On Thu, Feb 19, 2009 at 10:27:30AM -0500, Jean-Paul Natola wrote:

> Hi all,
> I'm replacing some machines and want to setup some stations in the library
> running FreeBSD- 
> What is the easiest for an XP user to get accustomed to and what config do I
> need so that when the machine starts (power / boot)  it will automatically
> launch the desktop gui

The easiest way to get used to it is to just fully install the latest FreeBSD
(that is 7.1 at the moment) RELEASE, update it to RELENG_7 or RELENG_7_1
so it has the latest patches.   Install Xorg for Xwindows so you will have
graphics.  Then install a few handy ports from the /usr/ports tree.
Some you will want are Firefox and Thunderbird and Openoffice, although
you may want to install Openoffice from a binary package rather than
from ports.   Openoffice is very big and building it can be daunting
for a newbie.     Some other good candidates might be Apache and Perl
and maybe a couple of games for fun.

Then, just start using it.   Learn to find things you need on the system.   
and configure the network securely.   There is lots of documentation in
the FreeBSD Handbook and other places online.   The more you do it, the
more they make sense.

One thing to learn is using the  vi(1)  text editor.   There are many
other editors, but for system management, vi is the omnipresent, ubiquitious
one.  It is sometimes the only one available in times when bad things
are happening.    It feels rather clunky when you first start to use it
but it quickly becomes second nature.   The FreeBSD man page is pretty
good on it.  I have a web page that simplifies it a little at:  
There are a number of books available that help learning FreeBSD.

"FreeBSD Unleashed" and "Absolute BSD" are a couple of them
The FreeBSD Handbook which is online at the FreeBSD web site and
is installed if you want it when FreeBSD is installed is quite good.
The FreeBSD site also has other documents and links listed.

At first, it will seem a little strange.   Generally FreeBSD is command
oriented, not pointy/clicky oriented.   That is a much more powerful way
to administer a system, but it takes more initial learning.

Ask questions.   People on the list have already heard all the common
complaints and gripes that FreeBSD is not like MS-Win dozens of times.
The usual response is "Thank God" or something similar.   Anyway, they
are not interested in hearing whines again.   But, if you have a real
question about 'how to do' something or even 'why is it done this way'
and not just grousing, people on the list are usually very good about
giving answers.   List people are very interested in helping people 
learn, but not interested in people complaining.   

If it is a bug, post a pr.   If it is a feature request, remember that 
FreeBSD is created and maintained by volunteers - very smart ones - but 
they have limits on time and resources so your request may take a very 
long time to get attention.   You may well learn how to do it yourself 
and then submit it as an improvement before then.

Good luck and have fun.

> thanx
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