SPAM: Score 3.7: Re: SPAM: Score 3.3: Re: Instead of freebsd. com, why not...

Anthony Atkielski atkielski.anthony at
Mon Feb 14 17:46:00 PST 2005

Johnson David writes:

> You seem to be arguing that because FreeBSD on the desktop isn't
> suitable for everyone then it must be unsuitable for everyone. Get I
> get the gist of your argument correct?

No, what I'm arguing is that FreeBSD should be promoted as a server,
because that's what it does best.

I'm beginning to understand the problem, though.  It has occurred to me
that most people using computers today have never seen any computers
except PCs (and perhaps the occasional Mac).  They assume that the
entire world of IT is on the desktop.  They also assume that any
operating system that isn't ideal for the desktop is somehow not manly
or sexy enough to warrant consideration.  They don't realize that server
and mainframe operating systems are much more difficult to write and
must satisfy much more stringent criteria for reliability, stability,
performance, and uptime.  To them, any suggestion that an OS may not be
suited to the desktop is tantamount to saying that the OS is worthless.

Maybe this mindset needs to be changed.  Most of the heavy-duty work in
the world is done by servers and mainframes, not desktops.  Most of the
best operating systems in the world are mainframe and server operating
systems, not desktop operating systems.  And there's no shame in an
operating system being better at server work than at desktop work; on
the contrary, a good server operating system has considerably more
prestige than a good desktop operating system ... at least in the eyes
of IT professionals who have been around a while.

Unfortuately, since so many people know and understand only desktops,
they tend to equate non-desktop with non-existence, and so they get
emotional when someone points out that their favorite OS may not be the
ideal desktop OS.  They are interested in UNIX, but only insofar as it
runs on a desktop, since anything that doesn't run on a desktop is only
half an operating system, in their eyes.

In my case, I've used all different types of computers, not just PCs.
The critical systems are the ones nobody sees: the serves and the
mainframes.  These are the systems that cost $100,000 a minute for every
minute they are down.  These are the systems that require the very best
operating systems.  You can run any piece of junk on a desktop.

> To correct any fears you may have, no one here is advocating that we spend
> any of your money or your time on desktop FreeBSD. No one is advocating
> making FreeBSD worse as a server in order to cater to the desktop. And no
> one is even advocating that we make it the top development priority.

I hope so.  I don't need a new desktop.  I need a reliable server.  I
seem to have found one in FreeBSD, and I don't want to put that
investment at risk.

> FreeBSD doesn't have to make an either-or choice between servers and
> clients. We can actually do both.

You can do both if you are willing to sacrifice a little on each.  "Jack
of all trades, master of none."  That's the Microsoft philosophy: try to
push your OS as the solution to everything.  But even they can't get the
concept to work.  Servers and clients are just too different.  You need
the right tool for the right job.

> This list is FreeBSD *advocacy*. There is no advocacy in telling
> people to use Windows or Mac OSX instead, especially when we're
> perfectly capable of meeting many people's desktop needs.

This is excellent evidence of the mindset I mentioned above.  Why are
people advocating FreeBSD on the desktop, but not on servers?  FreeBSD
shines on servers.  It is not a substitute for Windows on the desktop.

By constantly talking about FreeBSD on the desktop, you denigrate
FreeBSD on servers, even though servers are what FreeBSD does best.  And
when potential users hear you talking about desktops all the time, they
get the impression that they need not bother with FreeBSD their servers,
because it's just another wannabe Windows, like Linux.

People need to try to think out of the box, and that means recognizing
that there's more to the world of computers than the machines on their


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