> The people complaining about hardware compatibility need
> to pull their heads out.  If they are buying brand new systems
> they are utter fools if they don't check out in advance
> what works and what doesen't.  It's not like there's a
> shortage of experienced people on this list who could
> tell them what to buy.  And if after the fact they find out
> their shiny new PC won't run FreeBSD - then they take it
> back to the retailer and exchange it for a different model.
> Why is this so difficult?

The difficulty is not in checking out hardware before hand, the problem is 
FINDING hardware that satisfies your requirements. Just because I know that 
NIC so-and-so is recommended, it does not mean that I can find a complete 
server that:

* Is within the budget.
* Whose NIC is recommended for use in FreeBSD.
* Whose disk/raid controller is recommended for use in FreeBSD
  - Including proper handling of write caching, cache flushing, etc
* Is being sold in a fashion that is acceptable with respect to hardware 
support / replacement parts.
* Otherwise is known to work with well FreeBSD.

If you are a large company buying 200 servers I'm sure it's not a problem to 
get sample servers to try things on, or go for more expensive options just 
because of perceived FreeBSD compatibility. 

If you're a poor sod trying to get *one* machine for personal or small-company 
use and you want something that works and is stable, especially if you want 
it rack mountable, it is NOT necessarily trivial. Part of it is the problem 
of finding a solution that meets the requirements, and parts of it is about 
figuring out whether a particular solution DOES meet the requirements.

For example, once your cheaper Dell server has arrived and you suddenly notice 
that it's delivered without a BBU, and clearly has write caching turned on 
based on performance, try asking (remember, this is a lonely customer with a 
single service) Dell hardware support whether that particular controller will 
honor cache flush requests right down to the constituent drives... I did, and 
eventually got a response after 1-2 weeks. But the response was such that I 
could not feel confident that the question was accurately forwarded to the 
right individual.

/ Peter Schuller

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