FreeBSD Kernel Internals Documentation

David Jackson djackson452 at
Sat Dec 31 19:59:22 UTC 2011

On Sat, Dec 31, 2011 at 9:18 AM, Bas Smeelen <b.smeelen at> wrote:

> On 12/31/2011 01:02 PM, Joe Gain wrote:
>> Writers who rely on ideological positions such as (socialism || fascism ||
>> jedi-knight == good | bad) really need to go visit a social science
>> mailing
>> list. It's not like political/ religious mailing lists don't exist.
>> My positivist take on things:
>> 1. Nobody is stopping anybody from changing their freebsd kernel. The same
>> cannot be said of MS Windows. Documentation is an excuse.
> FreeBSD is very well documented!
> I guess a lot of people can't cope with how structured and professional it
> is. They are used to chaos, fear, uncertainty and doubt and feel
> comfortable that way.
My experience is that FreeBSD kernel documentation is  spotty and not
really sufficient to understand the kernel. Without good documentation,
code can take so much time to decipher it might be quicker to just throw it
out and start from scratch. Maintainable code requires documentation.

>> 2. FreeBsd is a main-stream O/S-- just look at the number of different
>> architectures/applications which are supported by FreeBSD.
> Main stream and top player for web and internet servers
FreeBSD is far from being mainstream or practical for most users. I tried
to use a USB video capture device. For you, what may be "useless" may be
indespensible for others.  We should improve FreeBSD to make it work for
better for more people, experts and non-techies alike. I am really appalled
at an attitude that some have against making it better, adding features and
functionality that will make for a smoother experience, its as if they dont
care about anyone else and want the OS to be useful to no one else. We need
to make it better for everyone.

>> 3. FreeBSD isn't even hard to use, if you only want to use it like 80% of
>> computer users, to run your web browser, watch videos and listen to music.
>> People who consider it difficult might like to remember their first
>> experiences with learning windows.
Windows is much easier to learn than learning FreeBSD. On windows usually
getting hardware to work just involves putting in a driver disk and
clicking install.On FreeBSD, it can be difficult to impossible for even
expert users. Again, most people want to do more than just watch a video,
there are devices such as USB capture devices that people do want to use,
and a vast array of hardware such as scanners that do not work on FreeBSD.

> 4. Drivers aren't really a limitation. Look at the history of computing,
>> that modern O/S support such diverse platforms is an amazing development.
>> As far as I'm concerned, FreeBSD supports main stream components, there
>> are
>> no classes of components that I'm aware of which aren't supported by
>> FreeBSD. If you need to use a particular device, for which there is no
>> driver, historically it's not unusual to find that on any particular
>> platform a particular device is not supported.
> It supports most things except the things you wouldn't want anyway
Drivers are a huge limitation, the lack of them, Here I beleive you are
just plain wrong. The fact is, people do not want to have to think about
whether or not their hardware will work with an OS or fight the OS for days
to make it work. Trhe truth is on Windows things really do just work. Ive
set up Windows, I know this. Windows has other things however which make it
undesirable to use. What I want to use is combine the things Windows has
right with an open source, free OS. The way things are now does not make
since, you can use Windows, and the hardwarw works, but its a closed
platform. You can use FreeBSD, which has bad hardware support, but is an
open platform. I want to see an open platforn that has great hardware
support, even if we have to use binary drivers.

>> 5. Nobody is making anyone use FreeBSD. It's free. If you don't enjoy it,
>> don't use it. Maybe remove yourself from the mailing list-- or don't, if
>> you just want to stay informed.
> If you don't like it, please leave, there are a lot of alternatives
What you are saying here is that your idea is instead of FreeBSD being
responsive to the needs of all users, you basically want to own the project
and dont care about anyone else.

>> Normative takes:
>> 6. Is FreeBSD better than windows? For me it is. For me it's stabler. What
>> I remember from using windows, and what I'm aware of, from people around
>> me
>> who use windows is that over time, the system seems to degrade. This leads
>> to really major actions such as re-installation every 6mths or so. And...
> It is!
>> 7. The temptation to install illegal software on MS Windows is very high.
>> Who wants to pay for every little gimmicky app? Who can afford to pay for
>> some major applications, which are needed for studying etc.? This often
>> leads to an unstable system and security problems. The ports system in
>> comparison is a much preferred "software/ application distribution system"
>> because at least you get to look at the source code, if you want to.
> Most windows users and professionals I know are plane thieves, it is just
> easy for hem to get away with it. It's not my cup -o- joe and I refuse to
> be like that, no illegal software for me.
I completely agree here. Especially for people of low incomes and who are
not wealthy, the cost of windows software can be a killer.also terrible is
the closed source nature of it which means you have no idea what the
software is doing on your computer. It all reeks of dishonesty. People who
can afford it should make contributions to open source projects to help
them proceed, however, I am not for heaping up huge costs on low income
people, many of them students stuggling under immense debt.

One gets the feeling that low income people are being made to suffer more
because the way many software companies are, such as Apple, there is a high
profit margin for the executives, even the programmers themselves recieve
peanuts compared to what the executives of these companies recieve.

>> 8. It's an individual choice. Depends what you use your computer for.
>> maths/R is one of my favorite applications and it even runs on windows.
> It's all about choice and I'd rather learn from history than repeat it
> over and over
>> May the force be with you!
> Use the force Luke, read the source :)
> Reading the source alone is a poor way to try to understand the system,
increased programmer productivity and development cycle can be acheived if
source code is used along with documentation of the source code. this saves
time. I know, ive tried reading FreeBSD source code.


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