Charles P. Schaum
verbo.solo at sbcglobal.net
Wed Sep 13 23:27:38 PDT 2006
In the midst of bugs and issues, to which I can empathize and relate, I
wish to offer thanks for all your hard work.
My history: In late 03 my one computer died hot death. I built a new one
after a quick parts dash. With new parts, Windows would still eventually
die. Drivers were unstable. Not fun. Not my scene.
In 04 I started looking at Linux. Even tried fink on the Mac. Gravitated
to Debian. Did a partition and an install. Ouch! My NIC wasn't supported
in Woody. Got source from Intel, compiled the module and upgraded to
Sarge. That was the first two days.
Used Debian but it was just ancient. Backports were their own headache.
Dealt with early 2.6 kernel woes. Went to Fedora 3. Worked OK until 4.
Switched to Mandrake 10 and blew an O-ring. Switched to SUSE. Learned to
hate YaST. Learned to hate how they did repos. Switched to Ubuntu. Liked
the setup for a while, then broke it by hooking to a noncanonical repo.
Dealt with the ongoing civil war between livna and freshrpms again,
although Fedora 5 was better.
Then I found FreeBSD in March 06. After three months I had learned,
broken, cussed and whatever else. And in frustration I tried Fedora 5
again and new Ubuntu. Neither did Samba well. Both could be made to hang
by a neat little trick I do with Xsane called using my scanner for more
than about ten scans. Udev is evil on both. Networking looks like a GUI
and acts like...a mother.
So I came back to FreeBSD. And I got STABLE up and it has been running
great since I did a repartition in August. (It WAS running great since
June but I wanted to retune the FS.) STABLE gave me DRM (i845), newer
CUPS (after I figured out a few issues and evoked fond memories of my
JCL tantrum mat), and as with RELEASE, no hangs with Xsane, all the
software I want to run, not just what a distro says I can, and a
community that treats thinking people like more than trogs.
I never met a Linux distro where the people involved were so accessible
and actually answered questions and had discussions instead of just
referring one to a Bugzilla page. There's a helluva lot more slack
(Bob-style) here than elsewhere. And after reading manpages and
googling, I found out that I learned more than most reference books at
Borders can tell, especially the ficticious Unix: The Complete
Reference. FreeBSD people are helpful, as is reading the man/docs.
FreeBSD requires people to kick it to a higher level. But permissions
mean what they say, Samba works and os/port maintainers will work with
you when a build fails. Software MIDI without ALSA works faster than any
Linux. The same for Mplayer and Xine. I can use sudo and nice to crank
the heck out of emulators and the system doesn't just die.
I got caught a little before 6.1 came out, but I passed that hurdle and
got a lot more cautious about how often I update the OS. I learned
NetBSD as well. I relearned a lot of computer skills I had forgotten.
I also did some just-plain dumb things and got what I asked for.
I am real happy with FreeBSD. I would be interested in seeing more
desktop stuff become a reality. Neither of the desktop variants of
FreeBSD works so well for me, yet. But I would rather stick with it and
try to help what little I can. Because this OS is not just an
anti-Windows effulgent with GNUish pride. It's like the Unix I remember
from yesterday and it is what will provide an alternative to
Windows-template mentalities in the future.
Cause Windows just breaks when used long enough. Why should I pay for
that? Why should I use operating systems that want to think that way and
yet pretend to be different? I don't need to become my worst enemy to
survive and neither will my OS.
You do a lot and know a lot more than I ever will. And when my box turns
on, dang it, it works. Sweeeet!
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