Auto-login: As good as PC-BSD’s installer is, it has several shortcomings. One of which is the auto-login feature, enabled by default. While it can be very convenient, enabling auto-login is not good for the physical security posture and rating of your computer. It is so bad that some of the Linux distributions, like Fedora and Mandriva, have effectively removed it as an option in their graphical user management application. Auto-login is one convenience feature that a security-conscious user will not want to enable. Why? Well, if you can auto-login on boot, so also can any person with physical access to your computer, unless you remember to disable auto-login when you are away from your computer.
Boot Loader Section: During installation, you have the option, not enabled by default, to install the boot manager. However, unlike on most Linux distributions, there is no boot manager configuration section where you could tweak the boot loader options. It would be better if there is a step during the installation process, preferably just after the Disk section, just for configuring the boot manager.
Disk Encryption: In the previous release of PC-BSD, disk encryption keys (if disk encryption was configured) were auto-generated and stored in /boot/keys. However, with this release, disk encryption keys (passphrases) are user-supplied. That makes the notification message shown below unnecessary. The /boot/keys directory does not even exist.
Time Zone List and NTP Setup: When installing PC-BSD 8.1 (also observed this on PC-BSD 8.0) in a virtual environment (VirtualBox OSE), the dropdown menu list of time zones is empty, which means that you cannot change the default. This issue does not exist when installing on real hardware.
Network Time Protocol (NTP) is enabled by default in the installer. However, that setting is lost after installation, and attempting to configure NTP fails with the error message shown below. I have also observed this on the KDE versions of a few Linux distributions. So this is not necessarily a PC-BSD-only issue, but more like a KDE bug.
Printer Configuration: PC-BSD 8.1 was able to detect my HP F4280 All-in-One printer, but could not auto-configure it. Manual configuration using the HP Device Manager did not succeed. This is the same printer that has been auto-detected and configured by virtually all the Linux distributions reviewed on this site.
Online Update Notifier: All the updates that were applied in the course of testing this release were done through the pbiDIR, and that is because the Online Update Notifier did not work. Any attempt to run it returned the error message shown in the image below.
Update: The Update Notifier will check for updates on boot, and does work, sometimes (most of the time, actually), but you do get the error message shown in the above image at those times when it fails.
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