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FreeBSD: The Complete Reference

timothy posted more than 11 years ago | from the compleat-enchanter dept.

Books 153

Just Some Guy writes "I recently received a promotional copy of Roderick W. Smith's "FreeBSD: The Complete Reference". I was pretty skeptical at first - it's my nature - but was pleasantly surprised at the range and depth of information presented in a very accessible format. While not ready to supplant Greg Lehey's "The Complete FreeBSD", it's certainly a worthwhile read for new and moderately-experienced users." Read on for Just Some Guy's full review.

Overview

This is a large book. At 869 pages, not including copies of the GPL and BSD License, it packs some serious heft (it weighs slightly more than three pounds).

It is divided into six main parts, which are further divided into 32 (!) chapters. The sections are:

  1. FreeBSD Installation: Hardware requirements, installation instructions, and a general overview.

  2. Basic System Administration: Partitioning, startup procedure, file management, printer setup, user management, software installation, kernel configuration, and X.

  3. Network Configuration: Introduction to networking, dial-ups, client/server principles, basic firewalling.

  4. Servers: In-depth explanation of file, mail, web, and shell servers, plus an overview of DNS, NTP, DHCP, and other random services.

  5. Common User Programs: Introduction to KDE and GNOME. An overview of various network clients and office software. A short tutorial on The GIMP. The state of multimedia and games on FreeBSD.

  6. System Maintenance: The basics of system monitoring. How to upgrade the OS and installed software. An overview of system security. How to compile software. Basic scripting. Troubleshooting and how to get help.

The Good

This book is an excellent starting point for people new to FreeBSD, or even to Unix-like systems in general. Each of the wide range of topics is covered in a reasonable amount of detail. Mr. Smith claims to have been working in the field for quite a few years, and it shows in the way each part of the OS is presented as a component of the whole. This isn't a "cookbook"; readers are introduced to each subject in a way that encourages them to make their own configuration decisions.

I was unable to find any factual errors, and I certainly looked for them. The author and proofreaders did a good job of checking their information before going to print. Since my copy was from the first printing, I'm especially impressed.

New users, in particular, will appreciate the hand-holding approach of the earlier chapters on installation and basic configuration. More experience administrators should be able to find enough new information about rather routine subjects to keep them interested.

Of particular interest was the almost complete lack of FreeBSD advocacy in the book. The introduction features a remarkably even-handed discussion of its relative strengths and weaknesses compared to other Unix and non-Unix operating systems. I greatly respect the author's decision to weigh the alternatives fairly and let the reader form his own opinion.

The Bad

FreeBSD: The Complete Reference is, unsurprisingly, a new entry in Osborne's "Complete Reference" series. As such, it's fairly comparable in size, layout, and scope to other books in the series such as Herbert Schildt's C++: The Complete Reference (my favorite C++ text). That's a pretty high standard to live up to, and I began my first pass through the book with a very critical eye.

My only real complaint is that, despite the title, this is not a "complete reference." Although The GIMP enjoys its own sub-chapter, the book makes no mention of certain high-profile features such as Vinum (FreeBSD's logical volume manager) or jails (chroot on steroids). It's obviously not possible to document every single component of the entire OS, but the name would seem to claim exactly that. Of course, even though FreeBSD: The Desktop Reference or FreeBSD: Reference For Users might be more appropriate, those would violate the series' naming convention. Still, don't be fooled by the title.

Although less important, every user has their own idiosyncratic ways of accomplishing certain tasks, and I tend to get distracted by recommendations that are counter to my preferred methods. Having said that, Mr. Smith makes some strange recommendations, such as editing the passwd file and compiling the password database afterward by hand rather than using vipw. His system certainly works, but I can imagine a new user scratching their head in puzzlement at the amount of work necessary to change their name.

The Ugly

Any book of this size and scope will have a few minor quirks, and this is no exception. For instance, the author needed to use several domain names as examples throughout the book. Rather than using the traditional "example.com," he decided to use his own creations. That in itself is no problem, except that he and his publishers have not registered those domains for their own use. I can only imagine the surprise when a curious newbie tries to access one of the hostnames in a web browser and finds that a prankster has register the domain and used it to mirror goatse.cx.

A more serious lapse, in my opinion, was the decision to include an installable copy of FreeBSD 5.0 on the CD that comes with the book. Unfortunately, freebsd.org refers to that version as a "new technology release," and it suffers from a rather long list of installation and stability problems. Some day in the future, the 5.x series will be considered stable and ready for use on production systems, but that's still a while off. I sincerely hope that no would-be new users become disillusioned with their newly-installed systems and give up on FreeBSD as a slow and unstable OS. Despite the drawbacks, though, I can understand the author's desire to focus on the new 5.x series instead of the more stable but older 4.x line. This book was published in 2003, and I doubt that he wanted to have to publish a second edition detailing the new release less than one year after initial release.

Summary

This is a good book with a lot of solid information for new and experienced users. It may have a few minor problems, but it is a well-written and approachable reference that should make a valuable addition to any FreeBSD administrator's bookshelf. I would recommend it highly to anyone migrating from other Unix-like systems, finding themselves in charge of a small network, or wanting to see what the fuss is all about. If you're a new user, though, do yourself a favor: download and install FreeBSD version 4.8 from http://www.freebsd.org/ instead of installing the copy on the book's CD.


You can purchase FreeBSD: the Complete Reference from bn.com. Slashdot welcomes readers' book reviews -- to see your own review here, read the book review guidelines, then visit the submission page.

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153 comments

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FP! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5945863)

Why do I need a kernel? The new grub bootloader is actaully a operating system in it's own right!

Re:FP! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5946184)

No, the EMACS team still need a kernel for their operating system, maybe you should port emacs to grub.

Re:FP! (1)

Per Wigren (5315) | more than 11 years ago | (#5946811)

The new grub bootloader is actaully a operating system in it's own right!

Yes, almost. :) But it still doesn't know how to boot a friggin CD... Even LILO can do that...

Re:FP! (1)

ptr2void (590259) | more than 11 years ago | (#5946944)

Lilo can? Cool, didn't know that. *runs off and kicks Grub from the disk*

Not allowed! (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 11 years ago | (#5947173)

FPs must be content-free!

The thing I didn't like (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5945879)

Was the last line in the book:

"*BSD is dying."

It just seemed so out of place.

Text of Article (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5945888)

FreeBSD: The Complete Reference

Posted by timothy on Tuesday May 13, @12:30PM
Just Some Guy writes "I recently received a promotional copy of Roderick W. Smith's "FreeBSD: The Complete Reference". I was pretty skeptical at first - it's my nature - but was pleasantly surprised at the range and depth of information presented in a very accessible format. While not ready to supplant Greg Lehey's "The Complete FreeBSD", it's certainly a worthwhile read for new and moderately-experienced users." Read on for Just Some Guy's full review.
FreeBSD: The Complete Reference
author Roderick W. Smith
pages 869
publisher The McGraw-Hill Companies
rating 9 out of 10
reviewer Kirk Strauser (Just Some Guy)
ISBN 0072224096
summary (Most) everything you need to know about FreeBSD

Overview

This is a large book. At 869 pages, not including copies of the GPL and BSD License, it packs some serious heft (it weighs slightly more than three pounds).

It is divided into six main parts, which are further divided into 32 (!) chapters. The sections are:

1. FreeBSD Installation: Hardware requirements, installation instructions, and a general overview.

2. Basic System Administration: Partitioning, startup procedure, file management, printer setup, user management, software installation, kernel configuration, and X.

3. Network Configuration: Introduction to networking, dial-ups, client/server principles, basic firewalling.

4. Servers: In-depth explanation of file, mail, web, and shell servers, plus an overview of DNS, NTP, DHCP, and other random services.

5. Common User Programs: Introduction to KDE and GNOME. An overview of various network clients and office software. A short tutorial on The GIMP. The state of multimedia and games on FreeBSD.

6. System Maintenance: The basics of system monitoring. How to upgrade the OS and installed software. An overview of system security. How to compile software. Basic scripting. Troubleshooting and how to get help.

The Good

This book is an excellent starting point for people new to FreeBSD, or even to Unix-like systems in general. Each of the wide range of topics is covered in a reasonable amount of detail. Mr. Smith claims to have been working in the field for quite a few years, and it shows in the way each part of the OS is presented as a component of the whole. This isn't a "cookbook"; readers are introduced to each subject in a way that encourages them to make their own configuration decisions.

I was unable to find any factual errors, and I certainly looked for them. The author and proofreaders did a good job of checking their information before going to print. Since my copy was from the first printing, I'm especially impressed.

New users, in particular, will appreciate the hand-holding approach of the earlier chapters on installation and basic configuration. More experience administrators should be able to find enough new information about rather routine subjects to keep them interested.

Of particular interest was the almost complete lack of FreeBSD advocacy in the book. The introduction features a remarkably even-handed discussion of its relative strengths and weaknesses compared to other Unix and non-Unix operating systems. I greatly respect the author's decision to weigh the alternatives fairly and let the reader form his own opinion.

The Bad

FreeBSD: The Complete Reference is, unsurprisingly, a new entry in Osborne's "Complete Reference" series. As such, it's fairly comparable in size, layout, and scope to other books in the series such as Herbert Schildt's C++: The Complete Reference (my favorite C++ text). That's a pretty high standard to live up to, and I began my first pass through the book with a very critical eye.

My only real complaint is that, despite the title, this is not a "complete reference." Although The GIMP enjoys its own sub-chapter, the book makes no mention of certain high-profile features such as Vinum (FreeBSD's logical volume manager) or jails (chroot on steroids). It's obviously not possible to document every single component of the entire OS, but the name would seem to claim exactly that. Of course, even though FreeBSD: The Desktop Reference or FreeBSD: Reference For Users might be more appropriate, those would violate the series' naming convention. Still, don't be fooled by the title.

Although less important, every user has their own idiosyncratic ways of accomplishing certain tasks, and I tend to get distracted by recommendations that are counter to my preferred methods. Having said that, Mr. Smith makes some strange recommendations, such as editing the passwd file and compiling the password database afterward by hand rather than using vipw. His system certainly works, but I can imagine a new user scratching their head in puzzlement at the amount of work necessary to change their name.

The Ugly

Any book of this size and scope will have a few minor quirks, and this is no exception. For instance, the author needed to use several domain names as examples throughout the book. Rather than using the traditional "example.com," he decided to use his own creations. That in itself is no problem, except that he and his publishers have not registered those domains for their own use. I can only imagine the surprise when a curious newbie tries to access one of the hostnames in a web browser and finds that a prankster has register the domain and used it to mirror goatse.cx.

A more serious lapse, in my opinion, was the decision to include an installable copy of FreeBSD 5.0 on the CD that comes with the book. Unfortunately, freebsd.org refers to that version as a "new technology release," and it suffers from a rather long list of installation and stability problems. Some day in the future, the 5.x series will be considered stable and ready for use on production systems, but that's still a while off. I sincerely hope that no would-be new users become disillusioned with their newly-installed systems and give up on FreeBSD as a slow and unstable OS. Despite the drawbacks, though, I can understand the author's desire to focus on the new 5.x series instead of the more stable but older 4.x line. This book was published in 2003, and I doubt that he wanted to have to publish a second edition detailing the new release less than one year after initial release.

Summary

This is a good book with a lot of solid information for new and experienced users. It may have a few minor problems, but it is a well-written and approachable reference that should make a valuable addition to any FreeBSD administrator's bookshelf. I would recommend it highly to anyone migrating from other Unix-like systems, finding themselves in charge of a small network, or wanting to see what the fuss is all about. If you're a new user, though, do yourself a favor: download and install FreeBSD version 4.8 from http://www.freebsd.org/ instead of installing the copy on the book's CD.
You can purchase FreeBSD: the Complete Reference from bn.com. Slashdot welcomes readers' book reviews -- to see your own review here, read the book review guidelines, then visit the submission page.

Re:Text of Article (0, Offtopic)

Klerck (213193) | more than 11 years ago | (#5945914)

Thank you, this will come in handy if it gets slashdotted.

Re:Text of Article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5946064)

Thank you for pointing out the joke, your post will come in handy if I ever lose all sense of humor.

Re:Text of Article (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 11 years ago | (#5946246)

Thank you for pointing out the joke, your post will come in handy if I ever lose all sense of humor.

I think this happens when you are awarded moderator points...

Complete Text of BOOK (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5947493)

convienetly arranged for your reference:

ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz
1234567890
,./;'[]!#$%^&*()_+?:"{}|\

Can I have my royalty check now, please?

Re:Complete Text of BOOK (1)

ComaVN (325750) | more than 11 years ago | (#5947560)

You forgot @-=
no check for you.

Re:Text of Article (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5946300)


Elegy For *BSD


I am a *BSD user
and I try hard to be brave
That is a tall order
*BSD's foot is in the grave.

I tap at my toy keyboard
and whistle a happy tune
but keeping happy's so hard,
*BSD died so soon.

Each day I wake and softly sob
Nightfall finds me crying
Not only am I a zit faced slob
but *BSD is dying.

But I thought BSD was dying... (0, Troll)

Transient0 (175617) | more than 11 years ago | (#5945910)

The post even said that it was 'official'.

Oh man, with all this contradiction, I'm going to have to stop believing things I read on the Internet... even Slashdot.

Phaeton Sez (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5945917)

Almost First Post!

Actually, the thing that really drew me to BSD (especially FreeBSD) over other *nixen was the documentation.

Many can learn from this fine example.

poop (-1)

cmdr_shithead (527909) | more than 11 years ago | (#5945919)

zang!!!

but ... but ... (3, Insightful)

B3ryllium (571199) | more than 11 years ago | (#5945932)

If the book is half-decent, it will show users how to make buildworld; make buildkernel; make installkernel; make installworld - with whatever the latest codebase might be.

Therefore, the argument that the 5.0 CD will be out of date is moot - at least for people who have internet connections. :)

Re:but ... but ... (4, Insightful)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 11 years ago | (#5945955)

True, but you have to get it installed in the first place. 5.0 simply won't boot on some systems. An expert could probably work around the problems, but that's not the target audience of the book.

Re:but ... but ... (1)

Apreche (239272) | more than 11 years ago | (#5947934)

The trueness. I have recently acquired a free Pentium 2 computer. So I've been attempting to install all kinds of oses on it. I tried FreeBSD 5.0 on a reccomendation. It hung up while it was booting off the CD. In my journal I tell a more detailed story.

All in all I realized that installed most operating systems and linux distros sucks ass. Mandrake. Red Hat, Knoppix(doesn't really count), Suse, and windows95+ are the only ones with decent installation. Everything else blows, from what I've tried, and I've been trying quite a bit.

Re:but ... but ... (1)

Norman Lorrain (11572) | more than 11 years ago | (#5947078)

See here [absolutebsd.com] for this and more. Recommended reading.

Assuming a fast net connection (2, Insightful)

A nonymous Coward (7548) | more than 11 years ago | (#5947475)

Someday everyone will have fast connections. That isn't today.

Re:but ... but ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5947601)

I agree where is a good reference for doing the this(make buildworld, FreeBSD handbook just confused me.)

The GIMP? (5, Insightful)

Lerxst Pratt (618277) | more than 11 years ago | (#5945934)

What is the GIMP doing in a BSD Reference book?!? Seems like fluff to me. Especially when you can download [gimp.org] a pretty comprehensive GIMP manual online.

Re:The GIMP? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5945942)

Wait until you read the section about the screensavers...

Re:The GIMP? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5945999)

LOL!!!

Skeptical (4, Funny)

dfn5 (524972) | more than 11 years ago | (#5945946)

I was pretty skeptical at first -

But then I thought "Hey, the book was free, what the hell do I care?"

But the real question is (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5945949)

is BSD dying?

Re:But the real question is (4, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 11 years ago | (#5946101)

Actually, the real question is 'is there actually a need for such a book?'

The first thing I noticed comming to FreeBSD from Linux was the high quality and large quantity of official documentation provided. While I did buy a book when I started off with Linux, I really didn't need to for FreeBSD. This may be because I was already familiar with *NIX by that point (although FreeBSD 'feels' a lot tidier in terms of layout - 100% subjective, your milage may vary). On the other hand there was a large amount of documentation aimed at neophytes which I skipped.

Re:But the real question is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5946285)

When I first started to learn to drive a car I had to take lots of classes but when I switched to an SUV last year I found that I didn't need to take any classes at all. It may be that I already knew how to drive but I think it is because the truck is just easier to learn.

Does that example make things any clearer for you?

Re:But the real question is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5947029)

no, it's a stupid analogy you just gave.

According to your logic nothing can be easier than anything else, because the first thing you try will always be the easiest.

I am also sure you have never passed up someone in a race.

Re:But the real question is (2, Funny)

Arandir (19206) | more than 11 years ago | (#5946865)

The number of hardcopy paper-and-ink books on a bookstore's shelves directly correlates to the operating system's "slashdot" rating. Linux used to have only a couple of books in the bookshelves, and only geeks used it. Then there were hundreds, including a whole series of "For Dummies..." books different only the title of the distribution on the cover. It was only then that Slashdot began posting front page articles on every minor release of the development kernel.

If we want every minor -STABLE update to have a major mispelled referrer-altered main page announcement on Slashdot, then we need more than the dozen FreeBSD books that are out there. CndrTaco and Hemoo will never recognize FreeBSD as an operating system until it has its own category in the Dewey Decimal System.

Well, there's something I want to know (1)

fireboy1919 (257783) | more than 11 years ago | (#5947399)

First consider that there are a lot of commercial systems out there today - old systems that have lived for eons and eons - that currently use BSD.

Next consider that these old systems use old compilers because they haven't been updated in ages.

Finally consider that lowly users don't usually have access rights to upgrade such systems.

Given these three facts, it would seem that there is a need for cross-compilers from Linux and Windows (via cygwin or mingw, perhaps) to BSD, so that we can actually use these systems effectively. However, I have yet to find one good (i.e. that works) piece of information on the subject. Perhaps this isn't addressed in the book...but it is certainly an area to be addressed in SOME book about BSD.

Re:But the real question is (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5946588)

It is official; Netcraft now confirms: *BSD is dying

One more crippling bombshell hit the already beleaguered *BSD community when IDC confirmed that *BSD market share has dropped yet again, now down to less than a mere fraction of 1 percent of all servers. Coming on the heels of a recent Netcraft survey which plainly states that *BSD has lost more market share, this news serves to reinforce what we've known all along. *BSD is collapsing in complete disarray, as fittingly exemplified by failing dead last [samag.com] in the recent Sys Admin comprehensive networking test.

You don't need to be a Kreskin [amazingkreskin.com] to predict *BSD's future. The hand writing is on the wall: *BSD faces a bleak future. In fact there won't be any future at all for *BSD because *BSD is dying. Things are looking very bad for *BSD. As many of us are already aware, *BSD continues to lose market share. Red ink flows like a river of blood.

FreeBSD is the most endangered of them all, having lost 93% of its core developers. The sudden and unpleasant departures of long time FreeBSD developers Jordan Hubbard and Mike Smith only serve to underscore the point more clearly. There can no longer be any doubt: FreeBSD is dying.

Let's keep to the facts and look at the numbers.

OpenBSD leader Theo states that there are 7000 users of OpenBSD. How many users of NetBSD are there? Let's see. The number of OpenBSD versus NetBSD posts on Usenet is roughly in ratio of 5 to 1. Therefore there are about 7000/5 = 1400 NetBSD users. BSD/OS posts on Usenet are about half of the volume of NetBSD posts. Therefore there are about 700 users of BSD/OS. A recent article put FreeBSD at about 80 percent of the *BSD market. Therefore there are (7000+1400+700)*4 = 36400 FreeBSD users. This is consistent with the number of FreeBSD Usenet posts.

Due to the troubles of Walnut Creek, abysmal sales and so on, FreeBSD went out of business and was taken over by BSDI who sell another troubled OS. Now BSDI is also dead, its corpse turned over to yet another charnel house.

All major surveys show that *BSD has steadily declined in market share. *BSD is very sick and its long term survival prospects are very dim. If *BSD is to survive at all it will be among OS dilettante dabblers. *BSD continues to decay. Nothing short of a miracle could save it at this point in time. For all practical purposes, *BSD is dead.

Fact: *BSD is dying

from the compleat-enchanter dept.? (0, Troll)

identity0 (77976) | more than 11 years ago | (#5945952)

more like from the compleat-misspellings dept. ;)

Compleat vs complete (2, Informative)

stardeep (66237) | more than 11 years ago | (#5946143)

> more like from the compleat-misspellings dept. ;)

Actually, "compleat" for "complete" in the titles of guidebooks is an ancient and revered practice, going back to this book [adelaide.edu.au] .

I guess you learn something every day, huh?

Re:Compleat vs complete (2, Interesting)

swb (14022) | more than 11 years ago | (#5946859)

Actually, "compleat" for "complete" in the titles of guidebooks is an ancient and revered practice, going back to this book.

Bah, it's just an attempt to upgrade it into something it is not.

It's not much different than the irritating practice of the local strip mall being referred to "The Shoppes of Glen Woode" or the local convention hall being called "River Centre".

They all just appear to be copping Olde British Spellings to grant status.

Re:Compleat vs complete (1)

stardeep (66237) | more than 11 years ago | (#5947238)

You, Sir, are irony-deficient!

and its printed on dead trees (-1, Troll)

b17bmbr (608864) | more than 11 years ago | (#5945966)

hmmm, irony?

Re:and its printed on dead trees (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 11 years ago | (#5946065)

Indeed, what is the point of hardcopy computer books? I suppose a hard copy instruction manual would come in handy when installing or trouble
shooting, But so many books come without html
entirely. Computers are so much better at searching and hyperlinking than paper is, there's really no excuse for not providing hypertext. And there's really only one reason it's not done more, it would be copied.

Re:and its printed on dead trees (1)

BZ (40346) | more than 11 years ago | (#5946741)

> Indeed, what is the point of hardcopy computer
> books?

The ability to read them away from a computer and useful indexes (which no electronic book I have seen has -- they all rely on the generally poor searchability of the text).

It's slashdotted.... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5945974)

Here'sa mirror! [car-buying.com]

The issue at hand (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5945993)

Does it play Ogg Vorbis?

Oh, wait. That's the wrong troll.

Natalie Portman? Hot grits? In Soviet Russia?

Re:The issue at hand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5947282)

You forgot Tiger Penis Soup and Jawa racial slurs.

BT

Thanks for hijacking my referral links (5, Interesting)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 11 years ago | (#5945998)

The review I originally posted had links to my bn.com referral:
The book is available from the usual sources. If you want to be nice to me, you can buy it through my
Barnes&Noble referral link [bfast.com] . If you find those offensive or otherwise objectionable, you can go straight to it [barnesandnoble.com] .

I didn't write the review to make money, but it still seems kind of sneaky to replace my referral with Slashdot's own.

Re:Thanks for hijacking my referral links (1)

CausticWindow (632215) | more than 11 years ago | (#5946051)

Just out of curiosity, why would you go to the trouble of registering for referrals, if you weren't going to cash in on them?

Re:Thanks for hijacking my referral links (3, Informative)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 11 years ago | (#5946070)

I never said I wasn't going to collect, just that it wasn't the reason I wrote the review. Think of it as seeing a Free Software project page with a PayPal tip jar. The author probably isn't really expecting to make money, but they won't turn it away.

Re:Thanks for hijacking my referral links (4, Insightful)

fobbman (131816) | more than 11 years ago | (#5946144)

So the /. editors won't fix spalling erorrs in a post but they'll make sure to rip off the referral purchase? Smooth.

Re:Thanks for hijacking my referral links (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5947569)

And they refuse to do caching to referred sites!
Better to smoke 1000 servers than possibly risk offending one large site who could care less by breaking their adlinks.

Re:Thanks for hijacking my referral links (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5947738)

COULDN'T care less, moron. The phrase is COULDN'T care less.

Re:Thanks for hijacking my referral links (1)

Usquebaugh (230216) | more than 11 years ago | (#5946301)

Guess which site will *NEVER* get my subscription?

Re:Thanks for hijacking my referral links (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5946346)

It is now official. Netcraft confirms: *BSD is dying

One more crippling bombshell hit the already beleaguered *BSD community when IDC confirmed that *BSD market share has dropped yet again, now down to less than a fraction of 1 percent of all servers. Coming on the heels of a recent Netcraft survey which plainly states that *BSD has lost more market share, this news serves to reinforce what we've known all along. *BSD is collapsing in complete disarray, as fittingly exemplified by failing dead last [samag.com] in the recent Sys Admin comprehensive networking test.

You don't need to be a Kreskin [amazingkreskin.com] to predict *BSD's future. The hand writing is on the wall: *BSD faces a bleak future. In fact there won't be any future at all for *BSD because *BSD is dying. Things are looking very bad for *BSD. As many of us are already aware, *BSD continues to lose market share. Red ink flows like a river of blood.

FreeBSD is the most endangered of them all, having lost 93% of its core developers. The sudden and unpleasant departures of long time FreeBSD developers Jordan Hubbard and Mike Smith only serve to underscore the point more clearly. There can no longer be any doubt: FreeBSD is dying.

Let's keep to the facts and look at the numbers.

OpenBSD leader Theo states that there are 7000 users of OpenBSD. How many users of NetBSD are there? Let's see. The number of OpenBSD versus NetBSD posts on Usenet is roughly in ratio of 5 to 1. Therefore there are about 7000/5 = 1400 NetBSD users. BSD/OS posts on Usenet are about half of the volume of NetBSD posts. Therefore there are about 700 users of BSD/OS. A recent article put FreeBSD at about 80 percent of the *BSD market. Therefore there are (7000+1400+700)*4 = 36400 FreeBSD users. This is consistent with the number of FreeBSD Usenet posts.

Due to the troubles of Walnut Creek, abysmal sales and so on, FreeBSD went out of business and was taken over by BSDI who sell another troubled OS. Now BSDI is also dead, its corpse turned over to yet another charnel house.

All major surveys show that *BSD has steadily declined in market share. *BSD is very sick and its long term survival prospects are very dim. If *BSD is to survive at all it will be among OS dilettante dabblers. *BSD continues to decay. Nothing short of a miracle could save it at this point in time. For all practical purposes, *BSD is dead.

Fact: *BSD is dying

Re:Thanks for hijacking my referral links (3, Insightful)

_xeno_ (155264) | more than 11 years ago | (#5946706)

I quick look through other book reviews [slashdot.org] find that most of them contain a Slashdot link at the end:
$AUTHOR is the author of $OTHER_REVIEWED_BOOK. You can purchase $BOOK from bn.com. Slashdot welcomes readers' book reviews -- to see your own review here, read the book review guidelines, then visit the submission page.

The first sentence only applies to authors who have already been reviewed on Slashdot, but with very few exceptions (of which Dancing Barefoot [slashdot.org] , the review immediately prior to this, is one), Slashdot adds the buy link to bn.com as shown in the little template above. I don't think this was anything against you - it's something they do for all book reviews.

Whether or not it was the right or moral thing to do, I won't judge. Just that it isn't anything against you specifically, it's just part of the standard book review template that Slashdot uses.

Re:Thanks for hijacking my referral links (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 11 years ago | (#5946817)

I agree; I don't think it was anything personal. However, they did remove the final paragraph (which had my links) from the review that I submitted before adding their own footer. That's the part that just doesn't feel right.

Truth is FreeBSD is better than linux. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5946019)

FreeBSD is several orders of magnitude better than linux.

Wrong book title. (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5946067)

Can't they never get anything right ?
The book title is: FreeBSD: The complete necromancer's compendium

Re:Wrong book title. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5946125)

Excellent! Someone give this man a cigar!

Bullschildt (5, Informative)

AltControlsDelete (642641) | more than 11 years ago | (#5946109)

I question the credibility of any reviewer who refers to something written by Herb Schildt as his favorite C++ text. Good grief.

From the alt.comp.lang.learn.c-c++ faq [faqs.org] :
16: Why do many experts not think very highly of Herbert Schildt's
books?

A good answer to this question could fill a book by itself. While no book is perfect, Schildt's books, in the opinion of many gurus, seem to positively aim to mislead learners and encourage bad habits. Schildt's beautifully clear writing style only makes things worse by causing many "satisfied" learners to recommend his books to other learners.

Do take a look at the following scathing articles before deciding to buy a Schildt text.

http://www.lysator.liu.se/c/schildt.html
http://herd.plethora.net/~seebs/c/c_tcr.html

T he above reviews are admittedly based on two of Schildt's older books. However, the language they describe has not changed in the intervening period, and several books written at around the same time remain highly regarded.

The following humorous post also illustrates the general feeling towards Schildt and his books.

http://www.qnx.com/~glen/deadbeef/2764.html

Th ere is exactly one and ONLY one C book bearing Schildt's name on its cover that is at all recommended by many C experts - see Q 25.

Re:Bullschildt (1, Informative)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 11 years ago | (#5946159)

Schildt's beautifully clear writing style only makes things worse by causing many "satisfied" learners to recommend his books to other learners.

Well, that's certainly a contrasting opinion. I happened to like the C++ book (which isn't mentioned in the links you gave). Note that the link to www.qnx.com is dead; if it had a criticism at one time, it's been removed.

Re:Bullschildt (2, Informative)

ptr2void (590259) | more than 11 years ago | (#5946776)

Visit ACCU's book corner [accu.org] for some opinions about Schildt and his well-liked books. Well, a lot of people like the Bible or Star Wars... wether it helps them a lot in practice is another question.

Re:Bullschildt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5948167)

Note that the link to www.qnx.com is dead; if it had a criticism at one time, it's been removed.

The qnx link is gone because that user (employee) has since moved on. The criticism is still valid.

Re:Bullschildt (1)

lspd (566786) | more than 11 years ago | (#5946432)

Interesting...
I have an overused copy of the "C/C++ Programmer's Reference" that I find fairly indespensible. Not quite a "Perl in a Nutshell" for C and C++, but easy to use as a desktop reference.

You have suggestions for a better Nutshell type book (function listings with a little commentary) for C AND C++?

Re:Bullschildt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5946699)

C++ Faqs, by the authors of the comp.lang.c++ faq, Cline and Lomow, (publisher: Addison-Wesley). Or, not so cookbook-y, Meyer's Effective C++ - a good mix of "DON'T DO THIS" (which is absolutely essential in both C and C++), and "this is a good way to do this".

Re:Bullschildt (1)

ptr2void (590259) | more than 11 years ago | (#5946645)

Yup, that was my first though, too. If the book is as wrong about BSD as Schildt is about C++, I'd strongly suggest another book. At the very least, I'd find another review of the same book - believing Schildt's pupils aren't good guides IMHO...

Re:Bullschildt (2, Interesting)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 11 years ago | (#5946772)

Another possibility: the reviewer (me, in this case) learned C++ in school and hasn't touched it since then. To someone at my knowledge level in that arena, Schildt seems like a good author.

On the other hand, I used FreeBSD every single day, and run quite a few production servers for various clients. I don't claim to be expert but I do know a thing or two about the subject. If I had written a review on a C++ book, I think your criticism would be reasonable. However, I didn't, and I know a lot more about the subject that I did write about than I do C++.

Re:Bullschildt (1)

ptr2void (590259) | more than 11 years ago | (#5946847)

I don't question your BSD knowledge - which is an OS I know nearly nothing about (I'm a Linux guy) - or your review. It's just Schildt that scared me :-)

Re:Bullschildt (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 11 years ago | (#5946890)

At the very least, I'd find another review of the same book - believing Schildt's pupils aren't good guides IMHO...

OK, so maybe just a little questioning. ;-)

Anyway, thanks for the accu.org link in another post.. If I ever find myself writing C++ again, I'll keep that in mind.

So is this like.... (-1, Troll)

MeanE (469971) | more than 11 years ago | (#5946123)

a dead OS on dead tree?

Developer lashes out: What Killed FreeBSD (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5946243)

The End of FreeBSD

[ed. note: in the following text, former FreeBSD developer Mike Smith gives his reasons for abandoning FreeBSD]

When I stood for election to the FreeBSD core team nearly two years ago, many of you will recall that it was after a long series of debates during which I maintained that too much organisation, too many rules and too much formality would be a bad thing for the project.

Today, as I read the latest discussions on the future of the FreeBSD project, I see the same problem; a few new faces and many of the old going over the same tired arguments and suggesting variations on the same worthless schemes. Frankly I'm sick of it.

FreeBSD used to be fun. It used to be about doing things the right way. It used to be something that you could sink your teeth into when the mundane chores of programming for a living got you down. It was something cool and exciting; a way to spend your spare time on an endeavour you loved that was at the same time wholesome and worthwhile.

It's not anymore. It's about bylaws and committees and reports and milestones, telling others what to do and doing what you're told. It's about who can rant the longest or shout the loudest or mislead the most people into a bloc in order to legitimise doing what they think is best. Individuals notwithstanding, the project as a whole has lost track of where it's going, and has instead become obsessed with process and mechanics.

So I'm leaving core. I don't want to feel like I should be "doing something" about a project that has lost interest in having something done for it. I don't have the energy to fight what has clearly become a losing battle; I have a life to live and a job to keep, and I won't achieve any of the goals I personally consider worthwhile if I remain obligated to care for the project.

Discussion

I'm sure that I've offended some people already; I'm sure that by the time I'm done here, I'll have offended more. If you feel a need to play to the crowd in your replies rather than make a sincere effort to address the problems I'm discussing here, please do us the courtesy of playing your politics openly.

From a technical perspective, the project faces a set of challenges that significantly outstrips our ability to deliver. Some of the resources that we need to address these challenges are tied up in the fruitless metadiscussions that have raged since we made the mistake of electing officers. Others have left in disgust, or been driven out by the culture of abuse and distraction that has grown up since then. More may well remain available to recruitment, but while the project is busy infighting our chances for successful outreach are sorely diminished.

There's no simple solution to this. For the project to move forward, one or the other of the warring philosophies must win out; either the project returns to its laid-back roots and gets on with the work, or it transforms into a super-organised engineering project and executes a brilliant plan to deliver what, ultimately, we all know we want.

Whatever path is chosen, whatever balance is struck, the choosing and the striking are the important parts. The current indecision and endless conflict are incompatible with any sort of progress.

Trying to dissect the above is far beyond the scope of any parting shot, no matter how distended. All I can really ask of you all is to let go of the minutiae for a moment and take a look at the big picture. What is the ultimate goal here? How can we get there with as little overhead as possible? How would you like to be treated by your fellow travellers?

Shouts

To the Slashdot "BSD is dying" crowd - big deal. Death is part of the cycle; take a look at your soft, pallid bodies and consider that right this very moment, parts of you are dying. See? It's not so bad.

To the bulk of the FreeBSD committerbase and the developer community at large - keep your eyes on the real goals. It's when you get distracted by the politickers that they sideline you. The tireless work that you perform keeping the system clean and building is what provides the platform for the obsessives and the prima donnas to have their moments in the sun. In the end, we need you all; in order to go forwards we must first avoid going backwards.

To the paranoid conspiracy theorists - yes, I work for Apple too. No, my resignation wasn't on Steve's direct orders, or in any way related to work I'm doing, may do, may not do, or indeed what was in the tea I had at lunchtime today. It's about real problems that the project faces, real problems that the project has brought upon itself. You can't escape them by inventing excuses about outside influence, the problem stems from within.

To the politically obsessed - give it a break, if you can. No, the project isn't a lemonade stand anymore, but it's not a world-spanning corporate juggernaut either and some of the more grandiose visions going around are in need of a solid dose of reality. Keep it simple, stupid.

To the grandstanders, the prima donnas, and anyone that thinks that they can hold the project to ransom for their own agenda - give it a break, if you can. When the current core were elected, we took a conscious stand against vigorous sanctions, and some of you have exploited that. A new core is going to have to decide whether to repeat this mistake or get tough. I hope they learn from our errors.

Future

I started work on FreeBSD because it was fun. If I'm going to continue, it has to be fun again. There are things I still feel obligated to do, and with any luck I'll find the time to meet those obligations.

However I don't feel an obligation to get involved in the political mess the project is in right now. I tried, I burnt out. I don't feel that my efforts were worthwhile. So I won't be standing for election, I won't be shouting from the sidelines, and I probably won't vote in the next round of ballots.

You could say I'm packing up my toys. I'm not going home just yet, but I'm not going to play unless you can work out how to make the project somewhere fun to be again.

= Mike

--

To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. -- Theodore Roosevelt

Phaeton Sez (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5946438)

Although reading your opinion about the FBSD Project makes me sad, I appreciate your honesty.

Re:Phaeton Sez (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5946672)

Thanks for the kind words. When you've worked as hard at FreeBSD as I have, it is very sad to see it disintegrate before your eyes. I had to face facts and admit that FreeBSD is pretty much going nowhere. I guess you could say that it really is dead.

Re:Phaeton Sez (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5947597)

I also like how we've both been modded down -1 Troll.

I wasn't trolling, and neither were you.

Although posting your views and ideas on /. probably won't do much, posting it in a place where anyone and everyone active in FreeBSD development can read it, and give it a fair piece of thought might have some positive effects. You may need to tone down the angst a small bit though, mostly just to get people to actually process what you're saying first, instead of jumping to a knee-jerk flame. It'll take some careful articulation, but it appears you are capable of this (just a bit miffed, understandibly) :o)

I'm not a developer, but a user of Debian and FreeBSD, and I would really hate to see one of my two favourite OS's fade away.

Codewise, i think FBSD is a great BSD fork and a perfect balance between the spartanness of NetBSD and the retentative nature of OpenBSD.

All in all, i think the 3 major *BSDs have really got something valid and good, and i don't want to see any of them die.

Especially over politics. Nothing should go down like that.

-phaeton

*BSD is dying (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5946274)

It is official; Netcraft now confirms: *BSD is dying

One more crippling bombshell hit the already beleaguered *BSD community when IDC confirmed that *BSD market share has dropped yet again, now down to less than a fraction of 1 percent of all servers. Coming on the heels of a recent Netcraft survey which plainly states that *BSD has lost more market share, this news serves to reinforce what we've known all along. *BSD is collapsing in complete disarray, as fittingly exemplified by failing dead last [samag.com] in the recent Sys Admin comprehensive networking test.

You don't need to be a Kreskin [amazingkreskin.com] to predict *BSD's future. The hand writing is on the wall: *BSD faces a bleak future. In fact there won't be any future at all for *BSD because *BSD is dying. Things are looking very bad for *BSD. As many of us are already aware, *BSD continues to lose market share. Red ink flows like a river of blood.

FreeBSD is the most endangered of them all, having lost 93% of its core developers. The sudden and unpleasant departures of long time FreeBSD developers Jordan Hubbard and Mike Smith only serve to underscore the point more clearly. There can no longer be any doubt: FreeBSD is dying.

Let's keep to the facts and look at the numbers.

OpenBSD leader Theo states that there are 7000 users of OpenBSD. How many users of NetBSD are there? Let's see. The number of OpenBSD versus NetBSD posts on Usenet is roughly in ratio of 5 to 1. Therefore there are about 7000/5 = 1400 NetBSD users. BSD/OS posts on Usenet are about half of the volume of NetBSD posts. Therefore there are about 700 users of BSD/OS. A recent article put FreeBSD at about 80 percent of the *BSD market. Therefore there are (7000+1400+700)*4 = 36400 FreeBSD users. This is consistent with the number of FreeBSD Usenet posts.

Due to the troubles of Walnut Creek, abysmal sales and so on, FreeBSD went out of business and was taken over by BSDI who sell another troubled OS. Now BSDI is also dead, its corpse turned over to yet another charnel house.

All major surveys show that *BSD has steadily declined in market share. *BSD is very sick and its long term survival prospects are very dim. If *BSD is to survive at all it will be among OS dilettante dabblers. *BSD continues to decay. Nothing short of a miracle could save it at this point in time. For all practical purposes, *BSD is dead.

Fact: *BSD is dying

Re:*BSD is dying (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5947646)

Can we please move on to the rest of the series?

  • The Rise and Fall of *BSD
  • *BSD is Dead
  • *BSD Triumphant

does it include... (0, Redundant)

JimFromJersey (155779) | more than 11 years ago | (#5946343)

the obituary?

Does it apply to OS X? (3, Insightful)

ascii (70907) | more than 11 years ago | (#5946359)

Forgive me if this is a dumb*ss question, but can anyone tell me how well it applies to Mac OS X?

Thankyou.

Re:Does it apply to OS X? (3, Informative)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 11 years ago | (#5946442)

can anyone tell me how well it applies to Mac OS X?

Almost not at all. Large sections involve installation and low-level configuration, which is irrelevant for Mac OS X. Ditto for the ports collection, administering the system, upgrading software, or installing multimedia programs. I don't think there's really anything in their for Mac users, other than maybe the section on configuring servers, and Apple probably has their own tools for that.

Re:Does it apply to OS X? (1)

ascii (70907) | more than 11 years ago | (#5947992)

Thankyou :)

include news and deep-documented stuff (3, Interesting)

LastCa_ (247483) | more than 11 years ago | (#5946431)

I've seen a lot of cool stuff to do with FreeBSD (like tweaking the kernel) that was only documented directly into the system (like in the source or man pages) and in some newsgroups.

My point is, I would be happy if someday, a real "complete reference" book on FreeBSD is created, will all the tweaks and tricks (aka not only a beginner oriented book). No more search in the news and printed-two-years-ago-obscure-documentation for me.

This is the kind of book I'm looking forward to.

Re:include news and deep-documented stuff (3, Informative)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 11 years ago | (#5946541)

You're looking for Greg Lehey's The Complete FreeBSD [bfast.com] , I think. The latest version came out this month.

Elegy for *BSD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5946460)


Elegy For *BSD


I am a *BSD user
and I try hard to be brave
That is a tall order
*BSD's foot is in the grave.

I tap at my toy keyboard
and whistle a happy tune
but keeping happy's so hard,
*BSD died so soon.

Each day I wake and softly sob
Nightfall finds me crying
Not only am I a zit faced slob
but *BSD is dying.

Developer lashes out: What Killed FreeBSD (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5946482)

The End of FreeBSD

[Note: in the following text, former FreeBSD developer Mike Smith gives his reasons for abandoning FreeBSD]

When I stood for election to the FreeBSD core team nearly two years ago, many of you will recall that it was after a long series of debates during which I maintained that too much organisation, too many rules and too much formality would be a bad thing for the project.

Today, as I read the latest discussions on the future of the FreeBSD project, I see the same problem; a few new faces and many of the old going over the same tired arguments and suggesting variations on the same worthless schemes. Frankly I'm sick of it.

FreeBSD used to be fun. It used to be about doing things the right way. It used to be something that you could sink your teeth into when the mundane chores of programming for a living got you down. It was something cool and exciting; a way to spend your spare time on an endeavour you loved that was at the same time wholesome and worthwhile.

It's not anymore. It's about bylaws and committees and reports and milestones, telling others what to do and doing what you're told. It's about who can rant the longest or shout the loudest or mislead the most people into a bloc in order to legitimise doing what they think is best. Individuals notwithstanding, the project as a whole has lost track of where it's going, and has instead become obsessed with process and mechanics.

So I'm leaving core. I don't want to feel like I should be "doing something" about a project that has lost interest in having something done for it. I don't have the energy to fight what has clearly become a losing battle; I have a life to live and a job to keep, and I won't achieve any of the goals I personally consider worthwhile if I remain obligated to care for the project.

Discussion

I'm sure that I've offended some people already; I'm sure that by the time I'm done here, I'll have offended more. If you feel a need to play to the crowd in your replies rather than make a sincere effort to address the problems I'm discussing here, please do us the courtesy of playing your politics openly.

From a technical perspective, the project faces a set of challenges that significantly outstrips our ability to deliver. Some of the resources that we need to address these challenges are tied up in the fruitless metadiscussions that have raged since we made the mistake of electing officers. Others have left in disgust, or been driven out by the culture of abuse and distraction that has grown up since then. More may well remain available to recruitment, but while the project is busy infighting our chances for successful outreach are sorely diminished.

There's no simple solution to this. For the project to move forward, one or the other of the warring philosophies must win out; either the project returns to its laid-back roots and gets on with the work, or it transforms into a super-organised engineering project and executes a brilliant plan to deliver what, ultimately, we all know we want.

Whatever path is chosen, whatever balance is struck, the choosing and the striking are the important parts. The current indecision and endless conflict are incompatible with any sort of progress.

Trying to dissect the above is far beyond the scope of any parting shot, no matter how distended. All I can really ask of you all is to let go of the minutiae for a moment and take a look at the big picture. What is the ultimate goal here? How can we get there with as little overhead as possible? How would you like to be treated by your fellow travellers?

Shouts

To the Slashdot "BSD is dying" crowd - big deal. Death is part of the cycle; take a look at your soft, pallid bodies and consider that right this very moment, parts of you are dying. See? It's not so bad.

To the bulk of the FreeBSD committerbase and the developer community at large - keep your eyes on the real goals. It's when you get distracted by the politickers that they sideline you. The tireless work that you perform keeping the system clean and building is what provides the platform for the obsessives and the prima donnas to have their moments in the sun. In the end, we need you all; in order to go forwards we must first avoid going backwards.

To the paranoid conspiracy theorists - yes, I work for Apple too. No, my resignation wasn't on Steve's direct orders, or in any way related to work I'm doing, may do, may not do, or indeed what was in the tea I had at lunchtime today. It's about real problems that the project faces, real problems that the project has brought upon itself. You can't escape them by inventing excuses about outside influence, the problem stems from within.

To the politically obsessed - give it a break, if you can. No, the project isn't a lemonade stand anymore, but it's not a world-spanning corporate juggernaut either and some of the more grandiose visions going around are in need of a solid dose of reality. Keep it simple, stupid.

To the grandstanders, the prima donnas, and anyone that thinks that they can hold the project to ransom for their own agenda - give it a break, if you can. When the current core were elected, we took a conscious stand against vigorous sanctions, and some of you have exploited that. A new core is going to have to decide whether to repeat this mistake or get tough. I hope they learn from our errors.

Future

I started work on FreeBSD because it was fun. If I'm going to continue, it has to be fun again. There are things I still feel obligated to do, and with any luck I'll find the time to meet those obligations.

However I don't feel an obligation to get involved in the political mess the project is in right now. I tried, I burnt out. I don't feel that my efforts were worthwhile. So I won't be standing for election, I won't be shouting from the sidelines, and I probably won't vote in the next round of ballots.

You could say I'm packing up my toys. I'm not going home just yet, but I'm not going to play unless you can work out how to make the project somewhere fun to be again.

= Mike

--

To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. -- Theodore Roosevelt

FreeBSD is dying (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5946522)

It is official; Netcraft has now confirmed: *BSD is dying

One more crippling bombshell hit the already beleaguered *BSD community when IDC confirmed that *BSD market share has dropped yet again, now down to less than a fraction of 1 percent of all servers. Coming on the heels of a recent Netcraft survey which plainly states that *BSD has lost more market share, this news serves to reinforce what we've known all along. *BSD is collapsing in complete disarray, as fittingly exemplified by failing dead last [samag.com] in the recent Sys Admin comprehensive networking test.

You don't need to be a Kreskin [amazingkreskin.com] to predict *BSD's future. The hand writing is on the wall: *BSD faces a bleak future. In fact there won't be any future at all for *BSD because *BSD is dying. Things are looking very bad for *BSD. As many of us are already aware, *BSD continues to lose market share. Red ink flows like a river of blood.

FreeBSD is the most endangered of them all, having lost 93% of its core developers. The sudden and unpleasant departures of long time FreeBSD developers Jordan Hubbard and Mike Smith only serve to underscore the point more clearly. There can no longer be any doubt: FreeBSD is dying.

Let's keep to the facts and look at the numbers.

OpenBSD leader Theo states that there are 7000 users of OpenBSD. How many users of NetBSD are there? Let's see. The number of OpenBSD versus NetBSD posts on Usenet is roughly in ratio of 5 to 1. Therefore there are about 7000/5 = 1400 NetBSD users. BSD/OS posts on Usenet are about half of the volume of NetBSD posts. Therefore there are about 700 users of BSD/OS. A recent article put FreeBSD at about 80 percent of the *BSD market. Therefore there are (7000+1400+700)*4 = 36400 FreeBSD users. This is consistent with the number of FreeBSD Usenet posts.

Due to the troubles of Walnut Creek, abysmal sales and so on, FreeBSD went out of business and was taken over by BSDI who sell another troubled OS. Now BSDI is also dead, its corpse turned over to yet another charnel house.

All major surveys show that *BSD has steadily declined in market share. *BSD is very sick and its long term survival prospects are very dim. If *BSD is to survive at all it will be among OS dilettante dabblers. *BSD continues to decay. Nothing short of a miracle could save it at this point in time. For all practical purposes, *BSD is dead.

Fact: *BSD is dying

Sounds like another crappy FreeBSD book (1)

semanticgap (468158) | more than 11 years ago | (#5946546)

For the author not to know about vipw and not to mention vinum is rather lame IMHO. That's just too bad, because I love FreeBSD.

It's dead, Jim (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5946635)

Bury this bitch before it stinks up the joint.

VINUM not mentioned = good (5, Interesting)

Lew Payne (592648) | more than 11 years ago | (#5946720)

"...the book makes no mention of certain high-profile features such as Vinum (FreeBSD's logical volume manager)..."

Why should it make mention of something that is being phased out of FreeBSD? Anyone who has followed the developers' thread knows that the code for vinum is unmanageable and horribly inefficient, and is being replaced. Why should the book's author teach you about something you should not use and that will be deprecated? Why didn't the reviewer research his comments a bit more before being critical of a positive feature of the book?

Re:VINUM not mentioned = good (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 11 years ago | (#5946982)

Anyone who has followed the developers' thread knows that the code for vinum is unmanageable and horribly inefficient, and is being replaced.

My memory and Google turn up no such rumor. Do you have any links?

FreeBSD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5946907)

FreeBSD is great.

FreeBSD is not great if you don't have a braudband connection though!

more FreeBSD books == good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5947006)

This is great! FreeBSD could use more books to counter the perception that tons of crappy leenucks books equates to high quality, when in fact, leenucks is such a low-quality waste of time, it's no wonder all the leenucks distros are dying by the droves.

A Comparison of FreeBSD and Linux (2)

BigJimSlade (139096) | more than 11 years ago | (#5947101)

First off: This Is Not A Troll!

Never having used any *BSD and only having a passing knowledge of Linux in its various flavors, where might one learn about the differences (dare I say Pros & Cons?) of FreeBSD and a Linux distribution? Maybe this is an Ask Slashdot question (I couldn't find a previous one, and a quick Google [google.com] turned up only performance comparisons, not feature comparisons)

Re:A Comparison of FreeBSD and Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5947658)

No this is definitely not a question for the Slashdot "BSD is dying crowd". Try joining a couple a mailing lists, like chat@freebsd.org (subscribe at majordomo@freebsd.org) and a Linux mailing list list, and ask for suggestions.

Re:A Comparison of FreeBSD and Linux (1)

Quill_28 (553921) | more than 11 years ago | (#5947936)

I am by no means a FreeBSD expert, and would barely be considered average by many in here.

I switched to FreeBSD because frankly I found it easier.

I was dealing with RedHat and it's pump command, I don't remember the details but I had to upgrade it, I found the rpm but then I had to update the rpm installer, I but I could update the rpm installer but the rpm installer was too old.
I am sure I missed something obvious but I was too green and frustrated to see.

I also didn't care for the documentation for linux. It is hard to find the right documentation for your dist and version. The dists seem to modify just enough to confuse the new person. Googling was an exercise in frustration.

FreeBSD seems to be better thought out, but that's probably my perception. To me FreeBSD seems to be a better server(more stable) than linux, linux a better workstation(better hardware/games some apps).

Also, if you don't have cd burner(i didn't at the time) the install over the internet worked wonderfully for me.

btw, I have no problems with linux I use it at work, i just prefer freebsd at home.

Take it for what it's worth

What a bargain! (0)

Cruciform (42896) | more than 11 years ago | (#5947396)

For the true BSD afficionado, you'll be able to have your name sandblasted on to it and use it as a tombstone.

With cool geek (oxymoron?) epitaphs like "Kill -9 JohnDoe" :)

Life is a bitch when you are dead (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5947485)

It hurts 'n' stuff.

Re:Life is a bitch when you are dead (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5947697)

No, death is painless, unless you use Linux, because then you are going straight to hell to be tormented. Probably shouldn't be much of a change from your usual dependency hell problems though.

Some general observations (2, Insightful)

fm6 (162816) | more than 11 years ago | (#5947614)

The first thing I want to know when anybody talks about BSD is this: why precisely should I learn yet another OS? What do I get that I don't already get from Linux or Windows or QNX or Inferno or... I'm not suggesting that nobody needs to know BSD. But any review of a BSD book -- and the ensuing discussion -- should touch on the question of who should be interested in the topic.

Enough about Herb Schildt.

The review is painfully padded. All JSG seems to have to say is, "Looked for factual errors, couldn't find any. Liked the book, even though I disagreed with some of the advice." Throwing in a lengthy outline and a lot of useless trivia (imaginary domain names, forsooth!) to bring it up to a proper length is just lame.

Linking to Barnes & Noble's web site hurts your credibility. I assume people do it because they give better referral rates than Amazon, and/or you're pissed about Jeff's patent hunger. Well, forget it -- I don't want to deal with B&N's cruddy web site, abysmal customer service, and absurd inventory problems.

Cheaper (2, Informative)

SophtwareSlump (595371) | more than 11 years ago | (#5947659)

Bookpool.com [bookpool.com] has this book for $30.95. (Hint: search for 'FreeBSD'). It's $49.99 at bn.com. Do the math.

Excuse me but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5947709)

what is that smell? It's like something died in here..

Oh, it's the rotting corpse of BSD, being fed on by the maggots.

Order Lehey's Fourth Ed of "Complete FreeBSD" (1)

Helevius (456392) | more than 11 years ago | (#5947927)

I literally ordered my copy of the fourth edition of The Complete FreeBSD [oreilly.com] this morning from Buy.com. While I'm passing on Roderick's FreeBSD book, his Multi-Boot Configuration Handbook [rodsbooks.com] is good, albeit a few years old.

An excellent FreeBSD book is Michael Lucas' Absolute BSD [absolutebsd.com] . His Absolute OpenBSD [blackhelicopters.org] book arrives soon.

Enjoy,

Helevius

FreeBSD the complete reference. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5948106)

Including obituary!

FreeBSD is complete (1)

axxackall (579006) | more than 11 years ago | (#5948156)

So, finally the development of freeBSD is complete and it even has its reference.

Now, is it dead at last?

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