Cup of Linux

Distro-specific Discussion => The BSD Bin => Topic started by: lcRONOS on March 28, 2016, 08:12:01 PM

Title: UbuntuBSD
Post by: lcRONOS on March 28, 2016, 08:12:01 PM
So there is a relatively new GNU/kfreebsd system up called UbuntuBSD.  It is similar to Debian GNU/kfreebsd, but is built on Ubuntu instead.  I ran it in a virtual machine and thought I'd share my experience.  Before delving into it, keep in mind it is in beta right now, which is why I'm not posting this as a review, so much bringing attention to it.  After a couple of updates, or in a couple months, which ever comes first, I'll update this post with pictures of the whole process.  Currently that VM now has Debian GNU/kfreebsd on it.

First, the installer.  Its installer is an ncurses installer, and seems similar to the original Ubuntu installer (I only started using Linux about 3.5 years ago, so I never used the old installer and can't be certain that's what it is).  It was very easy to figure out, everything was clean and easy to understand.  The idea with it is that it will use the ZFS file system when it is finished, but I could not get ZFS to work for the life of me.  The other two options are UFS (the default) and ext2.  I went with UFS since I know how it performs with FreeBSD.  After that, it's just the standard pick the packages you want, and so on like in Debian's installer.  Your choice for desktop in the installer is the xubuntu-desktop package, though I'm sure you could just reboot without it and pick something else.  From what I can tell (didn't actually check) Unity is not available, though that's not really a surprise.  Once it reboots it's ready to go, because like the other Linux and *BSD installers it has you set up the user account in the installer (seriously, why haven't Apple and MS figured this out yet lol).  The only bug I saw in the installer was when trying to set up ZFS.  You can't put your OS on ZFS yet for some reason, and if you configure a ZFS pool to hold your OS it converts everything to ZFS (makes sense) which makes it impossible to set up right now.  I tried having / /boot and swap partitions with / as ZFS, /boot as UFS, and swap as swap, but it just wouldn't work.  I didn't see any other issues though.

Now the system itself is a buggy mess.  It appears to use GDM3 as the default login manager (I did everything default my first install to see what you get by default, though I never tried setting up a different DM or DE).  The strange thing about it is that there is no wallpaper in the DM, it just has a black background.  After I logged in the first time, the window where you login never disappeared.  Opening a window and putting it over the login window removed it (probably a virtualbox issue).  It did not do that again the other ~4 times I logged in.  After logging in, the desktop also had a black background, and right clicking it did not do anything.  If I opened the settings manager and tried to go to desktop settings the settings application would never load.  If I directly opened the desktop settings window the application would freeze.  That also could have been a virtualbox issue, but seeing as how it worked with Debian GNU/kfreebsd on Xfce and was still broken after a re-install, I doubt it.  There really aren't many packages available yet, though that will probably come much later in the development process.

For being in beta, it did a decent job.  Definitely buggy, but I'm not going to hold that against a beta.  Once it's finished this could be a good system for new users I think, and could start getting people on the FreeBSD kernel, which could get more developers, and would bring more attention to FreeBSD as a whole.  The other major advantage is that the developers have taken a stance against systemd.  It's codename is actually "Escape from Systemd" lol.

It is based on Ubuntu 15.10 and uses FreeBSD kernel 10.1.  What this means is that it does not support Haswell graphics cards, so if it hits stable before FreeBSD 11 becomes RELEASE (unlikely, since last I checked 11 was expected sometime this summer), then it will not work on any hardware using a Haswell graphics card or newer.  You could download the FreeBSD 11 kernel with the i915 Linux 38 patch, compile it and then it would work, but this is all a long ways out.  I'd definitely recommend checking it out at some point.
Title: Re: UbuntuBSD
Post by: Spatry on March 29, 2016, 01:24:54 AM
YES... I read that Ubuntu is working on a BSD flavor BUT I was unaware it is available for testing... Maybe I should download it and play with it in virtualbox...
Title: Re: UbuntuBSD
Post by: lcRONOS on March 29, 2016, 09:31:32 AM
You should definitely give it a whirl, however it is definitely not anywhere near ready to run.  Maybe you could make a video on it when it's more stable.  It takes that interesting middle ground between a Linux distro and a full FreeBSD system that I think could be nice for people not big on systemd or other such things.  FreeBSD has a lot of interesting projects being done on it, there is also pacBSD which is basically Arch Linux but on FreeBSD (this uses the FreeBSD userspace though unlike UbuntuBSD which uses the GNU userspace).
Title: Re: UbuntuBSD
Post by: Spatry on March 29, 2016, 11:03:32 AM
I do not do distro reviews anymore... If I decide to do a video on it, I will do so as a first time user and explain that I am not spending enough time to formulate an opinion on it as a whole... I will just be looking at the user experience...
Title: Re: UbuntuBSD
Post by: lcRONOS on March 29, 2016, 07:20:27 PM
The main thing that has me slightly confused is if Canonical is in fact involved in its production.  If not, then can they actually call it "UbuntuBSD?"  If so, why call it "Escape from Systemd?"  They could just not use systemd on Ubuntu GNU/Linux and then that wouldn't be a problem.  Are they involved, but not the lead developers?  That would make sense I guess, they could figure out how to get a system running in ZFS since Ubuntu 16.04 is supposed to have ZFS support in the installer (assuming there are no legal issues with the licensing).  I heard someone (I think it was CountrifiedLinux or Matthew Moore) say that they could be doing this in case ZFS doesn't work out on Ubuntu Linux as a backup to still use ZFS.  I guess that would make some sense too.  I'm not really sure either way though.
Title: Re: UbuntuBSD
Post by: JayVii on March 29, 2016, 08:38:18 PM
Ubuntu's repository is mainly built from Debian-Sources, as well as Ubuntu as a whole. Due to Debian swutching to SystemD, it has become really hard for Canonical to avoid SystemD (which they have, until a few releases ago). This shows, hoewever how close Ububtu still is to Debian ;)

Afaik, ZFS for Linux is not *the original* ZFS, but an opensource fork of it, called OpenZFS which pretty much does the very same thing in the exact same way, but with a different license.
Also, there is btrfs, which is surprisingly similar to zfs :)
Title: Re: UbuntuBSD
Post by: lcRONOS on March 30, 2016, 11:08:11 AM
If that's why Ubuntu switched over to Systemd that would make a lot more sense, and help explain why they would call it "Escape from Systemd" (I love the sound of that lol).
I think I had heard that on DasGregor's channel when he talked about the preview version for 16.04 actually.  Though I believe that there were still some license issues with it or something, which was why Ubuntu would be the first (that I'm aware of) distro to include ZFS by default.  Though you are right btrfs (the filesystem I use on Linux actually) has a lot of the same functions as ZFS, though I believe ZFS still has some additional functionality yet to be added to btrfs.  In my FreeBSD install I stuck with UFS, since ZFS still has a few things that are being ironed out, though when I set it up on my desktop, it'll be using ZFS I think.
The only other thing that I find strange is if it is beta level software, why not base it on 16.04?  Then it would be based on an LTS release, and could mean less trouble updating to it when it goes stable here soon.  It should be close to a freeze if not already there so it just makes sense to me that they should base it off of that one.

So I did a little looking around at Debian GNU/kfreebsd, and Debian's site says that there have been issues running it in VirtualBox, however Xen and KVM both were very stable.  I suspect that this may apply to UbuntuBSD as well.  I'm going to be rebuilding my desktop in a month or so, so I probably won't test this until then.  Just though I'd share in case someone wanted to try this and see if UbuntuBSD performs better that way.

EDIT: Well 3 more betas have been released since I last looked.  It is in much better shape.  First I will admit that the ZFS thing was my own stupidity.  I looked more at the installer and expected it to work more like btrfs where you select the partitions then it makes a tank (admittedly PCBSD works that way with ZFS too, so I guess there's that).  Here you make the entire disk a ZFS partition, then use it to create logical partitions in their ZFS configuration tool where you name your ZFS pool and then make the partitions.  I now have the system working with root on ZFS (just root and swap).  The most recent beta fixed the issue with Thunar which means that there's a wallpaper now.  In previous versions you were able to use Xfce's settings manager to switch to another file manager they included (I was unaware of this at the time).  Over the summer I'll look into this a lot more.  If anyone is interested I could put a walkthrough up installing it with ZFS support.  So far I haven't seen any guides on that up yet, just guides on UFS installs.  If I do that, I'll also put up some screenshots showing the finished product and showing what applications are available by default.  Now it's in more usable shape so it's a little easier to start playing with.  The update manager doesn't seem to be working very well, though that may be because I did a dist-upgrade from beta 2 to beta 5.  I'm doing a fresh install with the latest beta now and am going to check how the repos are working then (previously only 2 of the listed repos worked, even though all of them pointed to