Explaining FreeBSD features

Steve Bertrand iaccounts at ibctech.ca
Wed Jun 22 20:29:59 GMT 2005

> After all, someone is trying to do something good for 
> freebsd, by making freebsd known by more and more people.

It's not worth getting the word out if those new people who are hearing
about it just rant and bitch that the documentation is 'no good', when
something doesn't work the first time they try it.

> Most people are lazy, we tend to prefer immediate results 
> rather than a long term process and commitment. I think this 
> is understandable.

I agree, and it falls perfectly well in with my comment above.

> Of course, there will be a lot of newbies coming, some of 
> them will stay and some of them will find it too difficult, 
> and leave. That's the way it is.

...and most likely because they are the type who don't want to learn
'how' it works, they just want it to work. Bill Gates knows this, and
counts on it. Linux is trying to make itself more 'user friendly' to
compete with Microsoft. I hope FreeBSD never tries to make itself
'simpler' to operate to gain market share. Myself, I find it easy to
operate, moreover, I can type faster than I can move the mouse and
point/click, so being able to do something in Windows or Linux rather
than at the command line is only in the eye of the beholder. (Note that
I use XP as my workstation, but I usually have 10 or 12 SSH sessions
open ;)

> Same goes with linux. If it just sounds powerful, and hard 
> for people to get their hands dirty by just setting one up 
> and see what it looks like and maybe how it works, then linux 
> wouldn't be this popular now.

Linux has come a long way from 10 years ago. It's just as easy, if not
in some cases easier than Windows to set up.

However, with sysinstall, I can get a FBSD system up in less than 8
minutes, with custom FW ruleset, online, updating with cvsup and
preparing to install a custom kernel.

No gooey crap to waste resources, nothing extra I don't want, just
straight up what I want. Sure the first couple installs may take some
time to read and find out about, but I much rather spending <20 average
per box with FreeBSD than the hour and a half to get a Window server up
and installed for Internet use for a client.

> You would hear that "Someone has burned a linux CD and just 
> don't have time to install it, but linux is easy and sounds 
> really cool and makes people curious", and you wouldn't hear 
> the same thing about freebsd.
> Most of the none unix IT friends I have all had a "EXTREMELY HARD"
> impression on Freebsd, and they found linux extremely easy.

Sure. FreeBSD I don't think is meant to be cool and appeal to the UNIX
IT personnel. It's designed to work, and work hard. Those who spend
their work hours maintaining a large core infrastructure aren't
interested in cool. Business managers and clients are interested in
'make it work, make it work reliably without downtime'. Words like
'cool' generally don't impress them, and 'cool' generally means that I
have to respond to frequent problems, errors, crashes. My cool is less
work, less time spent so I can do more important things :)

> That's indeed not true. It really only takes a normal person 
> several hours to flip through the HANDBOOK to at least know 
> his/her way around, and this is really as "easy" as linux.

Agreed. I even read the FM's for new devices/purchases I make. I want to
ensure I get full value out of things that I use/buy/aquire. It's those
who buy a new camera, throw the manual out with the box as soon as it's
opened, and get angry because x feature won't work, or they can't figure
out how to do something so they bitch about it. IMHO, the handbook will
get a box set up even for a reasonable newbie.

> But, it make sence, that people would like to see the 
> product, before using it or even know more about it. Much 
> like a person would prefer trying out a service for free 
> before he/she decides to invest more money and time into it.

That's what the docs, lists and other professionals that use FBSD are
for. Myself, I'll answer any question about FBSD that I can, because so
much info was so freely given to me.

They didn't build Rome in a day, nor can you expect to get a full
picture of the usefulness of FBSD in a day either.

> Also, one must first be a newbie in something, then become 
> more and more professional while he/she is learning.

Of course. Many of my clients call themselves stupid for making a
mistake. I disagree with them. Although there are many, many incoherent
users I feel like choking sometimes, I generally tell them no one knows
everything. If one wants to learn they must educate themselves...this
goes for everything.

> A lot of you might be good at Freebsd, but very new to something else.
> Would you prefer to hear someone telling you, "Hey! This is 
> only for Professional! There is not even a newbie version for 
> you! So don't slow us down by getting out of our way!" That's 
> not friendly at all, right?

It's not friendly, but no one has said that. Most will say to a newbie
that it takes time, patience and RTFM'ing. It's the people who START
YELLING AT YOU when they can't do something in 2 seconds before they
even have given even a half-assed try at it.

> I perfectly agree that Freebsd is a serious OS from serious 
> people, that's why I choose freebsd :) and I would rather see 
> freebsd be more and more popular than linux!!! Truely!!! It 
> is indeed a very good OS.

More popular...sure. So long as it's integrity is not compromised to
make it 'easier' for people to use. Keep it stable. Keep it reliable.
Keep building FBSD for FBSD, not for the user.
> So let's be nice, and find ways help the new comers without 
> disturbing the ones, who are not interested in the easy 
> questions, instead of turning them away.

We all have heard 'go RTFM' in our days. Newbies need to learn that
valuable, valuable lesson as well. If they take it the wrong way, then
perhaps they don't belong here anyway. Many people on many of the lists
I'm on are not intending to be rude or ignorant, they just see the same
questions over and over where even a half-baked search would of kept the
archives cleaner, and put use to them.

> We all love FreeBSD, don't we?

With all our hearts :)

Hope I haven't taken anything you said out of context, but I really
wanted to vent. This has been a very good thread!


> Lei
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