PC-BSD 8.0 Goes Gold
Looking for a desktop-centric version of BSD? Check out the latest from PC-BSD, released on Monday. New in this release are improvements in ZFS, KDE 4.3.5 with a new theme, the ability to run 32-bit packages on 64-bit systems, and improvements to the software manager for PC-BSD.
PC-BSD is based on FreeBSD and uses KDE as its default desktop environment. The 8.0 release of PC-BSD is based on FreeBSD 8.0-RELEASE-P2 which moved ZFS out of experimental status, improved SMP scaling, better support for VirtualBox, and improvements in the USB subsystem. PC-BSD is designed to make BSD much easier for desktop use, and the PC-BSD team has developed a friendly package manager system and tools to let users manage packages using a simple to use GUI tool.
You'll find images for x86 and x86-64 systems, with images for burning to DVD or copying to USB. The site also provides boot-only discs for users who want to perform network installs. According to Dru Lavigne VMware images should be coming soon as well. The PC-BSD installer can also be used to install FreeBSD as well.
PC-BSD has modest system requirements, and should be a good choice for users with older computers. The minimum CPU needed is a Pentium II, and at least 256MB of RAM and 10GB free disk space. The recommended system specs are a Pentium4 with at least 512MB of RAM and 20GB of disk for PC-BSD to stretch out in. PC-BSD does come with Nvidia driver support and you'll be able to find software via the PBI directory or FreeBSD ports tree for software not packaged in the PC-BSD PBI format.
Joe 'Zonker' Brockmeier is a freelance writer and editor with more than 10 years covering IT. Formerly the openSUSE Community Manager for Novell, Brockmeier has written for Linux Magazine, Sys Admin, Linux Pro Magazine, IBM developerWorks, Linux.com, CIO.com, Linux Weekly News, ZDNet, and many other publications. Brockmeier is also a FLOSS advocate and participates in several projects, including GNOME as the PR team lead. You can reach Zonker at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter.