On FreeBSD

Recently, I’ve been working about half of my time on FreeBSD 6.2 on a desktop at home.  I’m finding that it is both simultaneously fabulous and difficult.  What I mean here is less that it is driving me crazy, but rather that it’s been a learning experience.  The state of things on FreeBSD as with Solaris is much like the olden days with Linux in terms of user-friendliness.  It’s not exactly like it, since, most of the desktop GUI stuff has matured miles over the way it used to be.  Where it differs is in the setup.  One will definitely spend quite a bit of time at the command line getting things up and running.  Additionally, documentation on the basic system is much more widespread (hardware drivers like sound cards even have man pages), and on the lower levels there’s much more coherence than one finds with Linux.This coherence, however, does not apply to all levels.  Where Linux has gotten much more coherent in the graphical realm, FreeBSD still feels like one is getting raw materials from a large number of sources.  While some things are patched specifically for the OS, categories under menus are a bit scattered, and graphical administration packages are either not as well adjusted on FreeBSD or are not existent.  The latter of these issues isn’t that big of a deal.  I like working with the command line, getting acquainted with the underpinnings and, over time, having a more intimate knowledge of what I’m working with.What is a bit of a problem is that it feels like, on the desktop front, that tens or hundreds of different people have made decisions about things rather than there being a unified force.  One key example is how SciTE gets installed under Programming and Scribes goes under accessories, where I’d put both of these in one category since they’re both programming editors.I’m not sure what the solution is, or if we really need one, but I think I might start submitting patches in cases where I think things are wonky.  We’ll see what the ports maintainers think šŸ™‚

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