FreeBSD & Linux distro

Chris Whitehouse cwhiteh at
Fri Feb 22 16:00:57 UTC 2008

punosevac at wrote:
>> 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.
> There is at least very strong consensus in the OpenBSD community and much
> less in FreeBSD community that the systems are developed by developers for
> the developer and alike on the base of the
> technical merit not cheap tricks. I am as a non-developer just getting a
> free ride. FreeBSD is a free system and doesn't have customers to please.
> It is developed by the people in their spare time to the best possible for
> their needs. (They are not necessary the same as yours and mine)
> Those Desktop users that you want to attract would not benefit from FreeBSD
> nor FreeBSD community would benefit from them.

I wasn't trying to attract users or change anything, just point out that 
in the context of FreeBSD the difference is not just the different 
software. It's the difference between what interests the FreeBSD 
developers and what the average computer user expects. The OP should be 
aware of this aspect of FreeBSD. Someone else suggested that 
'workstation' would be a better word than 'desktop' for FreeBSD.

>> 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 knew how to alter permissions and do auto-mount you would see too.

No this is driver support. But yes if it was usb pen drive then 
devfs.rules, automounter, idesk etc does it.

>> 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.
> Please, do not even go there.
> ALSA vs OSS story is one of the darkest chapters in the Linux development.
> Read this before  we go any further
>> Also multimedia functionality generally is far more developed
>> on Mac and windows.
> yes. So what? OS X is life style operating system. My friends in Apple are
> making living by pleasing their customers.

That is exactly it - it seems FreeBSD people are not generally 
interested in multimedia, whereas many 'general public' are. Which is 
not a complaint, just to let the OP know what to expect from a FreeBSD 

>> 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
>> presentation?
> What is your point? Your desktop computer is faster than mine? That is
> irrelevant for the discussion about FreeBSD on the desktop.

Realtime refers to the ability of the computer to present an audio 
stream and a video stream synchronised in real time and apparently 
depends on how the kernel does processing, not just how fast your or my 
computer works. It's very relevant to people who want to work with music 
or video.

> By the way, I proudly say as mostly OpenBSD user that OpenBSD scales the
> worst out of all *nix operating systems.


>> 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.
> It does on mine. You have to know how to configure the damn thing.

Yeah. I personally can't be bothered but many people would be completely 
lost if it didn't. And the size of the development community in Linux 
and probably Microsoft and Apple allows that and all the other 
configuration to be done for you.

>> 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.
> Hence the PC-BSD, DekstopBSD, TrueBSD, RuFreeSBIE, MidnightBSD and all the
> others. There are in total over 40 distros based on FreeBSD. At least 10
> of them that I know of have as a stated goal to be customized easy to use
> FreeBSD installation on the Desktop.
>> There are comparatively very few desktop development
>> projects that take FreeBSD as a starting point.
> With all due respect you are just ill informed. Look the above.
> Sorry to burst your bubble but PC-BSD is much easier to install and run
> than your Ubuntu. If PC-BSD/FreeBSD had a native Flash supports and if
> they
> succeed to automatic creation of PBI for all 18000 ports PC-BSD would
> smoke the Ubuntu as the number one Grand Ma Milly OS by a mile.
> Cheers,
> Predrag
> P.S. I am not trying to participate in a flame war or a troll so this is
> going to be my last message on this thread.

As you say, enough :)

>> Hence rolling your own X
>> and desktop setup in FreeBSD let alone automounter and a hundred other
>> things.
>> 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.
>> Chris
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