November 26, 2013, 3:53 PM — BSD or Linux on the desktop?
I was reading a review of GhostBSD 3.5 on DistroWatch today and it got me wondering if perhaps some Linux users should consider BSD as an alternative to Linux on the desktop.
Here's a snippet of that review:
I feel the BSD communities, especially the FreeBSD-based projects, are where the interesting developments are happening these days. Over in FreeBSD land we have efficient PBI bundles, a mature advanced file system in the form of ZFS, new friendly and powerful system installers, a new package manager (PKG-NG), a powerful jail manager and there will soon be new virtualization technology coming with the release of FreeBSD 10.0.
Meanwhile, over in the Linux camp, I feel as though things have reached a plateau. We are seeing small improvements and an increase in polish. For instance, the latest releases from Ubuntu & Kubuntu were solid, incremental improvements. Looking at the release notes for Slackware and the feature list for Fedora I get the impression we will see welcome improvements, but nothing that breaks new ground, nothing that gets the blood pumping.
I respect the reviewer for being very honest and direct in his thoughts about Linux versus BSD. He is probably going to get some flack for essentially saying that Linux has become a bit boring, and that BSD is where the real action is right now. But it's far better for him to be honest about it rather than gloss over what he perceives to be the lack of interesting development in Linux.
I did a review or two of desktop BSD systems a few years back. My feeling about BSD at the time was that the installers seemed to lag behind Linux in terms of ease of use. That's obviously not conducive to desktop use. However, it's been quite a while since I installed BSD, so perhaps that has changed for the better.
If you are new to the idea of running BSD, you might want to read FreeBSD's article that compares Linux and BSD. It's a good overview of what BSD has to offer and what some of the differences are between BSD and Linux.
Perhaps the best thing to do, if you are considering a move to BSD, is to try running it in a virtual machine via VirtualBox. That will let you get your feet wet with it, and see if it might be for you.
Of course I'm presuming that there's a reason why you might want to leave Linux and use BSD instead. If you're totally happy with desktop Linux then there's no need to consider BSD or any other operating system.
But if you're not satisfied with Linux or you're a distrohopper looking for a new challenge, it might be worth your while to give BSD a shot as your desktop operating system. I need to carve some time out soon to play with BSD a bit, and see how it has changed from my experiences in the past.
SparkyLinux 3.1 Razor-Qt Edition Review
Everyday Linux User has a review of SparkyLinux 3.1.
There are plenties of plus points for using SparkyLinux such as the good performance and a good choice of software (PlayOnLinux, Dropbox, Hotot).
I did find a few errors whilst using SparkyLinux. Clicking on open folder from the dropbox icon on the panel for some reason opened qmmp which is the audio player, Qupzilla crashed out a few times and PlayOnLinux required cURL to be installed prior to using it.
The menu system also contains a spurious Debian category and I think this could be removed.
Image credit: Everyday Linux User
You can download SparkyLinux 3.1 or get more information from the SparkyLinux site. Here's the official description in case you aren't familiar with it:
"SparkyLinux is a lightweight, fast and simple Linux distribution disigned for both old and new computers featuring customized Enlightenment and LXDE desktops. It has been built on the “testing” branch of Debian GNU/Linux.
Available for i486 and x86_64 machines.
- Debian testing based
- rolling release
- lightweight, fast & simple
- main edition – lightweight & fast LXDE desktop
- Enlightenment – lightweight and beautiful
- ultra light edition with Openbox and JWM desktops (Ultra Edition)
- special gaming edition: GameOver
- MATE Edition with GNOME 2 fork desktop
- Razor-Qt Edition with Qt based desktop
- CLI Edition for building own customized desktop
- most wireless and mobile network cards supported
- set of selected applications, multimedia codecs and plugins
- easy hard drive / USB installation "
Wakawa 1.1.3 Openbox Screenshot Tour
The Coding Studio has a screenshot tour of Wakawa Linux.
Wakawa Linux is a Debian-based distribution with a focus on the Openbox and MATE graphical user interfaces.
Image credit: The Coding Studio
I hadn't heard of Wakawa before, you can download it and get more information via its SourceForge page. Here's the official description from that page:
"The Wakawã project is a customization of the Linux Debian testing/sid. In january 2014, we will propose 3 versions in 32 & 64 bits: Mate debian testing, Openbox Debian testing, and XFCE debian Sid. All updated every 3 month.. Ready to use as a live CD, all versions can be installed on your disc drive. The Debian system is stable as rock, fast, use few ressources, and could be transform easily in one click with synaptic. The synaptic lists proposed are Wakawã audio, video, graphics and internet."
What's your take on all this? Tell me in the comments below.