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Interview With the PC-BSD Team

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the user-friendly-depends-so-much-on-the-user dept.

130

GeekyBodhi writes "FOSSEngineer.com has an interview with a couple of guys from the PC-BSD development team after the distro recently released their first stable version 1.0. PC-BSD is built on top of FreeBSD and aims to dumb down installation and daily usage, enabling a non-technical user to run it as his primary desktop. The guys talk about their pre-release journey, features unique to PC-BSD and why a minimal installation system is a good thing."

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130 comments

Nuff said. (0, Offtopic)

supabeast! (84658) | more than 8 years ago | (#15289721)

"PC-BSD is built on top of FreeBSD and aims to dumb down installation and daily usage, enabling a non-technical user to run it as his primary desktop."

Yeah... um... I think this is distro is a little bit redundant. [apple.com]

Re:Nuff said. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15289733)

I bet you everything in your bank account that I can build a faster PC-BSD machine for less money. Not really redundant if it's providing a better product once a cost-analysis is applied.

Go pound sand you lackey troll.

Re:Nuff said. (2, Funny)

Dis*abstraction (967890) | more than 8 years ago | (#15289808)

I'm not taking that bet, because I can guess how much your time is worth. Apple-haters tend to be failures at life [com.com] .

Re:Nuff said. (1)

eno2001 (527078) | more than 8 years ago | (#15289947)

Nice. However very flawed. Making more money doesn't mean that someone is a success at life. Take, for example, Britney Spears. I'll bet she's making more money than you are, but I'll bet you wouldn't consider her a success at life. And if you do think she's a success at life then you have failed at getting life in general. Life isn't about money. It's about knowledge. Knowledge frees you to do whatever you want. And if you're a success at life, that means you'll do something that benefits everyone and not just yourself. Once again, if you don't get that, you have failed.

Re:Nuff said. (1)

Dis*abstraction (967890) | more than 8 years ago | (#15290042)

Life isn't about money, but it isn't about knowledge either. It's about whatever you want it to be. It's about doing whatever you want to do. And to approach life in your own way, to "think different" if you will, is about empowering yourself--giving yourself the power to be your best.

Re:Nuff said. (1)

eno2001 (527078) | more than 8 years ago | (#15290084)

Within reason of course. In the end there is no point to selfish motivation since it doesn't contribute to the world as a whole. Altruistic motives are far higher on the moral scale (contrary to what those philistines the Objectivists and libretarians believe). The problem is that those motives are discouraged in an active attempt to thwart the improvement of the human condition. Misery is profitable. Happiness, fairness and health are not.

Mod parent down. (2, Insightful)

despisethesun (880261) | more than 8 years ago | (#15289741)

Your comment is a little bit redundant. Anyone who's used both will attest that FreeBSD is a very different beast from OS X. OS X may use a lot of FreeBSD's userland, but it is NOT FreeBSD.

Re:Nuff said. (2, Interesting)

jfern (115937) | more than 8 years ago | (#15289802)

Unlike Mac OS X, PC BSD is open source and free.

Now if they could get this to run all Linux apps, that would be awesome.

Re:Nuff said. (1)

at_slashdot (674436) | more than 8 years ago | (#15290153)

Or you could just use Linux.... it's open source and free and runs all the Linux applications.

Re:Nuff said. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15290308)

Or you could just GET A JOB.

Re:Nuff said. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15290785)

Or you could just use Linux.... it's open source and free and runs all the Linux applications.

Or you can just run the Linux binaries on FreeBSD using the compatability layer AND run SCO binaries AND FreeBSD binaries AND run other operating system binaries. (Linux can't run FreeBSD or SCO to name 2 that Linux can't do)

Now if you were refering to GNOME, KDE, Firefox, MySQL and calling them 'linux applications' Because FreeBSD runs all of them also, that would make FreeBSD Linux too!

Re:Nuff said. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15290904)

You must be proud knowing that people like you are the inspiration for sites like this [softpanorama.org] , and this [linuxisforbitches.com] , and this [funroll-loops.org] .

Re:Nuff said. (1)

Arker (91948) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291310)

Now if they could get this to run all Linux apps, that would be awesome.

What linux apps does it have problems with?

A simple make, make install should get most all of them running. If it doesn't, there's a bug that needs to be reported upstream. And in the meantime, bsd has support for running linux binaries anyhow.

Re:Nuff said. (1)

Al Dimond (792444) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291784)

Although some people consider these bugs to be fixed upstream, some Linux-centric projects use Linux-specific APIs. One of the most common of these APIs is ALSA. Though many projects support both OSS and ALSA, some important audio-related projects like Rosegarden only work with ALSA.

Other than that it's pretty much bugs, like you said. Some projects refuse to fix these bugs, calling themselves explicitly Linux-specific, basically saying, "if you want a BSD version maintain your own port" (which I can understand if it's an ALSA vs. OSS thing that would require lots of work to fix, but not if it was just simple portability stuff that would probably make it work more reliably on different Linux configurations anyway).

Because... (4, Funny)

muddyblooz (955382) | more than 8 years ago | (#15289722)

"We ain't TOUCHING sysinstall..."

Re:Because... (1)

eraser.cpp (711313) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291205)

I realize that the PC-BSD folks are trying to make the install simple for people who aren't computer enthusiasts, but for our crowd BSD is remarkably simple and quick to install. I build out BSD installs pretty frequently and it takes less than 5 minutes to create a working base install that will allow me to ssh into it.

Re:Because... (1)

muddyblooz (955382) | more than 8 years ago | (#15292195)

Yeah, I even got my kid sister to install it once to prove a point to a naysayer. BUT (hehe) go read the source for sysinstall and you'll see what I was snikkering about :-)

Not just Joe Sixpack (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15289731)

I consider myself well-educated with computers but I've never taken the time and effort to quit Windows for Linux. If it's really easy, I'd probably do it.

Re:Not just Joe Sixpack (1)

muddyblooz (955382) | more than 8 years ago | (#15289750)

Yeah, yeah, you can quit anytime you want to, you just don't want to. Junkies, sheesh. It is easy if you're not a clueless Win-ders JUNKIE :-)

Re:Not just Joe Sixpack (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15289762)

BSD is not Linux. It is a seperate "Unix-like" operating system, and it does not use the Linux kernel.

Re:Not just Joe Sixpack (1)

rainman_104 (591178) | more than 8 years ago | (#15289842)

BSD is not Linux. It is a seperate "Unix-like" operating system

From the freebsd main page:


is derived from BSD, the version of UNIX® developed at the University of California, Berkeley.


AFAIK, FreeBSD is still Posix compliant and is a real unix, not a unix-like OS.

Re:Not just Joe Sixpack (1)

muddyblooz (955382) | more than 8 years ago | (#15289869)

Uhm, I dunno so much about "Posix compliant".

Not that it isn't Posix _compatible_ in a lot of areas, BSD is its own universe having been spun off from the Bell Labs nebula.

Re:Not just Joe Sixpack (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15290434)

Is any one operating system truly POSIX compliant?

didn't think so.

utility.

Re:Not just Joe Sixpack (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15291518)

I see where you are going with this but you have in fact confused your terminology. It is POSIX compliant, just not POSIX Conformant.

Re:Not just Joe Sixpack (1)

'nother poster (700681) | more than 8 years ago | (#15292249)

BSD, as the full name implies, was the Berkley version of Unix, not the Bell labs version. That said, I thought part of the official split between UC Berkley and Bell Labs was that Bell got the name Unix, so BSD, although derived from Unix, is not legally UNIX. It's BSD. Which is Unix, but can't legally be called Unix. Um, I'm confused now.

Re:Not just Joe Sixpack (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15290120)

is derived from BSD, the version of UNIX® developed at the University of California, Berkeley.

Ah, but let's not forget that the whole point of 4.4BSD-Lite was to remove all AT&T code, and FreeBSD stems from 4.4BSD-Lite.

So you could argue that the BSDs aren't really unix anymore, but no one cares.

Re:Not just Joe Sixpack (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15291302)

AFAIK, FreeBSD is still Posix compliant and is a real unix, not a unix-like OS.

Mmm, no. FreeBSD is not POSIX compliant - yet. You can check the status at The FreeBSD C99 & POSIX® Conformance Project [freebsd.org] .

To recap history: Early BSD was "true" UNIX but the definition has changed since then, back then all you needed was the look and feel (e.g. Coherent UNIX) or an AT&T codebase (like UNIXv6, BSD..). Now the Open Group owns the trademark and maintains the SUS spec (to clarify: SUS includes POSIX). To be UNIX - and call it UNIX - you need to conform to the spec. There is nothing "real" about UNIX per se, and you can't just point at a system and say "that is UNIX" unless, of cource, you happen to be pointing at a really, really old PDP11 machine running AT&T UNIX. Besides, BSD has always stood on it's own and is often favored instead of "real" unices, this applies even on technical merits and not just aestetics (BSD was often considered more elegant in it's design). In fact, lots of stuff in the SUS spec comes directly from BSD.

Thats the BSD vs. UNIX relationship in a nutshell. IMO it's OK to call FreeBSD (or even Linux) "a UNIX" as they have nearly everything you might expect from a certified system such as AIX or Solaris. Be careful though, mindlessly calling *BSD a UNIX will eventually draw out certain people who endlessly nitpick about it (that's not what I'm trying to do here though, I'm just trying to be informative and UNIX history is a hobby of mine).

Re:Not just Joe Sixpack (1)

Arker (91948) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291322)

It's 'genetic unix' - descended from the historic unix codebase. It's not Unix(tm) however - that requires certification from the Open Group, current holders of the trademark.

Re:Not just Joe Sixpack (3, Insightful)

eno2001 (527078) | more than 8 years ago | (#15290060)

OK... what's the correct procedure to clean up the registry when an errant program makes a mess of it? Especially after you attempt to uninstall. Or... what options are there to make Windows more flexible in a heterogenous environment without using SFU? Or... What is the single most important change you can make to your Windows installation to prevent or reduce the occurrence of spyware on your system (hint: it's not spyware removal tools)? Bonus points if you can do any or all of the above free of charge. Unless someone has the right answers to those questions I don't think they can say they know much about computers. I'm not attacking you BTW. I'm bringing up the questions to point out that there's always more to learn and that there isn't much point in getting into computers unless you're always learning something. With that said, Linux and the BSDs are much better learning tools for PCs than Windows. You learn a lot more about how the system works. And that knowledge is priceless.

Re:Not just Joe Sixpack (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15290786)

With that said, Linux and the BSDs are much better learning tools for PCs than Windows. You learn a lot more about how the system works. And that knowledge is priceless.

Unfortunately most people don't care about learning how the system works.. they just want to use their computer to get their job done. It is just like people with their cars: They don't care how the car works, as long as it gets them to where they want to go.

Re:Not just Joe Sixpack (2, Funny)

Arker (91948) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291315)

I consider myself well-educated with computers but I've never taken the time and effort to quit Windows for Linux. If it's really easy, I'd probably do it.

I consider myself a brain surgeon, but I've never actually bothered to hold a scalpel. If it were really easy, I probably would though.

*BSD is Dying (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15289793)

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 the Amazing 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 *BSD at this point in time. For all practical purposes, *BSD is dead.

Fact: *BSD is dying

Re:*BSD is Dying (1)

JTorres176 (842422) | more than 8 years ago | (#15290014)

Figures an anonymous coward would post this.

Anyway, back to the real world for a sec. I run FreeBSD on 17 of my 20 servers (one CentOS, one RH9, one Debian) and 1 of my 2 laptops. (The other with Ubuntu). FreeBSD won't die any time soon, not only because of the strong corporate support, but there's still a lot of people working on development of it.

Oh, and... I'm actually going to try this install out on my laptop currently running Ubuntu.

Of course, don't take my word for it... take the word of my webserver

10:31PM up 492 days, 21:04, 0 users, load averages: 0.02, 0.01, 0.00

8 more days to 500! woo! (FreeBSD4.11)

Re:*BSD is Dying (1)

linj (891019) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291475)

Of course, don't take my word for it... take the word of my webserver

8 more days to 500! woo! (FreeBSD4.11)


Everyone! Commence ddos attack!

Re:*BSD is Dying (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15291893)

"10:31PM up 492 days, 21:04, 0 users, load averages: 0.02, 0.01, 0.00"

Its not hard for a server to stay up for ages when it isn't doing anything!

Re:*BSD is Dying (4, Interesting)

laffer1 (701823) | more than 8 years ago | (#15290059)

Its only dying in your mind.

Here are the facts:

There are currently 4 bsd projects that i'm aware of. They include FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD and DragonFlyBSD. In addition to these projects which each develop their own kernel and userland, there are linux style distros PC-BSD and DesktopBSD which do not develop their own kernel or low level userland. (they add gui shit) These two track freebsd progress as well as other projects like frenzy that do live cds.

I'm also in the process of starting a BSD project based on FreeBSD 6.x which is a fork like dragonfly was. My project is aimed at developing a desktop friendly bsd from the ground up. Another words, I want to make a BSD install with x11, a window manager and basic applications as well as reasonable defaults for desktop users. Its not like PC-BSD and DesktopBSD since I will be modifying the userland and kernel. I also don't plan on using KDE like they do as KDE users are covered by their efforts. BSD on the desktop is important in part because Macs have gone up in price during the intel switch. Plus if I accomplish my goals, apple may benefit from the source anyway. Finally, I plan on leaving as much BSD licensed as possible. The other projects prefer GPL.

I don't have a website up yet, but the uri will be http://www.midnightbsd.org/ [midnightbsd.org] (MidnightBSD)

Re:*BSD is Dying (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15290165)

Sounds great. Maybe just one more thing to consider: When it gets to be v1.0, try to resist any urge that might hit you or the core developers to make childish jabs at MS. I don't love Windows, but I find it usable. But I don't need another religion, I already have one. Don't reveal yourselves as just another kook-backed UNIX variant, we have enough of those already. I don't install on my computers things created by people with mental problems and ulterior motives.

(Posting AC for obvious reasons)

Re:*BSD is Dying (1)

poopdeville (841677) | more than 8 years ago | (#15290412)

Don't worry, Mr. Stallman. I won't spill the beans.

Re:*BSD is Dying (1)

toadlife (301863) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291320)

"When it gets to be v1.0, try to resist any urge that might hit you or the core developers to make childish jabs at MS."

No worries. It's a BSD distro, not a linux distro.

Re:*BSD is Dying (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 8 years ago | (#15290538)

You just described NetBSD. Unless your OS has something unique that I missed besides a much simpler package system with great desktop support.

Re:*BSD is Dying (3, Informative)

BlueStrat (756137) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291296)

There are currently 4 bsd projects that i'm aware of. They include FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD and DragonFlyBSD. In addition to these projects which each develop their own kernel and userland, there are linux style distros PC-BSD and DesktopBSD which do not develop their own kernel or low level userland. (they add gui shit) These two track freebsd progress as well as other projects like frenzy that do live cds.

Just to add to what you've listed, there are some lesser-known but quite interesting *BSD projects out there.

AnonymOS, an OpenBSD 3.8-based LiveCD with strong encryption and a preconfigured TOR proxy service for net anonymoity.

http://kaos.to/cms/content/view/14/32/ [kaos.to]

NeWBIE, a NetBSD-based LiveCD aimed at being a desktop LiveCD that includes the Fluxbox desktop environment.

http://arudius.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net]

FreeeSBIE, a FreeBSD-based LiveCD (includes install script) which includes Fluxbox and XFCE4 desktop environments. The FreeSBIE toolkit to produce custom LiveCDs is even included in FreeBSDs' ports tree. (There is a Romanian-created flavor called RoFreeSBIE, links at Softpedia http://linux.softpedia.com/progDownload/RoFreeSBIE -Live-CD-Download-9067.html [softpedia.com] ).

http://www.freesbie.org/ [freesbie.org]

There may be other projects, but those are the ones I'm familiar with. They are all very nice, and worth a try.

As to PC-BSD, I'm more knowledgeable than the average PC user, but I found PC-BSD to be quite impressive and usable, without being too terribly dumbed-down.My G/F (Yes, I have one, but I'm 48 and also play lead guitar in a gigging and recording blues band. :-P) actually prefers it over XP or Mandriva.

The .PBI software packages aren't too numerous as yet, but there has been steady development with new .PBIs appearing at a fast enough pace that I'm sure the number will be respectable before too long.

Bravo, laffer! I wish you luck with MidnightBSD, and I'll keep checking that URL. I look forward to any new ideas being applied to FreeBSD, as it seems a very solid base, and IMHO has not been taken anywhere near its' capabilities yet as a desktop.

Cheers!

Strat

Re:*BSD is Dying (2, Informative)

RLiegh (247921) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291675)

Additionally, there's OliveBSD [paderni.free.fr] , which is based on OpenBSD 3.8. From the website:

OliveBSD is a LiveCD based on OpenBSD 3.8 with graphical environment and various softwares like Firefox, Thunderbird, Gimp, Gaim, Xmms, etc.

Did'nt you already post this some time ago? - yawn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15292252)

Did'nt you post this already? Your argument is tired, unsubstantiated an idiotic.

KDE centric (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 8 years ago | (#15289797)

Too bad for the gnome users like myself.

I did read the interview and a copy of the freebsd6.0's ports are including so I guess I can install gnome from there when I have a week of time available to compile it. :-)

The automounting feature is cool and I had to write scripts to mount such devices with FBSD 4.12 which was a pain.

So? (3, Insightful)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 8 years ago | (#15289919)

If I may be so bold, if you know enough to know the difference between KDE and gnome, you aren't the target user. What matters is that it works, not whether it caters to a particular set of preferences. Even giving a neophyte choices can build up to rejection if there are too many choices that seem redundant or unimportant to them and their needs.

Downside of choice (2, Insightful)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | more than 8 years ago | (#15290671)

>too many choices that seem redundant or unimportant to them and their needs.

Redundant, unimportant, or SCARY specially when making the wrong choice might lead to a broken system and a support geek being patronizing because *everyone* knows that option was incompatible with that kernel version if you're running an AMD and an early rev of the wireless card firmware from right after the vendor switched chipsets.

Choices should be possible to make given the information available. Too many installations are like the one in Dilbert which said "To configure the system, enter the name of next year's Academy Award winner".

Re:KDE centric (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15291697)

I don't see why they didn't choose GNOME actually, KDE is far more complicated and less userfriendly, if this is supposedly an end user distribution where's the sense in using KDE and a Kernel with considerably less commercial support than Linux? These projects simply serve those kids with a vendetta against linux because of its recent increased popularity and improvements in ease of use, they allow them to peddle FreeBSD as the latest greatest most secure OS on minority forums when kids come asking questions about linux.

After reading the interview - read the review (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15289839)

Here is a good review of PC-BSD written by a linux enthusiast which I believe to be an un-biased look at PC-BSD.

http://linuxhelp.blogspot.com/2006/02/pc-bsd-user- friendly-bsd-flavour.html [blogspot.com]

so few comments? (-1, Troll)

scenestar (828656) | more than 8 years ago | (#15289900)

For a front page article?

I guess bsd still is dying....

Kudos to the PCBSD devs trying to turn the current situation 180 degrees.

BSD Rocks (1)

cyberscan (676092) | more than 8 years ago | (#15290233)

I myself run various flavours of Linux on most of my machines. I have tried BSD, and it impressed me. Both operating systems are stable and reasonably secure. I am just more used to running Linux. I wish BSD and the development teams well.

Dumb (4, Insightful)

Brandybuck (704397) | more than 8 years ago | (#15289904)

...and aims to dumb down installation and daily usage...

Why the hell would I want that? I would like a simplified interface that is easier to use, but no fscking way do I want something that's dumbed down!

p.s. Of course, PC-BSD is not dumbed down. It hasn't been stupidified. The submitter should have read the article and realized that it's 100% hardcore FreeBSD. Unfortunately, the poor choice of adjective will lead many to think that this is just the BSD version of Linspire. Sigh.

Re:Dumb (2, Insightful)

MidnightBrewer (97195) | more than 8 years ago | (#15290939)

I agree. Some people seem to think that if you don't lose a pint of blood while setting up your computer, you're not using a *real* operating system.

If something as powerful as BSD can be made usable by more people, I think that would be better called "streamlining" or "making it more elegant." I find that Fedora or OSX are both good examples of OSes that allow you to just start the computer and get stuff done if that's all you need, and let you get down-and-dirty for the more demanding power user.

A good programmer can write useful software; a great programmer can make it usable.

Re:Dumb (1)

Shisha (145964) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291360)

I've always wondered why someone like Sony doesn't go the Apple way i.e. take their superior hardware and release a BSD based operating system that's optimized for the hardware (perfect drivers, software update etc.). Apart from being pre-installed, optimized and with simple interface, they could also keep the drivers to themselves if they choose to, unlike with GNU/Linux. For home users this could have very real benefits of ease of use and security.

name (1)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 8 years ago | (#15289925)

PC-BSD is built on top of FreeBSD and aims to dumb down installation and daily usage, enabling a non-technical user to run it as his primary desktop


Good. Now change the name so that a non-technical user will know what the heck it is.

Nothing more daunting than a string of acronyms that the average uesr doesn't know, nor need to know. Heck.... the BSD acronym is maily irrelevant nowindays anyway....

Re:name (2, Insightful)

aussersterne (212916) | more than 8 years ago | (#15290068)

You mean start making up nonsense words that only have meaning if there's a giant marketing department behind them, like "Pentium" or "Zeta" or "Ubuntu?"

Okay, how about we rename it from PC-BSD to any of the following:

- Bonedai 1.0
- Genufal 1.0
- Marada 1.0
- Notege 1.0
- Imboldos 1.0
- Drimium 1.0
- Turbalus 1.0

At least you can explain that PC-BSD actually is representational in nature: Personal Computer Berkeley Software Distribution.

Better than "Zzemdaxa" or "Mmulema" or "Panaxap" or [insert another nonsense word here, maybe with the words "Desktop 1.0" after it].

One more for good measure, say, Eetharalia Desktop 1.0 Pro.

Re:name (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15290243)

How about just PC-UNIX, assface? Joe Sixpack doesn't give a fuck what the hippies are smoking in Berkeley these days.

Re:name (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15290451)

R-i-i-i-i-i-i-g-h-t, because "Joe Sixpack" doesn't know BSD from his granddad's moonshine, but he sure as hell knows "UNIX" inside and out. Get a grip. (And stop calling people assface.)

Re:name (1)

poopdeville (841677) | more than 8 years ago | (#15290424)

Both 'zeta' and 'ubuntu' were meaningful before any marketing team got behind them.

Re:name (1)

aussersterne (212916) | more than 8 years ago | (#15290467)

Hardly deeply meaningful to the average user in the context of general purpose computing. They're new computing vocabulary words whose meanings in this context have been constructed entirely by product design and marketing.

We could rename it from PC-BSD to "Straw Hat OS" or "Purple Badger OS" or "Zeitgeist OS" and it would be the same. It doesn't say any more about the software's function to the average user than "PC-BSD."

Re:name (1)

poopdeville (841677) | more than 8 years ago | (#15290544)

Straw Hat OS is a name I could get behind. Gomu Gomu no!! Pistole!!

Re:name (1)

menace3society (768451) | more than 8 years ago | (#15290567)

Oh, please. The BSD name has been attached to the free software since before GNU was a glimmer in RMS's eye. Heck, it was free software since before "free software" meant anything. There was Berkeley Unix and if you wanted it, you could get it, along with CSRG source code and all the redistribution rights you could handle. By comparison with the longevity "BSD," "Linux" is just a trendy buzzword.

Re:name (1)

RLiegh (247921) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291687)

if you wanted it, you could get it, along with CSRG source code and all the redistribution rights you could handle.

As long as it was to redistributed only to other AT&T licensees. This is similar to how Ford in the 20s supported all the color you could handle; assuming the only color you could handle was black.

dpkg blues (3, Interesting)

adolfojp (730818) | more than 8 years ago | (#15290085)

I love PC-BSD's self contained software installer above all. It brings the simplicity and elegance of Windows and Mac software installation to the nix world.

Package managers like Synaptic don't make too much sense to me. They are great as long as every computer that you manage has a broadband connection. There are many people in the world, especially in developing nations, that can not afford that luxury. I'd much rather keep copies of software on CDs to distribute instead of having to connect every computer to a fat pipe whenever I want to install a software package. Yes, I understand that you can configure removable media as a source, but the process in not intuitive and you have to make sure that every dependency is available on the CD to begin with.

If PC-BSD were to release a GNOME centric version of its software I would switch all of my machines in a heartbeat.

Re:dpkg blues (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 8 years ago | (#15290556)

I noticed this as well. The ports from the FBSD 6.0 branch are included if you have a fast machine and time to compile gnome from scratch.

I feel the whole notion of creating seperate distro's like the whole ubuntu/kubuntu thing are just stupid and silly. Most distro's have many cd's with thousands of apps.

A good os should let the user decide what he or she wants. I have heard a podcast from www.freebsd.org from one of the developers mentioning the problems with gnome becoming too Linux centric. Especially with multimedia support. I wonder if that could be the reason?

Re:dpkg blues (1)

baadger (764884) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291632)

I have heard a podcast from www.freebsd.org from one of the developers mentioning the problems with gnome becoming too Linux centric.

BSDTalk #32 - Interview with FreeBSD Developer Joe Marcus Clarke [blogspot.com] there is a transcription here [freebsd.org] .

That BSDTalk guy does some awesome interviews.

Re:dpkg blues (1)

MooUK (905450) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291916)

A good OS that is aimed at those who may not wish to research what they want should make good default choices whilst allowing those who want to choose to do so.

Re:dpkg blues (4, Informative)

mpeg4codec (581587) | more than 8 years ago | (#15290655)

On Debian-based systems, you can have multiple apt sources. That means that you can have several CDs [or DVDs] of software that is typically installed and fail over to net install when you want something that's not on optical media.

As for a GNOME-based distro like this, download an Ubuntu CD/DVD set. It will automatically set it up to access all your discs and you can choose [or choose not] to set up access to net repositories.

Truly the best of both worlds.

package management w/o fast Internet (1)

bzipitidoo (647217) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291062)

Yeah I also have that problem with Ubuntu Linux. Something I haven't figured out about Ubuntu is how to do 2 things that Windows can do. (Gasp!) When on a fast connection, I'd like to be able to download Ubuntu updates in a form that can be burned to a CD so I can do offline updates. Would make it faster for updating several Ubuntu installations that are on slow connections. The other thing is "slipstreaming" the updates into an Ubuntu installation CD so I can do a fresh install of Ubuntu that doesn't immediately need to download over 100M of updates. I suppose there are ways, but I didn't turn up anything with a bit of poking around on the Ubuntu website. Maybe Ubuntu 6 will address this.

Sounds like PC-BSD answers those problems? Sometimes, things can be made too easy. Ubuntu eliminated some useful options by not providing any way to do offline updates, and not including KDE. Ok, KDE is big and I like that Ubuntu needs only 1 CD for installation. Plus, there's Kubuntu. At the other extreme, what's Debian at now? 11 CDs? Anyway, I hope PC-BSD doesn't sacrifice options in an attempt to make things easier. Defaults so you don't have to make a bunch of choices just to get the installation done, and options you can choose later at your leisure.

Re:package management w/o fast Internet (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15291396)

Here you go. [debian.org] Setup your own repository, either on a central server, or on removeable media. I guess slipstreaming is possible also, but I find this solution a lot more elegant...

Team work is the key (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15290177)

You have PC-BSD and DesktopBSD with exactly the same positioning. If these guys want to get more recognition for their hard work they should merge their distrib rather than compete for an already small users base.

Re:Team work is the key (1)

baadger (764884) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291613)

I agree, if their goals are fully compatible then they should merge.

I installed and used FreeBSD 5.3 for a while last year and the one thing I loved is that it easy (OK so not grandma friendly) to install and configure and *minimal*. It left it upto me decide what to install and when I did install something I didn't have to worry about distro this and distro that, or .deb this or .rpm that. The Linux world seems so fragmented and repetitive, it was nice to slip into the calming BSD world.

DesktopBSD/PC-BSD : BSD for everyone.
FreeBSD : BSD for the guy who can cope with a command line.
OpenBSD : BSD for those with severe paranoia.
NetBSD : BSD for those with a spare toaster but don't like toast.

I think this is all the BSD world needs, I hope it stays focused. I love it.

Why oh why (-1, Troll)

Knights who say 'INT (708612) | more than 8 years ago | (#15290235)

Just why would anyone want a FreeBSD desktop?

Re:Why oh why (2, Insightful)

Poppler (822173) | more than 8 years ago | (#15290447)

Just why would anyone want a FreeBSD desktop?

Why not?

Re:Why oh why (2)

jdog1016 (703094) | more than 8 years ago | (#15290742)

I've used FreeBSD as a desktop OS since version 4.0, in like 99. I just recently started using Linux (gentoo) and I like it. The documentation is great and I don't have to jump through hoops to get certain things working. I haven't noticed any stability issues, but I will tell you this, and this is just my opinion based on my own experience, and that is: FreeBSD is faster. It just is. Its the fastest OS I've ever used, and unlike Linux, doesn't ever seem sluggish under heavy load (I believe that this is due to the dramatically different process scheduling algorithms in place on each). Also, aside from possibly the Gentoo package management system, there really isn't anything on par with the ports collection. If you have an extra machine and some extra time, do consider playing around with it--if nothing else its an education.

Re:Why oh why (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291299)

Aside possibly from better support for some hardware, what other advantages do you see Linux having over FreeBSD (6.x) as a desktop OS? I'm currently using Debian, but planning to try FreeBSD 6.1, and you mentioned jumping through hoops... so I am rather interested in details.

Re:Why oh why (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15292092)

Better hardware support is pretty much it if you're installing on an x86 box. FreeBSD on AMD64 still takes a little work (hint: some ports say they're 386 only just because no one's bothered to add amd64 to the make file. Never hurts to try.) You have to configure graphical logins manually, and sometimes sound and a few other things, but the handbook should be able to guide you through it. I got everything set up on AMD64 in under 2 hours having never used a BSD before in December.

Re:Why oh why (2, Interesting)

roard (661272) | more than 8 years ago | (#15292166)

FreeBSD is faster. It just is. Its the fastest OS I've ever used, and unlike Linux, doesn't ever seem sluggish under heavy load

I must say I agree here :-)

I never used bsd until a couple of weeks ago, when I ended up without a laptop, and a friend lend me an old one (celeron 1ghz, 128mb ram). As a long time debian user, I started by installing the last touted "desktop os" based on debian: ubuntu. Everything worked as usual and was recognized, but.. it was sluggish (those pesky 128Mb were the cause more than the celeron, I believe). Still, I was outraged: I started linux on a p166+ with 24Mb of ram, and it was faster (or at least in my memory) to use, even after ditching gnome and installing window maker + gnustep apps.

Then, on a whim, I installed OpenBSD 3.9, just to test -- why did I never try bsd before in all those years, after all ? Well,.. it felt even slower -- probably because of X11 though. But I liked OpenBSD a lot -- very neat, excellent docs, and it just felt "clean".

So I installed FreeBSD 6. And. Wow. That's friggin FAST :-) even on this machine. I even recompiled the kernel to change the scheduler, and now it's even more responsive under X11 (although it _seems_ things are slightly slower to start, but the trade off is good on this machine).

So count me in the *BSD supporters now -- although apt is wonderful, pkg/ports are quite ok. And I like how it feels like unix again ;-)

ta30 (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15290294)

Benefits of being consider wort4while mu7ated testicle of

PC-BSD does not install on old machines (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15290454)

I have a Thinkpad 600X (650Mhz), and each time I try installing PC-BSD, the installation process fails. I've had no problems installing regular old BSD on it, so I think PC-BSD requires more specific hardware than BSD. This is a shame as BSD is touted as being able to run from any Intel 386 machine on up to a Pentium.

BTW, this problem is not unique to BSD. I had difficulty installing MEPIS Linux on this laptop, as well, until I used their old hardware compatibility mode---which PC-BSD evidently does not have.

Re:PC-BSD does not install on old machines (1)

antik2001 (535940) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291004)

PC-BSD kernel and userland is optimized for i686 processors starting with Intel Pentium Pro, AMD Athlon and so on. So it won't run on 386, 486, pentium processor. Nobody uses 486 or Pentium for desktop this days...

Developer Laments: What Killed FreeBSD (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15290486)

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

--

Dumbed down = minimal install? (4, Insightful)

goMac2500 (741295) | more than 8 years ago | (#15290493)

I don't think most NIX users get it. I like dumbed down installs and self configuring stuff. That said, I'm a programmer. I like dumbed down installs because I don't like wasting my time configuring everything. At the same time, I don't like installing distros which require me to track down additional software. Why not release a distro which includes a bunch of software and gui configuration tools? I mean, command line utilities are great, but I don't really want to learn them unless it's necessary. I want something that I don't have to learn, or spend much time setting up. I'm sure I might get flamed from the "you should learn how all your software you use works" crowd, but honestly, I don't want to compile, I don't want download libraries, I just want to freakin software to work. I don't want to have to spend time reading man pages, I want to hit buttons. If I decide I want to use the CLI to find tune settings, that's great, but that's not priority to getting some piece of software usable first. Dumbed down shouldn't be minimal learning curve with minimal software. Dumbed down should be minimal learning curve with more software. So far Fedora comes closest to this for me. A lot of common tasks can be done in not very much time with the gui configuration tools.

Re:Dumbed down = minimal install? (1)

richpulp (942320) | more than 8 years ago | (#15290630)

You mean you never had the joy of actually getting Red Hat 5 to boot and configure X from the command line without blowing your montior up?

Re:Dumbed down = minimal install? (3, Funny)

(pvb)charon (685001) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291091)

> I'm a programmer.
> (...) but honestly, I don't want to compile,
I sense some trouble there...
charon

Re:Dumbed down = minimal install? (1)

goMac2500 (741295) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291133)

Lol, I suppose it is somewhat ironic, but I don't really want to waste time compiling stuff. I just want a binary package on my system, and I just want it working. When I release software, I don't release code as the primary distribution. I'm assuming my users want to try my software, not spend time compiling it.

Re:Dumbed down = minimal install? (1)

selfdiscipline (317559) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291117)

I hear where you're coming from; I think that all software should have a "hands-free" install option with sane defaults.

However, I really like the command line environment as well. I'm not sure, but it seems to me that I'm more productive when I'm using the command line; it seems I get stuff done faster. I have put some significant time into learning how to do stuff in the command line, but perhaps that investment pays off in increased productivity.

Considering how steep the command line learning curve is, and the fact that it still is a major factor in most unix environments, it seems to me that there must be some significant benefits to using it.

DesktopBSD (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 8 years ago | (#15290569)

I wonder how this compared to Desktop BSD?

Fact: *BSD is dying (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15290572)

It is now official. Netcraft has 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 the Amazing 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

PC-BSD 1.0 (1)

richpulp (942320) | more than 8 years ago | (#15290596)

I had an opportunity to try this new release out today. Ok, I am running it in a vmware emulation so if it goes dramatically wrong I can delete the hard file and start again, quite easily.

I guess my main concern is that if the app isn't a PBI then you have to track thru the freebsd ports and it appears that to compile/make/install Open Office 2.0 requires 9GB which is taking the piss.

I'll wait for the PBI builds to reappear -- they are offline at present.

Tell me why all the angst? If a windows user switches to pcbsd isn't that a good thing?

Re:PC-BSD 1.0 (1)

KwKSilver (857599) | more than 8 years ago | (#15290832)

There are a lot of FreeBSD pre-compiled binary packages that be installed from the command line with the pkg_add command.

What about Java? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15290896)

The big thing for me is Java. I would have switched to OpenBSD as my desktop long ago if there were work-ready Java environment. In case you didn't know, desktop Java is back, and server-side Java (Tomcat) is stronger than ever. I would like to have my NetBeans, etc. Desktop Java should be the ideal Open Source platform, because it will let the same binary run on desktop MS Windows computers and desktop Linux computers. That's an ideal way to get a larger base of software for Linux and to get people ready to switch. And Swing (once you get into it) is a fantastic UI development tool.

This is the one area where *BSD is the most problematic. The free/open Java components (GNU CLASSPATH, gcj, kaffe, and JamVM) are not yet up to real "work" use. I know that Eclipse now can run with pure free Java, but NetBeans is probably six months away, and Tomcat 5.5.* doesn't run at all.

I'm sure those things will be working on the free Javas later this year, and then I can finally have my OpenBSD / Java desktop.

--------------
Carry a gun in California, legally [californiaccw.org]

Re:What about Java? (3, Informative)

antik2001 (535940) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291433)

The FreeBSD Foundation has a license with Sun Microsystems to distribute FreeBSD binaries for the Java Runtime Environment (JRE) and Java Development Kit (JDK). These implementations have been made possible through the hard work of the FreeBSD Java team as well as through donations to the FreeBSD Foundation that supported hardware, developer costs, and legal fees. http://www.freebsdfoundation.org/downloads/java.sh tml [freebsdfoundation.org]

What is up with mods? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15291447)

Whoever modded my comment as funny has obviously not used Java in the past couple of years.

My main developer productivity software is written in pure Java: I use NetBeans, a Java Swing based Java IDE, and Zend developer, a Java Swing based PHP IDE. Both are great tools, written in pure Java. For word processing, I use OpenOffice, which has large chunks written in Java. It would probably be better if it were written in pure Java. If they did that it would run natively on a Mac and they would't need the porting effort.

Java truly is the best choice for desktop app development today, and the fact that your app is stable, looks good and runs well on Linux, Windows and Mac is something that no other system can deliver.

And yes I do like OpenBSD. It is the most secure and stable OS around these days. That's a perfect fit with Java, which is the most secure and stable programming environment around these days.

The question I wanted answered: (2, Insightful)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 8 years ago | (#15290968)

<insert the "I use and like BSD, but" preamble here>

Who is PC-BSD for? Who specifically wants to use BSD, and not Linux, yet isn't comfortable installing BSD?

If you want a desktop unix there are plenty of Linux distros out there, which have support for more proprietary drivers and software than BSD, and have larger teams and communities behind them.
If you want to use BSD because you prefer BSD to System V then you'll be perfectly happy using the not-quite-so-friendly installers of the regular BSDs.

What would have been better is if they had created a friendlier installer for FreeBSD, and a better GUI for the ports system, and tried to get that into FreeBSD, rather than creating a whole new brand of BSD.

Re:The question I wanted answered: (1)

drmerope (771119) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291233)

Your comment seems sort of jealous. Let me change your perspective. This is what Freedom is really about: the freedom to choose. A long time FreeBSD user myself (eight years now), I love the FreeBSD userland. Leaving room for some degree of experience bias--every linux distribution I've tried has felt messy. I also dislike LILO and GRUB. I prefer the rc system to init runlevels. But these are all personal opinions. The point, though, is that someone with much less experience might also like these same things.

If this work is considerd good, I wouldn't be surprised to see lots of merged back into FreeBSD proper. That said, FreeBSD has always been the sysadmin's OS. Configuring the window manager just isn't their core-competency.

As for your driver complaint: prove that it matters. I've never had trouble. As for "more software" it is a certainty that you have that backwards. FreeBSD's linux compat layer is very good. FreeBSD can run just about any linux binary with little to no futzing. Most software already compiles on BSD natively or will almost certainly do so within a linux chroot. On top of this you have all of the software that was originally developed for FreeBSD.

Re:The question I wanted answered: (2, Interesting)

Eivind Eklund (5161) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291604)

I'm a FreeBSD developer, and I'd guess the PC-BSD guys have taken a very good route. Working with this kind of thing inside FreeBSD is fairly difficult, due to the inertia of the FreeBSD project. That inertia is both a good and a bad thing - it allows the project to function fairly smoothly in a lot of other ways. It's not good for doing desktop improvements, unfortunately - too many people to consult with.

Playing that on the sideline and possibly adopting it into FreeBSD later (if both teams feel comfortable with it) seems a very good way to actually get this done.

Eivind.

Developer's Postmortem: What Killed FreeBSD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15291138)

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

Another approach. (1)

CCFreak2K (930973) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291311)

The point of a Joe Average operating system is not, "how can we dumb down the system," but rather, "what is it that an every day user expects from his/her system?" I'm sure if we can get a bunch of people together and some spare time on computers, we could gather a lot of information.
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