OS to replace FreeBSD

Valeri Galtsev galtsev at kicp.uchicago.edu
Sat Mar 20 14:15:12 UTC 2021

> On Mar 20, 2021, at 7:01 AM, Mohammad Noureldin <mohammad at thelightbird.com> wrote:
> Hi all,
> I am new to this mailing list, using FreeBSD/*BSD on and off. Joined the
> mailing list because I have a couple of project ideas that I want to build
> on top of *BSD.
> Though I am new, and maybe relative to many others here I am a newbie,
> allow me to comment on all the aspects addressed (so far) in this email
> thread:
> - "It is easy to build a new (custom) kernel", "Unix is made by technical
> people for technical people", etc:
> Though historically it is true that Unix like systems are made by technical
> people for technical people, it doesn't mean that it has to stay like this.
> IMHO, such motto causes a great piece of Engineering like *BSD to loose
> ground for other Unix like systems, namely Linux and all it's Distros. Not
> that I am a Linux hatter, I have respect to both.
> Related to that, I don't believe that it is a good message to FreeBSD
> users, that if you don't know how to build a new kernel, then there is no
> place for you here. IMHO, this really hurts the image of the community of
> FreeBSD specially in the eyes of new commers. Notice these email messages
> are archived.

That was said by only one - very loud - member of FreeBSD community, people here are much milder and way more polite. And I for one do not share the view that FreeBSD in particular and open source systems in general are only for people with [some] technical knowledge.

1. Installation of FreeBSD is quite streamlined (and same are Debian, Ubuntu…)

2. Interaction with machine is same nice as closed source systems' once you have Xwindow installed (here FreeBSD may need a bit effort compared to Linuxes I mentioned)

3. Compiling kernel. In general this suggest that I repeat here what I tell my users who never used Linux or UNIX: how many commands do you need to know to start using shell? 4 - 5, I’ll show you them in a minute. Then you just start, … and this is really true. Compiling kernel is just another 3-4 commands. It is simple, no need to hold people from doing it

> - About the problem reported:
> Thanks for all who went through the long list of comments on that PR and
> explained in brief that it is a USB controller/HW problem.
> In that respect, I do agree with Jerry and others wondering how other OS(s)
> can manage running on the same HW (in case that has been proven) ? I
> believe it worths looking at that. I would have volunteered to dig deeper
> into that, but I know I don't have the required experience (unless someone
> is willing to mentor me ? :) )

No comment on this specific troublesome hardware. Linux in my observation has many “workarounds” to deal with misbehaving hardware. FreeBSD may be acting “cleaner” here, hence stays more stringent system, but experts may correct me. I still remember one chipset which is NOT worth effort writing driver for: BCM 43xx Broadcom WiFi. That is 32 bit chip, sitting on 64 bit bus, no need to add more detail after that.

> And responding to that:"OK, just shut up and go install another OS", is not
> a community building attitude at all.

I agree, saying that is not polite. Better just ignore the OP. Which I observe many experts did, though several tried to help. Way back before first asking for help on one of technical lists I read list etiquette carefully, and there are several things to keep in mind, the OP didn’t show some of them (not all definitely). Just some of what I remember:

Before asking for help, try do resolve issue yourself within your ability

Describe what you tried and give all details; this simultaneously will show that you did put effort on your side, then you will less likely to be ignored

Disrespect to others is likely to make you ignored

Read carefully suggestions and try to follow them. Report what worked and what didn’t. You at least have to respect time and effort of experts trying to help you.

I stop here just by saying, please, everybody, do not take this as an attempt of “mentoring”, but someone may find truth in the above; I for one did.

I have just one comment on the hardware choice: this one is one of Dell “consumer grade” products, which is not intended to last, I wouldn’t choose it myself. They look cheaper upfront, but they end up more expensive in a log run. Dell OptiPlex (not much more expensive) would have been my choice of the same class of hardware.

Be it me, I would go with one or both of solutions already suggested in the thread:

1. Disable in BIOS on board USB and add USB card if necessary

2. Recompile kernel with switched off USB-3. The first for me would be preferable, just to not keep recompiling kernel once kernel security patches are released (but that is me, lazy person)

Good luck, Jerry, in resolving your technical issue.


> And for the sake of discussion, let's assume for a second that Jerry is
> lazy or not skilled enough, helping him and fixing the problem or clearly
> explaining a solution without bashing him, is not just for Jerry, it is for
> the whole community, for the current and new members who will be interested
> to join in the future.
> Jerry, I am curious, did you have time to try one the suggestions,
> specially running FreeBSD on a VM to see if it still suffers from the same
> problem ?
> You all have a great day/evening
> On Sat, Mar 20, 2021, 11:35 Jerry <jerry at seibercom.net> wrote:
>> On Fri, 19 Mar 2021 18:30:00 -0400, Aryeh Friedman stated:
>>> On Fri, Mar 19, 2021 at 4:32 PM Ralf Mardorf <ralf-mardorf at riseup.net>
>>> wrote:
>>>> On Fri, 19 Mar 2021 11:16:33 -0700, freebsd at johnea.net wrote:
>>>>> Void uses a runit init system with no systemd
>>>> Hi,
>>>> I suspect it's not a good idea to use Linux without systemd. For
>>>> example, by upstream udev is part of systemd. Maintaining Linux
>>>> without systemd is a bottomless pit.
>>>> On Fri, 19 Mar 2021 13:35:21 -0400, Aryeh Friedman wrote:
>>>>> Recompiling the kernel is *TRIVIAL* if you refuse to do it then you
>>>>> should not be using any Unix variant
>>>> I dislike this tone of voice. However, I agree that compiling the
>>>> kernel might be less effort, than migrating to another operating
>>>> system. If you would e.g. migrate to Arch Linux, you need to get
>>>> used to systemd. Getting used to systemd isn't pleasant. If you
>>>> chose a Linux distro that doesn't use systemd, you likely will
>>>> experience all kinds of trouble, if you want to customize your
>>>> install.
>>> I used that tone because it really is simple and if you can't/won't
>>> recompile the kernel before throwing the baby out despite with the bath
>>> water then you really don't have the skills/desire needed to use Unix
>>> effectively...  Just to show how trivial it really is
>>> 1. Edit /usr/src/sys/amd64/conf/GENERIC (or i386 instead of amd64 if
>>> your still using it) to comment out the xhci line (line 327 in
>>> 12.2-RELASE-pl3) to remove USB 3.0 support
>>> 2. cd /usr/src
>>> 3. make kernel
>>> 4. etcupdate
>>> 5. reboot
>>> Done.... how hard is that?
>> I never said I could not compile a new kernel, I said I could not
>> install the OS. Correct me if I am wrong, but doesn't the installation
>> of the OS precede the creation of a new kernel? Furthermore, the
>> screen just rolls away filling up with the error message ad infinitum.
>> By the way, as I understand it, creating a custom kernel nullifies the
>> use of "freebsd update". Wow, things just keep getting better & better.
>> What I cannot understand is that FreeBSD knows it has a problem, one
>> not shared by any other OS as far as I have been able to ascertain,
>> and I have done a lot of research, and they refuse to fix it. The
>> problem did not exist before version 12.x, so it is not like they never
>> were able to get it right.
>> --
>> Jerry
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