A case of FreeBSD users shooting all FreeBSD users in the foot?

Mike Hoskins mike at adept.org
Sat Oct 11 02:13:11 PDT 2003

On Sat, 11 Oct 2003, Jonathan wrote:
>  I read a few of the comments and they paint a very unflattering view of the
> FreeBSD community.

actually, they paint an unflattering view of IRC.  that's nothing new.

> 1) Most newbies require CD's to do an install yet FreeBSD mall has terrible
> advertising for it's CD's. There are no screenshots of Gnome or Kde and no
> package descriptions whatsoever. You don't see anything like this (GNOME)
> http://www.FreeBSD.org/gnome/screenshots.html  or this (KDE)
> http://freebsd.kde.org/screenshots.php  at FreeBSD mall. Furthermore
> OpenOffice is not on the RELEASE Cd's. That is a huge mistake.

screenshots have marginal value. (since some of us don't want gnome or kde
environments installed, the screenshots would tell us nothing about the
specific operating environment we would configure.)  still, it can't hurt
and it seems like it'd be easy enough for freebsdmall to link to
screenshots if they're already hosted on freebsd.org.

how big is openoffice again?  how much space are free on the release CDs?
i wouldn't want to second guess packaging decissions like that without
having all the facts.

> 2) The documentation is sometimes too vague and aimed at computer
> professionals. I tried to configure a firewall using "Dialup firewalling with
> FreeBSD" and I could not get it to work ( http://www.freebsd.org/doc/

this is a result of starting as a "server OS" (that's really still the
goal, it just happens to make a great desktop too).  a lot of the system
and misc docs are written by computer professionals.  :)  the best way to
get a plethora of docs at various reading levels/styles is to have a lot
of people writing documentation.  if possible, document (from your
perspective) what you have to do to get things working and submit that
back to the doc project.


(of course you can also host docs yourself of submit articles to any of
the bsd/opensource pubs.)

> 3) While FreeBSD ports are generally very good there is little coordination
> amongst the ports maintainers. That is if the ghostscript port gets changed,
> I find out about it when it breaks printing in the word processors. For a
> hobbyist it's an annoyance, for a company using FreeBSD desktops it's a
> disaster.

this is a complex issue to manage, but i'm sure there's always room for
improvement.  how would you propose increasing coordination or the
effectiveness of communication amongst ports maintainers?

for a company using opensource desktops, you should be installing
standardized packages from your gold/build server(s).  don't build
randomly updated ports resulting in differing files/libraries/bins on each
machine.  ;)  packages are you friend.  at times there are problems with
packages too, but that's the case on every OS...  and most people i know
that have strict requirements build their own packages so they can roll
any machine with known results.


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