FreeBSD challenged by Internet

perryh at perryh at
Fri Jan 26 09:56:37 UTC 2007

> The 2 systems, Windows or FreeBSD, cost the same.  That is,
> assuming that time=money.  Which everyone does, except for those
> who have so much money they don't have to work for a living, or
> those who have nothing and are perectly content to live with - nothing.

But I am not comparing Windoze with FreeBSD.  I am comparing
FreeBSD on a pre-owned box with FreeBSD on a brand-new box.

The software install costs about the same; probably a bit less on
average for an older box since it is less likely to have some new-
fangled net or RAID chip that wastes time finding out that FreeBSD
doesn't have a driver for it yet -- or that the driver only works

Then, add in the difference in the cost of the hardware, which in
the brand-new case has the cost of the pre-loaded OS bundled in
-- even though that OS is worth nothing to me since I plan to run
a different one.

Bottom line: a FreeBSD box built on older hardware is cheaper than
a FreeBSD box built on brand new hardware.  One tradeoff:  the CPU
in the older box most likely isn't as fast as the one in a new box;
that's critical for some uses but not for mine.  Another tradeoff:
unless I get *really* lucky, and happen upon an outfit that has just
swapped out a bunch of identical boxes, no two of my pre-owned boxes
are going to be alike.  That doesn't matter to me, but it would be a
very big deal if I were building a server farm.

> It is like owning property.  One person can have a plot he bought
> 40 years ago for $5000  Right next to it another person can have
> the same size plot that's similar features he bought for $100K a
> week ago.
> The tax man is not going to say to the first person that your plot
> is only worth $5K  The plot has equity in it that makes it just as
> expensive as the $100K plot.

Granted the current property taxes are the same, but the situation
changes when they sell their respective properties.  The old-timer
is going to get socked for capital gains on $95K (unless it qualifies
for the personal-residence exemption, or he does a 1031 exchange, or
some such).

<big snip>

> If a guy buys a DSL account from DSL Only for $30 a month and 2
> months later DSL Only decides they are going to lower their price
> in leu of advertising to get more customers, what do you think
> said guy is going to do if one day he sees the price on DSL Only
> website to be lower?  I'll tell you, he and all DSL Only other
> customers are going to call in and demand the special deal, and
> all the sudden the DSL plan to get more customers has just blown
> up in their face.

And the same can't happen by word of mouth/email/etc?

> I don't believe there's an ISP in Portland that has current
> pricing on their site.

I found several just now, including DSL Only; most quoting the
ISP and telco charges separately but a couple providing a single
combined quote.  One linked off to a separate page for the telco
charges.  Surely you don't mean that the charges they are quoting
are *not* their current rates?

I have also got the notes from my previous research somewhere, but
it would take a while to figure out where.  I do remember that there
were plenty who *appeared* to have then-current pricing -- including
both their own charge and the line charge -- and that only one was
anywhere near cost-competitive with Verizon; and I presume that the
costs shown on such sites were the lowest available at the time.
(It seems pretty obvious that advertising a price that is not your
lowest then available, and that is clearly not competitive, is not
a terribly effective way to attract business.)

It may be a little less obvious that failing to advertise costs at
all -- or advertising only the ISP charge and leaving the reader
to guess at the line charge -- is not an effective way to generate
calls from those who are comparison-shopping and for whom cost is
a consideration.  I for one won't *bother* with calling someone
who doesn't disclose costs up front.  I figure, if they were truly
competitive, they would make a point of letting the public know
about it.

> ... Qwest does not stick it in pricing to the independent ISPs
> the way that Verizon does ... It is very much a chicken and egg
> problem.  No ISP is going to spend the money to interconnect with
> Verizon, sign a wholesale agreement, and all of that, until they
> have sufficient Verizon customers to have a business justification
> to do it.  But, in order to get that sufficient Verizon customer
> base, they have to have a wholesale agreement!!!

This is precisely the kind of thing I am referring to when I accuse
Verizon of violating the INTENT of the antitrust laws, even if they
manage to stay within the letter or convince the authorities to look
the other way.  It is one reason why I don't want to pay them any
more than necessary, and that includes paying their surcharge to
use a different ISP.  It would be a point in favor of an ISP with
a wholesale account.

> And last but not least is the ATM vs Frame thing.  Verizon
> initally deployed Fujitsu DSL modems that were frame based.
> An ISP could get a frame relay T1 to Verizon to supply service.
> Then Verizon decided to deploy using ATM.  For a long time, the
> minimum the ISP had to have to for ATM was a DS3.  NOT a T1.
> A DS3.  Quite a bit more expensive, that.  ATM is definitely
> better -but Verizon shed a lot of ISPs when that came down.

Unless Westell can do both Frame and ATM, I must have got on
after the switchover -- I've had the same Westell modem all
along.  (I think I signed up when DSL first became available
on the 590 exchange.)

> > ... I couldn't figure out a total cost from the web
> > site (unless that $15.95 is the entire package cost).
> That is intentional - the website is intended to get you to call
> in.  What good is a marketing tool like a website if it does not
> generate calls?  Web logs don't tell you jack, you know that.

See above.  There is some fraction of your potential customer base
who will do what I did, and just write off anyone whose site doesn't
provide complete figures.  You'll never have any idea how large that
fraction is because you'll never hear from them.

> When you get a flyer from Safeway, it advertises milk, and a few
> other things.  You don't get the total cost until you go there.
> Same with Fred Meyer or any of ther other grocery stores.

The in-store price of the advertised items had better be no higher
than advertised, or they will be in trouble.

> Which whould you rather have?  A TOS where either party can do
> damn well as they please, or a TOS that actually draws a border?
> You also haven't really said if you think the TOS is bad or not
> - just that it's more restrictive.  Is that bad or good?

Based on what I have heard from others, I have the impression that
Spire's is pretty good; it amounts to "thou shalt not spam or scam."
I have not read it myself.

> Verizon does not provide any interface for connected ISPs to query
> status of customers, whether they are trained up or not.  Qwest
> does - but the interface is very slow and usually takes about 5
> minutes to get status on ONE customer (no kidding) and furthermore
> it's a web page, not something like a finger interface, so you
> would have to parse what you want out of it.  Also, the status
> takes about 10-15 minutes to change state to what the DSL line is
> actually doing.

That stinks.  You *should* be able to issue some sort of ATM status
command over that DS3 or whatever, and get the status of the link
in a matter of milliseconds.  Granted, customer-end power off has
to be considered normal, but conditions like "link has been bouncing
up and down every 15 seconds for the last 5 minutes", "receiving
trainup signals from customer end but can't complete connection",
"dropped link due to noise/short/whatever on line", "CO end of link
powered off", or "DS3 down" are not.

> > You might issue me a static IP, but your TOS won't allow me
> > to use someone like dyndns to attach a name to it.
> Ah yes, that part.  Your right in that ought to be modified.
> The restriction was created because originally 99% of people
> that wanted a DNS name on their residential DSL line wanted
> one so they could put up a business webserver.

And what if they did?  Why should you care what your customer is
using the bandwidth for (as long as it is lawful, they're not
spamming/scamming, etc)?

> There has always been a handful of techs who wanted to remote
> into home desktops and were clueful enough to want a DNS name,
> in those cases, just about all of them were perfectly happy with
> "". (of course there is no
> charge for that)

It would be fine for my purposes, but restrictions which seem to
serve no evident, legitimate purpose cause me to wonder what other
shady dealings may be afoot.

> All's customer IP's are static, for all customers.
> It makes finding people infected with spambots immensely easier)

Another example of Verizon's cluelessness -- they bounce IP addresses
around as if they were tennis balls :( even for those of us who leave
the modem and firewall on 24/7.  (I can see why they might not want
to *reserve* an IP address while I'm powered off.)

> > > I ran UUCP off Agora for years to my personal system, to handle
> > > e-mail, as a matter of fact.
> >
> > You may have noticed a familiar name in my Received: headers :)
> > If I were in Quest territory, I would very likely have DSL through
> > rdrop.
> I could have sworn he provisioned through Verizon Frame for a
> while (while it was still available)

It's certainly possible -- as noted above I suspect my exchange did
not have DSL available until after they went to ATM (and it never
occurred to me to look for a different ISP until after I had had DSL
for a couple of years).

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