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Date:      Wed, 20 Jul 2011 13:52:48 -0400
From:      David Jackson <djackson452@gmail.com>
To:        Konrad Heuer <kheuer2@gwdg.de>, freebsd-questions@freebsd.org
Subject:   Re: 2020: Will BSD and Linux be relevant anymore?
Message-ID:  <CAGy-+i_phtNbTh7SHhockqTuGrv+d2ZLn0_6A9aKEySYO0MgTw@mail.gmail.com>
In-Reply-To: <alpine.BSF.2.00.1107190736560.27391@gwdu60.gwdg.de>
References:  <alpine.BSF.2.00.1107190736560.27391@gwdu60.gwdg.de>

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I do not believe that these phones or tablets will replace desktop but there
is a lot of room for these two types of devices basically to communicate,
giving people access to their data and environment from both. The reason I
dont see the desktop going anywhere is that, basically people dont want to
work on a spreadsheet, play a game, write a letter or do many other things
on a 3" screen. Students wont want to use them to do their reports, etc.
Phones and tablets are handy when on the go due to the portability, but
their portability makes them impractical for use at home when a larger
screen is more desirable. The growth of tablets is due to there simply not
being the market there before and more people buying them for mobile use.
But desktops will remain popular for home and work use. Also users want
upgradeability, they dont want to be stuck with the same amount of hard disk
space and may want to add a new camera to the system, a capture device,
scanner, etc. Desktop systems provide much more upgrade flexibility. Linking
the desktop to the tablet will be an important thing so people can access
data and so on from their tablet.

Problems with Linux and BSD user share relate to the lack of useability.

One of the useability issues relates to hardware driver issues. I am
convinced the only way to make Linux or BSD user friendly is to acknowledge
that we need to make it so that 3rd party hardware provider drivers can be
used easily on these operating systems and there is backwards compatability,
allowing the drivers  for an older version of the kernel to be continued to
be used. Its not that I love the idea of 3rd party binary drivers, but that
by putting up with the necessary evil we can greatly increase usage of BSD
by greatly improving hardware compatability by getting hardware vendors to
write drivers for their hardware. This of course still means open source
drivers can be developed and then used instead of the hardware provider
drivers, however, the hardware provider drivers would be avialable for many
devices where open source drivers may not be available for months or years,
if ever. Increasing available of hardware drivers for FreeBSD will also mean
increasing numbers of FreeBSD/PCBSD users and that would mean more potential
sources of donations, which could be requested by a pop up after
installation.

It is clear that hardware companies can provide hardware drivers more
quickly and better tested and implemented for the hardware than kernel
developers can. For instance, they can port their Windows drivers.  People
do not want to wait years for their hardware to be supported or having to
not be able to use many kinds of hardware just so they can use BSD or LInux.
People want to use hardware, and also they do not want a huge hassle with
getting hardware to work. Basically users need to be able to plug in the
device, throw the CD in the drive, and the hardware driver  should install
itself and work. Users are not going to use an OS that wont support hardware
when Windows will. They are not going to wait months when hardware will work
on windows right away. They wont give up on being able to use some hardware
because it wont work on BSD, they will just use Windows.

Hardware companies are not going to always provide open source drivers, but
are willng to provide binary ones. And as well, Hardware companies need to
have a well documented API, so they dont have to spend months trying to
figure an undocumented API in the BSD kernel to figure out how to write a
driver,  and a stable ABI so they can release one copy of the driver and
have it continue to work with many different versions of the kernel well
into the future. The User may buy a printer that has a driver CD in it, this
may be sitting on a store shelf for months or a year, and as well, the user
may need to use this CD for years down the road to use their printer. The OS
needs to support that binary driver for years following.

We need hardware manufacturers to develop drivers and support their own
drivers. The case with drivers developed by BSD people is the drivers may
take months to appear, or for lesser known or more exotic software, might
not be available ever. By putting up with a few pieces of binary 3rd party
driver modules the deployment and popularity of BSD can be increased as it
will begin to be useable with far more hardware.

I think the hardware support problem is really the stumbling block now.
Hardware support has to be avialable for hardware immediately. Users having
a BSD OS install process bomb because their hardware is not supported is not
acceptable, things have to work out of the box.

Here BSD has advantages over Linux. There is no legal question that binary
drivers can be used with BSD, there is no legal ambiguity here. BSD does
have a potential really to compete with Windows for hardware support.
provided, we make it easy for companies to develop drivers by providing for
good documentation and facilities for quick, rapid driver development on
BSD. Companies may be willing to devote some resources to it, but time is
money and if it takes excessive amounts of time for their developers to
figure out how to  make a BSD driver, they wont.

Now, Gnome and even more so Ubuntu do not understand useability for users
very well.The problem with Gnome is it does not understand that developing
inflexible software that is not configurable and a fisher price UI designed
for a 5 year old does not make software useable. In fact, they are making
their software unuseable and of limited use.

The Unity UI on Ubuntu shows that Ubuntu developers simply have no good
sense or clue about useability at all. Its a disaster and is horrible. and I
have seen users puzzle over this thing and the other gimmicks of Ubuntus,
such as the horrid pop up toolbar idea, which i have also seen average users
puzzle over it, many could not figure out on their own how to use it and we
had to disable that awful feature. Unity Abandoning the start menu has
caused massive problems for the average users, its basically a mess for
everyone, and I could not stand it either on our Ubuntu systems. We had to
manually switch to the Ubuntu systems to vanilla KDE to get rid of it .

The taskbar  and start menu model introduced by WIndows 95 (Microsoft really
did used to get UI things right)  practical and simple and most users
figured it easily, and as well true of the basic scrollbar. Some things
simply do not need "improvement". I think Ubuntu developers are obsessed
with vanity and as  result they end up screwing up and abandoning very
practical, older ideas which have long been proven to work. Sometimes things
really cannot be improved.


 Most people just want hardware and software to work, they dont want to
spend a lot of time troubleshooting things that dont work or figuring out
why some driver wont compile.

 Making useable software does not mean software that is limited, inflexible
and so on. Software needs to be infinitely flexible. Useability is all in
GUI layout and in reasonable defaults. You want to include advanced features
and configurability in software but they can be placed in advanced screens,
the more commonly used functions should be placed up front in the
configuration UI. Also, software should work out of the box by default with
reasonable defaults and then the user can configure or tune that to their
own needs as needed. This allows the user to grow into software, to get in
quickly in using it without having to know a lot of particulars, and being
able to gradually learn to use more advanced features as needed, but these
not being foisted upon them, advanced and lesser used features can be made
available but placed more deeply in the UI.

Average users want minimum configuration but this does not mean that
software cannot be configurable, good layout involves playing advanced
configuration in advanced screens.

As far as the system structure, i firmly believe in Unix standards and the
Unix system, and Unix conventions should rule in the underlying operating
system. I think we can implement user friendly GUI systems on top of Unix
and X11 foundations. I believe that users have a right to get intimate with
the system, edit config files, use a CLI, and be able to read the source
code, customize as much as they need to, etc. But they should not be forced
to do these things. Users should be able to configure as little or as much
as they want. Everything should be possible with both CLI and GUI.

There should be an average user, friendly GUI layer on top of the deeper
levels of Unix that will configure things with minimal required user
intervention, but which will allow the user to configure as much as they
want via that GUI, as well. I believe users have a right to install via a
CLI or manually if they wish.

GUIs provide a front end to the lower level CLI tools, configuration files
and APIs. That way, if a an expert wants to understand the system at a
deeper level, they can go to the level of configuration files, APIs and CLI
tools if they wish to.

this allows the same OS to be both average user friendly and expert friendly
at the same time.





On Tue, Jul 19, 2011 at 2:18 AM, Konrad Heuer <kheuer2@gwdg.de> wrote:

>
> I found it very interesting to look at the thread "Lennart Poettering: BSD
> Isn't Relevant Anymore" and the original interview.
>
> Just to make clear: I started using FreeBSD approximately in 1994 with
> 2.0-RELEASE and still use FreeBSD and hope to do so a lot of years to come.
>
> But: Neither BSD nor Linux will ever have chance to conquere the desktop,
> despite of KDE, Gnome or anything else. In business environments there is no
> alternative to Windows. Microsoft successfully created Active Directory from
> DNS, LDAP and Kerberos with an easy-to-manage interface and - meanwhile - a
> seasonable server operating system like Windows Server 2008R2. It was long
> way for them from horrible Windows NT, but they did it. I don't see any
> chance to manage a large client-server-cloud with BSD or Linux as you can do
> with Active Directory.
>
> Additionally, and especially in the personal environment, the market will
> more and more move away from the traditional PC or notebook -- except for
> games, but that's again not an area where Linux or BSD are strong -- to
> tablet PCs and other mobile devices. To my mind we'll have to face a rapid
> change within the next years, and operating systems of the future might be
> Android or IOS or Windows Mobile or something similar which my base on Linux
> or BSD but are something different.
>
> Let's forget about BSD or Linux on the desktop and about KDE and Gnome etc.
> Nice to see them, but useful only for few.
>
> BSD will have to keep in and find new niches on the server market. The
> number of installations is not the most important figure. Functionality is
> important -- ZFS, HAST, CARP, jails, as already mentioned -- would be nice
> to see a distributed file system.
>
> So, let's continue as we did for years ..
>
> Best regards
>
> Konrad Heuer
> GWDG, Am Fassberg, 37077 Goettingen, Germany, kheuer2@gwdg.de
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