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When will FreeBSD be ready to noobs for desktop use?

fonz

Son of Beastie

Thanks: 365
Messages: 2,560

#52
UNIXgod said:
FreeBSD = Stick Shift Transmission
WinbunuX = Automatic
Automatic plus distance-adjustable cruise control, of course. And the passenger needs to hold the wheel because the driver is too busy lighting a cigarette ;)

Fonz (couldn't resist either)
 

throAU

Aspiring Daemon

Thanks: 142
Messages: 910

#54
bbzz said:
AKA Linux.

Thx.

I think that's a little unfair.

It doesn't necessarily have to be the case - I just think that the free / unpaid software development style doesn't really go hand in hand with user-friendliness/polish.

Not to say that the network tools, etc with FreeBSD or other free platforms aren't polished, but generally those who can program stuff aren't overly concerned with the last detail bits of polish once something is working and doing the required job(s) properly / efficiently.

Combine a solid unix foundation with commercial development and you can end up with stuff like NextStep or OS X, which do a lot of stuff right. User friendly on the surface but the tools are available to get more complicated stuff done.
 

calande

Member

Thanks: 3
Messages: 37

#56
As far as FreeBSD as a desktop.....there is none better.
:q

For me, the most frustrating isn't the huge amount of time it takes to read the handbook, Unix basics, tutorials on forums and blogs. If once set up it worked for good, that would be the reward. But when you're a commonplace user who visits Flash web sites, who watches TV on the computer, who scans and prints documents, the necessary configuration for such usage is very sensitive and updates/upgrades very often wreak havoc with your system or applications. Your Flash window may all of the sudden become black, or disable the browser interface controls. Your DVD may not be ejectable unless you reboot your computer. Your TV board may not be recognized by the OS. Your scanner configuration may be cleared after an update. Your printer may not work anymore. Your win32 application may stop running after you update WINE. For all cases when FreeBSD doesn't do the job (anymore?), you can reboot into Windows, but it's a lot of wasted time. And anyway, you'll have to spend much of your precious time reading the documentation again, searching the web to see if other users have the same problem, if they do, try to find out if they got a solution which may or may not work for you. Another thing that is sad is that over the years you don't see improvement for the desktop, maybe because FreeBSD is aimed at server usage. Flash still causes problems (not FreeBSD's fault), hardware support is still poor (not FreeBSD's fault), applications often stop working because they interact badly one another and updates often cause damage (maybe not enough volunteers to test, report PRs and fix code). You have to read the UPDATING file beforehand. I can understand FreeBSD enthusiasts not appreciating newcomers not reading the documentation, but not everybody has time to. Some people have two jobs, a family, kids, hobbies, etc...Tell them that if they don't have time to learn how to use FreeBSD, they should use Windows or OS X, at least none of you waste your time. Also, there will always be over-enthusiatic users that pretend the system is perfect, that Flash is easy to set up, and it's solid as a rock, when you know this is just not the case, based on the number of people reporting problems and asking for help on the forum. Why not admiting that there are problems and addressing them? And if no solution is possible (e.g. hardware), say it clearly. The size of the documentation gives an idea of the complexity of the system. This huge page is just the table of contents
And here's how to keep your system up-to-date. Of course there is an effort to make things more simple for users, but you have to roll up your sleeves to use FreeBSD, really! This is not necessary a bad thing. I think each user can find his OS of choice, and there is choice. Make no mistake, I want FreeBSD to thrive ; I know some hardcore enthusiasts will disagree but I had to say it! ;)
 

wblock@

Administrator
Staff member
Administrator
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Developer

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#57
Your first eight sentences still make sense if "FreeBSD" is replaced with almost any other operating system.

Yes, the Handbook is huge. It's not like it has to be memorized; kind of the opposite, in fact. A large part of the reason for this is choice. Things get much, much simpler if the user has no choices.

Many computer-as-an-appliance users would be better served by using PCBSD. It's still FreeBSD underneath, but the desktop setup is already done.
 

SR_Ind

Active Member

Thanks: 16
Messages: 126

#58
Some old timers seem to confuse user-friendly system with usability of a system. Unless FreeBSD projects puts out a disclaimer saying that FreeBSD is an explicitly server OS, I think old timers are pushing an erroneous line here.

The FreeBSD project page says "FreeBSD® is an advanced operating system for modern server, desktop, and embedded computer platforms".

Considering the fact the KDE and GNOME are available in the installation disc, it should not be a too difficult to include options to install the desktops during the OS installation process itself. However that's not an ideal choice.

Either FreeBSD advertises itself as a server only OS or allocate a little effort towards bundling in GUI tools like Network Manager, Audio Mixer, Disk Mounters, Port/Package Manager et. About the latter I said "bundling in", because there are open source projects that do these stuff. There are also standalone File managers, Editors, Browser etc.

The point is the indicative list above includes tools that qualifies as basics for desktops. A selected "best of breed" set of these need to become first class citizen in FreeBSD world. By selected I mean standalone projects, not components from KDE/GNOME/XFCE etc.

I saw another thread where folks are cribbing about GNOME becoming Linux centric; one more reason to adopt a set of open source apps to put togather a FreeBSD dedicated desktop. It serves two purposes, decreasing dependence of Linux based projects and being able to provide a set of ready apps (maybe in a single meta port) to newbies. Even if they are not in installer, a single shell script could be provided to have them installed later.

Few months ago I did put together a complete desktop based on Qt. Only the Qt GUI module to keep it really streamlined with Opera as the browser.

Being a developer helps. The Qt documentation and examples (they are BSD licensed; except a few) sufficient to put together most apps. I had to get some applications from Qt-Apps. Reasonably good outcome.

I think its possible to provide a soft landing for newbies with minimum effort.
 

SR_Ind

Active Member

Thanks: 16
Messages: 126

#60
drhowarddrfine said:
Yes. It's called PC-BSD.
With all due respects to the tremendous effort put in the PC-BSD team, it does not meet my requirements of good system based on FreeBSD.

I put together a lightweight desktop, precisely because of the shortcomings of PC-BSD. Unfortunately it is the shortcomings borne out of misdirected zeal. They have messed up package management system by putting in non-standard/non-FreeBSD package management system.

Sorry, a newbie cannot deal with PC-BSD beneath the hood for package management by reading FreeBSD handbook.

You do not seem to apprecite the benefits of a dedicated desktop environment. KDE4 does not suit me. If I'm working on a IDE like QtCreator or watching a movie, I'd expect maximum CPU available to me and absence of any unnecessary disk I/O. KDE4 has messed up with inclusion of Strigi/Nepomuk and Akonadi.

Seriously two RDBMS on a desktop system just to make some obscure features work? Two RDBMS on a "desktop" to achieve some 20%-10% use cases?

While it is possible to rip out Strigi/Nepomuk, its not so possible with Akonadi.

Why should I tolerate MySQL on my desktop? It makes worse for a developer like me that uses BSD licensed tools as far as possible. I use PostGRESql. Akonadi cannot use PGSQL, so I end up with 3 RDBMS on a laptop.

Any case RDMBS on a laptop for desktop use is a non-starter.

My laptop is dual-booted (Win2K8 and FBSD). WIndows 2008 is leaves behind PC-BSD in responsiveness. Of course plain FBSD with customised desktop is faster than Win2K8.

>>>

In any case "newbie" is a fuzzy term. Many people coming to FreeBSD might be actually expert computer users and they'll not have problems configuring an optimum system for themselves.
I'm not counting in casual enthusiasts, even for experienced people when they come to FreeBSD and get referred to PC-BSD etc. is a very bad advertisement. It is worse than no advertisement.
 

izotov

Active Member

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Messages: 118

#61
Hi,
My experience is that FreeBSD is just all right for a desktop. My home laptop is running 9.0-RELEASE with Gnome. I am satisfied with it.
 

SR_Ind

Active Member

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Messages: 126

#64
bbzz said:
@SR_Ind

You need to reread post #48 in this thread.
Whoever posted that and the people cheering him do not understand release engineering nor they understand target audience segmentation.

Allow me to explain it to you why.

My comment is based on my professional experience in product lines as software engineer to product line manager for last 15 years. My professional is entirely with two European telecom equipment manufactures, one German and another Swedish. They know their business.

I've seen single product being sold at different prices with functions enabled as per various geographies or business requirements/paying capacity of the customer.

Marketing team never comes to the R&D/Engineering to have gazillion versions of the product they wish to sell. This is agreed between the product manager and the marketing guys. The bundling and packaging is done by the release engineering team.

To explain it in more simpler terms, no R&D/Engineering is ever asked to produce a "bastardized" product. A decided set of features (as per roadmap) always exists. Out of that superset of features, subsets are built for targeted audiences.

So, you see the R&D sticks to its long term roadmap. They don't need to "bastardize" anything. The marketing, product management and release/implementation towards packaging as various target audiences, i.e. maximizing the spread.

Now let me take the analogy to FreeBSD. The FreeBSD installation CD/DVD contains everything you need for a desktop. This means the engineering/R&D (developers of kernel/base/ports) have done their job. I'd say the release engineering is half way there.

What's missing? The choice to install some pre-configured apps right from the first run installer.

The "bastard"/"mixed" comment is very interesting. The poster says FreeBSD is for technical users and some even say FreeBSD is for servers. If that is so, for servers one would expect to have complete stack available on the initial system. So, when will a BSD licensed HTTP server make it to the base? Or even a RDBMS? For developers, what libraries and tools are available out of the box?

Nothing about FreeBSD per se, it is great project carried forward by an awesome team. As an user I'm aware of their resource limitations and I'm grateful for whatever they are about to release every year.

What's unpleasant is the attitude of some people (that wishes best for FreeBSD) that get defensive whenever wish-lists come up and the unsustainable arguments they forward to rationalize the current state of affair.
 

roddierod

Aspiring Daemon

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#65
Does anyone remember the instant-workstation and instant-server meta ports from way back in the day?

Perhaps something like that needs to be brought back from the dead? Although that would probably cause more issues than not since people work just argue over should it be gnome, kde or any other DE,WM.

It seems to me that when core developers went to Apple all this chaos of focus seem to start. It could just be my perception.
 

SR_Ind

Active Member

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Messages: 126

#66
roddierod said:
Does anyone remember the instant-workstation and instant-server meta ports from way back in the day?
I was not aware of this. If this true then one cannot but admire the long term goals and foresightedness of the core team.

roddierod said:
Perhaps something like that needs to be brought back from the dead? Although that would probably cause more issues than not since people work just argue over should it be gnome, kde or any other DE,WM.

It seems to me that when core developers went to Apple all this chaos of focus seem to start. It could just be my perception.
True. Something like "for every type of app, BSD licensed app first" policy could be an acceptable solution to all.
 

bbzz

Aspiring Daemon

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Messages: 874

#68
SR_Ind said:
Now let me take the analogy to FreeBSD. The FreeBSD installation CD/DVD contains everything you need for a desktop. This means the engineering/R&D (developers of kernel/base/ports) have done their job. I'd say the release engineering is half way there.

What's missing? The choice to install some pre-configured apps right from the first run installer.
But why? The work needed to install required apps is minimal at best. And you missed the point of that other post. If someone needs basic help for installing apps than maybe this OS just isn't the right place, yet.

The "bastard"/"mixed" comment is very interesting. The poster says FreeBSD is for technical users and some even say FreeBSD is for servers. If that is so, for servers one would expect to have complete stack available on the initial system. So, when will a BSD licensed HTTP server make it to the base? Or even a RDBMS? For developers, what libraries and tools are available out of the box?
That's just taking it out of the context; sorry I don't agree with this. Are you saying that what makes one OS a great platform for servers is the fact that it comes preinstalled with needed apps and libraries? Sorry.

I like the way things are. Whether you want to go for server deployment or desktop use, there's a clear cut separation between what constitutes a solid base and what is an additional software.
 

SR_Ind

Active Member

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Messages: 126

#69
bbzz said:
But why? The work needed to install required apps is minimal at best. And you missed the point of that other post. If someone needs basic help for installing apps than maybe this OS just isn't the right place, yet.
Why? Finishing. Great many products lose out to competition because of this. Yes the last mile effort is always the difficult part.


bbzz said:
That's just taking it out of the context; sorry I don't agree with this. Are you saying that what makes one OS a great platform for servers is the fact that it comes preinstalled with needed apps and libraries? Sorry.
Its not out of context. It is the fit and finish or lack of completeness of it that prevents an readily usable server or desktop configuration.

bbzz said:
I like the way things are. Whether you want to go for server deployment or desktop use, there's a clear cut separation between what constitutes a solid base and what is an additional software.
Perfectly agreed. Lets atleast be consistent. If a FTP server and SSH server merits placement in the base, so does a HTTP server (and many other network tools, a running SNMP agent for example), unless the OS restricts itself to network devices.

Newbies are not just desktop users, they are also server users and developers. Fit and finish helps all. Many of us have to work in a restricted IT environments, behind firewalls. cannot install ports and packages whenever we like. So comment on server setup is not out of context, its related.
 

NewGuy

Well-Known Member

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Messages: 297

#70
Pc-bsd

SR_Ind said:
With all due respects to the tremendous effort put in the PC-BSD team, it does not meet my requirements of good system based on FreeBSD.

I put together a lightweight desktop, precisely because of the shortcomings of PC-BSD. Unfortunately it is the shortcomings borne out of misdirected zeal. They have messed up package management system by putting in non-standard/non-FreeBSD package management system.

Sorry, a newbie cannot deal with PC-BSD beneath the hood for package management by reading FreeBSD handbook.

You do not seem to apprecite the benefits of a dedicated desktop environment. KDE4 does not suit me....

With respect to you, SR_Ind, I think you should try a more recent version of PC-BSD. PC-BSD 9 supports several desktop environments, not just KDE. GNOME, Xfce and LXDE are available on the install media. Plus it's possible to use common window managers, like OpenBox, if you don't like the heavier environments.

PC-BSD's PBI package system is a bit different from FreeBSD's, but you don't have to use it. Since PC-BSD is really just a layer on top of FreeBSD, you can use the Ports system and the freebsdupdate tool if you want, rather than deal with PBIs. Or, for that matter, you can go the other way and use PBIs pretty much exclusively.

Most of your complaints with the OS seem to stem from KDE, but since there are plenty of other environments available and no need to use KDE I think it would be worth taking another go at the project.
 

SR_Ind

Active Member

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Messages: 126

#71
NewGuy said:
With respect to you, SR_Ind, I think you should try a more recent version of PC-BSD. PC-BSD 9 supports several desktop environments, not just KDE. GNOME, Xfce and LXDE are available on the install media. Plus it's possible to use common window managers, like OpenBox, if you don't like the heavier environments.

PC-BSD's PBI package system is a bit different from FreeBSD's, but you don't have to use it. Since PC-BSD is really just a layer on top of FreeBSD, you can use the Ports system and the freebsdupdate tool if you want, rather than deal with PBIs. Or, for that matter, you can go the other way and use PBIs pretty much exclusively.

Most of your complaints with the OS seem to stem from KDE, but since there are plenty of other environments available and no need to use KDE I think it would be worth taking another go at the project.
Thanks, I'd like to give it a try on my home desktop. BTW, my choice of alternative WM has been Fluxbox.
Yes, its true my complaints vis-a-vis PC-BSD is related to KDE4. To be particular, the requirement of MySQL for Akonadi is a turn off.
 

lele

Member


Messages: 30

#72
asifnaz said:
As it does not come with GUI installer
It *does* come with a GUI installer. It's a console-based GUI, but a GUI nevertheless.

asifnaz said:
I come here and ask how to install freebsd FreeBSD with GUI DE (like gnome). I am asked to read handbook which is a bit beyond my skills.
Can't you read? ;-)

I'm a newcomer to FreeBSD like you. I'm not sticking around because my laptop - a Thinkpad X201 - does not support FreeBSD (no suspend/resume, poor battery life) and the window managers I'm interested to target GNU/Linux. I have found Gnome to be quirky, and that made me suspect that albeit there are a lot of packages ported to FreeBSD, they aren't thoroughly tested (how could they be, given the small community?)

I'm sad because I fell in love with the simplicity of the system and its documentation compared to GNU/Linux, but worse is better here like somewhere else. However, I've found that the Handbook looks more scary than it really is. I've found FreeBSD easier to install that PC/BSD... go figure. There will be glitches in the installation, so have a backup PC around to search the Internet for solutions to issues.

Keep up the good work.
 

fluca1978

Aspiring Daemon

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#73
I believe some efforts to learn the operating system is required for any OS. The difference here is that a lot of OSs manuals have only pictures, the FreeBSD handbook has text.
Moreover, every user that approaches FreeBSD (or any other OS not for dummies) should first try to understand the culture.
 

lele

Member


Messages: 30

#74
fluca1978 said:
I believe some efforts to learn the operating system is required for any OS. The difference here is that a lot of OSs manuals have only pictures, the FreeBSD handbook has text.
And which approach you think is more noob-friendly? Hint: the one followed by companies that sell OSes for noobs.

Moreover, every user that approaches FreeBSD (or any other OS not for dummies) should first try to understand the culture.
But how do you learn about the culture? The Handbook has no chapter about it ;-) How do you know FreeBSD is not for dummies? Everyone raves about how its well-written extensive documentation, doesn't she? Jokes apart, if people were told what to expect beforehand, they would have no reasons to complain.

Yes, newcomers have expectations, and if you are a wordly person you will be aware of that and if it is the case, make newcomers aware that such expectations will not be met. Maybe a chapter targeting users coming from Windows or GNU/Linux is in order? I wish I were told upfront that with FreeBSD: my laptop was likely to be crippled and have poor battery life, that having an encrypted hard drive was a job for experts, that having a package available did not mean such package would work, that I was expected to configure *everything* by hand, and so forth... I was told I was going to give up Flash Player and Adobe
Reader, but I was OK with that.

My judgement is that FreeBSD is an OS for sysadmins, or aspiring sysadmins. Whener you read about using FreeBSD on the desktop, it means on the desktop of sysadmins. Even the PC-BSD installer, which is advertised as the FreeBSD for the masses, is awkward for noobs. No wonder about it: iXsystems sells servers, hence I infer that the installer was put together by a sysadmin. Unbelievable as it may be, I found installing FreeBSD much easier than PC-BSD. And with FreeBSD the wireless worked out of the box, whereas with PC-BSD it didn't... However with FreeBSD, Gnome was buggy (or misconfigured, I didn't investigate further), whilst with PC-BSD it was KDE the buggy one.

Many people are noobs when it comes to operating systems. If they find too many obstacles upfront, they will give up. Heck! After four years on Debian, dealing with configuration scripts and compiling custom kernels, I threw up with FreeBSD. FreeBSD requires too much technical knowledge upfront. With Debian, and Ubuntu before it, I was able to work my way from noob to power-user step by step. With FreeBSD this is not the case, and yes, I tried PC-BSD, too.

I hope you will not take this post as whining, because it isn't. I see that the FreeBSD community is friendly and helpful, but you are techies and as such The Curse of Knowledge is upon you and it will always make you unaware of the stumbling blocks an non-techie faces ;-)

All the best.
 

jrl1357

Member


Messages: 39

#75
just use PC-BSD.. even comes with gnome, xfce, and lxde in the dvd edition. not that big of a deal. however, you should be a real man and just get used to a setting things up in a cli. freebsd is a simple, stable, bsd unix (-like, if your really going to say that) operating system that lets the user set the system up exactly they way they want it with no other bloat (cough* buntu *cough) i've had a few problems on a desktop but nothing a little of work and some help here didn't fix in a very small amount of time.
 
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