BSD is dying

Paul Robinson paul at
Wed Aug 3 15:23:52 BST 2005

On Wed, Aug 03, 2005 at 12:11:33PM +0100, Brian Somers wrote:

> I guess I have a few comments on the state of BSD in the UK.... it'd
> be a shame not to bore the people here with them!

That's the spirit!

> it has been for the past few years.  In fact, I'd say that awareness
> of the OS is greater than it ever has been.

I'm "aware" of torturous dictatorships, it doesn't mean I would seek to
implement one within my office.

There's a lot of talk about 'awareness' but ultimately, when push comes
to shove, nobody outside of a very small clique is prepared to actually
deploy. That's the shame.

> BSD has been sitting in the background, maturing.

Stroking its white cat, muahahaha'ing?

> whole "what do you want out of your release engineering department"
> argument.

Most organisations genuinely do not want release engineering. The reason
why portupgrade is so successful is because instead of having to track a
gazillion mailing lists, I can do:

# cvsup -g -L1 /root/ports-supfile
# pkg_version -l '<'

... peruse list to see what might break...

# portupgrade -a

If it wasn't for the fact I had to go over a version number with
buildworld, I'd still be doing binary updates as well.

I look after a lot of servers. I write a lot of code. I write reports,
have meetings to go to, try and help run seminars and events, and
occasionally I like to try and have a normal life.

I don't want release engineering tasks.

I want to type in 3 commands.


> Given the choice, the lawyers preferred to just avoid the whole GPL
> thing.

Well, that doesn't surprise me but I would be amazed if that was what
got FreeBSD mindshare a few years from now. We need to change culturally
and technically, IMHO.

> So I guess what I'm saying is that I believe BSD, and FreeBSD
> specifically is poised to take market share away from linux.  Not

Poised is one thing. Doing it is quite another.

I think in the desktop space, Apple is not only poised to take away
market share from BSD and Linux, but is actually doing it.

> We've always been lacking the enthusiasm and drive of the linux
> folks, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.  We're not as

I think it not so much enthusiasm and drive, I think it is that we have
cynical pessimism and argumentative tendancies in abundance.

Look at -jobs recently, or the whole NetBSD/OpenBSD camp.

Paul Robinson

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