Paul Robinson paul at iconoplex.co.uk
Tue Jan 4 17:13:12 GMT 2005

On Tue, Jan 04, 2005 at 12:33:16AM +0000, Frank Shute wrote:

> I can imagine that there's nothing much worse than an unfamilar
> keyboard and even on this PC I've got various mappings to suit me.

I can't set Ctrl-Tab the way I want, but Apple-` and Ctrl-Apple-` are
helping out. Ctrl-3 to replace Ctrl-Esc is a bit odd though..

> That's not good. Although to be fair to the machine, it probably
> wasn't designed to have it's DNS settings fiddled around with by some
> unix geek :)

Yeah, the full story is quite bad actually. I took the iBook out to the
Peak District for Christmas and set it up to connect to my phone via
bluetooth which in turn GPRS'ed out to the net via O2. It is to
OS X's credit that this took less than an hour to configure correctly,
and if I'd been happy with 9600bps into an 0845 number, I would have had
connectivity in less than 3 minutes.

The problem then came on return to my flat and it would see my Wireless
AP, pick up the correct DNS settings, but refused to play any more.

> Paying for software would put me right off, I've become too accustomed
> to paying nothing.

There are normally free tools, and the only ones I've paid for so far is
Saft to make Safari a better version of Firefox (IMHO), and the Missing
Sync to talk to my Sony Clie nicely.

> > * Power Management needs coaching to be sensible IMHO
> > * Way too bloody hot when on knee and when compiling
> Does it have a fan?

Probably, but it's not very effective. I am talking serious code
munching though. But it does get uncomfortably warm.

> It sounds like the platform hasn't attracted enough people to maintain
> the free stuff.

It's getting there. Slowly. Package management is always going to be a
bugbear when you're trying to second guess another guy's "official"

Of course, there is always the traditional FreeBSD answer when something
free doesn't work the way you think it perhaps should... :-)

> That would make me a bit nervous. There isn't some cron jobs running
> that are interfering with things?

Not sure. My main problem here was with a tool called BluePhoneElite
which does lots of spiffy things with my phone. Kill it, you expect it
dead. It doesn't show up in ps aux, but OS X says you can't delete it
because it's still running... 30 seconds later... oh! look!

Yeah. It's beta code. It needs looking at. Looks like an interesting bug
in its code rather than OS X itself if I'm being fair. Even so, if I
kill -9 something, unless it's being monitored, I don't expect the OS to
let some part of it go "no! no! I want to come back!" which is the
perception I got from this particular code.

> That is all I've been hearing but then I haven't heard from any
> FreeBSD users who have poked around with one in anger, hence your review
> is very interesting.

Well, I plan on doing a proper write-up review in a few weeks and
sending it somewhere for publication, so keep an eye out. :-) I'll put a
synopsis up somewhere on the web as well and post a quick link here.

> If I think about this FreeBSD workstation, it was pretty unusable when
> I first installed. Lot of time first spent copying over dotfiles,
> installing and configuring various ports: 333 last count ... I've got
> a feeling I might die or something when it reaches 666 ...

Yeah, I know, and I suppose this didn't take as much setting up for me
to start feeling comfortable. I have to conceed that.

> Nonsense! If I'd made her learn Emacs then I would have been left out
> of her will and probably entirely disowned by the family, but since I
> made her learn vim I fully expect to receive her entire estate on her
> demise. w00t!  :-) 

Good point. A man after my own heart...

> > My problem is that I don't really want it as a unix machine. 
> Are you /sure/ about that statement Paul? ;)

No. :-)

> I'm sure once you find work arounds to the niggles it will be OK. At
> least you haven't got all the spyware, trojans and all the rest of it
> to deal with.

I didn't have that with FreeBSD either...

Paul Robinson

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