Explaining FreeBSD features (OT: end user policies)

Csaba Henk csaba-ml at creo.hu
Wed Jun 22 12:13:06 GMT 2005

On Tue, Jun 21, 2005 at 01:05:32AM -0700, Ted Mittelstaedt wrote:
> 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.
> 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.

Concerning Linux, I feel you generalize far too uncautiously.

>From the POV of this discussion, there is no such thing as Linux OS.
Linux is just a kernel, as we know. There is no such a thing as
Gnu/Linux OS, either. Gnu/Linux is just a set of regularly updated
source tarballs. RedHat, Debian, Gentoo, SuSe, ... are operating
systems. Each of them is comparable with Windowses and BSDs in respect
of end user policies -- but the Linux kernel and the Gnu/Linux packages
as such don't interfere with end users.

Some of them are dumbed down, others are not.

Concerning the dumbed down ones: I'm eager to see one which passes the
following test. Toss in a data CD. The system will automount it and
place an icon on the desktop. Click on the icon, you'll get a file
browser showing the contents of the CD. Now look up the "eject"
menupoint in the (usually right-click) menu of the CD icon, and click on
it. Do you get an error message which makes sense for a
computer-ignorant user? Do you get any hint how to resolve the problem?

I don't dare to suggest an alternative to Windows using (and cursing)
friends and relatives where one can't answer "yes" to these questions.

That is, you have to distinguish within "dumbed down interfaces", too.


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