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

Adventures with FreeBSD Week Two

3 minutes

So, after the initial setup, and the installation of a few essential packages (plugins and applications) I have been busy customising and creating my perfect desktop for daily use. Anyone who has used FreeBSD knows, it comes with the caveat of ‘some assembly required.’ Now this is fine, as it contributes to the growing of new neurons in the brain. Seriously it does!

A note on the generation of new neurons in the brain. over recent years we have seen big tech move us from type and text to point and click and now, endless scrolling where more than two lines of text is considered too long and too hard for the populous to understand. as a lover of text this breaks my heart, but also concerns me deeply that we are being steered slowly but surely into yes and obey mode and not into question-and-answer mode.

A quest for knowledge is the mode I default to. The three R’s ‘Research Research Research’ and then research some more. Eventually you complete your quest, and you will be a better person for it.

I will write more on this subject in the future.

Back to the desktop.

I am presented with fairly default XFCE desktop, the first thing I do is turn off display icons on the desktop and turn off show applications in the right click menu this makes things look a little tidier. I also installed themes, icon packs and backgrounds as you do with XFCE to make it your own.

I took the top panel down to 24 and added a skin to it to give it just a hint of shading. I removed the bottom panel altogether and replaced it with plank. Usually with XFCE I keep the bottom panel and use it as quick launch for applications, but this time I decided to replace it with plank so it would act as a dock and launcher similar to MacOS.

So far, I have found everything I need in the FreeBSD repository including those below and have found that they are either the latest versions or very recent, maybe one version behind.

  • Audacious
  • Dosbox
  • Hexchat
  • VLC
  • Firefox
  • Chromium
  • Thunderbird
  • FileZilla
  • Gimp
  • Inkscape
  • Nextcloud client.

This is not a complete list but it’s a base to get things started. as I said some assembly required.

Installing applications on FreeBSD.

A quick overview of Installing Applications and Packages and Ports from the FreeBSD handbook.

“FreeBSD is bundled with a rich collection of system tools as part of the base system. In addition, FreeBSD provides two complementary technologies for installing third-party software: the FreeBSD Ports Collection, for installing from source, and packages, for installing from pre-built binaries. Either method may be used to install software from local media or from the network.”

If you are coming from Linux, you are probably familiar with Apt from Debian, Pkg works work in a similar way.

pkg install ‘software package’ pkg search “search for software, can use wild cards * as well” pkg delete “remove software package”

There are many other options for pkg which can be found in the man pages.

I wont cover ports here as I haven’t used any on this install of FreeBSD, as I have so far found everything I need as a pre-built package.

So far, I have a very clean workable desktop on a robust stable foundation, FreeBSD. Note: one of the great things about XFCE is that it is so customisable, and you can make and set it up just the way you want.

That’s about for now, there is probably more I should add here and I know I haven’t gone into detail on how to do things in FreeBSD, but this is more about my experience and to answer the question Can FreeBSD be my daily driver?

Next week I will be discussing configuration and trouble shooting.