FreeBSD Most wanted

Daniela dgw at
Thu Mar 4 13:30:05 PST 2004

On Thursday 04 March 2004 19:46, Kevin D. Kinsey, DaleCo, S.P. wrote:
> Vulpes Velox wrote:
> >On Thu, 4 Mar 2004 18:04:51 +0000
> >
> >Daniela <dgw at> wrote:
> >>   o better compatibility
> >>
> >>I asked a lot of people what keeps them from dumping Windoze. The
> >>main reason for not switching is that they fear having to throw out
> >>their existing data and apps with it.
> >
> >Sorta find it odd to expect the exact same program to work, and wine
> >is a pain to work with, but what could be useful is something that
> >points to programs that provide similar features or whatever to what
> >they where using on windows...
> That's a good point,  but we still don't
> have genuine data compatibility.  I mean,
> we can open a *.doc, *.rtf, *.wmv, *.ppt, etc.,
> as long as we've had a month or three to check
> out the latest version of whatever M$ has done
> to break the old format.  I see two barriers:
> standardization and economic pragmatism.
> We need to try and convince the world that
> _standards_ should be adhered to, and
> that applications should write data to files
> that are platform/application independent
> rather than proprietary.  (And probably,
> we need to convince them that we adhere
> to the standards while the 'industry leader'
> doesn't ... we all know it's true, but nobody
> complains about this loudly in the public
> square.  And it's probably only the Open
> Source community that really cares about
> standards....
> When you have to have a converter for a
> Windows(R) "Notepad"* file, somebody's not
> playing ball with the rest of the world.
> I think we all know who that is.... :-(
> As far as apps go, people just tend to
> be very pragmatic.  Once they've learned
> a way to work, they prefer to _do_ work, rather
> than learn another way to do the same thing.
> For the public to want/need us on their
> desktops, we need to be more _practical_ to
> use than any other system.   Better price?
> Absolutely :-)  Better support?  Doubt it.  We have
> very talented people, but less of them, and less $$
> to waste on phone banks.  Better stability?
> 99 && 44/100% yes.  Better reputation?
> dunno...ours may be 'better', but theirs is 'bigger.'
> Better learning curve?  This is where 'tools, not
> policy' hurts us.  Don't get me wrong, I love this
> paradigm, but Joe and Sally User just want to be
> told what to click when, not to "RTFM" and think
> for themselves.  And to compound the problem,
> sys admins know these facts as well, and many of
> them are walking testimonies to what I've said;
> and we've got to convert them as well....

Better learning curve? I'd say that we should build our user interfaces on top 
of the existing, well-tested, stable software. Let's take my most recent work 
as an example: a graphical firewall configuration tool. It lets the user 
build a ruleset for ipfw. You can specify the IP address, port number, 
whatever, as in the CLI. On top of that, there are several options like "Use 
Network Address Translation" or "Make stealth firewall" or "Let common ICMP 
messages through". These options translate into data that can also be entered 
in the lower layer. And on top of that, there are several presets to choose 
from. For example, "Standalone desktop", which is the default, selects 
options to make a stealth firewall and let all outgoing packets through. 
"Server setup" selects NAT and prompts for the ports that should be open.
Then everything translates into ipfw rules.
What I'm trying to say is that the traditional UNIX philosophy is still 
appropriate today. I love that onion approach, and use it in all my apps.

My personal opinion is, the biggest problem is people not wanting to think for 
themselves. If you can just do what you are being told, you are not free. But 
people don't care for their freedom, they want to sit in their golden cage, 
not doing any work, but also not being able to do what they like. If it 
continues like this, I can see a future coming where a handful people rule 
the world and control every aspect of our lives. But they don't care, as long 
as they can leave their brains switched off and let someone else think for 

> I see very few reasons why IT guys shouldn't have
> offices full of users with Gnome or KDE on
> FreeBSD, but the reasons that are there are giants....
> Maybe we need to convince IBM they need an
> total OS, not just a kernel ... ;-)
> Kevin Kinsey
> DaleCo, S.P.
> *"Come, sir, I think you picked a poor example...^M
> Did I?^M"

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