Good fucking god. Do you think the FreeBSD folks would, at some point, think “gee if we used Linux UIs, we might attract more than two users!”
For the most part it’s a fairly standard affair. It installs in VMWare, it works with VMWare tools, and nothing from previous FreeBSD releases is broken. Unlike Solaris in recent years, FreeBSD has managed not to change too much of the core functionality so FreeBSD fans won’t feel like they broke it. FreeBSD still keeps the look and feel of releases past, so anything you liked about the 6.x series is carried over. There’s where the rub is though, it’s almost all carried over.
New Linux distributions have, at very least, done a few things like fill in sensible defaults, provide wizards when needed, and provided basic X configuration. FreeBSD still has none of this. The wizards are rough and don’t prompt with defaults, X config is still done with xconfig (oops, xorgconfig). You can use Xorg -config for the configuration if you want it Linuxy but it’s still only going to guess. Accelerated support is done with the wonky Linux Compatibility Layer, playing with the fglrx build gave me wonky results. Radeon worked fine, so you have something to fall back on but everything you’re looking for in a desktop (composite, nice fonts) is missing. This may be related to the radeon driver, I’m not entirely sure.
KDE 4.1 comes as a port, you can install it but it’s missing everything that would make it into a usable desktop. Printer configuration? Not even basic KDE printing queues are available for configuration. Sound? Nope. Speed? Terrible. It takes twice as long to start compared to Linux. Samba is particularly bad – the wizard for mounting windows shares is actually there but unless you have all the requirements installed in FreeBSD before you try to use it, it just dies with a bunch of errors about not being able to find the share. This is bad, because the problem is really that Samba isn’t installed.
I can’t help but feel like it’s getting the most awesomest Christmas present ever – then finding out it doesn’t work.
Oh, did I mention there’s no openoffice?