Assuming We Want FreeBSD to Grow: Who Is It For?

Anthony Atkielski atkielski.anthony at
Tue Feb 15 18:40:23 PST 2005

Chris writes:

> To me? They are users that are:
> 1. Fed up with the MS upgrades
> 2. Fed up with paying too much for software (apps and OS)
> 3. Looking for a viable alternative to the MS empire
> 4. NOT your average Windows user.

All the wrong people, generally. FreeBSD is not a solution for people
who hate Microsoft. It is not a viable alternative to MS desktop
software by any stretch of the imagination, except for a handful of
geeks. About the only group above that might be in the market for
FreeBSD would be the "non-average" Windows user ... provided that
"non-average" means "computer geek."

If you aim at these markets, FreeBSD will never go anywhere.  Even Linux
is unlikely to ever make a dent in Windows, and it won't be for lack of
trying.  You can't be successful with a slogan like "anything's better
than Microsoft."

Most computer users don't love or hate Microsoft; they don't care about
Microsoft at all.  Trying to market to people who hate Microsoft is thus
a waste of time.  And even of those with an irrational hatred for the
company, only a fraction have the technical knowledge required to try an
alternate desktop OS like UNIX.

> As a desktop environment, we would need to ensure that the average
> Windows user is aware that it's an OS NOT for him/her.

Not a problem currently, since even sysadmins who could be installing
and benefitting from FreeBSD on the server side don't know about the OS.

> Do we really want to develop FreeBSD to be used by these groups of users
> (No offense intended)?

No.  But neither do we wish to target Microsoft-haters, either.  Trying
to get someone to adopt an OS just because it's not from a certain
much-hated vendor is a very, very poor way to market the software.
Hatred is not synonymous with technical competence, and many people who
hate Microsoft (particularly some of the most rabid MS-bashers) don't
know enough to use any other OS, whereas many people who are very
computer-literate and could profit from FreeBSD do not harbor any
irrational hatred of MS.

> I think not - for when you start to create an OS for the masses, you
> are doing nothing more then creating a Windows Clone...



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