On 04/01/14 07:46, Eitan Adler wrote:
Hi all,

Some of you may have seen my posts entitled "Story of a Laptop User"
and "Story of a Desktop User".  For those of you who did not, it can
be a worthwhile read to see what life is like when using FreeBSD as a
desktop.  In short, it is an educational experience.  While FreeBSD
can be coerced to do the right thing, it is rarely there by default
and often doesn't work as well as we would expect.

Can this be translated that "the green is always better on the other side" ?

The following are issues I haven't brought up in the past:

Battery life sucks:  it’s almost as if powerd wasn't running.  Windows
can run for five hours on my laptop while FreeBSD can barely make it
two hours.  I wonder what the key differences are?  Likely it’s that
we focus so much on performance that no one considers power.  ChromeOS
can run for 12 hours on some hardware;  why can't we make FreeBSD run
for 16?

Sound configuration lacks key documentation:  how can I automatically
change between headphones and external speakers?   You can't even do
that in middle of a song at all!  Trust me that you never want to be
staring at an HDA pin configuration.  I'll bet you couldn't even get
sound streaming to other machines working if you tried.

I agree that there are usability issues with the sound framework in FreeBSD. I've seen this myself, for example trying to get sound using firefox, you now need pulseaudio and it must be configured correctly.

I'm pretty sure there are people around in the FreeBSD project that are quite capable and could easily fix these issues, given some coordination and funding. Probably you should ask the FreeBSD foundation to fund a developer for a year or two to work on the desktop issues.

Desktop is complicated. You need to understand that many device frameworks are designed entirely for other platforms, and I think that the current approach to compile Linux oriented code like "HAL" under FreeBSD is not always the right approach. We need to make our own "HAL" that is compatible with the "Linux" Applications, that need to know where the scanner or webcam is attached.

Speaking about sound again, I think we need a tiny library and daemon that sits between /dev/dspX.X and the applications, that pulls together the most common audio libraries, like portaudio, pulseaudio and the KDE one, into a single and brand new solution. I did propose something at EuroBSDcon last year, that we can use character device emulation in user-space, cuse4bsd, to achieve this.

That is why on this date I propose that we cease competing on the
desktop market.  FreeBSD should declare 2014 to be "year of the Linux
desktop" and start to rip out the pieces of the OS not needed for
server or embedded use.

Did FreeBSD ever compete on the Desktop market? While touching this topic, I must say that I'm very grateful to all you port-guys that keep stuff compiling and working on the Desktop front. I've asked myself a few times during the last couple of years, who are the people really making my FreeBSD Desktop work? Did they receive enough thanks or funds for their work?

Some of you may point to PCBSD and say that we have a chance, but I
must ask you: how does one flavor stand up to the thousands in the
Linux world?

Because something does not work in FreeBSD it can prove an excellent opportunity for someone to fix it! Don't underestimate that!


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