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

Andrew L. Gould algould at
Wed Feb 16 10:13:58 PST 2005

On Wednesday 16 February 2005 10:26 am, RacerX wrote:
> On Wed, 16 Feb 2005, Andrew L. Gould wrote:
> > On Wednesday 16 February 2005 01:49 am, Nikolas Britton wrote:
> >> Chris wrote:
> >>> Joshua Tinnin wrote:
> >>>> On Tuesday 15 February 2005 12:41 pm, Shawn Harrison
> >>>>
> >>>> <harrison at> wrote:
> >>>>> So, we want lots of people to adopt FreeBSD. Who are they?
> >>>
> >>> 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.
> >>
> >> 5. Fed up with Linux.
> >> 6. Wanting to learn (more) about UNIX.
> >> 7. People that just want to be different.
> >> 8. Those that need/want more control over there computer or want
> >> to do things there own way.
> >> 9. Need more power then Windows / Microsoft has to offer.
> >> 10. Low end / old systems and embedded / industrial systems that
> >> need an OS.
> >
> > 11. Fed up with vendors' rigid products and empty promises.
> >
> > Andrew  Gould
> Agreed - to me, and I'm not speaking for all (like some here do) *I*
> myself would like to see FBSD continue in the direction it's going.
> There isn't anything wrong with a select group of folks being
> targeted.
> I don't care if the every-day Windows user ever gets a chance to use
> or install FreeBSD. It's not for those folks. Never was, and to me,
> it never ought to be.
> It's designed for the "compatent" user. The user that know more then
> a thing or two about OS and hardware. ANY decent user of FBSD CAN
> install X, CAN install a WM, and CAN have it run very well as a
> desktop.

This is a really important point, for a couple of reasons.  First, I 
think the quality of open source software is _partially_ due to the 
fact that developers are writing code for their own use.  Second, (a 
perception of this non-programmer) user-friendliness seems result in 
more code and code complexity.  What would "dumming down" FreeBSD do to 
developer resources (time, etc) as well as the operating system itself.

> To me, I don't want this OS for the mindless group of users that are
> out there.

If I didn't agree with you, I wouldn't like how that sounds.   ;-)

> And lastly - FBSD CAN be a solid desktop OS IF the end user wants it
> to be. Let's STOP saying it isn't or it can't be. Those that say that
> (in my mind) have failed to get it running on their own devices.
> As I mentioned before - I have and do use FBSD as both a server and
> desktop. Have been doing it for a few years, and I'm by no means a
> unix guru.  If *I* can do it, most anyone that WANTS to can do.
> Let's stop saying it's not a desktop OS - that's simply wrong. Many
> of us use it for exactly that - for those that have tried and failed
> at it, I can see why you feel that way - but at least say it from a
> personal view - not as gospel...

Oh, I wouldn't say I failed; but there is a chasm between the levels 
computer interest and ability of those on freebsd mailing lists and the 
general computing public.  We could probably be described as 
statistical outliers.

For those who use FreeBSD as a server, FreeBSD the desktop is most 
definitely an option.  The issue here is the audience.  When you say 
FreeBSD can be a desktop, to whom are you talking?  If you're saying it 
on this list, I think it's a truthful statement.  However, I think it 
would be irresponsible to say it to the general public.

> That's the most irritating thing to read is someone stating that as a
> global truth when in fact, it is not.
> Over and out.
> Best regards,
> Chris

Andrew Gould

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