Why FreeBSD not popular on hardware vendors

Chad Perrin perrin at apotheon.com
Mon Dec 15 12:20:16 PST 2008

On Mon, Dec 15, 2008 at 08:14:10PM +1000, Da Rock wrote:
> On Sun, 2008-12-14 at 19:21 -0700, Chad Perrin wrote:
> > On Sun, Dec 14, 2008 at 11:39:26AM +1000, Da Rock wrote:
> > > 
> > > Hence why I tend to send really green unix newbies to linux school than
> > > grind their teeth on FreeBSD straight up. Let em get their skills and
> > > experience in how *nix in general works on something a little easier
> > > (for MIB lovers: noisy cricket), then move up to the big guns.
> > 
> > Why not send them to something like DesktopBSD or PC-BSD, or even
> > FreeSBIE (if that project is still around)?  If they go to some chintzy
> > user-obsequious Linux distribution like PCLinuxOS first, they'll just
> > have more stuff to unlearn *if* it ever occurs to them to give some BSD
> > Unix variant a try -- and if they haven't been poisoned against BSD Unix
> > systems by GNU/FSF propaganda in the meantime.
> > 
> I doubt it. Knowing how linux works, they'll get sick of its layout and
> config and appreciate the BSD way once they get the hang of handling
> *nix methods. The hardware issues are across all those BSD platforms,
> which makes it tougher for newbies coming from the handfed world.
> Unlearning is _real_ easy when the config and layout is shit.

Tell that to the uncountable hordes of dedicated Linux users who don't
know what they're missing and, as such, see no reason to even give
FreeBSD a try.

> As for the GNU philosophy, consider Ubuntu popularity versus Fedora.
> Fedora takes "the high road", and Ubuntu allows the users to subscribe
> to extra repositories of software- guess which users prefer? The threads
> for these arguments on the Fedora list exceed even this one in length!
> FreeBSD ports- you can install pretty much whatever license type in
> software you want, as long as someone has setup a port for it. Users
> consider THAT freedom.

So, we end up splitting the potential FreeBSD users between Ubuntu and
Fedora with more of them going to Ubuntu because not quite as many become
faithful members of the GPL flock.  Great.

I take it you don't actually talk to Ubuntu users much, too.  Lots of
them are deeply invested in this copyleft thing.  You don't have to use
"nonfree software" to use Ubuntu, y'know.

> Plus, if you compile your own software there is a clear place to install
> it, not wandering in confusion between /usr, /opt, /usr/local, and any
> other variation of these (and maybe more...).
> I think freebsd is great, but if you haven't clue about *nix don't waste
> time- get some bearings first on a simple similar system which offers
> more user friendly features and all the cli stuff, then try the real
> thing. Don't worry- those worth their salt will return, the rest will
> stay where they're happy.

That's why I'd recommend PC-BSD first, for most new Unix users.

As an example contrary to your own, it took me *years* to get around to
trying out FreeBSD once I got into Linux-land -- and someone only
slightly less interested in getting out from under the GPL than I was, in
the same circumstances, might *never* give it a try.

Chad Perrin [ content licensed OWL: http://owl.apotheon.org ]
Quoth Marvin Minsky: ". . . anyone could learn Lisp in 1 day, except
that if they already knew Fortran, it would take 3 days."
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