Pasted 11 months, 4 weeks ago — Expires in 6 days
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, almost... 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.