Would this idea grow the FreeBSD userbase?

jbodenmann

Aspiring Daemon

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After using FreeBSD many years as a server OS pretty much everywhere I could I started using FreeBSD as a desktop OS a couple of months ago. I wouldn't want to miss that anymore.

Personally, I think it's a pretty good decision of the FreeBSD Foundation to focus on desktop/workstation/"mobile" usage. I like it!
 

chungy

Member

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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.

Debian's installer allows the option to install a desktop environment beyond the base install. FreeBSD's DVD image already includes a lot of packages on-disc that could make this possible, but the installer is lacking the nice way to automatically handle it. Perhaps there's room for giving an option to go beyond the base FreeBSD install within the installer.
 

kpedersen

Son of Beastie

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Debian's installer allows the option to install a desktop environment beyond the base install. FreeBSD's DVD image already includes a lot of packages on-disc that could make this possible, but the installer is lacking the nice way to automatically handle it. Perhaps there's room for giving an option to go beyond the base FreeBSD install within the installer.
In the past the FreeBSD installer did allow the user to install arbitrary ports. They decided to get rid of that in the move from sysinstall to bsdinstall.
 

drhowarddrfine

Son of Beastie

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There are too many desktop things and personal choices but each has their own installation instructions on their web site, in the port or package, and can be found in countless tutorials in some cases. I don't think the Handbook should be concerned with such things other than as a guide to where to find such instructions.
 

Zwie

New Member

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What I like about Arch Linux is their great wiki.
Debian's wiki is half as good and then comes all the other distribution wikis with Fedora's somewhere at the lowest point.

FreeBSD's wiki is... in a testing phase?

See the difference in searching a simple topic on Arch Linux wiki:
And on FreeBSDs wiki:
 

grahamperrin

Beastie's Twin

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Welcome to FreeBSD forums.

FreeBSD's wiki is... in a testing phase?

See the difference in searching a simple topic on Arch Linux wiki:

The underlying technologies are very different.

<https://wiki.freebsd.org/FrontPage?action=fullsearch&context=180&value=Xorg&titlesearch=Titles> might be a more realistic representation of what can be found with MoinMoin without resorting to full-text search.

I don't know about ArchWiki, but generally: wiki editing can be horribly frustrating; MoinMoin is no exception – note, the expression of pain.

I did some work on Graphics a couple of months ago. More recently, this (partial diff (fourteen versions)) because it was part of the process that led to:


FreeBSD Documentation Project | The FreeBSD Project refers to the current list of projects – the wiki is used for the list, but the wiki itself is not an FDP project.

I can't find what's required in FreeBSD Discord :-( but if I recall correctly, there's an intention to retire (archive, whatever) a variety of wiki pages.
 

Menelkir

Well-Known Member

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You guys are likely here now because Linux is messing up.
Actually is possible to make a linux distribution without a mess, but how much time you have available for fixing that? Not to mention, you'll have to take care of updates and fix it accordingly to your "unmess". Meanwhile, you can use FreeBSD that have a group effort for that. :p
 

Hakaba

Well-Known Member

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You apparently know quite a few who do. But who are these people? My background was embedded systems first, then Unix. Everyone I worked with knew about BSD but none of them were gamers or kids or hobbyists.
I think you have a confirmation bias (I am not young, Linux rebel or gamerz...). I ask engineers that work in network, website and products. I ask "products owners', I ask UI/UX peoples. And as I an a freelancer, I ask about FreeBSD in more than one company.
And when I was in my high school (including my last year in a stranger university) I never hear FreeBSD. NEVER.
I discover FreeBSD when Apple "switch" from 'Mac OS Classic' to 'Mac OS X'. And because I am curious by nature, I try it, learn a lot, discover this nice forum and so on.
And my point is not "We need to increase the base user". I never propose FreeBSD to my father... But if you want to increase the base users, the best way is not to find lacks into the product, but increase curious people that do not ear about it.
 

Hakaba

Well-Known Member

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Oh really? I personally am very happy to state "I am here because Linux is a mess" :)
I am here because I ear about FreeBSD when Apple use Mac OS X. I test it, use it in my personal server and install it on my laptop 10 year after.
I use Linux before FreeBSD, but I migrate from Linux to Mac OS X ( I was a mac OS Classic user before Linux)
Today, I use Mac OS X and FreeBSD. I never try Windows and the last Linux XP is when Apple release Mac OS X.2
But I have to work with Docker, bash and other things for my job.
 

drhowarddrfine

Son of Beastie

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Hakaba That's pretty much my point. I wouldn't expect high schoolers to have much knowledge about highly technical areas. That you imply you know engineers in "network, website and products owners" who aren't aware of FreeBSD, I question the quality of those engineers.
 

Zwie

New Member

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Welcome to FreeBSD forums.



The underlying technologies are very different.

<https://wiki.freebsd.org/FrontPage?action=fullsearch&context=180&value=Xorg&titlesearch=Titles> might be a more realistic representation of what can be found with MoinMoin without resorting to full-text search.

I don't know about ArchWiki, but generally: wiki editing can be horribly frustrating; MoinMoin is no exception – note, the expression of pain.

I did some work on Graphics a couple of months ago. More recently, this (partial diff (fourteen versions)) because it was part of the process that led to:


FreeBSD Documentation Project | The FreeBSD Project refers to the current list of projects – the wiki is used for the list, but the wiki itself is not an FDP project.

I can't find what's required in FreeBSD Discord :-( but if I recall correctly, there's an intention to retire (archive, whatever) a variety of wiki pages.

Thank you. You know, the spirit I felt in using FreeBSD the first time (with some knowledge from Linux) was like to discover a new meal I never ate before and it is tasting really good.

As for the topic about underlying technology the FreeBSD wiki is using: It does not interest a new user while using the FreeBSD wiki.
Is it working or not is the first intention a new user does have.
Should a new user think: "Oh, it is not working as great as the wiki of anothers distribution I like, so they probably have too much work to do or they are not as good as them - I will try to consider that they do not have a good working wiki because I am a new user....."

A new user wants (if he is hesitated not to disturb and waste the time of other in asking where is the config file of the application XY) a simple wiki, nothing fancy, text only to search with a browser's search function and to find quickly find the wiki site which is handling the keyword the user is searching at most, would be enough to have a good starting point. And these users are probably the ones you want.
Users which integrates in the community nicely.

You state, that maybe I should try searching for title's, not text.
That is a mess, too.
For a brief moment, try to compare FreeBSDs wiki with the wiki of Arch Linux, to mess with the best (about the wiki topic).
Try to find five topics you wanna handle in your system, even if you don't do. But you know the best what topics are difficult and needs to reread now and then. In example: samba, Xorg, dnsmasq, Network managers, List of recommended applications, Bios update, Installation guide, ...
Just for the configuration part of an OS like FreeBSD - what a new user wants - not for development.

I tried that and the search results are a mess in FreeBSDs wiki.
Search in a search machine of your choice for: "wiki.freebsd.org howto install"
Search again with the words: "wiki.archlinux.org howto install"
See the difference in user-friendlyness?
FreeBSDs wiki is not using keywords it seems, neither topics focusing on the point.

Other things FreeBSD can avoid to not make the same mistakes, like use entirely systemD because "everyone else do"...
SystemD is now trying to get into the kernel and that's my signal to look for alternatives. Even if Linux worked for me all the years. But now it seems corruption and profit is directing the decision makers of most big distributions of Linux.

If FreeBSDs wiki does not work the way it should be intentionally, maybe build up another one and exchange them if it is working the way the users like? For the beginning it could be plain english and if the user base grows, helpful users will translate the wiki sites in different languages with the hint, always to prefer to use the english version because it is the most up to date wiki site about a topic.

I know it is work. But the fundament needs always to be setup the best way for others to build up and help.
Currently (for me it seems), to work for the FreeBSD wiki would be a hell of a work. (*tehehe* You see the coincidence? :p ) It is simpler to start over. The way of the least resistance and most healthy and time saving way for the foreseeable future (while looking around if this way was made up on purpose by others). Sounds suspicious? It is!

And FreeBSD Discord? ...really? A closed source, third party, unsecured way of communicating to each other, because mostly gamers are using Discord, communication platform? Well, nothing to complain - it is time of FreeBSDler spending their time.
Then they probably also using the third party platform telegram? Yep. Good to know. Is it official? I do not know. The site freebsd.org does not offer any information about this.
Does FreeBSD have a matrix channel? Searching "FreeBSD matrix channel" does not seem so.
Does FreeBSD have at least an IRC channel? Yep. First search entry. Maybe because it is the "oldest" realtime communication method. Even changed from freenode (I think) to libera.chat. Yay.
And - it - is - hellish - official! -> https://wiki.freebsd.org/IRC/Channels


As you can see, FreeBSD's public relations is not clean and not easy to use.
 

shkhln

Son of Beastie

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And FreeBSD Discord? ...really? A closed source, third party, unsecured way of communicating to each other
Really. Except for the insecure bit.

Then they probably also using the third party platform telegram? Yep. Good to know. Is it official?
That one is not official. (Whatever it is.)

Does FreeBSD have a matrix channel?
No.

As you can see, FreeBSD's public relations is not clean and not easy to use.
FreeBSD doesn't have public relations. The foundation does, but they are arguably aren't good at it.
 

shkhln

Son of Beastie

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That reminds me, one of my pet peeves with Ubuntu (a somewhat popular Linux distribution) is that their bug tracker (Launchpad) doesn't have labels for developer accounts. Makes it quite annoying to read long issue threads. Just so you know what an actual mess looks like.
 

grahamperrin

Beastie's Twin

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… 𣀦If FreeBSDs wiki does not work the way it should be intentionally, maybe build up another one and exchange them if it is working the way the users like? For the beginning it could be plain english and if the user base grows, helpful users will translate the wiki sites in different languages with the hint, always to prefer to use the english version because it is the most up to date wiki site about a topic.

I know it is work. But the fundament needs always to be setup the best way for others to build up and help.
Currently (for me it seems), to work for the FreeBSD wiki would be a hell of a work. …

I like the idea, however I think there's greater encouragement to keep things up-to-date in the docs.freebsd.org area. Pages include the invitation:

Edit this page

Here's a page that needs attention:

1642738753247.png
  • the question ends "What about Journaled soft updates?"
  • the answer does nothing to explain soft update journaling
  • the answer mentions a delay of up to thirty seconds before data is written to disk (the norm for UFS)
  • expert test results suggest that the delay may be much greater.
 

grahamperrin

Beastie's Twin

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Impact Reports | FreeBSD Foundation

The 2021 report is a good overview of things. From the Executive Director's message, with added emphasis:

… How do we know where to step in? We watch market trends, stay on top of discussions happening in various mailing lists and irc channels, and listen to you, the users, by surveying the community over social media and on mailing lists. We also meet with various commercial users to understand how they are using FreeBSD and what challenges they may face.

… We also started collecting data, to help show the growth of FreeBSD as we move forward.
 
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