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

O_Sleep o_sleep
Tue Sep 28 13:02:45 EDT 2004

If more publicity means I can use oracle on freebsd, then I am for more 


On Sep 28, 2004, at 11:26 AM, Matt Juszczak wrote:

> 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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