FuryBSD is dead..

A. D. Sharpe Sr.

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Nonsense.

I had a 386 in about 93 or so, when they became affordable to a young researcher. At that point, I had a few choices of installing software: SysV (several thousand $), BSDi (about $1000), or Linux (free). 386BSD was not functional at that time ... it was an experimental system. And getting a distribution from Berkeley's CSRG was impossible for an individual. By the way, please don't think that my criticism of 386BSD is to be taken as a personal dig against Lynn and Bill (whom I know personally, they live close to me, and like have been involved in school volunteering and politics), but as a statement of fact.

Yes, the installer was awful. I started with the SLS distribution (34 floppy disks!), then switched to Yggdrasil, and Slackware. But it worked! And it had Xwindows support (which I needed, I was doing numerical analysis and graphing); on BSD, you needed to have an exact model video card (the Tseng ET4000), since no other cards were supported, and that card was de-facto impossible to buy for individuals, since Tseng had no distribution network.

Here is the real reason Linux became a success: By 94, there was lots of software available for it. For example, I needed a certain data analysis toolkit (CERN's hbook/hplot/PAW), and because Linux was an immediate hit with the CERN and physics folks, it got compiled for Linux within days. I needed a good Fortran compiler, and I ended up making my own contributions to f2c to get it compatible on Linux; at the time, BSD had no Fortran compiler at all (which it didn't need, since the system was intended to be a CS research tool, and computer scientists don't program in Fortran). Also in 94, the first C++ compilers started working reliably, and a commercial GUI builder for Linux came out with a C++ backend. BSD was a niche solution for computer scientists and a few hobbyists, whereas Linux was used in production by then.

By the late 90s, the success of Linux had become inevitable. I remember sitting in the lobby of HP Labs in 99, and Linus was ushered in, he was the guest of honor at a research conference. While a few people in the audience would have recognized Kirk, Eric or Sam, Linus was already a rock star. From a research viewpoint, BSD was ahead (Linux internals were a mess), but Linux already had a giant market share, and more importantly mind share. Just as an example: When the first Itanium chips came out (in about 99, that's when secret prototype chips and boards became available internally at Intel and HP), the first OSes ported to it were ... HP-UX and VMS. Obviously, since those were needed to run on it. At the same time, a very small group (fundamentally one guy) ported Linux to it. While the lab where that port was done was a a heavy BSD user, nobody even considered putting BSD on the chip. What would be the point? At that time, Linux was already used by a massive number of machines, while BSD was a niche product, used for research and embedded products.

That's not "hype and bandwagoneering". The reality is that Linux filled a giant hole in the market, and succeeded spectacularly at it.
All of that was great to read. I love reading about that period of time, because we can never go back & relive them. However, what you've done is simply illustrated instances of bandwagoning. You've shown us bandwagoneering in the early 90s that lead to Linux's success post-90s. You mentioned Linus being a rockstar. You've even mentioned how Linux internals were a mess. But hey, you've also mentioned a few big companies that jumped on that bandwagon. So, I'll concede on the fact that Linux did get mindshare & marketshare quickly. However, here's my question to you:

In your opinion, what would FBSD (or any BSD for that matter) have to do to pull ahead of Linux?
 

kpedersen

Son of Beastie

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there're been multiple groups splitting off & providing it.
And failing. This is the key part.

As @ralphbz mentioned, BSD was relegated to more niche research positions. But that *is* its position. It will not weaken on that because otherwise you could just use Linux. It doesn't make sense to try to make a worse Linux than Linux. The Linux communities just need to clean up their own project.

BSD had no Fortran compiler at all (which it didn't need, since the system was intended to be a CS research tool, and computer scientists don't program in Fortran). Also in 94, the first C++ compilers started working reliably, and a commercial GUI builder for Linux came out with a C++ backend. BSD was a niche solution for computer scientists and a few hobbyists, whereas Linux was used in production by then.
This was interesting. Did BSD not get a C++ compiler until quite late? I assumed cfront was going to be on BSD before most other platforms.

It is always amazing how little idealizm there was back then, people would just use / prefer any crap if it had a newer feature they needed. I always saw that, even with MS-DOS people would give up a fairly interesting UNIX workstation just to access some ratty publishing software compatible with DOS XD
 

Beastie7

Aspiring Daemon

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So, this persons entire argument is based on the premise that there is a demand for an OOTB experience (which we all already agreed upon), and that developers are oblivious and/or ignorant of this demand. The committers have been discussing this demand for years, and they've consistently (at various Conferences) explained why this endeavor is a hard task to execute. This person also fails to acknowledge that all required desktop infrastrucutre (DRM, Mesa3d, libinput, WINE, X11/Wayland, etc) are upstream Linux, and that simply chasing upstream is a zero sum game; yet the developers have made strides to provide said libraries for FreeBSD. It's also worth noting that ABI/API stability is a MUST with regards to shipping libraries in base.

At this point, replying to this person is akin to talking to a brick wall. They simply don't get it, or they're willfully naive and/or ignorant of the entire predicament.
 

ralphbsz

Son of Beastie

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In your opinion, what would FBSD (or any BSD for that matter) have to do to pull ahead of Linux?
What do you mean by "pull ahead"? Achieve higher market share? That's flat out impossible. Look, the market share of Linux is 100% among supercomputers, 99% on non-windows servers. That ship has sailed decades ago, the decision was made when nearly everyone embraced Linux in the mid 90s. Among desktops, the market share of Linux is tiny (about 2%, give or take 1%), and the market share of FreeBSD is one or two orders of magnitude lower. Again, catching up with Linux is not possible.

Nor is it desirable. The world is not about being a race. Winning doesn't mean being the richest person or fastest runner. It means being good at what you do. FreeBSD is good at being a tight, well-engineered niche operating system. Leaving that niche would destroy it. If you really want to see FreeBSD deployed on lots of desktops, who is going to be doing the support? Where do you find companies like RedHat and Suse that offer paid support to millions of users? In the desktop market, FreeBSD has no advantages, many disadvantages, and a gigantic (unsurmountable) gap compared to Windows, MacOS and Linux. Nor is the desktop market interesting. FreeBSD lives from volunteer developers, and most don't find the desktop an interesting problem to work on. The foundation gets lots of donations from big users of FreeBSD, but they don't use it on the desktop. One of the underlying problems is that FreeBSD has always been associated with the core systems research community, and GUI is not a topic of systems research, so those people who are the greatest experts on BSD internals (the ones that publish papers at SOSP, ASPLOS and OSDI) and give talks at Usenix are not the ones that care about windows, mouse clicks, and installers. They are the people who are happy that they don't have to toggle the OS into the front panel switches any longer.

A few hobbyists are trying to keep desktop usage viable on FreeBSD (same with OpenBSD, I don't know about NetBSD). That's honorable and appreciated. Helping them would be an interesting idea, but that's not where my personal interest lies.

This was interesting. Did BSD not get a C++ compiler until quite late? I assumed cfront was going to be on BSD before most other platforms.
BSD had cfront from very early on. But by the early 90, cfront was eclipsed (pun!) by gcc and the commercial compilers (vendor-specific like HP or IBM, and Portland Group). Cfront was mostly used by the research and language community, and was not practical for production. For a long time, gcc was only useful on x86, since on other hardware platforms, the vendor-specific compilers generated much better code.
 

A. D. Sharpe Sr.

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What do you mean by "pull ahead"? Achieve higher market share? That's flat out impossible. Look, the market share of Linux is 100% among supercomputers, 99% on non-windows servers. That ship has sailed decades ago, the decision was made when nearly everyone embraced Linux in the mid 90s. Among desktops, the market share of Linux is tiny (about 2%, give or take 1%), and the market share of FreeBSD is one or two orders of magnitude lower. Again, catching up with Linux is not possible.

Nor is it desirable. The world is not about being a race. Winning doesn't mean being the richest person or fastest runner. It means being good at what you do. FreeBSD is good at being a tight, well-engineered niche operating system. Leaving that niche would destroy it. If you really want to see FreeBSD deployed on lots of desktops, who is going to be doing the support? Where do you find companies like RedHat and Suse that offer paid support to millions of users? In the desktop market, FreeBSD has no advantages, many disadvantages, and a gigantic (unsurmountable) gap compared to Windows, MacOS and Linux. Nor is the desktop market interesting. FreeBSD lives from volunteer developers, and most don't find the desktop an interesting problem to work on. The foundation gets lots of donations from big users of FreeBSD, but they don't use it on the desktop. One of the underlying problems is that FreeBSD has always been associated with the core systems research community, and GUI is not a topic of systems research, so those people who are the greatest experts on BSD internals (the ones that publish papers at SOSP, ASPLOS and OSDI) and give talks at Usenix are not the ones that care about windows, mouse clicks, and installers. They are the people who are happy that they don't have to toggle the OS into the front panel switches any longer.

A few hobbyists are trying to keep desktop usage viable on FreeBSD (same with OpenBSD, I don't know about NetBSD). That's honorable and appreciated. Helping them would be an interesting idea, but that's not where my personal interest lies.
Fair enough.
 

A. D. Sharpe Sr.

Active Member

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So, this persons entire argument is based on the premise that there is a demand for an OOTB experience (which we all already agreed upon), and that developers are oblivious and/or ignorant of this demand. The committers have been discussing this demand for years, and they've consistently (at various Conferences) explained why this endeavor is a hard task to execute. This person also fails to acknowledge that all required desktop infrastrucutre (DRM, Mesa3d, libinput, WINE, X11/Wayland, etc) are upstream Linux, and that simply chasing upstream is a zero sum game; yet the developers have made strides to provide said libraries for FreeBSD. It's also worth noting that ABI/API stability is a MUST with regards to shipping libraries in base.

At this point, replying to this person is akin to talking to a brick wall. They simply don't get it, or they're willfully naive and/or ignorant of the entire predicament.
Actually, that's not my argument, at all. My actual argument is that every time a user mentions how the user experience could be better, you guys try to stifle that user. I also said that my argument isn't with the developers. You're trying your best to paint my argument as something that it's not. So, no I'm not being willfully ignorant, but YOU are being intellectually dishonest.
 

kpedersen

Son of Beastie

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So, GhostBSD is failing?
Obviously I wish the project well but the very fact that you are on this forum and not theirs suggests that they haven't managed to quite capture so many users such as yourself. Why is that?

GhostBSD actually make a lot of good decisions. For example, it is not just some Gnome 3 mess. It actually looks usable. However I believe they would be better if they stayed closer to FreeBSD rather than going their own route. The closest example I can give is the relationship between DropLine Gnome and Slackware: http://www.droplinegnome.org/
Perhaps even a collection of ports / packages that install to /usr/ghost_local or something so that the desktop bits doesn't pollute the rest of the system but a user can still benefit from it. Similar to /usr/dt. So those *few* users who want a full blown desktop environment can easily install it.

Also, for the record, I am quite interested in graphics and desktop usability. I am even developing a fairly substantial remote desktop system based on FreeBSD, as well as my own GUI library. However, FreeBSD aside, the free-software community is so far away from having a good desktop UI that I think it would actively damage FreeBSD to try to include things like Gtk, Qt and Wayland inside it. Perhaps once Gnome 3 and Wayland has finally run its course and something good has replaced it, then perhaps FreeBSD could even consider looking at recommending a GUI. Even now, for an average user, Linux is still a joke. At least by remaining completely unknown, FreeBSD retains the benefit of the doubt XD
 

Beastie7

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Wine (note the spelling) actually treats FreeBSD very fairly, they don't really see themself as a primarily Linux project.

Oh, that's great! I retract that then. :)

My actual argument is that every time a user mentions how the user experience could be better, you guys try to stifle that user.

The only issue was that FBSD isn't providing it.

Oh so we're moving goalposts now. A lot of us have previously raised the same issues regarding the desktop. You're not the first. Again, you're in the wrong place; speak with the developers. I'm sure they'll be happy to reiterate the same stuff we're telling you here.
 

A. D. Sharpe Sr.

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Oh so we're moving goalposts now. A lot of us have previously raised the same issues regarding the desktop. You're not the first. Again, you're in the wrong place; speak with the developers. I'm sure they'll be happy to reiterate the same stuff we're telling you here.
You're trying to mix 2 statements from 2 separate replies to 2 separate statements. In order for it to be moving the goalposts, they would have to be for the same argument -but they're not. It's clear that you're not actually reading the thread fully. But I've made my point, so I digress.
 

Snurg

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It takes developers away from work that needs to be done on the core system.
Honestly, I don't have the impression that the 'name-stealers' who take FreeBSD, slap a preconfigured DM over it and claim it SomeMogelpackungBSD contribute much to the core system.

The vast majority of people contributing to Linux are employees who do so as their job. Intel, IBM, Oracle, RedHat, Microsoft, Samsung, Suse, and so on.
It is always good to look where something was made by whom and why.
How much big evil is in it.

Linux... ...the installer was awful... ... distribution (34 floppy disks!)...
...on BSD, you needed to have an exact model video card (the Tseng ET4000)...
I knew very very few diehards who were able to stand the eyestrain of 56Hz refresh of 800x600 or 43 Hz interlaced 1024x768 for extended periods that the Tseng was able to support.
At FreeBSD 1.0 CDROM release 1994 there was no support for S3 etc, so GUI was no fun at all.
This at a time where Macs and Windows already commonly worked at at least 70, 75Hz upward.
I became a regular user only since FBSD 4.x.
 

tuaris

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I probably shouldn't, but I will anyway..

In no particular order, as of 2021, I categorize (this non-exhaustive list of) OS's as follows:
(I won't get into embedded platforms)

Mobile

- Android
- Chrome OS
- iOS

Desktop/Laptop

- Windows
- MacOS

Workstation

- FreeBSD
- Windows
- Fedora (and derivatives)
- Debian (and derivatives)

Server

- FreeBSD
- Debian (and derivatives)
- Fedora (and derivatives)
- SUSE

FreeBSD makes for a great workstation and server OS. Windows and Macintosh currently own the desktop space, but I think that will change once HaikuOS gains some ground. Linux, while it currently seems to be winning at mobile is actually trying to be all those things and (in my opinion) failing.

The point is that each OS has a target platform, and people mistakenly treat workstations and desktops as the same. There is a huge difference between the two and once that is understood you realize that Unix/Linux wasn't designed to be a desktop operating system.

For me, the ideal world would (have) be/been:

Palm/Web OS for my mobile devices
FreeBSD for my servers
HaikuOS for my desktop

btw, I currently 'try' to use FreeBSD as a desktop OS with the help of this script I maintain: https://github.com/tuaris/freebsd-desktop
 

drhowarddrfine

Son of Beastie

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Snurg That has nothing to do with what I said. He asked why developers aren't working on graphical UIs and that is what I replied to.
 

vigole

Daemon

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I see some confusions about nature of open source projects on this thread.
Mr. McKusick has a great presentation on: How open source projects work.
I can't remember the title, but video is on Internet, and you can easily STFW.

.BTW, It's FreeBSD, not FBSD.
 

foxdie99

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One of the reasons the Linux Desktop is so sucessfull seems to be the distribution explosion. People wanting different things leads to inovation I think.
GhostBSD is a FreeBSD Distribution (They deliver the FreeBSD Core, of course they use openRC, but the init system is different topic) that tries to solve the lack of Desktop "problem" in FreeBSD. This is wonderfull.
FreeBSD can focus on developing its wonderfull OS (Kernel + Userland) and other distributions can contribute to the desktop world.

I was tired of jumping from distribution to distribution in the Linux world, so I started my own GNU/linux with the Linux from Scratch project. It gave me the ability to understand how a bare system is built and the potential behind it. I gave up on it because I should support distributions which contribute to the forward momentum of the upstream!

I like GNU/Debian but if I (and others) use GNU/Ubuntu because of their Desktop focus (do not missunderstand here actual desktop developments like Gnome and KDE) things are bound to reach Debian Base some when! That is actually true today!

I hope some day GhostBSD will answer the prayers of many users who which to have an easy solution for a FreeBSD Desktop, by contributing their improvements to the FreeBSD.

That said, leave FreeBSD alone! It is going forward as it can to provide a Stable and Reliable System! If want a specific feature, make a FreeBSD distribution and focus on that direction until you have a wonderfull thing for the Core team to implement!

PS: It is a nice topic, just a bit misguided.
 

kpedersen

Son of Beastie

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I was tired of jumping from distribution to distribution in the Linux world, so I started my own GNU/linux with the Linux from Scratch project. It gave me the ability to understand how a bare system is built and the potential behind it. I gave up on it because I should support distributions which contribute to the forward momentum of the upstream!

As you have found out, no distribution can cater for all user needs, which leads to the hobby of distro jumping.
The nice thing about FreeBSD is that it is almost like the "Linux from scratch" approach. And yet, it is also the upstream.
 

foxdie99

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As you have found out, no distribution can cater for all user needs, which leads to the hobby of distro jumping.
The nice thing about FreeBSD is that it is almost like the "Linux from scratch" approach. And yet, it is also the upstream.
Exactly!
 

malco_2001

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As the author of FuryBSD the LiveCD builder I wanted to come back here at some point and give an update. From my point of view I made a LiveCD builder which automated the task of booting to a desktop environment. I don’t know any programming language but shell scripting so I took it as far as I could.

At some point Simon Peter the author of AppImage came along, wrote a very nice article, started filing tickets, starting pull requests, adding CI, adding a graphical installer. A little later because of that more developers started to contribute, and join the conversations in IRC. During this time I was also encouraging Simon to fork FuryBSD for HelloSystem in the hopes that he could quickly adapt to keep going on his own with a little guidance on how things worked.

Having contributed a rewrite of GhostBSD LiveCD prior to this as I was winding down FuryBSD I decided to work with that project to contribute improvements once again so that my effort could come full circle. I even took the time to fix some unrelated things like broken OpenRC scripts for VMware in GhostBSD, and some other errors at boot which just interested me to help fix. These were things I learned how to do from helping the TrueOS, and PC-BSD projects also.

Is FuryBSD really dead? I say as an inexperienced programmer who did this in my spare time I consider it an achievement to have initially developed something that allowed something like HelloSystem to be created. I think that’s the entire point, and mission statement of making software open source. Of course I wish these other projects, or future projects the best, and hope that they can stick around longer than mine.
 

Beastie7

Aspiring Daemon

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I had no idea helloSystem had that much influence. Interesting. I definitely support what Simon is doing, and share his insights.
 

Trihexagonal

Son of Beastie

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Is FuryBSD really dead? I say as an inexperienced programmer who did this in my spare time I consider it an achievement to have initially developed something that allowed something like HelloSystem to be created. I think that’s the entire point, and mission statement of making software open source. Of course I wish these other projects, or future projects the best, and hope that they can stick around longer than mine.
You are to be commended for the work you did, IMO.

I was part of PC-BSD from the beta stage and remember how things were then. I stayed with them as a tester after it went mainstream to keep learning BSD. I left the forums for 2 years to study a wider range of topics and increase my computer knowledge in the trenches.

When I returned X-Systems had bought in and things had changed markedly in the way they were run and handled. Not for the better and that's more than my opinion already stated .

You did what you did without the resources they had. I tried Fury out and it was alright. It wasn't for me but FreeBSD isn't for a lot of people. My Sister works at a computer all day but readily admits she couldn't follow my Tutorial to set one up. She knows the Program she uses, when it needs worked on she calls and somebody like me comes to do it.

Fury would give people the same break I got with PC-BSD and needed to get to the desktop, It's good GhostBSD is around but I like building mine from ground up.

I'm trying to teach two people in my building to use FreeBSD now. Both at different ends of the scale.

One has a Degree in Computer Science -Communications. He could probably cut you some nice cable and I can talk to him in terminology I use here, but he has watched me through the build process and couldn't sit down and run mine yet.

That's what he wants though. The sense of accomplishment that will come with building it himself. I'm teaching him ports, i told him pkg may be better for him but it was the Handbook he would learn that from.

The other has never used a computer before. I figured if he was going to learn it might as well be BSD if I'm teaching him. I gave him my i386 box with a working version of 11.2. on it. He can't type to enter his own password, but I am patient with him as the other guy. I had to change it to 22222 so he could get logged in to where he could start learning on his own. I've still got root.

Both will have different questions and I'll work with both as long as it takes if they show me they are working to learn.

But Fury or GhostBSD not for them.
 

Samuel Venable

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I find with NomadBSD and GhostBSD are still going strong, and helloSystem is a nice addition to the mix. I think while it's not pleasant FuryBSD got killed off, I happen to like what I've seen of helloSystem and find it would appeal to more users.
 
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