Those of you who have enjoyed our series on the FreeBSD Desktop are due an update on the situation with the 7.0 release. I recommend against it, for now.
Of all the tasks in FreeBSD, setting up a broadband connection is probably one of the easiest. All the various BSDs are built around networking, and most broadband connections operate pretty much like an extended LAN, using the same hardware, often called an "ethernet" connection: something that looks like fat phone lines, which plug into similarly fat-looking sockets which resemble telephone jacks.
So, how are you liking FreeBSD? Do you believe it's something you work with, live with day after day? If you find you've gotten used to it, maybe the time has come to get more acquainted with one of the best features of FreeBSD: It's relatively painless to update the entire system by rebuilding it from code. The emphasis is not so much slavishly chasing the cutting edge of BSD technology. Instead, our focus will be on security updates and optimization.
To really take advantage of the best tools in computing requires that you become quite comfortable with using the command line interface (CLI). In general, nearly every task -- aside from graphical work itself -- can be accomplished from the CLI. Once the user becomes more adept at CLI work, these non-graphical tasks can be done more quickly, with more fine-grained control, and with less demand on computer resources.
As a writer, the only reason I ever got that first computer was because it was far more efficient than a typewriter, and certainly more readable than my own handwriting. The sheer volume of what I've turned out over the years would be impossible for me to manage on paper. Add to that all the stuff written by others that I wanted to save, and it boggles the mind. Even though most of what I've written is read by others online, I still have to produce paper copies from time to time. That means I have to translate my electronic files into readable paper copies. That first computer would have been nearly useless to me without the attached printer.
The one thing that really fired up the development of the Internet as we know it today was e-mail. The protocols were designed back when the system itself was highly difficult to access, and security wasn't a significant issue. Since then, even your average household pet has heard of Internet security problems.
FreeBSD is very much a source-based system. The operating assumption of the architects of FreeBSD is that you will compile most things from the source code. The system is designed to work that way, and does it exceptionally well. The famous "Ports Collection" is rather unique in making a large number of packages available ready to build and seldom requires anything but a few commands in a terminal window. Having tried to build specialized applications on several different versions of Open Source operating systems, I can assure you that compiling on FreeBSD is about as easy as it gets.
There are several tasks to which we must attend before actually making use of our freshly installed FreeBSD system. Immediately upon reboot, you will find yourself in the console. While it is possible to setup and use the graphical login managers -- kdm, gdm or others -- it is important to note that this uses extra resources. One of our assumptions is that you might not have all that excess horsepower, so we'll stick with the console login for now.