Minimal skills

Joe A. freebsd at
Thu Jun 4 21:52:02 UTC 2020

On Thu, Jun 04, 2020 at 03:02:40PM -0600, Brandon helsley wrote:

I began to use (with a desktop focus) FreeBSD in 1999 or perhaps early 2000; it was 
version 3.3 on a CD. I was at some sort of tech conference and someone gave it to me.

Early on, I could install it; but had no idea how to obtain applications. So, there 
is minimal skill and then there is almost no skill. One of the first things I did was
purchase a book on FreeBSD and read it cover to cover; I see you've done that. 

Over time, I've learned here and there enough to keep a machine running and how to work 
around or solve a variety of problems (mostly; AMD GPUs are just not worth my time, so I 
worked-around by purchasing an Nvidia PCI card - there's always another way). 

Some things you may wish to work on, in my view:

1) Have you learned to secure your machines for remote logins via SSH? If not,
and you have more than one machine, do that because it's useful.

2) Have you learned, clearly, the difference between an MUA and an MTA? See above,
since (IIRC) you plan to set up a local MTA.
2a) Setting up your consumer line to host a local MTA? That's an 
all-the-nopes-ever-noped thing. See also: why Sendmail isn't secure.
(note to gallery: I know what you're thinking. Don't even.)

If you really want to set up an MTA, purchase a low-end, low-cost instance
in a Xen environment. See the handbook; and there are vendors who sell 
FreeBSD instantiations. Why? That's a topic of research for the user.

3) Can you use a console MUA, like mutt? If not, learn's invaluable. 
For instance, if you (for some reason) can't use a GUI MUA; maybe the X install 
fails - what will you do? Employ an iPhone or an Android? Or (shudder to think) 
an MS Windows GUI?  What about if you have a remote machine (or even one on a
home LAN that you use for testing) from which you wish or need to send email?
IME, writing up a file for something and transferring it from machine to machine
is just not the way to go.

I really think learning to use Mutt is your best bet, though there are other
console MUA choices. Learn how, for instance, to set it up to do SMTP-AUTH
via its configuration file, etcetera. Over time, you'll find it's immeasurably
easier than a GUI.

4) Avoid vi. 

Finally, and reiterating, it is very well within the realm of possibility that an
absolute beginner can learn, in short order, how to successfully use FreeBSD as a 
desktop; and the route to more sophisticated use is pretty much equally possible.
Ditto for contributing.

Hope this was useful; and best regards,


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