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Old 7th June 2008
EvilGardenGnome EvilGardenGnome is offline
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Default Best fit BSD for legacy system

Hello,

I have been trying to find out which BSD to learn and hoped these forums could help.

First, I have little to no modern experience outside Windows OS's. I have been testing linux for about a month and sometimes use my girlfriends macbook (OS 9) casually.

I have a Pentium 2 or 3, with 128mb RAM. The HDD is 20gb so there are no worries there.

I was wondering which BSD would be a good introduction (i.e. easy on a newbie) and that won't push the system. I will also be using a cross-over cable to share internet with either a XP or Linux (Xubuntu) computer.

Any help is greatly appreciated.
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Old 7th June 2008
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You should try FreeBSD. It has binary and source installation, so you won't need to compile anything. It's fairly easy to use and setup and won't push the system. By the way, there's a pretty big difference in performance between the later Pentium IIIs and any Pentium II. You should know what you have that way you'll know the limit better. Pentium II or III could mean two different things because the early Pentium IIIs performed similarly to the latest Pentium IIs while the later Pentium IIIs performed quite a bit better than the earliest Pentium IIIs.
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Old 8th June 2008
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Just avoid heavy weight stuff such as KDE, Gnome, Mozilla, and GNU Emacs and it shouldn't matter very much.

A Pentium III 500Mhz (Katmai) isn't to bad for running the *BSDs btw.
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Old 8th June 2008
unicyclist unicyclist is offline
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I'm running OpenBSD 4.3 on a 500mhz machine with icewm. I do have more ram (384megs) and love it. I have faster machines, but I just enjoy this setup.
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Old 8th June 2008
BSDfan666 BSDfan666 is offline
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I used to run OpenBSD on a P1 @ 133Mhz, then an upgraded K6 @ 333 Mhz, that systems was replaced with a P2.

This message was routed by the aforementioned system..
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Old 8th June 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EvilGardenGnome View Post
I was wondering which BSD would be a good introduction (i.e. easy on a newbie) and that won't push the system.
Your definition of "introduction" will matter. You might have in mind the following as an introduction (never safe to assume anything):

1) A *BSD "desktop."
2) A *BSD firewall/router/gateway/whateverelse
3) A *BSD server eg: web, email, dns, irc, etc
4) Other

Hardware requirements will have to be synced with the above.

My introduction to the *BSDs came by way of setting up No. 2. For that, a 486 DX4-100/16Mb RAM/1Gb HDD running OpenBSD 3.5 was enough. More than enough, even, for the task it was supposed to do at that time.

Good luck and have fun.
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Old 8th June 2008
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Hmmm... My first experience with FreeBSD (5.x release) was on ancient p-I with 233 MHz CPU and 96MB RAM. XORG + wmaker.
I admit it was not the best choice but it worked, and I learned a lot about the system.
P.S. I never tried OBSD or NBSD so I can't compare.
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Old 8th June 2008
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My personal choice would be OpenBSD. I have two P-II 450's, and three PIII's of various speeds and RAM. It really seems to excel on the older platforms, IMHO.
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Old 8th June 2008
EvilGardenGnome EvilGardenGnome is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mish View Post
Your definition of "introduction" will matter. You might have in mind the following as an introduction (never safe to assume anything):

1) A *BSD "desktop."
2) A *BSD firewall/router/gateway/whateverelse
3) A *BSD server eg: web, email, dns, irc, etc
4) Other

Hardware requirements will have to be synced with the above.
I would want to learn a desktop environment first. I have no experience with servers at all so I will be starting from scratch on that, but not right now.

I know the system will handle Xfce as I had Xubuntu running on it for a while, but decided to put it on a laptop instead as I didn't have a monitor after moving (I do now.).
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Old 8th June 2008
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My introduction was a PC-BSD 1.0RC and FreeBSD 6.0-Release install on a Pentium III 500Mhz/384MB RAM with KDE 3.4.x and Blackbox 0.7x.x (if versioning memory serves) functioning as a desktop.

Which also served as a playtime introduction to server'ish features using FreeBSD 6.1/6.2 and SSH.

And as a test machine for NetBSD

Then finally settled as a general purpose file server running OpenBSD since 3.9 ;-)




If you can find it, you might want to up the RAM a little bit for desktop usage.
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Old 9th June 2008
unicyclist unicyclist is offline
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EvilGardenGnome, with the ram you have, I wouldn't use kde or gnome. As you mentioned xfce, it would be fine, icewm, or any of the *box would serve you well, imho
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Old 11th June 2008
EvilGardenGnome EvilGardenGnome is offline
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Okay,

Having read the posts and looked at some more information I think OpenBSD is the one for me right now. I can always change later.

Now, my other question is what is the difference between a Windows Manager like the *boxes and a Desktop Environment like Xfce? My understanding is that the DE's are more like Windows and Gnome, but I'm really at a loss for how WM's compare to that. Is a WM just a collection of windows? Do you do all the interaction through terminal? I'll continue looking for information online, but any hints/links are greatly appreciated.
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Old 11th June 2008
ocicat ocicat is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EvilGardenGnome View Post
...what is the difference between a Windows Manager like the *boxes and a Desktop Environment like Xfce?
OpenBSD supports nearly forty different window managers which range from the feature-rich environments offered by KDE & GNOME down to very the very minimal such as cwm(1). One site which pictorially compares a number of window managers can be found at the following:

http://xwinman.org/

As for the choices you mention, XFCE lies closer to the KDE/GNOME end of the continuum, & fluxbox/blackbox lies closer to cwm. The default window manager configured on OpenBSD is fvwm(1), however cwm is also installed. Given only 128MB RAM, I would recommend staying away from KDE/GNOME, however you can likely run them, but you will also see the system work at keeping up with the eye candy. XFCE is most likely a better choice, but personally, I prefer fluxbox which is quite popular amongst many on these forums. The best advice anyone can give is to urge you to experiment by installing different window managers & choose for yourself.
Quote:
My understanding is that the DE's are more like Windows and Gnome, but I'm really at a loss for how WM's compare to that. Is a WM just a collection of windows?
Window managers are optional, however attempting to do daily work without a window manager is laborious. Window managers allow multiple windows, & the decorations required to resize, reposition, minimize, & expand windows. Window managers usually provide some means to graphically select applications to execute as well as manage whatever features the window manager provides.
Quote:
Do you do all the interaction through terminal?
KDE/GNOME/XFCE have file managers which allows a graphical interface for managing files & directories, however file managers can be installed on lighter weight window managers such as Fluxbox. Rox is a common choice. Personally, I use xterm(1)-like applications like aterm for most system interaction, but I also use more mainstream applications like Firefox, OpenOffice.org, Adobe Reader, & GIMP as well. Running any of these applications can be done with any window manager.
Quote:
...any hints/links are greatly appreciated.
Given that you have already mentioned OpenBSD, you will save yourself significant time by familiarizing yourself now with the information found in the official FAQ:

http://openbsd.org/faq/index.html

...as well as OpenBSD's application system (known as packages & ports system...):

http://openbsd.org/faq/faq15.html

Good luck!
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Old 11th June 2008
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> I was wondering which BSD would be a good introduction (i.e. easy on a newbie)

If you are new to Unix in general I would suggest something like PCBSD (= 100% FreeBSD + easy installer and configuration).
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Old 12th June 2008
Dazhelpwiz Dazhelpwiz is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ephemera View Post
> I was wondering which BSD would be a good introduction (i.e. easy on a newbie)

If you are new to Unix in general I would suggest something like PCBSD (= 100% FreeBSD + easy installer and configuration).
Id second that.

I started on OpenBSD building gateways & mail servers and expanded from there.
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