Explaining FreeBSD features

Vulpes Velox v.velox at vvelox.net
Wed Jun 22 03:43:52 GMT 2005

On Tue, 21 Jun 2005 01:05:32 -0700
"Ted Mittelstaedt" <tedm at toybox.placo.com> wrote:

> >-----Original Message-----
> >From: owner-freebsd-questions at freebsd.org
> >[mailto:owner-freebsd-questions at freebsd.org]On Behalf Of Fafa Hafiz
> >Krantz
> >Sent: Monday, June 20, 2005 12:56 PM
> >To: questions at freebsd.org; advocacy at freebsd.org
> >Subject: Re: Explaining FreeBSD features
> >
> >
> >
> >Hello.
> >
> >Thank you all for everything so far.
> >
> >But I am not looking for comparisons.
> >
> >I am looking for stuff that has been written so that people can 
> >understand.
> >
> >Let's say this:
> >
> >Multi-threaded SMP architecture capable of executing the kernel 
> >in parallel on multiple processors, and with kernel preemption, 
> >allowing high priority kernel tasks to preempt other kernel 
> >activity, reducing latency. This includes a multi-threaded 
> >network stack and a multi-threaded virtual memory subsystem. 
> >With FreeBSD 6.x, support for a fully parallel VFS allows the 
> >UFS file system to run on multiple processors simultaneously, 
> >permitting load sharing of CPU-intensive I/O optimization.
> >
> >In the real world, that ought to sound more like:
> >
> >FreeBSD includes support for symmetric multiprocessing and 
> >multithreading. This makes the kernel lock down levels of 
> >interfaces and buffers, minimizing the chance of threads on 
> >different processors blocking each other, to give maximum 
> >performance on multiprocessor systems.
> >
> Fafa, I've seen these kinds of efforts before and they are all
> generally doomed to failure.
> You see, the problem is that FreeBSD is not a general computer
> operating system product.  It is a very specific product in fact.
> Now, the USES that FreeBSD can be put to are VERY general.  BUT,
> do NOT make the mistake of confusing the fact that just because
> FreeBSD can be put to general use, that somehow it is a general
> product.  It is not.
> FreeBSD is targeted at 2 main groups of people:
> 1) Very knowledgeable people who are using it for personal, or
> in-house corporate projects.
> 2) Very knowledgeable people who are using it to construct
> turnkey systems for customers who couldn't care less what is
> under the hood.
> By contrast, Windows and Linux are in fact, general computer
> operating system products.  They are targeted at groups #1 and
> #2, but they are also targeted at group #3 which are:
> 3) People who barely know how to push a button who have a problem
> they need to fix with a computer operating system, and they
> really don't care if they understand how the fix works as long
> as it works.
> This gives rise to a rather serious Catch-22 with FreeBSD:
> You need to really understand intimately how FreeBSD works
> and how computer software that runs on it works in order to
> get it to work well enough for you to learn intimately how it
> works.

Nah, you can be willing to learn as well. FreeBSD was my first
venture in to the world of UNIX.

My choice was I found finding info on it easier than Linux and I had
some one willing to teach me.

> Windows and Linux solved this Catch-22 by dumbing-down the
> interface to their operating systems.  Thus, an ignoramus
> can get up and running with both of these systems, and that
> person can remain fat, dumb, and happy, completely ignorant
> of what he is doing, and those systems will still work enough
> to get the job done.  It may be a half-assed fix, but it is
> better than nothing.

Not in the case of FreeBSD. In the case of FreeBSD, it would be a bad
idea. It would result in a lot of badly supported users.

It can be done, but with a system based on FreeBSD, with a something
layed over it to help those people out.

Ignorant useless users should be supported by commercial ventures,
not community ones. They will just drag the community down with their
weight if they don't help out.

> FreeBSD by contrast, long ago decided not to do this.  For
> starters, if you dumbed-down the FreeBSD interface, then to
> most people FreeBSD wouldn't be any different than Linux
> or Windows, so why mess with it?  But, most importantly, a
> dumbed-down interface gets in the way of a knowledgeable person,
> and over time becomes a tremendous liability.
> With FreeBSD, the only way that a newbie can break the Catch-22 is
> old-fashioned mental elbow grease.  In short, by learning a bit
> at a time, expanding on that, and repeating the process.  It is a
> long slow way to get to know anything, but once you get there, you
> really do know everything in intimate detail.

I found the handbook to be useful in this area.

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