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Date:      Thu, 9 Aug 2007 01:13:40 -0400
From:      "Maxim Khitrov" <mkhitrov@gmail.com>
To:        Latitude <robertjx@ix.netcom.com>
Cc:        freebsd-questions@freebsd.org
Subject:   Re: Convince me, please!
Message-ID:  <26ddd1750708082213k3f94e59ax8fd37228e4700f08@mail.gmail.com>
In-Reply-To: <46BA9682.7020203@ix.netcom.com>
References:  <46BA9682.7020203@ix.netcom.com>

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On 8/9/07, Latitude <robertjx@ix.netcom.com> wrote:
> I'm interested in changing over to FreeBSD from Windows, but I'll have
> to say, you guys don't really present a forceful argument to Windows
> users of how easy the switch may be.  I get knee-deep in FreeBSD jargon
> the second I get to your webpage. I need to see an overwhelming argument
> that FreeBSD is a perfectly acceptable alternative for home desktop
> users who have previously known only Windows.
>
> For instance, if I download and install FreeBSD, will I instantly have a
> desktop windowing environment that I can navigate in while I figure out
> what's going on?  Will I have a browser and way to setup an internet
> connection right off the bat?  How will I migrate files from other
> operating systems?
>
> I understand you guys have been around for a while, but you don't seem
> to understand the monumental "fear" involved in switching operating
> systems.  You need to address those concerns head on from the start.  I
> need to see several screenshots of apps that I can use as alternatives
> to what I have.
>
> Help me (and yourselves) out.

Why do you want to switch from Windows to FreeBSD? Much of open-source
software is about discovery. Many people here learned how to use
FreeBSD by simply spending many hours installing, breaking, fixing,
and reinstalling (when fixing fails :) their systems until they became
comfortable with the environment. It can be a very enjoyable process,
much more so than having a manual explain how everything works.

Even so, the FreeBSD handbook is, in my opinion, an excellent source
of information even for those who have little prior experience with a
unix-like OS. You should try reading it from the beginning to gain
some background information about FreeBSD and operating systems in
general. If something is unfamiliar to you, google it and see what you
come up with. Remember that open-source is based mostly around
volunteers who dedicate their time to create something and then give
it to you for free. It is expected that you put in some of your own
effort in learning how things work and why.

Going back to the original question, you should have a reason for
switching to FreeBSD. Don't do it just for the sake of switching. If
you want to learn something new, that's a good reason in itself, but
then you shouldn't be experiencing fear, as you put it. If you are not
sure, why not download VMWare Server and play around with FreeBSD in a
virtual machine? You still have your windows environment with a web
browser and anything else you need while you learn more about this new
to you OS.

As others suggested, there are versions of FreeBSD that were made from
ground up to be used on the desktop. Play around with those if you
like, however, I can tell you from my personal experience that it is
best to learn an OS like FreeBSD from ground up. Start with a simple
terminal and simply follow the directions in the handbook for
installing a desktop of your choice. It'll be a much more satisfying
experience in the end, even if you run into a few problems while
getting there.

- Max



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