FreeBSD on the Desktop (Was iBook THIS THREAD MUST DIE NOW)

Frank Shute frank at
Fri Jan 7 14:52:41 GMT 2005

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On Wed, Jan 05, 2005 at 07:09:34PM -0000, Kevin O'Connor wrote:
> At the risk of starting a flame war DON'T DO IT. FreeBSD is one of the be=
> all-round open source servers available but as a desktop it's not even
> average.=20

I know - it's better than average ;)

> It lacks the auto configuration and installation of X, which is a
> must have for most users. All the usual desktop apps need installing, no
> GUIs for the basic stuff like setting up printers, NIC IP addresses or OS
> software updates. The BSDs as an OS have their strengths as tools for
> experienced users or people who want to become experienced. I know people=
> this list will say "but I've got it as a desk top" Well that's OK but I'll
> bet it took more than a couple of hours to install it from scratch,
> configure X, get it to go out onto the Internet, I'm assuming an end user
> who does not have an ADSL router for that one.

I'd be doing the configuration for them and the advantage of FreeBSD
is that I should only have to do it once. BTW, these users would
have to have broadband.

> Compare it to Suse 8.x and 9.x. They come with nice GUIs almost from the
> start of the install, Yast to update both the programs and the dependenci=
> it will even tell you if things conflict.=20

Sorry, Linux package management is broken IMO, which is why I wouldn't
use it.

> As a simple to install, simple to use glorified type writer and
> Internet/email box you just can't beat some of those Linux systems.
> Just to clarify the first sentence FreeBSD only makes it as one of the be=
> server OSs because OpenBSD is better for some roles.=20

The thing is, those Linux distributions aren't just "glorified
typewriters", they're everything plus kitchen sink.

My notion is that most people don't need and shouldn't be given
general purpose computers. They're outrageously complicated and
difficult to maintain.

There are a few weirdos like us who actually like fiddling around with
them and maintaining them but most people don't have the inclination
and/or time.

My proposal is to start people off with an extremely small tool set,
allow them to familiarise and become proficient with that toolset and
*then* expand it. To begin with they shouldn't have to concern
themselves with any sort of system administration (they'll be able to
do some things with sudo), except copying the odd file.=20

ATM, the Linux desktop offerings presents the user with an enormous
assortment of software and an arcane and complicated desktop
environment - people are overwhelmed.

My expectation is that a lot of current functions that a desktop
computer is shoehorned into doing, will be carved off into media
boxes with DRM in due course.

Also my grand plan includes pulling users away from desktop
environments and back to the commandline as desktop environments don't
encourage understanding of "how things work". GUIs were only used to
lower the barrier of entry to personal computing IMO but they've been
used and abused and they interfere with people's productivity in the
long run.

I want to bring back: "Neanderthal Computing for the Masses"=A9!

Like DOS5 plus browser and email....and vi.

Let the shouts of "You're mad!" begin :)

Proposed initial applications:

A simple WM



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