From the list of things that don’t work, it seems like desktop hardware support is still like what Linux had in 2005. It’s good to see it does get better though, I do want FreeBSD to be a viable desktop OS.
If nothing else, we the free software nerds already have experience with carefully picking hardware to run free software on…
with X11, i3, and xterm FreeBSD is a viable desktop!
In the article, there is one thing on the list of things that don’t work. How is that “like what Linux had in 2005”?
Ehhhhh, I can see what dmbaturin is saying.
Bluetooth: Disabled to prevent a hang on reboot.
WebCam: Detected, works in a webcam application, but doesn’t work in other applications.
WiFi: Kind of works, but only at low speeds (802.11ac is not yet supported on FreeBSD IIRC)
Keyboard: Some function keys work, others (volume is called out) do not.
That sounds very much like my experience with Linux in the mid-2000s.
By the mid 2000s, I generally expected better from Linux. I didn’t have bluetooth on anything then, or any kind of webcam, but recall that getting Linux working on my Gateway laptop in 2004 “just worked”.
1999 - 2000, by contrast, I recall needing to do a custom kernel build and fiddle with it for hours to get suspend/resume working and never getting sound quite right on my Thinkpad, but around the time Red Hat Linux 9 shipped (’02 or ’03?) that stuff was all very easy.
The biggest problem I recall from early ’00s was that I still needed dial up. And most inexpensive laptops had moved their built-in “modems” to software implementations, most of which never got ported to Linux. There were attempts to use emulation to run that, some of which almost worked, and attempts at native drivers.
I wound up carrying a USR PCMCIA card with a real UART in my bag once I could afford one.
That’s way too many words to say that the linked article reports an experience that I find markedly inferior to what I recall from ca. 2005. It made me think of 1999.
To be fair, I picked 2005 as a random “long ago, but not that long ago” date, and I didn’t mean Thinkpad specifically. I remember my mid-00’s experience with installing GNU/Linux on a random laptop as similarly hit and miss to what the author is having with a Thinkpad.
I fear if that’s how it runs on a Thinkpad, it’s better not to think what will happen on a random machine that came with Windows Home. Maybe I should enage in my love-hate relationship with FreeBSD again and try it on my own laptop (Asus x200ca, it was sold with Linux).
I spent a couple of years running FreeBSD as my everyday driver, on a ThinkPad X220. I’m currently running an Ubuntu setup on a ThinkPad W540 for both development and gaming, but am considering buying a newer X-series for FreeBSD and keeping the W540 solely for gaming.
My FreeBSD setup is here if anyone is interested: https://gitlab.com/duncan-bayne/freebsd-setup
My X220 setup: https://www.instagram.com/p/BXPY61pFkRK/
In my experience, the only problem with FreeBSD is sleep/resume. I’ve read a while ago that this has to do with graphic card drivers, meaning that resume actually works, except for turning the screen on.
I see that resume works here, although “weird”? That’s further than I’ve ever gotten.
I’ve never had resume fail because of Intel graphics. I’ve heard that everything’s fine for people with Ryzen Mobile laptops as well.
The most infamous cause of hanging on resume is the TPM. If it’s enabled, the OS has to talk to it on suspend, otherwise it will break resume. At some point the FreeBSD driver didn’t seem to do this correctly on some ThinkPads (??) but most importantly you just have to load it at all :)