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Date:      Wed, 24 Aug 2011 21:02:18 -0500
From:      Evan Busch <>
To:        "" <>
Subject:   Re: A quality operating system
Message-ID:  <>
In-Reply-To: <>
References:  <> <>

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I didn't expect this much response. Some interesting stuff:

On Sat, Aug 20, 2011 at 1:49 AM, Test Rat <> wrote:
> There is an ongoing discussion on arch@ about this.

This is an excellent discussion. Thank you.

On Sat, Aug 20, 2011 at 12:12 PM, Dave Pooser
<> wrote:
> My own take:
> 1) I really don't see the Handbook as all that great. It's

Every professional documentarian I've encountered agrees with you.
It's inconsistent, wordy, and has no concept of the order of
introduction of its concepts. No professional software package would
ship with documentation this bad. The multiple grammatical errors only
enhance the sense of its fundamentally confused nature as a document.

On Sat, Aug 20, 2011 at 2:08 PM, Polytropon <> wrote:
> Well, in _this_ area, I would also agree that work should be
> done to concentrate documentation, e. g. make an "essence" from
> knowledge and examples in mailing lists, web forums and so on.
> But there are too many of them, and you simply cannot put all
> the possible things into "the one documentation" project.

This isn't as big of a project as you make it seem. In fact, it will
reduce your workload and that of your users.

I think the comments above provide a good starting point for actual discuss=

As far as people proving my point about the BSD community being reactionary=


This is a good discussion. Thank you for mentioning it.

On Sat, Aug 20, 2011 at 2:19 AM, Odhiambo Washington <> w=
> That whole paragraph is some irrelevant assertion.


On Sat, Aug 20, 2011 at 2:45 AM, Open Slate Project <> wrote:
> Perhaps you would be happier at an Apple Store.


On Sat, Aug 20, 2011 at 7:30 AM, Hasse Hansson <> wro=
> Happy Trolling :-)


On Sat, Aug 20, 2011 at 1:09 PM, Michael Sierchio <> wrot=
> Are you lazy, or stupid?  man freebsd-update


On Sat, Aug 20, 2011 at 1:31 PM, mikel king <> wrote:
> I do not think it is worth wasting important list bandwidth on your flame=

These angry non-sequiturs just reek of defensiveness.

I think I predicted these behaviors when I spoke of "cliques" and the
nasty, elitist side of geek culture.

On Sat, Aug 20, 2011 at 12:13 AM, Gary Gatten <> wrote:
> Well.... =A0This should spawn some interesting responses. =A0I shall sit =
back and enjoy....
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Evan Busch []
> Sent: Friday, August 19, 2011 11:47 PM
> To: <>
> Subject: A quality operating system
> Hi,
> I make decisions about hardware and software for those who work with me.
> Talking with my second in command this morning, we reached a quandary.
> Ron is completely pro-Linux and pro-Windows, and against FreeBSD.
> What is odd about this is that he's the biggest UNIX fanatic I know,
> not only all types of UNIX (dating back quite some time) but also all
> Unix-like OSen.
> I told him I was considering FreeBSD because of greater stability and sec=
> He asked me a question that stopped me dead:
> "What is a quality operating system?"
> In his view, and now mine, a quality operating system is reliable,
> streamlined and clearly organized.
> Over the past few years, FreeBSD has drifted off-course in this
> department, in his view.
> Let me share the points he made that I consider valid (I have deleted
> two as trivial, and added one of my own):
> (1) Lack of direction.
> FreeBSD is still not sure whether it is a desktop OS, or a server OS.
> It is easy for the developers to say "well, it's whatever you want,"
> but this makes the configuration process more involved. This works
> against people who have to use these operating systems to get anything
> done.
> In his view, a crucial metric here is the ability to estimate time
> required for any task. It may be a wide window, but it should not be
> as wide as "anywhere from 30 minutes to 96 hours." In his experience,
> FreeBSD varies widely on this front because in the name of keeping
> options open, standardization of interface and process has been
> deprecated.
> (2) Geek culture.
> Geek culture is the oldest clique on the internet. Their goal is to
> make friends with no one who is not like them. As a result, they
> specialize in the arcane, disorganized and ambiguous. This forces
> people to go through the same hoops they went through. This makes them
> happy, and drives away people who need to use operating systems to
> achieve real-world results. They reduce a community to hobbyists only.
> (3) Horrible documentation.
> This is my specialty and has been since the early 1980s. The FreeBSD
> documentation is wordy, disorganized, inconsistent and highly
> selective in what it mentions. It is not the product of professionals
> but it also not the product of volunteers with a focus on
> communication. It seems pro-forma, as in, "it's in the documentation,
> so don't bother me." The web site compounds this error by pointing us
> in multiple directions instead of to a singular resource. It is bad
> enough that man pages are separate from your main documentation tree,
> but now you have doubled or trebled the workload required of you
> without any benefit to the end user.
> (4) Elitism.
> To a developer, looking at some inconsistent or buggy interface and
> thinking, "If they can't do this, they don't belong using FreeBSD
> anyway" is too easy of a thought. Yet it looks to me like this happens
> quite a bit, and "this is for the elite" has become the default
> orientation. This is problematic in that there are people out there
> who are every bit as smart as you, or smarter, but are not specialized
> in computers. They want to use computers to achieve results; you may
> want to play around with your computer as an activity, but that is not
> so for everyone.
> (5) Hostile community.
> For the last several weeks, I have been observing the FreeBSD
> community. Two things stand out: many legitimate questions go ignored,
> and for others, response is hostile resulting in either incorrect
> answers, haughty snubs, and in many cases, a refusal to admit when the
> problem is FreeBSD and not the user. In particular, the community is
> oblivious to interfaces and chunks of code that have illogical or
> inconsistent interfaces, are buggy, or whose function does not
> correspond to what is documented (even in the manpages).
> (6) Selective fixes.
> I am guilty of this too, sometimes, but when you hope to build an
> operating system, it is a poor idea. Programmers work on what they
> want to work on. This leaves much of the unexciting stuff in a literal
> non-working state, and the entire community oblivious to it or
> uncaring. As Ron detailed, huge parts of FreeBSD are like buried land
> mines just waiting to detonate. They are details that can invoke that
> 30 minute to 96 hour time period instantly, usually right before you
> need to get something done.
> (7) Disorganized website.
> The part of the FreeBSD project that should set the tone for the
> community, the FreeBSD website, reflects every one of these
> criticisms. It is inconsistent and often disorganized; there is no
> clear path; resources are duplicated and squirreled away instead of
> organized and made into a process for others to follow. It is arcane,
> nuanced and cryptic for the purpose of keeping the community elitist,
> hobbyist and hostile to outsiders.
> In addition, huge portions of it break on a regular basis and seem to
> go unnoticed. The attitude of "that's for beginners, so we don't need
> it" persists even there. With the graphic design of the website I have
> no problem, but the arrangement of resources on it reflects a lack of
> presence of mind, or paying attention to the user experience.
> All of this adds up to a quality operating system in theory that does
> not translate into quality in reality.
> You alienate users and place the burden upon them to sort through your
> mess, then sneer at them.
> You alienate business, professional and artistic users with your
> insistence on hobbyism. These people have full lives; 48 hour sessions
> of trying to configure audio drivers, network cards or drive arrays
> are not in their interest.
> Even when you get big parts of the operating system correct, it's the
> thousand little details that have been forgotten, ignored or snootily
> written off that add up to many hours of frustration for the end user.
> This is not necessary frustration, and they get nothing out of it. It
> seems to exist because of the emotional and social attitudes of the
> FreeBSD team.
> Sadly, Ron is right. FreeBSD is not right for us, or any others who
> care about using an operating system as a means to an end. FreeBSD is
> a hobby and you have to use it because you like using it for the
> purpose of using it, and anything else will be incidental.
> That is the condition of FreeBSD now. If these criticisms were taken
> seriously, I believe the situation could change, and I hope it does.
> Fondly,
> Evan
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