There’s been so much work in DragonFly recently that makes a desktop easier (i915 support, dports, and so on), that I decided to resurrect an older Dell machine and use it as my desktop.
The Dell that I’m using is a leftover from someone else’s workplace; it’s 7 years old, and has “only” 4G of RAM and a Core 2 DuoE6600 CPU in it. It works, however.
Setting up DragonFly and installing xorg and so on is pretty straightforward. Using dports makes it crazy quick to add all the packages. I went for XFCE4 because I could. Starting X gave me some trouble at first; the default config couldn’t find the mouse and would eventually crash.
Running ‘X -configure’ created a xorg.conf file I could edit, and these lines in /etc/rc.conf gave me a working mouse:
moused_enable="YES" moused_type="auto" moused_port="/dev/ums0"
The crashing problem with my radeon-driven video card was fixed by turning off the acceleration – uncommenting this line in xorg.conf did it:
Video performance isn’t as nice as I would like it with acceleration, but this is an older machine anyway.
I couldn’t get sound working. Francois Tigeot has a branch of DragonFly that contains newer sound drivers brought over from FreeBSD, here:
git://leaf.dragonflybsd.org/~ftigeot/dragonfly.git (pcm_2014_september branch.)
It doesn’t support device cloning, so I can run Youtube videos and XMMS, but not audio from both at the same time. (for instance; not that you’d want to do this other than by accident)
I installed x11/webfonts, and web pages look a bit better after changing my default font preferences.
And… that’s about it. It’s a working desktop. Digging up a half-height video card that has working acceleration is a next step, but I can’t imagine that’ll be expensive. I wish I had done this a long time ago.