I recently decided to try to load FreeBSD 6.0 onto my laptop (an old Latitude C640). I’d had it running fairly successfully in the past, but could never get my Netgear WG511 (rev 1) Cardbus card to work with it.
So I downloaded the ISO from FreeBSD, burned it to disc, and loaded the OS. A while later (around an hour), I had a functioning FreeBSD install. Sort of.
At least, if I didn’t care about sound, or my Netgear card working. Off to Google. No love there. Just “Try this (unsupported, un-tar’d, not even apparently supported by the author) driver from…” for the Netgear. No love. Wouldn’t compile, even after sniffing through the C files to see that, oh yes, we must go to this other site in order to grab this other file needed for compile. Oh wait. That didn’t work either. I gave up. Sound? Hah! No such luck.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m a huge BSD fan. It’s secure. The ports system is the easiest way to install new applications. And, I’ve been running it on servers (including this one) since October of 2000, and have had nothing but good things to say about it. And since most servers don’t need sound or cardbus wireless cards, it’s not an issue there.
However, as a desktop or laptop OS? It leaves a lot to be desired. It’s just not mature enough, and requires spending too many geek points to get it to work. I gave up after a day of trying to get this to work on the laptop. I will, however, be happy to update my server here to 6.0 when I can.
So, what, preytell, did I do about the laptop? I went to Ubuntu‘s site and downloaded a DVD image from the UK. That took 3 hours or so. Then 10 or so minutes to burn to DVD. Then about 40 minutes later (less time than the FreeBSD or even an XP install), I had a fully functioning system, complete with sound, WG511 support, and just about every app I would have wanted to install, with the exception being Thunderbird. But ok that took all of, 3 minutes or so to download and install
And the best part? The fact that it was up and running in that time. No futzing. No beating my head against a wall. It. Just. Worked.