In search of balance, a digital zen and everything in between

Adventures in FreeBSD

3 minutes

Week one

  • History
  • Research
  • Install

I’ve been around for a while and been involved in the nixes UNIX/Linux since around the late nineties. I first discovered Linux when I found a set of SUSE discs in the rubbish bin at my computer class. In an attempt to install SUSE, I proceeded to wipe my Windows 98 install and my precious games save, I had so much in my Diablo stash it was heartbreaking!

Anyway, even though at the time losing my precious games saves was devastating, It didn’t kerb my interest in Linux. To cut a long story short, not long after the great event, Windows be came secondary to me and eventually extinct as I became a user of Linux.

So what has this got to do with FreeBSD and UNIX? I always new of UNIX but not really the whole history of the UNIX operating system, which as I have a passion for history I was intrigued and as I am a nerd who often dwells in the nerdsphare, it was natural I wanted to know everything about it. I won’t go into the history of UNIX but you can find a fantastic text based history at KatolaZ, which I will add a link to at the bottom of this post. So, many Linux distros later I have again returned to FreeBSD UNIX or ‘UNIX like’ because we are not really allow to call it UNIX, trade mark issues and all silly stuff.

I have used FreeBSD as a desktop in the past but never very long and have always gone back to Linux for the desktop experience. 2023 rolled around and I need a change, so I decided to try FreeBSD again on the desktop and I would give it a good month of solid use and compare what I can do and what I cant do on FreeBSD. I installed FreeBSD in VirtualBox, following the Handbook and shortly had FreeBSD with the XFCE desktop up and running. I thought this is fine, but if I want to give this a good honest try it needs to be on hardware and my daily driver. So I slotted in a new SSD into my laptop and proceeded to install FreeBSD on my Thinkpad X250.

The first attempt to install FreeBSD on my laptop didn’t go so well, user error I should read the Handbook more carefully and not skip parts because I think I know better. The second attempt was a success! My DE of choice of course was XFCE and I chose LightDM as my login manager. During the install my wifi card was detected but couldn’t find any carriers, but after logging into my newly install desktop I was able to connect to my wifi network just fine.

Speaking of wifi, I installed a few extra packages that are not included in the default install of XFCE, these are as follows:

  • networkmgr
  • xfce4-pulseaudio-plugin
  • xfce4-volumed-pulse
  • gtk-xfce-engine
  • xfce4-appmenu-plugin

Also a couple of applications needed.

  • xarchiver
  • xreader

The above plugins and applications I feel are needed to make your life in XFCE more pleasant. So this is the basic install. Oh, I also installed Audacious the greatest audio player ever created! At lease in my universe it is. That’s about all for now, but will return with with week two, customisation’s, extra software, quirks what ever else turns up.

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