[nycbug-talk] Re: BSD Success Stories (fwd)

Isaac Levy ike
Thu Sep 23 21:30:18 EDT 2004

Hi Dru, George, All,

On Sep 23, 2004, at 7:56 PM, G.Rosamond wrote:

> On Sep 23, 2004, at 7:51 PM, Dru wrote:
>> Please forgive the crosspost but I know that members of both lists 
>> were awaiting a supply of BSD Success Stories pamphlets.
>> After 5 months of run-around, I've finally gotten word on the 
>> progress of the pamphlets from the (newly hired) product manager for 
>> open source books at O'Reilly. The message follows but the basic gist 
>> is there's not enough of a BSD market to justify the cost of the 
>> pamphlets. This is in-line with the trend I've spoken about with some 
>> of you individually: publishers in general and O'Reilly in particular 
>> do not see BSD books as a viable market. Noone is arguing the 
>> _quality_ of BSD books (thanks to Lucas, Anderson, Lehey, et al.) but 
>> it does explain the skew in _quantity_. It also means that I won't be 
>> successful in pushing a second BSD book anytime
>> soon (if at all) so I'm afraid the next book won't be on BSD.
>> As I see it, this skew is due to one of two things:
>> 1. There's just not that many of us BSD people out there
> It is a fact that we are a fraction of the Linux market.

I happily disagree completely with the word 'fraction', so far as web 
hosting and servers go- (the desktop is another thing altogether).

Check out this netcraft survey for hosting providers,


Out of 52 hosts represented, 8 of them are FreeBSD, one is 
That's roughly 16% of the top hosts, and looking back a few months with 
Netcraft, this is pretty consistent.

Linux ends up being 21 hosts, so that's roughly 40% of the market- and 
with that, Linux and the BSD's make up more than 65% TOTAL, of the top 
rated systems.  (The rest being Solaris and Windows).

So, for this survey, (which is arguably a survey that really matters) 
the BSD's are not represented as a fraction at all- and end up 
representing pretty hardcore in the top half of that list, when viewed 
according to performance.

> But I also don't know to what extent most heavy duty users (eg, staff 
> of Yahoo, Pair, Verio) make their presence known.  I think we're 
> talking more quality than quantity when it comes to BSD users.. .

That's what I'm talking about.

>> or
>> 2. We're out there but we're not putting our money where our advocacy 
>> is.
> Very possible. . .but it's not a useful strategy to just implore 
> people to buy BSD books.  We've pushed a number of books a lot, but 
> what I can tell from BSD Mall sales is that it's those new to the BSDs 
> that are the first to buy books. . .

I don't know why people buy less BSD books- there may be a lack of 
advocacy out there, but to be really honest- does anyone in the BSD's 
really care about the BS that comes with fame?

For example, who really wants someone writing some lame article about 
the BSD's in eWeek or that ilk?

(I'm referencing the thread from a few days ago, 
http://lists.nycbug.org/pipermail/talk/2004-September/002647.html )

IT managers and CIO's read that stuff, not tech books.  Do we want to 
get before their eyes in that context?  Is that really best for the 
BSD's?  It sure would bolster 'real world' business support... but at 
what cost to what drives the BSD's?

>> I can only speak for myself so I went through my book receipts for 
>> this year. I've bought 8
>>  tech books, none of them BSD. (If I don't count the Annaliese 
>> Anderson one I've promised to buy for a former student but haven't 
>> had the time to order yet). So this weekend I'm going to order Greg
>> Lehey's latest to replace my well-thumbed 1st edition as well as 
>> McKusick's latest.

I agree, as this may have to do with things like INSANELY GREAT MAN 
PAGES, and projects like the FreeBSD Handbook.

>> ,
>> On a related, it's been a long week, topic, I had lunch with some 
>> execs of a fortune 500 company today. (I've had an ongoing contract 
>> teaching their employees Linux+.) Of course, BSD always comes up in 
>> class. Not just because of yours truly, but because the students are 
>> current BSD admins whose company's product line is migrating from 
>> FreeBSD 3.x to Redhat 9. Many of the employees requested that the 
>> company pay for a FreeBSD course. The execs were willing and wanted 
>> to know the name of the BSD certifications that were available. Their 
>> training budget is related to certifications: no certification, no 
>> training money...
> Right. . .I do think it's worth creating a NYCBUG mailing list on the 
> topic of a BSD certification.  Certainly BSD Mall is in a good 
> position to sponsor, as they have a respected name in the community.  
> We can get a list of necessities for a certification brewed up through 
> a dedicated mailing list.

If there's interest in this, that's great- but I for one have had to 
work with way too many techs with excellent certs, who didn't know a 
nic from their ear.
I'll leave it at that.

>> O'Reilly's response and this company's response should be a very big 
>> wakeup call to anyone interested in BSD. I won't be posting to 
>> advocacy until my double-shifts are over next Thursday. I need time 
>> to think and rest so I won't be overly irritated when that advocacy 
>> thread fizzles into nothingness.
> understandable. . .particularly for someone who can quickly find out 
> the books they purchased in the last year. . .
> <g>
> <snip>


P.S. My email address has changed with the incorporation of my 
business, though structuredsystems email will continue to reach me.  I 
can now be reached at:

isaac at diversaform.com

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