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CromeDome (4395)

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Hello, I'm MrCromeDome from Perl Monks. [] See my account there or my home page for more info.

Journal of CromeDome (4395)

Friday February 13, 2004
08:54 AM


[ #17400 ]

I will probably start an OS war with this, so I apologize in advance. Just recounting my personal frustrations with some OSes lately. Doesn't mean I think they suck, just outlining my personal issues of late ;)

I've been using FreeBSD on two of my servers for over a year now, and love it. I was a Linux user before that, first with Redhat, then after 7.0 came out I went to Slackware. I really enjoyed Slack, but after playing around with FreeBSD on a friend's server, I wanted to give it a run. And I was hooked from that point on, and never looked back. Till now.

I finally got around to rebuilding my old Thinkpad, and wanted to give FreeBSD 5.2 a whirl on it. I know there have been some issues with 5.2, but after some research, didn't think those issues would apply to me and so went for it. Unfortunately, the computer hangs whenever sysinstall executes. After some tinkering, I went back and tried 4.9 on the same machine. It doesn't crash, but won't recognize my PCMCIA ethernet card either.

I said "ok, I've always wanted to try OpenBSD, let's try that." I installed it without issue. And I like it, daresay moreso than FreeBSD in some respects. It's lean, it's clean. It felt kinda bare bones, but I liked it. Until I tried installing the ports. I recognize that this doesn't weigh on the quality of the OS, but having come from FreeBSD, goot ports are a big deal to me.

Installed nmap port. Success! Installed iodbc port. Success! Installed FreeTDS - crap, didn't build with ODBC libraries. Upgrade to latest iodbc - won't compile on OpenBSD. Install unixODBC - success! Install FreeTDS - still no ODBC support. Finally upgraded to most recent FreeTDS and it compiles ok, but DBD::ODBC won't compile for me against that setup. Grr!!!! Install KDE - downloads, compiles forever, crashes near completion.

I have since learned that I might need to update the PLIST for the FreeTDS port, that maybe it's building the ODBC libraries but not installing them after build. Which is fine, but all the frustration at this point has really got to me.

I realize that free and OSS software might not be as user friendly as their closed-source commercial counterparts. And I'm ok with that ;) I've used Linux and FreeBSD for 8+ years now, and I'm accustomed to working a bit harder at things. But this type of frustration still gets to me. I could accept if I was doing something wrong, but if I am this time, it sure isn't something obvious.

Suggestions are welcome. NetBSD? Gentoo? What have others used on a laptop with more success than I'm having. FWIW, I'm using an older Thinkpad A20.

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  • Dunno what problem you are having, but I had an adventure getting it to not crash with my UDMA controller. (Finally put hw.ata.ata_dma=0 into /boot/loader.conf.) ACPI support is also a bit flaky, which may be the problem with your laptop. It looks like it will be an improvement over the 4.x series, but it needs more shakedown time.

    So try FreeBSD 4.9. Much more reliable (for the moment, anyway).
  • I use NetBSD on my own systems. The ports tree ("pkgsrc") is of pretty high
    quality, and the whole system has a bare-bones, well-documented feel to it.

    But getting Java or Flash to work with your browser will be a bit of a pain. I
    don't bother.