How I Got Started With DragonFly BSD

So, my trip down the UNIX-like OS rabbit hole is long, a bit explosive, and difficult to remember clearly. Basically, when I was in high school, during my sophomore or junior year, I first learned about this odd little operating system called "Ubuntu" which was available as an alternative to Windows and OS X. At the time, I thought I was a knowlegeable kid since I actually dug through some of the dialog options that Windows had. I had no idea what I was doing, but I thought I did. Hearing about this "Ubuntu" option really interested me, since I was enthralled with the idea of writing programs and creating my own MMORPG and FPS (which I still might actually do at some point) so naturally the idea of an OS for "hackers" and developers was just too good to pass up!
As soon as I could, I started looking up Ubuntu, and loved the fact that it was free, and I started looking for the most free OS I could find. I loved reading about how Linux was not only free to use, but free to modify, so you could change the source code as you wanted too! Reading about this was a dream come true.

Discovering BSD

So fast forward about 5 years from then, and I've run through using several Linux distros, and was reading about the various BSD systems. I've got to admit that this was at least partially influenced by Allan Jude and Kris Moore, the hosts of BSD Now! at the time.
After going through wikipedia pages and project pages I found that I liked the idea of DragonFly BSD the most, there was just something about the project description on their site that appealed to me. At the time I had no idea what the significance of things like LWKT, vkernels, SMP, swapcache, DNTPD, nullfs, vnode cache, SMP, lockless kmalloc(), variant symlinks, etc. were (and admittedly, I'm still not very sure what they all do, but I love having them), but along with HAMMER it presented an image of an OS that sounded amazing.

First Install

So again, gotta fast forward a bit, but this time only a few months before I started playing around with using DragonFly BSD on a secondary PC at work. Initially, the difference from Gentoo (the distro I was using at the time) was drastic enough to confuse me. This of course, makes sense, BSD is NOT Linux. Despite things being similar enough when you're comfortable with the command-line, it's a very different environment that takes some adjustment.
I'm not sure why I was so stubborn, but at first I insisted on only building things from dports (which is just the DragonFly BSD ports collection) instead of just using

pkg install ${packages}
to get most of the tools and programs I needed. Building X, firefox, libreoffice, and chromium are bad enough on Gentoo, I don't know why I wanted to subject myself to the same pains on DragonFly when they could so easily be avoided.
I'm not sure what it was with the OS, but ever since I started using it that one Sunday shift, I've kept coming back to it, fascinated with how responsive it is regardless of what I throw at it, and how reliable HAMMER (and now HAMMER2) have been. The simple system management, man pages for pretty much everything you'll ever touch, and the installer taking only a matter of minutes to finish preparing a system for you to use, have all been calling to me every time I think I can get away with running some other OS as my daily driver.

Where We Are Now

Now, only a year later, it's one of only three OSes I even consider for my desktops, laptops, and workstations. (the other two being HardenedBSD and Void Linux with musl libc) In my spare time I've been hanging out in the irc chatroom on efnet, and improving my abilities as a developer so I can contribute to the project myself.
Since HAMMER2 is CoW, it'd be interesting to see if a tool like beadm(1) from Illumos and FreeBSD could be ported over, though of course, with the clustering features intended for HAMMER2, creating boot environments may be significantly more difficult.
I'd also like to look at what would be necessary to bring over a tool like secadm from HardenedBSD, but first I'll have to actually have a better understanding of the code, so hopefully that won't take too long.
It'd also be great to see what could be done to improve the boot speed, without resorting to insanity like with systemd, possibly using OpenRC or Runit.

It'd be nice to be able to go into further detail regarding the beginnings, but I've run the gamut from failing to install Ubuntu, to Arch, to Gentoo, onto PC-BSD, FreeBSD, OpenIndiana, 9front, Haiku, Redox, and more in the span of about 3 years, and I never thought to keep notes until recently.
Fortunately, for those who follow in my footsteps, there will at least be some hints as to what to do and where to look now.