Selling FreeBSD

Peter McGarvey fbsd-x at
Thu Jun 5 14:40:46 BST 2003

* Andrew Hodgson <andrewh at> [2003-06-05 13:49:53 BST]:
> <quote>
> The reason why FreeBSD trails behind Linux in the outside world is
> because 
> nobody is "selling" FreeBSD. It's debatable if this is a good thing or
> not.
> </quote>
> Hi,
> Sorry if this has been discussed a thousand times before, but Paul
> Robinson's comment rang some bells with me. How does everyone feel about
> the issue of promoting and advocating FreeBSD? Has anyone succeeded in
> getting it implemented at work? Or in an educational setting?
> Being something of a beginner myself, I reckon that from a new users
> point of view what might be off-putting is the lack of a nice-looking
> install process, automatic detection and mounting of removable disks,
> and the lack of a point-and-click solution for updates, software
> install, and lower-level configuration, among other things. Obviously
> this adds to bloat, but this is what I see being implemented on Linux.
> Not that any of that made ME switch ;) but then I am a g---.

Funny that.  I picked FreeBSD over Linux because.

    Linux installs didn't make sense, were too complex, and didn't give
    enough hand-holding type information in order to work out what was
    going on.

    Working out which version of Linux was which - I mean have you ever
    listened to a Linux user tell you what version he's running?  RH6.2
    Kernel , gcc , etc., etc.

    Updating a system seemed incomprehensibly complex.

    There didn't seem to be a central store of Linux information.
    Googling returned vast quantities of info, but it was of variable
    quality - only as a newb I couldn't spot the crap.


> Reading a recent interview with the core members of the Project, this
> kind of thing isn't a priority at the moment. Which is fine for geeky
> types like me, but I'd love to see a version that does a nice Redhat or
> Mandrake-style install, with software designed for X that interfaces
> with the various config files for you, in a foolproof way of course! I'd
> love to write it myself, I'm just not clever enough yet.

Personally I'd hate such things as a flashy install, and pointy-clicky
style tools.  But then most of my work is done via an SSH session so
such things are useless.  I just like to be able to have man pages that
work, an easy upgrade method (make world & portupgrade, with cvsup), the
knowledge that I can add and delete packages without killing something by
accident.  From experience FreeBSD is the _only_ OS that gives me this.


I do see a need to become a little bit more user friendly.  But I'd
prefer to see a "DeskBSD" fork - some extra install fluffyness that
simply sits on top of the bog standard FreeBSD.  With out of the box X,
all the standard needful apps, and sensible defaults for automating
patches and minor updates.  Something I'd let the wife loose with

And - much as I adore the little Beastie - a less inflammatory mascot.

Hmmm, a polar bear perhaps.  ;-)


Peter McGarvey
Freelance FreeBSD Hacker
(will work for bandwidth)

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