The command line interface for FreeBSD can be intimidating and cause many users excessive consternation. So why not take FreeBSD to the next level and get moving in a more mouse-driven interface. It’s quick and simple and there are several graphic user interfaces (GUI) available for the operating system.

Some of you might be surprised to find out that there is a graphical interface built into FreeBSD while some of you might have tried and failed to get it running successfully. With the X interface everyone with FreeBSD can have a completely graphical interface.

X windows has been in development for a very long time and some companies, including nVidia, offer native drivers for the high-end cards and X windows. Even OpenGL is supported and has libraries available along with Motif.

The two major desktop environments KDE ( and Gnome ( are also both available for FreeBSD allowing you to use FreeBSD not only as your web server or network server but also as a fully functional productive desktop. Both are available free and offer a host of options and applications that can get you up and running right from the install.

The X windows interface isn’t devoid of applications. For productivity you have OpenOffice which is rapidly becoming the open source solution for document, spreadsheet and presentation creation. For surfing you have multiple browsers available including Opera and the ever popular Firefox. You can even do video conferences, instant messaging and a whole lot more all through the graphical interface.

So if you are unfamiliar with the command line, want a more ergonomic and graphical interface for your FreeBSD or simply want to play games, surf the web and be more productive why not step away from the command line and into X windows. You can always open a command line in a window and work from there while doing other things at the same time. Help can be found at the FreeBSD Handbook, Chapter 5 is dedicated to the X Window System (