a public relations opportunity for BSD

Gary W. Swearingen swear at attbi.com
Thu May 15 11:42:04 PDT 2003

I've moved the CC from hackers@ to advocacy at .

John Dyson <sam at iquest.net> writes:

> I tend to agree that 'dancing' on someone elses misfortune or
> 'grave' isn't a good thing.

I consider it on a case-by-case basis, but Linux is "family", and we
(sic -- there's no "will" here) need them in OUR misfortune.

> BSD (esp FreeBSD) shouldn't be an OS
> that is based upon hatred of Microsoft, Linux, Commercial software
> or GPLed software.

Those are the only reasons I support FreeBSD, and I think the BSDs
would do well to keep digging at that corner of their niches too,
especially in the embedded field (mostly NetBSD now?).

> It is best to avoid considering 'Microsoft', 'commercial software'
> or other such things as the 'enemy.'

Maybe it's best to hide such considerations, but I very much consider M$
to have been the enemy of technological advancement over the last 20
years, which has cost the world untold time and dollars.  The fact that
they have done more for the bulk of computer users than other OS
developers doesn't excuse M$, since we should require much more from
those to whom much more has been given (eg, by the foolishness of IBM).
(I actually blame past M$ users more than M$, but M$ is a better foe. :)

(As I observe the 1984-ish down-side to the advancement of computing in
the wrong hands, I'm caring less about the damage done by M$, but old
emotions die hard.)

It's a quite valid to use the failings of your competitors to win people
away from them, if done right (and better than I'm capable of).  I dare
say most M$ hatred is among M$ users, and reminding them of it is apt to
encourage some to try something else.  The M$ lovers are a lost cause
anyway; no sense keeping them happy.  I recently read one saying their
shop won't hire anyone who has Unix in their background.  Sorry, but we
do have (and are) enemies.

It will take a lot more than a few slightly better features for server
use and administration than Linux, to keep the BSDs abreast of Linux in
the battle with M$.  Both are on rolls that the BSDs aren't, sad to say.
The BSD's few better features are not enough to keep the niche from
shrinking away.  But I suspect that the BSD's virtual offer to
developers of one's own little niche to enjoy digging in, will keep them
around a long while, but shrinking as Linux gets better faster, unless
it becomes too hard to keep up at all (in either kernel features or
application porting).  Then, the only part of the niche will be for
embedded software users who don't want to derive from copylefted
software (if really free software is still around).  Keeping BSD-like
licensing an important aspect of the BSD niche should be an important
part of the BSD survival mechanism.

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