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Old 01-24-2012, 05:15 PM
SomeGuy SomeGuy is offline
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Default Issues with PC-BSD 9 on a laptop.
I figured I would start a new thread as opposed to lengthening my active thread on KDE.

I'm new to the BSD flavor of OSes. I migrated from MINT Linux to BSD for a couple reasons, mainly to try something I haven't tried before (BSD) and to -hopefully- create a rock solid system designed for performance and security. I really wanted to test out the full disk encryption, too.

Installation from DVD took fo-rev-er. It was late, I gave myself a couple hours to do this, but after a couple hours I just fell asleep when the progress was about 30% or so. I woke up to an installed system.

Problems I have encountered thus far:
  • KDE Performance
  • No touchpad support by default
  • Sound only when using headphones / external speakers
  • Bad Laptop Support

I'll elaborate on all of these in more detail:

KDE Performance
I was told that KDE is the go-to desktop manager for BSD. Something about how they ported KDE to BSD or whatever, was done with more care and preciseness than Gnome. (Or something). KDE performance (so far) has been horrible. Right off the bat, rocking a fresh install, I log into KDE for the first time and it is using 1.1GB of RAM whereas Gnome or XFCE use 250-350MB at startup depending on what programs I have startup. I've since been linked to articles on how to get KDE to perform better, but before I had a chance I encountered further issues that made me just kind of not want to use KDE again (I was never a fan of it in the past).

Other issues with KDE that I have not experienced in other desktops include the mouse pointer freezing, only to be unlocked by me hitting the spacebar (or maybe any other key, but I always hit the spacebar to unlock it). After that, the mouse cursor just kind of... "does it's own thing". I can't control it, but it just kind of drifts around the screen ignoring any human input. Hard reboot.

Touchpad Issues
So, I can use my touchpad by default to move the mouse. Some may think that is enough, but you must understand that good touchpad support is almost necessary in this day and age. So from the start, i'm pulling my hair out and cussing under my breath. Even now, the fact that PC-BSD lacks good touchpad support from the start is driving me mad as I try to type this. Let me explain....

For starters, the most frustrating thing is not being able to disable the touchpad while typing. Any recent linux distro I have used has this ability by default. So now, as I type this I am constantly being forced to adjust my screen so the text box is highlighted and re-adjust where the text is being input due to the damn cursor bouncing around the screen from me over so softly touching the touchpad while typing. Windows has the best touchpad support, then Linux, then BSD. I haven't used a Mac in years, but as a modern OS I would assume it has modern features included by default such as touchpad support.

It's not just the inability to disable the touchpad while typing by default (hopefully some laptop users will come in here and have solutions), it's the inability to scroll with the touchpad that also drives me crazy. I like efficient machines and it takes up time to have to drag my cursor somewhere where I can click and just use the up and down keys to scroll in a browser when I should be able to simply use the touchpad.

Though I should congratulate PC-BSD on the fact it recognizes my touchpad clicks as clicks, otherwise I wouldn't of even made it this far and would of simply re-installed Linux MINT which has been rock-solid to me.

Sound Issues
At first I thought I simply had no sound. I was okay with this at first, wasn't a big issue. 5+ years ago it seemed almost any Linux distro I would install had sound issues and I would manually have to correct it at a later time, but thankfully in today's age Linux is pretty solid with their drivers and support for things. However I plugged in my headphones, possibly out of habbit, and to my surprise... sound! (But none via my laptop speakers).

Bad Laptop Support
If I close my laptop lid, I have to hard reboot my computer. I can't bring it 'back to life' after opening the lid, it's just sitting there with a black screen.

I can't use my laptop function keys to increase/decrease volume or brightness, or other common functions that have -always- worked in the large handful of Linux distros I have used over the past couple years.


Look, I don't want to sound like I am nagging. I would like to get these issues resolved so I can use my laptop how it's intended to be used, but I can't afford a ton of time and frustration trying to resolve these issues. Maybe it's because I am on a laptop and PC-BtSD was created with desktop machines in mind, but it's 2012 and people have places to be and go. If you think laptop support isn't a priority, think again. It's disappointing to have to do so much of this manually, especially after downloading and burning a 4+GB DVD. I would of assumed some of that data would of included common drivers and support for common devices, but I guess not.

I've spent a couple hours reading and trying to correct the touchpad issue, no go. It's still driving me mad, haha. (synaptics)

I was always told that BSD was 'better' than Linux, though it appears Linux (minus the new Gnome, hate it!) is pretty dang solid nowadays. Seriously, MINT Linux has been nothing but excellent to me in a world of being disappointed by crappy 'flashy' Linux distros. I really don't like Gnome 3+ and am not a fan of KDE. I just want a lightweight and secure OS that allows me to run XFCE with minimal issues.

Sorry for the rant. Don't take this as a negative thing. I'm still kind of a 'newb' or whatever, I understand some things may need to be done manually with any OS installation. But because I want PC-BSD to be better, take my rants into consideration for future updates. Don't ignore laptop users either, I can't believe none of my function keys work and that I can't restore my computing state after closing my laptop's lid.

Just some things to think about.
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Old 01-24-2012, 05:59 PM
bds bds is offline
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hi SomeGuy --

sorry that you're having so many problems -- i feel some of your pain, as the latest addition to my computing stable is having a few of the same problems.

part of the meta-issue (maybe?) is that FreeBSD itself isn't exactly geared towards the laptop - not that that stops people from using it on a laptop ( that includes me c: ). i'm not certain on this - this is 100% my opinion - but from reading 'round the web, i get the impression that while a good portion of the laptop hardware is supported the laptop environment is lagging. i.e., out-of-the-box touchpad defaults, out-of-the-box wireless card support, out-of-the-box function button support, and (a *huge* one) out-of-the-box suspend/resume.

if you have the time & are willing to do some digging, i bet the touchpad issues maybe resolvable, as well as your function button problems.

re #1 -- the safest thing here is to maybe go with a different DE? i've been very pleased with LXDE. i've also used GNOME and found it to be quite fast and it seemed to have a small memory footprint.

re #2 -- there's probabaly a driver that can be loaded in /boot/loader.conf? it will take some googling to get this fixed (hopefully).

re #3 -- there is a thread about sound card setup in the Laptops sub-forum that may be helpful:

re #4 -- this is a problem for me, too. some people seem to have suspend/resume right out-of-the-box, other people seem to be able to get it working, and others seem not have any luck at all. :-) sometimes owners of the same laptop models fall into all three camps. weird times, or something.

so... since PC-BSD is a FreeBSD-based 'distro', we could be waiting a while for laptop-related things to be a decent in *BSD out-of-the-box as they are in Linux out-of-the-box. maybe there's a different focus at the OS-planning level? i'm not sure. on the other hand, there are enough things about the OS that i really like that sticking it out and trying to figure out these problems is worth-while to me.

sorry that there aren't easy links to fixes for your problems. maybe give more hardware info here or in the laptop forum and folks can try to help fix the troubles.


(all 100% opinion. hope things are too wrong, or out-of-touch.)
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Old 01-24-2012, 07:00 PM
SomeGuy SomeGuy is offline
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Thanks for the response, you've been a real help to me!

I think what I am going to do is this:
Re-install MINT Linux onto my laptop (because it works very well)

Rebuild my desktop, use it to experiment with other OSes and BSD flavors. Ideally would like to turn it into a home storage server so I don't have to keep all my files on my laptop.

What I use my laptop for is simple: I do a tad bit of PHP and Python coding, trying to code with my mouse jumping all over the place because of the touchpad issue is near impossible right now. I use Skype, Firefox, Tor, Thunderbird, gEDIT, Terminal, FileZilla, GIMP, and a few other programs. Nothing that crazy or heavy.

I understand BSD isn't geared towards your average user, but it could be.

Thanks for all the help, but for now, i'll stick to what I know. (Linux desktops and Linux [Debian and CentOS] Servers).
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Old 01-25-2012, 09:16 AM
Vermilion Vermilion is offline
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I am sorry for your problems. On my laptop it's changed situation: If I install a modern Linux distribution I have always some problems. On Opensuse I have no sound, on Fedora and CentOS I have no sound, On Ubuntu I have sometimes sound problems, on linux mint I had a kernel panic. Only PC-BSD runs stable like swiss clockwork! I love that system (not only because linux doesnt run well on my hardware, ubuntu Long Term does, but for its usability, too), for me it kicks out windows and linux easily and if I have to choose a new Laptop/hardware, I will ensure it works with pcbsd before purchasing.

If you can you shall try a different laptop and before you buy it you could test it with the livecd of PCBSD
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Old 05-13-2012, 05:31 PM
milesroces milesroces is offline
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I'm not a techie but it seems that there are compatibility issues you need to check out before you can make it work.

Laptop Repair

Last edited by milesroces; 05-15-2012 at 04:29 AM.
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