FreeBSD's problems as seen by the community

Robert Watson rwatson at
Sat Jan 12 06:00:37 PST 2008

On Sat, 12 Jan 2008, Timo Schoeler wrote:

>>>>> (I don't even think is the largest German BSD community, but 
>>>>> that's a different story).
>>>> Even in case it's the second biggest forum, it shouldn't be ignored;
>>> I agree completely, it shouldn't be ignored.  (Whether it's the first, 
>>> second or third biggest forum doesn't matter at all; it can't be easily 
>>> measured anyway.)
>> is a native-language forum, and I suspect it suffers from the 
>> same problems as other native-language fora: they become closed communities 
>> with little or no contact with the parent community, and over time they 
>> construct their own mythology of how that community functions and acts.
> Sorry, but (especially in this case) that is nonsense as it's primarily an 
> excuse and disparages the work done there.

There's another element in play here -- is a mailing list-centric 
community driven by people who are very much part of the e-mail world.  For 
many newer computer users, e-mail is the old world, and the new world is 
instant messaging and web forums.  Many developers I've talked to feel quite 
uncomfortable with the medium of web forums, and therefore don't tend to use 
them.  If our newer user communities are forming around web forums (i.e., for 
PC-BSD), then we do need to find some way to bridge the gap.

I have to admit that I live very much in that e-mail world: I tried following 
the PC-BSD web forums for a bit, but the fact that the messages failed to 
appear neatly in threads in my mail reader meant it was awkward and 
inconvenient, and wasn't part of my regular workflow in which I intermittently 
poll my mail reader while getting other work done, referencing it on occasion 
with explicit searches, etc.  I don't know if there are technical solutions to 
this problem, but if we want to "meet" many of these newer users of BSD, and 
hence build up the rapport needed to have a productive relationship, we're 
either going to have to lure them onto the mailing lists, find our way onto 
web forums, or find some other technical or social means of getting over that 

Robert N M Watson
Computer Laboratory
University of Cambridge

More information about the freebsd-current mailing list