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I've just written this lengthy geeky ramble about why I've recently
decided to switch to TrueOS from Arch Linux on my laptop, which is my
main machine at home. It could provide good material for BSDNow?

After over 20 years of using Linux as my primary OS at home, I have
now ditched it in favour of FreeBSD/TrueOS. TrueOS is a version of
FreeBSD customised for home/desktop computer users. The main reason is
that no Linux distro supports ZFS as well as FreeBSD and TrueOS do and
I value ZFS boot environments so much that I'm willing to switch OS to
get them.

The crunch came on Monday night when I ended up installing multiple
desktops / many packages in a row under Arch. Something went horribly
wrong along the way and I couldn't even boot to the minimal rescue
prompt when I tried rebooting. This is exactly the sort of scenario
where boot environments save you hours of reinstalling or messing
around restoring backups as, under a ZFS-based OS, you'd just boot to
the last known working boot environment like nothing ever happened and
you're back to using your computer in a matter or seconds. There are
various disater recovery mitigation things I could do under Linux like
using REAR, clonezilla etc but none of them are as painless, fast and
elegant as ZFS boot environments and BE's don't involve you using
external drives or network shares. Boot envs also allow you to install
whole new operating systems without messing with your hard drive
config. There's no 'unusing' them or forgetting how better your
computing is having them once you've experienced their power!

I have been trying FreeBSD on and off for the last two decades. It
doesn't support as much hardware as Linux but I'd have to say that if
all your computers hardware is supported and it has the software to do
what you want then it is the best choice. This was my problem until
very recently because although I badly wanted ZFS, FreeBSD and TrueOS
didn't support my laptops graphics card and so I couldn't play videos.
That has been fixed in recent TRueOS releases and now my laptops
Haswell GPU is fully supported so that I can play 4K videos smoothly
via HDMI with mpv. I like ZFS a lot but you can't have a usable
'desktop' computer without video playback.

That was one major blocker to me using FreeBSD at home and the other
was MTP support. The last time I gave TrueOS a go I failed to transfer
files to/from my LG G4 (Android) phone via the command line mtp tools
I tried but I didn't try gmtp, a graphical app for transferring files
to/from Android devices for UNIX. I gave that a go last night and got
it to work so I decided that was enough to convert me as I know all my
other fave open source apps work fine under FreeBSD and TrueOS. Well,

The other feature that FreeBSD is famous for is its superior
networking stack. Up until the last few days I was taking the FreeBSD
advocates word that it was better that Linux at network stuff but now
I have first-hand proof. I have a crappy broadband connection in my
flat as I rely upon a powerline broadband adapter to pipe the
broadband from my landlords house to my flat. Under Linux, the
connection would frequently drop or stall for a number of minutes but
I've had no such dropouts under TrueOS. My internet has been
rock-solid (if still slow) since.

Whilst I will be using TrueOS or FreeBSD as my primary OS at home from
now on, it doesn't mean I can get rid of Linux yet. At home I will
dual-boot because there is a fair bit of software that is available
for Linux but not FreeBSD. In my case the main non-FreeBSD apps I'm
interested in are REAPER and the U-he synths but there are certainly
other things too. You can run some Linux apps under FreeBSD but its
not 100% compatible, kinda like wine is for Windows apps under UNIX. I
will continue to run Linux in work because FreeBSD notably trails
behind Linux for virtualisation - non of the FreeBSD virt solutions
(bhyve and Virtualbox) have working USB passthrough and hence I am
unable to use apps such as Skype for Business under a Windows VM,
which is the only real reason I have a Windows VM in work.
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