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Using FreeBSD as Desktop OS

ILUXA

Aspiring Daemon

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I am not advocating that FreeBSD should ignore GPUs, suspend/resume and WiFi completely. But one has to consider that every second of work invested into those tasks is a second less that's available for other tasks
And this is the biggest FreeBSD problem, for those who are trying to use it as desktop,
because it is very painful to wait, when something desktop related will be fixed (never?).

There is no need to be "focused on desktop use" like "Lennart",
but such basic and essential features should just work and be available to users,
as well as GPU support IMO.
 

drhowarddrfine

Son of Beastie

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And this is the biggest FreeBSD problem, for those who are trying to use it as desktop,
because it is very painful to wait, when something desktop related will be fixed (never?).
Again I have to say I don't know what you're talking about. We've used i3 and fluxbox and other window managers without issue. I had wifi running on my laptop till it broke. Wifi will work if you select the right hardware and that hardware is cheap and easily available. True, that might not be built into your laptop but that might not mean anything to one on his desktop.

I can't say I recall any issues with any software we have ever used that wasn't the same on other OSes except chromium. So I just don't get what the issue is.
 

ILUXA

Aspiring Daemon

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Of course your i3 WM will work OK on every system.
Specifically I was talking about suspend problem with Nvidia GPU-s,
suspend is broken since 10.3 or 10.2 RELEASE for my GPU.

Wifi will work if you select the right hardware and that hardware is cheap and easily available. True, that might not be built into your laptop but that might not mean anything to one on his desktop.
Yes, change your Wi-Fi, remove your Nvidia card, use crappy intel integrated graphics and be a happy desktop user :D

Again, I don't want to argue with you guys, it is only my personal opinion,
personally I see some problems with FreeBSD, when using it as desktop system,
and there are many of them, when comparing with Linux, for example.
EVERYTHING that related to GPU supported and works much better on GNU/Linux OS-es.
I believe if problem will be discussed, more likely it will be resolved, and if nobody will say nothing,
it will be overlooked, that's why I started to write something in this thread.
Of course I believe that all is working OK for you, drhowarddrfine, moreover I respect you
very much, because you've posted a lot of useful stuff here, on FreeBSD forums.

I ended this discussion. Yes, FreeBSD is perfect, if you believe so ;) I respect other religions as well :)
 

Snurg

Aspiring Daemon

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unimportant subjective OT:
My feeling is that in this thread new paradigms and old thinking patterns expose themselves in a very interesting manner.

Engelbert invented the mouse in 1962, but it got a mass article not before the Mac 1984, together with the "GUI".
The last punch card systems were phased out about that time. Terminals are almost as museal now.

The mainframes died out, too. The supercomputers came.
8bit died out when the 8088 came, and for "number crunchers" the "numeric coprocessor" 8087 came. (Which got integral part of every x86 from 486 on).

Late 1990s the first OSes started to offer hibernation. 20 years all major PC oses offer hibernation.
(suspend to ram is no substitution, it requires new startup when for example changing battery or having an extended power outage, so that UPS need to hibernate the system. It will eventually become a must for every non-trivial system to be able to just continue without restarting from scratch after power reconnect.)
Time to hibernate also becomes negligible as flash storage replaces disk drives.

You just cannot do all things with "normal" GP processors. GPUs seem the "numeric coprocessors" of tomorrow.
(Or maybe FPGAs for wider applications, not limited to number crunching or crypto hashing)

As ralphbsz said, Linux scales from supercomputers to smartwatches.
Unix seems almost as dead as dodo. FreeBSD has to find its niche - maybe it's just its license that keeps it alive.
Sorry if I offended people - this is not my intention. Happy hugs :)
 

drhowarddrfine

Son of Beastie

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Of course your i3 WM will work OK on every system.
Then what's the problem?
Specifically I was talking about suspend problem with Nvidia GPU-s,
suspend is broken since 10.3 or 10.2 RELEASE for my GPU.
I don't need suspend for my workstation. I don't use a notebook anymore since my last one broke. This sounds like one of those complaints on some boards where people go on for eons about "boot time like they booted up their computer every few minutes.
Yes, change your Wi-Fi, remove your Nvidia card, use crappy intel integrated graphics and be a happy desktop user
I didn't change it on my old laptop. You don't have to remove your nVidia card. I use on in this system. I don't use Intel graphics cause I have an nVidia card.

Again, what is the problem?
personally I see some problems with FreeBSD, when using it as desktop system,
and there are many of them, when comparing with Linux
I run an i7 with 32GB ram and SSD on a 120Mb internet line (from home) nVidia graphics with i3, Firefox Chromium gimp VirtualBox, vim various editors including QtCreator and Sublime, Scribus, Inkscape, Blender, a couple of video editors, Audacity, some other things I can't recall at the moment....everything a web development company would need and more, the same version and stuff on Linux, this is just my home workstation and I don't understand what the problem is.
 

ILUXA

Aspiring Daemon

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The problem is with suspend. Suspend works OK for you, on a machine with Nvidia GPU (especially resume part)?
Execute as root # acpiconf -s 3 while X is running and try to resume then, you should see the issue.
Or you don't use it? It is not working at all for me, the only option is to reboot, because it is impossible to resume after suspend, it doesn't work as well for Snurg, he even posted somewhere here why it happens. It stopped working for me after some updates, long time ago. Suspend is a must have feature for laptops, and sometimes it is useful for workstations too, if you don't want to reboot regulary, or if you're curious about power consumption. Personally I tried to use FreeBSD on two different machines with two different Nvidia GPU-s, suspend (resume) didn't work on both, also on a PC with a newer Nvidia GPU I got not only suspend problems.
 

kpedersen

Daemon

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Personally for desktop usage, I always find the hardware support argument moot.

When you want to run Mac OS X, you buy hardware that you know works (usually Apple).
When you want to run FreeBSD, you buy hardware that you know works (usually Lenovo or any rack server).

The argument that Apple hardware is newer is also a bit odd because FreeBSD can support much newer processors than the current top of the line Apple product (FreeBSD can be used on servers after all). It also supports newer wifi devices (often ported from Linux). With the binary blob, it also supports more modern NVIDIA cards.

Therefore, we can arrive at the conclusion that FreeBSD has better hardware support than Mac OS X, so is more suited to the desktop ;)

This may not always be the case however. One day we will be at the complete mercy of corporations and will be allowed to own nothing more than some sort of iOS based consumption device where we have to stream everything rather than run it locally for our "safety". FreeBSD will be hard to run on these bits of toxic hardware.
 

ILUXA

Aspiring Daemon

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While it is clear why Apple do not support bunch of hardware,
because they do not want people to use their proprietary OS
on some "hackintoshs", they need people to buy their crap or
they'll lose money. It is unclear why such Free OS, like FreeBSD,
which will only win if its community will grow, ignore such
big problems like GPU support and other GPU related issues.
It is Impossible for now to use FreeBSD efficiently on laptops,
if you don't use intel integrated GPU-s (suspend works on AMD ?).
And it is on a OS from 2018, which is still alive, still in active
development and still pretends to be a Linux competitor.

This may not always be the case however. One day we will be at the complete mercy of corporations and will be allowed to own nothing more than some sort of iOS based consumption device where we have to stream everything rather than run it locally for our "safety".
Your views are very pessimistic IMHO,
Free software will never disappear,
and will always be available for people,
for thoes who wants to use it, of course.
 

kpedersen

Daemon

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Your views are very pessimistic IMHO,
Free software will never disappear,
and will always be available for people,
for thoes who wants to use it, of course.
Heh, I agree and I said it half tongue in cheek. However ultimately it isn't the software I am worried about, it is obtaining hardware that can run open-source / free software. For example, even today it is extremely hard to get hold of a free (as in freedom) processor. Most of us are stuck with Intel and all the extremely cruel and mad things that they have planned for us! The world is also going towards locked down tablets so I do feel the future is in some way, quite bleak! :/
 

xchris

Member

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they need people to buy their crap
crap h/ware + support services as well, its more than than 5 years ago since I completely stopped using any crApple products:
display issues on a mac mini covered with Apple care : I had to wait 2 weeks in order to visit their tech support at the local Apple store.
the same year my Dell laptop (covered by Dell support care pack) developed some issues with the HDD: Dell technician at HOME on the next day
 

ralphbsz

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While it is clear why Apple do not support bunch of hardware, because they do not want people to use their proprietary OS on some "hackintoshs", they need people to buy their crap or they'll lose money.
Nonsense. Clearly, you don't understand what Apple is trying to do. I would suggest that you read about how Apple "works", and then go talk to a whole bunch of Apple employees in leading positions in the company to understand it. I'm sorry to be so harsh, but you live in a fantasy world of your own conspiracy theories.

Apply tries to make money. They deliberately do not try to make money by pushing hardware alone. In particular, they don't try to push "crap", if one understands that to mean cheaply made hardware being sold at high prices. Instead, Apple is about selling more, and more high-priced, stuff by selling an experience, which "delights" their users (they deliberately use that specific word!) by the smooth usability, seamless integration and perfectionism of the complete experience. I know that the preceding sentence contains many long words, so you probably need to read it several times. What it comes down to is Apple's theory of the "walled garden": If you use all Apple devices for your computing needs (laptops, desktops, phones, tables, and accessories such as earphones), then things are easy and consistent, everyday tasks work smoothly, and data and information can seamlessly follow you. One example is using mail programs that look and work very similar on a laptop/desktop environment, and tables and phones. Another example is: once you have all your music imported into iTunes (or even purchased through iTunes), then consuming that media becomes easy and universal.

That's the theory behind Apple: They don't sell a Mac here and there; they try to sell the components of a lifestyle, one in which information and data (I used the examples of mail and music above) is easily consumable. This actually works really well for those people who wish to live in that universe, or "walled garden" in Apple language.

The reason that Apple refuses to support Mac OS (or any of their other operating systems, like iOS) on non-Apple hardware is the premise of their relationship with customers: If you buy something from Apple, you expect a high level of perfection and integration. With hardware that they don't control, Apple has a much harder time guaranteeing that this level of integration works. In order to preserve their reputation as a perfectionist high-quality company, they simply refuse to participate in that market. Apple knows that it is better off (both in terms of customer satisfaction and profit) to play in a smaller market, but play well in it.

Now, that doesn't imply that Apple gear is utterly useless for people who don't want to or can't have all their data in the walled garden. For example, the Mac on my lap right now has X installed, and I display graphics from programs running on Linux on its screen all the time. My personal music collection is actually created, organized and stored on a FreeBSD machine (using only CLI tools), and then imported to iTunes manually. I don't use an Apple phone, and the mail program on my cellphone works fine with my non-Apple ISP and the Apple mail program on my Mac. I also develop personal software that runs on FreeBSD, using the Mac as a development platform (in both C++ and Python). While Apple's universe is a "walled garden", it is not a hermetically enclosed prison, and you can get data in and out, although that's not always frictionless.

By the way, I know lots of people who run Windows or Linux on their MacBooks. It turns out that the MacBook hardware is actually pretty good (not necessarily in having the hottest chips or best specs, but in fit and finish, durability and sensible compromise between weight, size and performance); for its quality and performance, it is actually quite cost-effective (a similar machine from HPs or Lenovo's high-end line is not significantly cheaper, and Microsoft Surface products are actually more expensive).

... FreeBSD, which will only win if its community will grow, ...
... and still pretends to be a Linux competitor.

Three very nasty comments.

First, is FreeBSD an entity with a single central management, which can have a single goal? No. While there is a very coherent organization (foundation with staff and board, development core team, and various technical teams like release engineering) the overall FreeBSD community also has a large set of developers and users, which are not under control of the foundation or core team. All three entities (core, developers, users) together decide which direction FreeBSD goes in. I don't see FreeBSD as a whole being willing or able to say "we will do X", for some single value of X (such as in your mindset, better support for GUIs on laptops, such as GPU integration and suspend resume).

Second, you implicitly define FreeBSD's "win" (the goal) as "grow". It isn't at all clear to me that growing FreeBSD's market share is necessarily a good thing, nor that it is the thing the FreeBSD is aiming for. Just like Apple, it might be better to serve a smaller set of users and problems, and serve them well.

Third, competing with Linux is not the purpose of life. If you look at non-commercial operating systems, Linux has won, by a huge margin. I keep bringing up its 100% share of the top500 as the starkest example of Linux' domination in certain markets. The goal of FreeBSD can not be to damage Linux, since that will simply fail. Not everything in life is a race, where winning or at least coming in second is the only goal. Often, it is more pleasant and more productive to take a stroll through the meadows and mountains, and sniff the flowers, while the runners in the marathon are going by, seeing nothing but the back of the runner in front of then.
 

ralphbsz

Daemon

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Is it actually Linux that supports Raspberry Pi? Or is it third parties?
When you say "Linux" here, what do you mean? Is there actually an organization that has control of Linux? I claim there is not.

There is a Linux foundation (headquartered here in Silicon Valley), which has a board and staff, and which has Linus Torvalds as a fellow (they pay his salary). In times past, Linus' salary has been paid by various employers (Transmeta, the OSDL which was mostly funded by IBM, Intel and HP, in that order). But Linus himself and the foundation pale in size compared to the large commercial Linux integrators, foremost RedHat and Suse. And the large Linux users (IBM, Oracle, HP, Intel) all have large staff and huge investments in Linux, probably larger than the RedHat/Suse/... integrators. There is no single organization that can determine where Linux goes and what it does.

The Raspberry Pi Linux distribution in heaviest use is Raspbian, which is derived from Debian. One should probably refer to Raspbian as the "official" distribution, since it is pretty much guaranteed to work reasonably well by the people who design the boards. The adaptation of Debian to the Pi is done by the Raspberry Foundation, which is a non-profit corporation. I know they have a (small) budget, but I don't know where their revenue comes from, nor whether they pay the developers who put together Raspbian. Debian in turn is a very small organization; I think the developers who assemble it are unpaid. I remember reading recently that the only budget Debian has is to pay for their domain name registration and central server, and the budget comes only from voluntary donations, mostly from companies that still sell Debian on CDs.

From this viewpoint, Linux consists entirely of "third parties", which vary in size from behemoths like RedHat and IBM down to near-zero-budget entities like Debian, and everything inbetween.

In general, the Open and Free Software movement is strange, in that it is a bizarre blend of commercialism and the opposite. If you want to get an object lessen, read about the Wikimedia Foundation, which controls (in a fashion) Wikipedia. The foundation is an entity with a $50-$100M annual budget, which can pay its executive director more than a quarter million per year salary (I happen to know the recently fired ED). The foundation is a god-awful mess, which regularly fires executives (see above), pays a few dozen developers for the core functionality of the Mediawiki software, and otherwise wastes millions of dollars of foolishness. In the meantime, the people who do the real work (the contributors who write and edit the articles for Wikipedia) get exactly nothing other than regular kicks in the behind from the foundation. All very strange.
 

ILUXA

Aspiring Daemon

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It is clearly my view of situation, how you can see I write everywhere "IMHO",
if you don't agree with with me, it is Ok, but, please, do not tell me what to do,
and I won't tell you where to go ;) (joke)
Also, this topic is not Apple related at all, it's about FreeBSD,
IMO FreeBSD will only win if it will support GPU-s better and its features,
and if its team will ignore such features, far less new users will start to use FreeBSD,
and as a result, FreeBSD will got much smaller amount of users on server market also,
because anyone will never start to use something that he never saw, never tried to use,
especially if there are some good alternatives, like GNU/Linux (non systemd distros, for example)
unfortunately this is the realities of life (IMO).
 

drhowarddrfine

Son of Beastie

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When you say "Linux" here, what do you mean?
I was responding to you saying you don't blame FreeBSD for not supporting Raspberry Pi. This makes me question whether you are saying it is Linux, whatever you wish that to represent, supports the Raspberry Pi by supplying code in some fashion. I do not believe that is true. I believe all Raspberry Pi code is supplied by other third parties.
 

drhowarddrfine

Son of Beastie

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IMO FreeBSD will only win if it will support GPU-s better and its features,
This is an error in your thinking. You think FreeBSD is in some sort of contest to win something. That is not the goal of a technologist. That is the goal of one playing a game. The FreeBSD organization does not exist to play games or compete against other technologies. This whole thread has turned into a game and it bores me. If I want to play such games, I'd be on reddit, and I don't play such games so I'll quit this thread now.
 

ILUXA

Aspiring Daemon

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No games, just obvious logic. Every piece of software will only win,
ok, not "win", if you don't like this word,
(it is hard to speak for me with you guys, because english is not my native language)
it will be better for every open source project if it will got more users,
it is the known fact.
 

ralphbsz

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As I said, I think that the most-commonly-used and nearly official OS for the Raspberry Pi comes from Debian via the Raspberry Pi Foundation, in the form of Raspbian. Other OSes for the Pi exist (including FreeBSD, which I ran for a few weeks at home), but they seem to be either on a "best effort" basis, or have significant flaws, or both.

And to be 100% clear: I don't blame FreeBSD for their distribution for the Pi not being perfect, or not being completely functional. It's wonderful that the FreeBSD community tries to support the Pi, but there is still some ways to go. Getting a system to work flawlessly is a terribly large amount of work, and with a small group of volunteers, it's hard to get to perfection and completeness. It's very interesting to read the "Mythical Man-Month" (also known as the tar pit book, from the disillusioning illustration on the front cover): Fred Brooks claimed (50 years ago!) that if it takes 1 unit of time to write a program that does a task, it will take 3 units of time to write a system program (which runs on hardware), or 3 units of time to write a program system (a set of cooperating programs that do a task together), and finally 9 units of time to write a system of system programs (what we today call an OS, namely the kernel that runs on bare metal, plus the set of programs that make it useful). That factor of 9 is hard to overcome for volunteer projects.

My problem is that you use the term "third party", which implies that there is a "first party". I don't think there is a single entity which can be described by the word "Linux", and the content of Linux is not controlled by any one thing. Using your term, every copy of Linux that runs on a computer comes from a "third party".
 

ralphbsz

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No games, just obvious logic. Every piece of software will only win, ok, not "win",
(it is hard to speak for me with you guys, because english is not my native language)
if you don't like this word, it will be better for every open source project if it will got many users.
And even that I disagree with as a generalization. The reason I brought up the Apple example in detail: It may be better to serve fewer users, but serve them better. The same applies to open and free operating systems such as FreeBSD: It may want to make a deliberate choice to focus on a particular use case, and a particular set of users. You claim that the what it should seriously focus on is GPUs and suspend/resume. You are free to have that opinion; it does not seem to be shared widely.
 

hukadan

Active Member

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I have tried to follow this thread and I have to admit I got lost. But for the ones complaining about the bad support of NVidia GPU, I think you are posting on the wrong forum. I would go here if I were you : https://forums.geforce.com/ (but do not expect too much from them).
it will be better for every open source project if it will got many users.
I am not sure about that. Here is a paragraph extracted from a recent discussion on openbsd-misc that I really liked (and that could be applied to FreeBSD with some modifications) :
It is most definitely not the goal of OpenBSD to have as many users as possible. Some goals are to be as simple, functional, and secure as possible. That's a quite different thing! The normal goal of marketing is to get as many people as possible to buy or use something, even among those who would actually be happier with or better served by something else.
 

ILUXA

Aspiring Daemon

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I would go here if I were you : https://forums.geforce.com/ (but do not expect too much from them).
It seems that Nvidia is not interesting in FreeBSD,
so may be it is a good idea to adopt open source nvidia drivers — nouveau?

About "users as much as possible", of course it is not FreeBSD goal,
but it will be only better IMO, if some current Linux users will switch to FreeBSD,
because many new apps will appear in ports tree, and many orphaned ports will be maintained,
for example.
 

Snurg

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About "users as much as possible", of course it is not FreeBSD goal,
but it will be only better IMO, if some current Linux users will switch to FreeBSD,
because many new apps will appear in ports tree, and many orphaned ports will be maintained,
for example.
Actually Nvidia still supports FreeBSD, but they do not support KMS, and this alone would be a reason to port Nouveau.

The ports situation actually has become worse, because of the NoN thing now hundreds of ports have lost their maintainers, who returned their commit bits in protest against the NoN thing.
 
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