I am installing the FreeBSD 9.0 distribution on a spare hard disk, the first part of the installation is over and now I am installing the ports and other related packages. Once the system binaries and all other parts of the operating system are installed then I can try and set up the Xorg packages. FreeBSD does not have the hardware support that Linux does have, but it is a worthwhile alternative to Linux if you wish to learn the UNIX command-line and gain more UNIX experience. Software installation with the FreeBSD command-line is achieved with the pkg_add command. For example install the xterm package with the pkg_add -r xterm command. This will fetch all the dependencies required for the package to work. The default repository is the ftp://ftp.freebsd.org repository. I am installing the fluxbox window manager and the Firefox web browser. I wonder if the KMS patch for Kernel Mode Setting support will enable the text console to display at the native resolution of the flat panel screen you are using. Now I am installing the x11-server package from the /usr/ports/x11-servers folder. You may use either the FreeBSD prebuilt packages or the ports system to install software on FreeBSD, ports gives you the ability to customize how the software packages are compiled, allowing customization of your FreeBSD system.
The installation of a FreeBSD system is rather like Gentoo which borrowed many features from the FreeBSD method of using ports to install software. You install the base system, and then the rest of the packages are downloaded from the Internet as tarballs and they are unpacked, any necessary patches applied to the code and then the source code is compiled and installed onto the system, making the whole process very simple indeed. I would rather run FreeBSD over Gentoo, FreeBSD has a good community and a lot of software available for it. The version of Firefox available for FreeBSD 9.0 is Firefox 13. This is very recent, and I hope that Gnome 3 is available for FreeBSD, I will need KMS working for this desktop to be properly functional though. After I have finished installing all necessary software, I need to create a new user and then setup the /boot/loader.conf and /etc/rc.conf to configure my hardware. I just need to make sure that the DBUS and HAL components are loaded for my USB mouse to work in Xorg. FreeBSD 9.0 had the same installer as the 8.1 release, it is just as easy to use as it was before, with the partitioning steps very simple indeed, I just pressed ‘a’ to use auto defaults and that sets up an automatic partitioning layout that you may then accept with the ‘q’ key. Very simple indeed. I have run FreeBSD on my old Pentium 2 machine a long time ago.
It was pretty good then and the operating system is getting a lot better with each release. I hope that FreeBSD still has the nice Xmms music player that was available for the 8.1 release. Xmms is a very old Linux program and even though Ubuntu offer Audacious instead, I still like Xmms. Some old software like Electric Eyes, the old Linux image viewer application is too deprecated to be available these days. But the Eye of Gnome image viewer is just fine. That is my favorite image viewer. Once the KMS patch is available in the FreeBSD kernel by default, they could benefit by creating a better installer, as well as better package management whilst they are at it. Linux is so far ahead of BSD it is not funny, but for a server it is fine. The Linux kernel has better support behind it, awesome hardware support and powers Android devices as well. The FreeBSD community need far more help to get their operating system on a level playing field with the Linux operating system that has a far better user experience and installation. I was installing FreeBSD 9.0 and I ended up with a compilation error whilst installing Xorg from ports. I then erased all of the ports installed files from /usr/local and then tried to install Xorg from packages instead with pkg_add -r xorg and then I got a package conflict.
That is not a good look for a supposedly reliable operating system. I might try this again in a Virtualbox session. Installing FreeBSD on your actual computer is too painful and slow. Debian is far easier. This is why Linux is the most popular on the Internet as a substitute for Windows and not FreeBSD. Macintosh is popular and it uses the Darwin UNIX operating system as a base, but that has a large corporation behind it and that is the key to its success.