BSD is dying

Paul Robinson paul at
Thu Jul 28 12:22:29 BST 2005

On Thu, Jul 28, 2005 at 12:06:20PM +0100, Paul Richards wrote:

> 1) A lot of people are switching to Mac OS X because if you just
> want a computer to use and you like Unix then it's ideal. Hacking

Yup. I spent a fortnight getting OS X to have decent keyboard shortcuts,
and Quicksilver and Desktop Manager are a must for me, but you're right
in the sense that nearly everybody I know who has switched has done so
because they're fed up spending time getting their computer to work.

> the OS is much nicer on FreeBSD but very few IT people actually
> care about the OS, most people do application stuff. My desktop
> machine is now a Mac mini, it does everything I need if I'm not in
> a kernel hacking mood and is quiet enough to be permanently on in
> my lounge.

I have been doing a Zen clear-out thing and reducing my clutter to near
zero. I now have one computer at home. It's an iBook. 

I'd say 95% of my time is spent writing (as in, English, blogs,
articles, that kind of thing) or doing web application development.
Virtually no OS work at all these days. 

At work, less than 20% of my time is spent doing configuration
management and systems work. The other 80% is the stuff that makes money
for the department. 

Somewhere in here is a paradigm shift.

> 2) A lot of people are trying to get out of IT, it's in the back
> of my own mind but I've not come up with an idea of something else

I'm doing a lot of writing, and I'm playing with doing law so that if we
do end up with software patents I can retire after my first 12 months
work. :-)

> to do yet. Why? Well the industry is flooded by marginally competent
> people who have little interest in doing things properly. Wages are

I remember in 2000-ish looking around a comp sci department and thinking
'these people are coming after my jobs, and they know just enough
bullshit to take them from me...'

Nobody respects IT guys these days. When I was chatting up a girl in a
bar the other night and she asked me what I did, I said 'oh, a manager'.


Yet that was better received than I know saying 'I work in IT' would,
because we are now the chavs of the information economy. We are seen in
a very poor light.

FreeBSD and decent Unix guys, well, we're probably the last bastion.
We're probably all that is keeping society away from having wolves steal
call centre employee's babies...

> now down to semi-skilled levels because there are so many barely
> qualified people willing to take jobs on low salaries. These people

Don't get me started on Eastern European software houses.

> don't really see themselves as engineers, it's just another "office"
> job to them. Too much of the industry seems to think someone who
> can knock up a website is actually competent to implement complex
> infrastructure systems. Some of the work I've seen over the last
> few years is of abysmal quality and no-one really cares.

Let's set up a new band that shows how it should be done then. Perhaps
we should go all Trotsky-entryist and start writing blogs about how
things should be done and then at the last minute do a big 'reveal' that
the real secret is to get the mindset (and technology) of a FreeBSD
admin and developer.


> One of my pet peeves at the moment is broken mail systems. The number

I've had those for years...

Paul Robinson

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