Why FreeBSD not popular on hardware vendors

Chad Perrin perrin at apotheon.com
Sat Dec 13 11:43:30 PST 2008

On Sat, Dec 13, 2008 at 10:33:40AM +0100, Wojciech Puchar wrote:
> >>
> >>that's why it would be good to finally introduce moderation on that list -
> >>to cut off 95% of traffic that is not about FreeBSD.
> >
> >Moderation, like all bureaucracy and oversight, a chainsaw -- not a
> >scalpel.  One should always be wary of its use where even the slightest
> >error might result in significant loss of value.
> you may be right. moderation (censorship) on country or so level is just 
> bad (TM).

No -- at *any* level:

  Moderation is, like all bureaucracy and oversight, a chainsaw -- not a
  scalpel.  One should always be wary of its use where even the slightest
  error might result in significant loss of value.

I'm not saying moderation is always bad.  I'm saying one should always be
wary of it were error can result in damage to overall value.  I'll
provide a technical example, as opposed to a social example, so maybe
you'll be able to understand my point.

When creating firewall rules, the logical and safe way to do it is to
first deny all traffic, then create rules to specificallfy allow only the
traffic you want -- in the general case, at least.  If and when you run
across need for something else to be allowed through, add it to the
exceptions to the default deny policy.  False positives (i.e., things
that are denied entry or exit through the firewall) are generally not a
big problem, because you can just change the ruleset and try again.

When creating spam filter rules, priorities are a little different.  In
the general case, if you have a default deny policy with exception-based
rulesets, you will suffer significant problems.  This is because false
positives can be much more damaging to your priorities, since receiving
an email is not something you can just "try again" in many cases.
Important emails may be sent unsolicited, and you may never know they
were sent if you don't receive them because your spam filter was
overzealous in its identification of emails.  It is because of this
elevated level of damage caused by false positives in spam filtering that
third-party blacklists and strict heuristic spam identification can prove
quite suboptimal.

Introducing a heuristic filter to a mailing list -- and human moderation
is exactly that: a heuristic filter -- can cause the same kind of problem
with false positives as a heuristic filter for personal email spam

> and what i ask is not to just dump out people asking about "what's program 
> like photoshop for FreeBSD", but creating list group for that 
> (freebsd-software at ...  or freebsd-programs at ...) and redirecting them 
> there!

Actually, my take on the list name "freebsd-questions" is that it's for
"howto" questions related to FreeBSD -- not that it's specifically, and
only, for "questions about the FreeBSD Base System".  In much the same
manner that there are a lot of mailing lists for "questions about Linux"
that deal with much more than just the Linux kernel, I don't think anyone
in a position to make such demands of the community has clarified
"questions about FreeBSD" to be limited, in intent, to "questions about
the FreeBSD Base System".

I look at the freebsd-questions information page:


. . . and I don't see anything saying "If your question does not pertain
directly, and solely, to the Base System, you should not ask it on this

In fact, if that *was* the rule, this list would probably only get
something like two questions in a five month period on average.  Most of
them would just be repeats, probably mostly related to how to use csup.

Is that what you want -- a list so restrictive and low-traffic as to be
almost pointless?

> and leave freebsd-questions for QUESTIONS ABOUT FREEBSD

As far as I can tell, that's *exactly* what this list is -- if you assume
FreeBSD is more than the Base System, and includes things like the
peripheral projects associated with it, and its users.

Chad Perrin [ content licensed OWL: http://owl.apotheon.org ]
Quoth Naguib Mahfouz: "You can tell whether a man is clever by his
answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions."
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