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Comment Re:Not had a good experience (Score 1) 185

I don't run a GUI on any of the servers I've ever managed, and BSD won't be run on any of those, so that isn't the problem. I do however run GUIs on machines which monitor those systems, because it doesn't take a "Windows lover" to acknowledge the usefulness of an efficient interface (which I also develop). Implying that only someone with less intelligence or skill would use one is rather childish and isn't a good way to begin a response.

The problem was that neither GNOME or X were installing to begin with, despite my attempts to use their menu during the install to do so. Even when I figured out the CLI package interface, I didn't know all the packages I would need for a complete GNOME system, since it apparently does not get all dependencies (such as Xorg itself). I know how to manually start and configure X as I've done it many times in the past (back when it was actually still necessary), but at the time I didn't feel like reliving years ago and dig around on the web on a different machine just to try the thing out. OpenBSD's install may have been different (I don't recall the details now), but the experience was essentially the same.

I do appreciate your offer for help, but if I do try again, I will likely do my homework first. My point was simply that after experiencing so many years of Linux evolving, BSD was not a very intuitive experience. When I need a FAQ just to install it properly considering my background, then I feel I'm within my right to be a grumpy nerd about it.

But hey, this is OpenBSD 5, so maybe it's better now. Maybe I'll get past the installer without it complaining about a lack of packages for the version, as the RC of FreeBSD did.

Comment Good things come in small packages (Score 1) 487

I'm not sure why Turbo Pascal gets such a bad wrap with people. This isn't Visual Basic we're talking about here. Some really successful games were written in it. Anyone remember Legend of the Red Dragon, and every other BBS door game Seth Able ever wrote? Turbo Pascal. Lots of BBS games were written in that, as a matter of fact, because there were some very good serial/modem handling libraries available, and the bounds checking of the language made it much more stable to run on such a platform. Oppositely, one of the more well-known BBS games to be written in C, Exitilus, was notorious for its buggy and unstable code.

After I learned C, there was no going back despite my fondness for Pascal. But it still formed the foundation of programming practices for me and surely countless other people. The integrated help was absolutely priceless to my learning, because I would sometimes just spend long periods reading through all the different entries and see how features could benefit what I write. I learned of I/O ports and direct memory access to hardware that way, which greatly improved my understanding of how computers worked at the time. Aside from the helpful built-in bounds checking (which I believe could even be disabled for efficiency), there wasn't much performance loss, particularly when you accessed hardware directly rather than go through graphics libraries. It could be as powerful of a language as you wanted it to be, while still simple and intuitive enough for somebody's first Hello World program.

I'll stop fawning over it on my way down memory lane now. But I still feel it's a shame that we're at a period in computing where learning the fundamentals of the hardware for a beginner is completely lost under a spiderweb of APIs.

Comment Not had a good experience (Score 1) 185

I keep wanting to try one of the BSDs out on a preliminary basis to see how it compares to Linux, but honestly every one of them has irked me from the point of installation. I've tried FreeBSD, OpenBSD, and PC-BSD.

The former two were somewhat cryptic to me, despite 10 years of Linux experience. I've done everything from manage servers to develop for embedded systems, and I always managed to figure things out. But FreeBSD, for example, gives me this somewhat counter-intuitive menu to go through, most of which I figured out, despite my lack of understanding of BSD partition types and all that. The problem though came from the packages. If you don't do anything, it just defaults to a console installation. And that's fine for some situations, sure. But actually trying to install the GUI was another story. I felt like a complete idiot trying to figure out their menus. It wasn't smart enough to just realize that the packages it might need aren't on the basic install CD, so initially I couldn't even find Gnome to install it. Immediately I was turned off by this seemingly primitive package system. But even when you get into the menu to select an internet source, it's a huge mess. I tried to pick Gnome, but it seemed that no matter what I did, I ended up with a plain CLI installation without even basic X. I had no idea where I was going wrong. I tried sysinstall afterward, read some stuff online, but I could not make the damn thing work. So I ended up trying to do it from the command line instead, which in fact was a million times more straightforward than their interface. But without knowing what all packages I actually needed for a full install without digging around, and upon realizing I still would have to manually edit my config files to make X launch with Gnome and all, I just threw my hands up and said forget that mess. If I wanted to go to that much trouble just to try something out, I'd install Arch or Gentoo or something. It's also worth pointing out that pkg_add is a very ugly tool, and not nearly as informative of progress as, say, APT. Perhaps I'm spoiled from all of my Linux use, though.

PC-BSD is supposed to be the most friendly, yet not only did it contradict itself in how much space it would require between two different install attempts, but the first time it failed after the install began, and the second time it said it needed more space than I had allocated in the partitions (and that was both with auto-allocate as well as me doing it manually). Considering there's absolutely nothing different you can choose at that stage of the installation to affect disk space or anything (selecting basic stuff like keyboard type), I have honestly no idea why it was different on each attempt. The third time, when I gave up and just created a bigger virtual partition than I wanted to originally allow it, it then appeared to start downloading a single huge image rather than separate packages. I canceled it after realizing it would take a million years to get from their slow server.

I heard that the release candidate for FreeBSD 9 had a friendlier installer, but a) it seemed pretty much the same text-based one to me, and b) none of the download mirrors in the installer would acknowledge the version I had and wouldn't let me download any packages.

I'm sure many BSD veterans will simply think I'm a moron, am too impatient, or maybe I just had a string of bad luck. And maybe you're right on all counts! And sure, I could go read tutorials on how to do it "properly." But honestly, after using so many variations of Linux over the years, all the way back to the much more cryptic Red Hat installations of yesteryear, you'd think I would be able to figure out BSD no problem. Instead, I just gave it a big sigh, threw my hands up, and said forget it. I haven't needed it so far, so I probably won't need it anytime soon either.

And yet the (stubborn) geek in me still wants to know if it's any better once it's actually up and running, because I know the kernel is supposed to be much cleaner and more optimized than Linux, so I doubt this will be my last attempt.

Comment No thanks (Score 2) 281

This article should have read "Mark Shuttleworth continues his campaign to clone Apple products as closely as possible."

Sorry, but am I the only one who doesn't think we need another OSX-like operating system on a tablet? Ubuntu is ruining what Linux worked towards for years by trying to lure in users with pretty colors and big icons. That's not what Linux is about. We're not Apple users. We don't care about that shit. We want a system that works, and works efficiently. Cloning OSX is counter-productive to that goal, since it's certainly not the most productive operating system out there.

The dock is one of the worst task-management devices ever conceived. You have no information about how many windows of a particular application are open, nor what those individual windows are displaying. The single file menu bar along the top is an inefficient window design forcing you to completely switch windows before you can access the menu for a different application. A large icon-based application launcher results in more scrolling and digging for what you want to run as opposed to a basic cascading menu of categories. Window controls at the top left, and dialog buttons with the most important button on the right, are completely counter-intuitive to how people read and process information.

The entire design is taking us back 30 years to when the Mac OS first launched, when computers were hardly capable of running more than one application at a time. Microsoft nailed it and created the most productive desktop OS interface with Windows 95 onward. Apple, on the other hand, remained stagnant and has never changed its interface other than adding a dock. So why the heck is Shuttleworth trying to copy it? Ubuntu created a huge userbase, and finally gave Linux a single platform to rally around and focus development in a single direction, but now they're trying to shove a poorly developed interface onto everyone in the name of "innovation."

Yes I know you can simply switch back to Classic, but that doesn't automatically fix the other initial problems of backwards window controls or dialog buttons. It also doesn't change the fact that that's not what people are going to see and use by default. And the default is, quite frankly, a mess. Let's not teach people to use computers like this, before people start getting used to it.

Comment Don't say the word "pot" on the internet (Score 0) 920

In this day and age, with all of the problems out there, including the other problems listed on the website linked in this very article, it's disheartening to see such angry marijuana advocacy in the majority of the comments here, and everywhere else on the internet for that matter.

Honestly at this point I don't care if people smoke it or not. But they should realize that when others see someone so emotionally driven by one of the least of the country's (and the world's) worries, it doesn't really speak volumes for their character, or garner much outside support. To be quite blunt, as my friend put it, "potheads get so angry because they just want to get high." People don't generally see or care about any possible greater implications. These are usually the same people who think global warming doesn't exist because it still snows, or that it's entirely Obama's fault that the economy is bad just because he's president during it.

Pot advocates think too small. They go after people who don't matter, and rant about "the system" and how it's designed to control them, usually in internet comments. If you want to affect change, you need to go after the root cause of your perceived problem: the lobbyists, the politicians, and the money behind it all. Stop wasting your time with the lowly pro-pot movement and focus your energy on the real problem behind government. That's something that everyone else can get behind, too, even people who don't care about pot advocacy. Otherwise, if you don't start there, you aren't changing shit, because it's very obvious that nothing has really changed in your movement in decades.

That's the harsh reality of it, whether you want to hate me for saying it or not.

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"If you own a machine, you are in turn owned by it, and spend your time serving it..." -- Marion Zimmer Bradley, _The Forbidden Tower_