BSD or Linux on the desktop?
I was reading a review of GhostBSD 3.5 on DistroWatch today and it got me wondering if perhaps some Linux users should consider BSD as an alternative to Linux on the desktop.
Here's a snippet of that review:
I feel the BSD communities, especially the FreeBSD-based projects, are where the interesting developments are happening these days. Over in FreeBSD land we have efficient PBI bundles, a mature advanced file system in the form of ZFS, new friendly and powerful system installers, a new package manager (PKG-NG), a powerful jail manager and there will soon be new virtualization technology coming with the release of FreeBSD 10.0.
Meanwhile, over in the Linux camp, I feel as though things have reached a plateau. We are seeing small improvements and an increase in polish. For instance, the latest releases from Ubuntu & Kubuntu were solid, incremental improvements. Looking at the release notes for Slackware and the feature list for Fedora I get the impression we will see welcome improvements, but nothing that breaks new ground, nothing that gets the blood pumping.More at DistroWatch
I respect the reviewer for being very honest and direct in his thoughts about Linux versus BSD. He is probably going to get some flack for essentially saying that Linux has become a bit boring, and that BSD is where the real action is right now. But it's far better for him to be honest about it rather than gloss over what he perceives to be the lack of interesting development in Linux.
I did a review or two of desktop BSD systems a few years back. My feeling about BSD at the time was that the installers seemed to lag behind Linux in terms of ease of use. That's obviously not conducive to desktop use. However, it's been quite a while since I installed BSD, so perhaps that has changed for the better.
If you are new to the idea of running BSD, you might want to read FreeBSD's article that compares Linux and BSD. It's a good overview of what BSD has to offer and what some of the differences are between BSD and Linux.
Perhaps the best thing to do, if you are considering a move to BSD, is to try running it in a virtual machine via VirtualBox. That will let you get your feet wet with it, and see if it might be for you.
Of course I'm presuming that there's a reason why you might want to leave Linux and use BSD instead. If you're totally happy with desktop Linux then there's no need to consider BSD or any other operating system.
But if you're not satisfied with Linux or you're a distrohopper looking for a new challenge, it might be worth your while to give BSD a shot as your desktop operating system. I need to carve some time out soon to play with BSD a bit, and see how it has changed from my experiences in the past.