A quality operating system
ait at p2ee.org
Sun Aug 21 20:18:51 UTC 2011
On Sat, Aug 20, 2011 at 12:47 AM, Evan Busch <antiequality at gmail.com> wrote:
Hi Evan, I think your post should spark a reality check for many here
but I come from the Linux world and I must say that at least in all
tthe techincal aspects my experience has been completely different, so
I have to disagree with the vast majority, albeit not all, of your
points which I will answer below one by one.
> Over the past few years, FreeBSD has drifted off-course in this
> department, in his view.
Disagree. I've worked with FreeBSD since 6.2 and it's only been
getting better and better. FreeBSD is getting faster and better whilst
Linux really seems to have drifted from direction like you say. We use
Linux and MacOSX for development and FreeBSD on our servers.
We have made tests with Multi-threaded Apache on Linux 2.6.30 versus
FreeBSD 7.x and 8.x and the FreeBSD virtual memory manager puts Linux'
to shame every single time. The truth is that when you push Linux to
near exhaustion of it's swap it will never return to normal, you will
most surely need to reboot it, yet FreeBSD come back to normal after
each peak load. Your could of course, get your hand dirty and tweak
each of the OS's vm to your specific application, but like you very
say, I don't have time for that and in some areas I just want my OS to
work in it's vanilla flavor.
> Let me share the points he made that I consider valid (I have deleted
> two as trivial, and added one of my own):
> (1) Lack of direction.
> FreeBSD is still not sure whether it is a desktop OS, or a server OS.
> It is easy for the developers to say "well, it's whatever you want,"
> but this makes the configuration process more involved. This works
> against people who have to use these operating systems to get anything
I don't think there is any doubt that FreeBSD as such is more a
server-oriented OS that can be configured as a high-end Workstation.
PC-BSD on the other hand is aiming more for the Laptop and Workstation
user whilst maintaining it's FBSD core intact.
> In his view, a crucial metric here is the ability to estimate time
> required for any task. It may be a wide window, but it should not be
> as wide as "anywhere from 30 minutes to 96 hours." In his experience,
> FreeBSD varies widely on this front because in the name of keeping
> options open, standardization of interface and process has been
We haven't experienced this ever. Both with Linux and FreeBSD you will
experience this depending mainly on hardware support. It's got nothing
to do with the OS but with the fact that HW manufacturers don't
support Open Source simply because they hardware is getting cheaper
every day being replaced by software that eats up the central CPU. You
comment above sound like the rants that Windoze users took on LInux
back in the nineties.
> (2) Geek culture.
> Geek culture is the oldest clique on the internet. Their goal is to
> make friends with no one who is not like them. As a result, they
> specialize in the arcane, disorganized and ambiguous. This forces
> people to go through the same hoops they went through. This makes them
> happy, and drives away people who need to use operating systems to
> achieve real-world results. They reduce a community to hobbyists only.
Honestly I don't understand where you are getting this from. I don't
seem to have experienced anything like what you are describing. On the
contrary, I find FreeBSD to very organized and well maintained.
> (3) Horrible documentation.
> This is my specialty and has been since the early 1980s. The FreeBSD
> documentation is wordy, disorganized, inconsistent and highly
> selective in what it mentions. It is not the product of professionals
> but it also not the product of volunteers with a focus on
> communication. It seems pro-forma, as in, "it's in the documentation,
> so don't bother me." The web site compounds this error by pointing us
> in multiple directions instead of to a singular resource. It is bad
> enough that man pages are separate from your main documentation tree,
> but now you have doubled or trebled the workload required of you
> without any benefit to the end user.
Again, are you speaking from personal experience or are you posting
the points of view of someone else?
This is so funny because I loved FreeBSD from the start precisely
because it had a one and only handbook, not like Linux where every
distro does whatever the hell they want with their docs.
I learned how to use FreeBSD from the on-line Handbook and the asking
specific questions on the list. Sometimes they go unanswered, true,
but many other times they are in archives.
Also, the way that Linux distros change the original projects and
configuration files layout is really anoying to me. FreeBSD stays
aligned with the original project and lays out the installation and
configuration structure that is faithful to the original project. Many
times it's even easier to find answers in the original packages mainly
because the way the are set-up in FreeBSd is similar (many times
identical) to they way they would be set-up if you installed these
packages from source. And of course, if you use FreeBSD you probably
use the ports system and try to install everything from source anyway.
> (4) Elitism.
> To a developer, looking at some inconsistent or buggy interface and
> thinking, "If they can't do this, they don't belong using FreeBSD
> anyway" is too easy of a thought. Yet it looks to me like this happens
> quite a bit, and "this is for the elite" has become the default
> orientation. This is problematic in that there are people out there
> who are every bit as smart as you, or smarter, but are not specialized
> in computers. They want to use computers to achieve results; you may
> want to play around with your computer as an activity, but that is not
> so for everyone.
I don't want to be insulting, but honestly I think this is a load of
crap. There is elitism in both Linux and FreeBSD and as you say all
over the Internet. That is a fact of hacking and you have to live with
it. I also share time in the Perl community and many others and they
are just the same or worse. mainly intolerant to the lazy. We are all
volunteers here and we usually try to help those that have first
Using open Source is not for the faint of heart, and it's a fact for
all Open Source, not specific to FreeBSD.
> (5) Hostile community.
> For the last several weeks, I have been observing the FreeBSD
> community. Two things stand out: many legitimate questions go ignored,
> and for others, response is hostile resulting in either incorrect
> answers, haughty snubs, and in many cases, a refusal to admit when the
Yes. I agree with you here, and I could rant out quite a bit on some
'attitude' problem at least on this list, but again, I've seen this
everywhere so I don't get personally affected by it.
Furthermore, since I don't feel I have contributed enough to this
project I don't think I'm in a position to criticize other folks that
have been here longer and that contribute more than I do.
I believe that one has to gain that right, and again, the Open Source
culture so it's not a FreeBSD-only problem like you are trying to
> problem is FreeBSD and not the user. In particular, the community is
> oblivious to interfaces and chunks of code that have illogical or
> inconsistent interfaces, are buggy, or whose function does not
> correspond to what is documented (even in the manpages).
I think you should point to some examples here or lose credibility. It
could very well be the case, and since you are saying this you must
also have many good and obvious examples, which I personally haven't
> (6) Selective fixes.
> I am guilty of this too, sometimes, but when you hope to build an
> operating system, it is a poor idea. Programmers work on what they
> want to work on. This leaves much of the unexciting stuff in a literal
> non-working state, and the entire community oblivious to it or
> uncaring. As Ron detailed, huge parts of FreeBSD are like buried land
> mines just waiting to detonate. They are details that can invoke that
> 30 minute to 96 hour time period instantly, usually right before you
> need to get something done.
Man, where are you getting all this? I've used FreeBSD for several
years now. i have been able to major upgrades (6 to 7 to 8) something
that I have NEVER been able to do with ANY Linux. Again I think if you
are to state these claims you should really be more specific.
> (7) Disorganized website.
> The part of the FreeBSD project that should set the tone for the
> community, the FreeBSD website, reflects every one of these
> criticisms. It is inconsistent and often disorganized; there is no
> clear path; resources are duplicated and squirreled away instead of
> organized and made into a process for others to follow. It is arcane,
> nuanced and cryptic for the purpose of keeping the community elitist,
> hobbyist and hostile to outsiders.
Again, what are you talking about? I feel that you switch from a real
concerned and serious person to troll-like in several parts of your
post. Maybe it's because you are stating the biased opinions of
someone else, or simply because it's just a collection of unfounded
rants you collected from a frustrated development team?
> In addition, huge portions of it break on a regular basis and seem to
> go unnoticed. The attitude of "that's for beginners, so we don't need
> it" persists even there. With the graphic design of the website I have
> no problem, but the arrangement of resources on it reflects a lack of
> presence of mind, or paying attention to the user experience.
What breaks? Where?
> All of this adds up to a quality operating system in theory that does
> not translate into quality in reality.
By this part of your post I think you boss simply doesn't like FreeBSD
period. You don't have to come here and make up all this stuff just to
justify that. Heck I may have my problems with several people here,
but that doesn't make go ranting out about FreeBSd as a whole, not
even about the specific individuals one may have problems with. In all
honest truth this whole post is begging to show signs of a wimpy
attitude, probably not yours since you obviously had the balls to post
it here, but maybe from you boss who perhaps got some RTFM or STWF and
then left whining against the poor Beastie.
> You alienate users and place the burden upon them to sort through your
> mess, then sneer at them.
You give me an example of this claim, and a few weeks on this won't
cut it. I think you best go to the archives and get a feel for a
general tone of this list.
I personally told some college student a few weeks ago to go do his
homework and it cost me a discussion with a couple of members here,
and I will do it again. FreeBSD's list is IMHO much more tolerant than
_many_ other places I share my time in. In fact, every time there is a
newbie on the radar they get overwhelming responses. The fact, that I
had an altercation with a couple of people doesn't mean that it's an
overall problem. In fact, given enough time, these altercations
actually produce strong bonds between members because they respect
> You alienate business, professional and artistic users with your
> insistence on hobbyism. These people have full lives; 48 hour sessions
> of trying to configure audio drivers, network cards or drive arrays
> are not in their interest.
I think that these comments are fallacious and bad intended. This is
NOTHING like the FBSD community I've worked with for several years.
And I work with both Spanish and English-speaking FBSD communities.
> Even when you get big parts of the operating system correct, it's the
> thousand little details that have been forgotten, ignored or snootily
> written off that add up to many hours of frustration for the end user.
> This is not necessary frustration, and they get nothing out of it. It
> seems to exist because of the emotional and social attitudes of the
> FreeBSD team.
Please, you must post clear examples of this. because it's hard for me
to understand these claims. What are these thousand of little details
and where and how do they manifest themselves?
> Sadly, Ron is right. FreeBSD is not right for us, or any others who
> care about using an operating system as a means to an end. FreeBSD is
> a hobby and you have to use it because you like using it for the
> purpose of using it, and anything else will be incidental.
You don't strike me like the type who would suck up to their bosses,
but towards the end of your post I have my doubts.
I think it's time that Ron posts directly and trade some facts about
all these claims. Preferably one post per fact at a time like
In other words, post a question, which is after all what this list is
for. One question, one subject, one e-mail, so people that have
different interests can answer accordingly.
> That is the condition of FreeBSD now. If these criticisms were taken
> seriously, I believe the situation could change, and I hope it does.
These are not criticisms but rather seems like a FUD/rant.
Please post one question, one topic per email and I promise to answer each one.
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