Ask stupid questions and you'll get a stupid answers, was: Technological advantages over Linux

Polytropon freebsd at
Mon Jul 27 23:29:47 UTC 2020

On Mon, 27 Jul 2020 15:39:26 -0400, Jerry wrote:
> There is absolutely no contradiction in what I said. Using FreeBSD for
> "X" and "KDE" is NOT the optimal setup. FreeBSD is simply NOT the
> optimal OS for that pairing. Now, if a user is not interested in or
> requires optimal performance, then that is their decision to make.

Using FreeBSD + X + KDE does not have to be less performant
than a comparable solution. Take for example the port "mkdesktop"
which delivers an "almost Linux-like completeness" of KDE for

However, I agree that you have a certain point: The "out of
the box experience" of KDE on FreeBSD isn't nearly as complete
and integrated as it is on Linux. Why? Because KDE is developed
on and primarily intended for Linux. As I mentioned in an earlier
post, this creates specific problems whose origin is simply
admitting that FreeBSD != Linux, and that's it.

You maybe do remember how PC-BSD (later TrueOS, now discontinued)
started? They took FreeBSD + X, added KDE, added custom tolls
to be able to configure FreeBSD from within KDE, added a
KDE-based package manager for their PBI system. Neither was this
less performant than a Linux distribution targeting KDE at that
time, on the same or comparable hardware.

You see: It was possible. And it is still possible.

Of course you are right when you now argue that this requires
time to set up. That's absolutely correct, and you (as the user)
have to decice if this is worth your time, which might be
money you're losing. There is a quite simple consideration:
Am I happy with what another OS delivers me as a preinstalled
and preconfigured desktop? Does it fit my needs? Does it
fulfill my requirements? If yes, I'll probably just use that.
But maybe do I need a custom-taylored solution that maps to
a workflow no "out of the box experience" can cope with? Is
this an O(1) action, i. e., I set it up _once_, then keep
using it? If this boosts my performance, then I'll probably
take the time to do that work.

On FreeBSD, an OS which does not include (or come with) one
specific desktop environment, the user can choose.

> FreeBSD is an excellent OS for use with Apache, Postfix (or other MTA),
> database programs like MySQL, etc. Again, I use, whenever possible, the
> best OS for the problem at hand.

That is the most natural, the most educated, and the most
obvious thing to do.

> Only a fool blames his tool.

Any bad craftsman blames his "bad" tools. :-)

> I know FreeBSD sucks with KDE, but I don't spend all day here bitching
> like a little girl. I reserve that for a more appropriate forum.

FreeBSD does not suck with KDE. Please don't generalize, it's
simply not true. I mentioned the existing restrictions, but
maybe they don't matter to you (i. e., you don't need a KDE-
based interface to /etc/rc.conf, so it's not a problem that
there is none). Again, let me emphasize that the more modern
and advanced KDE gets, the bigger the gap originating from
FreeBSD != Linux gets visible to the user. It doesn't matter
that there are claims like "any POSIX-compliant source can
be compiled on any POSIX-compliant system and will produce
a comparable result" - it doesn't apply here because of the
heavy accumulation of stacks of libraries of abstraction of
libraries of stacks of interfaces of libraries of libraries
of kernel calls. ;-)

Expecting (!) a default KDE installation on FreeBSD to work
just like on Linux is a case of "blame the tools", in my
opinion. If you want a "just works" solution, Linux is often
the way to go, except, of course, you actually need FreeBSD,
which Linux obviously isn't.

> I know
> FreeBSD driver support is sub-optimal, but there is little that I can
> do about that.

Things are improving. If you're lucky and not depend on certain
drivers, you are in the great situation that you don't have to
care. For example, if you have a system that is intended to run
Linux, where Linux has support for everything, but FreeBSD just
causes problems on such a system, but you still wish (or need!)
to run FreeBSD, using a VM solution gets you rid of all of those
annoying problems. Plus, you can use the majority of software
you know from FreeBSD because it's available on Linux anyway.

> Aryeh, at some point in life, you have to learn to accept life as it is.

But if you do that, you have no chance to make a change that
leads to improvement. You'll have to eat whatever is fed into
you. ;-)

I absolutely understand mindsets like "time is money" or "don't
fight when you cannot win". Accepting everything as given, and
learn to live with the least annoying solution, instead of
standing up and building something better has lead to significant
problems in economy. It's not per accident that we're using stuff
that is more or less "overclocked outdated steam machines" and
mental concepts that are 50+ years old and don't match reality
and current requirements anymore. People don't want to change.
Sometimes they have to. And in the worse cases, it leads to
cost increases, workflows breaking, data loss, redundant work,
or simple despair.

> I like utilizing two complete OS's. It suits my needs perfectly. And,
> it is extremely simple to setup. If you are happy with the KVM, that is
> fine with me.

Having two physically separated fully equipped systems can
be an advantage, just as using a KVM switch to interface with
two systems using one "workstation frontend" - it depends on
what you're doing. There is no general solution that works
for everyone, no one size fits all egg-laying wool-milk-sow.
Sometimes, having a Macbook next to your FreeBSD workstation
is exactly the solution that helps you achieving your goals,
and sometimes it's just a distant server that you connect to
using SSH from whatever system you want.

> But is it a 72" curved flat screen with surround sound? I kind of doubt
> it. If it suits your needs though, that is all that matters.

I was able to get FreeBSD + Mate work on such a system (even
though not with sound, it didn't have any). :-)

Follow Aryeh's experiment, and you will see that if this
always leads to a less performant desktop than it did in the
past, that's surely a problem.

There is a convenient equation for "overall usage speed":

	resources provided by hardware++
	-------------------------------- = const.
	resources demanded by software++

The quotient "const." isn't actually constant: In specific
settings, the "overall usage speed" gets lower, read: some
stuff is getting slower. That's what you can _observe_. The
primary reason is increasing program complexity. Consider
a "simple" thing like a web browser: it has become as complex
as, or even more complex than a whole operating system. Why?
Because prople treat it as one. That isn't just an increase
of resources demanded, but also more chances to get things
wrong, and lead to memory leaks and such. Now consider the
libraries intended to be used, like Gtk or Qt. They expect
things you find on Linux. They're not there on FreeBSD? Okay,
let's create another layer that hides this fact and somehow
delivers what's needed. Oh wait, Linux introduced something
new that is now also expected? No problem, add another layer
that provides a shim so it can at least compile, and we'll
add the missing functionality later on.

If performance is your goal, you maybe have to say goodbye
to KDE and Firefox, and look for something else. On FreeBSD,
you can actually do so. Choice is key. And if your choice
is to _not_ use FreeBSD, that's fine - but it does not help
solving the existing problems on FreeBSD.

It's hard comparing things with all that growing complexity
in mind. I still have a non-networked 300 MHz FreeBSD 5 PC
here that runs XFCE 3 as a desktop, Opera web browser, and
OpenOffice 1.1. It boots extremely fast and is a general
joy to use. However, it doesn't match the requirements of
today's web anymore, let alone security considerations. But
it beats any newly bought "Windows" PC in startup time and
what you can do with it (browsing the web is limited, of
course, but it opens office documents, even broken ones,
plays media, has network diagnostics, has a C++ compiler,
can print to a laser printer, has games installed, can
edit photos, and doesn't even have to phone home to
obtain missing parts). Now compare _that_ to a system where
you can't even use the calender "app" without being online
and registered as a paying customer... ;-)

Magdeburg, Germany
Happy FreeBSD user since 4.0
Andra moi ennepe, Mousa, ...

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