Michael Hauber wrote:
> Hey, all...
> I've been a user of FreeBSD and OpenBSD for quite a while now. Unfortunatly,
> I haven't had much time to tinker lately, and that's unlikely to change in
> the near future. Sadly, I need to get an OS that my wife would be more
> comfortable using and that wouldn't be as time-comsuming to make it more
> comfortable for her.
> I downloaded the uberyl live CD and found that ubuntu seems to pick up on
> everything I have on the laptop (as well as all the attachments), so I'm
> downloading it now.
> Because I've put so much time into getting this FreeBSD install where it is
> now (and because I favor the BSDs), I'm still a bit hesitant... Has anyone
> here had much experience with ubunu as a desktop? Negatives/positives?
> Kind of OT, I guess... I'd just rather hear it from someone in this group
> rather than the inevitable, "Oh yeah. You won't be sorry." from the ubuntu
> folk (salespitches == fingernails on a chalkboard :) ).
> PS. Yes, I've played with PC-BSD. Unfortunately, that's still more work than
> I have time for.
I am working (and tinkering as you put it) with many kinds of systems:
Fedora / Ubuntu as desktops, Debian as servers, FreeBSD both desktops
and servers, Windows 2003 servers, XP desktops, even Vista :)
To put it simply, every system has its strong points, ups and downs. For
example, Windows has drivers for everything - many are crap, but they
still exist - and a few applications you just can't replace with
anything else. Ubuntu, the one you are considering, is based on Debian,
which I consider excellent, especially for servers. But if you are
coming from a FreeBSD background, Ubuntu will seem rather "restrictive"
and "easy". It is an easy desktop for *NIX beginners, and it is now
marketed as the Linux you will never have to touch the command line. As
I recall, the default install will not even setup gcc, although the
package (build-essential) is on CD. There are obviously a lot of helper
apps, like automatic installation of codecs etc. but it is still Linux.
If you are a power user you will need to tinker it, and there will be
things missing you will need to install. Example: First time I tried to
mount some NFS shares, they were taking ages. I found out it was missing
the nfs-common package. Maybe a beginner does not care about it, but I
consider this basic functionality and expect it to be there (or that I
will be informed it is not, beforehand). I also need the compiler,
kernel headers and stuff to compile kernel modules. Ubuntu seems to have
a lot of ready made things, good for beginners but quite limiting for
me, I have to actually rip things out to install my stuff (e.g. disable
their versions of some restricted drivers to install mine). That being
said, it is making an alternate, non-Windows desktop accessible to a lot
of people, which I consider a good thing.
Though I suggest Ubuntu to enthusiastic Linux beginners, I find it
difficult to give an argument for anyone with an average FreeBSD
knowledge. At home I mostly use Fedora as a Linux desktop.
The part of your post I don't really understand, is what is really
bothering you with your FreeBSD install. Are you missing programs /
features you just can't live without? Is it something to do with the
ports / packages? Installing, customizing and becoming familiar with
your FreeBSD system does take some time, but this is followed by a very
long effortless stable operation. Assuming a typical installation where
users' needs don't constantly change, you can easily maintain a FreeBSD
install with minimum hassle. And how is Ubuntu going to be any easier
for your wife? Assuming you are administering the machine, a FreeBSD
with a Gnome desktop will be more or less the same from the user
standpoint to Ubuntu (or any other distro) with Gnome.