PC-BSD 9 is based on FreeBSD 9.0 and hence inherits its new features, such as ZFS version 28, which has a lot of new functionality compared to ZFS version 13 from FreeBSD 8, including triple-parity RAIDZ, improved snapshot creation and deletion performance and deduplication. But PC-BSD has a lot of its own improvements too. For instance, it now supports installation to BootCamp partitions on a Mac.
In previous editions, PC-BSD was KDE-only. Beginning from the new PC-BSD 9 release, the Ubuntu of the BSDs doesn’t lock you into KDE anymore but allows you to choose your desktop environment among KDE 4.7, GNOME 2 (GNOME 3 hasn’t been ported yet), Xfce 4 and LXDE. The DVD version comes with all these desktop environments, but we downloaded the CD version which installs a minimal LXDE environment. In the installer, you can choose the default UFS filesystem or the ZFS filesystem. The latter is more advanced, with features like snapshots, transparent compression and deduplication, but it’s only recommended if you have a 64-bit system with at least 4GB of RAM.
When you log into your installed PC-BSD system, three icons appear on your desktop: the AppCafe, the Control Panel and the Handbook. You are also greeted by a welcome window that gives you a crash course about some PC-BSD tools, such as the wireless tray icon, the AppCafe and the Control Panel. As its name says, the AppCafe is the program where you search for and install applications. It’s rather basic (it doesn’t even show how many applications are available for installation, nor how big an application download will be), but it gets the job done.
The Control Panel is the one-stop shop for managing your system. For instance, this is where you configure your firewall (which has a default configuration that allows SMB and NFS) or your network connection and where you enable and disable system services, add a printer or a new user etc..
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