Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 19th Jun 2007 18:35 UTC, submitted by troy.unrau
PC-BSD "PC-BSD is not a Linux distribution, but rather it could be considered among the first major FreeBSD-based distributions to live outside of the official FreeBSD. Like most distributions, it has implemented certain features in a way that attempts to distinguish it from the competition, and I will focus mostly on these differences. This test drive is intended to give an overview of what PC-BSD is and why one would consider using it."
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RE: More things to think about.
by Doc Pain on Thu 21st Jun 2007 18:42 UTC in reply to "More things to think about."
Doc Pain
Member since:
2006-10-08

"I just want to be healthy and If I sometime am ill, I just want to take a pill (an interface) instead of having to know the inner workings of the pill (opening the shell and tweaking something)"

Excuse me, your analogy is funny. Usually, we do car analogies here (because people like car analogies), but pill analogies are new to me.

Simply put: Computing isn't that easy in every cases. In computer science, we usually assume worst case. You can imagine why.

I may give you a car analogy that relatives your pill analogy:

I want to get from A to B, and I don't want to walk. I want to drive because my neightbor drives, too. I don't have a car. I expect my neightbor to give me his car for free. I do not own a driving license. I don't want to! Why? I'm tired of learning, learining how to handle the steering wheel, the brakes, the gear, the lights, learning which rules apply at a crossing, outside a city, on a highway - I just want to drive. I expect the car to know how to do this, it's its job. And if the car produces an accident it's not my fault, it's the car manufacurer's!

You may smile, but I think this analogy does describe the situation better than yours does.

But because you opened the medical sector, I may follow you. (NB: I do work in medicine, so I may continue smiling.) Taking pills never is an easy decision. If I smoke and drink alcohol, my body may say "thank you". I can take lots of pills in order to keep me alive for some time, but wouldn't it be better for me to change my habits? Start smoking less? Drinking less alcohol? And before I can take a pill, I need to know what disease I'm suffering from, this implies I need to do diagnostics first. First think, then do - a rule that's handy quite everywhere. Consider multifactorial diseases with participation of psychic components, too; what can you do there? Throw one simple pill that solves all problems? Sure, if it's potassic cyanide (KCn)... :-)

"In Spain they would call you computer-freakie."

In Germany, the term is similar: Computerfreak.

"Now think about windows:"

No, please! :-)

"Install a program: 3 or 4 clicks, in every computer, not need to know more."

Yes, but only if you're lucky. Know that "Windows" does not offer accaptable diagnostic tools if something is not that easy and does not work by itself. Reality may teach you.

"(In Debian: Apt-get inst..? What?!! Do I need to type to do something? or WORST, Do I have to learn something? Look for repositories???!! What is that?)"

In PC-BSD: Browse though the PBI directory, download the package, doubleclick the icon - done.

In FreeBSD: pkg_add -r xmms - done.

"Security: Let's buy an Antivirus, this cost is assumed to be taken by everybody in this world, why? because if not, you would get a virus, that can be annoying one day that I need my computer for something important. Yes, windows has viruses, but with an antivirus I can fix it."

No, you cannot tell for sure except you are educated enough to do network diagnostics (packet monitor etc.); in "Windows" you cannot tell what the machine is doing exactly. Furthermore, you cannot know about software's quality just from the shiny package it came in.

"Linux has fewer or almost no viruses ... ok, where's my Windows, I already know it."

People don't care about the danger they are to theirselves and to others that comes from their lack of knowledge and - mainly - interest. They don't care if their PC is infected, if it serves as a sharing point for child pornography or if it's sending spam along the Internet. More than 90% of the Internet's mail traffic - mind the percentage! - are spam today. Any idea why?

"Firewall: It comes with the antivirus, it takes care of it, or if not, I the worst case, I need to swith it on or off, not more. (Linux/Unix: policies? Ports open or closed? DMZs?"

PC-BSD's firewall is preconfigured well. OpenBSD comes with all ports closed by default. If I need to open a service, I need to know how I do it. Why? Because it's my responsibility, not anybody else's.

"Wifi: Already running, or plug the USB device. (No need to find the drivers four your distro)"

Same on BSD or Linux. The drivers are included, you don't need to install something.

"In 4 words: Windows is the standard, we need to make things as easy as in Windows, and I think the more you approach the interface, the location of things, the way of doing things of Windows the more you have an opportunity to be become MAINSTREAM, because I think that this is the game, isn't it?"

Just imagine how things change in "Windows" world: Location of settings, ways of doing things.

And please: If you use the term "standard", be sure to use it wisely. "Windows" is the most used PC OS today, that's a statistical value (i. e. modal value), but it's no standards. It even does not support the usual standards for GUIs, printing, storing files etc.

There are many Linux distros around that try to reproduce "Windows's" look and feel. But why abandon the advantages window managers and UIs give you in UNIX and Linux? You know: Choice is good. PC-BSD defaults to KDE, a mainstream desktop system, but you can anything else you want to use.

"If you want an average user changing OS you must achieve him/her having to read ZERO words, no manual, no instructions, a familiar interface."

Familiar interface? Which one? :-) People know "Windows" from their work. They want to have at home what they have at work. If the commercial use changes (maybe to a Linux + KDE combination), home users want to have this at home, even if they don't know what it is in fact.

"Because the interfaces are there for that, and if you give me a headache I will hate your OS and will go back to windows, where I feel confortable and safe, with my dear viruses (recommending my friends that Nod32, is cheap and good, better that yours, and by the way I prove that I know that little about computers)."

NB the difference: to feel save vs. to be safe. "Windows" makes the average user feel safe, that may be true, but reality shows you that this is just a paresthesia.

"Don't make me think, do make me think about the tool, becase the tool is there to help solve a problem, not to become the problem."

Know the problem, know the tool. See car analogy above. Add: Don't let my brain work, I don't want to get it dirty. :-)

"I just want to type this memo or report and go out and have beer."

Or have some beer first? Don't mind, I do understand your argumentation. PC-BSD and KDE, along with the preinstalled applications, just do this job. No need to install anything additional you first have to search for hours across the Internet, just type your memo.

But please note that the average home user's expectations are different. He does not write memos, he wants to download movies from the Internet and burn them onto DVDs - and some more stuff you surely know. Some problems are easy to solve, but some simply are not. Complex problems tend to need complex solutions. This is where PC-BSD offers you the opportunity to solve them instead of delegating them to someone else as it would be the case in "Windows". "My sound card does not work, come here and make it work!"

"...because what I like is to have a beer with my friends, ... while you recompile the kernel or set those parameters to make it 4% faster."

Too much beer is unhealthy, while 4% speed gain is not. :-) You've stopped talking about the work done with a computer, you're talking about what comes then. An interesting point of view. I hope the manufacturers of intensive care units do not follow this approach. "A routine to check the blood pressure? No, too complicated. Hey Bob, let's go drink some beer instead?"

...

Reply Parent Score: 2

Bjorg Member since:
2005-07-06

I may give you a car analogy that relatives your pill analogy:

I want to get from A to B, and I don't want to walk. I want to drive because my neightbor drives, too. I don't have a car. I expect my neightbor to give me his car for free. ...


No, my analogy is more like this: I know how to drive current cars, so it MAY BE cofusing having to learn a new way of driving. Yes, the pills one is funny, agreed.


"Install a program: 3 or 4 clicks, in every computer, not need to know more."

Yes, but only if you're lucky. Know that "Windows" does not offer accaptable diagnostic tools if something is not that easy and does not work by itself. Reality may teach you.

"(In Debian: Apt-get inst..? What?!! Do I need to type to do something? or WORST, Do I have to learn something? Look for repositories???!! What is that?)"

In PC-BSD: Browse though the PBI directory, download the package, doubleclick the icon - done.

In FreeBSD: pkg_add -r xmms - done.


That's way I say the PC-BSD approach is better for the common user .. .than the FreeBSD one.

No, you cannot tell for sure except you are educated enough to do network diagnostics (packet monitor etc.); in "Windows" you cannot tell what the machine is doing exactly. Furthermore, you cannot know about software's quality just from the shiny package it came in.


That's why I would like a better OS (Linux,BSD..) with the simplicity-in-mind approach of windows. Simplicity in mind because, as you also say, people don't care anyway. And I agree.

People don't care about the danger they are to theirselves and to others that comes from their lack of knowledge and - mainly - interest. They don't care if their PC is infected, if it serves as a sharing point for child pornography or if it's sending spam along the Internet. More than 90% of the Internet's mail traffic - mind the percentage! - are spam today. Any idea why?


Same as earlier, people don't care, so let's give it already done, but don't make them take the effort to learn somethign, because they don't care.


PC-BSD's firewall is preconfigured well. OpenBSD comes with all ports closed by default. If I need to open a service, I need to know how I do it. Why? Because it's my responsibility, not anybody else's.


That's why I consider both good OSs. Being PC-BSD ready for people who don't care.

"Wifi: Already running, or plug the USB device. (No need to find the drivers four your distro)"

Same on BSD or Linux. The drivers are included, you don't need to install something.


That's is only starting to happen now, and still needs polishing. But I wellcome the improvements, of course.


Just imagine how things change in "Windows" world: Location of settings, ways of doing things.


Yes, and I think that is happening with Vista, people will have to relearn something. That's one of the reasons Vista has got bad reviews, isn't it? But keep in mind I am not against innovation or the right to improve things. I just say the less you make think the people, the better.

And please: If you use the term "standard", be sure to use it wisely. "Windows" is the most used PC OS today, that's a statistical value (i. e. modal value), but it's no standards. It even does not support the usual standards for GUIs, printing, storing files etc.

There are many Linux distros around that try to reproduce "Windows's" look and feel. But why abandon the advantages window managers and UIs give you in UNIX and Linux? You know: Choice is good. PC-BSD defaults to KDE, a mainstream desktop system, but you can anything else you want to use.


I agree.

"If you want an average user changing OS you must achieve him/her having to read ZERO words, no manual, no instructions, a familiar interface."

Familiar interface? Which one? :-) People know "Windows" from their work. They want to have at home what they have at work. If the commercial use changes (maybe to a Linux + KDE combination), home users want to have this at home, even if they don't know what it is in fact.


The familiar interface is the most used interface, today is Windows. Not many people use an UNIX interface at work, statistically. Hopefully one day what you say will be more frecuent, good!!.

"Because the interfaces are there for that, and if you give me a headache I will hate your OS and will go back to windows, where I feel confortable and safe, with my dear viruses (recommending my friends that Nod32, is cheap and good, better that yours, and by the way I prove that I know that little about computers)."

NB the difference: to feel save vs. to be safe. "Windows" makes the average user feel safe, that may be true, but reality shows you that this is just a paresthesia.


Yes, FEEL safe, because as we know they (many, less and less each day, I want to believe) don't care, and don't want (have time) to care.

"Don't make me think, do make me think about the tool, becase the tool is there to help solve a problem, not to become the problem."

Know the problem, know the tool. See car analogy above. Add: Don't let my brain work, I don't want to get it dirty. :-)


That spirit you use is good. The spirit of improving each day, to learn something new each day, to be more productive.... now think in a lawyer, my other sister. Working hard each day about her work, trying to improve as a lawyer, updating the everyday changing laws, being competitive inside her workplace and of course at the judge. Tell her to learn how to use a new database of laws, that's ok. But don't tell her about learning Bash or how to set up a firewall. Understand what I mean. She is simply not interested in computers. She just likes that the computers allows her to work more productively, the computer is being a good tool. She doesn't enjoy the computer itself. (I enjoy computers, for me computers are also the goal, and inside my work, the tool too)

But please note that the average home user's expectations are different. He does not write memos, he wants to download movies from the Internet and burn them onto DVDs - and some more stuff you surely know. Some problems are easy to solve, but some simply are not. Complex problems tend to need complex solutions. This is where PC-BSD offers you the opportunity to solve them instead of delegating them to someone else as it would be the case in "Windows". "My sound card does not work, come here and make it work!"


I agree about the activities of the home user. The fact is that with windows (and Ubuntu) is not that difficult to burn a DVD, you don't have to open a terminal an "mount" any drive. So, again, we agree that the PC-BSD and Ubuntu style are better for the home user and the average user. The 90% of the users, so if we are talking about being mainstream, let's make things easy, and leave the command-shell for the hackers or lovers of computers, statistically, less people.


Too much beer is unhealthy, while 4% speed gain is not. :-) You've stopped talking about the work done with a computer, you're talking about what comes then. An interesting point of view. I hope the manufacturers of intensive care units do not follow this approach. "A routine to check the blood pressure? No, too complicated. Hey Bob, let's go drink some beer instead?"


lol, Did you know that a glass (only one a day) of beer or wine a day is better than not having beer or wine at all?

Edited 2007-06-21 19:57

Reply Parent Score: 1

Doc Pain Member since:
2006-10-08

"No, my analogy is more like this: I know how to drive current cars, so it MAY BE cofusing having to learn a new way of driving."

A new way could be: Driving a car with automated gear shifting (I don't exactly know the terminus technicus in English, sorry), or reacting to a guidance system working via GPS.

A phone analogy: In 1940, the number dial has been used. Then, in the 60s, buttons were used. Today, you can even say the name of the person you want to call.

Because technology develops, users of technology are required to develop, too, if they want to be able to use new technologies.

Please note that there are implications that people just assume, but they do not need to be true in every case. Some of them are:

It's expensive, so it must be better than the cheap one.
It's new, so it must be better than the old one.
It's shiny, so it must be good.
It has dancing elephants, so it must be modern.

The term "good" can be seen in any regards: user friendly, fast, performant, efficient etc.

"Yes, the pills one is funny, agreed."

In fact, it is. Another example to illustrate this: You got into an accident and had your legs ripped off. You feel pain. Your primary target: having no pain. So you get pumped full of valium and don't feel any pain, so that's fine, exactly what you wanted. You repeat this treatment because it "just works", meanwhile your legs get infected and yellow slime follows your steps. :-)

"That's way I say the PC-BSD approach is better for the common user .. .than the FreeBSD one."

I would not try to claim the opposite. The average user feels comfortable with the PBI system - it's great, really!

But it's not the solution everywhere, for example if you need a program that has no PBI available of if you need to tune, let's say mplayer, to have various features enabled or disabled (maybe due to legal reasons).

"That's why I would like a better OS (Linux,BSD..) with the simplicity-in-mind approach of windows. Simplicity in mind because, as you also say, people don't care anyway. And I agree."

So PC-BSD's approach is good: Hide away all the internals the home user basically is not interested in (firewalls, partitioning, device drivers etc.), so he cannot be confused. The goal here: If you insert a new hardware component, it is recognized, the driver is loaded, the hardware works. It just requires the hardware component to be compatible (i. e. standard compliant) or coming with the needed drivers - I'd prefer the first one; a reason why I'm using FreeBSD on a daily basis is the fact that I don't need any drivers I first had to search via google, the OS and the apps have the drivers (kernel drivers, gphoto2 etc.).

"That's why I consider both good OSs. Being PC-BSD ready for people who don't care."

I agree.

"That's is only starting to happen now, and still needs polishing. But I wellcome the improvements, of course."

It's developing, true. While WiFi et al. are getting more and more popular, the driver support will get better, too. Just wait and develop.

"Yes, and I think that is happening with Vista, people will have to relearn something. That's one of the reasons Vista has got bad reviews, isn't it? But keep in mind I am not against innovation or the right to improve things. I just say the less you make think the people, the better."

That's what happened from 1.0, 3.11, '95, ME, ... all through the versions. Things always change.

Your last sentence makes me feel sad. Let me repeat and emphasize:

"I just say the less you make think the people, the better."

Isn't it a bit boring? What if everyone thinks this way? Okay, we can make computers accessible for everyone. We did this with weapons, too. An armament analogy? No, not at the moment. But you see what I want to say? If we're making everything as dumb as possible, what kind of people are we going to create? With which expectations will they rise?

Think less - feel good.

Sounds like propaganda from a nazi-like future vision...

I don't think it's a bad idea to improve thinks, but dumbing everything down to make it as stupid as possible is a step backwards, in my opinion.

"The familiar interface is the most used interface, today is Windows. Not many people use an UNIX interface at work, statistically. Hopefully one day what you say will be more frecuent, good!!."

Yes, statistically. With a wisely chosen sample, statistics can prove everything you want. :-)

Do you know the following statement? The worst solution always prevails. It has some implications: The solution many people use is not the best one. The solution less people use is better than the one many use. (NB: Interpret "good" as described above.) I won't say these statements apply everywhere, but you always can find proofs for them to be true.

"Yes, FEEL safe, because as we know they (many, less and less each day, I want to believe) don't care, and don't want (have time) to care."

It's not a matter of time. It's a matter of will. And I think the development is the other way round: People tend to care less and less, assuming someone else to deal with the troubles they are creating (even if they know it's their fault), see http://www.rinkworks.com/stupid/cs_abuse.shtml#1 as an example. :-)

Like always in life, if you want to achieve a goal, you need to invest time, e. g. learn driving in order to drive a car, learn typing in order to type fast. It starts with elemental skills of your society: learning to speak, to read, to write, to count in order to get access to more complicated things.

"That spirit you use is good."

I don't believe in this principle because I like it. I do believe in it because it just works. It's a universal concept.

"The spirit of improving each day, to learn something new each day, to be more productive.... now think in a lawyer, my other sister. Working hard each day about her work, trying to improve as a lawyer, updating the everyday changing laws, being competitive inside her workplace and of course at the judge. Tell her to learn how to use a new database of laws, that's ok. But don't tell her about learning Bash or how to set up a firewall. Understand what I mean."

Yes, Sir. For these kind of users, special Linux distributions and PC-BSD (or DesktopBSD) exist.

There is another explaination: A solution that is cheap requires you to invest time - your time. A solution that does not force you to invest time implies someone else to invest his time, which makes the solution more expensive. People pay to have much stuff preconfigured, tested and certified.

"She is simply not interested in computers. She just likes that the computers allows her to work more productively, the computer is being a good tool. She doesn't enjoy the computer itself. (I enjoy computers, for me computers are also the goal, and inside my work, the tool too)"

As a car driver, I need a minimum knowledge what I can do when my car does not work, e. g. put fuel into it or charge the battery if it's down. If my own means do not work, I need professional help from someone who has more knowledge than me. I pay him to fix my car. BUT: I do no expect my car to have a car mechanic included in its loading bay. :-)

...

Reply Parent Score: 2

Doc Pain Member since:
2006-10-08

...

"I agree about the activities of the home user. The fact is that with windows (and Ubuntu) is not that difficult to burn a DVD, you don't have to open a terminal an "mount" any drive."

There are good CD creation tools out there, some of them even integrate into popular file managers. Personally, I prefer mkisofs and cdrecord. Why? Because I am faster (and more productive) using these tools than searching and clicking around in KDE. While Linux and UNIX OSes allow me to use the applications I can work with best, "Windows" does not offer such a solution.

CLI tools are very useful if you need to use them via SSH or serial console (you see this solution usually in professional dataprocessing environments). Of course, they may not be that useful for the home user.

BUT: It's easier to send my neighbor a mail with some commands he can copy & paste via middle mouse button and mail me the results instead of describing him pictures I cannot tell for sure how they would look like and let him describe pictures to me where he does not exactly know how to name things ("the little triangle in yellow and the blue stuff with the orange stuff on top"). Especially in situations when you need to do diagnostics in order to find out the error - in order to repair the error - in order to make something work, you usually are happy about PC-BSD having a command line based SSH access.

While GUIs are good for the usual work, CLIs are good if they don't work.

Access to media is important to home users. But in a professional setting, you cannot allow anyone to insert CDs, DVDs or disks into their computers in order to steal data or to deploy malware (even if they think it's a cool card game). Or if you have an unlabeled CD, you just want to know what is on the disc, maybe you want to index it, or it does not have a ISO-9660 file system, so you just want to put it into the drive and nothing should happen by default. The same is true for automatic logins, or asterisks displayed in the password field - they may cause security problems. There are situations where the automation disturbs you. Note: This does not affect home users, but is most interesting for administrators in professional contexts. Example: I was at a hospital and plugged my notebook into the ethernet port in the wall. Guess what happened - I had access to classified data! Just DHCP, mount_smbfs and no password required. Embarrassing!

"So, again, we agree that the PC-BSD and Ubuntu style are better for the home user and the average user."

They are, I agree.

"The 90% of the users, so if we are talking about being mainstream, let's make things easy, and leave the command-shell for the hackers or lovers of computers, statistically, less people."

The dumb majority rules the world. :-) No no, don't worry. In fact, a dumb minority rules the world.

"lol, Did you know that a glass (only one a day) of beer or wine a day is better than not having beer or wine at all?"

I'm going to tell this to Bob in the stroke unit as soon as he gets accessible; meanwhile, I put some beer into his infusion. :-)

Reply Parent Score: 2