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December 31st, 2015

BSD: A Brief Look Back at 2015

Larry the BSD Guy

This is the time of year when we look back and go, “Wow. How did this all ever happen?” Or something to that effect. And after about a month of PC-BSD daily use, the verdict so far (subject to appeal) is overwhelmingly positive with a couple of bumps (e.g., someday I will turn off tap-to-click on my touchpad).

The FreeBSD Foundation logo

The FreeBSD Foundation can catch you up on news in 2015.

Of course when I look back on the year, I can only look back as far as the time I have been using BSD. It wouldn’t be fair to go all the way back — one time back in the aughts, by some miracle, I got NetBSD to run on a PowerBook G3 until I updated the system and then poof — so this retrospective goes as far back as the month I’ve been using PC-BSD.

For the rest of the year, it’s good to know that the FreeBSD Foundation has my back. If you’d like a more comprehensive roundup of BSD news for 2015, and the links to follow for more, one only needs to go as far as the final FreeBSD Foundation Update for the year — the December edition — for developments during the course of the year.

A few weeks ago, Joshua Allen Holm of wrote a detailed review of PC-BSD, in which he outlines clearly the differences and similarities between BSD variants and Linux distributions while explaining in detail the up-side of using BSD. It’s worth a read, especially if you’re considering making the jump from Linux to *BSD.

Earlier this month, too, Justin Sherrill of DragonFly BSD, announced the release and immediate availability for download of DragonFly BSD 4.4. As outlined in the link, Dragonfly BSD comes with a wide range of features, and you can pick it up and give it a shot if you’re feeling adventurous.

BSD variants — pro tip: Don’t call them distros — apparently are making inroads in the realm of the Internet-of-Way-Too-Many-Things as well, according to Christopher Tozzi over at the VAR Guy site. Tozzi mentions two variants aimed specifically at microcontroller operations — namely RetroBSD and LiteBSD — and outlines what each is up to in that particular field.

Now to get back to figuring out how to get Synaptic to work on my laptop, as my loathing for tap-to-click on touchpads knows no bounds . . . .

One more thing: Thanks go out to Tim Chase for explaining very patiently to this noob BSD user how to install Mopidy — an extensible music server written in Python — on PC-BSD in a series of tweets. I’m close to actually getting it to work, so it won’t be long now and I’ll update the progress in a future Larry the BSD Guy post.

Happy New Year, all.

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Larry Cafiero

Larry Cafiero, a.k.a. Larry the Free Software Guy, is a journalist and a Free/Open Source Software advocate. He is involved in several FOSS projects and serves as the publicity chair for the Southern California Linux Expo. Follow him on Twitter: @lcafiero

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