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FreeBSD as desktop (revised 16 July 2019)

I was a Linux user for many years but I was drawn to the BSD philosophy of having a core system with third-party packages maintained separately rather than the Linux idea of a kernel plus packages as a unified distribution. I know that quite a number of Linux users feel the same attraction and some try out a BSD, although I suspect that most go back to Linux fairly quickly. The BSD version most often chosen for such experiments is FreeBSD, but as I explain in other posts here, I found that OpenBSD is better for the desktop than FreeBSD.

What I want in a desktop
Perhaps I should have said "What I don't want in a desktop". I don't want Gnome, KDE. or any other desktop environment. I don't want complicated window managers either, with lots of widgets or decorations. My window manager is spectrwm; if I wasn't using that it would probably be dwm or ratpoison. If you are looking for more fancy stuff you probably won't use any BSD, although I'm sure that both FreeBSD and OpenBSD can provide it on request. My computing philosophy is KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid)

I found that FreeBSD gives me a lot of what I want but it does have some fairly important problems for the desktop user. For details of these and how I (mostly) solved them, please see FreeBSD: Full details.

More links to my other posts on BSD below.


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