FreeBSD challenged by Internet

Ted Mittelstaedt tedm at
Sun Jan 21 11:46:40 UTC 2007

----- Original Message ----- 
From: <perryh at>
To: <tedm at>
Cc: <freebsd-questions at>
Sent: Saturday, January 20, 2007 3:51 PM
Subject: Re: FreeBSD challenged by Internet

> What really grates is that I have to pay Verizon *more* if I want
> *less* from them!  Would you pay $40K for a pickup, if you could get
> the same truck, from the same dealer, for $35K including a camper?
> That sort of pricing, by a monopoly, is supposed to be illegal (at
> least in the U.S.).

That's $5K difference not $10.  Thieves can get away with a lot if they
steal it in small bits.

> > What I don't get is I
> > see guys walking in dropping $1000 on associated Mac hardware crap
> > without blinking, then they squawk about paying an additional $9
> > a month on DSL?  That grand on Mac crap will pay for 9 years of
> > DSL at this so-called "unreasonable" rate.
> The most expensive system around here is a Mac Sawtooth that cost
> $225 -- including a 17" monitor -- last September.  The (Dell)
> FreeBSD box I'm using at the moment cost $10 at a flea market,
> plus something like $40 for a 160GB hard drive to replace the
> original 10GB that failed after a few months.  The one I'm going
> to be installing 6.2 on -- also a Dell -- was less than $5 at a
> yard sale.

This is a totally unfair comparison.  They guy dropping $1K on a
Mac is walking out with a machine that is fully configured and
ready to run.

When you get an old clunker by the time you tally up the time you
have spent on getting it ready to run, your at the same amount.

Cheap independent desktop support goes for about $35-$50
and hour, and none of those guys could load an Open Source
OS and do any serious configuration on it if their lives depended
 on it.

Skilled UNIX tech time is at min $95 an hour.  Your talking a
min of 4 hours to get a Goodwill find up and going on FreeBSD
by the time you work out the quirks, assuming that the ram in it
doesen't have a flaw and the disk is good, if you have to replace
that stuff you count the hours it takes to drive to Fry's and back,
buy the disk, etc..  well your getting pretty close to that $1K in
my book.

Of course, I understand you might be regarding that time as
"free" but it's only "free" to you - not to anyone else who can't
do this - they have to pay for it.  Thus, you have to factor it
in when making comparisons.

In any case I was really speaking about the delta in a more general
sense.  I see a lot of folks going to comcast - who as I understand
their pricing, for Internet service only over comcast, you pay more
too.  The real point is how much do you value something?  Are
you going to say that PPP-only DSL service from an ISP (
that does not give you a static IP number, and has a support desk
that is based in India and only speaks Windowease (and does a
poor job of that) is worth the same as all-the-time-on fully bridged
DSL service with a static IP and no goofy MTU size restrictions
and is supported by the same people that built the system and
who run Windows, FreeBSD and Linux both on their desktops
and servers?

Naturally, as an ISP employee this is my personal soapbox, but
let me put it another way.  Right now there is a revolution going on
with food.  40 years ago you went to the grocery store and bought
bread and all they had was Wonder air bread.  You went to the
bar and bought a beer and all they had was Bud.  Restaurants
either came in Burger, Steak, or American Menu.  In short, the
quality of food had descended into the toilet as a result of the
constant push to sell it cheaper that started in the late 1940's.
(epomized by Brother McDonald)

Today, you go to the grocery store and sure you can still get the
air-bread.  But for more money you can get bread that tastes
far, far better, and was baked locally.  You go to the bar and sure
you can still get the cheap Bud that was peed out of some horse
back in the Midwest and carried in 1000 gallon tank trucks,
or you can pay more money and get the better tasting microbrewed
stuff that someone brewed in small batches right there.

What has happened is that people stopped comparing food
based solely on price and started looking for quality, and when
that happened, all the sudden companies appeared that supplied
the better quality, albet at a bit higher price.

I'd rather drink a milkshake from a place like Baskin Robbins and
pay more for it than a cheaper milkshake at McDonalds.  Lots of
people would rather pay more for the better tasting coffee at
Starbucks than the cheap stuff out of the office vending machine.

Why is it OK for the food industry to be like this, and it's not
OK for the Internet Service industry to be like this?  It seems like
everyone only wants Internet Service to be as cheap as possible
and couldn't give a damn about quality.

> When I was looking, I couldn't find any for much less than double,
> but it has been a while.  Do you happen to know of any low-cost
> DSL providers who offer service in Washington County, Oregon, and
> who will actually support (as opposed to tolerate) FreeBSD and/or
> Linux?  It would also be good if they knew what a firewall is --
> last time I had a problem after a Verizon "system upgrade" the only
> arrangement that Verizon was willing to troubleshoot was a Windoze
> box connected directly to the DSL modem.  This does not strike me
> as an acceptable level of security.

Actually, it so happens the office of the ISP I work at is a stones
throw of Krispy Kreme near Sunset Highway and Cornell.  Call us
Monday during business hours 503-690-2700 and ask for Scott
and when you get him, ask for residential Verizon DSL pricing,
you can tell him I said to call if you want.  Your welcome to post your
opinions of what you find out, here.

> > Basically IMHO the Verizon pricing program was designed to push
> > the really tiny independents, ie: the guys that might have a
> > grand total of 5 or 10 Verizon DSL customers, off of their network.
> That would have violated at least the intent, if not the letter, of
> the antitrust laws.

Actually, no.  Here's the problem.  Have you ever wondered why the telephone
companies over the last 10 years have all stopped referring to themselves
as "telephone" companies and started referring to themselves as

The reason is that they successfully convinced the FCC that an ISP can be
more than services offered by the telephone company.  (or cable or dish,

So, in most areas you have a telephone company that offers DSL, and a cable
company that offers cable Internet.  So according to the FCC, there -is-
because there are 2 separate ISPs there.  One ISP is owned by the telephone
company and the other is owned by the cable company.

> My suspicion is that they wanted no competition
> whatsoever (also an antitrust violation).

For a while, they did.  Then Verizon realized that they had cherry-picked
all of the
Internet service customers that were chomping at the bit to move to DSL and
fresh DSL customers would come from dialup customers, and new ones of those
customers were only going to come from the independent ISP's.

Dialup is the gateway drug to DSL but by definition the only people out
there seeking
dialup, are the bottom feeders (people who won't pay a penny more than the
absolute minum) and as a result would never countenence paying the extra
for broadband.  Verizon is leaving it to the independent ISP's to deal with
this crowd.


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