Does Desktop have a future on BSD?

Jose

Daemon

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I don't think I would be of much help even though I took on the role of sysadmin with my family some years ago.

We all used Gentoo Linux for a while. I had a colleague that didn't believe me, and actually buttonholed my wife at a party to ask if it was true. The thing is I got tired of it, and bought them all Macs.

Now I find myself strongly disagreeing with the direction Apple has taken*, but I frankly don't know where to turn next. I inflicted an Ubuntu laptop on one of my children, and reviews are definitely mixed on that front. Another is thinking of buying a Windows laptop.

I'm comfortable running Openbox on Freebsd, and don't mind typing "xinit" in a terminal window so I don't even run a display manager. I fear this would not do for the rest of my family.

I'd be very interested in your solution if you find one.

* I'm happy to find that I'm not alone in Vermaden's links
 

KenGordon

Well-Known Member

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Oh! And one more thing: I definitely believe that the Desktop DOES have future with/on FreeBSD for at least the reasons I listed above: 1) some users, probably not many....yet...are fed up with Windows and want, very seriously, to dump it completely, 2) others like me find Linux too "messy" 3) FreeBSD is (or was?) faster and more secure than most versions of Linux. And there are other reasons.

Ken Gordon
 

KenGordon

Well-Known Member

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I understand, Jose. I'll post somewhere on this forum my successes and failures as they occur. Probably not here, though. I'll probably begin another thread....

Thanks again,

Ken Gordon
 

Zirias

Daemon

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Back on topic: I'd guess the vast majority of FreeBSD developers uses it as their daily desktop driver. Thus we can expect a working desktop foundation for a very long time. Am I wrong here?
I think the "best" thought in this thread so far was to better ask: Does desktop have a future? From being THE interface for using a device (well, after the CLI era), it's becoming more and more a niche.

But then, a niche e.g. for developers, so your statement still holds ;) Writing software on a tablet is nothing anyone would want to do and keep their sanity…
 

Mjölnir

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The reality is, you can complain about something not working, or you can actually do the work to try to get it working. If you aren't willing to put in the work, don't complain. Sure, make polite requests for features, but when they are framed from ignorance and with a condescending tone, you won't get far.
+1
[...] Unfortunately Libre/Open Office can't even compare to the features I get with MS Word and Excel, but that's what Virtualbox is for.
Whenever I was forced to use MS Office, I found it overly complex & non-intuitive to use. IMHO LibreOffice is much better in this regard, and I never missed a feature.
 

Zirias

Daemon

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It depends on what you need. MS Office had pretty fine "collaboration" features for a long time (reviews, change tracking, etc). The point when I never wanted to see "Word" again was when I was forced to use it for my diploma thesis. Several backup files and being extra careful with a lot of things (like e.g. how exactly you'd embed a diagram) were always needed; Word was notorious for just shredding any larger document at any time. Admittedly, this was a long time ago, maybe they improved meanwhile.

For me, LibreOffice is pretty fine and just works. And for a really large document, I'd always prefer LaTeX anyways ;)
 

Mjölnir

Daemon

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Jose's use case & that example of shreddered backups shows that FreeBSD is in fact a good base for a desktop system (with frequent ZFS snapshots). I was shocked when a friend told me she has to use Word to write her doctor's thesis. How can a public university (note etym.: universitas) force their students to use specific computer programs of a monopolist (at minimum that proprietary data format)? When I was @uni, LaTeX was it, hopefully it is still for the hard sciences. And it's perfectly usable even for noobs, since they can use mature GUIs for LaTeX.
 

ralphbsz

Son of Beastie

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Many people are not actually using computers, but they are just using Web Browsers these days.
That's a VERY important observation. And it is the genesis of browser-only machines like Chromebooks. I still have a full-function laptop (*), but 99% of the time, I'm in one of two applications: A web browser and terminal emulator. I do most of my software development still from the shell, and that's in spite of the fact that today there are very good web-based development environment, and you can get very nice terminal emulators for web browsers.

Matter-of-fact, I know two of the fathers of Unix and BSD use Chromebooks as their daily driver (Ken, and the other one is not Kirk).

(*) Footnote: I define a full-function computer as one that has an OS with working shell and a full development environment, so you can compile, link and run programs. In that sense, neither Chromebooks nor tablets are computers, since they don't have development tools.

Back on topic: I'd guess the vast majority of FreeBSD developers uses it as their daily desktop driver. Thus we can expect a working desktop foundation for a very long time. Am I wrong here?
The first statement (most developers ...): I don't know whether it is true. We hear conflicting information.

The second statement: If that were true, it would have been true for the last ~20-30 years, because during all that time it was possible to run a GUI on *BSD. Yet, very few of the developers seem to have invested much effort into the desktop; what we have today is mostly a port/package of things developed on and for Linux.

Why is this? I don't know for sure, but my educated guess is that 90% of BSD developers are just not interested in GUI or desktop development, but in tools and OSes.
 

Mjölnir

Daemon

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Well, that's natural since they're not GUI developers, but FreeBSD i.e. OS developers. And for shure they're able to get their GUI up & running w/o asking for help here, except for the few cases when they run into an incompatibility issue with their hardware. But since they know of this risk, most will only purchase compatible hardware... But they have an interest to provide the underlying interfaces that desktop SW can access.
 

mickey

Aspiring Daemon

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Here's the change you've got coming from five cents.

[...]

If they don't use a computer how are they supposed to develop those skills? Pocket calculators had just been introduced when I quit school. Where would I be today if not for my fingers taking a liking to a computer keyboard? Divorced from Britney and dating Scarlett Johansson, maybe?
I believe you got me all wrong here.

There is nothing wrong with someone who doesn't have any computer skills, if he's willing to go the extra mile and learn how to use one. Everyone at some point had no computer skills and you gotta start somewhere.

The approach that I consider utterly wrong, is to create operating systems for people who are basically NOT willing to learn how to use a computer (let alone some other things). Operating systems that could be used by a lobotomized monkey not only introduce a lot of lobotomized monkeys to the user base, but will also alienate people that are actually perfectly capable of using a computer cause they will feel limited in just about every aspect.
 

Argentum

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The approach that I consider utterly wrong, is to create operating systems for people who are basically NOT willing to learn how to use a computer (let alone some other things). Operating systems that could be used by a lobotomized monkey not only introduce a lot of lobotomized monkeys to the user base, but will also alienate people that are actually perfectly capable of using a computer cause they will feel limited in just about every aspect.
Agree. If something is fully foolproof, then only fools want to use it.
 

vigole

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The point when I never wanted to see "Word" again was when I was forced to use it for my diploma thesis.
Similar experience. I had to use Word with some Microsoft mathematics plugin (I can't remember the name) to type multiple pages, full of mathematical expression. Using LaTeX or groff wasn't an option. Every single second was torture.

[EDIT] P.S. Of course, it's not a case for using LibreOffice (it's the same when using mathematical expressions), but the point is: as a Windows user and having no experience with CLI, POSIX, etc. you'll miss a lot. You may never have a chance to explorer other options, e.g. groff.
 

Zirias

Daemon

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How can a public university (note etym.: universitas) force their students to use specific computer programs of a monopolist (at minimum that proprietary data format)? When I was @uni, LaTeX was it, hopefully it is still for the hard sciences.
It just depends on the individual professor's preferences. This was a diploma thesis in CS, still this professor had his whole institute work with MS products. Other institutes expected documents to be done with LaTeX, which I preferred a lot for a large document. Of course I told them I don't own an MS Office license and don't intend to buy one, response was "here take this institute laptop with everything installed". At least, at that time Microsoft already used OOXML, which they had standardized by ECMA and later ISO/IEC.
 

drhowarddrfine

Son of Beastie

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Operating systems that could be used by a lobotomized monkey not only introduce a lot of lobotomized monkeys to the user base, but will also alienate people that are actually perfectly capable of using a computer cause they will feel limited in just about every aspect.
This is a point I often make. It's the difference between Windows and FreeBSD. Too many of those monkeys come here and attempt to complain about FreeBSD that way.
 

Trihexagonal

Son of Beastie

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There is nothing wrong with someone who doesn't have any computer skills, if he's willing to go the extra mile and learn how to use one. Everyone at some point had no computer skills and you gotta start somewhere.

The approach that I consider utterly wrong, is to create operating systems for people who are basically NOT willing to learn how to use a computer (let alone some other things). Operating systems that could be used by a lobotomized monkey not only introduce a lot of lobotomized monkeys to the user base, but will also alienate people that are actually perfectly capable of using a computer cause they will feel limited in just about every aspect.

Well you made the leap from lobotomized monkey to space age whizkid quicker than 2001 - A Space Odyssey.

There are a lot of moneys in the jungle I live in. Some have never touched one and wouldn't know how to teach themselves. Some will never learn and are fine with a smartphone. Some know little to nothing about the Internet, others live somehow without an online presence and don't want anything to do with a computer.

So lets dump Windows and all Operating Systems except UNIX, because we can all use it. Can't you?

"Take your stinking paws off me you damn dirty ape!" That would be a good slogan for UNIX Distopian v.1.0 when it comes out. Next year.
 

tyson

Member

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I personally use pure FreeBSD for now, but just discovered that project HelloSystem (thx Vermaden for those news posts).
Its still very early stage but looks promising. Could be nice replacement for those Mac's and Windows users who wish to run away from big company sitting in their device.

(some buy on youtube giving it a go)
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ah8xZ1N68Vo


 

Mjölnir

Daemon

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I doubt they can catch up on more than 3 decades experience on GUI software design techniques & models within just a few years. But hey, maybe they're exceptionally smart people applying modern development methods, that can compensate this lack of experience. Last not least they have some background, through Lumina IIRC.
 

kpedersen

Son of Beastie

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I doubt they can catch up on more than 3 decades experience on GUI software design techniques & models within just a few years.
Just looks like they are going to clone macOS from the 90's. I am sure these guys can manage. It is probably just a matter of being very time consuming.
 

Trihexagonal

Son of Beastie

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I gave my i386 Sony Vaio with 1.6GHz Intel CoreDuo, 2GB RAM with a fresh build of FreeBSD 11.3 or something I had built and set aside to my neighbor across the hall about a month ago.

Somebody sold him a i386 Compaq with BIOS password he didn't know and I couldn't guess that wasn't as good as my Sony so I gifted it to him. I figured if they've never run Windows how much harder would it be to teach them something worthwhile learning?

A usr account with all the app tweaking and system geeking that make it a desktop for me all set up ready to log in under my user name and I maintained root. I read aloud the usr password as I typed and he wrote it down. Then I rebooted and set him down in front of it to let him login himself.

He could not enter my usrname jitte correctly much less my password, nor grasp the concept of tapping the keys. I changed the password to 11111 and he could not get that right. Net with fingers, eraser end of a pencil, my never-leave-home-without-it Zebra autograph seeker pen, or any amount of words or demonstrations of doing it correctly.

So I got him to the desktop, showed him how easy it was to access editors/leafpad to practice typing on his own and set him free for a month to see how he did. He still could not type out 11111 to login the account himself yesterday.

I told him there was no use having it if he couldn't log in, because that's about as easy as it's going to get with any OS or banana pi found foraging. Threw rocks at him and he scurried back down the evolutionary scale without the added Daemons in his life to overcome than the demons faced by any normal human bean.

I was going to give it to another guy who has never used a computer either, but I'm proponent of Natures Way and quoting DEVO Jocko Homo lyrics. From this day forth, "To not interfere in the natural development of the sub-species observed" in my Trek what will now become known as the Prime Directive.
 

tuxador

Active Member

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I don't think I would be of much help even though I took on the role of sysadmin with my family some years ago.

We all used Gentoo Linux for a while. I had a colleague that didn't believe me, and actually buttonholed my wife at a party to ask if it was true. The thing is I got tired of it, and bought them all Macs.

Now I find myself strongly disagreeing with the direction Apple has taken*, but I frankly don't know where to turn next. I inflicted an Ubuntu laptop on one of my children, and reviews are definitely mixed on that front. Another is thinking of buying a Windows laptop.

I'm comfortable running Openbox on Freebsd, and don't mind typing "xinit" in a terminal window so I don't even run a display manager. I fear this would not do for the rest of my family.

I'd be very interested in your solution if you find one.

* I'm happy to find that I'm not alone in Vermaden's links
If you want a beginner-friendly Gnu/linux for your family i strongly recommand Manjaro linux, since it's based on archlinux.
Ubuntu in my humble opinion is unstable because of their heavily patched packages.
 
D

Deleted member 66267

Guest


If you want a beginner-friendly Gnu/linux for your family i strongly recommand Manjaro linux, since it's based on archlinux.
Ubuntu in my humble opinion is unstable because of their heavily patched packages.
On the other hand I recommend MX Linux or Q4OS, both are Debian based.
 
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