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Flame bait: Why BSD is dying, or How I learned to stop worrying and love Linux

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throAU

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wpostma said:
I'm not saying people "want" to mess with source, or that they "should".

Simply that what is good is that computers remain accessible, and open, not opaque black boxes.

I guess that makes me a "Hacker" in the old MIT/BSD sense. {I am not a hacker in the sense of the word where it means someone who breaks into computers. bah.}

Warren
No, more importantly, you essentially called anyone who doesn't want to go to the hassle of running an open source OS a consumer, and implied they were stupid.

If I was a musician, or a doctor, or a geologist, for example and wanted to run, say Ableton Live, or Surpac on my machine to do my job, it is easier to just run the app on the platform it is supported on.

It doesn't make me stupid, it just means I waste less time faffing about with the platform and more time doing the job I'm paid to do. My friend for example is a paramedic. They run iPads out in the field, because that's the device that runs the app they use. Is he/they stupid? No, it's just a tool to do a job. It's not a religous/idealogical issue.

Don't get me wrong. I'm all for open platforms when it is appropriate, and comparable open alternatives exist. But having a go at people who run Windows or Mac OS or whatever because thats what platform supports the application(s) they need to run is a bit unfair. The simple fact is that not all software runs on FreeBSD or Linux or any other open platform. In some niche purposes, it is very unlikely there will ever be an open alternative.

Operating systems are a commodity these days. Run the one that runs your software.

If there's an open alternative, great. But don't compromise the maintainability, stability and ease of deployment of the application for the sake of the stability or open-ness of your OS, because you'll lose far more than you gain.
 
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Anonymous

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I agree with all sides, but only partly. I've been a fBSD loyalist from the off, but it really is true that it hasn't been treated by the development folk as seriously as it could have been - could still be, and should.

It's wonderful for servers.

Xfce4 makes a nice windowing system, once you get X working. But getting X working is often a non-trivial project in itself which is ridiculous after all this time.

Apps? Apps are a problem. A lot of the ports are rubbish, and shouldn't be. The distribution would have lots more street cred if it were separated the same way the o/s is: "production", "beta", and "alpha - don't install or run on anything you'd like to keep".

Linux scores because for all its chaotic "Heinz 57 Varieties" nature, any one of the distributions has had a lot of work put into it by its partisans.

Betamax was better than VHS. OS2 was better than Windoze. Where are they now? Seats is the key issue. If the dev team were focusing on capturing seats from Linux instead of working like hobbyists in a garage, life would be very different. How much difference really is there between v4 and v9 from a human-factors standpoint? Not a lot. But there should be.
 

wpostma

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I don't remember calling anybody stupid. I remember referring to a "herd".

Just because the "herd" is mostly always going to use something like iPads doesn't mean that "BSD is dying", which is the context in which I was speaking.

Do I dislike these shiny devices that just work? No. I like Linux and BSD, and Ubuntu and iPads, and all these things. I don't hate any of them. I think I said that. Twice.

All I said, and here I'll type very slowly so you'll understand me....

BSD is important.

That's all. Not dead. Not dying. And still important.

Warren
 
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Anonymous

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One of the things that still makes building an FreeBSD system such a special experience is that, even though production releases such as 8.3 are supposedly very stable, a person can spend 10 hours, as I just now finished doing, installing FreeBSD, and building X11, the nvidia driver, and xfce4 from ports only to have it all fall apart at the end because someone didn't test something before shipping it.

As the builds proceeded I sat there and watched it offer me the opportunity to select options for clumps of early-beta --alpha, really, I bet-- software. Not an opportunity to include or reject the software, just configure it. The including was already decided. Obviously some hobbyists felt certain that I would just love their buggy software utility or app as much as they do.

What does their software do and why is it necessary, if it is? They'll never tell. Obviously I should have been suspicious, spent some hours or days determining what it does and whether it's important, and pruned it out of the makefile if I didn't want it.

The idea that a production release shouldn't have beta software in it at all, ever is apparently a foreign idea to those in charge of FreeBSD's release engineering. Hobbyists include everything, because they love the software and even its bugs. People who want to get something else accomplished just want the software to be painless to install and reliable in operation.

In this case, the killer error was apparently in Ghostscript, which has been around long enough not to behave like that. I thought. Perhaps it's no longer being maintained.

So now I get to spend tomorrow doing it all again.

It's experiences like this that make me think that perhaps I should investigate Linux (ptui!) after all.
 

morbit

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That's ridiculous. You are responsible for crap you have installed and it's dependencies, not operating system. You can always build all by hand and omit port system altogether, have fun.
 

fonz

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Auld_Besom said:
One of the things that still makes building an [red]fBSD[/red] system such a special experience is that, even though production releases such as 8.3 are supposedly very stable, a person can spend 10 hours, as I just now finished doing, installing [red]fBSD[/red], and building X11, the nvidia driver, and xfce4 from ports only to have it all fall apart at the end because someone didn't test something before shipping it.
[snip]
The idea that a production release shouldn't have beta software in it at all, ever is apparently a foreign idea to those in charge of [red]fBSD's[/red] release engineering
Sigh. It's FreeBSD, not fBSD. Where is DutchDaemon when you need him?

Fonz
 
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Anonymous

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morbit said:
That's ridiculous. You are responsible for crap you have installed and it's dependencies, not operating system. You can always build all by hand and omit port system altogether, have fun.
I don't believe you've ever been in the computer industry or understand how a successful systems-development process works.
 

morbit

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Auld_Besom said:
I don't believe you've ever been in the computer industry or understand how a successful systems-development process works.
I don't believe you know what is part of said operating system and what is not, moreover I also don't believe that you know what are you doing with ports.
 

fonz

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Auld_Besom said:
Isn't that being a bit anal?
One: See the forum rules. Some quotes (bold face omitted, you can see that in the link):
  • This forum is not for children or texting teenagers!
  • Opening remark: try not to take any of this personally, even when a moderator sends you to this page. These rules exist to make the forums an enjoyable experience, and to help you make a good impression on other forum members.
  • It's FreeBSD, not fbsd, FBSD, freebsd, freeBSD, Freebsd, or any other variation. FreeBSD is likely older than you are, so respect the operating system!
Two: If you have time to post here, you also have time to spend a measly few extra key presses in order to spell properly.

Three: See one. And two.

Four: Where is DD?

Fonz
 

SirDice

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Auld_Besom said:
The idea that a production release shouldn't have beta software in it at all, ever is apparently a foreign idea to those in charge of FreeBSD's release engineering. Hobbyists include everything, because they love the software and even its bugs. People who want to get something else accomplished just want the software to be painless to install and reliable in operation.

In this case, the killer error was apparently in Ghostscript, which has been around long enough not to behave like that. I thought. Perhaps it's no longer being maintained.
The ports have nothing to do with the FreeBSD versions. All versions (including all -RELEASE, -STABLE and -CURRENT versions) and architectures use the exact same ports tree. A common misconception all new FreeBSD users seem to have, especially if they have previous Linux experience. The ports and the base OS are two separate entities. It therefor doesn't make sense to blame a certain version of FreeBSD for inconsistencies caused by third party applications.
 

fonz

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Auld_Besom said:
In this case, the killer error was apparently in Ghostscript, which has been around long enough not to behave like that. I thought. Perhaps it's no longer being maintained.
You must be kidding. The Ghostscript ports are actively maintained by the Doceng team.

Fonz
 

sk8harddiefast

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Just they can't understand the obvious. FreeBSD is the OS. Not FreeBSD + ports. Ports are not a part of the base system. Ports are ported from users, handled by users, maintained by users. From me, from you, from my grand mama, from the neighborhood. Everyone can port. We have told this gazillion times in this forum. If is not compiling send pr to maintainer, if you set wrong flags, search on forum for similar threads. If you can't find a similar thread, open a new thread and ask. But everything you do stop blame FreeBSD because a port wont compile or it is buggy. Is not FreeBSD's fault. From the moment you will run
#portsnap fetch extract
you must accept that you can have any package error you can imagine and this have nothing to do with the OS.
I know. It's easy to blame FreeBSD on that but is wrong. I really want automount on my DE / thunar-volman. But I can't have it. At least this moment. Linux turn to another way on automounting. The maintainer of xfce4 port the DE but of course automount will not work. It's broken. There is not know solution about that right now.
But this is about port and linuxisms. Not about FreeBSD.
 
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Anonymous

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This will be my last post in this thread, and I'm making it only because I do very much care about the future of FreeBSD.

(to clear up a sneer made, I hope, in jest: no, FreeBSD is not older than me. I am older than it. I'm also older than UNIX itself. I'm even, mirabile dictu, older than Ken Thompson, Brian Kernighan, and the late Dennis Ritchie.)

I've been a supporter of FreeBSD from the beginning, coming to it from SCO, Solaris, and Novell's SysV. Because having source is good, I was investigating Minix with the idea of doing something with it when the FreeBSD project started. I think the earliest cd I thought to save might be 1.1.2. One of the very earliest releases, anyway.

My computing career started in 1975, when the grad student whom I'd hired to write a program I needed handed the specs back to me with the apology that he was already over-committed. I asked whether it was hard to learn to program and he called back over his shoulder on his way out the door "no, no, it's easy". So I went over to the computer center, explained what I needed, and asked if there was someone who'd be willing to teach me how to do it. There was, and after awhile I was hired by the computer center even tho I was training to be a psychologist not a computer scientist. To cut a long story short, I spent 30 years in the computer industry writing software, doing systems architecture, and being an engineering boss and program manager.

The difference between the popularity of Linux vs FreeBSD is (imo) down to the fact that the people packaging Linux are treating it like industrial-grade software, while those packaging FreeBSD are treating it like the joke about the original UNIX: "five Master's dissertations and two hundred undergraduate term papers".

Most people already have all the hobbies they can use. What they need and want is good, reliable, easy-to-use tools. That's why so many people like Macs despite their high cost and limitations. And why Windoze is a huge success worldwide despite Micro$oft's predatory obnoxiousness. I do nearly all my work under XP because it has a lot of useful apps that work well.

The beliefs of people here notwithstanding, "FreeBSD" out in the real world is both the excellent, pro-quality operating system and the gallimaufry collection of ports.

To keep FreeBSD from gradually becoming a footnote like Minix or Ultrix, someone needs to start focusing on the needs of the millions of people who are not computer hobbyists. It wasn't an accident that Apple chose FreeBSD's o/s as the stratum on which to build OS X. How many ports did they use?

The PC-BSD people have the right idea (I think - I haven't looked at it): make a distribution that is complete out of the box. That can be installed and used without prayer and fasting or chicken-sacrifice.

Someone else should be doing a server edition with a simple check-box setup like a cross between the o/s's and Microsoft's: do you want MySQL, MariaDB, or PostgreSQL and where do you want to put it; do you want to include HPHPc; what u/i layer do you want, none, curses text console, xfce, Gnome, or something else? And so forth.

Server and workstation packages for web service, file service, app service, sw dev, multimedia, office, and school. Usable right out of the box!

Linux would begin to lose seats almost immediately, and the corporate money and developer interest would start coming back to FreeBSD.

I would hope that that's what everyone who loves FreeBSD would want.
 

sk8harddiefast

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On some things you have right. People wants easy tools to do there job.
BUT. FreeBSD is server OS. Is to serve. Is not designed to be desktop OS. When you speak about BSD you speak about security (not ports security but systems security).
If you want the best of packages and security, OpenBSD is the best. They check every line of code for vulnerabilities before port something. But the packages are too old and not to much. If you speak for Desktop use PCBSD is the answer. Is easy to use, gui installer, gui package manager. But this is FreeBSD. That means security on FreeBSD system (not on ports). Solid code and ports in the hands of community.
We have 24000 ports and 4000 have no maintainer any more. If you want to help see here. Don't be angry. Don't blame. Help.
 

adamk

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FreeBSD is server OS. Is to serve. Is not designed to be desktop OS
And yet the FreeBSD Foundation pays someone to port Intel KMS from linux to FreeBSD. This is functionality that has no real use in a server OS, only in a desktop/workstation.


Adam
 

Martillo1

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Today's desktops, even laptops, are more powerful than yesterday's servers.

Next time we'll see tablets as servers. Adapt or die.
 

sk8harddiefast

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I don't think that FreeBSD is not using today's technology.
zfs, ufs, can mount ext3-4, fat, ntfs, support ssh, nfs, samba, multiprocessing support, drivers for wired/lan, for graphics (Not so much as Linux but a wide range) etc. From FreeBSD 10 will change gcc to clang compiler and also there is an effort to BHyVe. Pfsense witch is a great firewall and FreeNAS witch is a great NAS solution are using FreeBSD as base system. FreeBSD try to adapt. Is not staying in the same place. May don't make the hudge steps of Linux. Prefer to do little steps but to be sure about them.
Ports is something completely different. Is not about OS. Is about you and me and who we love the gui and want to bring gui, easy tools and hapiness to FreeBSD. Well a lot of people in FreeBSD's community don't prefer easy tools. PCBSD exist for this reason. On some things personally I prefer easy tools but's ok. That's it. I prefer that better than Linux mess and linux community. When I came here, my first post was about FreeBSD'S future. I was completely jerk and I was not respect nothing. Today I use FreeBSD more than 2 years. Is alive, strong and for me FreeBSD OS and his community is that I was searching for and here I will stay.
 

bbzz

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With all due respect, I just don't agree.
To keep FreeBSD from gradually becoming a footnote like Minix or Ultrix, someone needs to start focusing on the needs of the millions of people who are not computer hobbyists.
This is the whole point. FreeBSD will never be for people who aren't "hobbyists", period. Nor it should be; this is what linux is trying to figure out and I don't like where it's going/what has become of it, and it's exactly because it can't satisfy huge auditorium, everyone at the same time.

In fact, as long as it stays true to itself, rather than try to bland/mimic other operating systems, FreeBSD will ensure its existance.
 

throAU

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Auld_Besom said:
The PC-BSD people have the right idea (I think - I haven't looked at it): make a distribution that is complete out of the box. That can be installed and used without prayer and fasting or chicken-sacrifice.
Exactly.

For desktop use the ABILITY to have a million different Desktop Environments, etc is all well and good, but the 90% just want something that works and is consistent with the rest of the 90%.

I have other things to do with my life than investigating which environment to use, weighing up pros/cons and recompiling software to make it work.

Which is why I (after 10 years in free Unix desktop land) switched to OS X on the desktop.


The reality is, despite the fact that everyone thinks they're totally unique and need a unique solution to their problems, probably 99% of situations out there could be handled in a consistent, standardised way. Sure, make other options possible - but there should be sane default solutions to typical problems/tasks.

This is something unix (in general) appears to lack, and exactly why apple have made such a killing in the unix desktop market where Linux and the BSDs are floundering after twice as long to get things sorted out.

sk8harddiefast said:
I don't think that FreeBSD is not using today's technology.
zfs, ufs, can mount ext3-4, fat, ntfs, support ssh, nfs, samba,
Again, the problem is that to get a lot of that working, you need to be a nerd.

ZFS shouldn't require me to drop to a shell during install and manually partition my disks. It should be a tickbox in the installer.

Ditto for needing to hack on text files to configure samba, nfs, etc.


I'm not saying FreeBSD is useless by any stretch (I run it for plenty of internet facing stuff), but it could be so much more competitive.
 

sk8harddiefast

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Again, the problem is that to get a lot of that working, you need to be a nerd.

ZFS shouldn't require me to drop to a shell during install and manually partition my disks. It should be a tickbox in the installer.

Ditto for needing to hack on text files to configure samba, nfs, etc.
I don't disagree about that you are saying but a lot of people complains. We want this and that and the other. Sometimes me too I do it and is my fault. The question should be how to fix that to make FreeBSD better. I am not a FreeBSD guru. Even when I tried to port something I didn't made it. But believe me. If I had the knowledge to include zfs support on installer I had already do it.
 
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Anonymous

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Yes, I know I said my previous response would be my last one, but two things remain to be said. ThroAU has already said one of them, but I'll emphasise it.

1. This is not a zero-sum game.

Doing professionally packaged releases that meet the needs of millions of people doesn't mean turning FreeBSD into something proprietary that hobbyists can no longer play with. It simply means treating FreeBSD as the professional software it is. The same level of treatment given with less justification to Linux by groups like Red Hat, Slackware, Ubuntu, Debian and the rest.


2. It is very unhealthy on many levels to deny that something can happen when it already is happening.

Just like planetary overheating, Linux sucking the oxygen from FreeBSD is not something that might happen at some time in the future. It is happening now, has been happening for years, and will be the death of FreeBSD if it is allowed to continue just as planetary overheating will be the death of all high-order life on Earth if it is allowed to continue.

Don't remain in denial about what's going on, accept reality and either do what's needed to reverse the decline, or resign yourself to having FreeBSD continue to go the way of Minix and the UCSD P-system, losing seats, maintainers, and support until it drops below the level where it's worth doing new releases.

Although a FreeBSD-based server is superior to a Linux-based one, more hosting companies offer Linux-based servers than FreeBSD-based ones. There is a reason for that, and anyone who cares about the future of FreeBSD should think long and hard about that reason. Hint: it was for broadly the same reason that Ken Olsen used to practically give away PDP-11s and VAXen to universities.
 

zspider

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throAU said:
Exactly.

For desktop use the ABILITY to have a million different Desktop Environments, etc is all well and good, but the 90% just want something that works and is consistent with the rest of the 90%.

I have other things to do with my life than investigating which environment to use, weighing up pros/cons and recompiling software to make it work.

Which is why I (after 10 years in free Unix desktop land) switched to OS X on the desktop.


The reality is, despite the fact that everyone thinks they're totally unique and need a unique solution to their problems, probably 99% of situations out there could be handled in a consistent, standardised way. Sure, make other options possible - but there should be sane default solutions to typical problems/tasks.

This is something unix (in general) appears to lack, and exactly why apple have made such a killing in the unix desktop market where Linux and the BSDs are floundering after twice as long to get things sorted out.



Again, the problem is that to get a lot of that working, you need to be a nerd.

ZFS shouldn't require me to drop to a shell during install and manually partition my disks. It should be a tickbox in the installer.

Ditto for needing to hack on text files to configure samba, nfs, etc.


I'm not saying FreeBSD is useless by any stretch (I run it for plenty of internet facing stuff), but it could be so much more competitive.
It's called PC-BSD, FreeBSD will never be suitable for the masses and that's just fine with me.
 

SirDice

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I think a lot of the issues Auld_Besom has can be solved if the ports tree would also have a -RELEASE instead of only HEAD. If I remember correctly there was some talk about this some time ago. People that want to can still track the current HEAD, while others can take a -RELEASE and only get security updates. I'm not sure what happened to that discussion but I can imagine it's been shelved for lack of resources.
 
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