Back to 2000-2005: FreeBSD desktop

A while ago, I had my ${DAYWORK} workstation running NetBSD, and honestly, it did pretty well. Things began to become more painful when there was no more DRI acceleration with the radeon driver, it then did an okay-ish job, but the overall desktop became somewhat laggy.

It was told someone was working on porting KMS/GEM, that was more than a year ago, and as of today, that work -and I guess it is not an easy one- isn’t mature enough to be used as a workstation, I need my desktop to run various tools, and not only terminal-based ones.

Two weeks ago, I asked for a new desktop, more powerful, so I can run more virtual machines with it. That new box was shipped with an nvidia graphic card and various modern components which I knew were not supported by NetBSD. This is one regret I have about that beautiful project, running on VAX, PlayStation 2 and Amiga is fun, but I’ll tell you a little secret: nobody cares anymore about VAX, PlayStation 2 and Amiga.

So I gave FreeBSD 10 a try. And I was not disappointed: everything, and I mean everything worked almost out-of-the-box. Of course there was a bit of fighting with the proprietary nvidia driver, but it worked as expected with 3D acceleration and all.

Not everything is perfect either, but I must say FreeBSD does a great job as a workstation, actually, it does what I needed: display a descent 2014 hardware powered desktop, no more, no less.

Under no circumstances will I replace my NetBSD servers / virtual machines (as long as they still support the underlying hardware!), they do an amazing job and I am quite happy with them, but don’t expect desktop-related commits from me to pkgsrc for the time being…