Brilliant and very useful for FreeBSD, IMHO

Terry Lambert tlambert2 at
Tue Apr 8 16:35:49 PDT 2003

"Gary W. Swearingen" wrote:
> Johnson David <DavidJohnson at> writes:
> > Frankly, the expections set forth by the reviewer are unrealistic. She
> True, but with few exceptions, it's only unrealistic because the many
> people with the moderate skills needed to do the job are unwilling to
> invest their time on the job.  (I include myself in this category.)  I'm
> not sure why this is.  The most skilled and ambitious seem to prefer
> hacking the guts of the OS or leading their own application project.

Well, let's address the "all hardware must continue to work", the
"non-negotiable requirement #4".

I guess this means you have the WinModem documentation, and the
licensed CODEC's for WinModem's implemented that way, so that
we can download them, and just use them?

While we are at it, there are significant numbers of platforms
for which the Intel-supplied ACPI code fails, but the Microsoft
ACPI code with Windows *doesn't*, so you must have documentation
about the differences between the Microsoft ACPI and Intel ACPI

While we are at it, I'd really appreciate a legal DVD player for
FreeBSD, or even Linux, that I could install on any computer with
a DVD drive on it.

Also, I'd really like to have the hardware failover support
protocol for the new BroadComm ethernet adapters, which support
hardware fail-over, but only if you download new firmware, with
a driver which only supports Windows or Solaris.

That's really "just off the top of my head".

> I suspect that the job of improving the User Experience requires too much
> difficult human interaction by designers, etc.

I'd be happy to address it for FreeBSD, if I could license it
like Soft Updates was licensed, so no one could compete with
me in producing CDROM's, and if I was still allowed to use the
FreeBSD trademark on the CDROM's I distribute.

> I've observed a couple of Linux distribution developments which make
> me think that the problem of "ease of use" is more one of desire to do
> the job well than one of huge difficulty/manpower.

See the above; my own theory is "there is no money in it, so no
one does the work".

> Even without better automating the install process, the FreeBSD
> installer could be greatly improved with *relatively* little effort.
> The thing is just un-polished and unfriendly.  Several confusingly-
> different ways of navigating menus; use of esoteric, undocumented terms,
> poor help system, poor explanations of what's happening at each step,
> etc.  The many efforts devoted to a developing better GUI installer
> software would have been better spent re-thinking the use of the old VGA
> software, but of course, that wouldn't have been as much fun and one
> can't fault people for doing what pleases them instead of doing what
> would be better for FreeBSD.

And still... there's no money in it.  Where is my ROI?  At least
with VM hacking (or whatever), where I'm doing complex kernel work,
I distinguish myself as having employable skills that not just
everyone posesses.  Not so, if I just prove I'm a clever installer
or "curses hacker".  There has to be some payback.

One of the things that no one seems to notice is that, if you are
the "installer king", then there's really no economic incentive
for you to make the installer an order of magnitude better.  People
are not going to buy more of your CDROM's than they do already, if
you are "the only game in town".  There's just no competition in
the installers for FreeBSD.

> I might as well mention my pipe-dream installer.  It's text-based; has

[ ... ]

Here's my deram installer: it's a Windows application that runs
as a result of an "autorun.inf" on the CDROM, and let's you pick
an install from "regular"/"full"/"custom", and lets you move a
slider bar for the amount of disk space for each OS, with an
"amount used vs. amount available" bar.

1)	Put in CDROM
2)	Click
3)	Click
4)	[whir whir whir]
5)	"Your system is now rebooting; select "FreeBSD" at the
	 boot menu in order to run FreeBSD; select Windows or
	 just wait, to boot Windows"
6)	"Click on the OS to boot, or click "change default" to
	 change your default; your current default is "Windows""
7)	"Booting Windows in 10 .. 9 .. 8 .."

-- Terry

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