back to article helloSystem 0.8: A friendly, all-graphical FreeBSD

After almost a year, version 0.8 of the helloSystem is here: an easy-to-use graphical distribution based on FreeBSD 13.1 aiming to offer a different way forward for people looking to leave Apple's macOS – or contemporary Linux. The Reg looked at helloSystem version 0.5 in 2021, as well as the underlying FreeBSD 13.1 more …

  1. blah@blag.com

    ...Meanwhile, the Linux world has a profusion of rival distros, desktops, and packaging formats

    I've used Linux for nearly 30 years (eek!) since Yggdrasil, back then it seemed mostly an interesting oddity. The best distro/desktop I ever used was Redhat 7.2/7.3 in early 2000's, so simple, so stable, just worked. I find the profusion/confusion we have today depressing. helloSystem looks ok I suppose but do we really need it?

    1. theOtherJT Silver badge

      Re: ...Meanwhile, the Linux world has a profusion of rival distros, desktops, and packaging formats

      It's an eternal problem and much lamented - no less than here on the Reg - but I'm not sure there is a correct answer. Ask 10 different people what they want and you'll get 10 different answers. Most of what we have these days are variations on a theme. Each new Gnome is more "different" than better, and not even very different, just different enough to be mildly annoying. Some things improve, some get inexplicably worse.

      We hit some sort of local minima where it's not bad enough for anyone to want to put in a lot of effort to change, but also not good enough for us all to have stopped complaining. I don't think there's really any way out of a hole like that except by force - and unlike with Windows or MacOS there's no driving company behind it to provide that force: "This is the new desktop. You don't get a say."

      Linux people will continue to use sort of whatever suits them and there's nothing that stands out so far above the crowd to draw a mass migration by choice, just a bunch of "Well, I personally like A slightly better than B, so I'm gonna use that."

      1. Adair Silver badge

        Re: ...Meanwhile, the Linux world has a profusion of rival distros, desktops, and packaging formats

        As you rightly point out, different people will always have different preferences, and the complaint about the 'balkanisation' of 'Linux' through a never ending plethora of distros and 'standards' is merely a symptom of that.

        Stepping back, at a philosophical level, surely there is a case for saying that a 'monoculture' has its own fundamental problems, some of them existential. A diverse ecosystem, where there may be many different ways of doing more or les the same thing, but in different niches, is a very useful counter to the monoculture model.

        Rather than being a replacement for monoculture, a diverse ecosystem provides a very useful and healthy alternative. Naturally it doesn't suit everyone, but maybe the monoculture model might suit those users' needs better, accepting the intrinsic disadvantages—nothing is 'perfect'.

        1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

          Re: ...Meanwhile, the Linux world has a profusion of rival distros, desktops, and packaging formats

          As an example:

          and a single global menu bar at the top of the screen.

          Is a show stopper for me. It looks theoretically an excellent solution, but for me it just something I can't get on with. Yet lots of people seem to like that approach.

          Perhaps there's a market for a Linux/BSD desktop which does all the setup via questions on installation? But wait... perhaps too many choices.

          I like the idea, in principle, but I guess I'll stick with Mint/Cinnamon for now.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: ...Meanwhile, the Linux world has a profusion of rival distros, desktops, and packaging formats

            "Perhaps there's a market for a Linux/BSD desktop which does all the setup via questions on installation? But wait... perhaps too many choices."

            I've occasionaly seen moves to make a fully scripted install of FreeBSD, but rarely to those efforts go as far as scripting an install of a GUI desktop. I'd have though that would be a worthwhile project for someone and far simpler than creating a whole new "distro" I get the feeling that's pretty much all that most Linux disrtos are anyway, "Under the hood", it's still pretty much the "parent" linux with a fresh lick of paint and some aditional scripts/small programmes to specifici features.

          2. Nintendo1889

            Re: ...Meanwhile, the Linux world has a profusion of rival distros, desktops, and packaging formats

            Haiku has a minimal menu in the upper right corner, and it can be themed to look like amigaos or windows 2000.

            Haiku is based on BeOS which is based on nextstep and openstep metaphors.

            1. GraXXoR

              Re: ...Meanwhile, the Linux world has a profusion of rival distros, desktops, and packaging formats

              Used Be at University in an experiment that used their file system metadata as a sort of database. It was afascinating but expensive system, IIRC.

              I’m not entirely sure that your assessment that it was based on NextStep or OpenStep “metaphores” is entirely correct.

              BeOS was in development at the same time as NextSTEP and the two products felt quite distinct.

              If anything, BeOS was more targeted towards MacOS 9 users and shared some similarities with that classic OS.

              Today, Haiku, true to its roots is still a young OS at heart, with almost zero baggage other than some BeOS binary compatibility in the 32 but version. Thus it excels at being incredibly simple compared to some of the more intense Linux distributions with multiple frameworks and desktop environments. It is relatively transparent and logical, too.

              As for the user, well, it’s very easy to master the desktop and features with possibly the lightest graphical interface I’ve ever used on any OS bar Minuet.

            2. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

              Re: ...Meanwhile, the Linux world has a profusion of rival distros, desktops, and packaging formats

              [Author here]

              > a minimal menu in the upper right corner

              Let's not beat around the bush: it's a Start menu. That is not "minimal".

              Be open sourced the Tracker desktop, which Haiku uses directly. Later versions of Tracker postdate Windows 95 and adopted some W95-isms.

              I have written about Haiku several times, most recently this:

              https://www.theregister.com/2023/01/11/haiku_beta_4/

              > Haiku is based on BeOS

              Not really, no. It's a reimplementation of BeOS, but only the desktop is original Be code. Haiku also uses the same filesystem, but re-implemented.

              This is like saying that Windows XP was based on Windows 95: it's not true. It is an entirely independent OS, built from scratch, which due to a lot of work has partial compatibility with the old binaries and shares the same desktop.

              There _was_ an OS directly based on BeOS code: yellowTab Zeta. This is _rumoured_ to be based on leaked code for "Dano", the beta of BeOS 5.1, which escaped the failing Be.

              > which is based on nextstep and openstep metaphors.

              I am sorry but this is flat wrong.

              Haiku uses a mixture of Classic MacOS and Windows 9x designs, but there is little to no influence from NeXTstep.

              Perhaps you are thinking of Mac OS X, now called macOS to fit in with iOS and tvOS and so on. That is based on NeXTstep and uses NeXTstep code directly. It is the modern version of NeXTstep, but remodelled to look and work a bit more like the (totally unrelated) classic MacOS.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Welcome to the Chaos

      A co-worker who emigrated from Russia in the 1990s complained to me about the multitude of brands and product variations in stores (bread, toothpaste, etc.). He was used to having one, two, or possibly even three options.

      1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

        Re: Welcome to the Chaos

        [Author here]

        > complained to me about the multitude of brands and product variations

        This is a documented problem, called "choice overload" shortened to just "overchoice".

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overchoice

      2. nijam Silver badge

        Re: Welcome to the Chaos

        > He was used to having one, two, or possibly even three options

        He was used to having zero, one, two, or possibly even three options

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: ...Meanwhile, the Linux world has a profusion of rival distros, desktops, and packaging formats

      It's not Linux. What other reasons do you need?

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: ...Meanwhile, the Linux world has a profusion of rival distros, desktops, and packaging formats

      OS diversity is the bane of Five Eyes.

      And people who write ransomware are not fond of it either.

      1. GraXXoR

        Re: ...Meanwhile, the Linux world has a profusion of rival distros, desktops, and packaging formats

        Nature has proven time and time again that monocultures usually end up dominating for a bit and then dying a horrible, unavoidable death somewhere down the line.

        If Linux ever dwindles to a single distribution, heck even a single digit’s worth of distros, it would mean there’s something very rotten in the State of Torvalds.

        1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

          Re: ...Meanwhile, the Linux world has a profusion of rival distros, desktops, and packaging formats

          > If Linux ever dwindles to a single distribution, heck even a single digit’s worth of distros, it would mean there’s something very rotten

          Very good point. I have not heard that expressed in so many words before.

    5. Bogusz

      Re: ...Meanwhile, the Linux world has a profusion of rival distros, desktops, and packaging formats

      exactly the same question here, and I started with Yggdrasil too :) amazingly I do remember both the sound after boot and the excitement of the first boot. Linux has got its wrinkles but it is still the love of my life.

    6. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: ...Meanwhile, the Linux world has a profusion of rival distros, desktops, and packaging formats

      Unlike Linux, there aren't many BSD desktops and they're a bit rough around the edges so I'd argue we do need it.

      Perhaps it may even get ported to Linux, which is in need of an elegant desktop from a more civilized age - neither Gnome nor KDE do it for me, Xfce is sort of there but not quite.

      1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

        Re: ...Meanwhile, the Linux world has a profusion of rival distros, desktops, and packaging formats

        [Author here]

        > there aren't many BSD desktops

        I don't know about that. It has its own, Lumina, and on top of that it can run most of the Linux ones. GNOME, KDE, Xfce, MATE, even more obscure ones such as Window Maker + GNUstep, they're all there.

        But if you mean desktop BSD distros, yes, I agree. It's left up to the user to configure their own, and that IMHO is a big failing.

        Even within just FreeBSD there are two totally different ways to do this:

        * manually install all the packages you need: X11, Intel DRM drivers, then a desktop environment, then the apps;

        * using `desktop-installer`, which asks a lot of questions and leads to an install with some parts built from source or fetched from Git or whatever, and which you must update in a totally different way which almost no online info about FreeBSD mentions (`auto-admin`).

        The former has little help and involves a lot of trial and error but gives a clean stable system that needs few updates. The latter asks a tonne of questions but automates away a lot of work, does deliver more current components, but it needs as frequent updating as any Linux.

        FreeBSD people are either unaware of this, or consider it totally normal and not worth mentioning. This is true of a lot of the BSD experience, and the perceived benefits are often not apparent at all to those coming from Linux or other Unixes.

        1. outpaddling

          Re: ...Meanwhile, the Linux world has a profusion of rival distros, desktops, and packaging formats

          What exactly do you mean when you say that a manual install "gives a clean stable system that needs few updates"?

          In fact, desktop-installer is just a shell script (albeit it a complex one) that does the exact same thing as a manual setup, but automates the process, and incorporates a lot of knowledge about desktop configuration that most users don't have. This reduces setup time to as little as ~15 minutes and leads to a more complete and secure desktop system than most people could achieve manually. But it's still a stock FreeBSD system in the end.

          The update process afterwards is exactly the same whether you installed manually or used desktop-installer. You can use auto-admin for either, or manually update either with "pkg update", "git pull" for ports, and freebsd-update for base.

          Note to readers: desktop-installer is aimed at those who are at least familiar with the Unix command-line. If you're totally new to Unix and want to try FreeBSD, something like GhostBSD or hello is probably a better starting point.

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: ...Meanwhile, the Linux world has a profusion of rival distros, desktops, and packaging formats

      Same here, though I'm relatively junior at 20 years daily driving Linux...personally though, I don't see distro hopping as being a problem in itself...I can see why it might be frustrating for some people as there is a perception that you have to "learn everything all over again"...but for those of us that have daily driven Linux for decades, we know that isn't the case...

      I think distros should be seen more as an "out of the box custom config" rather than entirely different operating systems...the semantics are important.

      I've used the full spectrum of distros over the last 20 years and regularly test new ones just to see whats up, and if I like what I see, I might even switch.

      Currently, I use Arch Linux (btw) and I have done for quite some time now, I'm sure exactly when I switched to Arch completely, but my on ramp was Antergos way back when. Outside of my desktop OS, I regularly use Debian, Ubuntu and Alpine (my god, Alpine, you rock) for various things like servers, SBCs and the like...and I don't typically find the move between them to be a particularly jarring...the only time things get weird is if I have to work with things like Amazon containers or something of it's ilk because their default file structures are just plain weird and occasionally when you install something like Apache, the default configs and folders that arrive are so sparse, you're left wondering whether or not it actually installed.

      I'd love to use Alpine Linux more often, but for some of the clients I work for, they find it to be a bit of a steep ask because it deviates from the familiar Debian-esque stuff they're used to...but really, it's not that much different...it's just very, very barebones...and I like that!

      I've never really dabbled in BSD...the last time I dabbled was with a distro called FreeBSD and I got it on a cover disc. I distinctly remember firing it up, testing it and thinking "yeah, it's alright" but never really going any further with it because at the time it felt quite limited to me compared to the Linux distro I was using at the time (which was probably Fedora going that far back). Fedora was my first Linux and I like it, it was very solid...but if you deviated even slightly from their stock package setup, you were in for some really long nights...dependency hell was real back then and RPM sucked. Interestingly from Fedora I moved to an OS based on Gentoo called Sabayon (yeah, I know, sado-masochistic right?) which was an even bigger pain in the ass to use but I got a lot out of it and every other Linux distro became that much easier to use.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: ...Meanwhile, the Linux world has a profusion of rival distros, desktops, and packaging formats

        Arrgh. FreeBSD is not a distro.

      2. AJ MacLeod

        Re: ...Meanwhile, the Linux world has a profusion of rival distros, desktops, and packaging formats

        Agreed on Alpine, I use it on every server I can. You say barebones, but I say "clean". It's just Linux as it was meant to be, before the billions of layers of byzantine bloat that seem to exist primarily to save the user having to experience the horror of editing a configuration file, or automate things that didn't really need automation. On Alpine, editing config files is generally painless because they are clean and not full of cruft to enable the aforementioned bloat to work.

        I switched (from Linux) to FreeBSD for about six months or so back around 2001. For me, the main selling point was that it was a fairly coherent and well documented OS, not just a heap of vaguely related software; it was also quicker on my ancient hardware. As soon as I upgraded the hardware I found it wasn't great in terms of driver availability, and the packaging system was confusing for me (mixing packages and ports.) I then migrated to Gentoo and have stuck with it ever since for my main desktop. I get all the packages I want, built with all the features I want and none of the "features" I don't. There's a management system for handling config file changes and the files are relatively clean.

        I wouldn't go back to FreeBSD on a desktop; I just don't see any advantage. Very happy for others to use it if they prefer though - I think the diversity is healthy and there are more than a few people involved in OSS these days that could do with a reminder that their software should be more OS agnostic rather than relying on neo-Linuxisms ( systemd especially.)

  2. James Anderson

    Don't get this MAC is simple thing

    As the available geek I am often roped in to fix random god awful home systems.

    The ones I really dread are fruity ones. People with money and no technical skills get roped in to buying MACs which they then screw up. Then I am supposed to fix it. There is nothing about thier UI that is obvious or intuitive. For something that is piggy baking on BSD (which I know well) the important config is all over the shop.

    Really any of the many incarnations of windows is better than Mac. There is a reason it's the world's best selling desktop and it's ridiculous snobbery to not admit the cheaper option is better.

    1. BenDwire Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Don't get this MAC is simple thing

      piggy baking

      Now I can't get the thought of a huge pork roast out of my head ...

      1. Death Boffin
        Pint

        Re: Don't get this MAC is simple thing

        More along the lines of a roast pig with an Apple in its mouth.

        1. Geoff Campbell Silver badge
          Windows

          Re: Don't get this MAC is simple thing

          I have just been given a MacBook to use for a particular customer. It is quite simply dreadful to use, with no discoverability and some *really* boneheaded UI design decisions. And I still hate top-screen menus, for all the reasons I've hated them since I first used a Mac in about 1986, but now with added bile as the menu bar is about three feet away from the application on a decent 4K screen.

          GJC

          1. werdsmith Silver badge

            Re: Don't get this MAC is simple thing

            I was sent an M2 Macbook for a work project and I've always objected to the UI giving the same reasons you just did.

            But after half a day of being forced to use it, I got it, and it's is really good. The reason I didn't like it was because I was so used to something else.

            You find that regular Mac users make the same complaint when they try something else.

            1. captain veg Silver badge

              Re: Don't get this MAC is simple thing

              A few years ago I persuaded my retired father to get off the Microsoft treadmill and gifted him a NUC with Mint Cinammon, and a Window VM in VirtualBox should he need that.

              He doesn't.

              Having got him off Windows on the desktop, I presented an M1 MacBook to replace the Windows-driven HP laptop that he occasionally used.

              Absolutely no take up at all. The HP's battery is pretty much knackered, and still the old fella prefers it to the Apple portable, to the extent that he never uses the latter.

              I really don't know what to conclude from this.

              -A.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Don't get this MAC is simple thing

                > I really don't know what to conclude from this.

                Perhaps that your dad missed his calling from an earlier age of Linux.

                Still, better late than never.

            2. Geoff Campbell Silver badge

              Re: Don't get this MAC is simple thing

              No, this isn't a familiarity thing. I have been using MacOS off and on for 37 years, albeit in a very sporadic way. My main gripe with it is discoverability, but the top-of-screen menu is a very close second. It just doesn't gel with how my mind maps out the screen, I don't want to have to select the application before selecting a menu item. Each window should have its own menu bar.

              (And don't give me the mouse-pointer-landing-space lecture, I've heard it all before, *far* too many times. I understand the concept, but it is a very, very minor concern compared to the major cognitive dissonance caused to me by having one menu bar displayed with multiple open windows.)

              GJC

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Don't get this MAC is simple thing

      I don't know, many people consider Media Access Control (which is what MAC stands for in IT) to be a rather complex topic.

      Or are you talking about Apple's computers which are called a "Mac", not a "MAC" (it's not an acronym)?

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: Don't get this MAC is simple thing

        I don't give a shit. Using a small amount of brain power we humans infer what is intended from the context and give it no further thought.

    3. Ace2 Silver badge

      Re: Don't get this MAC is simple thing

      In my experience helping the extended family with their Macs is a breeze. Not sure what you’re complaining about.

    4. GraXXoR

      Re: Don't get this MAC is simple thing

      This is what happens when people conflate “I lack experience in this field” with ”this field is very difficult.”

      I would be at a loss to fix anything of depth in a Linux distibution. Hell, half of the time I can’t even get a touch screen to line up with the cursors or the the screen to rotate 90 degrees without having to delve into xrandr and cast a bunch arcane terminal spells dredged up from some pit of early 2000s pre-Reddit knowledge.

      I will admit that even after using well over a dozen linuxes since Mandrake back in the mid 90s on maybe a hundred boxes or so (yeah, my beard isn’t long and tangled enough to say… ‘boxen’) I will still be first to admit I’m an eternal noob.

      1. RobDog

        Re: Don't get this MAC is simple thing

        I said something similar here the other week and got a slagging for it. There are (needlessly) too many Linux distros emerging all the time and they all do the same thing slightly differently, to the point where it’s not worth learning your way around them because you know they’ll change in the not too distant future. And too many desktops - why?? Even Ubuntu is blighted by that. For the record I’ll try using or fixing anything Windows Mac Linux because I’m not a snob or have any loyalty to any of them and I don’t see why people get so het up in that regard.

        1. Adair Silver badge

          Re: Don't get this MAC is simple thing

          How many is too many: 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64...?

          Isn't the whole point of FLOSS that you and I, and Uncle Tom Cobbly and all, are free to do pretty much whatever they want to with the system stack?

          Is anyone forcing us to use multiple distros?

          I really don't get this complaint, it's like saying this 'freedom' idea is getting out of hand and wasting energy; we need a bit of 'slavery' to keep everyone in order.

          1. Orv Silver badge

            Re: Don't get this MAC is simple thing

            I'd argue they should maybe get at least one sound system working before building yet another one, but I guess that wouldn't be as much fun.

            1. GraXXoR

              Re: Don't get this MAC is simple thing

              The problem here is, who is the gatekeeper on what is "sound" and gets to determine when work on a second build should commence?

      2. david 12 Silver badge

        Re: Don't get this MAC is simple thing

        conflate “I lack experience in this field” with ”this field is very difficult.

        or "I have experience in this field" with "inherent simplicity"

    5. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Don't get this MAC is simple thing

      This desktop takes Snow Leopard as its inspiration which was more logically thought out than the macOS of today.

    6. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Don't get this MAC is simple thing

      [Author here]

      > roped in to buying MACs

      MAC is short for Media Access Controller and it is part of an Ethernet interface.

      Mac is short for Macintosh and is a brand of computer.

      The capitalisation is significant and a good techie should be aware of this. MB are not the same as Mb and both are different from mB and mb which don't exist. Case matters.

      Macs are good solid desktop and laptop computers, with an excellent range of high-quality apps. Sadly, some techies consider them to be "just another Unix" which is very much *not* the case, and in my experience such people can often badly break a Mac system in trying to repair it using traditional Unix skills.

      My own home non-work desktop computer is a Mac, and it's a lovely machine which is extremely reliable.

      But, shock horror, when a Mac goes wrong, you need to use Mac methods to repair it. The skills are not transferrable from Windows or other Unixes. A few _were_ transferrable from Classic Macs back in the day: Target Disk Mode, restart and repair, selective reinstall in place, and so on.

      But non-Mac types don't know how to do this stuff -- which is fine, because PCs for the most part lack these features, so those skilled in PC repairs don't know them.

      The problem is that they don't *know* that they don't know, and so they get angry when the stuff they try doesn't work.

      1. Captain Scarlet
        Coat

        Re: Don't get this MAC is simple thing

        Havent met a single Mac owner who knows its actually called a Macintosh

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Don't get this MAC is simple thing

        I helped uncle jack off the horse or I helped uncle Jack off the horse. Hmmm, difficult one.

      3. coredump

        Re: Don't get this MAC is simple thing

        I think this rings true. It has been suggested to me that I would like Macs because I use and like FreeBSD, and MacOS "has FreeBSD underneath".

        Whether that description is apt or not, I found my initial experience with a Macbook (Air, I think?) to be an exercise in frustration. I admittedly went into it with the wrong expectations: i.e. a FreeBSD system with a slick GUI desktop. IME it is not that. In fact, I was hard pressed to find the FreeBSD "underneath", and honestly I'm not sure what you'd do with it even then.

        My Unix/Linux desktop/laptop usage for years now has primarily been Xfce, as a vehicle for several virtual desktops to switch between tasks or projects, and a bunch of xterm-alikes for ssh'ing around to other systems, email, patching, logs, whatever. It's somewhat the modern day equivalent of a bunch of VT100 that I focus on for different activities. I practically never click on icons, or drag things into other things or leave them on the desktop. I type. Mouse is mostly for context-changing focus and cut-paste.

        So, I expect if you want a FreeBSD (or Linux) with a nice GUI desktop of your choosing, you'd best be prepared to install it, perhaps manually yourself.

        And if you want to use MacOS (or Windows) for whatever reason, if you're coming from a Linux or BSD world with the cli as priority, be prepared to change the way you work, and how you think about maneuvering around the desktop. Odds are your MacOS won't feel like FreeBSD to you, any more than Windows would feel like Linux, modulo applications like Cygwin or MobaXterm or Putty to give you some Linux functions.

        That doesn't mean one is bad or the other is inherently superior and so on; merely that they're different things with different audiences. I imagine if I give MacOS another go and really stick with it for long enough, I would get used to it and even like it. But I'll still be looking for how to open xterms so I can type....

    7. Orv Silver badge

      Re: Don't get this MAC is simple thing

      I actually find the configuration stuff on macOS pretty centralized compared to Windows. It's pretty much all in System Preferences. Windows has two different Control Panels for crying out loud.

      I think most of the complaints about macOS boil down to "it's different from what I'm used to."

      Now, if you're talking about configuring from the command line, yeah, it's a mess. That's where FreeBSD really shines, since almost everything is in /etc/rc.conf.

  3. DJV Silver badge

    In macOS Ventura, Apple has already dropped support for all Mac models from before 2017

    What Apple take out, the Opencore Legacy Patcher developers build back in:

    https://dortania.github.io/OpenCore-Legacy-Patcher/

    My late 2009 iMac is currently running Monterey and the Opencore Legacy developers are getting to the stage where Ventura can be run on it as well.

    1. G40
      Pint

      Re: In macOS Ventura, Apple has already dropped support for all Mac models from before 2017

      Thanks for the link.

      1. DJV Silver badge

        Re: In macOS Ventura, Apple has already dropped support for all Mac models from before 2017

        Also, search out Mr. Macintosh on YouTube for comprehensive videos on each release and what it will work on.

  4. karlkarl Silver badge

    Since macOS Ventura, you are also required to connect to Apple's server for activation and to download per machine firmware. This recent requirement might also trigger a migration of users.

    1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      [Author here]

      > required to connect to Apple's server for activation

      {{Citation needed}}

    2. Orv Silver badge

      Re: Street signs

      I don't think that's universally true; I routinely install Ventura on disconnected systems using a boot disk. You do need to connect to their servers if you need a firmware update, though. And systems bought by institutions that use Apple School Manager or the like will naturally "phone home" so they can connect to the proper device management system.

  5. yetanotheraoc Silver badge

    Wherefore art thou Unix?

    How is it possible to read a review of a Unix-like OS and find no mention of terminal, shell, and associated commands? Without those, it's not really an OS, as even Microsoft and Apple would grudgingly admit.

    1. Nintendo1889

      Re: Wherefore art thou Unix?

      I'm sure that that is there.

      1. yetanotheraoc Silver badge

        Re: Wherefore art thou Unix?

        I am also sure it's in there. In fact I can see it in the About This Computer screenshot. "FreeBSD userland version: 13.1-RELEASE-p5". But having used a recent Intel Mac, which has a BSD-ish but not quite BSD command line, I'm a little interested in whether hello deviates at all. Even if the answer is no, I feel it's worth a mention.

        1. John H Woods Silver badge

          Re: "Not quite BSD command line"

          zsh isn't it? Pretty sure you can install this on BSD.

          1. Orv Silver badge

            Re: "Not quite BSD command line"

            The default on FreeBSD is a very basic sh for root (not literally the Bourne shell, I don't think, but a close equivalent) and bash for everyone else. You can definitely install zsh as a package or a port, and it works well. It's what I use.

            1. coredump

              Re: "Not quite BSD command line"

              FreeBSD's default root shell is still /bin/csh . But that csh is actually tcsh fwiw.

              FreeBSD also ships with /bin/sh by default, Bourne shell functionally.

              After that you can install nearly any shell you want from Ports or pkg. I've used Bash on FreeBSD for years, but all the usual suspects are there too. Zsh, ksh (multiple variants), rc, etc.

    2. Greybearded old scrote Silver badge

      Re: Wherefore art thou Unix?

      Perhaps because it's a review of a desktop oriented system?

    3. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Wherefore art thou Unix?

      [Author here]

      > no mention of terminal, shell, and associated commands

      That is a fair point. OTOH, I thought that the fact that it didn't actually install was more significant, TBH.

      It has a terminal, of course. It's called QTerminal.

      https://github.com/lxqt/qterminal

      It works. The shell is zsh.

      Otherwise, it's a bog-standard FreeBSD shell.

  6. Zolko Silver badge

    KDE

    Isn't KDE ported to FreeBSD ? If the point is to use Qt – which I understand – why not simply use KDE ? It can be tweaked to look like whatever one has in mind, even MacOS-like. That would have been a better investment in time rather than re-inventing a Qt-based desktop. Or go full LxQt. A graphical live FreeBSD installer with KDE ... now that's something I'd consider using. Until then, I'm sticking with MX-Linux

    1. The Spider
      Thumb Up

      Re: KDE

      Exactly. As a long-time Mandrake/Mandriva/Mageia user (still waiting for Mageia 9 to materialise, by the way) I might be very interested in this with a KDE desktop.

      Plus, I have never been too sure about systemd, so...

    2. Mockup1974 Bronze badge

      Re: KDE

      Yes, I fully agree. If the developer wants to have a Mac look, KDE can do that as well.

      1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

        Re: KDE

        [Author here]

        > If the developer wants to have a Mac look, KDE can do that as well.

        I cannot believe that anyone who has ever paid for even a 2nd hand Mac, and knew how to use it, would be able to tolerate the abomination of the cruel mockery of it implemented in KDE.

        To quote Douglas Adams:

        "I've seen it. It's rubbish."

    3. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: KDE

      [Author here]

      *Firmly and completely in the department of my own personal opinion divorced from any professional verdict.*

      > why not simply use KDE ?

      It is impossible to simply use something which is not itself simple.

      KDE has some 25 years of baggage, and is at heart a poorly-done rendition of the Windows 98 desktop.

      If you like it, fine. I liked KDE 1.x a lot, because it was a working all-FOSS desktop for Linux, which was badly needed in 1998-1999 and it worked. It wasn't pretty but it did the job.

      KDE 2.x was bloated with extra features because someone somewhere thought that the file manager should be a web browser and be able to open FTP as well and so on. Corel tamed it and made it usable. Xandros continued this.

      KDE 3.x was a clusterfsck of options to twiddle with no cohesive overall vision or guidance. Even Xandros could not tame it or shape it into anything usable.

      It says a great deal about the KDE community that it's KDE 3.x, the version that drove me away from the desktop forever, is the one that's been forked and preserved.

      KDE 4 was an abomination best not mentioned in polite company.

      KDE 5 tames the worst excesses of 4 and slaps an ugly flat theme on it so it doesn't burn out your retinas on the first run, but it's a mess, and amid a million options which I've never wanted in the midst of a fever dream, they've removed the few useful desirable ones, like a single taskbar spanned over 2+ monitors. Apparently, amid all the horrors of desktop plasmoids and other excrescences, that was too hard to support.

      This tells you a lot.

      Look, I am perfectly happy if people like it, and I am not here to tell anyone they are wrong. De gustibus non est disputandum. Chacun à son goût.

      But if KDE were still the only Linux desktop today, I'd be forced to use CDE.

      GNOME takes away choices and options and tools I *need* and use hundreds of times a day, because my impression is that the GNOME designers don't really know or care how advanced users actually use a desktop WIMP.

      KDE, on the other hand, adds a thousand more I don't want, while _still_ failing to decently implement the desktop of which it's a ripoff.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: KDE

        > GNOME takes away choices and options and tools

        > KDE... adds a thousand more I don't want

        There ought to be a t-shirt printed up for that.

        > my impression is that the GNOME designers don't really know or care

        Close; I suspect they (some, at least) consider themselves "artists" and are therefore offended when us lesser mortals object to their creative designs.

      2. Zolko Silver badge

        Re: KDE

        KDE 5 tames the worst excesses of 4 and slaps an ugly flat theme on it

        this I don't understand : Plasma in KDE5 introduces some sort of translucent effects, like the latest Mac and Windows OSes (whether that's good is another question). But all the rest of the GUI is Qt, and Qt is not particularly flat. I use QtCurve since ages, and it looks like MacOS Leopard (the last good looking MacOS).

        Also, KDE has KMail and Korganizer a Kalendar, which match the best PIM I've seen.

        But it's not a hill I'm willing to die for

  7. Downeaster

    Looks like a combination in terms of the interface of the Classic Mac OS and early OS X. Would be interested if it gets further developed. Mac OS Ventura is changing too much stuff. miss the simplicity of the earlier Mac OS Classic. We lived without the dock.

  8. Mockup1974 Bronze badge

    So, between Hellosystem and GhostBSD, which one "just works"? Is any of them the Ubuntu/Mint of the BSD world yet?

    1. John H Woods Silver badge

      re: "just works"

      FreeBSD just works. Then add a GUI if you want one. This seems a laudable attempt to get a new FreeBSD distro that's better targetted to those uses who like mice.

      1. Mockup1974 Bronze badge

        Re: re: "just works"

        I wonder why they refuse to add a page to the FreeBSD installer where you can automatically set up a graphical desktop...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: re: "just works"

          I expect it's not so much "refuse" as in "staunchly opposed to", rather that no one has stepped up to work on the code for it.

          Remember that FreeBSD is an open source OS developed by volunteers, most of whom are working on things because they want to, or find it interesting.

          FreeBSD is also smaller than the mainstream Linux developer communities. And while there is the FreeBSD Foundation to coordinate donations, resources, community affairs, etc. there is no directly-affiliated corporate backing like Red Hat (RHEL) and Canonical (Ubuntu).

          Personally I'd like to see a bit more feature-full FreeBSD installer sometimes, but the current incarnation is functional enough for me to get the basic OS onto a bootable sysdisk, and I can take it from there.

          In some ways I'd almost rather have a more network-installation-friendly installer ala Red Hat -flavored 'anaconda' with PXE, even if it lacks some features like GUI desktop setup, but something with actions that can be scripted into a hands-off automated install driven by e.g. PXElinux or iPXE. I used to have a rudimentary setup like that for the previous FreeBSD installer but I understand it has since been rewritten such that previous scripted install methods would likewise need to be redone.

      2. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

        Re: re: "just works"

        [Author here]

        > FreeBSD just works

        I was very torn whether to agree or disagree with this comment.

        It very much does _not_ "just work" and that is why the helloSystem exists. Interestingly a core FreeBSD team member and director recently agreed with me on Twitter over my criticisms of their installer (in strikingly marked contrast with many zealots in Reg comments, notably @VoiceOfTruth wherever they've gone.)

        Frankly, the installer is terrible, the experience of installing and configuring a desktop is terrible, and compared to any modern Linux the CLI experience is pretty awful. However, BSD folks like this and feel it's homey and old-school, so they don't notice. The stuff that makes Linux easier is, AFAICS, horribly nasty tacky bells and whistles to most BSD types. I want my shell to use colour, thanks. I want CUA command-line editing. I expect not just up/down/left/right to work, but also ctrl-left and ctrl-right.

        I don't give a stuff if Emacs or Vi keystrokes work, because both of those editors and all of their descendants and relatives can go die in a fire for me. I hated Vi when I first saw it in 1988 and I still do. Larry Tesler was right 40 years ago and still is: "Don't mode me in!"

        However, I strongly agree with the comment that a simple graphical distro is very much needed.

        1. Fifth Horseman

          Re: re: "just works"

          I was wondering about VoiceOfTruth too. There have been a few FOSS articles now that he hasn't trampled all over in size twelves. I assumed he had been hit with the ban hammer.

        2. Orv Silver badge

          Re: re: "just works"

          It's better than it once was in that you no longer need to use a calculator to work out cylinder/head/sector numbers by hand, but it's still pretty clunky. It hasn't changed much in years.

          Part of the reluctance to add things like a fancier shell is because they don't want the base system to depend on any packages, but they also don't want it to get too bloated. These are competing forces that result in all the BSDs being a bit stripped down. I will note that basic command line editing does work out of the box now for every account except root. (Root's shell is special because it needs to work even if the shared libraries aren't available; if you want a different shell when you're root you're expected to use the "toor" account. These days I use sudo for pretty much everything so I don't bother.)

        3. John H Woods Silver badge

          Re: re: "just works"

          Well, it doesn't "just work" as a desktop, hence the niche for this.

          But you can set up a ZFS file server on FreeBSD pretty quickly right from the installer.

          I think the difference is that most Linuxes are distros, whereas most BSDs are little more than the operating system.

          TrueNas and hellosystem are arguably distros, and I welcome more GUI based distros for BSDs. But not everything needs a desktop, and quite a few systems dont ever need to service a human login so you don't even need a pretty shell.

        4. nijam Silver badge

          Re: re: "just works"

          > > FreeBSD just works

          >

          > I was very torn whether to agree or disagree with this comment.

          Presumably meant in the sense of "FreeBSD only just works"?

  9. herman Silver badge
    Devil

    OpenBSD

    I have been wondering what to do with my old Macbooks. OpenBSD is a possibility, more so than FreeBSD. OpenBSD seems better supported. One thing I like is that OpenBSD is so much faster than MacOS.

    1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: OpenBSD

      [Author here]

      > OpenBSD seems better supported.

      Frankly this only seems to be the case because entire categories of 21st century hardware and functionality are simply discarded with a comment along the lines of "we don't do that".

      Bluetooth? Nope. Wireless peripherals? Nope. Graphics acceleration? Nope.

      Etc., etc.

  10. Greybearded old scrote Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Got to admire the pretties

    I already have a QT-heavy and systemd free box. (LXQT on Void Linux for the unlikely event that anyone is interested.) I wonder how hard it would be to tease out their themes.

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