Andrew Gould wrote:
> On Wed, Aug 19, 2009 at 12:54 AM, Sabeeh Baig<sba...@jhu.edu> wrote:
>> So, I've been wondering about something.  FreeBSD is a general purpose
>> operating system, even though it has historically only heavily been used on
>> servers.  Why is it that FreeBSD doesn't provide a desktop installation,
>> something similar to say Debian's option of "Standard Desktop"?  For those
>> who need it, it'd be great.
>>
>> --
>>
>> Sabeeh Ahmed Baig
> 
> I am of the opinion that specializing in everything is the same thing
> as specializing in nothing.  (Said another way:  If everything is a
> priority, nothing is.)  Every operating system has its strengths and
> weaknesses.  The more an operating system becomes
> all-things-to-all-users, the more it tends to lose its comparative
> edge in any one area.
> 
> All of that being said,  PC-BSD is a desktop solution on FreeBSD.  You
> can download it for free or purchase it with support:
> http://www.pcbsd.org/

That's true, but the FreeBSD "thing" is performance[*] which, curiously enough
is at the core of a good desktop system as well as the core of a good server
system.  In fact, the missing parts required to make a good desktop out of
FreeBSD are more to do with graphics hardware support -- much of which comes
out of the Xorg project now -- and support for various proprietary data formats 
and software packages like flash, and, of course, a really well written user 
interface.

Or to put it another way, you can build a good desktop system based on a good
server OS, but it's pretty hard to build a good desktop system based on a bad
server OS.

        Cheers,

        Matthew

[*] and for completeness, the NetBSD "thing" is portability, and the OpenBSD 
"thing" is security.  Not that the big three *BSDs are entirely lacking in any
of those departments.

-- 
Dr Matthew J Seaman MA, D.Phil.                       Flat 3
                                                      7 Priory Courtyard
PGP: http://www.infracaninophile.co.uk/pgpkey         Ramsgate
                                                      Kent, CT11 9PW, UK

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