PCBSD is the future of computing – Interview with Kris Moore the Founder of PCBSD
We interviewed the founder of PCBSD at Texas Linux Fest. He also works for iX Systems.
Pete: Who are you and what do you work in?
Kris Moore: First of all my names Kris Moore, Founder and developer of the PCBSD project, I also work with the FreeBSD project, a bit, as well. I have been doing this for eight plus years now, doing Desktops, Servers, Workstations, you name it.
Pete: Wow your a jack of all trades!
Kris Moore: You have to be, to get all of this Desktop stuff working, unfortunately.
Pete: What are the main advantages of using PCBSD, especially for someone who comes from a Linux background?
Kris Moore: BSD is not Linux first of all, that means no Linux Kernel, its a FreeBSD Kernel from a FreeBSD World. Some of biggest advantages are something like ZFS on your file-system, even for a workstation it makes complete sense because your able to do backups, [and] snapshots. We even have a feature called Boot environments were you can create a snapshot of the entire OS. [So you can] install a new Kernel, or new packages, and if it all goes horribly wrong you can roll right back and not end up losing everything. So… its got some unique features. Another one would be, like in PCBSD something we use called AppCafe which is something like an Apple app store, that uses [a] different type of package called PBIs which don’t have dependencies, so their fat packages which are extracted into their own directory and don’t touch the rest of the OS. So its possible to run conflicting versions of Firefox, for example, in PBI form. So you can give it to Mom and Dad, and they click install and you don’t have to worry about them saying “Why is it telling me to upgrade my GTK?” or brake something.
Pete: Its different in Linux, where you get a tarball, and then its like how do I install it? Yet having everything organized and one way to download it, [is much better].
Kris Moore: One of the reasons a started PCBSD, was that I felt there was not enough abstraction in the Open-source world between packages and the operating system. I wanted an OS where I install it and do just updates to that, but my packages are separate not part of the OS, I don’t want my Firefox to brake my KDE, or my GNOME just because I want to upgrade or downgrade to a particular version because there is a bug on the new one. Some regression is possible with PCBSD
Pete: What do you think about the Desktop wars that have been going on lately? Like GNOME 3.
Kris Moore: For a long time we were only a KDE shop, it was all we shipped and that was your option, take it or leave it. But three years ago we became desktop war agnostic, were we don’t care now. When you first boot PCBSD you get an option of four desktops: KDE, GNOME, LXDE, XFCE, but if you click customize we have 16 more, from Ratpoison to Fluxbox [to] Openbox. There is also a bunch of little ones which are more the hacker types are intrested in. But again since we are Platform agnostic our tools a utilities run all of those, they don’t care if your on KDE, they don’t care if your on GNOME, you still get your wifi manager, your package manager, AppCafe runs on all of them. That was a lot of work that went in to doing that, but the end result has been great because if KDE breaks up I can go to LXDE for a month, until they get that fixed or if your a die hard GNOME fan, great you’ve got GNOME. To each their own.
Pete: So being a rolling release its always up to date. And its very stable.
Kris Moore: The rolling release is some brand new stuff for this year, historically we had been doing one release a year, because that was when FreeBSD released 9.0 to 9.1. That was just a little to slow for us, so what we’ve done is transition to rolling release model. So you install [PCBSD] 9.1 rolling release you get new package sets, about every two weeks, were shooting for about twice a month we’ll upgrade a get you the newest KDE, the newest GNOME feature, or LXDE or what not. And we have 20,000+ packages available, so pretty much everything on FreeBSD port is there and ready to go.
Pete: Thanks for your time. We really enjoyed the presentation. ZFS looks incredible.
Kris Moore: ZFS will change your life.