Wojciech Puchar wrote:
use as a desktop system.  Contrary to that impression, I'm sending this


what is "desktop system" and "server system"?

AFAIK it just depends of software installed, and it can be both..
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FreeBSD as a desktop compared to other OS's? I think there are technical, community and attitude differences which prevent FreeBSD from competing as a desktop. For some time I ran a small suite of FreeBSD desktops for general passing users (community center for alternative type people) and sometimes it was quite difficult to defend FreeBSD against requests for Linux.

Some desktop functionality that is available for other OS's is simply not available to FreeBSD. Recent Debian, Windows and Mac all do hotplug USB for instance. The key point is that if you unplug without unmounting you don't get system crashes. I've read some of the threads that say it's not at all easy to write it into FreeBSD but it is an important difference and it shows up some community and attitude differences.

Imagine if computers were cars. FreeBSD would be a super reliable car or maybe truck that gets built and maintained and used by people who like to spend most of their time hanging out in the workshop. You have to lift the bonnet and press a button to get it going but they see that as trivial. But the person who has to get the kids down to the supermarket and get the shopping done before hubby comes home for tea is really not going to understand that there is any comparison with the system where a key is within easy reach of the drivers seat.

Nobody in the FreeBSD workshop can see the point of doing a quite intricate rewiring task because the truck works so fantastically well in other respects.

Support for USB devices seems better in Linux too. The number of times people would come in and say why don't you use Linux and I would say FreeBSD is better and they would say well plug this USB ethernet adapter in and see if it works then, and it wouldn't.

If you want to do video editing on FreeBSD you can't use the main free software application, Cinelerra. It's not ported to FreeBSD and from what I've read it won't be - something to do with ALSA drivers I believe. Also multimedia functionality generally is far more developed on Mac and windows. I would be really interested to know how the FreeBSD kernel compares to the Linux realtime kernel. Are there any recent benchmarks? Something like Kris Kennaway's fantastic mySQL benchmarks presentation?

I'm sure none of these things are impossible, simply I get the impression they are not very interesting to the people who decide the direction of FreeBSD.

There are other differences which I think come down to the overall size of the development community. I'm sure FreeBSD has all the components to allow a nice icon and directory window appear automagically on the desktop when you plug your removeable drive or camera in. I guess there must be some sort of similarity between the number of people doing Debian development and the number of people doing FreeBSD development. The difference with Linux is that there are hundreds of other dev communities taking Debian or whatever as a starting point and configuring it for different out-of-the-box use. Hence ubuntu and all the others. There are comparatively very few desktop development projects that take FreeBSD as a starting point. Hence rolling your own X and desktop setup in FreeBSD let alone automounter and a hundred other things.

This is not meant to be an anti-FreeBSD rant, I love FreeBSD, it has some sort of quality and ease of use which I find hard to define, which is different to the 'ease of use' of windows or ubuntu (see I can't even give them capital letters) and which I wouldn't swap for anything. But I do think there is also some refusal or maybe just lack of resource

to engage with a completely different view of what computers are for that the vast majority of the computer population has, an attitude exemplified by the comment that started me off on this rant.

Chris
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