I think, at this stage, I am finally convinced that FreeBSD is not ready for all desktop users.

mzs47

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I have been a regular FreeBSD user since 2016 , I have ran it on work laptops(dual booted with Debian, for VoIP :) and on various desktops and have advocated about it, blogged about Jails, and filed bug reports on bugzilla and some third-party projects to get the OS supported. Tried to "do my bit", wherever I can.

Why? I am a strong believer in user's choice and more than the license of OS(it should be Libre, that is all), I wanted a viable alternative OS.

Compared to other BSDs, OpenIndian, Minix and GNU/Hurd, FreeBSD has most of the things that make it very viable, the sheer number of apps that are updated regularly(It is fresh like Fedora), the enterprise like features, a wholesome general purpose OS that has the reliability like Debian, and most importantly a supportive community for a user's journey, I have personally experienced this. (Thanks to all of you! :)

As a result I have always ignored the reviews and articles that contained the statement - 'FreeBSD is for servers and GNU/Linux for Desktops', believing that it is just a matter of time that FreeBSD will bubble up like GNU/Linux did, until now.

Now, coming to what made me loose confidence - Since couple of days I have faced the issue of suspend to memory(RAM) not working on a Ivy Bridge desktop with HD graphics(~ 8 years old now). I have read the wiki and it does support this on some Laptops, but not on desktops? I tried Debian on the same PCs and it "just worked".

You see, I never had to use this feature till now(always used to turn the PC off after work/play), as I finally bought a UPS that allows me to keep the PCs running without interruptions or shutting down for extended periods.
And suspend to RAM is really required in this case, to save energy and to resume from where a user left, instead of starting all applications anew.
I make use of this feature on the work laptop with Debian stable and I have been able to reach ~100 days without shutting down, until the kernel upgrades land.

In the past, I have ignored many other issues, like the wireless cards issues/not working, all laptop/multimedia keys not supported, VoIP apps support is patchy, etc.
But for this one my thought went like - "If FreeBSD does not support such a crucial thing on old hardware that is common unlike GPUs/Wireless, what is the priority for this project ? Will this feature ever be supported? Maybe it is like others observed, FreeBSD is only for servers that don't need this?".

Maybe one day FreeBSD will support this, but for now it is not viable for all users.
 

kpedersen

Son of Beastie

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Now, coming to what made me loose confidence - Since couple of days I have faced the issue of suspend to memory(RAM) not working on a Ivy Bridge desktop with HD graphics(~ 8 years old now). I have read the wiki and it does support this on some Laptops, but not on desktops? I tried Debian on the same PCs and it "just worked".

Hardware is always an issue for free operating systems (I have countless hardware that works badly with FreeBSD). This is usually where I state that macOS would do a much worse job of suspending to ram on your exact same hardware. In fact, macOS probably wouldn't even boot on that machine. and yet it is very popular as a consumer desktop operating system.

Yes, it may seem obvious as to why (Apple wants money) and yet we seem to expect projects with vastly less resources to support *more* than the commercial, well funded counter-parts? The same sits true with Windows. FreeBSD supports far more hardware than Window 10 because it doesn't abandon non profitable hardware unlike consumer Windows.

My advice is, choose the OS you want to use, and then buy the hardware that makes it work. It is a little bit unsatisfactory to think this way, but if something doesn't work; rip it out and replace it with something more appropriate. Second hand hardware in this day and age is almost free.

People may believe that an OS with a lack of hardware support will slowly die but I don't believe this to be the case. FreeBSD will likely support *every* generation of future hardware but a slightly smaller subset of that generation. So simply buy wisely.

Edit: I would also add that I have some hardware that works in FreeBSD but not Linux. In some ways it is just luck of the draw ;)
 

Factor

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As new person (me) your feedback is valuable. I have read lots of stories of people using FreeBSD on desktops and laptops. I came from and still currently using Linux and Mac on the desktop. Stopped using windows like 2 decades ago unless I was forced to (work). I always as an outsider who read posts over the years here always assumed those that built desktops/laptops on FreeBSD were nerds (like me) and just wanted to. I think some of this is steeped in the if they can (linux) we can too. However something my dad told me sort of echoes in my head "Son use the right tool for the job". FreeBSD's motto is "The Power to Serve." I always assumed it meant for Servers and such. That said I never considered it as a viable option for desktop. Can it be a desktop sure could it be better sure. In general again just a simple guy on the outside looking in seems to me FreeBSD is for Servers. Also so most dont get me wrong I think the FreeBSD team could make it become anything they wanted it to become. It's not that it not doable I just dont see it as a goal they have.

Where ever you are I hope you and everyone you know is well.
 

sidetone

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I saw a thread on here with a link, that a developer for video graphics drivers on FreeBSD was frustrated that his work for it wasn't acknowledged, and how companies that used his improvements made money but didn't give back to the project which made improvements. The person said, I'll work on a project when I feel like it (as if it were a hobby), and not be so eager which companies make a profit from and won't give back. I wasn't able to find this thread or link at a later time. GPL also gets those improvements, and doesn't allow their code back into FreeBSD.

It's everyone's choice what to use. Enough works on FreeBSD now. The difference in price from a free OS to a paid one is also less than some video cards that do enough.

Suspend RAM on a videocard is an advanced feature, which it seems like the priority was to get a card to work with enough features for good enough video graphics. NVidia provides their own closed source drivers for FreeBSD: an Nvidia user may be better able to give better information about the capability of those features.

Bluetooth past version 2 is what doesn't work, and perhaps on Linux as well.
 

Beastie7

Aspiring Daemon

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If you're expecting people to give derivative work or monetary incentive back for the free work you contribute; then they should probably re-evaluate why they choose to do copy-center open source to begin with, or use the GPL (and subsequenlty other open source platforms). I don't understand this sentiment at all.

To the OP:

I agree. Especially with the bluetooth (I hate wires) and suspend/resume part. Crucial work is missing.
 

sidetone

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If you're expecting people to give derivative work or monetary incentive back for the free work you contribute; then they should probably re-evaluate why they choose to do copy-center open source to begin with, or use the GPL (and subsequenlty other open source platforms). I don't understand this sentiment at all.
An attitude like that, is a statement in support of: FreeBSD deserves to be killed off. It doesn't. The statement is also in support of: FreeBSD shouldn't get donations either.
 

richardtoohey2

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My Mac's bluetooth audio plays up. iTunes or Music or whatever is called doesn't show some tracks I've purchased on my iPad. My Microsoft Surface Windows 10 tablet used to refuse to connect to Wifi after going to sleep - I had to reboot to get it to connect again. Some recent update seems to have fixed that. My Mint install on an HP laptop sometimes ends up with broken packages. My OpenBSD machines wifi is always sporadic so I often to have to bring the wireless down & back up again. My Intel NUC seems to have thermal issues.

Nothing's perfect.
 

Mjölnir

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Show me a BIOS that strictly conforms to the standard specs... there's very likely none. Open source OSs rely on conformance to the published standards, and include quirks to cope with known incompatibilities. Linux, as a widely deployed OS, has far more of those quirks included than any other open source OS. That's why on your machine suspend to RAM works on Linux, but not on FreeBSD.
EDIT You can try if hibernation (suspend to disk (dedicated partition)) works. Look in the howto section of the forum.EDIT
 

Beastie7

Aspiring Daemon

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An attitude like that, is a statement in support of: FreeBSD deserves to be killed off. It doesn't. The statement is also in support of: FreeBSD shouldn't get donations either.
You misunderstand. There's a difference between simply asking for donations or contributed work, and doing work with the expectation that people should give back or give you money for it. The FreeBSD Foundation does none of the latter. There is a clause in the BSD license that states those who use BSD licensed software to acknowledge the author of the original work involved. That is all someone needs.
 

sidetone

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My OpenBSD machines wifi is always sporadic so I often to have to bring the wireless down & back up again. My Intel NUC seems to have thermal issues.

Nothing's perfect.
Add BSSID, set a dedicated channel, and other specific arguments to wpa_supplicant.conf and rc.conf. It limits the work and finding the card has to do, even on already established connections, and should help a lot with sporadic wifi.

My wifi on FreeBSD seemed to work a whole lot better after setting those arguments, but they had to be correct.
 

sidetone

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I think they should get some appreciation, but monetary is not a given. Not a lot, but a little bit of monetary is reasonable for past work.

I think the person can say, I did this, show appreciation here. Because a lot of people don't know, or attribute it to a different or bigger project. And for more, based on what they've done (like an item on a resume), they'll accept bounties for future work.

I believe it deserves to be appreciated to some extent. At one point, we shouldn't support one piece of work by someone, to the point that makes them a millionaire.
 

Factor

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Ok this is so cool... What I notice here is you all don't just agree it could be bad and move on... You all just jump in and give him suggestions how to make it better for him now. Wow just wow..

I am so mad now at myself that I wasn't here 20 years ago...
 

kpedersen

Son of Beastie

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My OpenBSD machines wifi is always sporadic so I often to have to bring the wireless down & back up again.
Mine was too since around 6.2. Turns out it was the mode used (a, b, g, n). With the default mode (probably trying n), after a while I would get booted. If yours is the same, perhaps you can try the same fix:

Code:
# ifconfig iwn0 mode 11g

I love that OpenBSD doesn't frig around with wpa_supplicant but often FreeBSD's stack does end up to be more reliable for me. I have an Atheros card on a Thinkpad Z60 that outright kernel panics as soon as I bring it up on OpenBSD. Works great on FreeBSD and *ehem* Windows XP.
 

ShelLuser

Son of Beastie

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In my biased opinion open source in general isn't ready for the desktop.

Simply because it requires you - as a programmer - to think outside your own bubble and try to imagine what others might want from it. You'll also need to swallow your own pride so to speak and accept that when people dislike your idea of the ideal IDE then it might be better to adapt instead of trying to enforce what you think is best.

But with open source it's more than often a one way street. Part of that (which is my theory) is because many can't seem to make the difference between users who will like anything you do because it's free and those who are seriously using your product and only share criticism because they hope things get better. And I base that opinion on past experiences. For example.... Blender, an open source 3D modelling environment. It's good, but it's hardly user friendly. In fact, until a few years ago the project insisted that using the right mouse button to click on things (vs. the left button) was the best way to go. Who cares that the rest of the world did otherwise? Open source projects can change on a single developers whim and if you don't like that you can go fork yourself.

Yah... it took them a few years and a whole lot of criticism and banned users but amazingly enough they suddenly saw the light. I think (personal impressions) that happened when they saw their revenue go down. Wait a second... Revenue and open source? ;)

Heck... LibreOffice considers it an important feat that they still support the PCX format. I'm not too sure about that... I take greater value in the ability to support my widescreen monitor. You know: using excess space to position pages next to each other instead of stacked...


Anyway, one thing which many (desktop) users enjoy is continuance. Don't change stuff because you need a new sales pitch but just give us more of what we love and enjoy. It took Microsoft 30 years to find out but it seems they finally got the message with Windows 10, at least that's my impression.

For the record.... I've been happily using a Linux powered KDE desktop back in 2003 for many years but eventually moved back to Windows because I had to get things done and the constant changes in the desktop environment were seriously killing my progress.

And I've only saw the same thing happening over and over again. The last disasters (IMO) were NetBeans and Gimp out of all products. Gimp is an awesome environment, don't get me wrong, but there are several niche functions which are no longer fully supported. Of course you won't find out when you merely upgrade the program but you will run into these issues when you do a fresh install. If you use those functions. Minor detailed issues, yes, but... creativity can shine or drop due to minor issues. I kinda replaced it with Photoshop Elements because of those annoyances.

Personally I highly value 2 kinds of environments. I'll take FreeBSD over Windows as a server any day of the week, but having said that I also heavily prefer Windows 10 over FreeBSD (or any other X based desktop) as a client OS just as strongly.
 

Speedy

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I never understood what is the advantage of a bloated DE, I use minimalist OpenBox with some added goodies for taskbar and quick launch and it does everything I ever need. Indeed, I never use GUI tools for system setup, I have none of those. Is this why people use Gnome and KDE, GUI tools for system?
On the other hand, doesn't Red Hat supply FBI and other gov agencies with desktop computers? I think it is all Red Hat parade there.
 

richardtoohey2

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For the record.... I've been happily using a Linux powered KDE desktop back in 2003 for many years but eventually moved back to Windows because I had to get things done and the constant changes in the desktop environment were seriously killing my progress.
I know what you mean but to me it feels more that all software/environments change more often than I'd like - Windows included (but also *BSD, the desktop environments, iOS, Mac, etc.). And I think adapting to change gets more difficult as I get older!

It's good that we have choices - it means more chance that we'll find something that works for us - but sadly it would be nice to have a bit of x from Windows, y from *BSD, z from Mac, p from Gnome, q from KDE, etc. Not one of them matches exactly what I'm looking for in terms of stability or functionality or ease-of-use or whatever and at some point they all deserve to be chucked out the window!
 

the3ajm

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I use my 2008 laptop for general desktop use mainly for browsing I'm not expecting for all my applications and hardware to work but at least it'll does what I want so going in that's the tradeoff I'm looking at. I've used Linux before and it might be more user friendly but faces similar issues so in terms of putting FreeBSD as a client OS I think it's purely for a backup on the type of things that I can do.
 

Factor

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in general isn't ready for the desktop.
Right there is a difference in the technical ability to be a desktop vs able to have your mother, sister and neighbor want to use it. It has to be a super easy system and have a usable ecosystem. Not for people like us... if you can't give it to your non techy friend or spouse then it won't ever fly.. is this is what you mean when you say.
you - as a programmer - to think outside your own bubble and try to imagine what others might want from it.
If you go to the grocery store and stop 10 people how many will even know Linux or FreeBSD or insert open source here. They don't. We do sure the avarage users no...
adapting to change gets more difficult as I get older!
Me to so true.
is this why people use Gnome and KDE, GUI tools for system?
People use these because they are in the small niche of techie people who like Linux and know what it is.
Average users dont even know what bloated is..or linux or FreeBSD. example: Google is always advertising the chromebook as a low cost device for people. Do they mention it runs on open source no.. why No Brand awareness.
I'll take FreeBSD over Windows as a server any day of the week
For sure totally agree.
 

PMc

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Now, coming to what made me loose confidence - Since couple of days I have faced the issue of suspend to memory(RAM) not working on a Ivy Bridge desktop with HD graphics(~ 8 years old now). I have read the wiki and it does support this on some Laptops, but not on desktops? I tried Debian on the same PCs and it "just worked".
I used this for quite a while, on my desktop (i5-3570T on ASUS P8B75-V); I can confirm it did "just work" here with desktop.

I gave up on it because I had only one disk at that time, and a ZFS remote send/recv mirroring, and my shell script that did this, it did not like to be interrupted in midflight. Not a FreeBSD issue.
 

Beastie7

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Personally I highly value 2 kinds of environments. I'll take FreeBSD over Windows as a server any day of the week, but having said that I also heavily prefer Windows 10 over FreeBSD (or any other X based desktop) as a client OS just as strongly.

I long for a Windows 7-like environment on top of FreeBSD. I really miss that OS.. Plasma is nice but I find it way too graphically bloated.
 

diortemew

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In the past month, I destroyed my Windows 10 install, and after getting FreeBSD up and running with an Nvidia GPU (which is brutally stupid), and a few weeks thereafter my Fedora Workstation install. I was strictly FreeBSD for about three weeks. Now I have FreeBSD on an old Dell AIO (it doesn't like FreeBSD, Ubuntu, Debian, Parrot, or Fedora) running non-GUI for helping me learn the server-side of the OS. I have in the past few days moved from FreeBSD back to Windows + WSL2 + Docker where I run Ubuntu 20.04 for development on the Windows side, then dual-boot into Fedora (my fave OS next to FreeBSD) which is my daily driver.

I wanted to buy an AMD card, but the crypto-farm craze has their GPUs so costly I want to puke. I wanted to move from the 8GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 to a 4GB AMD R9 290X, because the Nvidia nonsense has made my FreeBSD experience a trying one. I will not give up on FreeBSD, however, and I will continue to push my limits with it in a VM in terms of desktop setup and utilization. But I have to agree with you, using it as a desktop is difficult. I would much rather move to a single OS [FreeBSD, not GhostBSD or OpenBSD or some other derivitive] that works with my system and any GPU on the market. I don't think they are as bad off as you make it seem, but it has been trying for me when I want to make the move. I don't need Windows. And Linux is Unix at the core, then Linux next, so why settle for Linus' vision when I can stick with the OS that keeps everything neat, clear, documented, and nearly epic? I am sure they will get it together sooner than later. But they are only so many people, they will need time. And after the pandemic, maybe we'll see some changes when people's lives are not disrupted by a deadly, worldwide virus.

I can't wait to make the move. But for now, I am staying where I am comfortable, and focusing on work.

Cheers,

_diortemew
 

diortemew

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I long for a Windows 7-like environment on top of FreeBSD. I really miss that OS.. Plasma is nice but I find it way too graphically bloated.
Plasma is beast with the extra stuff (like the shattering windows on close), but I am with you on this: it is a bloated mess. I just tested it on a machine for a month straight, had it looking good, but went back to dwm. There is simply too much going on there. I hope they make a KDE Magma or something, where it's only the work environment and not all of the extra programs and such. I don't need 7,000 menu items or 3,000 settings columns. As amazing as it is, it sinks due to the bloat.
 
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