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DragonFly kernel List (threaded) for 2004-02
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Re: Daemon's Advocate article

From: James Frazer <jfrazer@xxxxxxxx>
Date: Sun, 29 Feb 2004 20:52:34 -0600

I tried to get my family to use FreeBSD & KDE once before, but it wasn't terribly successful (from my perspective). I even set up all the software, printing, etc.

It was definately useable as a desktop system, but required too much messing around to get it set up. I ran in to a lot of headaches -- just to summarize:
1. Too many strange choices & configurations
2. Needing to compile java to install Open Office (there was a lot of hoop jumping for this)
3. Setting up printing wasn't so fun.

As crappy as windows is -- somehow they've managed to make these 'simple' things only 1/8th as complicated as it is on the BSDs (although definately not perfect).

I think if BSD is ever to be accepted by your average joe it would need to be backed specifically for this purpose -- either commercially or by the developers. And I find developers don't really care how un-userfriendly their designs are.

Emphasis would have to be placed on

1. standard installer & package management
2. standard configuration & uniform config system
3. a bias towards ONE main (official) configuration (ie: no choice between kde, gnome, or whatever).

One thing that one would like to count on is some sort of consistent and sane system that the user could expect. I find there are too many changes in a lot of open source software which scares away average users. They don't want to make choices about which window manager to use, or how they have to change to a new audio player because the old one suddenly became under-developped. These are things that people on windows don't have to deal with. Basic choices are already made for them.

Windows for the most part has stayed pretty consistent looking through the years -- the apps have been reasonably consistent -- and the parts of windows that are flakey -- are consistently flakey. Every crappy version of windows can be expected to have a certain level of crappy apps/services available to it -- like look at MS Paint -- it sucks -- but it's still around, even in XP.

Software evolution in the OpenSource world would look like this on a crappy ascii chart (if it displays right):

|        /
|       /
|      /
|     /
|    /
|  /

In commercial software it looks more like this:

|                      /
|            ---------/
|           /
|     	   /
|  --------
| /

So as you can see commercial software has plateaus where the user is allowed to become comfortable with the software. And when stuff does change they can decide whether they want to deal with it or not.

OpenSource on the other hand seems to have a multitude of small pieces all developping in parallel -- and this leads to a sort of chaotic evolution that requires the user to _always_ be changing and relearning parts of the system. Joe average user does not want to do this.

And that's my rant on that,


Justin C. Sherrill wrote:
Jonathon McKitrick <jcm@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote in

Hey all,

the advocacy article at DNews had an interesting point: that the BSDs
could end up being used only by developers, and not 'average' or
should I say, typical users.

"could end up"? This implies that that BSD gets use by average users,
as a desktop. Linux doesn't even really have that.

Of course, I'm being troublesome rather than helpful; the article has a
good point. http://ezine.daemonnews.org/200402/dadvocate.html if I'm
not mistaken, though I found the NFS and VPN article more directly

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