Wednesday, March 23, 2016

BSD For Human Beings? | Interview

BSD For Human Beings? | Interview

BSD for humans -PC BSD

Continuing our BSD summer interviews, we introduce today a very interesting interview with Kris Moore, the founder and current leader of development of the desktop user-friendly PC-BSD project. Enjoy!

As the founder of PC-BSD, what can you tell us about your decision to start this project? How did you get involved with BSD systems, and what drove you into creating one?

I first ran into FreeBSD back in the mid nineties, when I started working at a local dial-up ISP. At the time it was my first experience with any *nix related system, and I can still recall how exciting it was to be able to log in remotely and run "pine" for this new thing called "E-Mail".

I decided to create PC-BSD in early 2005, after running various Linux desktops, and continually having problems with them. In particular what drove me was how package management was performed in all open-source desktops at the time, with the idea that every package is a part of your "base-system", and an upgrade of one thing could trigger a chain of dependencies causing numerous other things to be touched as well. This felt WAY too familiar, especially after coming off the years of "DLL Hell" in Windows desktops and the problems that caused. Instead I wanted to implement a "clean" package system, which kept the applications separated away from the core desktop, reducing the potential for "Libary Hell" and dependency related issues. Thus the PBI (Push Button Installer) package format was born and desiring to build upon a stable API and base-system, FreeBSD was the logical choice.

What is your current role in PC-BSD?

I'm currently the project director, and lead developer of the system.

Why did you choose Free-BSD as the basis for your system?

I was already somewhat familiar with FreeBSD, but the real deciding factor was trying to find a stable "base OS" for the PBI software, something with a very stable ABI, allowing applications to run on current and future versions. Add in the rock-solid stability, security and it was an easy decision.

What goodies from Free-BSD can be found on PC-BSD? Are all the innovative security tools of Free-BSD available on PC-BSD too?

PC-BSD is 100% FreeBSD under the hood, not a fork, which means all the features of FreeBSD, such as ZFS, PF and others are also available. Over the years we have added various graphical "front-ends" to these features, such as a firewall manager, ZFS installation wizards and more. At this point users wanting to install with ZFS will find the PC-BSD graphical installer the easiest and fastest way to go.

I found the installer and the AppCafe very user-friendly. What else is there making user's life easier, while also confirming PC-BSD's desktop aiming?

In addition to the easy Installer and AppCafe, we also include graphical utilities for managing wired/wireless networking, system updates, firewall, and others. Coming in 9.1 is also a revamped FreeBSD "Jail" management utility called the "Warden". It will allow users to easily create and manage sandboxed servers, including linux servers, in a secure FreeBSD jail.

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