The Website

Devon H. O'Dell dodell at
Tue Mar 30 11:22:44 PST 2004

Chris Dillon wrote:

> On Tue, 30 Mar 2004, John Von Essen wrote:
>>And... It doesn't help when they go to It makes FreeBSD
>>seem NON-enterprise. Personally, i think the site is fine, but Im a
>>tech, not a CTO. Maybe, can be redesigned have a
>> or look-n-feel, and can retain - the
>>developer community look-n-feel.
> Having two different web sites is unnecessary work.  It is entirely
> possible to have a tech-friendly site that looks good enough to
> visually impress the CEO/CTO/etc.  What techie people such as myself
> care about is the availability of and how easy it is to find the
> technical information we've come to the site looking for:
> documentation, FAQs, Knowledge Base, software downloads/patches, and
> so on... The FreeBSD site already does this fairly well except for the
> lack of a decent search engine.

Well, indeed, but these aren't things that corporations are looking for. 
They're looking for testamonials, applications, how other companies are 
innovating with your product. They're looking for lists of new features; 
not hardware compatibilty lists. Indeed, they're not even looking for 
downloads and patches (although they will want to see your security record).

> I will sometimes judge a product based on the quality of the technical
> information available for it on the official website.  If the web site
> is devoid of any useful information, no matter how good it looks I'm
> likely to brush it off and go look for something else.  If I can find
> what I want _and_ the site looks spiffy at the same time, that's extra
> brownie points and makes the product that much more impressive in my
> eyes.  Take m0n0wall ( for example.  I was
> impressed when I saw the non-typical (for open source), clean and
> professional web page that told me everything I wanted to know about
> what it is, what it does, what they've been doing lately, etc., and
> then blown away by the product itself.  It's no SuSE or RedHat site,
> but its good in its own way.  That's a win-win scenario in my book.
> :-)

It's just not what the big companies are looking for. It is a large 
amount of work, but it is necessary for the ``look and feel.'' The CEOs 
are the guys who end up making the decisions (yes, I know that CTOs do 
exist, but they still have to report to the guy on top). Admittedly, one 
thing all these other OSes have that FreeBSD doesn't is commercial 
support, which is something that a lot of enterprises are looking for 
(they want someone to fix their stuff if it breaks, they want a contract 
so that they don't have to pay their already over-stressed admins even 
more overtime).

The above paragraph is a bit spastic, but my basic point is that tastes 
differ among people. And whether or not you like the current page 
doesn't mean that the message couldn't be improved for corporations and 
``enterprises'' by creating a more targeted page.

> That said, the FreeBSD website really isn't that bad.  It could stand
> a facelift now and then to keep things buzzing, but don't sacrifice
> its usability.

Kind regards,

Devon H. O'Dell

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