[nycbug-talk] "every bit as good as Linux"

Matt Juszczak matt
Tue Sep 28 11:26:40 EDT 2004

Do we really _want_ all this publicity though?  My idea of the BSD's is 
this: a *NIX for people where Linux doesn't work for them.  If people use 
linux and it just doesn't work for them, they'll look for something else. 
Until then, my personal opinion is, as much as I don't prefer linux 
myself, for the average Windows 2000 net admin who wants a bit more 
security, linux can provide them with a stable *NIX, with a lot more 
user-friendly atmosphere.  I don't have a single linux box (like I said, 
it drives me crazy and I don't like it)... FreeBSD is definitely my 
favorite.  But if people use Linux and really want something different, 
then they will learn about the BSD's, just like the rest of us did...

On Sun, 26 Sep 2004, Dru wrote:

> Okay, I finally have a few minutes to put in my 2 cents regarding this 
> article.
> We all know the premise of the article is ridiculous. Heck, I'm not even a 
> programmer yet I can recognize the argument is technically flawed. However, 
> the writer knows something which the BSD community isn't capitalizing on: FUD 
> works, readers aren't necessarily technically minded or even interested in 
> technical accuracy, and people remember what they see and hear, even if it's 
> incorrect.
> I'm not advocating the use of FUD. (frankly, BSD doesn't need to resort to 
> it). However, the BSD community is missing the boat on exposure. This 
> article, even though poorly written, is in a major publication. It's been 
> read and retained by 1000s of readers who don't have the technical savvy to 
> realize how poorly it is written.
> What can we do about it? I see 3 things, 2 of which aren't effective:
> 1. Talk about it amongst ourselves. While it feels good to vent, we're
>   preaching to the choir.
> 2. Put in a rebuttal. If you're lucky, you'll get a one-liner buried
>   somewhere in the publication. Newspapers have been using this technique
>   forever: publish something excitingly inaccurate on the first half of
>   the front page and disclaim it the next day in a close to the back page
>   one-liner. Guess which one people remember? Worse, the rebuttal/disclaimer
>   is a _negative_ which puts the person who wrote it on the defensive.
> 3. Take a more indirect, offensive approach. Rather than deal directly
>   with _this_ article, write an article that showcases what you want and
>   get it published in a major magazine. Something like the Brett Glass one
>   referred to by Ike. Great article, great venue, but how many of these
>   have we had since 2002? We'd be lucky to count them on one hand! And
>   Daemonnews, while a great resource for us BSDers, doesn't count here.
> Do you guys see my point? We're outstanding when it comes to quality software 
> and quality technical documentation. We suck when it comes to marketing. 
> Where are the BSD case studies? How many major mags have at least one BSD 
> related article per month? And I'm not talking just techno mags. What about 
> mags read by CIOs, CSOs, accountants, bankers, government, gamers, arts 
> people, etc. We have a huge potential audience who has never even _heard_ of 
> BSD. Betcha they've heard of Linux, though, even if they never have the 
> intention of using it.
> As an example, Ike's email is an article begging to be published in say, 
> Sysadmin or Software Development magazine. Most of us have day to day 
> dealings with non-techies. What magazines do these people read? Have you been 
> banging your head against the wall convincing, say, an accountant client to 
> switch to BSD? What mags does your accountant read? Have those mags _ever_ 
> had a BSD related article in them? Guaranteed those mags have nice glossy ads 
> from major software vendors and the occasional article on the advantages of 
> using a particular non-open source accounting application.
> Dru
> On Tue, 21 Sep 2004, Isaac Levy wrote:
>> Hi all,
>> Can someone say POSIX?  Or um, Berkeley Software Distribution?
>> It seems to me, ironically, that this 'Linux Base Standard' feels a lot 
>> like what BSD was before it was a full-blown OS... folks, this has all 
>> happened before.  Too bad this tech-writer printed nearly slanderous 
>> misinformation about the OS family that was at the ancient root of 
>> interoperability in computing.
>> "BSD stands for "Berkeley Software Distribution," the name first given to 
>> the University of California at Berkeley's own toolkit of enhancements for 
>> the UNIX operating system.  Created by the students and faculty, BSD was 
>> not part of UNIX itself, which was created by Bell Labs. Rather, it was a 
>> widely distributed package of software enhancements for UNIX -- a 
>> supplement that made the operating system, which was originally strictly a 
>> research vehicle, useful in the real world."
>> http://www.extremetech.com/article2/0%2C1558%2C555398%2C00.asp
>> On Sep 16, 2004, at 4:30 PM, michael wrote:
>>> Linux Standard Base Is Exactly What Platform Needs
>>> By Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols
>>> September 15, 2004
>>> "Take, for example, the open-source BSD operating systems: FreeBSD,
>>> OpenBSD and NetBSD. They're all good. You can argue, as I have, that in
>>> some ways they're every bit as good as Linux, if not better.
>>> Then why aren't more people running them? Why do we have a Linux
>>> Magazine but not a BSD Magazine? Well, it's simple, there are three of
>>> them. "
>> It goes on right after that to state something I can seriously dispute 
>> below:
>> "There are some open-source applications, such as Apache and Samba, that 
>> will run on all of them. But if you want to make the most of each one, you 
>> need to write an application that will take advantage of their unique 
>> virtues. For most software development companies, or even most open-source 
>> programmers, that's just too much trouble for too small a potential 
>> market."
>>> Say What!?!  Yea, really... read the rest:
>>> http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1759,1646495,00.asp
>> WTF?  Write an application to take advantage of their unique virtues?  I 
>> just don't understand where this guy is coming from.
>> --
>> OK, I really just wanted to get it up somewhere online here, that this 
>> writer is simply foolish, and here's why:
>> I'm a web application developer who works with Zope.  For those who don't 
>> know it, it's a huge open source application server, with nearly the 
>> complexity of a small operating system, that lives often in the realm of 
>> large enterprise software.  In my life as a Zope developer, I invariably 
>> compile tens of dozens of other softwares on a regular basis, and plug 
>> them into Zope in one way or another.
>> Now also, my work often takes me onto a UNIX which my client has selected 
>> for one reason or another, though I prefer to use the BSD's when it's my 
>> call, BECAUSE, all the software I use and write compiles the same from one 
>> BSD to another, period- and I can't say the same at all for Linux.
>> With that said, I install a LOT of apps, all the time, on lots of Open 
>> *NIX's.  Portability is very important to me.
>> For example, in the last 9 months I've built full-blown Zope-centered 
>> systems, with dozens of other supporting apps, on the following OS's,
>> For Clients:
>> - FreeBSD
>> - OpenBSD
>> - MacOSX Server
>> - Red Hat Linux
>> - Debian Linux
>> - Mandrake Linux
>> - SuSe Linux
>> For Dev/Personal/Fun uses:
>> - NetBSD
>> - OpenDarwin (straight)
>> - Dragonfly (recent release)
>> With that stated, I'm not trying to puff out my chest or start any flame 
>> wars, but I'm trying to illustrate that I know what the heck I'm talking 
>> about here with a handful of apps portability- and BSD wins, hands down. 
>> Everything just compiles, and works together as it should- because of the 
>> ANCIENT adherence to POSIX guidelines, (yes, even when it hurts 
>> sometimes).
>> Lets talk Developer time and ROI- the reason behind this article:
>> On average, off the top of my head, I'd say that my work on BSD platforms 
>> took less than 1/2 the time for the same level of complexity on Linux- due 
>> to portability and compatibility issues.  I deal with too much software to 
>> remember tweaks and tricks for a given OS, and usually never build the 
>> same thing, therefore I encounter new problems with each project.
>> Most of the rest of that time on Linux is tracking down a missing library 
>> in userland for a given distro, installing things which are common to one 
>> Linux- and not another, and the joys of de-activating or de-installing 
>> daemons, which are often hacked beyond sane configurability, conflicting 
>> with something I'm needing to install.  All of this, with some of the most 
>> poorly maintained and most inconsistent man pages in the UNIX world.
>> All of that is a waste of time I could spend making interesting or useful 
>> things, while eating away at my client's ROI.  In english, my client pays 
>> more and gets less- and I'm bored off my rocker with the tedium.
>> I'm not trying to outwardly slam Linux here, as there are some really 
>> amazing ideas and code in there, but portability definitely isn't one of 
>> it's strong points.
>> This article is a foolish attempt to create buzz about an an idea from the 
>> Linux world, which is an ancient idea in BSD manifest in a thriving 
>> codebase in the BSD derived OS's.  BS like this is expected from the folks 
>> who write all that buzz-pulp to confuse and befuddle IT managers into 
>> buying crud they don't need- BUT, when a writer like this, lazily and 
>> rudely prints misinformation that is incorrect and negative towards the 
>> BSD's, the hair on my back stands up, and my claws come out.
>> --
>> If someone wants to flame, I'll simply be sending those to /dev/null
>> If you have something constructive to say about this, or if someone can 
>> shed some non-bs light on what the 'Linux Base Standard' actually is, I'm 
>> all ears- but this writer sure just did it some damage- and came off quite 
>> historically un-informed while doing so.
>> --
>> For anyone interested in more historical information about BSD and 
>> portability:
>> http://www.catb.org/~esr/writings/taoup/html/ch02s01.html#id2886020
>> It's a fun read about history and process- with a lot of insight into how 
>> open standards evolved.  :)
>> Rocket,
>> .ike
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