Chuck McManis wrote:To put it in perspective, the best way to start USING FreeBSD as opposed to acquiring it to develop with, is probably to by an Apple machine with OS-X installed. All the integration is handled for you. It pains me that there isn't an organization of Apple's caliber providing a complete FreeBSD workstation product that I could load on any machine with a simple install.
Apple has some advantages when writing an OS to run on their own hardware; FreeBSD needs to deal with a much wider variation of hardware than Apple does in terms of both quality and complexity.
Well until 5.x the FreeBSD problem was no more difficult than the one Microsoft dealt with :-) I agree that if you limit supported configs it makes install easier.
I use both MacOS X and FreeBSD on a daily basis; they aren't the same OS nor do they make although knowledge of one is often useful on the other. OS X auto-defaults to installing everything into a single HFS+ partition, which is ideal only in the sense that such an installation avoids having the user make a decision about drive partitioning.
That is a good example of a "user centric choice." Most application users (non-developers) derive little benefit from having multiple file systems.
That being said, my point is not to disagree with you so much as to say that if you think the FreeBSD install should behave differently, you've got the sources: make a few changes to streamline the process and see whether other people like them.
And my point was that the primary population of people who would have an opinion would be developers who violently disagree that there should be an "easy" or "dumbed down" install process. Did I mention that I also was the manager (acting) for the group that owned "Sun Install" at Sun 15 years ago ? (God that makes me feel old :-) The current install program has many external similarities to that one. I've heard all of the arguments, no one at Sun would tolerate an "EZ" installer and I doubt hardly anyone here would as well. Part of the problem is that interaction between installation and the need to have the developers provide hooks for it. The package system is quite good and frankly I think passes muster for both newbie/app user/ and developer alike. The XFree86 configuration/install is pretty horrific if you don't know much about computers (asking for the chip used in the video card? please!)
My observation is that this is the sort of battle/change that cannot be manifested in an open source community. If you're familiar with the Cathedral and the Bazaar paper, its impossible to get everyone in the Bazaar to be quiet so that one person might speak to everyone at once. Conversely its impossible in the open source model to have one requirement impart requirements on everyone else. It just isn't in the nature of the community to accept such a constraint, and in parts of the community the hint of something like that generates huge antibodies.
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