The Website

Charles Oppermann charles at
Tue Mar 30 09:23:50 PST 2004

This is a good discussion.  Actually, I think the web site has
an attractive look to it currently.

The problem, IMHO, is that traditionally, UNIX folks place more emphasis on
textual content and less on what they consider "flashy" graphics.  UNIX has
never been a "pretty to look at" OS.

Commercial web sites are created by marketers, while products are created by
engineers.  Marketers know that eye-catching design and content editing will
help the reader form a positive opinion of what's being presented.
Engineers tend to think that the content is enough and doesn't need

Since FreeBSD is driven by developers and not marketers, there will be a
natural tendency towards less visual appeal.  Plus, as a volunteer project,
the priority is on content first, presentation second.

I like the current web site.  I'd be interested in an example of how it
could be made better.

I agree entirely with the premises.  I spent my career at Microsoft at a
developer and manager.  For web-based collaboration, they use SharePoint,
which looks and feels a lot like the "My MSN" tools at
Obviously, Microsoft uses IIS with ASP and ASP.NET.  Most intranet pages are
edited with FrontPage.  They look good and work well.

Now I'm consulting at Cisco, and the department I'm in uses a Wiki variation
called TWiki for group collaboration.  It's mostly text, and while very
customizable, it's not direct manipulation.  For example, I can choose all
sorts of colors for my TWiki page, if I put in the correct color codes.  In
SharePoint, colors are presented in color.  Functionality-wise, both are the

Text-only or mostly text-based pages do tend to seem less professional than
others that are presented with a quality style.  Even given the same textual
content, quality presentation will tip the scales in favor of the "flashy"

Charles Oppermann, charles at,

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