On "Illuminating the desktop" (BSD Now 180)


I’m not watching the show regularly but from time to time if I get reminded about it somehow. This latest show is definitely one of the most interesting ones I’ve watched. It really backed up all the exitement I had for TrueOS anyway. Even though I’m just a user and am not familiar with all the techical stuff that goes on in the background that is talked about.

As I don’t have and don’t want to have a youtube-/Google-Account, I’d like to ask / commend on some topics right here.

##1. Ditching grub for FreeBSD bootloader (about 32:55ff)

I’m all for it - though I don’t really care because I already ditched it myself. My question would be about the additional “overhead” (were they referring to rEFInd or some different spelling?) that is being taked about. As I understand it, it would be “like” grub, as in “take over the whole drive” instead of confining itself to the assigned partition which means it would override Windows bootlader - everytime a BE change is being executed.

Is that right?

And if so, could I opt-out of (just) that “overhead” and stay with the FreeBSD bootloader only (confined to the TrueOS partition of my drive)?

##2. Intel vs. Modesetting (about 35:18ff)

I always thought I’m using the intel driver because I specifically select intel graphics in the first install menu when updating my pcbsd v10.3 (not enough space for a third BE, not ready to ditch v10.3 BE, so no TrueOS update for me). But after watching the show I’m not so sure anymore.
I stopped trying to change / play around with the graphics driver (from within the pcdm screen) after I learned that whenever I do that I can’t really login into xfce anymore because whenever the pulse audio or the mount tray icon (I haven’t narroed it down yet if both or just one of them is the culprit) are being loaded “xfce / the system crashes”, I get logged-out and after a quick full screen “terminal” = command line screen the system goes back to pcdm screen. So for me it’s seconds not minutes being “xfce-online”.
I can login in with xfce running stable if I log into lumina and edit the respective xfce conf file by deleting the two lines that load those two icons. But during that session xfce would write those two line back in and for the next login into xfce I would have to delete those lines again…I think I haven’t tested write-protecting the file but I guess that would cause a more serious problem.

So, watching this part of the show I was thinking that maybe my system runs in fact on modesetting and I’m just experiencing the kernel panics that everyone else is experiencing when switching to intel driver - which I would in that case not switching back to but just to. I guess I need to check which driver I’m really using next time I’m booting into TrueOS.

But if I’m in fact running TrueOS using the intel driver then my system runs stable “since the beginning” which means end of september/october images which were not yet OpenRC images.

And on the resume comment from Kris on his X1 with SkyLake cpu, system crashing after resuming: My Sandy Bridge cpu seems to resume fine. I hit the standby Fx by accident why I tried (unsuccessfully so far) switching wlan on (and off). The screen went black instantaniously and I though “OMG what have I done”. And hitting the power button in order to start the pc again because I thought it was just gone it as well came back instantaniously without any problems. Although also without going to pcdm (I’m used to land on the login screen after resuming from standy or hibernation with Windows), but that’s probably just depends on settings which I haven’t bothered to check for, yet.

I never experimented with standby / hibernation as xfce greys out those two options for me since the start of my pcbsd days; and as I use my netbook/laptop as desktop with external display and lid closed at all times I never think of using those Fn-keys… even though I guess I could with a lenovo program in Windows that simulated them.

##3. Lumina panels (45:45ff)

I always wanted to ask if I can also export = save and have the settings ready for import again the panel setting I set on top of the preconfigured profile.

Also, will there ever be a right-click context menu for the panel “bar”? So far I find xfce much more flexible in regards to configuration because I just make a right-click on the panel. With lumina I have to go to the start menu go to the settings submenu and select the program for panels et. al. settings.

And when Ken talked about Lumina at the beginning of the show and the “shortcuts” he’s implemented on his system I got somehow reminded of a little program I use on windows called executor. You assign a shortcut to the program, if you hit it a simple mini-window shows up where you then type in a command (depending of your config you can assign (almost any key-character(s) to any exe etc. on your system) hit enter and the program starts. No need for start menu anymore, no need for mouse (isn’t that what the *nix world is all about? :slight_smile: at least when I first heard of linux I thought “they really hate GUIs and the mouse”.). Anyways, I thought something like that as a basic feature of lumina would be really cool. It also can run some basic calculations and stuff that is already built into the program but I use it basically to start my programs and therefore became one of the most important programs itself on my sysem.

##4. Miscellaneous

  • Kudos on not looking at the respective other brother when he is talking in order not to give away the joke until the end! :slight_smile:

  • I always wanted to ask if Tim Moore is also related to the “Moore Bros.”, a cousin maybe? :slight_smile:

And in general: Thanks for making pcbsd/TrueOS!

I’m planning on switching to it some day in the future and ditching windows completely.

Of all the *nixes I’ve tested (I only really tested pcbsd on the unix/bsd side, the rest was all linux) I like pcbsd/TrueOS the best. And I came to bsd because I watched a video on the differences of the licenses and I like the bsd approach better.

And I really like the pcbsd/TrueOS community. Maybe because it’s relatively small and feels like an extended family. It’s just a nice and friendly place to look for help - and get it even from the guys-in-chief themselves. Thanks for that, too.

Boot Loaders & BE's

a couple of quick response

  1. to check driver, in a terminal, type --> about
    this will give a quick overview of your system

3: it’s written in the ~./.config/lumina-desktop directory


Glad you liked the interview!

Here are a few answers to your questions:
#1. GRUB/ rEFInd
The way GRUB works is that even though it is placed into the MBR, it is actually still tied to an individual partition/OS (and BE in our case) for things like config files and such. This can cause all sorts of issues with the boot loader getting “out of sync” if the partitions change significantly, and also introduces OS-dependencies which cause all sorts of issues with dual/multi-boot detection and initiation (the FreeBSD->Linux detection routines are different from the Linux->Linux detection routines and such). The FreeBSD loader is a lot better about that because it automatically probes/loads information when it starts - there are no config files which can get out of sync and stop the boot loader from working.

With the proposed move to rEFInd[1], we would basically just get rid of the option to pick which boot loader gets installed to the TrueOS partition itself (always use the FreeBSD loader), and make it required/optional to stamp rEFInd into the MBR instead. rEFInd is basically just a graphical interface for the EFI partitioning scheme and also operates independently of any particular partition on the system. The boot procedures are actually a lot simpler too, in that it is expected that each “bootable” partition will have it’s own individual boot loader stamped onto the individual partition - making it possible for rEFInd to just “chainload” that partition to start the boot (no OS-dependent code or boot routines). The two downsides to this are:
(1) EFI partition layout required, does not support the legacy partition layouts
(2) Each OS partition needs to stamp/install it’s own boot loader on it’s partition (most major OS’s already do this)
For single partition/OS drives this entire question is really academic - the whole point of offering GRUB/rEFInd on TrueOS is specifically to facilitate dual/multi booting situations.

[1] http://www.rodsbooks.com/refind/ (home page) https://sourceforge.net/projects/refind/ (source repo)

#2. Intel vs. Modesetting
If you are still using PC-BSD 10.3, then your Intel/driver issues are completely unrelated to the modesetting driver. Modesetting is something completely new to FreeBSD with the new DRM/Xorg updates, and is basically a way for the X11 server to try and find the “best mode” for your system to run in. The best way to think of it is as a “smart fallback” driver to replace the scfb/vesa fallback drivers (can enable additional support/options on-demand).
Similarly, don’t worry about the suspend/resume stuff we mentioned with regards to your PC-BSD system. The newer Xorg/DRM stuff is where these issues crop up (especially for the newer Intel chipsets like Broadwell/SkyLake).
For your XFCE issues, you might want to try turning off the xfce-power-daemon service on your system (/usr/local/share/applications/xfce-power-daemon.desktop (?) -> set “Hidden=true”. I have run into issues where that tool just eats/leaks memory until either it or the system crashes and it might help stabilize your system.

#3. Lumina
A) import/export of panel settings: Yes - this is already available in lumina-config from monitor->monitor (not system->system yet - that simply requires moving your config file between systems first though).
B) Context Menu modification of panels: Eventually yes. With Lumina 2 I am having to rework the panel system a bit to make it monitor-independent, and adding configuration tools directly to the panel itself is also on my list to work on at the same time. I am also in the brainstorming phase for something similar for the desktop plugins/settings for Lumina 2 as well.
C) Shortcut for finding/launching apps: Lumina already has a tool specifically for this called “lumina-search”. It is a bit old (one of the first external tools I wrote for Lumina), but still works fine and is tied to the “Alt-F2” and “Alt-Spacebar” shortcuts by default.

#4 Misc
It was not intentional that people did not realize we were sitting next to each other - it just turned out that way.
FYI: Tim Moore is the youngest of the Moore brothers (by age, Kris > Ken > Tim) :slight_smile:

Feel free to jump into the TrueOS waters anytime! There are only occasional sharks right now!! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Boot Loaders & BE's

Thanks for the very informative reply!

My first guess was “another brother” but that seemed to be to easy. :slight_smile:
Thus TrueOS shall henceforth be knownst as “codename MooreOS”. :slight_smile:

I’ll have to wait for some bugs/regressions to dissapear for (pcbsd/trueos own) stuff that works fine on pcbsd but is buggy in trueos. Then I can finally ditch my pcbsd BE.

As long as “optional” means that I can opt-out of any modification of the mbr, all is fine. (For now) I don’t need any “graphical interface for the partitioning sceme” because I have the Windows Bootloader for that. And as long as that one directs me reliably to the FreeBSD bootloader when needed, all is fine.

##@Intel Driver

I just checked, my TrueOS BE is running intel_drv.so without any problems I’d assign to it.
The mentioned problem only arises if I change the graphics driver and then back again - so I just never do that anymore because I don’t know how to fix it other than install TrueOS anew.

As for the power-daemon stuff I have to search harder another time because there’s no desktop file in that folder that has anything to do with power except for the xscreensaver.

As for the cool Lumina search stuff you mentioned I just have to log into Lumina and check that out. :slight_smile:


Back from Lumina. :slight_smile:
Well, yes that tool is neat and does go somewhat in that direction. Thanks for the tip.



Yes, the “optional” usage of rEFInd will be specifically to stamp/not the MBR, specifically for the case where other OS’s or partitions are already setup/functional.
You can change the video driver in TrueOS at the login screen. Just click on the lower-right corner “system” button, and there should be an option to change your video driver. That will open the same “pc-checkxdisplay” utility that PC-BSD used for managing the X11 driver - we just disabled that utility from being run/used automatically on bootup anymore.

No sweat about the XFCE power daemon stuff - it was just a thought I had… :wink:


That’s what I was referring to when I wrote “changing the graphics driver”. Sorry for not being clear on that. That was the only way I know how therefore I didn’t specify. Once I use that feature my xfce goes unstable - at least the last time I tried it. I might just try it again next time a new image comes out because I have to delete the current trueos BE anyway for lack of space… :slight_smile: Maybe that bug is gone.