The Colorful Charm of Amiga Utility Disks

Excellent dive into Amiga boot/utility disks, how they crammed so much onto one floppy, and the cool menus designed for them.

Many users constructed a boot disk, onto which they put essential parts of the operating system, support files and the programs they used most often. This wasn’t as impossible as it might sound, because a sizeable portion of the Amiga operating system resided in ROM and would happily boot to a CLI prompt off a blank floppy. It was simply a matter of being discerning and pick the stuff you really, really needed.


FreeBSD package update breaks KDE desktop effects

I recently updated the packages on my FreeBSD 13.1 machine, but something broke the desktop effects in KDE which provides things like wobbly windows, various transitions, and the shadow effects around windows.

I’m putting this post up to try to seek help on the matter, and I’ll update it when I find a solution.

I’m not sure when the packages for FreeBSD on the quarterly update cycle actually update, but I’m presuming January is one of those moments due to the large number of packages that wanted to update.

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Xenoblade Chronicles X

Alana Hagues at Nintendo Life has a soapbox post entitled Xenoblade Chronicles X’s Influence Is Bigger Than You Think.

I first played Xenoblade Chronicles X in 2016, when I had recently obtained a 2nd-hand Wii U to explore some of the unique titles it offered. I was quite impressed, and the Gamepad features really delivered useful features like the map. Furthermore, I recall posting to Miiverse at the time at how cool the massive creature designs were compared to No Man’s Sky on my PS4 (the game was a little sparse on launch, but has obviously grown and improved since then).


Quick Links – 2022-12-01

I often post links to things of interest on my Twitter account, but I want to experiment with a different format and through my blog instead. So this serves as the first post of this type and a test of the workflow through Ulysses to WordPress.

Not so Common Desktop Environment (NsCDE) 2.2 released

I like the CDE look, and this project brings some modern quality-of-life benefits to the mix. I’ve tried it out before, but need to give it a try on my FreeBSD box.

IceWM 3.1 released

Another window manager I’ve dabbled with briefly. The window tabs sound interesting.


BSD Journey: The Plan

The plan for my BSD Journey series of posts is to explore the use of BSD, and primarily FreeBSD, as a desktop system. While I work in IT and am comfortable wiping my systems and installing all sorts of operating systems, that’s not something most people do. There are certainly some technical hurdles for your regular desktop user that would need to be overcome if they are not used to installing operating systems, but I’m putting that to the side. Let’s assume the user has a technical friend that can get them set up and they just went a system to do some common things. I’ll explore some more technical things like virtualisation as well.

For my own perspective, I am primarily a macOS, iOS, and iPadOS user at home. I’m perfectly happy in this world and take advantage of many of the services that Apple provides like photos in iCloud and Music. This isn’t a series looking at migrating away from such an environment, though I may look at what kind of options are out there if someone did want to move away (e.g. Nextcloud and similar things). I virtualise various operating systems. That includes Windows, and I also make use of CrossOver to run some things like games. I play about with other OSes too. The quality of software in macOS and Windows is generally high. There’s usually a few stand out options for a particular category of software. I’ll personally be more familiar with the Apple side of things.

Typical use cases I’d like to explore include email, browsing, music, podcasts, keeping up with RSS feeds, text editing, Twitter, games, virtualisation, emulation for retro gaming, etc. Therefore, in most cases I’ll be interested in finding good quality desktop applications. I’ll also look out for web apps or services that might fill in if native software is lacking. Terminal-based apps will also be of interest and I know there is some cool stuff out there. For more advanced users, they could live in the terminal alone and I’ll check that side of things out. This isn’t something a typical desktop user would want though, so the aim is to find that good desktop app that works the way most people would expect.

This is very much a fun side project for me. I’ve never really had a blog before, so that’s also new to me as I go down this journey. If one person finds this interesting, I’ll be happy enough. My family are my priority and spending time with my children always comes first. I’m in no rush to push out blog posts or stick to any specific schedule. Things will just appear as and when I get time to do them.

Let’s see where this takes us! 😀


Valuable News series by Vermaden

Vermaden is a sysadmin that blogs about BSD and Unix. There are some great guides on his site also, that take you through installing FreeBSD and setting up graphical environments and some config tweaks you might want to do.

There is also a weekly series called Valuable News with links to various interesting articles, often but not always, to do with Unix and BSD. Check out the latest post in the link above. This has been a useful resource as I’ve explored the BSD world.


KDE 5.25

KDE 5.25 was recently released, and I wondered how long a new release takes to show up for FreeBSD.

I asked the ever-helpful @FreeBSDHelp about this.

The response was that it depends on how much might need to be updated, but that there is a proactive team that works on bringing KDE to FreeBSD.

There are a couple of useful links there. You also likely need to be on the latest rather than quarterly packages. I’ll update my repo config at some point for that.

There’s also a GitHub repo you can keep your eye on.

Journey into FreeBSD

I’ve recently installed FreeBSD on a spare PC and am planning to explore its use as a desktop machine. The plan is to explore the apps I use day to day on my iPhone and Mac to see what the software world is like over in FreeBSD.

I know from years of Linux use that sometimes it is hard to find something that matches the quality of software available for the Mac and Windows, so I’m aware of the problems I’ll face. That’s fine though. I’m here to explore and see where things are good and bad, and enjoy that journey.

I also plan to check out a few windows managers and desktop environments along the way, though I’m fairly happy with KDE (and I’ll be interested to see how quickly the 5.25 release which came out recently makes its way to FreeBSD).