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DragonFly users List (threaded) for 2004-12
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Re: GoBSD.com

From: Weapon of Mass Deduction <blacklist@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sun, 12 Dec 2004 01:07:26 +0100

Jonas Sundström wrote:
Weapon of Mass Deduction <blacklist@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

Still, in practise, the current situation might be a good idea. The DragonFly-project is an organisation by and for people.
Users, technicians, etc. It might be somewhat better for all parties involved to have a clear distinction between these certain parties.


Suppose some kernel-developers have a bit of an
argument with some userland-developers. If all these
people/parties are involved in the same kludgy organisation, small differences in opinion can cause frustration.

Where there are people, there's frustration. All projects have it, no matter what. It's more likely signal-to-noise issues that turn the skilled developers away from end-user dominated forums. Which is understandable. At the same time I think it would be bad to separate kernel/system/app developers from each other or from end users. We're all dependant on each other.

In the end it's all about people and communcation. Bad organization can be worked around. Users have to make an effort to "read up" before they go bug developers in a shared communcations channel. (Mailinglist/IRC channel FAQs are good. They help make the informal "house rules" visible so as to ease the friction...) Likewise, developers have to make an effort on their end. Most consumers are not used to having to respect the source of the solution, which may be a problem for some developers. (Our unpaid open-source heroes.)

Yes, but consider the metaphysical side of the coin...
Okay, I would find it nonsense myself really, but many people are affected by this.
Some people who post to these newsgroups/mailing-lists are said to
be too busy carping at FreeBSD...
So, with some bad experience in the past, people become frustrated.
This would result in many disliking the whole DragonFly-BSD-OS just
because a small disagreement about some high-level issue.

Well, you will ask now what better situation this separation of concerns would realize then...

I think people will be more satisfied knowing that GoBSD (or a generic organisation like that) is putting their complaints/experiences on the
agenda. If they would complain themselves, it possibly has far less chance of turning out as intended (because of failure of the end-user in question to make the developers understand what he/she means, etc.). Again I want to point out that it would alleviate the developers and other (core) project members, so they can focus on their primary tasks.

But with the current concept, the GoBSD-organisation
can clearly express its own point of view.

I think it would be bad to [completely] delegate such an important thing as listening to the users and external developers. Having said that I do think GoBSD can serve a good purpose as an end-user communications channel.


I do not mean it should be completely delegated, see:

"Not that it think we should limit contribution of this kind to
this, but why not let it be the standard procedure?
DragonFly-base will still be improved accordingly, just like
you would like to see.".

So I agree with you, actually. :P

To put it simply, in technician-language: this will prevent forks.

I think the risk of forking has more to do with the people involved and efforts made to keep communications channels open, and less to do with how workload is split across groups of people. (well, I could be all wrong. ´:)

Hehe, in fact distribution of workload is not the main achievement. This communication you are writing about, is exactly what is involved in the frustation-argument I have written. :)

It's interesting though. IIRC, someone wondered if GoBSD was a fork, and you say it'll prevent a fork. :))

Well, if one does not understand things right, striking correlation with other messages is purely by chance. ;)

Also, consider the following. Is it not a good idea to let GoBSD
contribute those tools, frontends, etc.?

Yeah, sure. Any development is good. While I'd rather replace a bad back-end than patch it with nicer front-end, it is a temporary measure, and could be seen as constructive criticism. Sometimes however it really is best to not add a front-end, since that merely consolidates the flawed back-end, making it harder to replace later on.

I'm writing of frontends that stand on their own, just like any other
port/programme. So this also doesn't exclude improvements on the 'back-end'. But you were the one that mentioned it first, remember. :P

Including independents
who contribute through the GoBSD-channel, of course.
Not that it think we should limit contribution of this kind to
this, but why not let it be the standard procedure?

Limiting users and unproven developers to contributing only through GoBSD?.. I wouldn't want that. Plus, we hardly know what GoBSD will become yet.

As I wrote, I certainly also wouldn't want that. But if GoBSD will remain a (free) project, I do not have any objection if it would be decided that high-level contributions are handled by GoBSD standardly.

You are totally right about the X-configuration. But harddisk partitioning is also needed for Windows installs... And simple users
shoulnd't perform installs on their own. Mind: *simple* users.

Simple users should only use one OS, for simplicity, so they'd only need one partition option: "Use all disk".. Or just a big button that says "Install".

Windows only has this option for (the highly-technical) unattended installs. But I remind FreeBSD (5) also has an option "Automatically
partition the [selected] disk.". So, though I never executed the installer of DragonFly-BSD, I expect it is avaible in that too.

And I don't think Linux is really that user-friendly...

Me neither, but they do have more friendly installers and partitioning tools, and you're often booted all the way to a proper X login. (which is the entry-level expectation of most people)

The X-installation should indeed be better as I already acknowledged. But though the installer might not look very modern, it is not more difficult to understand, right? Except maybe the keyboard-navigation.
But that can be handled by the ncurses-developers (isn't that the
tool used to visualise the installation?).

Why? Manpages and commands are still very technical.

While they are an excellent source of much systemlevel information, the system should be built so as to let most people avoid having to read a man page, ever. IMO.

Indeed. Take for example, the question how one can exit a man-screen. 'ESC'? 'CTRL'-'C'? 'CTRL'-'X'? 'ALT'-'X'? None of those key-combinations work. It can be exited by pressing 'q'...

How is a new user supposed find this out???
It would require him/her to read the manpage presented by executing "man man" first...

That's just extremely elaborate and unnecessary.

GoBSD could be the first line of defense, to allow the core devs peace of mind. It might also grow into a real commercial distro maker offering the support most ordinary people expect and need. This is no easy task though.

Well, your first line presents the current concept actually. The last
two lines are susceptible to fierce resistance... And I don't think
it is the right time to discuss that extensively. :D
But let it be clear I'm also no supporter of that. If it is even possible with the current licensing scheme.

Sure it is possible. Anyone can fork the code any day, or simply repackage it á la MacOS X, with some closed source solutions hooked into it. They could charge as much as they like too, unlike with GPLd stuff, where you can only charge for distribution costs + your "value added" stuff.

Anyway, if GoBSD can pull off a positive DragonFly distro, which is not a fork but more of a polish job, sure, why not.

"Real people" would expect a whole lot more (in terms of support and polish) from BSD than what I think (or speculate) the current BSD projects are willing to commit to. If a commercial distro can provide that, it might work.

Yes, but the pain will be that GoBSD seems then to be arrived like a
vulture to 'exploit' this project. Because the issues it adresses could very well be adressed by the DragonFly-BSD-project itself, like you wrote.

Linux distro makers have started caring for real people and their usability efforts are snowballing. Can it happen with BSD? I hope so.

How are they doing? By committing incompatible patches and introducing
custom tools and systems. So my point of view is that we should make
things more clear and logical(!), instead of (only) simpler.

Yes, this is why I hope DragonFly itself could be the one and only distro, but there will be organizational "growing pains".

Anyhow, I hope not all of this is bikeshed material. :]

/Jonas Sundström. www.kirilla.com

LOL, bikeshed material, that's some Swedish saying right? :D I can't translate it, and it happens to be non-dutch also. :P

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