ports) or installation (graphical, instead of the FreeBSD text-based one). Instead, it’s the KDE4 that is delivered with PC-BSD.

PC-BSD is interesting because it is a KDE4-only setup; version 7.0 comes with KDE 4.1.3. The whole point of the distro is to deliver a polished, intergrated version of FreeBSD with KDE4 on it. There was recently a question on the dot: “which distro would you recommend?” Well, there’s only one that I know of that wholeheartedly delivers KDE4 and nothing else. That’s a good kind of fixation to have (and of course, portinstall gnome2 is always a possibility; then you get a fairly pristine GNOME2 built from source).

Some of my other favourite things with KDE4 show up again as well, like the hands on the clock being weird under a combination of resizing and theme changes. SlimGlow might – just might – be my favourite theme, but it too needs a good hammering to get the gradients out (not relevant for PC-BSD, but for some thin client applications). There’s some inconsistency in the icons .. oh, wait, that’s supposed to be a satellite dish .. for network status, but that is somewhat manageable.

Anyway, this is wandering away from PC-BSD and into KDE 4.1.3 review territory, because it comes down to this: PC-BSD delivers a KDE4 experience very close to what the KDE project itself produces as source. It’s nice. I like it that way.

Read the whole review

Thanks to Edmondas for reporting this story.

Released: PC-BSD PBI Builder 2.0

Version 2.0 of the PBI Builder Software has been released today for systems running PC-BSD 7.x.

The PBI Builder is a development tool used to create PBI files from applications in the FreeBSD ports tree. This version implements PBI Schema Version 2, which drastically improves the self-containment of PBIs, and reduces the need for sym-links to be created outside of a PBIs directory structure. This improvement greatly enhances the reliability of PBI files, while at the same time preventing potential conflicts with a PBI and user-installed applications from FreeBSD ports. 

Bordeaux 1.6 for FreeBSD and PC-BSD Released

bordeaux group logoSteven Edwards of the Bordeaux Technology Group released Bordeaux 1.6 for FreeBSD and PC-BSD today.

Bordeaux 1.6 comes with added support for Google’s Chrome Web Browser, Google Earth, Google Picasa. Additionally, Cellar support has improved; you can now delete and install into an existing Cellar. There has also been many small bug fixes and tweaks on the backend to improve the speed and reliability of all the supported applications.

A .sh build available for FreeBSD users and a .pbi build for PC-BSD users. Everyone who purchased the beta is entitled to a free upgrade and we will start your six months of support with this final 1.6 build. We would also at this time like to thank all the customers who purchased the 1.6 beta build. “Thanks for the support”

The cost of Bordeaux 1.6 is $20.00. Anyone who has purchased Bordeaux in the past six months is entitled to a free upgrade. Bordeaux comes with six months of upgrades and support and of course a 30-day money back guarantee.

The Bordeaux Technology Group is a software services and development company specializing in Windows compatibility software. Users of BSD systems from time to time find themselves in the need to run specialized Windows software. The Bordeaux suite enables access to these programs and data in a seamless and low cost manner without requiring licensing of Microsoft Technology. The Bordeaux Group also provides migration services and support for alternative operating systems specializing in Windows compatibility.

Links: | buy Bordeaux 

Thanks to Tom Wickline ( for emailing this story.

PC-BSD Thin Client Server

The PC-BSD Team has made the Thin Client Server 0.8 beta available! This PBI allows turning any PC-BSD 7.x system into a fully-functional Thin Client Server within just a few minutes. Users are encocouraged to read the Wiki which provides more details about using and working with the TCS PBI, and to provide feedback via the mailing list.  

This is great for schools and libraries. Have a look at the FenestrosBSD project (more on this project later…)