[PC-BSD Public] XFCE-4.8 on PC-BSD desktop

Christian Baer christian.baer at uni-dortmund.de
Sun Jan 23 16:48:53 PST 2011

On 22.01.2011 09:24, Gour wrote:

Greetings back!

> I'm strongly considering to switch to PC-BSD from Archlinux and I'm
> targetting 9.0 release in order to become familiar enough with the OS
> (it would be first change of OS after '99).

This is partly due to personal interest, partly because it could help
with the advice: Why are you considering a switch? Is there something
not ok with your old OS or something particulary good about PC-BSD that
got your attention or meets your needs?

> There is one concern in regard to desktop environments: I can use
> GNOME (although I'm not thrilled with 3.0 novelties), used plain
> Xmonad, like LXDE, do not like KDE and now using XFCE (4.8) which I
> like the most. It's enough user-friendly for other members of my
> family to use it, not bloated etc.


> I can find some workarounds to mount USB sticks etc., but I'm
> mostly concerned about less savvy users using my desktop or those
> users which machines I maintain (and would probably put PC-BSD there
> instead of Ubuntu) if one can count on fully-functional XFCE on PC-BSD
> desktop in the future?

If you are setting up a PC-BSD computer for others to use (especially if
they are not experienced), then let them have KDE. I am not a terribly
big fan of KDE 4 myself. I went through a long list of GUIs in my time,
sticking to FVWM for a fair time and actually living with the
WindowMaker (GnuSTEP) the longest. When I found out that most software
was either being developed for GTK or Qt, I tried both and both sucked
in my opinion. Neither could really keep their promise of making
everything really easy to control and configure. Basicly it boiled down
to running a GUI and doing the configuration with vim as I had done in
the past - and somehow I have stuck with that method even today for the
mostpart. I was quite happy with the latest releases of KDE 3 as they
were stable, feature-rich and very configurable.

While today KDE 4 has improved dramatically, I still miss a few things
from the old version. But that is not the main reason I recomended KDE.

I have messed around with many different types of Unix during the last
few years, mainly looking for the perfect desktop. Apart from learning
that there is no such thing, I also learned that using any other desktop
than the default one isn't a really good solution. Each OS (I define a
Linux distribution as its own OS) has its own set of tools and software
unique to that OS. These tools are usually only fully functional under
the default GUI. You can see this very dramatically with Ubuntu. While
the standard GNOME desktop works find, the XFCE is rather slacker and
KDE borderlines on being unusable. Basicly the same applies for GNOME
with SUSE; although it is usable, it is by no means as neat as KDE and
lacks many of the goodies.

If you are experienced, working around the missing bits is work but
relatively trivial. For a beginner, that task can be more than daunting.

PC-BSD comes with KDE by default and although I know that GNOME works
and people use it, it just lacks the goodies you get with KDE. If you
really want to use GNOME, you might give Ubuntu, Debian or Red Hat a
closer look.

Something about KDE being bloated...
Every GUI is bloated by some definition. There were times when people
considered them evil because they used too many resources. This was
especially true in the times when RAM cost a fortune. I remember buying
16 megs of RAM for over $500 (US). In those times I wrote my eMails with
Elm. :-) Although I still like and use slrn today, I know that modern
computers can cope with bloated GUIs just fine. KDE or GNOME in
combination with compiz is hardly enough to make a modern CPU come out
of cool'n'quite, let alone make it break out in sweat.

Best regards,

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