I am working on a project that applies open-source philosophy to
hardware design and courseware aimed at the secondary school and
college level. The centerpiece of the project is a self-made portable
computer similar to the newly reborn Windows tablet PC. There are
still many design details to be worked out -- thin client vs. full
featured, independent workstation, for example -- but one of the most
fundamental issues is the choice of operation system.

I have been using FreeBSD at work since version 2.something and am
completely satisfied with it as a server. Setting up X and a clean
user experience was a lot of work. I kept hearing about Linux and how
much more it was like Windows, so I bought a box of Mandrake 6.5
and gave it a try. I was very impressed with how smooth the
installation went and the resulting workspace -- not just for myself,
mind you, but for a hypothetical newbie. I have continued to use
Mandrake, and have 8.1 running on my little Sony SR7K notebook with an
802.11b home LAN. (But that was NOT a newbie level task, I can assure

My biggest complaint is poor battery life; about an hour. Even less if
I use Xemacs!

I continue to have doubts about using FreeBSD for my reference
design. To me it seems like using a cargo ship to go fishing. Okay,
how about holding school in a sports stadium? Using a deer rifle to
kill a mouse? A fire hose to fill a water glass?

On the other hand, FreeBSD as a complete OS -- kernel plus ports --
comes the closest to my ideal. The technology is cutting edge, we
don't get too tangled up in different versions and feature sets, and
there is this wonderful community. Most Linux distros have their own
community of supporters, too, but so often they become, well, so

I would enjoy hearing your opinions on how well FreeBSD supports these

o Long battery life (e.g. automatic CPU speed throttle)

o Multi-level power management
    - Full speed
    - Reduced speed
    - Suspend
    - Hibernation

o 802.11b networking
    - Automatic configuration in a many-access point setting
    - Seamless transition to wired or dial-up connections

o Digitizer input
    (I have John Joganic's Linux Wacom tablet driver working on my

o Handwriting recognition
    (Not really there even in Linux)

Finally, a shameless plug: I am looking for help, so if this sounds
like something you'd like to participate in please drop me a line and
visit my mailing list sign-up page.

Thanks, everyone! (In Hawaiian: Mahalo Nui!)


           _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/
          _/                                     _/
         _/  Gary Dunn                          _/
        _/  Open Slate Project                 _/
       _/  http://openslate.sourceforge.net/  _/
      _/  http://www.aloha.com/~knowtree/    _/
     _/  Honolulu                           _/
    _/  registered Linux user #273809      _/
   _/                                     _/
  _/  This tagline is umop apisdn.       _/
 _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/

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