FreeBSD 7.1 Content

Greg Peterson peterson at
Thu Sep 4 15:47:00 UTC 2008

Guido, I agree completely with you and Jeremy.

At Thu, 04 Sep 2008 08:51:00 +0200, Guido Falsi wrote:
> Jeremy Chadwick wrote:
> > On Wed, Sep 03, 2008 at 03:01:48PM -0600, Dan Allen wrote:
> >> On 3 Sep 2008, at 1:53 PM, Guido Falsi wrote:
> >>
> >>> If you just want na instant workstation, why you just don't try  
> >>> Freesbie or something like that?
> >> Because I want something from the source -- from the main team -- and  
> >> not something downstream.
> >>
> >>> If I install FreeBSD on a PC I expect this installation to live there 
> >>> for some years. I can spend some hours/days installing and configuring 
> >>> what I really need. At least this is the way I see it. Maybe I'm 
> >>> misunderstanding you.
> >> I too spend the time.  I am thinking that for other people to want to  
> >> use FreeBSD they want something other than a command prompt.  They at  
> >> least want a web browser out of the box.

With the choices we have these days, I think they would be happier
with a FreeBSD-based integrated distribution.

> > I haven't finished reading the thread yet, but your assumption is
> > ignorant.  Why do you think FreeBSD is intended solely for desktop
> > usage?  It's not.
> > 
> > I, for one, **only want a command prompt** out of the box.  I **do not**
> > want Xorg or any X-related garbage on my servers.
> I fully agree with this last statement. I choose freebsd for many 
> reasons, and this is one of those, I tried a few linux distributions, 
> and even slackware installs too much garbage if you're not looking 
> closely at it.

Me, too. I'm typing this on an IBM ThinkPad R40e that once ran
Xubuntu. Installation was a dream, and everything worked for a
while. When the system became unstable after an upgrade, I couldn't
untangle the different parts of the system since everything was
dumped together under /etc/ and /usr/. I reinstalled FreeBSD, which
I've used for over a decade.  Now the machine is stable, and I can
control which ports to install.  More importantly, I can always get
back to the operating system, and I know that it will work okay.

I use FreeBSD for 99% of my desktop work (Xorg/fvwm2), but I would
not want GUI code in the OS.  People who want pre-installed software
can use one of the new distributions that are getting good reviews.
For me the clear distinction between the operating system and other
software inspires great long-term confidence in FreeBSD.

> And n the way to providing a useful desktop system out of the box, I 
> think no one can choose arbitrarily what to include and what not. Most 
> people would find WM+FF[23] too little, some other would want some 
> minimal gnome/kde, some others full blown gnome/kde (or other des for 
> example) who's bound to choose?

Exactly. I even disagree with myself sometimes! A Web/mail/whatever
server, an old laptop, and a fast, new workstation are different
kinds of systems for different purposes.  I really appreciate the
separation of ports from the operating system. With the same OS it's
easy to communicate about any FreeBSD system. With ports we have
great flexibility, and we can back out of trouble (deinstall ports)
and still keep the OS intact.  That gives us solid reliability.

> FreeBSD has always made a choice to be just an os, and a server oriented 
> one. There are downstream distributions bundling full blown systems, 
> and, as stated by others, the devel team has no time to spare, I think 
> it should concentrate on that, and leave the desktop work to others.

I agree completely. As a long-term STABLE user, I'm happy to install
ported and non-ported software that helps me do my work every day.
People who port software and who develop integrated desktop systems
contribute extremely valuable work, but that work is separate from
the development and maintenance of FreeBSD. FreeBSD has been really
rock-solid for so many years because dedicated people concentrate on
the operating system. Their concentration on the OS enables others to
contribute ports and special-purpose distributions with confidence.

Greg Peterson <peterson at>

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