[opensource] Idea for event: hacking on the Oval

Nick Hurley hurley at todesschaf.org
Sun Jun 11 13:18:42 EDT 2006

On 11 Jun 2006, at 10:43, Steven James Samuel Stapleton wrote:
> OK, I'm going to talk to the people on FreeBSD devel about a couple  
> of things to see if there's an easier install planned. I've found a  
> couple of things from using both FreeBSD and Linux;
> (1) [Linux wins] Linux is much easier to install, the installer is  
> more friendly and smart BSDs installer is, to be blunt, mentally  
> handicapped, non-intuitive, and fault intolerant.

Fully agreed

> (2) [FreeBSD wins] FreeBSD is much easier to keep running, and fix  
> when there are problems. It innundates you with easier to get  
> documentation, and useful error messages with suggestions on fixing  
> problems that are much more useful to a novice/neophyte than Linux.  
> Additionally, anything in ports tends to be easier to install  
> reliably (without editing code), than any .rpm, .deb or compress- 
> compile situation than I've found in Linux. I've not used Gentoo  
> and it's variant of Ports, so that might be an exception.

Frankly, I think you're on crack. Installing from ports is no easier  
than using apt-get, and, with the graphical frontends to both apt and  
yum (RedHat's slightly crappier apt work-alike), apt and yum are, in  
fact, probably easier for the neophyte to use. I've used the BSDs AND  
linux on production systems, and I've had more problems using the  
ports system than I ever have using apt (or even yum, which though I  
prefer apt, is almost just as good).

> (3) [Linux wins] For easy Sindows application compatability in a  
> *nix system, Crossover office is pretty big, especialy for standard  
> users. Currently crossover office does not install on FreeBSD  
> (though I'm planing on getting that to change... *evil grin*)

Also agreed, though most desktop users should be able to get along  
with entirely open source software systems (OpenOffice.org,  
Evolution, etc), so that shouldn't matter quite as much.

> As an example; after 3+ years of running Linux on various systems,  
> I've still had to do the "Windows Administrator" reinstall-the-os  
> fix for many problems. In 3 or so months with BSD, I've gotten many  
> similar errors in doing crazy and stupid things to my system to  
> test it, and have fun, and the only time I had to reinstall is when  
> I accidentally upgraded to the 7.0 beta version of the OS, instead  
> of simply recompiling 6.0 to work more efficiently on my system.  
> This is because of the error messages and documentation. In fact,  
> oddly enough, I've learned more about administrating Linux properly  
> in the FreeBSD culture and documentation, than I have in the Linux  
> culture and "documentation".

I've been using both linux and the BSDs for about a decade, and the  
only time I've ever had to reinstall EITHER is in the event of a disk  
failure, or if I feel like trying out a new distro. (And the very  
first time I installed linux, when installers sucked and I didn't  
have a clue what I was doing. But even then, it was only because I  
was having problems getting my bleeding-edge video and sound cards to  
work, and I got them working on the third try.)

> OK, after that long winded demonstration of my thoughts, my main  
> point is, that, for the perspective of a "normal" user, and not a  
> tech-savant, we might be better off promoting both FreeBSD and  
> Linux, to give them more options, in case one or the other scares  
> them off. I'm not tryingt to start a flame war here, although this  
> is unfortunately a religeous topic, I'm just saying that both have  
> a lot of pros and a lot of cons, and we should take into acount  
> that other people desires and needs do not necessarily reflect or  
> match are own, and therefore more options should be accounted for.

Frankly, if you're going to hand out a BSD and a Linux, I'd suggest  
going for something like PCBSD. I don't have any experience with it,  
but it's supposed to be better for desktop users than vanilla  
FreeBSD. Basically, it's the same argument about Ubuntu vs. vanilla  

    "Dad buried in landslide! Jubilant throngs fill streets! Stunned  
inconsolable - demands recount!"          -- Calvin

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