Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 12th Jan 2012 22:54 UTC
FreeBSD Some people already submitted this news last week, but it wasn't until today that it became official: the FreeBSD team has announced the release of FreeBSD version 9.0. As you may expect from the major version number change, this is releas eis packed with new stuff.
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bassbeast
Member since:
2007-11-11

Frankly I couldn't care less about licenses but maybe someone can answer what I DO care about which is the USERS. I sell boxes and laptops to Suzy the checkout girl and Brian the backhoe operator, you know, normal folks?

Well despite all the claims of "user friendly" Linux distros I have yet to have a single one pass my "is it safe?" test which simulates what my customer would go through with just 3 years of ownership. I take a distro from 3 years ago, install it, make sure ALL the hardware works, then using whatever GUI the system has update it to current. I have YET to have a Linux that didn't puke on its own drivers and end up with a broken mess that can ONLY be fixed with CLI that is above the skillset of my customers, thus making Linux useless.

So my question is thus: If I take say FreeBSD or PCBSD and give it my "is it safe test" what are the odds it will have 100% functionality? The great XP dieoff is underway and frankly i'm getting insanely overpowered XP boxes dirt cheap, we're talking 2.3GHz-3.6Ghz P4s with 512Mb to 2Gb of RAM and DVD burners, more than enough power for your average FB user. But unless I can find a free distro that is actually worth using I'm gonna have to can the whole lot, just strip them for parts, because a Win 7 HP license costs more than the box and I can't find a source of Win 7 Starter for system builders.

So if anybody can answer this for me I'd be grateful, we aren't talking funny hardware, the same Realtek sound and the big three IGPs everybody has had for ages, you know bog standard Intel and ATI chipsets, plain jane boring. you'd think with well known hardware like that Linux would work but nope, broken city. Is BSD any better? Is it worth me wasting the bandwidth or is it another CLI fest? Remember my customers are NOT geeks, no CLI allowed, it has to be easy peasy clicky clicky. Is BSD up to the challenge or should I not even bother?

Reply Parent Score: 1

pkubaj Member since:
2012-01-13

In FreeBSD you must set up everything with CLI and the standard way of installing software is compilation.

Reply Parent Score: 4

sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

My recollection is that PC-BSD, based upon FreeBSD, has a more Windows style installation convention. The packages are binary, and include all the needed libraries, which may or may not be the libraries provided by the OS.

I've criticised this in the past, for various reasons. It means more files must be replaced from various sources to address security vulnerabilities. And results in greater memory use, overall. But it's definitely a cut above the Linux model for avoiding library incompatibility problems. I'd say that FreeBSD's PC_BSD spinoff has Linux beat on this one. At least regarding user-friendliness and future-proofing of their packages.

-Steve

Reply Parent Score: 2

phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

And the problem with that is ... ?

You learn a heck of a lot more about your system when you configure it by hand.

If you need hand-holding and pointy-clicky GUIs, there's PC-BSD (which now allows you to select the DE that's installed, you're not locked into KDE like previous releases).

Reply Parent Score: 2

obsidian Member since:
2007-05-12

Hi bassbeast - have you tried Linux Mint? It is renowned for its user-friendliness.
I use it and am very happy with it. It has a graphical tool (Synaptic) for installing apps.
I'd definitely recommend it if you haven't tried it.

Edited 2012-01-13 02:16 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 4

sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

I think the point he is making is that brain dead people with jobs that drain the life out of them aren't interested in learning anything about an OS. So they buy Windows boxes from him, and the MS ecosystem allows their Win98, WinXP, etc. systems to limp along for about 10 years after the product should have died. There's definitely money in that, if you know how to extract it.

I don't think he's talking about people who would like Mint, else they'd have found it themselves.

Reply Parent Score: 1

bassbeast Member since:
2007-11-11

Yes I have, I tried my "Is it safe?" test and it puked on its sound and the wireless. Oh and the DE ended up with this weird bug where half of the time any changes in the network manager wouldn't "stick" past a reboot and ONLY would stick if the changes were done via CLI which is right out.

So far I have tried Ubuntu/Mint, PCLOS, Mepis, Fedora (I know its bleeding edge but I got tired of being told "Use Distro X" so I did it just to prove it would fail) Puppy and one other I can't recall off the top of my head. basically everything listed as "User friendly" I've done tried and watched as it puked on its own drivers and died hard when upgraded/dated to current.

The simple fact is I need a free OS that will last 6-8 years either on a single install WITH security updates (none of this "Linux is magical and doesn't need security patches" craziness like they tried to sell me on Linux Insider) or it HAS to be able to do in place GUI upgrades without puking and dying. I have tried ALL of the above and not a single one ended up with 100% functionality even when using a lousy 3 years as a metric, much less the 6-8 years that is the average lifetime of a desktop in this area.

Its kinda sad though that here we are in the start of the "great XP dieoff" where millions of frankly insanely overpowered desktops and laptops are being sold for pennies on the dollar and I can't find a single free OS that will pass muster. I have been told every kind of BS from "Linux doesn't need security updates" (Lie) to "You should teach your users to embrace the power of CLI" like its the fricking force (not happening as normal users don't want to be programmers) to "You must be a M$ Ninja!" for daring to point out that the Koolaid is bitter and the support situation is horrible.

The average Windows gets 10-12 years of support (XP-2001-2014, Win 7 -2009-2020) so lets split that in half and say...ohh 6 years. Show me ANY free OS that I can either get 6 years worth of patches WITHOUT upgrading or if I must do the upgrade deathmarch show me one that can get 6 years worth of in place upgrades without puking on its own drivers and committing suicide. My users aren't gonna learn bash programming or do forum hunts which are beyond their skillset, so if you think FOSS is ready for the desktop here is your chance. i'm giving you a typical home user with typical requirements, provide them with a working solution that will not end up costing MORE than simply buying a new Windows license. I wish you luck because so far nobody has been willing to step up to the plate.

As for me it looks like I'm gonna have to scramble to find someone who will sell me OEM Win 7 Starter or embrace piracy like many of the other shops because I can't sell machines that are gonna need a wipe and reinstall that may or may not puke on the user' files and settings every 6 months. Don't say it can't either because I have a Linux admin friend that has given up on Linux and is looking at Mac after the last OpenSUSE upgrade puked on her system and wiped out 3 years worth of emails.

Reply Parent Score: 1

sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

I sell boxes and laptops to Suzy the checkout girl and Brian the backhoe operator, you know, normal folks?


Increasingly, Suzy and Brian are discovering that a smart phone and game console will cover most of their needs. Personally, I'd be happy if the AOL 2.0 set would move on, stop calling themselves "geeks" (with a giggle) and sequester themselves on FaceBook and Twitter, allowing the rest of us to get on with our legitimate tech interests.

Edited 2012-01-13 02:48 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 4

0brad0 Member since:
2007-05-05


Increasingly, Suzy and Brian are discovering that a smart phone and game console will cover most of their needs.


If all you did was make calls, text people, watch movies or play videos games that would be true. But the average person does more than that so the comment couldn't be further from the truth.

Reply Parent Score: 2

lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

You can be a geek about other things than computers. I know a lot of people that know far too much about My Little Pony.

Reply Parent Score: 2

r_a_trip Member since:
2005-07-06

I have yet to have a single one pass my "is it safe?" test which simulates what my customer would go through with just 3 years of ownership. I take a distro from 3 years ago, install it, make sure ALL the hardware works, then using whatever GUI the system has update it to current. I have YET to have a Linux that didn't puke on its own drivers and end up with a broken mess that can ONLY be fixed with CLI that is above the skillset of my customers, thus making Linux useless.

What I'm going to write is probably not what you want to hear, but your "is it safe" test is pure balderdash. You are expecting a Linux or BSD distribution from 3 years ago, which is ancient, to update to current without a glitch. You are asking for a level of backward compatibility that even MS isn't offering. Try to update an adequately powerful machine with XP to Windows 7 without the appropriate third party software and driver disks handy and see the spectacular ways in which an update from ancient software to current can blow up.

What people seem to forget is that Windows XP is a fluke in the history of consumer Operating Systems. Microsoft never meant for XP to be the defacto OS for over 10 years. This lull in OS upgrades was beneficial for users, but it never was the general rule. The upgrade cycle was supposed to be "Buy a new machine every 3 years". After Vista we have entered that cycle again. So your "Suzy the checkout girl and Brian the backhoe operator" will have to buy new equipment every 3 years with MS OSes. (Assuming that MS will keep upping the system requirements.)

If you care enough about selling FOSS systems to "Suzy and Brian", why don't you treat a Linux or BSD system the way they are meant to be treated? No endless updating to current if that can't be done by a clueless end user (and they can't). I'm a Linux user, so don't ask me about the intricacies of BSD. BSD users are infinitely more qualified to talk about that. What I can offer as advice is a simple one about Linux and it might even give you some auxiliary repeat business.

Set up your machines with an easy to use (NOTE! USE not UPDATE to current) distribution. Disable the dist-upgrade option of that distro, so that the major version is frozen. Put the /home directory on a separate partition. Offer your customers a "refresh package" every couple of years for an appropriate fee and update the machines yourself to the latest and greatest. LTS versions should be a great target for this. Your customers don't get headaches, you get a bit more business, everybody wins.

Then again, you could also continue your (futile?) quest for the perfect software which never breaks. Your choice.

Reply Parent Score: 10

lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

They aren't upping the system requirements.

Windows 8 will use less resources than Windows 7. BTW I actually have the platform preview and it does seem to take up less resources than Windows 7.

Windows 7 used less resources than Windows Vista (Vista used 600mb for dwm.exe (aero), 7 doesn't use anywhere near that much. Also 7 works far better on Dual and Quad Core systems than Vista or XP ever did).

Windows 7 works well on machines from 2005. XP RTM running well on machines from 1995? I don't think so.

Edited 2012-01-14 23:11 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

bassbeast Member since:
2007-11-11

You comment I'm afraid is balderdash friend. you see I DON'T HAVE TO do that with Windows because it has this little thing called SUPPORT which apparently is an alien word to Linux users. Xp? 14 years? Minimum average lifespan of Windows OSes? 7 years. Win 7? MSFT's roadmap has it supported until Apr 2020. Show me ONE distro, just one mind you, that will give a solid 7 years of updates with NO need to upgrade and i'll happily toss my "Is it safe" test because otherwise you HAVE NO CHOICE but to jump on the upgrade deathmarch.

Even what Linux foolishly calls an "LTS" is a lousy 3 years and I've found other than a few core packages after about a year updates for anything other than the core files is pretty much gone. Also Linux in another brain dead move often has software that demands kernel y when you have kernel x which means unless you have the skillz to compile from source you can give it up.

I have XP boxes in the field that have been there since 2002 with NO bugs and NO intervention from me other than hardware upgrades. It is THAT I need, not some fiddly PITB where my users are gonna be expected to become bash programmers and do forum dances just to get the stupid thing to run more than 6 months. if you can't give the common man that you have NO business saying "Linux is ready for the desktop" because that is a LIE. That is why Walmart, MSI, ASUS (who actually started the whole netbook thing with a Linux distro and no longer sells a single Linux unit) has abandoned Linux. Its simple, the QA isn't there and after sales support will eat through any savings on licenses and make Linux a money LOSER. Dell has to pay an entire dev team to keep their own personal repo which means they lose money on every ubuntu machine sold. i can't afford to lose money on every sale or hire a dev team friend, so i need something that not only works today but will STILL be working 4 years from now. kinda sad that I can't even find a single distro that gives even half the support time of a Windows edition, isn't it?

Oh and I hate to break the news to you but homes users DON'T BUY SUPPORT CONTRACTS so your entire plan is a giant fail. Nobody is gonna want a Linux computer that costs MORE than Windows which is exactly what your "plan" would entail. Windows 7 HP is $87, my time is $35 an hour, do the math. Just paying for a single "refresh' would put the cost of Linux over the cost of Windows. A wise man on this site I believe said "Linux is free if your time is worthless" but I don't give away my time so I need a product that when it walks out the door it remains functional with minimal work and skill required of the user. Windows with any non IE browser and a good free AV like Comodo fits that requirement, and the average length of desktop ownership in this area is 6 to 7 years as they get handed down to family. Can you show me a SINGLE distro that will give me that length without having to wipe and reinstall? Which is why I asked about BSD because I can already tell you the answers with regard to linux, and its "not a chance".

Reply Parent Score: 2

lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

PC-BSD is pretty solid IMO.

Reply Parent Score: 2

Barnabyh Member since:
2006-02-06

A Red Hat EL 6 clone like CentOS or Scientific Linux would be a good fit. Not to go back three years, Read: you should install the latest, but it will be supported until at least 2017 and would be good enough for people who don't need bleeding edge.
After all, once the media player has been fed with all necessary codecs you only need to update from the repos.

That should be long enough, and you can probably long before that sell them a machine with 7 on it.

It would be up to you as the reseller to enable additional media repos and set up the desktop a bit nice, with a shiny wallpaper maybe, and once your GOLD image is done you're good for a while, maybe spinning a new one for updates from time to time.

Reply Parent Score: 2

foldingstock Member since:
2008-10-30

Well despite all the claims of "user friendly" Linux distros I have yet to have a single one pass my "is it safe?" test which simulates what my customer would go through with just 3 years of ownership. I take a distro from 3 years ago, install it, make sure ALL the hardware works, then using whatever GUI the system has update it to current. I have YET to have a Linux that didn't puke on its own drivers and end up with a broken mess that can ONLY be fixed with CLI that is above the skillset of my customers, thus making Linux useless.


Have you ever tried Debian? Granted my personal experience is likely to be different from yours and other people here, but I have never had a Debian old_stable->stable upgrade fail. I have had plenty of Debian testing/sid upgrades fail, which is part of the fun of running testing/sid, but stable has always served me well.

As my avatar may indicate, I very much like the *BSD's. That said, I do not think FreeBSD is a good fit for your needs since it is a cli-oriented system that requires a user to read manuals and work directly with the cli to install/patch/upgrade software.

Reply Parent Score: 1

twitterfire Member since:
2008-09-11

That said, I do not think FreeBSD is a good fit for your needs since it is a cli-oriented system that requires a user to read manuals and work directly with the cli to install/patch/upgrade software.


True enough. But then we have PC-BSD which is user friendly.

Reply Parent Score: 2