Why FreeBSD sucks

Giorgos Keramidas keramida at freebsd.org
Fri Oct 27 19:28:28 UTC 2006

On 2006-10-26 06:25, kevlar Hodge-Podge <kevlar_t_hodgepodge at hotmail.com> wrote:
> This post actually did get me thinking about a longtime frustration
> with one aspect of the whole Linux vs. UNIX thing.  First let me say
> that I'm a real novice user so I hope this isn't something that has
> been talked to death and resolved.

The following is my own, personal opinion, so please take it all with a
grain of salt...

Talking, as in `constructive exchange of ideas, opinions and other
useful stuff, with the explicit purpose of advancing the current state
of the art', will *never* be resolved in the world of an open source
system.  This is not, of course, a bad thing.  It merely means that we
are -- or at least we should always be -- open to discussion about ways
to improve, and we should actively encourage both this sort of exchange
with the user community *and* take action where necessary.

> One problem when comparing FreeBSD to most of the Linux distributions
> is that they are in fact, distributions of an operating system and
> FreeBSD is an operating system.

But a different operating system, with a different set of goals.  Even
Linux distributions have goals which range from extremely non-technical,
to deeply involved and complex.

> So when you look at fedora for example the fedora team can choose to
> use GNOME over other desktop environments, and bundle commonly used
> software like firefox and openoffice. When fedora does this it is a
> very reasonable and responsible thing for them to do, as they are
> marketing themselves toward the desktop world.


> On the other hand FreeBSD can not make those same decisions, and if
> they did it would be counter productive to all their users, even those
> currently using GNOME, firefox and openoffice.

Why do you think this is so?  We can definitely improve the number of
prebuilt packages we release with official ISO images, but this takes
both manpower (to oversee the builds) and resources (build machines).
We don't have a lot of these right now, so anything we can do to make
things like ``a faster, full ports/ build and packaging run'' is going
to be extremely good.

This is also one of the places where non-technical FreeBSD users can
help a lot, even without necessarily submitting source code or port
packaging patches.  To find more resources for the port-building
cluster, even FreeBSD users who are not programming gods or packaging
experts can donate to the project hardware to speed things up :)

> Until very recently the comparison (from a PC end user?s point of
> view) of FreeBSD vs. any Linux was apples and oranges. Now we have
> pcbsd, desktopbsd and a few others that are really ?distributions? in
> the same fashion as fedora is.

More or less :)

> Does anyone have suggestions for how a non-technical user of FreeBSD
> can help contribute to the community with a focus on the
> `distributions'? Is there anyone doing side by side comparisons of
> these packaged solutions that use FreeBSD?

There are _MANY_ ways in which a FreeBSD user can help the project.

  * I've already mentioned donations in hardware.  A full list of stuff
    that FreeBSD developers would find useful can be found online at

    If there is something in that list which you can send to a FreeBSD
    developer, like unsupported hardware that you would like to see a
    driver developer for, please consider contacting the respective
    developer or the Donations Liaison team.

  * Periodically check the ``Contributing to FreeBSD'' article and see
    if you can help with anything listed there.

    Among the most prominent tasks listed there, which do not really
    require programming godship or many other elite skills, is our
    documentation.  The FreeBSD team respects highly and tries to
    address all the needs of the user who needs documentation about
    installing, using and maintaining FreeBSD systems.

    Please keep in mind that even a simple comment like ``I've read this
    article and it sucks, because I didn't get anything described
    there'', has its worth.  Suggestions for new text, corrections or
    even a simple ``I tried *foo* listed at the *bar* article, and it
    fails with *baz*'', are even more welcome.

For more technically oriented users, we have our ``Project Ideas''
pages, which work as a wish-list:

  * http://www.freebsd.org/projects/ideas/

Things that we would like to see as new features, as fixes or even as
small, incremental improvements to existing functionality are listed

If you are a developer, and can help us flesh out some of the items
listed in this page, you are more than welcome to jump in, and start
working in one of the areas listed there.

Even if you are *NOT* a developer, but you would find the experience
interesting, educating, and a challenging opportunity to find out more
about your favorite operating system, you are still welcome to do so.

These are just a few pointers, since you asked :)

-- Giorgos

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