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Date:      Sat, 20 Aug 2011 08:18:16 -0500
From:      Jorge Biquez <jbiquez@intranet.com.mx>
To:        "'freebsd-questions@freebsd.org'" <freebsd-questions@freebsd.org>
Subject:   Re: A quality operating system
Message-ID:  <3396691193-1338588389@intranet.com.mx>

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Hello.

Very interesting... let's see the answers from the experts....

By the way.... maybe answer me off topic... so then.... what was your 
choice of OS?

Jorge Biquez

At 11:47 p.m. 19/08/2011, you wrote:
>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 security.
>
>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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