Since Fedora dropped KDE 3.5.x for Fedora 9 and thereby future releases, I was kind of squatting what operating system to use for my main computer. I was getting so desperate that I even considered going back to openSUSE (Which supports KDE 3.5.x in 11.0, which is supported with security updates for two years), which I left in the first place because Novell started to just piss me off with their laissez-faire attitude towards the free software community. Their deal with Microsoft and other things show this to a great degree. Other technical things also annoyed me back then, such as their reluctance to include applications such as Azureus, despite them being completely legal.
I know that Debian 5.0 Lenny, probably coming out in a month or two (Debian loves their delays!), but I REALLY don’t like Debian at all, so that was not a good option.
So what I picked was FreeBSD, since KDE 3.5.x is in the ports system, and looks like it isn’t going away any time soon. Also FreeBSD, in general, is a very solid operating system.
So for the last 10 days I have been messing with FreeBSD on my main computer. However, I discovered how true the saying “Always avoid .0 releases of software” is! I first picked FreeBSD 7.0, and I ran into some serious bugs, the area of networking, where the vr network driver would drop-out as I tried to transfer files to other machines on my local network, or had intensive traffic to the Internet going. I also ran into problems with sound, where the sounded output of KDE’s artsd sub-system would skip and drop. While artsd is very cruddy these days, it still barely works. So I tried installing FreeBSD 6.3 and did a quick test setup, and I didn’t run into those problems. The 6.x series of FreeBSD, has been out for a good while now, and it shows, the system seems more solid than 7.x, I was actually flabbergasted that something as simple as the vr ethernet driver for VIA-adapters was broken, because it’s such basic hardware as 10/100 ethernet networking. I decided to have a look in CVS, to see whether it might have been fixed for 7.1, and I did notice a bunch of changes, so hopefully it will be fixed in FreeBSD 7.1, and if not, hopefully 7.2, because this sort of basic issue would tarnish FreeBSD’s otherwise very good record of solidity, reliability and stability. But anyway, I’m willing to cut them some slack, since 7.0 was exactly that, a “dot zero” release, which often with any operating system and any category of applicaiton, often is a good example of something to avoid, until childhood illnesses are rooted out.