[PC-BSD Testing] Comments on 7.1b1

Sander Holthaus info at 2insite.nl
Mon Mar 16 05:32:54 PDT 2009

After checking out PC-BSD 7.1b1, a few comments;

Install was a breeze, but:

- I don't quite get the partition layout PC-BSD chooses by default. I
went into the advanced/custom settings, only to see that PC-BSD used one
partition + one SWAP partition (which was only 512MB).

- Not PC-BSD specific, but what is with the keyboard layouts. Every OS
asks me this. I live in the Netherlands and there is a nl keyboard
layout... except almost all the keyboards that are sold here are
US-international layout. For very new computer users, this might be made
a bit clearer.

- Last, I switched from nVidia to ATI for my graphics a while back. Not
the smartest thing to do in regards to *BSD. The display settings driver
doesn't provide any feedback when it came to the best X.Org-driver and
selected the VESA-driver instead of ati / radeonhd. It also got the
resolution of my display (HP f1903) wrong and set the default to
1024x768 instead of 1280x1024.

- After booting into PCBSD / KDE the first time, I received a notice
about not being connected to the Internet from the PBI-updater. Checked
the network settings, and indeed, my wireless PCI-based broadcom card
wasn't listed. Did a quick check to see if I could find any info on how
to get it working ASAP, but couldn't find much documentation at all.
Used ndisgen and the Windows drivers to get the card going, and tried to
set it up through the GUI which didn't work as the network scan didn't
function and there is no way to set it up manually through the GUI. So I
ended up in the console editing wpa-supplicant. No big deal, but, I
should have been able to do that through the GUI (why doesn't it work?)
and PCBSD should have provided me with more documentation in this
regard. New users might be seriously turned off by things like this.

- Last, I tried accessing my external USB NTFS HD. Worked almost
flawlessly. The first time I try to open it always leads to an
error-message, probably because Dolphin tries to access it before it is
mounted. It also goofs up some file names with special characters (like
ë), seems that it isn't using UTF-8. And I don't see preview images for
movie-files (neither for mpg, avi, mkv, vob, etc). I tried finding the
setting for this but to no avail. (used to be easy in FreeBSD 6.x with
KDE 3.5.x). .ts-files are not recognized as movie-files by default
either, though they do play.

In the list of drives/partition in KDE/Dolphin, I'm also missing my
Windows D-partition, even though it does find my Windows C-partition on
the same drive. On my previous install (FreeBSD 6.x/KDE 3.5.x) the
D-partition was listed.

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by PC-BSD 7.1b1. Excellent work!
Works out of the box, except for the above issues. The only thing I
don't really understand and which isn't mentioned during install, is how
the whole PBI/ports thing play out. The number of PBI's is fairly
limited so I guess I will be using ports mostly, but can this result in

Kind Regards,
Sander Holthaus

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