[EN] New Laptop

Posted on August 25, 2008
Filed Under English

Last Thursday I received my new (company) laptop, a nice HP Compaq 8510w. It came with Windows Vista Business. I decided to give it a go, but wanted a multiboot system with FreeBSD on it.

Unfortunately, the Vista installation ate up the entire hard drive, so I had to try the ‘shrink’ feature in Vista. I managed to get about 20 GB of contiguous disk space for a FreeBSD install, but when I booted Vista again, it prompted me to perform a full recovery. After that, Vista kept complaining about missing DLLs and such, so I just ditched Vista and gave the entire disk to FreeBSD 😉

I’ve been running FreeBSD/KDE on my office desktop for a long time now. I started out with DesktopBSD (which is basically FreeBSD 6 with KDE 3), but upgraded to FreeBSD 7 with KDE 4 along the way. I wanted to install the same combination on the laptop, but I found that KDE 4 performed very sluggishly on both.

After experimenting with WindowMaker for a bit I decided to use that instead. Since the package system was now clogged with all the KDE stuff (700 packages and counting), I did a clean install (still ending up with 500 packages ..).

I’m not a big fan of packages, by the way. I’ve always used ports, and compiled all of my software myself. On my office desktop pc, that means that I’m compiling updates and upgrades on a daily basis. I didn’t want to double the workload by using ports on my laptop as well, and I have to say that the packages perform very well, are almost always available when there are new ports, and install very fast. My old trusted portupgrade tool can handle both ports and packages (in any combination), so that’s a trusted model to me.

I must say that running FreeBSD 7 with WindowMaker results in a very stable and clean look — and I’m only using 2,5 GB for the complete installation, including Thunderbird and Firefox; beat that, Vista! Or bloated overhyped Linux for that matter …

There are still some things to figure out (KDE comes pre-installed with all kinds of subsytems and utilities, WindowMaker needs some more ‘user involvement’), but my first impression is very good. Now what to do with 100 GB of free space ..


3 Responses to “[EN] New Laptop”

  1. Addendum: since posting this I’ve grown tired of tiling window managers, so I switched to XFCE (which I like very much, I must say).

    I tried running a package-only system for a while, but found that they were lagging way too much behind ports. So I reinstalled everything from ports, which has brought me much more up-to-date software and versatility, whereas the compiling doesn’t really take up that much time on a Core2Duo.


  2. […] switched to a FreeBSD laptop last year, so the XP desktop machine was switched off and gathering dust. It has now been put to […]

  3. I’ve gone to FreeBSD 8.0 64-bit now, because NVIDIA finally released a 64-bit driver for its video cards. The desktop got a little overhaul as well.


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