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Date:      Wed, 15 Jul 2020 08:46:52 +0200
From:      Polytropon <>
To:        Dale Scott <>
Cc:        Patryk Cisek <>, freebsd-questions <>
Subject:   Re: Trying to install FreeBSD 12.1 on Librem laptop
Message-ID:  <>
In-Reply-To: <>
References:  <> <> <> <> <> <>

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On Tue, 14 Jul 2020 18:17:56 -0600 (MDT), Dale Scott wrote:
> At the risk of offending some of my colleagues, I would suggest
> if your primary goal is simply a stable desktop environment,
> with a low learning curve and even lower maintenance requirements,
> you may be better served by an OS which has a stated goal to
> provide a superior desktop experience (e.g. Windows, OS X and
> some Linux distributions).

This is a point where I sadly _have_ to disagree.

First of all, FreeBSD with a Gnome-2-era-like desktop like Mate
or Cinnamon, accompanied with useful applications (Firefox,
Thunderbird, LibreOffice, VLC etc.) makes an excellent desktop
that fulfills all requirements you've listed.

Furthermore, yes, Linux is more advanced in this particular space,
because it has reached a point where the GUI integrates very well
with the underlying OS components, something that FreeBSD hasn't
achieved natively yet. It's worth mentioning that TrueOS (ex PC-BSD)
did that many years ago, it was KDE-based.

I don't see your statement as offending, just disagreement-worthy. :-)

> While there have been (and still are) projects aimed at superior
> desktop environments on FreeBSD, there are simply too few users
> for such a system for the effort required to do a good job. While
> it is certainly technically possible to install software on a
> FreeBSD-based system to create "the best" desktop possible, it
> is also possible you will spend more time configuring and
> maintaining it, and less time accomplishing "real" work with
> the system. It all depends on your goals though.

That is my impression primarily for "Windows"-based systems:
Users need to manually search and install software, tweak the
UI, guess (!) and explore too many things, and in case something
doesn't work, "Oops!" is the only debugging information they can
provide, and they require help for many things that maybe 10 or
20 years ago were considered "simple user tasks" they could've
performed on their own.

Simply because there is no one-size-fits-all eggl-laying wool-
milk-sow, no matter what desktop solution or OS you mention,
there will always be users who cannot work with what is presented
to them out of the box. The ability to change things (!) and the
discoverability and easyness of how this happens is the important
point. This is where Linux desktops definitely are the best ones,
and it doesn't matter if you mention a Gnome 3 based Ubuntu or
a Xfce/Lxde/KDE-based distribution.

> I develop and host web-based applications and services on FreeBSD,
> but the servers are headless and my interaction with them (other
> than the web apps) is a terminal window and command shell. My
> "daily drivers" are either Windows or Linux Mint. Maybe if I was
> a sysadmin or site reliability engineer using FreeBSD, or if I
> was developing software to run specifically on FreeBSD, and if
> I interacted less with business people and more with hardcore
> IS/IT people, then I might switch my desktop environment to
> FreeBSD and benefit from consolidated experiences and knowledge.

My personal systems running FreeBSD primarily use WindowMaker
(no desktop environment, just a window manager), or IceWM + wbar.
My parents are using FreeBSD for many years now without problems,
using the Mate desktop (after the end of Gnome 2). Everything 
here_just works_, I cannot say anything better; no problems, no
questions, all hardware is supported, everything just jumped
into its place, and there is no problem with "too steep learning
curve" or "I don't know how to do this." Actually, they did
not have to "learn FreeBSD" at all.

Maybe I am just a very strange person: I've been using FreeBSD
as a desktop system since version 4.0, with environments like
KDE, Gnome 2, XFCE and Xfce (capitalization indicates version),
Mate, Cinnamon, and I never ran into problems people tend to
attribute to FreeBSD (as the underlying operating system), so
definitely don't take my very individual statements as "truth
for everyone and everything". :-)

THat being said, the choice of the right tool, as always, just
depends on the goal you want to achieve. FreeBSD _might_ be such
a tool, but it depends. As always.

Magdeburg, Germany
Happy FreeBSD user since 4.0
Andra moi ennepe, Mousa, ...

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