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FreeBSD Vows to Compete with Desktop Linux 370

Posted by Zonk
from the moving-on-up dept.
AlanS2002 writes "FreeBSD developer Scott Long is being reported as saying that FreeBSD is quickly approaching feature parity with Linux. Apparently this is being achieved through efforts to more tightly integrate GNOME with FreeBSD, with one of the priorities being to 'GNOME's hardware abstraction layer--which handles hardware-specific code--working with FreeBSD'."
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FreeBSD Vows to Compete with Desktop Linux

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  • by Foktip (736679) on Saturday May 13, 2006 @08:24AM (#15324346)
    Wasnt the goal of BSD to be secure and reliable, like debian, only moreso? How come now they're "competing with desktop Linux" ?
    • by debilo (612116) on Saturday May 13, 2006 @08:37AM (#15324368)
      I couldn't find a single example of Scott's "vow to compete" with Linux in the article. All he did was express his hopes of feature parity within a year or so. The "vow to compete" is a useless and sensationalist addition by the author, so let's keep it civil and avoid flame wars.
      • The "vow to compete" is a useless and sensationalist addition by the author

        Specially considering that what really matters for desktop is gnome, kde,x.org...not the kernel. The kernel is involved in things hardware support, device and power management (suspend) etc, but what really matters is gnome and kde, nothing else. Gnome is not more usable under freebsd than in linux, neither the reverse.
        • by SillyNickName4me (760022) <dotslash@bartsplace.net> on Saturday May 13, 2006 @11:10AM (#15324948) Homepage
          Specially considering that what really matters for desktop is gnome, kde,x.org...not the kernel.

          X and a desktop environment matter the most for sure.. but I think you are quite seriously underestimating the role of a kernel in this..

          The kernel is involved in things hardware support, device and power management (suspend) etc, but what really matters is gnome and kde, nothing else. Gnome is not more usable under freebsd than in linux, neither the reverse.

          You see.. audio/video support sortof matters for desktop use.. so does plug and play hardware support (just plugin that camera and it works..), which are indeed hardware related but specifically, usb, drm/dri and sound support are extremely important for a desktop.

          Then, the scheduler can make quite a difference (optimized for throiughput versus responsiveness for example makes a big difference in how 'snappy' your desktop feels)

          Then, if you open a folder in say the kde or gnome file/directory browsers, there are 3 things you desktop can do:
          1. not notice changes to the directory untill you manually refresh the view
          2. poll the filesystem for changes and display them once they got noticed
          3. ask the kernel to send a notification when a file changes

          1. is no longer an acceptable option nowadays
          2. becomes very expensive when you have a lot of files in said directory, and it is always 'too late'
          3. requires kernel support (it is supported in slightly different ways in Linux and FreeBSD now) but is low overhead and virtually inmediate.

          As you can see, the kernel does in fact play an important role in simple things like browsing a directory already...

          So, yes, it does definitely matter for both gnome and kde what kernel they are running on. A year ago the difference between Linux and FreeBSD was substantial, esp. with regards to the scheduler and support for things like fam (without having to poll for changes).. nowadays the difference is far less big.
    • Wasnt the goal of BSD to be secure and reliable, like debian, only moreso?

      There is no "goal of BSD." There are at least four major open source BSD-derived OSes and they all have different goals. Of course every operating system tries to be secure and reliable - even Windows - but you're probably thinking of OpenBSD, where they are willing to sacrifice just about anything for the sake of security.

      FreeBSD and DragonflyBSD, to name two, have always had user-friendliness as a major goal (among many ot

      • If the Coverity bug report for FOSS software is true, NetBSD is amazingly well done and bug-free.http://scan.coverity.com/ [coverity.com]
        • If the Coverity bug report for FOSS software is true, NetBSD is amazingly well done and bug-free.http://scan.coverity.com/

          By that measure Ethereal is well done, but that is clearly not true since it is filled with remote exploits and developed by a team that does not care about security. The Coverity scannings are useful for catching some types of bugs, but a low "Defect Reports/KLOC" does not imply that the software is safe nor that it is well designed.

    • by SeaFox (739806) on Saturday May 13, 2006 @04:02PM (#15326355)
      Wasnt the goal of BSD to be secure and reliable, like debian, only moreso? How come now they're "competing with desktop Linux" ?

      Because security and reliability aren't sexy. They don't gain you new users like features do. Same reason Microsoft keeps adding features to Windows rather than fixing security problems, and keeps adding features to Word instead of making the interface better so the features it has become more useful.
  • by cperciva (102828) on Saturday May 13, 2006 @08:30AM (#15324354) Homepage
    To head off some confusion: This isn't about the FreeBSD base system; it's about third party code (like GNOME and KDE) in the FreeBSD ports tree. The FreeBSD base system already has feature parity with Linux (ok, there are a few things Linux has which we don't, but there are also things we have and Linux doesn't) -- the problem now is to get groups like GNOME and KDE to use the features we're making available to them.
    • If the desktop you seek then a graphical installer begin thy path.
      • If the desktop you seek then a graphical installer begin thy path.

        Supposedly you install once (most people neer install, they hire someone to do it for them or buyt their computer preinstalled).

        Supposedly, those who are interested in installing something else then the preinstalled stuff on their machine have a slight clue about what they are doing.

        If you combine those 2 things, the conclusion must be that while a graphhical installer is definitely nice to have, it is by for not as important as you make it.
    • by JanneM (7445) on Saturday May 13, 2006 @09:10AM (#15324446) Homepage
      the problem now is to get groups like GNOME and KDE to use the features we're making available to them.

      The obvious problem for large projects like GNOME is of course that they need to make a good experience on a pretty wide variety of platforms. To use any platform-specific feature it will need to be either emulated, replicated, worked around or otherwise made available on all platforms; or it could only go in as an optional extra that nothing else is actually depending on. So, making advanced FS logging capabilities a cornerstone of the desktop, for example, would be out since far from all platforms will have the requisite framework. "You can only run desktop X if you also use filesystem Y" is likely to go over like a lead balloon.

      Fortunately, good ideas in the OS space tends to be picked up by everybody sooner or later. Over time there just aren't that many good ideas that will not be available everywhere as time goes on.
      • The obvious problem for large projects like GNOME is of course that they need to make a good experience on a pretty wide variety of platforms. To use any platform-specific feature it will need to be either emulated, replicated, worked around or otherwise made available on all platforms; or it could only go in as an optional extra that nothing else is actually depending on. So, making advanced FS logging capabilities a cornerstone of the desktop, for example, would be out since far from all platforms will ha
      • "You can only run desktop X if you also use filesystem Y"

        Unfortunately a lot of developers do think like this. For a long time a certain program wouldn't work under FreeBSD, because it only supported ALSA. Every bug report on the problem was summarily closed with a message on the order of "we can't fix this until FreeBSD follows the ALSA audio standard."
  • by denissmith (31123) * on Saturday May 13, 2006 @08:43AM (#15324385)
    Compete with DESKTOP Linux? Shouldn't they aim a little higher, compete with OS/2???
  • by Quirk (36086) on Saturday May 13, 2006 @09:04AM (#15324436) Homepage Journal
    I loath the worn, tired :), computer/automobile anology as much as anyone (I'm guessing it got its start from the Information Highway idea), but I'm going to try wring a few last drops from it.

    In 1908, the Ford company released the Ford Model T [wikipedia.org]. The first Model Ts were built at the Piquette Manufacturing Plant. The company moved production to the much larger Highland Park Plant to keep up with the demand for the Model T, and by 1913 had developed all of the basic techniques of the assembly line and mass production. Ford introduced the world's first moving assembly line that year, which reduced chassis assembly time from 12½ hours in October to 2 hours, 40 minutes. However these innovations were not popular and turnover of workers was very high. Turnover meant delays and extra costs of training, and use of slow workers. In January 1914 solved the problem by doubling pay to $5 a day, cutting shifts from nine hours to an eight hour day, and instituting hiring practices that identified the best workers. Productivity soared and employee turnover plunged, as the cost per vehicle plummeted. Ford cut prices again and again and invented the system of franchised dealers who were loyal to his brand name.

    By the end of 1913, Ford was producing 50% of all cars in the United States, and by 1918 half of all cars in the country were Model T's. Henry Ford is reported to have said that "any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black." This was because black paint was quickest to dry; earlier models had been available in a variety of colors. But most were black."

    What the Model T was to the automobile DOS/Windows is to computer software. People faced with new technology that manages to takeoff tend to choice a brand that they gravitate toward in order to provide them with a base from which a general learning curve can be traced. As with the Model T, once a general concensus is arrived at as to what the new technology can do for the masses then competing models come into play and bells and whistles are taken in hand after the basics have been learnt. The computer industry has achieved a saturation level and the basics have been put in place. Now there is a chance for more competition. It's likely that Linux on the desktop is coming soon.

    That freeBSD has chosen to announce its competition with Linux is more supplemental support to show that the basics of the desktop have been put in place. Competition between Linux and freeBSD is great and will foster competition between F/OSS alternatives that will soon provide greater incentive for the general computer population to move from Windows to alternatives.

    I suspect the initial gauge of this movement will be a greater market share taken by Apple.

    Just my loose change

  • by FudRucker (866063) on Saturday May 13, 2006 @09:18AM (#15324478)
    from personal experience i have to say i am biased towards GNU/Linux with Slackware being my favorite, i recently tryed both DesktopBSD & PC-BSD on my first primary partition, they were both decent KDE desktops and i was familier with CUPS so setting up my printer was not a problem, but with GNU/Linux when i tried ubuntu breezy it made setting up a GNU/Linux desktop a total "no brainer" (including printer, scanner & digital camera) that should help non-techies setup a GNU/Linux desktop a lot easier, the two BSD desktop flavors (DesktopBSD & PC-BSD) stand a good chance to give the GNU/Linux desktop camp some competition which is a good thing :)
  • by Jacek Poplawski (223457) on Saturday May 13, 2006 @09:44AM (#15324559)
    I am not a BSD user and I am not going to even test it, but I think this is a good thing - bigger free desktop market will lead to better Free Software, more people will report bugs and more people will discuss new features.
  • by Godji (957148) on Saturday May 13, 2006 @10:10AM (#15324660) Homepage
    Can we please have a car analogy?
  • by Breaker_1 (688170) * on Saturday May 13, 2006 @10:13AM (#15324673) Homepage
    I use FreeBSD on a daily basis, I have FreeBSD servers, a FreeBSD development machine, and a FreeBSD daily use desktop (irc, email, web browsing, im, etc.) As it stands now yes, FreeBSD has both the newest versions of KDE and Gnome, and as far as I know the newest version of all the bigger window managers. However, as it stands now FreeBSD is not really a viable desktop in the same way that Linux is. This is because of the two major 3rd party softwares, neither of which are open source. Flash on FreeBSD is rather a joke, which is not to say that the people who work on the flash ports aren't doing well, but going to any flash site is a gamble. Pandora and Google Video, both sites that I go to regularly, lock up Firefox completely. And then there's Java. Java is marked restricted in the ports because of licensing issues, is non-redistributable (hope I spelled that right). Java is a real pain in the arse on FreeBSD. In my experience, the chances of a successful build are about 50/50 at best. You have to download several larger files and move them into the distfiles directory, start the build and cross your fingers and wait.. many hours.. There are other problems as well, for FreeBSD as a desktop os like Linux, but these are the major two... everybody expects to be able to browse the web on a desktop OS with little to no trouble. And as it stands now FreeBSD is unable to deliver an easy to use, out-of-the-box solution for desktop use. I hope this doesn't start a flame war, just adding my two cents.
    • by Teckla (630646) on Saturday May 13, 2006 @10:26AM (#15324727)
      And then there's Java. Java is marked restricted in the ports because of licensing issues, is non-redistributable (hope I spelled that right). Java is a real pain in the arse on FreeBSD.

      From the FreeBSD web site:

      The FreeBSD Foundation has negotiated a license with Sun Microsystems to distribute FreeBSD binaries for the Java Runtime Environment (JRE(TM)) and Java Development Kit (JDK(TM)).

      Enjoy!

    • by Anonymous Coward
      I use flash with linux-opera and it works fine. Java has been dead on the desktop for almost 8 years, so who cares.
      • Java has been dead on the desktop for almost 8 years, so who cares.

        You mean, like with Eclipse/WebSphere Application Developer and Azureus dead-on-the-desktop?

        Java may suck on the desktop (certainly it does compared to C#/.NET, but at least Java has a chance of being portable to other OSs or devices), and there aren't many apps worth speaking-of (note that the two above use SWT, not one of the native Sun Java GUI libs), but it still sees heavy use, particularly inside large organizations.

    • There are other problems as well, for FreeBSD

      Like having a red balloon with horns that's ready to pop??

    • Maybe you missed this from April 5th: http://www.freebsdfoundation.org/press/20060405-P R release.shtml [freebsdfoundation.org]

      FreeBSD got an official download already.

      I've run Eclipse and Azureus on my laptop and work PC running FreeBSD, and both work great (albiet the root issues with Azureus up-patches).

      But as said, you don't need Java for a decent desktop OS, especially for most web browsing. I need to check out what's this flash issue is about.
  • I use FreeBSD on all my server machines I run for personal use. Love it, wouldn't consider changing.

    If it wants to run at the desktop market my suggestions would be:

    a) Graphical setup
    b) Better hardware autodetection (both during install and post install)
    c) A GUI by default that is tight and looks good.
    d) A more easy to use graphical interface into the ports system.

    THat's a start, get those and we'll talk desktop.
  • Forgive my ignorance of things FreeBSD.

    How is the hardware support? Does it support the variety of devices that Linux supports? (honest question)

    For a desktop (vs. a server) a wide variety of hardware support is important. Desktop users have a huge variety of hardware.

    Whenever I hear talk of any other non-Linux OS, the hardware question is the first one that pops into my mind. Nevermind the micro/monolithic kernel debates, when someone proposes a different OS kernel, my first question is always
    • Re:Hardware support? (Score:2, Informative)

      by greening (146061)
      FreeBSD's hardware support isn't as wide reaching as linux from what I have found. If you have normal hardware (ie. popular), you wont find any problems with compatiblity from FreeBSD. If you are ever putting a computer together for the specific purpose of running FreeBSD, always check the hardware compatibility matrix. I had an instance at work where my boss bought the hardware for the servers and had me put it together and get FreeBSD installed. He didn't check the hardware for compatibility and 2 of
  • by MisterP (156738) * on Saturday May 13, 2006 @10:45AM (#15324829)
    One of the big problems with any flavour of Linux that I've used is the laptop support. Even though I've always specifically bought laptops with very good linux compatibility, it's still hit and miss. A large chunk of the computers sold in retail stores now are laptops and they're getting more and more popular as the price of them continues to drop. Suspend and wifi needs to Just Work.

    What I would like to see is a small core list of laptop models that are essentially "certified" to work. Pick the most popular lines, get them working 100% then add more and more models without breaking support for the laptops that worked previously. Ubuntu in particular seems to have a shockgun whack-a-mole approach to supporting laptops and it's maddening.
  • by static0verdrive (776495) on Saturday May 13, 2006 @11:01AM (#15324904) Homepage Journal
    You won't get too far against linux with that license, buddy.
  • No one wants this (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dirtyhippie (259852) on Saturday May 13, 2006 @11:05AM (#15324923) Homepage
    I realize this article is about the ports tree, but FreeBSD's main source *has* been moving at a blistering rate of development the past few years. Recently there was an article about linux 2.6 getting buggier - and unfortunately the same is true of FreeBSD 5.x and 6.x ... Some things to consider:

    * 6.x came out shockingly fast after 5.x
    * 4.x was orphaned correspondingly quickly (despite being arguably the only stable freebsd branch left)
    * vinum (software raid) support, among other things, was broken thanks to the introduction of geom around 5.1, and gvinum is finally beginning to approach stability as of 6.1
    * The new scheduler, ULE, was introduced in one 5.x release and then abandoned when it proved to be completely unstable.
    * As a reaction, one of the lead developers forked dragonflybsd off of the last truly stable freebsd release, the 4.x branch. Others have just given up.
    * Bugfixes are getting left on the floor in favor of adding features ( just look at a relatively old release such as freebsd 5.3's TODO list: http://www.freebsd.org/releases/5.3R/todo.html [freebsd.org] - note that most of these problems are *still* not fixed in 6.1 )

    People choose the BSD's for stability - or at least, they used to. FreeBSD has been going down a features at all cost route in some kind of effort to play catchup with their perceived rival linux for some time. In doing so, it is losing what makes it unique, and it needs to stop, or else people will abandon FreeBSD for other BSDs, linux (which is now more stable IMO), and even mac os.

    -DH
  • Competition drives innovation. One of the reasons why I think KDE vs. GNOME is a great idea.

    On a sidenote, what the end user sees is not Linux, FreeBSD, Ubuntu, Fedora or Windows for that matter. They see Luna, KDE and Gnome.
    I heard KDE even runs on Windows. So when I tell someone I can install a new system on their computer I tell them it is either KDE or Gnome.
    • One of the reasons why I think KDE vs. GNOME is a great idea.

      Competition between two Windows clones?

      That's like reading the front page *and* the sprts section to get a balanced view of the news.

      A pox on both their houses.
  • by Money for Nothin' (754763) on Saturday May 13, 2006 @11:42AM (#15325123)
    If only it would:

    * Mix multiple audio inputs to /dev/dsp, rather than one app locking access to that device to the exclusion of all others. Linux does this via ALSA, but FBSD has no similar, new audio architecture to replace OSS (as ALSA finally has). KDE's artsd + artsdsp is available, but we all know that the entire arts package sucks horribly.

    * Have better Java and Flash support. Ever try to get native Java working on FreeBSD? First you have to download the Linux Java distribution, install it, then download the FBSD patchset for native Java, build and install it. This takes a day, even on my 2.4GHz, 768MB laptop. And Flash? Don't make me laugh. Flash support is attemptedly enabled via a wrapper, but the Flash version that is currently stable is 5. I'm running 7 on the Gentoo install I'm typing this on, and that's behind the Windows world's Flash version 8.

    * Similar to the Java problem, too many apps in FBSD require Linux support. If I'm going to run a Linux app on FBSD, why not just run Linux? Moreover, if parallel FBSD and Linux binaries are necessary (as with Java), then this is going to be a monster waste of HDD space.

    * Make compiling the kernel easier. Yes, configuring the kernel is doable by hand, but as any newbie programmer should be able to tell you, the more opportunity you have for human input, the more opportunity there is for failure. More typing/manual config means a higher probability that some piece of kernel functionality goes missing in the build. Why not an ncurses interface with basic (but I must emphasize, also imperfect) dependency resolution, like Linux has?

    Look, I love FreeBSD and prefer it to Linux. Its overall design is more sophisticated, saner, and better-organized than Linux, and I find the ports system to be better-designed and more-useful than Gentoo's portage (where are the descriptions of each port in portage guys? I want to know if what I'm about to install is really what I want, and I don't want to have to go google it first!). All that, and FBSD exists under a free-as-in-freedom, rather than free-as-in-communism license. I've run it on my server for years, and with the huge, disappointing exception of the 5.[01] days, it's very stable (current uptime with 6.0-RELEASE is 159 days).

    But over various times in the last 6 years, I have tried it as a desktop, and every time I have, there has always been some FBSD-specific behavior that has caused me to switch back to Windows or Linux. FBSD 6.0 is certainly the most usable desktop release yet, and it's thisclose to there for me. But still, not quite. (Frankly, I want an OSX box, and my next laptop will almost undoubtedly be a dual-core MacBook. Then I can have the best of all worlds: a FBSD userland, compatibility with most OSS *nix apps, and commercial-ware app availability. But until then...)

    So, I'm happy with FBSD maintaining its role as a rock-solid server OS. Let's not assume everything is a nail when holding a hammer here...
    • Ever try to get native Java working on FreeBSD? First you have to download the Linux Java distribution, install it, then download the FBSD patchset for native Java, build and install it. This takes a day, even on my 2.4GHz, 768MB laptop.

      For fsck's sake, it really seems this /. thread on FreeBSD is full of trolls!
      Didn't you read the news, the FreeBSD Foundation negotiated with Sun and now there's a native Java on FreeBSD so stop trolling, because installing it is as easy on any, e.g. Debian-like system (sim
      • It's not a troll, fool. Try installing native Java from a port (*not* a package) sometime.

        For fsck's sake, why don't you go back and read my post in full? I never said there was not native Java. Yes, I remember when FBSD Foundation and Sun negotiated native Java, a few years ago.

        Jesus. I know people on /. are illiterate reactionary tards, but you really take the cake this week.
        • You're the retard who chooses to make your won life difficult by making uninformed decisions that go against the project developers' official recommendation, then hop on /. to diss FreeBSD because of your moronic ways. RTFM, stupid.
    • /*
      Ever try to get native Java working on FreeBSD? First you have to download the Linux Java distribution, install it, then download the FBSD patchset for native Java, build and install it. This takes a day, even on my 2.4GHz, 768MB laptop.
      */

      Nope - you need to keep up. Native Binaries are now out from Sun - the announcment was April 5, so thats old news that you didn't care to look for. So either correct your knowledgebase or (if this was a troll) find another troll point, I hear that Netcraft still has on
    • Ever try to get native Java working on FreeBSD? First you have to download the Linux Java distribution, install it, then download the FBSD patchset for native Java, build and install it. This takes a day, even on my 2.4GHz, 768MB laptop.

      Last year about this time I spent six weeks trying to get the right version of Java, Tomcat, and a half a dozen components working on Linux. We had to use an RPM based system, so I don't know if Debian would have been better, but if I didn't have a FreeBSD system to start wi
    • Linux does this via ALSA, but FBSD has no similar, new audio architecture to replace OSS (as ALSA finally has). KDE's artsd + artsdsp is available, but we all know that the entire arts package sucks horribly.

      Many people seem to miss ALSA. Whatever it is. When I look into /dev, I can see many different /dev/dsp0.x devices. Whatever you want to do, you can use all these channels from an application.

      Have better Java and Flash support.

      Where are the problems with Java, except it cannot be distributed a

  • by kshade (914666) on Saturday May 13, 2006 @11:48AM (#15325149)
    12 Dec 2005 - Linus Torvalds states that "only idiots will use [Gnome]". [gnome.org]
    20 Apr 2006 - Linus claims "that [...] FreeBSD [People] are incompetent idiots." [indiana.edu]
    12 May 2006 - The FreeBSD folks announce a tightly integratin of GNOME with FreeBSD. [slashdot.org]*

    * You didn't click that link, did you?
  • Hmmm... (Score:2, Insightful)

    What I find rather peculiar is this competitive behaviour that's constantly being exercised by *BSD crowd. GNU/Linux camp regard *BSD Unices as the sister OS(es), something they're in some sort of "friendly competition" with, while the *BSD guys continue to look down on Linux and its users, telling on their official pages/blogs/birthday parties... how inferior Linux is in regard to software installation, OS management, security... This superiority complex of theirs is really annoying, especially given it is
    • From what I've read, I think that might be because some developers on the Linux camp have been a factor of irritation when they produce Linuxisms is C code, foresaking portability.You see this phenomenom mentioned in what regards GNOME in the article. It almost sounds as if GNOME developers are a clique that don't give a shit about other projects.

      Another famous little war was Linuxers resistance (glibc maintainers, to be exact) resistance against the safer strlcpy and strlcat functions from OpenBSD's libc:
      S
    • This superiority complex of theirs is really annoying, especially given it is not based on facts.

      So, basically, you consider Linux superior to BSD in all areas? So who is it with the superiority complex again?
  • Betting on the wrong horse there. Gnome is such an utter piece of shit (ask Torvalds - d'oh!) that all BSD will do is ensure that nobody ends up using it on the desktop. Same thing as redshat and the other gnome distros. Unless someone here really believes that a return to the System 7 Finder with all that window clutter is a good idea? Or that Gnome's file browse dialog is anything other than a useless piece of shit with the most important information hidden from the users (like "where am I right now?"
  • by Punk Walrus (582794) on Saturday May 13, 2006 @05:08PM (#15326628) Journal
    As some one who has spent the last year fixing up the systems the FreeBSD admins left behind, I feel qualified is stating that FreeBSD is a terrible business-level operating system. When I started at my company, a bunch of previous admins replaced many core pieces of infrastructure with FreeBSD. One of my core requirements when I got hired was to get them onto Red Hat Enterprise, and part of the reason they threw a lot of money at me was I knew both systems, and I could easily take stuff from a FreeBSD environment.

    First, and I must say this, I don't "hate" FreeBSD. Life is too short to argue which operating system is the best overall (I still cringe that I did this sort of fanaticism with Atari and Amiga back in the day, and learned a valuable lesson about what really matters). FreeBSD is a great, tweakable, DIY hobbyist OS done for those who tinker with those sorts of things (which is how I learned it). But FreeBSD in the business enterprise is like hiring a bunch of guys who work out of their basement to do your IT work: may be good in some instances, but is a poor long-term strategy.

    Why? Here are some of the problems:

    - Hardware support. This is my #1 problem. You want FreeBSD to run on some of those new HP DL380 G4's with the dual Xeons? Oops... sorry. The special scsi blade won't run well with them when you need RAID5. But wait, there's a guy in the Netherlands who has a driver that sort of works... but his website hasn't been updated since 2002, and it's still considered alpha, and compiling it with the specialized kernel breaks...

    - Software support. Almost neck and neck with #1. Let's leave out the scant vendors that support the BSD kernel, because FreeBSD fanatics always go, "Oh yeah... what about XXXX...?" For every example that some major vendor that supports FreeBSD that some gives me, I can give you ten examples of companies that don't. And those that do always patch or update their FreeBSD as an afterthought. "New FooPack 3.00 has been released! BSD? Um... yeah, in our FTP site the 1.24 version may still work, but it's EOL and unsupported." Then the stuff about ports is stupid. I don't want to keep my ports tree up-to-date and then have to recompile all the time.

    - Finding anyone who knows about BSD is rare. Too rare. Last time I said this, some snide person commented that, "Well any person who worked on Sun systems should know FreeBSD." No. No, they don't. First, most Sun admins never worked on FreeBSD if they have even heard of it, and even if the "translation is easy," most Sun admins know they have Sun to support them when things go terribly wrong. FreeBSD is all community-based, except for a few small unheard-of enterprises, and neither one looks like a good strategy when mentioning them to management.

    - FreeBSD community is very RTFM. Fine. There is nothing wrong with that at all. Except when people don't have time to RTFM. Your server is borked, and you don't know why, and you don't have the luxury of scanning bulletin boards, dealing with mailing lists, and snide FreeBSD gurus who say, "Look, we can't do this FOR you," like they have read, "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" too many times.

    The UNIX admins who forced FreeBSD on my company are gone. Most of them were considered foul-tempered and uncooperative zealots. Management had to go to the boards, and found much of the same reactions from the FreeBSD community. We had serious issues with these systems, and me and 2 other admins had to bail them out over the last year. Sure, we pay for Red Hat and Windows licenses, but FreeBSD gave us so much grief, that mentioning it to anyone is either done so as sarcastic humor or an insult:

    Admin1: Hah! I totally fixed this.
    Admin2: What did you do?
    Admin1: Aw man, I don't have time to explain.
    Admin2: Heh. Don't FreeBSD me, document it! Share the love.
    Admin1: Ouch, man. Just was uncalled for.
    Admin3: What did he say?
    Admin1: He pulled the FreeBSD card on me.
    Admin3: Dude, not cool. That was harsh.

    Again, I don't hate FreeBSD as a concept. I just know it's not right for the business environment.
    • One could make exactly the same arguments trying to migrate from a Windows environment to Linux, when employing a bunch of Linux-only admins, and running windows hardware with no open-source drivers. Or, alternatively, trying to migrate from Solaris to Windows, when only employing Windows admins.

      What's your point?

      Sounds like a project management problem to me, not an operating systems issue.

      smash.

"Probably the best operating system in the world is the [operating system] made for the PDP-11 by Bell Laboratories." - Ted Nelson, October 1977

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