Desktop Background and 3D Desktop: I normally do not draw attention to a distribution’s desktop background, except when it is really ugly, or really beautiful. You can tell from the image below, which is a shot of one of PC-BSD’s backgrounds, that its desktop background is very, very visually appealing. It is a lot more alive than any I have seen on a Linux distribution, especially Mandriva’s. More of PC-BSD’s desktop background images are available on the last page of this post.
PC-BSD 8.1 had 3D desktop working right out of the box. However, this is not via CompizFusion, but courtesy of KDE’s native OpenGL compositing effect.
PBI Installer: PC-BSD’s graphical package installer takes an approach to package management that is contra to how other package managers work. With Synaptic for example, you will get a listing of applications, their installation status, version number, etc, on one window. With pbiDIR, all that information is presented to you on three different tabs.
Clicking to download an application from the Software Browser window could give this dialog message shown below, or the one after it if the application is already installed.
Existing package installation
Graphical Firewall: PC-BSD 8.1 has its firewall applications enabled and running out of the box. It has two graphical firewall clients installed. The one found in the KDE System Settings hub has a newbie-friendly interface, Firewall Builder, the other graphical firewall configuration client, has a lot more features and it is ideally suited for users with advanced firewall configuration skills and requirements.
System Updater: Out of the box, PC-BSD’s system updater is configured to check for updates every 12 hours, or twice per day.
And when updates are available, you will find a list of them in the System Updates tab of pbiDIR.
Now, let us take a look at some of the features that need improvement. And just like we did with the good features, we begin with SysInstaller.