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Date:      Mon, 9 Apr 2001 22:48:04 -0600
From:      Duke Normandin <>
To:        Richard B Mahoney <>
Cc:        FreeBSD-Questions <>
Subject:   Re: BSDi Acquired by Embedded Computing Firm Wind River
Message-ID:  <>
In-Reply-To: <>; from "Richard B Mahoney" on Tue, Apr 10, 2001 at 02:30:43PM
References:  <"from 01031149"> <>

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On Tue, Apr 10, 2001 at 02:30:43PM +1200, Richard B Mahoney wrote:
> Dear Duke et al.,
> On Mon, Apr 09, 2001 at 04:35:46PM -0600, Duke Normandin wrote:
> [huge snip]
> > If FreeBSD exists to perform primarily* as a server platform - period --
> > *then it should be marketed as such. Why? Because *all* peripheral
> > support is, by-and-large, developed for, tested on and limited to
> > server-grade quality stuff. It should then be plainly emphasized that
> > FreeBSD is *NOT* an appropriate OS for deployment on run-of-the-mill,
> > Microsoft-grade hardware. In the spirit of professional good-will, A
> > referal to some of the Linux sites could then be given.
> > 
> > As well, it should be again plainly emphasized that FreeBSD is *NOT* an
> > appropriate OS for most folks wanting to migrate from a Windows/Mac
> > platform, as the level of computer literacy and competence required to
> > successfully install the OS, hardware peripherals, software, etc, far
> > exceeds that of the average Joe. Like you say above, the potential
> > FreeBSD user could then be advised to stay with Windows or be directed to
> > Linux. Fair enough -- I'd say!
> [little snip]
> In an attempt to keep things in perspective, I would like to
> mention how satisfied I am with FreeBSD as a workstation.

Good to hear! I never doubted that it was capable of excelling as a
desktop platform.
> My much loved beast is used primarily as a workstation and
> occasionally I connect to it via ftp or telnet. In the true sense
> of the word, it was never worthy of the name server. Its a six
> year old Digital Venturis 5133 with only 40 Mgs of
> RAM. Regardless of its inadequacies, it runs 4.2 Stable with
> greater speed and stability than anything else on offer. For me,
> Linux, although an option, is not a necessity.

I have 3.3R on a no-name 486DX2-66 with 20M RAM - no X Windows. I have a
3Com 509 NIC in it that connects to a win95 box. I love fooling around
with it and learning Unix. It's never crashed, hiccuped or burped - even
on the garbage-grade hardwarethat I have.
> I migrated to BSD straight from Win95. This move, although it had
> its moments, was relatively painless. Yes it took a while to
> configure the desktop. But for all that, the desktop could be
> configured. And desktop configuration under BSD seems no more or
> less arduous than under Sun.

My experience was similar, except that the only Sun I've seen is the one
that fries my bald head when I sometimes loose my hat chasing cattle. ;)
> This similarity with Sun -- although it may be superficial -- is
> for me a great advantage. It enables me to telnet to one of the
> Sun boxes at varsity and to use VNC to run a remote desktop which
> is identical to that of the machine from which I am dialing. All
> this works seamlessly and for that I am very grateful. It never
> ceases to surprise me that it is possible to have such
> functionality running such ancient and inexpensive hardware.

This is exactly what I've been trying to illicit from this discussion. I
was informed that by and large FreeBSD's philosophy regarding peripheral
hardware support was/is to target only higher end devices. That surprised
me, and was wondering why such a philosophy. I received adequate
explanation, although I may not agree.

> In short, it would seem to me that it is simply untrue to attempt
> to label FreeBSD inappropriate for the average desktop. With a
> modicum of common sense in the selection of hardware it should be
> possible to put together a fully functional workstation with
> relatively little outlay. And as to getting up to speed with the
> OS, well what's wrong with a little effort?

I agree! I don't think that I characterized FreeBSD as inappropriate for
use as an average desktop platform. On the contrary, this is *exactly*
what I would like to see! I simply could not understand why an OS that is
so capable as a server, could not equally shine as a desktop platform. As
I said above, I've been informed that FreeBSD *can* excel given above
average quality hardware. I was also informed that Linux supports a wider
range of hardware - including out-right garbage. This perhaps explains,
to some extent, why Linux has been relatively successful in attracting
the Windows crowd with their "garbage hardware".

I don't understand your comment, "And as to getting up to speed with the
OS, well what's wrong with a little effort?" . I put quite a bit of
effort in setting up 3.3R; and asked a lot of dumb questions to this very
forum. I'm all for effort -- but like I said, I miss your point.

Calgary, Alberta, Canada

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