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When will FreeBSD be ready to noobs for desktop use?

SirDice

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#26
vertexSymphony said:
Aha, and stuff like KMS,GEM and such is not an OS issue? Because yes, you talked about add-on projects determining the future of both OSes in the desktop, but the base system has to provide the needed things for those projects to work properly.
Yes, but it's working on Linux and that still hasn't lived up to it's "Linux on the desktop" fame. Which is my point, it's not the drivers or the OS that's keeping it from happening, it's everything else.
 

adamk

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#27
SirDice said:
Yes, but it's working on Linux and that still hasn't lived up to it's "Linux on the desktop" fame. Which is my point, it's not the drivers or the OS that's keeping it from happening, it's everything else.
It's both. As a result of having the drivers, Linux is certainly closer to desktop use for the average user than FreeBSD is.

EDIT: Or even more advanced users. An operating system that locks up when I restart X is certain not ready for desktop use for me. So, no, I do not think "FreeBSD will be ready when Linux for the desktop finally happens." Most likely, FreeBSD will still be playing driver catch-up.
 

stepulka

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#28
ph0enix said:
Really? Why?
I use FreeBSD because it's a great OS and I couldn't care less about it being more or less like AT&T Unix, System V or whatever.
That's another opinion. But, did I say something wrong about FreeBSD? Read my first comment in this thread above.
 

anomie

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#29
bbzz said:
The way I see it, most of the unfriendliness comes from lack of general *NIX experience, not specifically FreeBSD.
Yeah, that's right. "noob" is a potentially broad term. Someone with a substantial Solaris, HP-UX, et al. background will definitely have a softer learning curve with FreeBSD than someone with little or no background in *nix (or, worse still, no background in computing fundamentals).

As to the original question: I feel a tech-savvy "noob" with some tenacity, willingness to learn, and free time to tinker will be pleasantly surprised with a FreeBSD desktop.
 

drhowarddrfine

Son of Beastie

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#30
stepulka said:
But, did I say something wrong about FreeBSD?
The question occasionally comes up as a put down of FreeBSD because it doesn't have a built-in GUI like Ubuntu or Windows as if having such a thing means a superior OS. Experienced and professional *nix users know such things are frequently an impediment to getting real work done and many also look down upon such things as just eye-candy. And I agree.
 

stepulka

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#31
drhowarddrfine said:
The question occasionally comes up as a put down of FreeBSD because it doesn't have a built-in GUI like Ubuntu or Windows as if having such a thing means a superior OS.
Yeah, if you read my post, I said that. Click-click.
drhowarddrfine said:
Experienced and professional *nix users know such things are frequently an impediment to getting real work done and many also look down upon such things as just eye-candy. And I agree.
Yes, right.
 

Sfynx

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#32
A problem with the adoption of desktop software is also that it is heavily dependent on specific hardware abstraction layers for easy disk mounting and power management by non-privileged users and whatnot, and that the desktop developers tend to support the Linux ecosystem first. Remember when the GNOME folks abandoned HAL and went to DeviceKit. Well, that sucked, because DeviceKit was tied to udev. Which means we have to port it to our own devd first before we get the same experience the developers envisioned.

In the meantime it kind of works, but I always had more problems with things like shutting down the system from the graphical environment, while in Linux it just worked right away. A lot of users will already call it quits and return to good old Ubuntu when that happens a few times.
 

adam_ar

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#33
Lets just agree that FreeBSD is a great OS.

Next, lets also look at what people saying "GUI" are really saying.
I feel, FreeBSD should be available for anybody who wants a good-great OS. Whether desktop or not.

The issue here is new users tend to be intimidated by the amount of tech stuff you need to do to get a desktop running. Sure, for you and me running a few commands may not be a big deal. But for a user who just wants a graphical OS it is probably too much. And if it involves figuring out why something is not working even after executing some commands handed down from the experienced messiahs, all the more demotivating.

Ok, I know it sounds simple and plain to say, "well, you want XYZ on your system, you just execute following commands and you are done". But for a non-technical user, it is probably akin to climbing Mt Everest.

At a level knowing what you are doing is probably the best thing when you are an administrator on a box serving something important (email, web, whatever). But, when it comes to a user wanting to browse the internet, edit some documents, spreadsheets, movies and listen to favorite music, s/he should be least bothered if some or the other daemon is running or not. Or which version of driver or what type of driver is being used.

I certainly don't think knowing the workings/under-the-hood-stuff is required to use an OS. Also, I don't think not knowing the workings/under-the-hood-stuff should make it difficult for a user. Just as much Jack/Jane care about the internals of engines/transmission, etc. when running his/her favorite car! You can't expect all car owners/drivers to be auto engineers!

just my 2 cents.

@Sfynx
In the GUI, you could've always opened up a terminal and typed "sudo halt<enter>"! ;)
 

fonz

Son of Beastie

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#34
adam_ar said:
Just as much Jack/Jane care about the internals of engines/transmission, etc. when running his/her favorite car! You can't expect all car owners/drivers to be auto engineers!
Sure, you can drive a car without knowing what a cam shaft is, or even if you've never used a screwdriver (the tool, not the drink) in your entire life. But the reason why this works is because when the car breaks down you pull over, call the AA and they fix it for you.

Now go and inquire what it takes to learn to fly a plane (even a small one, like a Cessna 182 or something, will do) and note the difference. There's a whole lot more studying involved in obtaining a pilot's license than a driving license. And it's not just hot air, a pilot needs to know a certain amount of sh** in order to safely operate an aircraft.

Because of the nature of its design and the focus of its development, I'd rather liken FreeBSD to a plane than to a car. People who, for whatever good or bad reason, cannot learn a certain amount of skill and knowledge will have to content themselves with cars and leave the flying to the experts.

Fonz
 

fonz

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#36
adam_ar said:
I was just trying to see their point of view...
I understand what you were trying to say, but I just couldn't resist the car-plane metaphor.

Fonz (and for what it's worth I do think there's some validity to both)
 

vertexSymphony

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#37
Yes adam and fonz, that's the overall case, but ... In some cases being an advanced/power user it's not enough ... because in cases like KMS or upstream developers doing linuxisms, the OS is the lacking one (fair or not, important to the user or not I'll leave it up to your thinking, I'm talking about non'working or limited software and that's the issue), and no "magic command" will solve that.

I love FreeBSD, since I discovered it I feel that I don't need to do more hopping between systems because FreeBSD is the one that suits almost all of my needs ... but sometimes it lacks :C

I hope some day I'll be able to contribute to the project.
 

fonz

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#38
vertexSymphony said:
In some cases being an advanced/power user it's not enough ... because in cases like KMS or upstream developers doing linuxisms, the OS is the lacking one
Point taken. However, as said earlier it's still a matter of priorities. If I'm not mistaken the FreeBSD Foundation is paying somebody to work on KMS, but it appears not to have a high priority with voluntary developers.

Fonz
 

adamk

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#39
fonz said:
Point taken. However, as said earlier it's still a matter of priorities. If I'm not mistaken the FreeBSD Foundation is paying somebody to work on KMS, but it appears not to have a high priority with voluntary developers.
They are only paying someone to work on it for Intel GPUs.

Adam
 

Dru

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#40
Lots of users wouldn't have been happy trying to use Windows server 2003 as a desktop either, unless they knew how to configure it, and liked something clean and vanilla, without un-needed junk, as a base.

Hardware support aside. Essentially this whole convo is trying to make FreeBSD what it's not.
 

Slurp

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#41
fonz said:
People who, for whatever good or bad reason, cannot learn a certain amount of skill and knowledge will have to content themselves with cars and leave the flying to the experts.

Fonz
The question is why shouldn't FreeBSD be a flying car?
The 3 most popular desktop OSes(*) having together 99.x% of userbase strive to do it and for many users it makes sense. I bet that majority of noobs is there. Sure, when you know this already, making things easier has little value for you and, I guess, can be even annoying at times. But making flying as easy as possible is a noble goal that when realized would bring great benefits.
(*) I'm acutely aware that there are different Linux distros and this is not true for some of them. That's why I wrote 99.x instead of 99.9.
 

fonz

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#42
Slurp said:
But making flying as easy as possible is a noble goal that when realized would bring great benefits.
I hope I didn't open the floodgates with that drive-fly analogy :pP

But in response to the quoted statement: Yes, it's a noble goal. But it's also a mammoth task because flying is inherently more difficult (and dangerous!) than driving. And then consider that most people can't even drive a car properly; there are lots of idiots on the road and I for one sure wouldn't want them taking to the sky for the time being ;)

Fonz (going off now to watch Futurama)
 

throAU

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#43
My two cents (and this is surely NOT going to be what most want to hear):

The free Unix GUI will never be ready for "noobs" due to continual bikeshedding, and constant re-writes to cater for (or copy from Apple/Microsoft) <flavour of month> by programmers stroking their own ego.

Now ego-stroking is not always a bad thing, but when it means throwing away heaps of stuff and re-writing after every couple of years, only to have a new round of alpha/beta quality code on users' desktops - well, it's just never going to be friendly to "noobs".

I've been waiting for a decent Unix desktop since 1995. From a GUI standpoint, Windows 95 is still more noob-usable, 16-17 years on. There's plenty of cool stuff going on in free desktop land, but the pieces never get polished enough to be good enough.

Hence, I moved to OS X for the desktop (and FreeBSD for anything headless).
 

drhowarddrfine

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#44
Maybe I'm repeating myself in this thread but I'll say it again anyway. FreeBSD is not for noobs. If you you're an amateur and want some spiffy GUI like Windows, go use Windows and leave us alone. Better yet, get a Mac. But asking for clones of those on FreeBSD is out of line and off-topic. Go away. You're wasting our time and bothering us. I'm perfectly content with how things are even though I'm a bleeding edge kind of guy.
 

fonz

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#45
drhowarddrfine said:
Maybe I'm repeating myself in this thread but I'll say it again anyway. FreeBSD is not for noobs. If you you're an amateur and want some spiffy GUI like Windows, go use Windows and leave us alone. Better yet, get a Mac. But asking for clones of those on FreeBSD is out of line and off-topic. Go away. You're wasting our time and bothering us. I'm perfectly content with how things are even though I'm a bleeding edge kind of guy.
Well put. A tad harsh perhaps, but then again this is only the 256th time we're having this discussion :\

It sure is nice to see that people are interested in FreeBSD and are willing to offer suggestions to make it (from their perspective) better. However, FreeBSD is what it is and there are reasons why priorities are the way they are. When one thinks that FreeBSD is missing something, chances are that you want FreeBSD to be something it isn't. And, just to reiterate for the one-plus-infinity-th time, everybody is free (FreeBSD) to take FreeBSD and use it as a starting point for something else by adding what you think you're missing and redistributing that as NoobBSD/NiftyBSD/KeiraKnightleyBSD/FlyingCarBSD or whatever.

Fonz
 

Slurp

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#46
fonz said:
But in response to the quoted statement: Yes, it's a noble goal. But it's also a mammoth task because flying is inherently more difficult (and dangerous!) than driving.
Agree. And, honestly, I'm not sure if going all after if would be the best use of limited time of FreeBSD developers. Still I don't like the "noobs, go away" approach that some here express.
 

Zare

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#48
FreeBSD is tailored for technical users. There is a difference between "user friendly" here and there, on our side user friendly means that we can grasp full control of the system, quickly diagnose what some program is doing, quickly reconfigure system mechanisms according to our needs, automatize actions with scripting, etc. While on the non-technical side, user friendly means quite opposite. They don't want to know what some program is doing in background as long as it works, they don't want to know where it installs as long as it's "one-click" installation, they don't want to learn how to tailor the system, because it's easier and faster for them to adapt to default workflow.

If you mix those two categories you'll end up with a bastard OS full of compromise. It won't be great for average Joe's or professionals.

Besides, what if we had a simple GUI installer and all the nifty GUI programs on installation CD? The user would be greeted with same, say KDE, shell, upon first boot, and if he doesn't fire up the terminal (and most computer users think that stuff is the Satan himself), he won't notice is it FreeBSD or Linux underneath. Pointless. Want to move away from Windows and you don't want a Mac? Download Ubuntu.

If someone really wants to learn FreeBSD, but finds it difficult, well, try harder. Learn it the way we all did. Read documentation, trial and error. Don't try to reinvent the wheel because you don't understand it.
 

fluca1978

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#50
We are mixing a lot of stuff here, mainly user-friendness, usability and simplicity.
Now, FreeBSD is a complex system that requires you to do your homework. Linux requires it too, but some distros make it simple doing it for you.
Windows is...well not worth writing.
Mac OSX is good and simple, with a great influence, but I refuse to use something proprietary when I can get it free (not meaning for free).
Why is important to have the your-favourite-operating-system on the desktop? Because I feel comfortable using the terminal to see why my machine is becoming slower, or because I know I will be faster doing a tree diff from the command line than picking up a fancy GUI program. But for all the rest (web, mail, music, documents) I prefer to have a GUI. And having to spend time to do a coarse tuning (allow me to say that) just to have it up and running when other systems give it for free is not desktop-prone.
I mean, FreeBSD derivates like PCBSD are great doing their job: they give you the ability to get a FreeBSD heart with some fancy stuff on top already configured. This is the direction in my opinion.
 
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