Ars Technica article

Alexey Dokuchaev danfe at
Mon Apr 13 06:19:28 UTC 2020

[ setting CC to a more appropriate -wireless@ list ]

On Fri, Apr 10, 2020 at 07:20:14PM -0500, Jason Bacon wrote:
> ...
> I think [well-working gfx stack] a great long-term goal, but it will
> take a significant investment of man-hours to get us there.  In the
> meantime there's a lot of lower-hanging fruit, like minor improvements
> to the bsdinstall UI, external media mounting, etc.

What I find more frustrating when reading similar articles (they are
all more or less the same) is that they rarely focus on FreeBSD's *real*
problems (and no, that's not the awkward installer, having to manually
find working DRM port + xf86-video driver combination, search for the
scattered knowledge of which magic lines to add to /etc/rc.conf and/or
/boot/loader.conf, read the Handbook N times before one can set up their
bluetooth mouse, et cetera).  While installer's issues, better defaults,
bash vs sh, sudo, modelines, and those other little things might seem
significant for someone coming from Ubuntu, it would take them a day
to learn, adopt, and get back most, if not all, from their previous
environment.  Our real problems aren't solved that easily, and being
solved painfully slowly.

Leaving mess aside, we lack a lot in our laptop department.
Our WiFi stack is essentially maintained solely by adrian@, and he's
currently not very active.  Some ~4 y.o. cards like BCM43228 are still
not supported [1].  If you search for "atheros" in our Bugzilla, it
returns 13 bugs, the latest action being on 2019-01-26 (reassignment).

AR5B22 WLAN+Bluetooth combo does not work/broken, discussion [2] had
ended nowhere.

Realtek 5209 card readers are quite common and also do not work; the
WIP OpenBSD driver porting effort [3] is stuck because apparently
something is missing in FreeBSD [subsystems], although [the] driver
seems to faithfully implement the OpenBSD [code].  No kernel hacker
had chimed in to help. :-(

Our WMI stack is unmaintained and incomplete: brightness and multimedia
keys do not work on many laptops despite corresponding kernel modules
being loaded.

This list goes on.  Yes, these are deep, hard problems, not the low-
hanging fruit, but if Foundation decides where to spend some money,
I'd rather see it considers these rather than bsdinstall UI, external
media mounting, or some other "lipstick on a pig" type of tasks.



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