Spreading the word

Allen Kenner germaniak at outlook.com
Sun Sep 9 21:11:02 UTC 2012

Hello all,

I've been using FreeBSD on and off since 4.0. I have my FreeBSD Mouse Pad, my FreeBSD Stickers that literally cover my Laptop, and all of my Computers, and my two FreeBSD tee shirts I wear with pride, and my FreeBSD boxer Shorts as well. I also have purchased just about every Item available on the FreeBSD Mall, and whenever someone asks me what it is, I take the time to explain to them what it is.

I'm just curious if I'm the only one who gets asked a lot about it. See, even though I'm a geeky person who's into the whole BSD and Computer Science thing, not all my friends are. I have some friends who know next to nothing about Computers, and the vast majority of my Family don't know a thing about Computers. My Mom, who works at a Hospital here in the town in which I live, isn't a Computer person at all. She does work on them of course doing the job and all, but knows next to nothing about Unix other than what I've told Her. Mainly because back when I still lived with Her, She wanted to know why it was that I had spent over 500 dollars on things that said BSD on them. 

I ended up making it easy on myself; I showed my Mom one of my Computers running FreeBSD, and what I could do. She doesn't like Computers, and She's bored by them pretty fast, but She actually took some time to listen for a change because, even though She doesn't like them, She did see the amazing things possible with this little CD-ROM. And of course, She thought it was great that the SUPER old POS Computer She had given me because it wouldn't run the newest Windows stuff, was still being used by me because it ran FreeBSD just fine.

I live in Michigan, and other than the fact that our economy is crap here, I thought "Why not use the Economy to my advantage?" And that's when I started to do that very thing:

See, before this, I would show people who awesome it was to be a user of FreeBSD, and they all loved the idea, but as soon as I went over the way you have to install patches for security and bug fixes, I'd literally lose about 99.999% of the people I'd reeled in. 

They'd ask if there was another way, and I'd end up having to show them Linux. They liked that because they enjoyed the power inherint in Unix, but with a pretty GUI and easy to use tools. But see, now, we have PC-BSD! FreeBSD with a very pretty paint job, and all those super nice easy to use tools, all rolled into one. So now, when someone asks me about FreeBSD, if I lose them at the point where they ask how you install patches, or security fixes, I just point them at PC-BSD, since it really is FreeBSD with some nice shiny paint, and of course, install software, patches, security fixes, and updates, is the same simple point and click you have on Linux!

I'm actually glad I started using it too; I installed PC-BSD on my Laptop, and it's been wonderful. I now keep a selection of things around just for these occasions; I have FreeBSD of course, and then I have PC-BSD, because a lot of the problems I ran into were because of what it takes to patch.

Now, I admit, I too don't exactly enjoy that. I mean, if I want to run FreeBSD on a Desktop where I don't need any Server stuff, and I don't want to compile anything, my options for making sure my Ports get security fixes, are very limited. I think this is something that we really could fix up. If PC-BSD can do it, why not FreeBSD?

Is anyone here aware of any work being done to make it so that Updating, Patching, and so on, on FreeBSD, becomes as easy as it is on PC-BSD? Personally I'm VERY biased towards FreeBSD, and I'd switch to it completely and no longer even bother much with Linux if I could just get it to where I could do security fixes on Ports without having to go through such a long process.

How do YOU guys do it? Like just as an example, I'd like to know the following:

Lets say you are setting up a new machine. It doesn't matter if it's a Server or a Desktop system, but lets just say you guys all got a new Computer, and are installing FreeBSD 9.0-RELEASE on it, and you have finished with the installation, and now you want to get some Ports installed. What are your next steps? Like I myself for example, will generally then run portsnap to make sure they're updated, but the what? What do you do if you then ran sysinstall and installed a bunch of packages as well?

What if you installed FreeBSD 9.0-RELEASE, and then, you run up portsnap, install a few ports, and then, you ran sysinstall, and you installed a bunch of software from packages as well? You now start getting those emails about how there are security patches you need to install. What do you do next? 		 	   		  

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