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NomadBSD 1.3

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I was pleasantly taken with how well NomadBSD performs and how easy it is to use. There are not a lot of "plug it in and go" solutions in the BSD communities and NomadBSD is providing a great live environment, with lots of useful desktop software, and polished configuration tools. The operating system runs quickly, it has enough included software to be useful in several scenarios without cluttering the application menu, and it supports a wide range of languages.

The best feature though is easily the persistence built into Nomad's live mode, which allows us to install new software, create files, and change settings which will survive across reboots.

Also, I don't get to say this enough, but it is very nice to see an operating system ship with both on-line and off-line copies of its documentation. The Nomad handbook covers some basic tips on getting on-line, installing the operating system, and performing a few other common tasks.

I encountered only two serious issues while using NomadBSD. The first was the operating system could not use my laptop's wireless card. Everything else worked beautifully, but FreeBSD's support for wireless networking is not up to par yet with Linux. I also found some settings, like my username and which filesystem to use, did not take effect when I installed the operating system locally. When run from the thumb drive everything went smoothly, but a few things went wrong when getting the operating system on my hard drive.

In general, I liked NomadBSD a lot. The project makes it very easy to test drive FreeBSD with new hardware. It has defaults I like and some good documentation. I'm hoping future releases will polish the installer a little more and maybe include more wireless drivers and firmware. Otherwise I have no complaints. This is a great tool for testing a computer for FreeBSD compatibility and browsing or rescuing data.

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