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

Johnson David DavidJohnson at
Tue Feb 15 12:21:18 PST 2005

From: Anthony Atkielski [mailto:atkielski.anthony at]
> The operating system and the environment make all the difference.  ATMs
> are usually PCs, but that doesn't mean that understanding PCs is
> equivalent to understanding ATMs.

That's part of my point. The differences between servers and clients (which
includes desktops) are not so much in the hardware anymore, as in their
*use*. An ATM may have a bunch of bins and rollers and cameras attached to
it, but in the heart of it lies a PC. Heck, it might even literally be a PC
complete with beige case. The latter isn't a joke. It may very will be
cheaper for the ATM company to purchase generic prebuilt PCs than to design
and fabricate their own board.

> The distinction is not artificial; it's a critical and real distinction
> that many people today just don't understand.
> I've worked on all these types of systems, and their differences are as
> clear as black and white to me.

What I am arguing is that those differences are going away. We no longer
live in the 1980s (when I started using BSD UNIX). While today's server may
have failsafe hotswap hardware, they are not inherently more powerful or
speedier than the clients they serve. This is what I meant by "convergence".
These differences are not as black and white to younger generations by
virtue of the fact that they are no longer black and white. While MVS may be
unsuitable for the desktop and OSX unsuitable for the mainframe, there's a
huge middle ground that includes FreeBSD.

> Many of the requirements of servers and clients are in direct conflict.
> Desktops require a GUI, but GUI just gets in the way on a server.
> Desktops must be inexpensive, but the reliability requirements of
> servers cost money.  Desktops must be user-friendly, but servers must be
> secure.  And so on.

Why is there a conflict? Why can't desktops be secure? Why can't servers
have usability? I will grant you that servers need failsafe hardware, but
that's really a minor point. Speaking of GUIs, the mere existance of
/usr/ports/x11/xorg-6.8.1 does not affect the performance or reliability of
a FreeBSD server. Neither does actually installing it. Ditto for KDE and
GNOME. The fact that I run KDE on my FreeBSD desktop in no way affects the
performance or reliability of your server.

You can have both. Heck, you already DO have both! The current desktops for
X11 might not be perfect, and they might lack somewhat in the usability
departments, but that is no argument to eliminate them. And as long as they
exist, FreeBSD on the desktop is possible.

The problems that FreeBSD on the desktop faces are not about the scheduler,
or memory management, or resources, or anything like that. Instead it's
mostly about getting new drivers for consumer hardware, and a little bit
about smoothing out the installation and configuration workflow (which would
benefit both sides).


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