re changing from vista

Da Rock rock_on_the_web at
Mon Nov 17 00:57:11 PST 2008

On Sun, 2008-11-16 at 11:38 -0800, Charlie Kester wrote:
> * Jeremy Chadwick <koitsu at> [2008-11-14 14:56:26 -0800]:
> ><opinion> But why are we interested in "converting" people?  That
> >borders on religious, which an operating system should not be.
> >
> >
> >I'm not saying "we don't need new users" -- I'm saying: if we took half
> >the energy used "converting" people and applied it to fixing bugs and
> >improving FreeBSD, there wouldn't be a need to "convert".  "Build it
> >(and secure/stabilise it) and they will come".
> Indeed, what IS the value of more users to a volunteer project like
> FreeBSD?
> Microsoft, Apple, etc. want more users on their OS because it increases
> their profits.  But who gets more money if ten thousand users switch to
> FreeBSD?  
> FreeBSD already has a large enough user base to attract the attention of
> developers deciding which platforms to target with their apps.  But even
> if it didn't, it has a large developer community of its own, and they've
> done a great job porting apps, as well as creating new apps themselves.  
> New users who are also developers can contribute to this effort,
> so it makes sense to actively recruit them.
> But why should we want to increase the number of ordinary, non-developer
> users?  If these new users also contribute to the project, by working on
> documentation or other non-programming tasks, then it makes sense to
> actively recruit them too.
> Perhaps there's an implicit calculation that only x percent of new users
> will actually contribute to the project, so if you want/need C new
> contributors, you should aim to recruit N = C / x new users.
> Some of the comments in this thread have expressed one of the problems
> new users can bring: an expectation and demand that things work the way
> they used to on their old OS.  People who voice these concerns want to
> preserve the Unix philosophy and culture, so they don't welcome
> immigrants who refuse to assimilate.  They don't see those immigrants as
> potential contributors to the project; they see them as people who want
> to replace it with a different project altogether.
> ...which perhaps explains why some people want to impose something like
> a Unix citizenship test.
> Users can also contribute by helping to refine the requirements for
> software.  For example, my son is an animator and he and I have often
> discussed various graphics tools.  In his opinion, the Gimp is a
> powerful tool which provides almost every tool or technique an artist
> might want, but it's unusable because its user interface doesn't reflect
> the way artists actually do their work.  He says this isn't just that
> they're used to Photoshop or whatever; there's something about the
> nature of the task that the Gimp fails to accommodate in a natural,
> effortless way.  He says the Gimp feels like a tool designed by software
> engineers rather than artists. 
> We need users like that, who aren't developers but who are experts in
> their own domain.  How much of FreeBSD's strength as a server derives
> from the fact that so many of its users have been sysadmins with a keen
> awareness of the day-to-day problems in that domain? (It's also been an
> important fact that many of them are developers too.)
> So when new users appear and start requesting changes to make things
> more like the system they came from, we shouldn't automatically classify
> them as "unassimilable immigrants".  We should try to understand what
> they're really looking for, and whether or how our current software
> supports it.  
> It's especially important to understand why they left their old home.
> What was the need that inspired them to consider a change?  How did
> their old OS fail to meet that need?
> Sometimes our answer to them is going to be, "No, sorry, our project
> isn't designed to do that" or "That isn't one of our project's goals."
> Maybe you should consider Project Y instead."  There's nothing wrong
> with that kind of answer.  It's coheres with the Unix philosophy of
> clarity of purpose (e.g., tools that do one thing and do it well.)
> So, in conclusion, we DON'T need new users because growing the userbase
> is good in itself. Sometimes growth is cancerous, and kills the body.
> We DO need new users insofar as they help us meet the goals of our
> project. 
> (And sometimes new users suggest new goals for us to pursue.)
> -- Charlie

Thats a very good point, and in my own case I'm not here to leach off
the systems here. I make points of driver issues, but I so far have
lacked the abilities to change this; ergo I turn to the lists... That
won't be forever, my skills as a developer have grown and now its simply
a matter of time to work on these projects.

I have a skill such as mentioned here, in the manner of my users have a
great deal of experience in their fields (including myself) and can make
valid suggestions as to how to make things better. Better yet I'm trying
enact some of those suggestions and test them locally with the users.
I'm also trying to train my users to use the tools available right now
so they can achieve the goals or fulfill their jobs.

What goes around comes around, and so with the experience and skills
I've gained I'm doing what I can to give back to this community. If
every new user does this then things can only get better...

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