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>FreeBSD used to be on par with linux in that arena, it isn't now.
FreeBSD primary use was never a desktop system, but it fits of course for many people in this area. Look at some desktops in Linux, people who are actually working with it - they don't use instable features for real productivity. A friend of mine is using Maya at the Linux desktop at home and university, he wouldn't even think of using a 3D desktop ...
FreeBSD primary use was never a desktop system, but it fits of course for many people in this area.
My point simply is that the number of people for whom FreeBSD fits as a desktop system is going to decrease. Whether or not the FreeBSD project cares to remedy that problem is simply up to them.
"My point simply is that the number of people for whom FreeBSD fits as a desktop system is going to decrease."
To simplify, I just divide "people for whom FreeBSD fits as a desktop system" into two parts: The ones who need eye candy (this includes 3D desktop as well, allthough I don't consider it as completely useless), and the ones who don't. For the first part, Linux surely is the better choice. KDE, Gnome, Compiz, Beryl et al. are designed for Linux primarily, they work fine here, along with the drivers for ATI or nVidia. Modern Linux distributions don't force anyone to get the hands dirty editing configuration files. The other part will be fine with PC-BSD and DesktopBSD. The better educated ones will use FreeBSD on the desktop as they did for years, setting up their system with the non-mainstream software that is the best solution for their individual needs. I may include myself here: I use FreeBSD at home (along with IRIX) and at work (along with Solaris) as a desktop OS. Even my boss does, and he can be considered quite computer illiterate. :-)
Finally, I think your statemend (or assumption) is correct. More and more people concentrate on eye candy, and this is not FreeBSD's main playing field.
It's this ill-fated term "desktop" a buzzword from Microsoft and Apple. I do have my "desktop" at FreeBSD and sometimes, if I have to cope with Debian, I have the same desktop too. So in the end it depends on the user.
I could easily say, most of the people nowadays is lost in eye-candy. But people who do need an easier entry level can go with DesktopBSD and PC-BSD - no distros, but an easier entry to FreeBSD. So what? We don't need a 2nd Ubuntu because people are too lazy to learn something.
Call it Zen or KISS, it's almost the same. You get a prof. base, with lot of options and you can build up your own environment. No interface-nazis according to Linus, no LSB mumbo jumbo in Linux, no half-cocked drivers just because of some media buzzwords and so on.