FreeBSD's Visual Identity: Outdated?

Frank Pawlak fpawlak at
Mon Dec 27 23:23:26 PST 2004

This beyond a doubt is one of the best explanations that I have seen, 
heard, expressed, etc., of how the fsck'ed up world of business does IT 
stuff, and I have done IT consulting on various levels for over 18 
years.  Very well said Ted.  It points out quite well why BSD in general 
has a bad time in the marketplace.


At 11:36 PM 12/27/2004, Ted Mittelstaedt wrote:

> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: owner-freebsd-questions at
> > [mailto:owner-freebsd-questions at]On Behalf Of Roger 'Rocky'
> > Vetterberg
> > Sent: Monday, December 27, 2004 4:57 PM
> > To: Simon Burke
> > Cc: freebsd-www at; freebsd-arch at;
> > freebsd-questions at; freebsd-advocacy at
> > Subject: Re: FreeBSD's Visual Identity: Outdated?
> >
> >
> > Simon Burke wrote:
> > [snip]
> > >>2. If it wasn't for the interesting content and structure of the FreeBSD
> > >>   website, it would be among the less beautiful. Yes, it serves its
> > >>   purpose well by being simple and straight to the point. But
> > a redesign
> > >>   could offer just the same -- simplicity and accuracy -- without being
> > >>   ugly.
> > >
> > >
> > > Aesthetics are not everything, the web site does what its supposed to
> > > do. Also i actually like how it looks.
> > > A lot of people have strong feelings about all these all singing all
> > > dancing webistes. There is just no need. Keep it simple and easy to
> > > navigate around thats all thats really important. If the aesthetics
> > > really matter more than function to such people who use BSD then they
> > > would probably be not using BSD but either windows or linux, where you
> > > have a nice pretty GUI to look at all the nice pretty sites.
> >
> > This is where I think a lot of people simply does not understand the
> > problem.
>Roger I understand the problem, I wrote a book on FreeBSD integration
>in 2000.  The problem is I think you don't understand the problem.
> > Im a FreeBSD user. I like FreeBSD because it does not have all the
> > flashy installers and pretty GUI's that many linux distros seems to
> > have today.
>That frankly isn't the reason you should like it.  You should like it
>because it works better than most commercial operating systems let
>alone most operating systems.
> > But still, Ive been screaming for years for someone to
> > improve the website. Why?
> > Anyone that has stood in front of a boardroom full of CEO's or similar
> > and tried to promote the use of FreeBSD in a big organisation knows
> > why. They might like all the facts about the os, the rock-solid
> > stability, the lightning-fast performance and its solid reputation as
> > a server os, but one look at the website and they will run screaming
> > towards the nearest linux advocate instead.
>Most of the CEO's I've dealt with don't give a shit on a shingle about
>a product website.  What they care about is: 'can what I need done
>be done in a way that is a) cheap and b) works and c) won't lock me
>in to you'
>FreeBSD meets criteria A and B really well but it does not meet C.  Linux
>meets A and B but BARELY meets C.  Windows definitely meets C and usually
>meets B and doesen't usually meet A.
>The problem of course is that A and C are related.  If I am a CEO and
>I sign a FreeBSD or Linux deal - and you are a sole-source provider,
>then once I have all my business processes into you, I'm locked into
>you.  Once that happens my thought processes are that your going to become
>very expensive to me - why, because there's no competition to you out there.
>I'm not going to do that unless I trust you implicitly.  And there's very
>few business people I am ever going to trust implicitly, save perhaps unless
>your a son or daughter, and even then I may not.
>You have to understand of course that this is old-school knee-jerk
>thinking.  The CEO's are scared to death of you Roger.  They don't
>understand what your selling, they don't understand how to integrate
>technology into their systems, they don't even understand their
>current system.
>CEO's choose Windows because they think that there's enough Windows
>guys out there that if they don't like the one they have they can
>boot him out and get another.  They only will give up choosing Windows
>if they either absolutely cannot afford it, or if Windows simply won't
>do what they need done.
>If they cannot afford it, what they will then do is keep dragging
>Windows consultant after Windows consultant in to present to them,
>until they stumble over an ignoramus (which is not hard) who over
>commits himself and promises the world.  They will then burn up
>this guy, threatening lawsuits and everything else until they have
>extracted the last drop of free work they can, then they will
>jettison him.  If they simply cannot find any ignoramuses then
>I've seen them try deputizing some sales guy or secretary to manage
>their Windows deployment, and finally a year afterwards when they
>have a house full of Windows XP Home edition and no server, and
>a giant workgroup that's falling apart, and they have lost some
>critical files because they wern't backing up Sally Sue's workstation
>and her disk crashed, then they will panic and overspend on a
>Windows installation.
>The CEO's that choose FreeBSD or Linux are the ones where even the
>Windows consultants they drag in all tell them "I can't do that"
>either because Windows cannot do it, or because the price they
>want it done at is so unbelievably cheap that even the ignoramus
>Windows consultants can see that it's impossible.
>My take on it is that about 90% of the FreeBSD production installs
>are least-cost deals.  All of the ones we have ever sold to
>customers (and we do both Windows and UNIX projects) are like this.
>I'm sure that one of these days we might get a plum contract that
>is a high-power server that cannot be done with Windows and the
>customer knows it, and wants it done UNIX, it's only a matter of
>time.  But I would be willing to bet that after they ask if we can
>do UNIX and we say yes, their next question will be if we can do
>Sun, which we can.  And frankly the cost of Solaris for a server is
>nothing compared to the labor cost.
>I've frankly never seen a Linux-vs-FreeBSD deal where Linux won
>if the consultant wanted to use FreeBSD, and the customer was willing
>to deviate from Microsoft.  VERY few customers are willing to deviate
>from Microsoft, at least not in the Western states.  And the ones
>that are willing almost always want to do it themselves, and only
>want us to come in and set everything up for them while they watch
>us over the shoulder and try to get us to teach them how to
>do it - because these are people who are too lazy to read the manual
>and learn how to do things themselves, they just want someone to
>set it up and teach them how to maintain it, so they can pay the
>minimum amount of money for the specialist, and spend the minimum
>amount of time learning how to do anything.
> > We, the users, might not care about our image, but if we want to be
> > taken seriously by the rest of the world we better do something about it!
> >
>I would suggest that if you really are this lit up about this issue
>that you direct your customers to you OWN website which is quite obviously
>superior to the FreeBSD one.
> >
> > Clearly, you have not tried to "sell" FreeBSD to a big corporation.
> >
>Roger you are just being impatient.  You haven't defined 'big' here
>but if you mean 'big' in that the company has over 500 employees
>in an office building, then even you must know that the check signers
>in these companies are almost never under the age of 40.  Most
>of them are over 40 and most of them came up through the sales ranks,
>and not through the technology ranks.  These are people who 25 years ago
>were partying their way through a business degree in some university
>and the only thing that they really know well is how to sell their
>companies products.  That's why they work at a big company, didn't you
>know?  Deep down they know they are incompetents and they are too
>scared to go out on their own even when they could make triple the
>money if they really knew what they were doing.
>They don't really understand anything about technology
>infrastructure and they certainly didn't go to grade school or high
>school with a personal computer in the house, like kids today.  And
>the worst part is that they matriculated during the time that in
>business education in this country that the 'cog in the machine' aspect
>of workers was totally emphasized.  Their professors drilled into
>their heads the idea that every worker in the company must be
>interchangable and they deep down detest and hate the idea of there
>being any such thing as 'key employees'
>Why do you think that the current federal government administration
>just takes the position that workers need to retrain to the new
>economy, as if just retraining 100 million people every 5 years to
>new jobs is a good way to run the economy?  This is a message that
>comes straight out of that generation and resonates with todays
>big business movers and shakers.  That is why these people are doing
>such a terrible job mucking up American big business today, the current
>debacle with the airline industry is proof of that, and the amount
>of bankruptcies over the last 6 years has been breathtaking.  Very
>few of these idiots are anything more than closet control freaks.
>To be successful in todays market you have to be able to individualize
>your products to what the customers in the market want, and there
>is no way for a big business to do that without really drastically
>increasing the complexity of it's business workflow.  Customers today want
>you to stock 100 variations of your product and build all of them to order,
>and they want it for the same price that 20 years ago they would
>buy the cookie-cutter version you could sell them for.  The only
>way to do that is to integrate technology completely in every last
>speck of business process that a big company does, and it takes a crew of
>key technicians to do that.  The few big companies that have learned
>this aren't asking consultants what the damn operating system is
>going to be on the computer systems they are asking the consultants
>to build for them.  They are telling the consultants 'this is what
>the end result needs to be, you either figure out how to get it
>for us using whatever things you want to use to get there, or get
>the hell out'
>Roger, you really need to be dumbing down your presentations, these
>CEO's your presenting to really don't understand all those big
>words.  Instead of using "FreeBSD" use "UNIX"  It's shorter and
>even the most sheltered of them understand that yooouu-nikx is
>something that runs computers like winders is.  And rather
>than telling them how many mega-bytes and giga-bits the nice
>new server is going to run at, just tell them it's going to be
>big, and fast and powerful like Arnold Schwartznegger.  Get
>them sold on the idea that your providing a -solution to their
>problems- not that your providing them some freebsd system
>that is real cool and does something they are pretty fuzzy
>about exactly what.  If they start asking you exactly how your
>going to do this don't get sidetracked into a technologists
>In fact you might just consider hiring a professional salesperson
>that doesen't really know too much about what your selling.  These
>CEO's really are more interested in things like when your going to
>be finished building the new system, who is going to train the
>end users, how is it going to help them make money, how much money
>are they going to have to pay for it upfront, and how much money
>they are going to have to pay for it ongoing.  The salesperson should
>be figuring all that out with them first.  You shouldn't even
>be talking about operating systems until you have sold them on
>yourself and your company, and if FreeBSD really is an objection
>to them, then they should like you enough so that they want you
>to build a Linux solution for them.  Once you get them hooked and
>after a year or so you can switch them over to FreeBSD.
>freebsd-advocacy at mailing list
>To unsubscribe, send any mail to "freebsd-advocacy-unsubscribe at"
>No virus found in this incoming message.
>Checked by AVG Anti-Virus.
>Version: 7.0.296 / Virus Database: 265.6.5 - Release Date: 12/26/2004

No virus found in this outgoing message.
Checked by AVG Anti-Virus.
Version: 7.0.296 / Virus Database: 265.6.5 - Release Date: 12/26/2004

More information about the freebsd-advocacy mailing list