Would this idea grow the FreeBSD userbase?

hruodr

Aspiring Daemon

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The goal is to provide the user with a choice, not to force them into some particular configuration.
There should be a goal, a clear defined goal. That is all. Users and developers that like the goal, are welcome. Other are also welcome as long as they do not disturb or try to force other goals. Otherwise we would have only mediocre systems.
 

Beastie7

Aspiring Daemon

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I just want working modern WiFi. that's all. I don't know why this area receives the least amount of attention; considering our TCP/IP stack is second to none.
 

Trihexagonal

Son of Beastie

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You never had to fix compilation errors? Use tracing tools? Read the source code to check whether a particular piece of code is present in a certain branch? Diagnose a program crash? I don't mean you need to be a professional programmer, what I mean is that you need just enough code literacy to do the basic tracing/debugging/read-the-docs stuff. You'll have to eventually learn this even if you don't intend to, there is no other way.
Nope. I know how to write several different markup languages but that doesn't make me a programmer. Neither does it hamper my usage of FreeBSD in the slightest.

I remember the most scary thing about FreeBSD and various Linux installer(s) for me as a newbie back in the day was always partition layout, specifically the part where one is supposed to select the root filesystem size and so on. The usual advice here is "it depends on what packages you want to install", which is incredibly unhelpful to new users, who have no reference point here at all. The lack of the graphical installer UI, on the other hand, I didn't even notice.
The text installer intimidated me and seemed too esoteric for my skill level at the time. Which it was. I would have been lost at the command line as what to do next if I did get it installed.

Then in 2005 I found PC-BSD. Which had a graphic installer, got me to the desktop and I became a beta tester.

In 2012 I switched to vanilla FreeBSD but still had never installed it from scratch. It wasn't till I got here and used a Tutorial somebody else had written that I installed it from scratch for the first time. It took me another 3 years to figure out how to set /etc/alias so I could get my daily security updates.

The only thing I learned from my time with PC-BSD that I didn't teach myself was not to ask questions. Now I don't have to.

I've watched people new to FreeBSD closely since posting my beginners Turtorial in 2017 and it's got over 100k views here. The infulx of people new to FreeBSD has picked up recently. A portion of the Linux userbase coming to the opinion Debian is too hard to run and the rest that FreeBSD wasn't so hard to run after all.

That from watching comments at DistroWatch, were I occasionally put my tummb on that scale.
 

drhowarddrfine

Son of Beastie

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I just want working modern WiFi. that's all. I don't why this area receives the least amount of attention; considering our TCP/IP stack is second to none.

Well...actually....there is Foundation funding to someone who is working on the latest and great high speed wifi right now. I don't know where he is with it but he's going full bore at it.
 

Hakaba

Well-Known Member

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The text installer is for me very clear and convenient.
If a text configurator will exist with the detail level of the installer, I will be happy.
I mean there is a lot of tools to configure and I forgot how to change colour or enable trackpad capabilities or ...
So each time I reinstall from scratch (or I change the computer) I feel lost and read obscure step by step guide.
Yesterday, the WiFi stop working. I rediscover 'supplicant'. This morning I start to use poudriere for my server for the first time. I just copy/past cli command (as my goal is not poudriere).

For jails, I use it with ezjail and iocage years before learning how jail work and stop using 'manager'.

For me the install is the easiest step.
 

tanis

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I like FreeBSD.

I can install it using an USB thumbdrive in less then 10 minutes. Switched offer back in 2017, because I felt more an more out of touch with Fedora which I had been using at that time for almost 10 years, before that LinuxFromScratch for almost another decade. What I really love about FreeBSD is the documentation, how everything fits so well together and is separate on the same time. There is actually a structure and not a lot of moving parts. So when I adjust something in a place forget about it and come back later a year or two it's still there doing it's job and not the whole ecosystem changed under my feet.

That now git is being used, takes the whole experience to a completely new level. The source is now easy accessable too.

Did I need to put a lot of effort into finding my way around, looking back, not really, when I came from Linux the idea of having a handbook seemed kind of strange to me because why bother looking something up when my world is constantly changing. In the end I always ended up reading the handbook just to discover that it actually worked what had been written there. I didn't need to spend hours an hours searching the internet for a recipe which by the time I found it had already been out of date. So I started investing money in books like Absolute FreeBSD and read them, it's just awesome. Latest example, I wanted to use plex for my "Memories", but I wanted it separate, I somehow remembered jails, I took the book Absolute FreeBSD read a few pages, then I became hesitant because it had been a long day and I didn't wanted to spend another two to three hours in front of my laptop, but I tried it anyway. Setting up the jail including the installation of plex and rclone, putting my data into the cloud encrypted using rclone took all in all just 30 minutes! 30 minutes, the whole experience felt to me like I had invented the wheel, discovered fire and went to the moon and back.

FreeBSD lets me get stuff done, which is something I really missed! <3
 

Beastie7

Aspiring Daemon

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One thing the Arch guys are beating us at is curated tutorials for third party applications. A "Ports User Handbook" or something would certainly help attract users IMO. People like their hands held until they feel safe leaving the nest. ;)
 

grahamperrin

Son of Beastie

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In no particular order, please see:


2021 in Review: Software Development | FreeBSD Foundation

WiFi/Iwlwifi - FreeBSD Wiki

Will be updated in the next 36 hours; please coordinate with bz who is doing offline edits.

… those hours have passed, I have no complaint (I empathise with the pain).

freebsd-wireless: Discussions of 802.11 stack, tools device driver development: List of Folders

FreeBSD Bugzilla e.g. <https://bugs.freebsd.org/bugzilla/query.cgi?format=specific> (I reported a kernel panic around three hours ago).
 
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shkhln

Daemon

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I do not find people in the FreeBSD subreddit bitching repeatedly, inappropriately, about the inferiority of people in FreeBSD Forums.
For the record, I actually believe almost everyone can learn some basic programming skills (and this operating system implicitly assumes so by installing libc documentation and a compiler for you with no opt-out). If people think this is an insult, that's on them.
 

kpedersen

Son of Beastie

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the /r/freebsd FreeBSD Community is remarkable for its ability to self-moderate.
Really? I only just came across this thread and was frankly quite appalled (and weirdly amused) by it:

https://www.reddit.com/r/freebsd/comments/ll0oku/will_freebsd_13_support_broadcom_wifi_on_the_rpi/

Some iconic quotes; redacted for everyone's pleasure:

No? Then **** you, I'm over these kind of non-answers.
I was ASKING what the CURRENT STATE OF THE DRIVER IS, you ignorant ******* **tard
My complaint is with people like you. People that don't know what the **** they're talking about

Reddit does seem to attract low effort posts from low effort people. Yes, a great place to "dumb down and relax" which everyone does need to do but I always recommend doing so *away* from a computer.
 

drhowarddrfine

Son of Beastie

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Come join me at the bottom of the barrel

Long ago, I was involved with a company that made the very first CT scanners. I was sent to meet with doctors in New York. For reasons I don't recall, we had to access the scanning room through a back door that went through an attached insane asylum. I was advised to be aware of where I was as some of the patients would scream things at us as we walked by. That's what I'm reminded of whenever I would visit reddit in the past and a reason I would never visit now.

Never use reddit as a reference for anything. It's the dwelling of kids, lids and space cadets (an old ham radio reference).

the first step is visibility.

There is no issue of visibility. Any user of Linux has most likely become aware of the BSDs. I'm pretty sure that IBM is not concerned with visibility of their OSes with the gaming community. I'm also sure WhatsApp, Sony and Netflix aren't concerned with FreeBSD's visibility with mom, pop and their kids, either.
 

Fuzzbox

Member

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There is no issue of visibility. Any user of Linux has most likely become aware of the BSDs.

Hi,

I was a long time Linux user. And I know about FreeBSD existence since 1999. But the only opinion I had about it was the failed installation attempt that I did in 2000 or 2001. During 20 years, Linux fulfilled my needs. I only switched because I was tired of Linux and its misguided ways.

Considering how good is my FreeBSD experience since april 2021, I regret that no visible advocacy influenced my choice sooner.
 

Hakaba

Well-Known Member

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There is no issue of visibility.
I ask my colleague why they do not use FreeBSD but Linux.
Some of them never ear about FreeBSD. Others thinks that there is few software compatible with FreeBSD (and do not know that KDE, Firefox or Gimp works in FreeBSD).
There is a legend about a bad licence that is not really free... (I think GNU win the battle of argue about what a free software is. And there is not enough visibility about the FreeBSD answer ?)
Only one try the version 6 or 7 and stopped for reason that he do not remember.

So yes, FreeBSD is known by very few people.
 

kpedersen

Son of Beastie

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Considering how good is my FreeBSD experience since april 2021, I regret that no visible advocacy influenced my choice sooner.
I ask my colleague why they do not use FreeBSD but Linux.

You guys are likely here now because Linux is messing up. How do we know whether all the "userfriendlyness" and advocracy (and other timewasting, developer draining crap) isn't contributing to that? If anything perhaps FreeBSD should do the opposite to Linux and actively hide from the typical non-technical computer user?

Obviously there will be a middle ground. But chasing Ubuntu chasing Windows is likely not the way to go. Arguably I look at some of the most popular Linux distros (Debian and Arch Linux) and see that i.e not providing a desktop environment in the standard install is actually fairly well received.

No matter how easy and inviting anyone makes Linux, no matter how fun and friendly you make FreeBSD, consumer products like Windows and macOS will *always* win because they have unlimited marketing budgets to entice the plebs. The power-user and developer market is the only ones that should be targetted and these kinds of users are more than capable of learning and doing things the correct UNIXy way (the only OS design that has really survived long).

TLDR; The advocracy page states "focused on building the best possible system". And making something easy and well known to unknowledgable people is often 100% mutually exclusive to that goal.
 

Fuzzbox

Member

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You guys are likely here now because Linux is messing up. How do we know whether all the "userfriendlyness" and advocracy (and other timewasting, developer draining crap) isn't contributing to that? If anything perhaps FreeBSD should do the opposite to Linux and actively hide from the typical non-technical computer user?
Imho, bad choices in the Linux world are business-driven, nothing else. But indeed, becoming mainstream exposes you to all kind of influences and conflicting interests.

Obviously there will be a middle ground. But chasing Ubuntu chasing Windows is likely not the way to go. Arguably I look at some of the most popular Linux distros (Debian and Arch Linux) and see that i.e not providing a desktop environment in the standard install is actually fairly well received.
Yep. That's why in my mind advocacy does not mean changing anything. It just means finding ways to promote FreeBSD strengths and break misconceptions about it.
 

Brian546

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I settled on FreeBSD 5.1 years ago after realizing Red Hat (not RHEL) was too bloated. A desktop or gui tools also have never been necessary for me. Outside of FreeBSD, NetBSD, and OpenBSD I know that other new ones have shown up over the years. Apologies for not understanding anything about them, but wasn’t this tried with one of them? I could have sworn that I read about PCBSD, or maybe Dragonfly BSD and the concept sounded to me like it was just going to be another Ubuntu. At any rate, I’m glad FreeBSD is keeping GUIs as far away from the base system as possible and hopefully it will stay that way.
 

grahamperrin

Son of Beastie

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… FreeBSD is keeping GUIs as far away from the base system as possible and hopefully it will stay that way.

True, and I agree in that FreeBSD is well-defined; it can be a good basis for distributions that include desktop environments.

In parallel: part of the technology roadmap of the Foundation is, naturally, to make things better for desktop and laptop end users.

Rewind to 2018, the Foundation's marketing of Everyday FreeBSD, the order in which use cases were presented – personal workstations first and foremost:

1642263658879.png


Subtle. The phrase personal workstation implies desktops and notebooks (laptops, if you prefer) however the authors were, I imagine, careful to:
  • not use the word laptop
  • not create false expectations.
Fast-forward to 2022, it should be not too long until FreeBSD 13.1-RELEASE provides:
  • a more than good basis for desktop environments (with or without a distro) on reasonably modern computers, including laptops with previously non-supported Wi-Fi hardware.


From the roadmap:

1642265421353.png
1642265492621.png
 

kpedersen

Son of Beastie

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In parallel: part of the technology roadmap of the Foundation is, naturally, to make things better for desktop and laptop end users.
Indeed, they clearly used the word workstation. This is almost a declaration that they didn't want to faff with consumer desktops either really. Arguably a laptop can be a workstation but it certainly doesn't include "nice beginner friendly fun".
 
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