FreeBSD & Linux distro
cwhiteh at onetel.com
Fri Feb 22 01:49:24 UTC 2008
Wojciech Puchar wrote:
>> use as a desktop system. Contrary to that impression, I'm sending this
> what is "desktop system" and "server system"?
> AFAIK it just depends of software installed, and it can be both..
FreeBSD as a desktop compared to other OS's? I think there are
technical, community and attitude differences which prevent FreeBSD from
competing as a desktop. For some time I ran a small suite of FreeBSD
desktops for general passing users (community center for alternative
type people) and sometimes it was quite difficult to defend FreeBSD
against requests for Linux.
Some desktop functionality that is available for other OS's is simply
not available to FreeBSD. Recent Debian, Windows and Mac all do hotplug
USB for instance. The key point is that if you unplug without unmounting
you don't get system crashes. I've read some of the threads that say
it's not at all easy to write it into FreeBSD but it is an important
difference and it shows up some community and attitude differences.
Imagine if computers were cars. FreeBSD would be a super reliable car or
maybe truck that gets built and maintained and used by people who like
to spend most of their time hanging out in the workshop. You have to
lift the bonnet and press a button to get it going but they see that as
trivial. But the person who has to get the kids down to the supermarket
and get the shopping done before hubby comes home for tea is really not
going to understand that there is any comparison with the system where a
key is within easy reach of the drivers seat.
Nobody in the FreeBSD workshop can see the point of doing a quite
intricate rewiring task because the truck works so fantastically well in
Support for USB devices seems better in Linux too. The number of times
people would come in and say why don't you use Linux and I would say
FreeBSD is better and they would say well plug this USB ethernet adapter
in and see if it works then, and it wouldn't.
If you want to do video editing on FreeBSD you can't use the main free
software application, Cinelerra. It's not ported to FreeBSD and from
what I've read it won't be - something to do with ALSA drivers I
believe. Also multimedia functionality generally is far more developed
on Mac and windows. I would be really interested to know how the FreeBSD
kernel compares to the Linux realtime kernel. Are there any recent
benchmarks? Something like Kris Kennaway's fantastic mySQL benchmarks
I'm sure none of these things are impossible, simply I get the
impression they are not very interesting to the people who decide the
direction of FreeBSD.
There are other differences which I think come down to the overall size
of the development community. I'm sure FreeBSD has all the components to
allow a nice icon and directory window appear automagically on the
desktop when you plug your removeable drive or camera in. I guess there
must be some sort of similarity between the number of people doing
Debian development and the number of people doing FreeBSD development.
The difference with Linux is that there are hundreds of other dev
communities taking Debian or whatever as a starting point and
configuring it for different out-of-the-box use. Hence ubuntu and all
the others. There are comparatively very few desktop development
projects that take FreeBSD as a starting point. Hence rolling your own X
and desktop setup in FreeBSD let alone automounter and a hundred other
This is not meant to be an anti-FreeBSD rant, I love FreeBSD, it has
some sort of quality and ease of use which I find hard to define, which
is different to the 'ease of use' of windows or ubuntu (see I can't even
give them capital letters) and which I wouldn't swap for anything. But I
do think there is also some refusal or maybe just lack of resource
to engage with a completely different view of what computers are
for that the vast majority of the computer population has, an attitude
exemplified by the comment that started me off on this rant.
More information about the freebsd-questions