Brilliant and very useful for FreeBSD, IMHO

Peter pfak at
Sun Apr 6 11:00:00 PDT 2003

----- Original Message -----
From: "Gregory A. Gilliss" <ggilliss at>
To: "Peter" <pfak at>
Sent: Sunday, April 06, 2003 10:51 AM
Subject: Re: Brilliant and very useful for FreeBSD, IMHO

> Your swift reply indicates that you care with some degree of passion.
> While I concur with you about the author's lack of clue (s/he confesses
> as much in the beginning of the article), and the obvious slant in
> favor of M$, neither of those facts discounts the article's validity,

Yes, I do have some degree of pation.

> No, FreeBSD doesn't need/want to be a desktop OS, but I (and likely you)
> use it as such.  I think the points tat the author makes - uniform GUI,
> correctness of programming, ability to drill down for more help, etc -
> are uniform requirements for any OS, desktop or server or whatever.  That
> is why I went and posted the article, not because of the technicalities of
> the article's viewpoint, but because the points apply to FreeBSD, Linux,
> and Windows alike.

I don't think it wants to be a desktop OS, but it would be pretty well
suited for the purpose if people aimed for it to be one.  I find that it
responds much quicker then any of my other *nix desktops do, and in the end
its easier to keep up to date and running. I do use it for my desktop, but I
still think it needs more work on the binary packages for people with slower
computers and such, one thing that I do love about the FreeBSD desktop
experience, is the system has only what I want to be installed, say I
install Redhat Linux, and it installs everything and the kitchen sink. This
is not the case with FreeBSD.

> I think the value of the article is that it details the end user viewpoint
> from the perspective of a non-technician.  We (I'm including you since you
> installed a desktop for your Grandma) technicians tend to forget that the
> user community doesn't have the intuition that we have, and we (wrongly)
> assume that it is their responsibility to learn how to deal with the
> arcana.  I'm not saying "total rewrite", but I am saying that if a user
> is presented with distribution choices on install, there needs to be a
> mechanism that they can use to read more about what each distribution
> how it differs from the others, and what requirements it places on the
> *before* the click "OK".  This "ease of use" is an area that FreeBSD has
> made progress in, but has yet to master *and* has not capitalized upon.
> You'd be amazed how many people who use FreeBSd don't know that they can
> cd /usr/port/...;make install distclean - and get a completely installed
> application.  I suggest that their ignorance is *not* their fault, but
> that it is the responsibility of the core team and the community to work
> to make users like the author *not* have the experience that the article
> relates.

I agree with some points of this article, but others I totally dont. I
absolutley love the ports collection, and I believe that other people if
they knew it exisited would be using it, however there are some Linux
"gurus" who then switch to FreeBSD, do not take advantage of it even when
it's there, and try and compile stuff by hand, and then wonder why it
doesn't work.

Ignorance in some cases is not their fault, in other cases it is. The
FreeBSD handbook is a wonderful resource, that I point people at daily, but
people seem to have a hard time following instructions, and some people give
up to easily.  One person that I help is also coming to me for help, that
can easily be answered by A) going to google and doing a search or B)
Looking in the handbook, and even when I attempt to help this person, he
cant seem to follow the simple instructions of doing this first, then doing

The same thing applys to my grandma, when I tell her to click on a specific
thing, she goes ahead and clicks on another thing.  In the end, sometime it
is better that these people use Windows (well not really), but it is also
better that some of these people are running a Windows server so that they
can atleast "think" its secure, by not slapping up some ancient Linux or
FreeBSD distro, and sticking it up on the net, and then getting rooted.

You can do alot more damage with a *nix box then you can do with any Windows
computer that has been "cracked." (Some people may disagree with this point)

> </2CENTS>
> G

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