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Using PC-BSD
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Customizing Your Desktop

Next in the menu is the Settings section, which is similar to Windows Control Panel. If you plan on viewing or changing several settings, use Control Center, which provides an interface for each section in this menu. Alternately, you can navigate the Settings menu, which contains "Appearance & Themes," Desktop, "Internet & Network," KDE Components, Peripherals, "Regional & Accessibility," "Security & Privacy," "Sound & Multimedia" and System Administration. This is where you can customize your operating system to your tastes. I recommend you spend some time trying out all of the various options for yourself. There is a lot here, so you might want to try out a few things every time you use your computer.



Hint: if you like to use keyboard shortcuts, check out "Regional & Accessibility" -> Keyboard Shortcuts to view and change the default shortcuts.

The KDE menu also provides a quick way to access Home (Personal Files), the KDE Help system, the Find Files/Folders utility, and the Control Center.

KDE Programs is similar to the Windows Programs menu. Here you will find all of the KDE applications categorized into Games, Graphics, Internet, Multimedia, Office, Settings, System, and Utilities. Again, there is a lot here, so make a point to discover at least one new utility whenever you use your computer.

The final option on the KDE menu is unique to PC-BSD: Computer. It provides another way to access your Drives and the Local Network. There is also the PC-BSD Settings menu, where you can Add User, configure your Display, configure your Keyboard, and configure your Mouse, as well as access Network Manager, Online Update, PBI Update Check, Printer Manager, Remove Programs, Sound Mixer, and System.

Network Manager is similar to Windows Network Connections as it allows you to view your network adapters and modify their TCP/IP settings. I want to spend some more time on a few of the other menu items.

Hint: if you use your numlock key, go into the Keyboard menu and select "Turn on" under the "NumLock on KDE Startup" section.

The System Menu

System is somewhat like the Windows System icon, but with a BSD twist. The General tab indicates both the version of PC-BSD and the FreeBSD version it is based upon. For example, mine says:

PC-BSD Version: 1.0rc2
Base Version: 6.0-RELEASE-p3

The -p3 indicates it is FreeBSD 6.0 at the third patch level.

This tab also contains a Generate button, which is a very convenient way to generate a diagnostics report. More advanced users will appreciate having /var/run/dmesg.boot, dmesg, /etc/rc.conf, /boot/loader.conf, df, and ps in one written report. Less advanced users can send a generated report to their nearest guru or support person.

The Kernel tab allows you to select from a single processor or multi-processor kernel. It also provides check boxes to enable a splash screen or ATAPI DMA Mode. You can also select the boot delay number of seconds in this tab.

The Services tab allows you to select whether to start the SSH, NFS, Samba, and CUPS daemons at boot time.

The Tasks menu is the real jewel of this utility (see Figure 1). Click on Fetch System Source to connect to a cvsup server and fetch src. Note that this will take a while the first time you run it, as you'll be downloading over 400MB of src. However, subsequent cvsup runs will go quickly, as the utility needs to download only the src that has changed since your last fetch. Power users who wish to modify the default cvs-supfile will find it in /root/standard-supfile.

the Tasks menu
Figure 1. The Tasks menu

The Tasks tab also contains a button to Fetch Ports using portsnap. The first time you run this utility, be patient, as it will take a while to download and extract the entire ports tree. Even if it seems nothing is happening for a very long time, it is working--simply go do something else until it says it is finished. The next time you run this utility, it will be very quick, as it needs to download only the changes to the ports collection.

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