Feeding the Troll (Was: freebsd as a desktop ?)

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Mike Meyer

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Nov 28, 2001, 1:25:59 PM11/28/01
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Anthony Atkielski <ant...@freebie.atkielski.com> types:
> That isn't going to happen. Linux is a flavor of UNIX, and the architecture of
> UNIX is incompatible with heavy desktop use

You've said this before, but haven't done anything to demonstrate it.

I've been making heavy desktop use of, and supporting users making
heavy desktop use of, Unix since 1985. Nothing has happened during
that time that in any way indicated that Unix is "incompatible with
heavy desktopp use."

Quite to the contrary, every time someone has asked me to work on Win
9x or Macs - through the mid 90s - they crashed regularly under my
normal usage patterns. That convinced me that, if anything, those
operating systems aren't suitable for "heave desktop use".

In other words, I've got over 15 years of experience in direct
contradiction to your statement. I'd like to hear what evidence you
have to back it up.

<mike
--
Mike Meyer <m...@mired.org> http://www.mired.org/home/mwm/
Q: How do you make the gods laugh? A: Tell them your plans.

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Anthony Atkielski

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Nov 28, 2001, 4:37:46 PM11/28/01
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Mike writes:

> You've said this before, but haven't done
> anything to demonstrate it.

I'm surprised that you think it requires demonstration. UNIX was designed to
service hundreds of users sitting in front of dumb terminals; it was not
designed to drive a single resource-intensive GUI on dedicated hardware for a
single user. UNIX architecture puts a huge emphasis on multiple, independent
users and processes, and very little emphasis on the kind of close integration
and hardware dependency that a complex GUI requires. These characteristics make
for an excellent timesharing system or server, but they also make for a poor
desktop environment.

Windows is the other way around. It has virtually no concept of multiple users
and no provision for hardware independence. Processes and users are not
intended to work simultaneously on the same machine on completely different
tasks. As a result, it is very good for dedicated, single-user desktop use, but
very poor for timesharing use and mediocre for server use.

If you believe that UNIX is as good a desktop as Windows, then logically you
must also believe that Windows is as good a server as UNIX. An extension of
this logic leads to the conclusion that the operating systems are essentially
identical--but that obviously is not the reality.

> I've been making heavy desktop use of, and
> supporting users making heavy desktop use of,
> Unix since 1985. Nothing has happened during
> that time that in any way indicated that Unix
> is "incompatible with heavy desktopp use."

Most operating systems can be stretched to fill all sorts of roles for which
they weren't intended. That doesn't make them good in such applications, nor
does it make them superior to purpose-built operating systems for those same
applications.

It's interesting to see how hard people will try to prove or at least argue that
their pet operating systems are the best for all purposes, or even adequate for
all purposes. I've never seen an operating system that can do it all, and I
expect that I never will.

> Quite to the contrary, every time someone has
> asked me to work on Win 9x or Macs - through the
> mid 90s - they crashed regularly under my
> normal usage patterns. That convinced me that,
> if anything, those operating systems aren't
> suitable for "heave desktop use".

Heavy desktop use requires NT and its descendants. Windows 9x and the Mac are
for occasional, non-critical desktop use, for precisely the reasons you cite.

Ken McGlothlen

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Nov 28, 2001, 5:18:39 PM11/28/01
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"Anthony Atkielski" <ant...@freebie.atkielski.com> writes:

| I'm surprised that you think it requires demonstration. UNIX was designed to
| service hundreds of users sitting in front of dumb terminals; it was not
| designed to drive a single resource-intensive GUI on dedicated hardware for a
| single user. UNIX architecture puts a huge emphasis on multiple, independent
| users and processes, and very little emphasis on the kind of close
| integration and hardware dependency that a complex GUI requires. These
| characteristics make for an excellent timesharing system or server, but they
| also make for a poor desktop environment.

Unix has *often* been used for monolithic applications in single-user
environments. Cray systems, for example, even after the advent of UNICOS, were
often in a position of performing dedicated tasks. A GUI is nothing special.
It uses the same processor instructions, the same memory, the same process
structure as any other program.

While UNIX does emphasize multiple independent processes, it has little to do
with how a resource-intensive GUI needs. I admit that most of the widespread
GUIs don't use this approach well (Windows in particular), but I'm typing on a
Mac OS X system right now, and I gotta tell you, this makes a perfectly fine
desktop system. As long as your software is written with lots of processes in
mind, there's nothing stopping it from working well under Unix.

In short, your argument is fallacious.

| Windows is the other way around. It has virtually no concept of multiple
| users and no provision for hardware independence. Processes and users are
| not intended to work simultaneously on the same machine on completely
| different tasks. As a result, it is very good for dedicated, single-user
| desktop use, but very poor for timesharing use and mediocre for server use.

This may be an accurate argument---though XP seems to be changing this a
little, it's unclear that it's a clear step towards a multiuser direction yet.
(I haven't used it at this writing.)

| If you believe that UNIX is as good a desktop as Windows, then logically you
| must also believe that Windows is as good a server as UNIX.

I'm sorry, Anthony, but that argument is . . . well, stupid. ("If you believe
that Sharon can pee standing up as she claims, then you must also believe that
I am capable of being pregnant.")

| An extension of this logic leads to the conclusion that the operating systems
| are essentially identical--but that obviously is not the reality.

If it were logic. Which it clearly isn't. Your argument is nonsensical.

| Most operating systems can be stretched to fill all sorts of roles for which
| they weren't intended. That doesn't make them good in such applications, nor
| does it make them superior to purpose-built operating systems for those same
| applications.

Cart before the horse. Applications must cater to the operating systems
they're designed to work on. Writing good GUI-type applications *is* more
difficult under Unix, but not as impossible as you seem to think it is. Good
libraries can solve that problem, as Mac OS X shows well.

| It's interesting to see how hard people will try to prove or at least argue
| that their pet operating systems are the best for all purposes, or even
| adequate for all purposes. I've never seen an operating system that can do
| it all, and I expect that I never will.

Again, you seem to be confusing "operating system" with "applications written
for an operating system."

| Heavy desktop use requires NT and its descendants.

(Such a religious statement. I didn't expect the Spanish Inquisition.)

"Heavy desktop use" is what? Tell me, Anthony. I use a Mac OS X system for
most of my desktop applications. It all works. I could also use a FreeBSD
system as much if more applications were ported to it, but as it is, my FreeBSD
system also gets a lot of face time. Neither my Mac (thanks to OS X) or
FreeBSD systems crash nearly as often as the NT box I used to own, or the WinMe
box my parents now own (under light desktop use).

| Windows 9x and the Mac are for occasional, non-critical desktop use, for
| precisely the reasons you cite.

You should be embarrassed at the rather random leaps of "logic" you're making
here, Anthony. One is forced to wonder why you're using Unix at all.

Anthony Atkielski

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Nov 28, 2001, 5:25:48 PM11/28/01
to
> Assuming one already uses FreeBSD (why else
> subscribe to this list ;) there are advantages
> to using it as a desktop.

Obviously. My point was that, if you are choosing an OS for primarily desktop
use, the best choice is Microsoft Windows. If you already have one machine and
it is running FreeBSD for other purposes, it may be more economical to use it
for desktop use as well, rather than buy a different machine and run Windows on
it (and dropping FreeBSD to switch to Windows is very unlikely to be
justifiable, unless you are making a major change in your computer use with
almost total emphasis on the desktop).

I really don't understand this preoccupation with desktops. Doesn't anyone run
FreeBSD as a server, or is that simply not considered cool enough to please
anyone anymore?

> Since I am of the opinion that Windows will
> eventually become as much of a closed software
> environment as the Mac is for hardware ...

The OS itself is already completely closed, since it is proprietary. The same
is true for the Mac. However, Windows has always been more open to third-party
software products, and I don't expect that to change, as it only benefits
Microsoft (owner of the Windows OS). That is something that Apple just could
never understand, it seems.

> For the health of Open Source OSs in general
> I would point out that there are (tens of??)
> thousands more desktops than servers in the
> world. If there is going to be an OS war it
> will be won or lost there (IMO).

I doubt that. A single mainframe is worth ten thousand desktops. We still have
MVS with us. UNIX is the closest thing we have to an open-source mainframe OS.

mpd

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Nov 28, 2001, 5:51:27 PM11/28/01
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On Wed, Nov 28, 2001 at 11:25:12PM +0100, Anthony Atkielski wrote:
> > Assuming one already uses FreeBSD (why else
> > subscribe to this list ;) there are advantages
> > to using it as a desktop.
>
> Obviously. My point was that, if you are choosing an OS for primarily desktop
> use, the best choice is Microsoft Windows. If you already have one machine and

It's not the best choice for me, nor for several others who have already
made that known. Please don't make blanket statements like this, especially
on this list, where you're going to be looked at and treated as a troll.
I personally have no use for the extra crap that so many windows users
can't seem to live without. Others may, but that still doesn't qualify
your statement, which is just an opinion.

(and as a software engineer, I find that windows is one of the
most piss-poor and developer-unfriendly systems around. That's my opinion.)

> it is running FreeBSD for other purposes, it may be more economical to use it
> for desktop use as well, rather than buy a different machine and run Windows on
> it (and dropping FreeBSD to switch to Windows is very unlikely to be
> justifiable, unless you are making a major change in your computer use with
> almost total emphasis on the desktop).
>
> I really don't understand this preoccupation with desktops. Doesn't anyone run
> FreeBSD as a server, or is that simply not considered cool enough to please
> anyone anymore?

Uh, lots of people do, but they don't feel like feeding the troll, I suppose.

>
> > Since I am of the opinion that Windows will
> > eventually become as much of a closed software
> > environment as the Mac is for hardware ...
>
> The OS itself is already completely closed, since it is proprietary. The same
> is true for the Mac. However, Windows has always been more open to third-party
> software products, and I don't expect that to change, as it only benefits
> Microsoft (owner of the Windows OS). That is something that Apple just could
> never understand, it seems.

Windows isn't "more open," it's just more proliferated, so it benefits
the software companies to release software for that platform.
If I wrote windows when I was 10, but millions of people used it,
software would still be released for it.

mike
--
___________________________________________________________

"WITH A FEW SMALL MODIFICATIONS ANY CANOE CAN TRAVEL THROUGH TIME!!!"
- Pokey the Penguin from "POKEY IN ANCIENT SCOTLAND"

Andrew C. Hornback

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Nov 28, 2001, 8:16:19 PM11/28/01
to
I really didn't want to get into this, as I've been trying to avoid adding
to the noise side of the signal to noise ratio, but there's only so much of
this that I an take.

> -----Original Message-----
> From: owner-freeb...@FreeBSD.ORG
> [mailto:owner-freeb...@FreeBSD.ORG]On Behalf Of Anthony
> Atkielski
> Sent: Wednesday, November 28, 2001 4:37 PM
> To: Mike Meyer
> Cc: ques...@freebsd.org
> Subject: Re: Feeding the Troll (Was: freebsd as a desktop ?)
>
> Mike writes:
>
> > You've said this before, but haven't done
> > anything to demonstrate it.
>
> I'm surprised that you think it requires demonstration.

Anthony, I'm glad you understand how to cut quoting down, but can you
please leave some information to give some context? Is that too much to
ask?

> UNIX was
> designed to
> service hundreds of users sitting in front of dumb terminals; it was not
> designed to drive a single resource-intensive GUI on dedicated
> hardware for a
> single user.

So, both Sun Microsystems and Silicon Graphics (among others) were wrong to
use a Unix-type OS for their high end GRAPHICAL workstations? I'm sure
Scott (Mr. McNealy) is crying over that comment.

> UNIX architecture puts a huge emphasis on multiple,
> independent
> users and processes, and very little emphasis on the kind of
> close integration
> and hardware dependency that a complex GUI requires.

Multiple independent processes... the sort of thing that you'd want to be
doing if you had multiple instances of a data analysis program running.
Which makes it perfect for Unix. However, in order to make sense of the
data that you get back from the analysis program, you're saying that you
need to move it to a different platform? That doesn't make sense to me.

> These
> characteristics make
> for an excellent timesharing system or server, but they also make
> for a poor
> desktop environment.

Anthony, I realize that you're new here and we've been trying to help you
with the problems you've had with your server, and I understand that you're
coming from a closed-minded Microsoft point of view... but, until you have
used and properly evaluated FreeBSD (or any other Unix, for that matter) in
a desktop environment, I don't believe you have the right to say that it
makes a poor desktop environment. Making assertions without examples, proof
or fact to cite to back them up is not good. And on the side of making a
good desktop environment, I've already mentioned Sun and SGI. If anyone's
keeping score, that's 2-0.

> Windows is the other way around. It has virtually no concept of
> multiple users
> and no provision for hardware independence.

The lack of hardware independence is thanks to Microsoft. At one time, you
could run Windows on everything from a Macintosh to the latest and greatest
from Intel to the wicked fast Alpha from DEC. What happened?

> Processes and users are not
> intended to work simultaneously on the same machine on completely
> different
> tasks. As a result, it is very good for dedicated, single-user
> desktop use, but
> very poor for timesharing use and mediocre for server use.
>
> If you believe that UNIX is as good a desktop as Windows, then
> logically you
> must also believe that Windows is as good a server as UNIX.

Your logic is flawed, yet again. Just because you equate A and B in
reference to situation C does not mean that A equates to B in situation D.

> An
> extension of
> this logic leads to the conclusion that the operating systems are
> essentially
> identical--but that obviously is not the reality.

That is because the logic itself is flawed. See above.

> > I've been making heavy desktop use of, and
> > supporting users making heavy desktop use of,
> > Unix since 1985. Nothing has happened during
> > that time that in any way indicated that Unix
> > is "incompatible with heavy desktopp use."
>
> Most operating systems can be stretched to fill all sorts of
> roles for which
> they weren't intended.

Such as running a web server on VM/CMS...

> That doesn't make them good in such
> applications, nor
> does it make them superior to purpose-built operating systems for
> those same
> applications.

So, from what you're saying here is that you advocate one operating system
for each type of application? That would be absurd.

> It's interesting to see how hard people will try to prove or at
> least argue that
> their pet operating systems are the best for all purposes, or
> even adequate for
> all purposes.

*looks around*

I don't believe that ANYONE here has said that FreeBSD is the best for ALL
purposes. If you've seen that quote, I'd appreciate you sending me a copy
of the message or a URL to it.

> I've never seen an operating system that can do it
> all, and I
> expect that I never will.

True, but you've seen attempts at that very thing. Look at your Microsoft
desktop.

> > Quite to the contrary, every time someone has
> > asked me to work on Win 9x or Macs - through the
> > mid 90s - they crashed regularly under my
> > normal usage patterns. That convinced me that,
> > if anything, those operating systems aren't
> > suitable for "heave desktop use".
>
> Heavy desktop use requires NT and its descendants.

So, you bought all of the marketing spiel from Microsoft, didn't you?
Windows 3.1 and 95 both could stand a good deal of, you call it heavy
desktop use, I call it hammering. It's when you move into the 98 and
further iterations of the 9x kernel that you run into problems. Of course,
that may have something to do with short product cycles, seeing how
Microsoft doesn't make money if they don't have something shiny and new to
sell.

> Windows 9x
> and the Mac are
> for occasional, non-critical desktop use, for precisely the
> reasons you cite.

Oh... and now you're a Macintosh maven? I could fill up your favorite pub
(probably two to three times over) with people that would dispute your
opinion that Mac is only useful for "occasional, non-critical desktop use".

Anthony, is there anything about computers that you're not a leading figure
with regards to?

--- Andy

Anthony Atkielski

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Nov 28, 2001, 10:34:21 PM11/28/01
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Mike writes:

> It's not the best choice for me, nor for several
> others who have already made that known.

Perhaps not, but I was not addressing you and your circle of acquaintances
exclusively. And overall, it _is_ the best choice. It surprises me that anyone
contests the obvious.

> Please don't make blanket statements like this,
> especially on this list, where you're going to be
> looked at and treated as a troll.

Only by those with a religious devotion to a different operating system. I'm
sure there are plenty of ordinary, professional IT folk here, too, who do not
possess religious beliefs in one software product or computer system over
another and thus do not feel inclined to leap irrationally to their defense at
every perceived aspersion cast upon their faith.

> I personally have no use for the extra crap that
> so many windows users can't seem to live without.

That's true of most users, but that is not what makes Windows attractive. The
availability of 100,000 different applications for the platform in itself
justifies Windows. So does its near-total dedication to the desktop
environment. So does its compatibility (most other people use Windows, so
Windows applications are the most compatible with what most other people are
using). There are many reasons.

> Others may, but that still doesn't qualify
> your statement, which is just an opinion.

My opinion seems to correlate well with the market figures, and that is not
surprising, since the market figures are in part what drives my opinion.

> ... and as a software engineer, I find that windows


> is one of the most piss-poor and developer-unfriendly
> systems around.

As a software engineer, then, you should also know that systems that are the
most friendly to users tend to be the most unfriendly to software engineers, and
vice versa.

I tend to agree that Windows is a nightmare to program for. But that has no
influence on its utility for the average user, since the average user is not
programming for his own system.

> Uh, lots of people do, but they don't feel like
> feeding the troll, I suppose.

Or they lack religious devotion to the OS. After all, people running FreeBSD on
servers are using the OS for what it does best, and absent a special affection
for it above and beyond that, they probably will not run it on the desktop
(unless it is more economical to do so, as in certain cases of a single
machine).

> Windows isn't "more open," it's just more proliferated ...

No, it is more open as well. _Anyone_ can write programs for Windows, and this
has always been true. It has not been true in the past for Apple, and I suspect
it is still not true now.

Apple is a good example of what happens when religious faith is given priority
over practical considerations. Microsoft is a good example of what happens when
practical considerations are given priority over religious faith. As proof,
note that the most important application on the Mac is Microsoft Office.

> ... so it benefits the software companies to release
> software for that platform.

It's the other way around: Software companies decided to write for Windows
(because it was a very inexpensive and open operating system, compared to the
Mac), and so more people bought Windows. Eventually a synergistic effect
develops, leading to a dominant market position, and this can happen entirely
independently of the vendor.

Mark Yeck

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Nov 28, 2001, 10:48:44 PM11/28/01
to
> I've been making heavy desktop use of, and supporting users making
> heavy desktop use of, Unix since 1985. Nothing has happened during that
> time that in any way indicated that Unix is "incompatible with heavy
> desktopp use."
>
> Quite to the contrary, every time someone has asked me to work on Win
> 9x or Macs - through the mid 90s - they crashed regularly under my
> normal usage patterns. That convinced me that, if anything, those
> operating systems aren't suitable for "heave desktop use".
>
> In other words, I've got over 15 years of experience in direct
> contradiction to your statement. I'd like to hear what evidence you
> have to back it up.

My experience is pretty much the same. I started using UNIX (Ultrix) in the
early nineties with Motif and ATK window managers, several years before my
first experience with any MS operating system. I've never found a situation
where Windows has made a better desktop than whatever UNIX and window
manager I'm running at the time (currently FreeBSD with Blackbox). I use
Win98, NT, and Win2k for work and I'm continually irritated by small things,
like random access of my empty floppy drive, random redraws of the desktop,
the Start menu closing while I'm trying to use it, installing a program as
one user and not being able to find it or use it as another user, and the
hell of coping with the registry. My experience with UNIX on the desktop
hasnt been totally bug free, but I find it quite a bit less annoying.

Every advantage I've seen with Microsoft is directly related to its
overwhelming domination of whatever market its in. My mother, for example,
may be better off using Windows on her desktop, not for any technical
reason, because if she has a problem she can ask almost anyone who uses
computers about it. Nearly anyone who's used a computer has used windows and
the advantage of not having to learn a new operating system may seem to
outweigh any technical advantage of UNIX (or MacOS). Microsoft Word isnt a
horrible piece of software, but it's only major advantage that I can see is
that someone can write a document in it and send it to nearly anyone and
expect that they will be able to open it with little effort.

Anyway, that's my thoughts on the whole thing.

-mark

Anthony Atkielski

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Nov 28, 2001, 10:52:02 PM11/28/01
to
Simon writes:

> As someone who spent 4+ years developing
> highly graphical, highly interactive, and highly
> hardware-dependent single user applications
> for Unix-based (SGI) workstations, I can
> assure you that the above statements
> have very little basis in reality.

As someone who has worked with mainframes and timesharing systems for years, I
can assure you that it is right.

Perhaps you can explain the utility of a multiuser environment for a single-user
desktop graphics workstation.

> There are many reasons that Windows is the
> dominant force on the desktop today but they
> have everything to do with marketing and
> economics and very little to do with operating
> system design.

That is a common misconception, held dear and defended by those with axes to
grind or religions to defend. Microsoft wanted the desktop GUI market and went
after it. Most UNIX vendors did not.

Anthony Atkielski

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Nov 28, 2001, 11:16:45 PM11/28/01
to
Andrew writes:

> So, both Sun Microsystems and Silicon Graphics
> (among others) were wrong to use a Unix-type OS
> for their high end GRAPHICAL workstations?

In what sense? It was certainly a poor technical decision. However, writing a
new operating system costs money, and so does buying a new operating system from
someone else. UNIX was at hand and about as close to open source and free as
one could get.

That is also why Apple chose UNIX as a basis for Mac OS X. They couldn't afford
to write something new, so they reused as much as they could, even though this
is not necessarily a good idea from a technical standpoint.

Microsoft did the same with Windows 3.x and (to a limited extent) Windows 95.
Windows NT had elements of OS/2 architecture in it as well.

Writing a new operating system costs billions of dollars; even Microsoft cannot
afford to do that.

> I'm sure Scott (Mr. McNealy) is crying over that
> comment.

It's possible to make lots of money with technically less-than-ideal products.
Sun and SGI weren't selling graphics workstations on the basis of the underlying
OS.

> Multiple independent processes... the sort of
> thing that you'd want to be doing if you had
> multiple instances of a data analysis program
> running.

No. For data analysis, you need programs that communicate extensively, not
completely independent processes.

> Which makes it perfect for Unix.

See above. UNIX (and most other operating systems) lack the close communication
between processes that would be optimal for this type of application.

> ... I understand that you're coming from a closed=
> minded Microsoft point of view...

No. I come from a non-religious point of view, and when one is not encumbered
by religious faith in a particular platform or operating system, one tends to
see advantages and disadvantages of each system more clearly. I do not worship
a FreeBSD god (nor a Windows god), so I do not feel frightened by the idea of
running two completely different operating systems for two entirely different
purposes. I choose the tool that fits the job.

> ... but, until you have used and properly evaluated
> FreeBSD (or any other Unix, for that matter) in
> a desktop environment, I don't believe you have
> the right to say that it makes a poor desktop environment.

I knew within a few days of installing FreeBSD that it was suboptimal as a
desktop (at best).

You know, in Windows discussion groups, there are people arguing irrationally in
favor of Windows as a server. The names change, but the religious fervor is the
same.

> Making assertions without examples, proof or fact
> to cite to back them up is not good.

I've explained my reasoning in considerable detail. To those for whom IT is not
a religion, my explanations are cogent. For the true believers, no "proof" is
ever adequate to sway them from the Path.

> The lack of hardware independence is thanks to
> Microsoft.

No. The lack of hardware independence is a consequence of the need to support
high-performance, hardware-intensive applications like games. Indeed, recent
versions of the NT/2000 architecture have actually moved _more_ towards hardware
dependence specifically for this reason. That's what the desktop market wants.
Playing games, for example, requires very tight integration of OS and hardware,
and a significant part of the Windows desktop market just wants to play games.

> At one time, you could run Windows on everything
> from a Macintosh to the latest and greatest
> from Intel to the wicked fast Alpha from DEC.

There was essentially no demand for Windows on platforms other than Intel, and
continuing demand for support of applications that required the integration of
which I speak above additionally drove Intel-only development. Nobody was
buying MIPS machines, and almost no one was buying Alpha machines. Demand for
PowerPC support was pretty much nonexistent, as I recall.

> Such as running a web server on VM/CMS...

Yes. Or running Novell on the desktop. Just about every bizarre permutation
has been tried, rest assured.

> So, from what you're saying here is that you
> advocate one operating system for each type of
> application? That would be absurd.

What's absurd about it? In fact, that's exactly how real-world implementations
have typically done it, in the absence of political reasons for forcing one
"solution" to fit all environments. Many organizations use Windows on desktops
but UNIX on servers.

> I don't believe that ANYONE here has said that
> FreeBSD is the best for ALL purposes.

It's pretty obvious here that many people will do anything to avoid admitting
that Windows is the better choice for a desktop.

As I've said, on other groups you can watch true believers of other religions
making the same desperate attempts to "prove" that Windows makes the best Web
servers, or that Macs make great routers and firewalls.

> True, but you've seen attempts at that very
> thing. Look at your Microsoft desktop.

NT tries to be a server, and succeeds better than most, but it does not compare
with UNIX. It does make a superb desktop, however.

You see, Microsoft doesn't want to abandon the Windows religion, either, so it
tries to bend Windows to make it fit a server environment. But Windows will
never be ideal for that environment--the architecture of Windows fundamentally
works against it.

> So, you bought all of the marketing spiel
> from Microsoft, didn't you?

No, I used their operating systems, and I discovered that the NT/2000
architecture is the most robust by far.

> Windows 3.1 and 95 both could stand a good deal
> of, you call it heavy desktop use, I call it
> hammering.

With stable applications, yes. With poorly-written applications (the norm in
PC-land, alas!), they do not stand up very well. Poorly-written applications
are best run on NT, if possible, because NT will not crash when they do.

> It's when you move into the 98 and further
> iterations of the 9x kernel that you run into
> problems.

I'm not aware of any increase in instability in later versions of Windows 9x; in
fact, all reports I've heard say quite the opposite.

> Of course, that may have something to do with short
> product cycles, seeing how Microsoft doesn't make
> money if they don't have something shiny and new to
> sell.

This is true of all commercial software vendors. Look at the commercialized
versions of Apache, or the "distributions" of Linux.

> Oh... and now you're a Macintosh maven?

I've used them as well, although not extensively and not recently. The Mac OS
has never changed, though, unlike Windows (Mac OS X is the first significant
change, from what I understand).

> I could fill up your favorite pub (probably two to
> three times over) with people that would dispute your
> opinion that Mac is only useful for "occasional,
> non-critical desktop use".

Are you sure they wouldn't rather meet in a church? That's where worship is
usually conducted.

> Anthony, is there anything about computers that
> you're not a leading figure with regards to?

I don't have much experience with real-time systems, and I've never been heavily
into database management systems (by choice). I'm also stronger on central
systems than on networking.

Anthony Atkielski

unread,
Nov 28, 2001, 11:19:56 PM11/28/01
to
Mark writes:

> Every advantage I've seen with Microsoft is
> directly related to its overwhelming domination
> of whatever market its in.

The obvious question, then, is: How did Microsoft ever come to dominate any
market, if its dominance depends on already being dominant?

> My mother, for example, may be better off using
> Windows on her desktop, not for any technical
> reason, because if she has a problem she can ask
> almost anyone who uses computers about it.

At least 99.9% of desktop users are just like your mother.

That's one argument in favor of Windows.

> Nearly anyone who's used a computer has used
> windows and the advantage of not having to learn
> a new operating system may seem to outweigh
> any technical advantage of UNIX (or MacOS).

That's two.

> Microsoft Word isnt a horrible piece of software,
> but it's only major advantage that I can see is
> that someone can write a document in it and send
> it to nearly anyone and expect that they will be
> able to open it with little effort.

That's three.

For someone who seems to doubt the superiority of Windows on the desktop, you
certainly are arguing persuasively in its favor.

Matthew Graybosch

unread,
Nov 28, 2001, 11:23:52 PM11/28/01
to
-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
Hash: SHA1

On Wednesday 28 November 2001 22:33, you wrote:
> Mike writes:
> > It's not the best choice for me, nor for several
> > others who have already made that known.
>
> Perhaps not, but I was not addressing you and your circle of
> acquaintances exclusively. And overall, it _is_ the best choice.
> It surprises me that anyone contests the obvious.

Sounds like you're begging the question. Not to mention arguing from
popularity instead of the technical merits of Windows. Just because
something is popular doesn't mean it's right or good.

Windows may well be the *worst* choice from a usability standpoint,
IMHO.

Any script kiddie with a rudimentary knowledge of VB can write worms
and Trojans that can cause serious damage to a Windows machine
should the user let down her guard for even a moment.

Windows insists on abstracting everything from the user, so that the
user is mostly insulated from the consequences of her actions. If I
need to get under the hood for any reason, even to indulge my
curiosity, then I have to get past all the bondage and discipline
built into Windows.

Windows is sloppily coded, and wastes the potential of just about
every computer it touches. Among other things, Windows insists on
using the swapfile as much as possible, instead of real memory,
which needlessly wastes disk space and causes utterly unnecessary
disk I/O should I actually try to push the computer.

Installing or removing even the most trivial applications requires
proprietary automated tools like InstallShield because of the
Registry, a beast nasty enough to make Great Cthulhu look as cuddly
as a kitten in a basket.

Quite frankly, dealing with Windows on a home desktop, or even a
work desktop, is more aggravation than most of us get paid for.

> Only by those with a religious devotion to a different operating
> system. I'm sure there are plenty of ordinary, professional IT
> folk here, too, who do not possess religious beliefs in one
> software product or computer system over another and thus do not
> feel inclined to leap irrationally to their defense at every
> perceived aspersion cast upon their faith.

Frankly, it sounds like you're religiously devoted to Windows on the
desktop. Which is fine; you're welcome to your opinion. However, as
Ayn Rand writes: "Judge, and expect to be judged."

When I argue that FreeBSD is better for desktop use than Windows, I
argue from roughly five years of self-taught experience. I've used
MS-DOS, PC-DOS, Windows 3.1, 9x, NT4, and 2K. I've used several
Linux distributions: Red Hat 6.1, SuSE 6.3 - 7.1, Mandrake 8,
Slackware 2, and Debian 2.2. I have tried to use each of these
systems on the desktop, and with each I have had to keep a bottle of
generic acetominophen by my keyboard; each system induced at least
one headache a week.

I've been using FreeBSD since the end of September, on a desktop,
and I haven't had to use the painkillers yet.

> That's true of most users, but that is not what makes Windows
> attractive. The availability of 100,000 different applications
> for the platform in itself justifies Windows. So does its
> near-total dedication to the desktop environment. So does its
> compatibility (most other people use Windows, so Windows
> applications are the most compatible with what most other people
> are using). There are many reasons.

Don't just say that "there are many reasons". List them, and please
explain why you consider them reasons to use Windows. To begin with,
a significant portion of the 100K apps you mention are games. Many
of the others are either shareware or freeware, much of it as
bug-ridden as a 30-year old hooker from Queens. I think it'd be fair
to say that the average Windows user might use 100 out of the 100K
Windows apps you mention. Most of these apps have BSD (or GNU/Linux)
counterparts that are free as in beer if not free as in speech.

Quite frankly, there's no reason for formatting a document using MS'
proprietary *.DOC format when they look just as good in properly
formatted HTML. Of course, I wouldn't take an HTML document from a
Windows user without first using the Demoronizer, but that's what I
get for having friends that use Windows.

> My opinion seems to correlate well with the market figures, and
> that is not surprising, since the market figures are in part what
> drives my opinion.

Now, if I went by market figures, I could conclude that the
Backstreet Boys are a better band than Iron Maiden, and the Britney
Spears is a better singer than Sarah Brightman. Marketing figures
are relevent only to marketers. I personally consider marketers as
low a form of life as politicians, wife-beaters, and neo-Nazis.

> As a software engineer, then, you should also know that systems
> that are the most friendly to users tend to be the most unfriendly
> to software engineers, and vice versa.

Now, why should people put up with the security holes and the
general incompetence surr

> I tend to agree that Windows is a nightmare to program for. But
> that has no influence on its utility for the average user, since
> the average user is not programming for his own system.

I insist on differing on this point. I think that the harder a
system is to program for, the harder it is to write quality
software. If it's difficult to write quality software, then the user
has to put up with mediocre software. While most Windows users might
not be programmers, they do suffer when Windows programmers try to
cut corners when the API becomes too nightmarish to handle.

> Or they lack religious devotion to the OS. After all, people
> running FreeBSD on servers are using the OS for what it does best,

> and absent a special affection for it above and beyond that.

Personally, I think you fall back on the religion thing because you
cannot convince us as to the correctness of your position, yet
cannot concede that since we are not "average users" we have no
reason to tolerate an OS geared to "average users".

> No, it is more open as well. _Anyone_ can write programs for
> Windows, and this has always been true. It has not been true in
> the past for Apple, and I suspect it is still not true now.

When did Apple become relevant to this discussion of FBSD vs.
Windows on the desktop?

Yes, any schmuck can write programs for Windows. I've worked with
some of the idiots and have done some truly idiotic things myself.
However, anybody *willing to make an effort* can write programs for
FBSD. They don't have to learn C; they can do plenty with Python,
and Python is free. Just install the port. With Windows, on the
other hand, the dominant programming tools come from MS: the Visual
Studio tools, and they cost an arm and a leg.

> Apple is a good example of what happens when religious faith is
> given priority over practical considerations. Microsoft is a good
> example of what happens when practical considerations are given
> priority over religious faith. As proof, note that the most
> important application on the Mac is Microsoft Office.

Funny, I thought that Microsoft was a good example of what happens
when marketing considerations are given priority over writing solid
code. Microsoft's security record is reason enough to call their
products shoddy.

And, Anthony, please *do not* CC me in your reply. Just reply to the
list. Thanks.
- --
Matthew Graybosch
http://www.starbreaker.net
GnuPG Key ID: 0x7D488659
"Sex, Unix, and rock 'n roll"
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Anthony Atkielski

unread,
Nov 28, 2001, 11:53:19 PM11/28/01
to
Matthew writes:

> Not to mention arguing from popularity instead
> of the technical merits of Windows.

Windows would be (barely) preferable on technical merits alone, although that is
not the sole reason for its success. Unfortunately, operating systems do not
succeed or fail based on technical merits alone; if they did, we'd be running
FreeMultics instead of FreeBSD.

> Windows may well be the *worst* choice from a
> usability standpoint, IMHO.

I've explained several times at length why this is not so.

> Any script kiddie with a rudimentary knowledge
> of VB can write worms and Trojans that can cause
> serious damage to a Windows machine should the
> user let down her guard for even a moment.

Windows is not intended to be a secure system. The security requirements of
desktop systems are very modest, since they should normally be behind firewalls.

> Windows insists on abstracting everything from
> the user, so that the user is mostly insulated
> from the consequences of her actions.

That's exactly what most Windows users prefer.

> If I need to get under the hood for any reason,
> even to indulge my curiosity, then I have to
> get past all the bondage and discipline built
> into Windows.

Most users never want to get under the hood.

> Windows is sloppily coded ...

True of Windows 9x and its blood predecessors. Not true of NT. NT is rather
cleanly written, especially in the kernel. Looking at the two sources
side-by-side, you can often recognize the Windows 9x stuff at a glance.

> ... and wastes the potential of just about
> every computer it touches.

Most desktop systems are so dramatically overpowered that wasteful coding is the
only way to keep them busy. Since their horsepower is wasted if it isn't used,
anyway, using it makes no difference.

Of course, the situation is different for servers, which is one of many reasons
why Windows is not ideal for servers.

> Among other things, Windows insists on using
> the swapfile as much as possible, instead of
> real memory, which needlessly wastes disk space
> and causes utterly unnecessary disk I/O should
> I actually try to push the computer.

How did you determine this?

Note that the event-driven architecture of Windows requires a lot of swapping in
itself, regardless of memory-management algorithms. For example, significant
events must be signalled to _every_ program that owns windows, and that means
that every program must be in memory to process the events, which often requires
a ton of swapping. I've seen this on many occasions.

UNIX does not communicate between processes or between system nearly as much,
particularly with respect to asynchronous events. As a result, it does not have
to constantly swap processes in just to tell them that a user has, say, moved a
mouse.

> Installing or removing even the most trivial
> applications requires proprietary automated
> tools like InstallShield because of the
> Registry, a beast nasty enough to make Great
> Cthulhu look as cuddly as a kitten in a basket.

Yes, but from a user standpoint, it is much more ergonomic than in UNIX.

> Quite frankly, dealing with Windows on a home
> desktop, or even a work desktop, is more
> aggravation than most of us get paid for.

You are projecting the attitudes of many IT professionals onto the user
community at large. But only a very tiny fraction of Windows users--and desktop
users in general--works in IT.

Most of the characteristics you see as drawbacks are seen as advantages by the
huge majority of non-IT users.

> Frankly, it sounds like you're religiously
> devoted to Windows on the desktop.

Not religiously devoted, just objective enough to recognize that Windows is the
best desktop solution at this time.

> When I argue that FreeBSD is better for desktop
> use than Windows, I argue from roughly five
> years of self-taught experience.

Why don't you argue that FreeBSD is better for server use? At least then you
are not fighting a losing battle. Or must FreeBSD be used for _everything_ in
order to satisfy you?

> Don't just say that "there are many reasons".
> List them, and please explain why you consider
> them reasons to use Windows.

I list them over, and over, and over, but the faithful never seem to notice.

> To begin with, a significant portion of the
> 100K apps you mention are games.

So? The purpose of a computer is to do what its user wants it to do. Lots of
users like to play games.

> Many of the others are either shareware or

> freeware ...

Just like FreeBSD?

> ... much of it as bug-ridden as a 30-year old
> hooker from Queens.

Are you saying that freeware is likely to contain bugs? What does this imply
for FreeBSD, then?

> I think it'd be fair to say that the average
> Windows user might use 100 out of the 100K
> Windows apps you mention.

And in many cases, not a single one of those 100 applications exists in a UNIX
version.

> Most of these apps have BSD (or GNU/Linux)
> counterparts that are free as in beer if not
> free as in speech.

"Counterparts" aren't good enough. When you need to exchange Microsoft Word
files with someone, you need Microsoft Word, not just any generic word
processor.

> Quite frankly, there's no reason for formatting
> a document using MS' proprietary *.DOC format
> when they look just as good in properly formatted
> HTML.

HTML provides far less control over formatting than MS Word. And MS Word seems
hopelessly imprecise to those of us who do our work in Quark XPress.

> Of course, I wouldn't take an HTML document from a
> Windows user without first using the Demoronizer,
> but that's what I get for having friends that use
> Windows.

I suggest that people send me documents in PDF.

> Now, if I went by market figures, I could conclude
> that the Backstreet Boys are a better band than
> Iron Maiden, and the Britney Spears is a better
> singer than Sarah Brightman.

I'm not familiar with any of these persons or organizations, so I cannot
comment.

> Now, why should people put up with the security
> holes and the general incompetence surr

What?

Anyway, most desktop users care nothing about security.

> I insist on differing on this point. I think that
> the harder a system is to program for, the harder
> it is to write quality software.

That's not what I said. I said that the more friendly a system is for a user,
the more difficult it is to write software for it, and that is true.

Writing quality software requires only a competent engineer. Of course,
competent engineers are rare.

> If it's difficult to write quality software, then
> the user has to put up with mediocre software.

A poor workman blames his tools.

I can write software of top quality on _any_ platform.

> ... they do suffer when Windows programmers try to


> cut corners when the API becomes too nightmarish
> to handle.

Or when Windows programmers reach the limits of their competence, which often
doesn't take very long.

> Personally, I think you fall back on the religion
> thing because you cannot convince us as to the

> correctness of your position ...

Yes. Religion is what prevents people from seeing the objective data. For
example, I've explained again and again why Windows is preferable on the
destkop, and yet the true believers continue to ask me for explanations--they do
not even see them when I provide them.

But I do not seek to convince anyone in particular. True believers cannot be
convinced; but people without partisan feelings may look at what I say, and be
better informed, and make better choices.

> ... yet cannot concede that since we are not


> "average users" we have no reason to tolerate
> an OS geared to "average users".

It's not tolerance, it's preference. Average users have no preferences; they
use whatever gets the job done. Geeks like us have preferences (usually), as we
tend to use computers for their own sake, rather than as tools to get jobs done.

I'm a bit different in that I use computers to get work done, not just as
playthings. As a result, I've had to face the realities of what is really best
for a given purpose, as opposed to what I think might be cool to run.

> Yes, any schmuck can write programs for Windows.

That's one reason why there are so many Windows applications out there.

> However, anybody *willing to make an effort* can
> write programs for FBSD.

No special effort is required to write programs for FreeBSD. It's at least as
easy as Windows, and in fact I consider it at least an order of magnitude
easier. However, most people write software for the purpose of earning money,
and there is more money in Windows applications, usually, because of the larger
user base.

Additionally, many of the less competent programmers don't even know what UNIX
is. They just write for whatever machine they have in front of them.

> With Windows, on the other hand, the dominant
> programming tools come from MS: the Visual
> Studio tools, and they cost an arm and a leg.

For someone writing code for a living, these tools are just a cost of doing
business. Only people coding for fun worry about the cost of the tools.

> Funny, I thought that Microsoft was a good example
> of what happens when marketing considerations are
> given priority over writing solid code.

Nobody writing for the consumer market writes solid code, as that is not what
consumers want. Still, overall, nobody writes more solid code for that market
than Microsoft.

Simon Morton

unread,
Nov 28, 2001, 11:55:23 PM11/28/01
to
Anthony Atkielski wrote:

> Simon writes:
>
>
>>As someone who spent 4+ years developing
>>highly graphical, highly interactive, and highly
>>hardware-dependent single user applications
>>for Unix-based (SGI) workstations, I can
>>assure you that the above statements
>>have very little basis in reality.
>>
>
> As someone who has worked with mainframes and timesharing systems for years, I
> can assure you that it is right.
>
> Perhaps you can explain the utility of a multiuser environment for a single-user
> desktop graphics workstation.


More to the point: you have stated yourself that UNIX-like systems are
suited for server applications (no interactive users) and time-sharing
applications (multiple interactive users). You have failed to provide
a single concrete justification for your contention that a system
supporting exactly one interactive user requires a radically different
architecture from one that supports both 0 (less than one) and n (more
than one.)


>
>>There are many reasons that Windows is the
>>dominant force on the desktop today but they
>>have everything to do with marketing and
>>economics and very little to do with operating
>>system design.
>>
>
> That is a common misconception, held dear and defended by those with axes to
> grind or religions to defend. Microsoft wanted the desktop GUI market and went
> after it. Most UNIX vendors did not.


Oh, right, and that had nothing to with marketing or economics.


Simon


--
http://www.SimonMorton.com
smorton at acm dot org
\rm -rf /bin/laden

Mark Yeck

unread,
Nov 29, 2001, 12:02:11 AM11/29/01
to
> Mark writes:
> The obvious question, then, is: How did Microsoft ever come to
> dominate any market, if its dominance depends on already being
> dominant?

From what I saw during the years of Microsoft's rise, the came to dominate
the market through a combination of their own wise business decisions and
unwise decisions of their competitors, mainly Apple and IBM who made a
plethora of poor decisions, and the UNIX vendors who mostly chose to target
a completely different market than Microsoft. Microsoft dominated the PC
desktop and UNIX vendors dominated high end RISC workstation desktops. As PC
hardware became more powerful and their price remained about the same, they
began to compete very well with lower end RISC workstations, moving
Microsoft into markets that were solidly dominated by UNIX. Technical
superiority or desktop usability had almost no role in their rise to
dominance.

[arguement 1 snipped]


> At least 99.9% of desktop users are just like your mother.
>
> That's one argument in favor of Windows.

[arguement 2 snipped]
> That's two.
[arguement 3 snipped]


> That's three.
>
> For someone who seems to doubt the superiority of Windows on the
> desktop, you certainly are arguing persuasively in its favor.

Indeed. Three somewhat powerful arguements. None of them related to any sort
of technical superiority. I'm no FreeBSD zealot, but in almost all technical
respects including usability on the desktop, I find it superior to Windows.
There are plenty of reasons to use Microsoft products. My point is that
these reasons are all directly related to market dominance and not superior
design.

In fact, here's another one that I forgot: because of the dominance of
Windows, all hardware vendors make sure to have Windows drivers for their
products when they are released. Most wont provide a UNIX driver until
later, if at all. This has nothing to do with who has the superior design,
and everything to do with market dominance.

-mark

Anthony Atkielski

unread,
Nov 29, 2001, 12:24:45 AM11/29/01
to
Simon writes:

> More to the point: you have stated yourself that
> UNIX-like systems are suited for server applications
> (no interactive users) and time-sharing applications
> (multiple interactive users).

Yes, although server applications are still interactive from the OS standpoint.
I believe the superiority of UNIX in these domains is widely acknowledged.

> You have failed to provide a single concrete
> justification for your contention that a system
> supporting exactly one interactive user requires
> a radically different architecture from one that
> supports both 0 (less than one) and n (more
> than one.)

Interesting that you accept the first statement without comment, but you want
"justification" for the second. Odd that you have two different standards of
proof--based perhaps on what you prefer to believe?

> Oh, right, and that had nothing to with marketing
> or economics.

That would be an exaggeration, but Windows would not have succeeded on marketing
alone. The system had to do what people wanted, and so Microsoft engineered it
to do exactly that. These decisions haunt them now in their attempt to conquer
the server market, but they also ensure continued dominance on the desktop.

Simon Morton

unread,
Nov 29, 2001, 1:07:00 AM11/29/01
to
Anthony Atkielski wrote:

>>More to the point: you have stated yourself that
>>UNIX-like systems are suited for server applications
>>(no interactive users) and time-sharing applications
>>(multiple interactive users).
>>
> Yes, although server applications are still interactive from the OS standpoint.
> I believe the superiority of UNIX in these domains is widely acknowledged.
>
>>You have failed to provide a single concrete
>>justification for your contention that a system
>>supporting exactly one interactive user requires
>>a radically different architecture from one that
>>supports both 0 (less than one) and n (more
>>than one.)
>>
> Interesting that you accept the first statement without comment, but you want
> "justification" for the second. Odd that you have two different standards of
> proof--based perhaps on what you prefer to believe?


Well I think we are consuming enough bandwidth as it is without
demanding justification for things we both agree on. I have
been trying (without success I might add) to get you to explain
the inconsistency in your position. If UNIX is good for 0 users
(server) and 2 users (time-sharing), why is it no good for 1 user?
What is so special about the number 1?

That is my last word on the subject. I'm sure most people on the
list are beyond fed up with this thread by now. I know I am.

Simon
--
http://www.SimonMorton.com
smorton at acm dot org
\rm -rf /bin/laden

Mark Yeck

unread,
Nov 29, 2001, 1:19:49 AM11/29/01
to
hum. i'd hoped not to get sucked too deep into this thread, but here goes...

> Mark writes:
> Yes, but Windows still has the technical advantage of being
> purpose-built for the desktop, whereas UNIX does not. Thus, someone
> choosing a desktop for the first time today would be well advised to
> choose Windows even on a purely technical basis alone.

Yes, you've mentioned that repeatedly. Being purpose-built isnt in and of
itself a technical advantage and it could be argued that it's offset by the
fact that UNIX was on the desktop years before Windows existed. As far as I
can recall, the only strictly technical arguement you've offered was the
tighter integration with the hardware (mostly for games).

> Neither is your explanation above of UNIX domination of high-end
> workstations.

True. I didnt think the technical reasons were relevant. At the risk of
getting even further off topic:

-this isnt strictly a technical advantage, but at the time that UNIX was
gaining it's dominance of workstations, Microsoft offered only DOS and
eventually Win3.0 and 3.1.
-RISC workstations used a wide variety of hardware and UNIX offered a
relatively consistant interface to all of them.
-UNIX's networking capabilities made it particularly well suited to the
applications that the workstations were used for. Capabilities including:
-Networked Filesystems
-Network transparent display(Xwindows)

I'm sure there were other things that I cant remember right now. Many
capabilities that UNIX had then are now offered by Microsoft to some degree,
including real multitasking and networked filesystems.

-mark

Anthony Atkielski

unread,
Nov 29, 2001, 1:45:59 AM11/29/01
to
Simon writes:

> Well I think we are consuming enough bandwidth
> as it is without demanding justification for
> things we both agree on.

Or perhaps you realize that the things we agree on cannot be "justified" any
more than the things on which we disagree, but admitting that would destroy your
attempt to discredit my assertions by demanding justification for them.

> If UNIX is good for 0 users (server) and 2 users
> (time-sharing), why is it no good for 1 user?

First of all, server use and timesharing use are both multiuser enviroments.
And multiuser design differs significantly from single-user design.

> What is so special about the number 1?

Remember this question the next time you feel inclined to, say, complain about
Microsoft being a "monopoly."

> That is my last word on the subject. I'm sure
> most people on the list are beyond fed up with
> this thread by now. I know I am.

If you are fed up, all you have to do is stop replying.

Christopher Farley

unread,
Nov 29, 2001, 2:30:12 AM11/29/01
to
Anthony Atkielski (ant...@freebie.atkielski.com) wrote:

> > My mother, for example, may be better off using
> > Windows on her desktop, not for any technical
> > reason, because if she has a problem she can ask
> > almost anyone who uses computers about it.
>

> That's one argument in favor of Windows.

The flip side of this is that if you have a *real* problem with Windows,
it is often impossible to cut through the noise when doing a Google
search for help. There's a tremendous amount of bad advice out there.
And Microsoft's Knowledge Base is almost always a waste of time.

Solving problems on a FreeBSD box is comparatively easy. I do a Google
search on this list and I almost never have to ask a question here.
Minimal noise.

Personally, I would never argue that FreeBSD should be installed on
everyone's desktop. But I'm pretty sure it belongs on mine.

I began buying personal computers back when the owner's manuals
contained instructions for programming your computer. To me, and
to many others, that's what you do with a computer: you program
it.

Microsoft has *completely* stripped that aspect of computing from
Windows. As such, the default install of Windows (any flavor) is a
terrible desktop environment for someone who still wants to do some
programming.

Microsoft has raised a whole generation of people who believe that
in order to program a computer, you've got to purchase a copy of
Microsoft Visual Studio for $950. Sure you could use gcc, but
Windows doesn't even provide a text editor with line numbers. I got
one off of TuCows, but it *expired* after 30 days and I didn't
really think it was worth $30. By the time I realized I could have
been running Emacs, I had already wiped WinNT from my desktop for
good.

FreeBSD, because of its academic/UNIX heritage, makes an absolutely
wonderful desktop for programmers. The default install contains one of
the greatest programming editors of all time (vi), compilers for C and
C++, a Perl interpreter, and one of the greatest version control systems
ever made (CVS). And yes, I want all this on my desktop machine, and
wouldn't feel right without it.

Plus, FreeBSD has a shell you can use productively, which is
important for those of us who believe that one can be far more
productive in a shell than in a GUI. (Try globbing filenames in a
GUI, buster!) The "Command Prompt/MS-DOS Prompt" is a very sorry
excuse for a shell, and it obviously hasn't been taken seriously
since MS-DOS 6. I think I could be more productive talking
my mother through a /bin/sh session than using the Command Prompt
directly. The situation is so dire I've installed Cygwin on *every*
Windows computer I need to use, if for no other reason than filename
completion.

The mere existence and popularity of Cygwin demonstrates that many
people prefer a Unix architecture to a Windows one. For many, this
preference is a general preference, whether you are in a server
environment or a desktop environment.

When you also consider that FreeBSD has an excellent web browser,
many superior email/news clients, nice CD ripping/burning software,
PDF viewers, xv and the GIMP, what more do you really need a computer
for?

Strike that. What else do *I* need a computer for?

--
Christopher Farley
www.northernbrewer.com

Anthony Atkielski

unread,
Nov 29, 2001, 2:49:57 AM11/29/01
to
Christopher writes:

> The flip side of this is that if you have a
> *real* problem with Windows, it is often impossible
> to cut through the noise when doing a Google
> search for help.

I agree, although FreeBSD is not much better in this regard. I console myself
with the fact that FreeBSD is a much simpler OS, and I have the source, so in
theory it should fail less often, and if worse comes to worst, I could
theoretically find problems myself (that's quite a stretch of theory, however).

> And Microsoft's Knowledge Base is almost always
> a waste of time.

True, but many vendors have nothing at all.

> To me, and to many others, that's what you do
> with a computer: you program it.

A good definition of a computer geek. Geeks are not the majority.

> Microsoft has *completely* stripped that aspect
> of computing from Windows.

That's what users want.

> As such, the default install of Windows (any
> flavor) is a terrible desktop environment for
> someone who still wants to do some programming.

The default install is not intended for developers, and developers know how to
fix things themselves.

> Microsoft has raised a whole generation of people
> who believe that in order to program a computer,
> you've got to purchase a copy of Microsoft Visual
> Studio for $950.

Most of the options for Windows cost money.

> FreeBSD, because of its academic/UNIX heritage,
> makes an absolutely wonderful desktop for programmers.

No doubt about that. But most people don't use computers for the sake of using
computers, so this doesn't help the OS in larger terms.

Perhaps Microsoft has raised a generation of people to think that Visual Studio
is a necessity, but universities have raised a generation of CS majors to
believe that the only OS in the world is UNIX.

> And yes, I want all this on my desktop machine, and
> wouldn't feel right without it.

So what do you write, with all this programming activity?

> The mere existence and popularity of Cygwin
> demonstrates that many people prefer a Unix architecture
> to a Windows one.

The market numbers seem to indicate that the overwhelming majority of computer
users prefer a GUI. The situation may be different for the geeks, however.

> When you also consider that FreeBSD has an excellent

> web browser ...

Which browser is that? Lynx is very nice, but unfortunately it cannot handle
graphics. Is there a graphic browser that does _not_ require X?

Ken McGlothlen

unread,
Nov 29, 2001, 3:01:20 AM11/29/01
to
Look, folks, Anthony only responds to people he thinks he can argue with; he's
entirely ignored a lot of folks with good points. He's not interested in
discussion, he wants an argument, and while I know that would be a great
lead-in to a Python reference, this isn't the best place for it.

Can we let it drop? He's a troll. I've noted that, and I plan on ignoring him
from here on out. Can we move on now?

Micke Josefsson

unread,
Nov 29, 2001, 3:03:10 AM11/29/01
to

On 29-Nov-2001 Anthony Atkielski wrote:
> Matthew writes:
>
[snip]

>
> Windows is not intended to be a secure system. The security requirements of
> desktop systems are very modest, since they should normally be behind
> firewalls.
>

I beg to differ here. Any system that is going to be used today must have a high
security level. Specially so, since a dominating system, such as windows, will
have to deal, not only with games, but with more or less confidential data. Not
all companies enjoy seeing their internal documents distributed freely via email.

So, while perhaps not intended to be a secure system - it should be!

Firewalls do a bit of the job but they cannot do everything needed to protect an
internal net. The "local" security of the individual client machines also matter.
There is no way to get around that. Any security flaw inside any computer is
going to be exploited sooner or later. FreeBSD or Windows!


>> Windows insists on abstracting everything from
>> the user, so that the user is mostly insulated
>> from the consequences of her actions.
>
> That's exactly what most Windows users prefer.

Until their box crashes mysteriously. Granted, many users don't mind
reinstalling the lot, but I cannot get past a feeling that there must be
something seriously wrong with that approach.

>
>> If I need to get under the hood for any reason,
>> even to indulge my curiosity, then I have to
>> get past all the bondage and discipline built
>> into Windows.
>
> Most users never want to get under the hood.


True. That is why FreeBSD uses root versus any other user for administrative
tasks. "Normal users" should not need to have any knowledgde of what is going
on inside the computer - below KDE or whatever - they should only have to deal
with the programs they need, to get their work done. Tinkering with the system is
a root-issue.

With windows, users can easily install any (crappy) old software and make the
system unstable or worse. For a home/game-box this is OK by me, but for serious
work I find this totally unacceptable.

I realise that that the proliferation of the windows desktop make computers
easier to handle for many, but at the cost of what? A properly setup FreeBSD box
is also easy to use for the normal tasks: opening/sending emails, starting a
word processor, enter data into spreadsheets etc.

A recent swedish survey concluded that 2 work-hours every week per person on an
average is lost due to computers malfunctioning in some way or another. Why is
it that BSODs are so known? Because they appear too often!

>
[snip]


>
>> Installing or removing even the most trivial
>> applications requires proprietary automated
>> tools like InstallShield because of the
>> Registry, a beast nasty enough to make Great
>> Cthulhu look as cuddly as a kitten in a basket.
>
> Yes, but from a user standpoint, it is much more ergonomic than in UNIX.

Is a registry such a bad idea really? /var/db/pkg is a good thing but a more
general approach could very well be beneficial to FreeBSD as well? Of course
when it breaks that is not good, but there should be strategies with backups and
such.

>
>> Quite frankly, dealing with Windows on a home
>> desktop, or even a work desktop, is more
>> aggravation than most of us get paid for.
>
> You are projecting the attitudes of many IT professionals onto the user
> community at large. But only a very tiny fraction of Windows users--and
> desktop users in general--works in IT.


But many of the users still suffer from the deficiencies built right into the
system. On numerous occasions have I had to help out users with both minor and
major tasks that were sooo easily done in FreeBSD and sooo difficult in windows.
Most of them only emplyed some sed - and a little bit of awk on the command line.

Perhaps my background has helped me there a bit, but doing these tasks in
windows just seemed not likely.

>
> Most of the characteristics you see as drawbacks are seen as advantages by the
> huge majority of non-IT users.
>
>> Frankly, it sounds like you're religiously
>> devoted to Windows on the desktop.
>
> Not religiously devoted, just objective enough to recognize that Windows is
> the best desktop solution at this time.

I always found that the WPS in OS/2 was the more easy to use GUI. I find it
much, much, much better than any X-ish windowmanager I have come across and
much, much, much smoother than the Windows GUI.

(Bordering to religion here...)

>
>> When I argue that FreeBSD is better for desktop
>> use than Windows, I argue from roughly five
>> years of self-taught experience.
>
> Why don't you argue that FreeBSD is better for server use?

It is. Too.

> At least then you
> are not fighting a losing battle. Or must FreeBSD be used for _everything_ in
> order to satisfy you?

No. But it can (and IMHO, should) be used more than it is today. Some shops will
definately benefit from Windows but many would do better or equal using FreeBSD.

>[snip]

>> To begin with, a significant portion of the
>> 100K apps you mention are games.
>
> So? The purpose of a computer is to do what its user wants it to do. Lots of
> users like to play games.

Which is exactly where Windows fits in. For work however, FreeBSD is an
alternative. (read that sentence the way I meant it....:)

>
>> Many of the others are either shareware or
>> freeware ...
>
> Just like FreeBSD?
>
>> ... much of it as bug-ridden as a 30-year old
>> hooker from Queens.
>
> Are you saying that freeware is likely to contain bugs? What does this imply
> for FreeBSD, then?
>
>> I think it'd be fair to say that the average
>> Windows user might use 100 out of the 100K
>> Windows apps you mention.
>
> And in many cases, not a single one of those 100 applications exists in a UNIX
> version.
>
>> Most of these apps have BSD (or GNU/Linux)
>> counterparts that are free as in beer if not
>> free as in speech.
>
> "Counterparts" aren't good enough. When you need to exchange Microsoft Word
> files with someone, you need Microsoft Word, not just any generic word
> processor.
>
>> Quite frankly, there's no reason for formatting
>> a document using MS' proprietary *.DOC format
>> when they look just as good in properly formatted
>> HTML.

Hear, hear! There is nothing that makes proprietary document formats
automatically superior. The world would be better off with open standards on
documents. I don't really see why Microsoft don't let the specs out for the
.DOC-format. If the format is good and widely accepted they would still sell MS
Word.


>
> I suggest that people send me documents in PDF.


Mee too. Or plain postscript.

>
>> Now, if I went by market figures, I could conclude
>> that the Backstreet Boys are a better band than
>> Iron Maiden

They most emphatically are not. Maiden rulez!

>, and the Britney Spears is a better
>> singer than Sarah Brightman.
>
> I'm not familiar with any of these persons or organizations, so I cannot
> comment.
>
>> Now, why should people put up with the security
>> holes and the general incompetence surr
>
> What?
>
> Anyway, most desktop users care nothing about security.

Until virii strikes again, and again, and again, ...
They realize that they should have thought about it.

>
[lots snipped]


----------------------------------
Michael Josefsson, MSEE
m...@isy.liu.se

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Anthony Atkielski

unread,
Nov 29, 2001, 3:20:34 AM11/29/01
to
Micke writes:

> Any system that is going to be used today must
> have a high security level.

Careful ... you risk locking UNIX out of the picture if you insist on really
high security.

Anyway, desktops don't need security any more than a person's wallet needs
security in his own home. And even if you provide it, people won't use it.

> Any security flaw inside any computer is
> going to be exploited sooner or later.
> FreeBSD or Windows!

Well, Windows NT wins for security, if that's what matters. Windows 9x is no
better than FreeBSD (somewhat worse, actually).

> Until their box crashes mysteriously.

Crashes usually are not frequent enough to be an issue.

> Granted, many users don't mind reinstalling

> the lot ...

I've encountered users who reinstall several times a month, and consider
reinstallation a reasonable way to deal with problems. I can't imagine what
they do that is useful with their machines, since useful work tends to be
difficult to carry out when you rebuild the machine from scratch every two
weeks.

> ... but I cannot get past a feeling that there


> must be something seriously wrong with that approach.

Agreed. See above.

> With windows, users can easily install any
> (crappy) old software and make the system unstable
> or worse.

Only on Windows 9x. On NT/2000, you must log on as an administrator to install
many types of software.

> I realise that that the proliferation of the windows
> desktop make computers easier to handle for many,
> but at the cost of what?

The cost is pretty low. It does tend to homogenize the user base and give
dominant products an edge, and it requires more hardware, and there are a few
other disadvantages--but overall, it's the best deal for the average user. Just
look at AOL.

> A properly setup FreeBSD box is also easy to use for
> the normal tasks: opening/sending emails, starting a
> word processor, enter data into spreadsheets etc.

And who is going to properly set it up?

> A recent swedish survey concluded that 2 work-hours
> every week per person on an average is lost due to
> computers malfunctioning in some way or another. Why is
> it that BSODs are so known?

"Malfunctioning in some way or another" does not equate to a BSOD. A lot more
time would be lost by average users in working with FreeBSD (or any other flavor
of UNIX) than in working with Windows, for equivalent output. Of course, some
users live just to play around and deal with malfunctions ... for those users,
there is Linux.

> Is a registry such a bad idea really?

I don't know. It's a single point of vulnerability, and if it is opaque, you
need special interfaces to deal with it (and if these fail, you're out of luck).
I think it's a wash, myself. However, on FreeBSD, at least I can worry a bit
less about damaging the entire system if I accidentally change one file.

> /var/db/pkg is a good thing but a more general
> approach could very well be beneficial to FreeBSD
> as well?

I'd be extremely cautious about moving in that direction. That's how Windows
ended up where it is today.

The problem with friendly, automated interfaces is when they don't work. And it
takes a lot of effort to build an inteface such that it never fails to work.

> On numerous occasions have I had to help out users
> with both minor and major tasks that were sooo
> easily done in FreeBSD and sooo difficult in windows.

And never vice versa?

> I always found that the WPS in OS/2 was the
> more easy to use GUI.

If you prefer FreeBSD, this is understandable. OS/2 looked way too much like
MS-DOS for my tastes, even though it wasn't.

> No. But it can (and IMHO, should) be used more
> than it is today. Some shops will definately benefit
> from Windows but many would do better or equal
> using FreeBSD.

For servers, that is certainly true. For desktops, I have serious doubts.

> The world would be better off with open standards on
> documents.

That already exists, in the form of PDF (and PostScript).

> I don't really see why Microsoft don't let the
> specs out for the .DOC-format.

Because the specs change from one release to the next. The .DOC format is a
terribly poor way to exchange documents, and additionally it carries the danger
of viruses.

> Mee too. Or plain postscript.

PS sometimes doesn't render as intended, depending on how you have your
rendering software set up. PDF is a stripped descendant of PS that leaves
little room for alternate interpretation, so a document prepared with PDF looks
pretty much identical no matter where you display or print it.

> Until virii strikes again, and again, and again, ...
> They realize that they should have thought about it.

But they continue to open attachments.

Micke Josefsson

unread,
Nov 29, 2001, 4:09:05 AM11/29/01
to

On 29-Nov-2001 Anthony Atkielski wrote:
> Micke writes:
>
>> Any system that is going to be used today must
>> have a high security level.
>
> Careful ... you risk locking UNIX out of the picture if you insist on really
> high security.
>
> Anyway, desktops don't need security any more than a person's wallet needs
> security in his own home. And even if you provide it, people won't use it.

I feel much more comfortable with FreeBSD than with Windows, securitywise. But
you have already gathered that, I guess...

root! I run some 50 boxes dual boot win/FBSD. I set them all up and after some
iterations they seem to work as intended. All but one are for desktop use by
others.

>
>> A recent swedish survey concluded that 2 work-hours
>> every week per person on an average is lost due to
>> computers malfunctioning in some way or another. Why is
>> it that BSODs are so known?
>
> "Malfunctioning in some way or another" does not equate to a BSOD.

Correct. I heard the survey on the radio, I haven't been able to get it proper.
I would be an interesting read.

> A lot more time would be lost by average users in working with FreeBSD (or any
other flavor of UNIX) than in working with Windows, for equivalent output.

Hmm. Perhaps. But much of the work done in any job is word processing, and the
tools exist for that also in the Unix domain.

> Of course, some users live just to play around and deal with malfunctions ...
> for those users, there is Linux.

My coworker uses linux. Still, after several years, I have a definite feeling
that he deals much more with lib-this and lib-that that is needed to get the
programs running.


>
>> Is a registry such a bad idea really?
>
> I don't know. It's a single point of vulnerability, and if it is opaque, you
> need special interfaces to deal with it (and if these fail, you're out of
> luck).
> I think it's a wash, myself. However, on FreeBSD, at least I can worry a bit
> less about damaging the entire system if I accidentally change one file.
>
>> /var/db/pkg is a good thing but a more general
>> approach could very well be beneficial to FreeBSD
>> as well?
>
> I'd be extremely cautious about moving in that direction. That's how Windows
> ended up where it is today.
>
> The problem with friendly, automated interfaces is when they don't work. And
> it takes a lot of effort to build an inteface such that it never fails to
> work.

I shouldn't need to be automated/cryptic. /etc/defaults/rc.conf contains a
myriad of settings and is still legible - sort of.


>> On numerous occasions have I had to help out users
>> with both minor and major tasks that were sooo
>> easily done in FreeBSD and sooo difficult in windows.
>
> And never vice versa?

In fact no. To keep the records straight I have to admit that I also use Windows
but mostly when adminning it and to get pictures downloaded from my
PalmPix camera. Sure, there are applications that only exist in the windows world
but I can often live on happily without them. (Still looking for a tiny
BRIEF-editor clone for BSD, and that is a DOS survival)

>
>> I always found that the WPS in OS/2 was the
>> more easy to use GUI.
>
> If you prefer FreeBSD, this is understandable. OS/2 looked way too much like
> MS-DOS for my tastes, even though it wasn't.

But the GUI is marvellous. You can even copy between several directories
simultaneously and start other apps at the same time. Windows more or less locks
up during a single copy-ing.

>
>> No. But it can (and IMHO, should) be used more
>> than it is today. Some shops will definately benefit
>> from Windows but many would do better or equal
>> using FreeBSD.
>
> For servers, that is certainly true. For desktops, I have serious doubts.

My "50 box experience" supports my statement. For the average user I would love
to see statistics. My users are university students.

>
>> The world would be better off with open standards on
>> documents.
>
> That already exists, in the form of PDF (and PostScript).
>
>> I don't really see why Microsoft don't let the
>> specs out for the .DOC-format.
>
> Because the specs change from one release to the next. The .DOC format is a
> terribly poor way to exchange documents, and additionally it carries the
> danger of viruses.

Still it keeps coming. I have come to regard the doc-format as encrypted and if
staroffice can't cope I generally drop it. Unless it appears to be VERY
important. BTW, I have grown a liking towards RTF since when I discovered how
easy it was to edit the raw data.

>
>> Mee too. Or plain postscript.
>
> PS sometimes doesn't render as intended, depending on how you have your
> rendering software set up. PDF is a stripped descendant of PS that leaves
> little room for alternate interpretation, so a document prepared with PDF
> looks pretty much identical no matter where you display or print it.

I use Lyx and its pstopdf conversion a lot and I am not really happy with the
conversion. Perhaps it is the free implementation that is not up to scratch, but
similar results also come from Adobe Distiller on our Solaris system.

>
>> Until virii strikes again, and again, and again, ...
>> They realize that they should have thought about it.
>
> But they continue to open attachments.

Amazingly they do!

>
>
> To Unsubscribe: send mail to majo...@FreeBSD.org
> with "unsubscribe freebsd-questions" in the body of the message

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m...@isy.liu.se

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Ted Mittelstaedt

unread,
Nov 29, 2001, 6:50:02 AM11/29/01
to
>-----Original Message-----
>From: owner-freeb...@FreeBSD.ORG
>[mailto:owner-freeb...@FreeBSD.ORG]On Behalf Of Anthony
>Atkielski
>Sent: Wednesday, November 28, 2001 8:16 PM
>To: Andrew C. Hornback; Mike Meyer
>Cc: ques...@FreeBSD.ORG
>Subject: Re: Feeding the Troll (Was: freebsd as a desktop ?)
>
>
>
>No. I come from a non-religious point of view, and when one is not
>encumbered
>by religious faith in a particular platform or operating system, one tends to
>see advantages and disadvantages of each system more clearly. I do
>not worship
>a FreeBSD god (nor a Windows god), so I do not feel frightened by the idea of
>running two completely different operating systems for two entirely different
>purposes. I choose the tool that fits the job.
>

You know I thought I might stay out of this one this time around, but this
is getting just too disconnected from reality to tolerate.

If anyone knows anything about the suitability of Windows to the desktop and
FreeBSD to the server I ought to.

Anthony, you have got to understand something before you continue on with
this,
that is the wide variation of computer usage in the world. Your arguing from
a United States viewpoint in a world forum, and you don't understand it.

Here in the US there is a very good reason that Windows is "more suited" to
the desktop than UNIX is. This is that 80% of all business in the US are
under the 100-employee mark, and to put it simply the vast majority of
non-high-tech companies cannot afford to hire
the top drawer IT administrators that can make an effective decision between
using UNIX or using FreeBSD for either the server or the desktop. In fact,
the majority of these companies don't even HAVE a network manager, and survive
entirely on $50-per-hour consultants that work out of a '73 Ford Pinto and
a cell phone. Even if network managers were plentiful at the prices they
could
afford to pay them, they wouldn't hire them as full time employees simply
because
most of these business just don't value Information Technology (IT) all that
much.

Now, when you have a company that regards IT as a necessary evil, something
to try to spend as little money on as possible, (which most of these companies
do) the absolute last thing they care about is suitability of the software
they are running to their overall information infrastructure. The primary
thing
they care about is cost - and they can get El-Crapo PC computers for pennies
down at K-Mart, which all used to come with Windows 98 loaded on them. Well,
the
$50-per-hour-Ford-Pinto consultants make most of their money off of these
folks
and since these companies all figure that if the consultant is at the site
more than 2 hours he's robbing them blind, the consultants have learned how to
go in, make
as few changes as possible with the maximum number of bandaids, then get the
hell out while they can still issue a bill that has a remote chance of being
paid.

So what it boils down to is that the reason that Windows is so suitable here
is
because we are flooded with the $50-per-hour-work-out-of-their-van Windows
consultants, and these people can be used and abused by the majority of
businesses
who wouldn't let a network manager onto the payroll over their dead bodies,
unless such network manger only worked 1/4 the time managing the network and
3/4 of the time running the cash register and asking "do you want fries with
that?"

In short, Windows is the CHEAPEST solution here in the US for most companies
to get somthing slapped down in front of the user to be able to read E-mail
and write a few wordprocessing documents - simply because for most companies,
the costs are in the outside consulting support they have to grudgingly hire,
rather than in the infrastructure, or software liscenses. In particular,
although you will never
get anyone to admit it, most of these companies have ONE Cd of Windows they
bought and load it on ALL of the systems they have under the roof. To them
the software
cost for Windows is the same as it is for FreeBSD because they are blatently
pirating the software.

Overseas, though, things are much different. In many countries there is no
real history of Windows usage, and do you know why that is? It's because the
dominant
commercial desktop OS for years and years was OS/2! Also, there's lots of
countries where Windows has not been localized to that country. There is
simply not this
giant pool of idle Windows admins kicking around like there is here.

Why do you think that they _had_ a BSDcon in Europe in 2001 and here the
BSDcon
that was supposed to happen in 2001 was washed down the drain? It's simple -
overseas they are used to paying a lot more for Microsoft products than we are
and I daresay that the total amount of piracy of Windows overseas (discounting
Asia where piracy is an institution) in businesses is far less than here in
the
US. In short, the environment is totally different, and penetration of
Windows is
far less. Just look at the financial reports for any large domestic software
vendor who has overseas sales broken out and you will see this.

In summary, your arguing from a classic "tech" position where you simply don't
take any of the financial/business/political issues into account, and so you
are
making the classic "tech" mistake where your putting far more emphasis on
the technical merits of one system over the other. Such things are important
to
you so you think they are important to any business that runs software. Well,
they AREN'T. Most of the computer market here in the US knows about as much
about how their computers operate as most of the automotive market knows how
their cars are bolted together. Thye buy the Microsoft dog food because it
comes in a big fat
economy-sized bag that's on sale with a coupon, instead of the FreeBSD dog
food
which 1 can costs the same and never goes on sale. They don't know or care
that
the Microsoft dog food is mostly shit-colored bread, while the FreeBSD dog
food is
real Meat and meat by-products.


Ted Mittelstaedt te...@toybox.placo.com
Author of: The FreeBSD Corporate Networker's Guide
Book website: http://www.freebsd-corp-net-guide.com

Marco Radzinschi

unread,
Nov 29, 2001, 10:57:32 AM11/29/01
to

On Thu, 29 Nov 2001, Anthony Atkielski wrote:

[snip!]

> Note that the event-driven architecture of Windows requires a lot of swapping in
> itself, regardless of memory-management algorithms. For example, significant
> events must be signalled to _every_ program that owns windows, and that means
> that every program must be in memory to process the events, which often requires
> a ton of swapping. I've seen this on many occasions.
>
> UNIX does not communicate between processes or between system nearly as much,
> particularly with respect to asynchronous events. As a result, it does not have
> to constantly swap processes in just to tell them that a user has, say, moved a
> mouse.

This is a MAJOR design flaw in Windows. The Operating System should take
care of these events, instead of signaling EVERY program so that THEY
independently take care of them.

In the X Window system, for example, the programs do not have to worry
about simple events. Much better design.


> > Frankly, it sounds like you're religiously
> > devoted to Windows on the desktop.
>
> Not religiously devoted, just objective enough to recognize that Windows is the
> best desktop solution at this time.
>

You are wrong in this regard. Windows is the best desktop solution for
you and many other people, but not for everyone. I would not want to do
video editing on Windows - not even Windows 2000.

Neither FreeBSD nor Windows is *BETTER* for the desktop. It all depends
on what the user intends to use the desktop computer for.

[snip!]

> > Quite frankly, there's no reason for formatting
> > a document using MS' proprietary *.DOC format
> > when they look just as good in properly formatted
> > HTML.
>
> HTML provides far less control over formatting than MS Word. And MS Word seems
> hopelessly imprecise to those of us who do our work in Quark XPress.

You are 100% correct on this, Mr. Atkielski. Word certainly does provide
more formatting control than HTML. Quark XPress also provides a hell of a
lot more control than Word. Comparing Quark to Word, though, is a bit
like comparing a Lamborghini or a Ferrari to a Chevrolet or Ford car. :-)

- Marco Radzinschi

Ken Bolingbroke

unread,
Nov 29, 2001, 1:11:07 PM11/29/01
to

On Wed, 28 Nov 2001, Anthony Atkielski wrote:

> I'm surprised that you think it requires demonstration. UNIX was


> designed to service hundreds of users sitting in front of dumb
> terminals; it was not designed to drive a single resource-intensive

You seem to be demonstrating your ignorance of computing history. The
original desktops and workstations were UNIX. Sun, SGI, etc, all have a
long history of making desktops, that predate all these PC upstarts like
Dell and Gateway.

PCs got a foothold for one reason: They were ridiculously cheap in
comparison to a UNIX workstation (and still are, unfortunately). Because
of this, small offices and so forth that couldn't justify the expense of a
UNIX workstation went with a PC. The independent programmers and
hobbyists also migrated towards the PC, and that led to a critical mass of
software that now makes Windows the de facto choice of desktops.

It never had anything to do with what was best suited for what, it was all
a matter of economics. PCs were so cheap, it never mattered that they
didn't have the power or GUI (back then) that UNIX had. People could
afford the former, but not the latter, so it was the PC they bought.

Sun still sells a nice array of desktops. They're not what you'd get for
the office secretary, but they definitely have their place, particularly
in heavy graphic and scientific applications. These are, and always have
been, even before the advent of Windows 1.0, single-user desktop systems.
That it ran the multi-user UNIX OS was pretty much irrevelant.


> It's interesting to see how hard people will try to prove or at least
> argue that their pet operating systems are the best for all purposes,

> or even adequate for all purposes. I've never seen an operating


> system that can do it all, and I expect that I never will.

That's a very unjustified misrepresentation you're making. I, for one,
certainly don't limit myself to one OS for everything, nor do I claim
there's a single OS to do everything. I don't see anyone else making that
claim either (though granted, I don't read every message in this thread).

Rather, we're making the point that if desired, FreeBSD can and does
serve quite well as a desktop system.

It's amusing that you're accusing everyone that disagrees with you of
religious fanaticism, because you're the only one I see trying to
arbitrarily limit choice--according to you, it must be Windows on the
desktop and FreeBSD on the server, no exceptions apparently.

Fortunately, we do have a choice, and for those that don't need
Windows-centric applications, the reliability and stability of FreeBSD
makes it an excellent choice for a desktop OS as well.


> Heavy desktop use requires NT and its descendants.

Sorry, but there's no such requirement. My heavy desktop needs are
sufficiently met with FreeBSD. I have a spare Windows machine _only_ for
a couple of time-wasting games. All my critical desktops apps stay on
FreeBSD, where they never need restarting or rebooting.

Ken Bolingbroke
hac...@bolingbroke.com

Marco Radzinschi

unread,
Nov 29, 2001, 1:41:44 PM11/29/01
to

On Thu, 29 Nov 2001, Ken Bolingbroke wrote:

[snip!]

> Sun still sells a nice array of desktops. They're not what you'd get for
> the office secretary, but they definitely have their place, particularly
> in heavy graphic and scientific applications. These are, and always have
> been, even before the advent of Windows 1.0, single-user desktop systems.
> That it ran the multi-user UNIX OS was pretty much irrevelant.

The use of a multiuser operating system is very relevant. A multiuser
operating system must unquestionably be very well suited to multitasking.

There is no such thing as "unitasking" anymore, perhaps with the exception
of DOS. Users now take multitasking on their "single user" machines for
granted, and with good reason.

Unix, being a multiuser system, is extremely well suited to multitasking.
Contrary to what Anthony Atkielski thinks, this also makes it very suited
to run a single user *multitasking* desktop machine.

As Ken points out, Unix machines still have their place in heavy graphics
and scientific applications, and it is due in large part to the superior
ability of Unix to multitask.

- Marco Radzinschi

Anthony Atkielski

unread,
Nov 29, 2001, 2:47:48 PM11/29/01
to
Ted writes:

> Your arguing from a United States viewpoint in
> a world forum, and you don't understand it.

Why would I argue from a "United States" viewpoint?

> Overseas, though, things are much different. In
> many countries there is no real history of Windows
> usage, and do you know why that is? It's because the
> dominant commercial desktop OS for years and years
> was OS/2!

The commercial desktop OS today is Windows in Europe. Most of the rest of the
world doesn't matter, anyway, since it has yet to discover running water. I
don't know what leads in the handful of other countries outside the U.S. with
healthy infrastructures, such as Japan or Australia.

> Also, there's lots of countries where Windows
> has not been localized to that country.

And FreeBSD has?

> It's simple - overseas they are used to paying a
> lot more for Microsoft products than we are and
> I daresay that the total amount of piracy of Windows
> overseas (discounting Asia where piracy is an
> institution) in businesses is far less than here in
> the US.

The actual figures are just the opposite. The U.S. has one of the lowest piracy
rates in the world. Piracy is a major problem even in Europe, especially in
Southern Europe, where petty dishonesty is a cultural institution. Italy is one
of the worst offenders (in Western Europe--in Eastern Europe everything is
stolen), as I recall.

> Just look at the financial reports for any large
> domestic software vendor who has overseas sales
> broken out and you will see this.

About 80% of Microsoft's sales come from outside the U.S.

> In summary, your arguing from a classic "tech"
> position where you simply don't take any of the

> financial/business/political issues into account ...

I've seen the figures. Your assertions concerning piracy and overseas revenue
are the opposite of reality.

Anthony Atkielski

unread,
Nov 29, 2001, 2:56:19 PM11/29/01
to
Marco writes:

> This is a MAJOR design flaw in Windows.

That is arguably true, but it's hard to see how the functionality provided by
the Windows GUI could be supported otherwise. Other windowing systems that wish
to provide the same functionality are going to run into similar problems.

> The Operating System should take care of these
> events, instead of signaling EVERY program so
> that THEY independently take care of them.

It can't. It has no way of knowing what action individual programs wish to take
when they are notified of these events. The programs must service the events
themselves, or examine them and pass them back to the OS for default action.

> In the X Window system, for example, the
> programs do not have to worry about simple
> events. Much better design.

Much less functional, too. There are good reasons for broadcasting every event
to every Window (or nearly so). It makes the system very flexible and
responsive.

Actually, Windows NT sacrificed a bit of this, as individual programs no longer
get as much information concerning other windows owned by other programs as they
did under consumer versions of Windows. This change was a consequence of
security enhancements.

> You are wrong in this regard. Windows is the best
> desktop solution for you and many other people,
> but not for everyone.

It is the best solution for the _majority_, then.

> You are 100% correct on this, Mr. Atkielski.

Good. At least you won't ask me for "proof" of this or try to undermine my
credibility with personal attacks on this point, then.

> Comparing Quark to Word, though, is a bit like
> comparing a Lamborghini or a Ferrari to a Chevrolet
> or Ford car. :-)

I agree. I no longer use Word at all.

Anthony Atkielski

unread,
Nov 29, 2001, 3:01:37 PM11/29/01
to
George writes:

> Did you actually have a question about FreeBSD?

I was originally answering a question about FreeBSD, actually.

Anthony Atkielski

unread,
Nov 29, 2001, 3:06:11 PM11/29/01
to
Ken writes:

> You seem to be demonstrating your ignorance of
> computing history. The original desktops and
> workstations were UNIX.

But the original UNIX was not a desktop. It was intended to be a stripped-down
substitute for Multics, a very advanced multiuser timesharing system that was
well ahead of its time (and well ahead of the capabilities of the hardware
available when it was first conceived, despite having hardware built
specifically to run it). As Multics began to wind down in 1968, Thompson and
Ritchie looked into building a tiny multiuser timesharing system of their own,
running it on DEC PDP hardware. It was never intended to be just a simple
desktop OS; desktop computers didn't really exist at the time.

> Sun, SGI, etc, all have a long history of making
> desktops, that predate all these PC upstarts like
> Dell and Gateway.

UNIX predates Sun and SGI.

> Rather, we're making the point that if desired,
> FreeBSD can and does serve quite well as a desktop
> system.

That's true for MS-DOS, too. But neither OS is likely to be a suitable first
choice for any normal user.

> Sorry, but there's no such requirement. My heavy
> desktop needs are sufficiently met with FreeBSD.

I was comparing NT to consumer versions of Windows.

Nils Holland

unread,
Nov 29, 2001, 3:37:24 PM11/29/01
to
On Thu, 29 Nov 2001, Anthony Atkielski wrote:

> > Sorry, but there's no such requirement. My heavy
> > desktop needs are sufficiently met with FreeBSD.
>
> I was comparing NT to consumer versions of Windows.

May I interrupt you for a moment and ask what is actually the use of
discussing very irrelevant topics? I have not followed this thread,
neither am I going to get involved in it, but I wonder what purpose this
discussion actually serves.

I have seen people complaining about off-topic threads on this list.
Interestingly, such off-topic threads would not exist if people simply
would not reply to off-topic messages, or stop a thread (or continue it as
a personal discussion), as soon as it has lost it's value regarding the
charter for this list.

Just my $.02

Greetings
Nils


Nils Holland
Ti Systems - FreeBSD in Tiddische, Germany
http://www.tisys.org * ni...@tisys.org

P. U. (Uli) Kruppa

unread,
Nov 29, 2001, 3:48:57 PM11/29/01
to
On Thu, 29 Nov 2001, Anthony Atkielski wrote:

> The actual figures are just the opposite. The U.S. has
> one of the lowest piracy rates in the world. Piracy is
> a major problem even in Europe,

No. Piracy is not a major problem in Europe.

> especially in Southern
> Europe, where petty dishonesty is a cultural
> institution.

No. Dishonesty is not a cultural institution in Southern
Europe.

> Italy is one of the worst offenders

Italy is a state and not a person. And it is a quite
peaceful state, that does not offend anybody.

> (in Western Europe--


> in Eastern Europe everything is stolen),

as the actual numbers prove?

> as I recall.
oh - as you recall.

Uli.


************************************
* P. U. Kruppa - Wuppertal *
* Germany *
* www.pukruppa.de www.2000d.de *
************************************

Steve Tremblett

unread,
Nov 29, 2001, 4:02:33 PM11/29/01
to
+---- Anthony Atkielski wrote:
| If you believe that UNIX is as good a desktop as Windows, then logically you
| must also believe that Windows is as good a server as UNIX. An extension of
| this logic leads to the conclusion that the operating systems are essentially
| identical--but that obviously is not the reality.

I hope logic isn't your business. By that logic, since a wrench can
pound nails as well as a hammer, then the hammer should be able to turn
bolts as well, and therefore a wrench is a hammer.

All you have been saying here in recent weeks (repeated ad nauseum) is
that Windows has a better desktop and FreeBSD is a better server. Yes
FreeBSD makes a better server, but contrary to your unpopular opinion,
most think that FreeBSD makes a better desktop as well. Your problem
is that you masquerade around pretending to be an expert while actually
knowing nothing (and flatly REFUSING to learn). Many think X11 is
better by the simple virtue of variety and configurability of window
managers. If you actually read some documents (and the help that has
been given to you in response to your incessant whining), your
experience with X11 would have been better.

I'm sure you'll be coming back with the "religious zealot" argument so
save your breath. I am here to voice a more popular opinion - please
just shut up until you have something valid to add.

freebsd-questions - please pardon this rude outburst.

--
Steve Tremblett
Cisco Systems

Mike Meyer

unread,
Nov 29, 2001, 8:43:42 PM11/29/01
to
Anthony Atkielski <ant...@freebie.atkielski.com> types:

> Much less functional, too. There are good reasons for broadcasting every event
> to every Window (or nearly so). It makes the system very flexible and
> responsive.

No, there are good reasons for allowing every client application to
find out about every event. That's not the same thing at all. Doing it
the Windows way leads to the huge, resource-consuming GUI that MS has
saddled the world with. Doing it the X ways leads to a minor increase
in application complexity - you have to tell the server what you want
to hear about - and a major drop in resource usage compared to the
Windows way.

> Actually, Windows NT sacrificed a bit of this, as individual programs no longer
> get as much information concerning other windows owned by other programs as they
> did under consumer versions of Windows. This change was a consequence of
> security enhancements.

Sounds like Windows NT isn't as good a desktop as X. X clients can get
all the available information about any window open on any display
they can talk to. Yes, this represents a security problem, but you're
the one who keeps saying that doesn't matter on the desktop. In
practice, you don't let untrusted applications connect to your X
server, which makes the security problems moot.

<mike
--
Mike Meyer <m...@mired.org> http://www.mired.org/home/mwm/
Q: How do you make the gods laugh? A: Tell them your plans.

Anthony Atkielski

unread,
Nov 29, 2001, 8:55:47 PM11/29/01
to
Nils writes:

> May I interrupt you for a moment and ask what
> is actually the use of discussing very irrelevant
> topics? I have not followed this thread, neither
> am I going to get involved in it, but I wonder
> what purpose this discussion actually serves.

According to the subject line, this was originally a discussion of the
suitability of FreeBSD for the desktop.

> I have seen people complaining about off-topic
> threads on this list. Interestingly, such off-topic
> threads would not exist if people simply would
> not reply to off-topic messages, or stop a thread
> (or continue it as a personal discussion), as
> soon as it has lost it's value regarding the
> charter for this list.

True. The fact that people continue the thread, and even retitle it, implies
that at least a few are interested in the topic. When I see messages on topics
that do not interest me, I do not read or reply to them. It seems illogical to
participate in a thread I fine useless just to complain about people
participating in a thread I find useless--don't you agree?

Anthony Atkielski

unread,
Nov 29, 2001, 9:08:34 PM11/29/01
to
Uli writes:

> No. Piracy is not a major problem in Europe.

Piracy rates for Western Europe are about 40% higher than they are for North
America; overall, more than a third of software products in Western Europe are
pirated (versus 25% for North America). Eastern Europe has the worst piracy
rates in the world, at about 75%. Asia and Latin America are tied at about 60%.
The rates for North America are the lowest of any region in the world.

The dollar losses are about the same for both North America and Western Europe.
Americans don't cheat nearly as much, but they buy a lot more software overall.

> No. Dishonesty is not a cultural institution
> in Southern Europe.

I'm afraid this isn't true. The piracy rates for France, Italy, Portugal, and
Spain are 39%, 44%, 47%, and 53%, respectively. The rates for Finland, Germany,
and Norway are 30%, 27%, and 37%, respectively.

> Italy is one of the worst offenders
> Italy is a state and not a person.

Irrelevant. Actually, however, Italy is in fifth place (my mistake): The
leading offender is Greece, with a staggering 71% of software stolen rather than
paid for; in second and third place are Spain (53%) and, surprisingly, Ireland
(51%).

> as the actual numbers prove?

Yes. See above. These are BSA/SIIA figures for 1999. They are down from
preceding years, but still pretty bad. Even in the United States, the
best-behaved of the lot, one person in four has stolen the software he is using.

> oh - as you recall.

See above. My recollection is pretty good.

Anthony Atkielski

unread,
Nov 29, 2001, 9:18:59 PM11/29/01
to
Steve writes:

> By that logic, since a wrench can pound nails
> as well as a hammer, then the hammer should be
> able to turn bolts as well, and therefore a
> wrench is a hammer.

Yes. Of course, a wrench doesn't make a very good hammer in practice.

> All you have been saying here in recent weeks
> (repeated ad nauseum) is that Windows has a
> better desktop and FreeBSD is a better server.

Over the past few days, you mean. It's surprising how many people seem eager or
even desperate to prove me wrong--I thought that it was generally acknowledge
that Windows makes a better desktop, and FreeBSD a better server. I wonder if
I'd see the same irrational defense of FreeBSD if I suggested that it were a
less-than-ideal toaster or washing machine; I suspect I would, particularly if
the toaster or washing machine were made by Microsoft (a scary thought, it's
true!).

> Yes FreeBSD makes a better server, but contrary
> to your unpopular opinion, most think that FreeBSD
> makes a better desktop as well.

The objective validity of an opinion is not a function of its popularity. And
while the opinion that FreeBSD is better for everythin does not surprise me
here, I think it would be best for advocacy of the OS to not exaggerate its
applicability to real-world situations. Anyone who is misled into believing
that he can replace Windows with UNIX by a UNIX zealot is going to be very
discouraged by the reality, and might become permanently opposed to UNIX in any
role--not good if he ever has to make acquisition decisions.

Steve Brown

unread,
Nov 29, 2001, 9:27:14 PM11/29/01
to
This is really getting [OT] but I have to ask: What's the ratio of legal
vs. pirated software use here in Canada? A few years ago Peter Dvorak (PC
magazine) stated in an article that Canadians were among the world's
worst software pirates. But when I was in Hong Kong & China I saw that
they openly sell copies of popular titles for about the cost of a Big
Mac, so I fear we've lost the honor to Asia ;)

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Original Message <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

On 11/29/01, 9:07:29 PM, "Anthony Atkielski"
<ant...@freebie.atkielski.com> wrote regarding Re: Feeding the Troll (Was:
freebsd as a desktop ?):

Anthony Atkielski

unread,
Nov 29, 2001, 9:47:10 PM11/29/01
to
Mike writes:

> No, there are good reasons for allowing every
> client application to find out about every event.

Yes, but in an event-driven system, you must compel applications to look at
events, and not merely wait for them to inquire. It is usually more efficient
to notify them.

> Doing it the Windows way leads to the huge,
> resource-consuming GUI that MS has saddled the
> world with.

It also provides the flexibility and functionality that helped make that GUI the
leader. You can't have it both ways.

> Sounds like Windows NT isn't as good a desktop as X.

It is functionally almost identical to the consumer versions, so it is generally
a better desktop, for most users.

> X clients can get all the available information
> about any window open on any display they can talk
> to.

Covert channels, in other words. Not possible in NT.

> Yes, this represents a security problem, but you're
> the one who keeps saying that doesn't matter on the
> desktop.

Correct. That's why consumer versions of Windows allow it. NT is for users
more concerned with security and stability, but its narrower appeal demonstrates
that most users don't care about either of these.

Ted Mittelstaedt

unread,
Nov 30, 2001, 1:46:06 AM11/30/01
to
>-----Original Message-----
>From: Anthony Atkielski [mailto:ant...@freebie.atkielski.com]
>Sent: Thursday, November 29, 2001 11:47 AM
>To: Ted Mittelstaedt; Andrew C. Hornback; Mike Meyer
>Cc: ques...@FreeBSD.ORG
>Subject: Re: Feeding the Troll (Was: freebsd as a desktop ?)
>
>> In summary, your arguing from a classic "tech"
>> position where you simply don't take any of the
>> financial/business/political issues into account ...
>
>I've seen the figures. Your assertions concerning piracy and
>overseas revenue
>are the opposite of reality.
>

That may be true but that was not the major point I was making. Whether due
to piracy or not, UNIX and FreeBSD penetration in the overseas market is
higher than it is in the US.

What your doing is taking one of the points I made and are going off on a
tangent
on it, your not adressing yourself to the core financial/business/political
issues
of what I was talking about.

Overseas there is not the same Invented Here syndrome that creates an
unconscious
bias in favor of Windows, there are not the legions of cheap consultants that
will hack-up I mean install Windows, there is less incentive to run out and
buy
the latest Windows that comes down the pike (whether because they are used to
paying full price as I said or because they are not as closed-minded as you
are
I don't know)

As I said, if your a business that only cares about the absolute cheapest
computing possible without regard to how well it solves your problems,
if your located in a sea of Windows users then it's going to be cheaper for
you to go with the flow and buy/use/steal Windows if your willing to accept
garbage-grade computing.

As a US citizen I'll say there's a lot of good things going for the US but
theres a few really awful things, and one of the worst traits of US society
is the constant insistance that the cheaper way to do something is always
better. Short term savings at the cost of higher long term expenses is how
most people here run their finances, why do you think that the auto dealers
here offer 0% financing with no payments for a year? The purchaser ends up
paying a much higher price for the car because all that deferred financing
has to be built into the price upfront.

It's no different with computing. People pay a lower up front cost for
Windows because it's cheap to set up, but over the total cost of the system
they pay much more simply because Windows isn't the best solution for their
infrastructure. It's an inflexible one-size-fits-all solution. As a result
companies end up changing around their workflow
into a suboptimal way of doing things just to accomodate this Windows system
that they are supposedly saving all this money over. So yes, they save
some money on the software, but at the cost of the higher profits that a
computing infrastructure that was adjusted to their business would bring them.


Ted Mittelstaedt te...@toybox.placo.com
Author of: The FreeBSD Corporate Networker's Guide
Book website: http://www.freebsd-corp-net-guide.com

To Unsubscribe: send mail to majo...@FreeBSD.org

Ted Mittelstaedt

unread,
Nov 30, 2001, 2:15:20 AM11/30/01
to
>-----Original Message-----
>From: Anthony Atkielski [mailto:ant...@freebie.atkielski.com]
>Sent: Thursday, November 29, 2001 6:07 PM
>To: P. U. (Uli) Kruppa
>Cc: Ted Mittelstaedt; Andrew C. Hornback; Mike Meyer;
>ques...@FreeBSD.ORG
>Subject: Re: Feeding the Troll (Was: freebsd as a desktop ?)
>
>
>Yes. See above. These are BSA/SIIA figures for 1999.

Not that I really wish to get into a discussion on piracy but there's more
to the story than these figures.

Do you know what the BSA is Anthony? Well perhaps you need a little
history lesson. The BSA was created years ago, but until just a few
years ago it was nothing more than a spot on the wall. Instead, there
was an organization called the Software Publishers Association (SPA)
that Microsoft and all the rest of the major ISV's were members of.

Well things were hunky-dory until the Microsoft anti-trust case. At
that time the SPA came out in favor of it, as the majority of ISV's
(who were members of SPA) were and still are for a Microsoft breakup.

This pissed off Microsoft so much they first tried a ham-handed attempt
to push their COO Bob Herbold onto the SPA board. This was rejected
by the group, and Microsoft eventually said "screw you" and left. Needing
a venue to continue their anti-piracy work they ran across the BSA and
in a twinking they had pumped it up and gotten some of their friends
(like Symantec) to join in too. After that the SPA renamed itself
the SIIA.

Well today the BSA knows perfectly well that the power behind their
throne is Microsoft. And Microsoft has a funny way of measuring piracy -
they simpy count all the PC sales in a region, count all the Windows
software sales in that same region, and the difference to them is the
percentage of piracy. In short, they assume that every PC that is
manufactured is running Windows.

Those figures you spouted come from a group that
is a puppet of Microsoft. If you think they are so good then where is
the methodology published as to how they are gathered? Well you won't
find it because it's so awful that they _have_ to hide it. None of the
BSA's figures are verifyable in any way shape or form.

Now, I don't particularly feel that the SIIA is any better than the BSA,
their assertion that 30% of software bought over the Internet is pirated
is rediculous and unsupportable too. But at least SIIA uses 3rd party
data measurement firms that are slightly less-biased, although they are
equally unverifyable.


Ted Mittelstaedt te...@toybox.placo.com
Author of: The FreeBSD Corporate Networker's Guide
Book website: http://www.freebsd-corp-net-guide.com

To Unsubscribe: send mail to majo...@FreeBSD.org

Anthony Atkielski

unread,
Nov 30, 2001, 4:39:34 AM11/30/01
to
Ted writes:

> That may be true but that was not the major
> point I was making.

You talked about it quite a bit for a non-major point.

> Whether due to piracy or not, UNIX and FreeBSD
> penetration in the overseas market is higher
> than it is in the US.

I don't know about that. I haven't noticed a difference myself.

> What your doing is taking one of the points
> I made and are going off on a tangent on it,
> your not adressing yourself to the core
> financial/business/political issues of what
> I was talking about.

Uh-huh.

> Overseas there is not the same Invented Here
> syndrome that creates an unconscious bias in

> favor of Windows ...

But both Windows _and_ UNIX were invented in the U.S.

> ... there are not the legions of cheap consultants
> that will hack-up I mean install Windows ...

There are plenty of consultants, as I've occasionally had to deal with the
messes they can make.

> ... there is less incentive to run out and buy


> the latest Windows that comes down the pike

> ...

There is less incentive to buy anything, as far as I can tell. Salaries tend to
be low in relation to COL, and businesses--particularly small businesses--tend
to be very cheap indeed.

> As I said, if your a business that only cares
> about the absolute cheapest computing possible
> without regard to how well it solves your problems,
> if your located in a sea of Windows users then
> it's going to be cheaper for you to go with the
> flow and buy/use/steal Windows if your willing
> to accept garbage-grade computing.

There isn't any reason _not_ to go with Windows. It does the job nicely--it's
hardly "garbage-grade."

> ... one of the worst traits of US society is the


> constant insistance that the cheaper way to do
> something is always better.

The U.S. is not unique in this respect; stupidity has not knowledge of national
boundaries.

> People pay a lower up front cost for Windows because
> it's cheap to set up, but over the total cost of
> the system they pay much more simply because Windows
> isn't the best solution for their infrastructure.

I have seen zero evidence of this anywhere. I'd expect the cost of FreeBSD or
UNIX generally to be higher on the desktop (assuming standalone desktops, not
terminals) and potentially higher for servers, for small businesses at least.
The reason for this is that UNIX is a geek OS that requires a lot of user
support--so you have to hire people that know UNIX, and they aren't necessarily
going to be cheap. A large business can afford to hire a few such people, in
which case there may be economies to realize with UNIX, particularly for
servers, but small businesses cannot afford this luxury, so a plug-and-play OS
is essential.

Windows addresses the lowest common denominator in computing, and as IT becomes
more widespread, the average user more and more closely approaches this lowest
common denominator. UNIX is a technically superior solution for many server
applications and perhaps even the occasional desktop, but it requires staffing.

Look at setting up a Web server, for example. Any idiot can set up a Windows
server and a Web site, almost, with virtually no advance training. Practically
no one can set up a UNIX Web site with the same ease--some IT background is
pretty much mandatory, just to understand the manuals (if any). The UNIX
solution is less expensive in terms of hardware and software and provdes better
Web support than Windows, but you lose that savings in personnel costs, unless
your organization is big enough to be able to afford a few people to tend the
Unices.

Ted Mittelstaedt

unread,
Nov 30, 2001, 4:58:57 AM11/30/01
to
>-----Original Message-----
>From: owner-freeb...@FreeBSD.ORG
>[mailto:owner-freeb...@FreeBSD.ORG]On Behalf Of Anthony
>Atkielski
>Sent: Friday, November 30, 2001 1:39 AM
>To: Ted Mittelstaedt; Andrew C. Hornback; Mike Meyer
>Cc: ques...@FreeBSD.ORG
>Subject: Re: Feeding the Troll (Was: freebsd as a desktop ?)
>
>
>There isn't any reason _not_ to go with Windows. It does the job
>nicely--it's
>hardly "garbage-grade."
>

It does the job that Microsoft thinks you want done nicely. It doesen't
do the job that _needs_ to be done nicely, nor is it easy to modify
it to do so.

>> People pay a lower up front cost for Windows because
>> it's cheap to set up, but over the total cost of
>> the system they pay much more simply because Windows
>> isn't the best solution for their infrastructure.
>
>I have seen zero evidence of this anywhere.

Your not looking for it.

Take for example a typical old-style file-locking accounting program, I'll
use MAS90 for this (I happened to have to support this at a former employer)

If this was implemented on UNIX when you set up a remote site all you would
have to do is put terminal emulation clients on the remote systems (or
use Windows Terminal or Hyperterminal) and put up a dedicated circuit,
perhaps even a VPN.

But when it's implemented on Windows you can't do that you have to spend
a bunch of money to enhance the server that the locked files are on
into Windows Terminal Server then load Terminal Server clients on all
remote clients and spend a lot more money on bandwidth between the sites.
This is because Windows is so inflexible and limited that Microsoft had
to graft all the terminal services onto it to be able to support this
kind of thing.

It's those kinds of bandaids are where you lose money by spending it on time.

>
>Windows addresses the lowest common denominator in computing, and as
>IT becomes
>more widespread, the average user more and more closely approaches
>this lowest
>common denominator.

This illustrates what I was saying in a different way but your looking
at it from a half-full perspective.

yes the average user more closely approaches this but they never quite
hit it spot on. Getting from where Microsoft wants them to be to where
the user wants Microsoft to be is very hard.

>UNIX is a technically superior solution for many server
>applications and perhaps even the occasional desktop, but it
>requires staffing.
>
>Look at setting up a Web server, for example. Any idiot can set up a Windows
>server and a Web site, almost, with virtually no advance training.
>Practically
>no one can set up a UNIX Web site with the same ease--some IT background is
>pretty much mandatory, just to understand the manuals (if any). The UNIX
>solution is less expensive in terms of hardware and software and
>provdes better
>Web support than Windows, but you lose that savings in personnel
>costs, unless
>your organization is big enough to be able to afford a few people to tend the
>Unices.
>

But then you lose all that savings when Code Red or Nimba come around, because
the idiot that set up the Windows webserver didn't know enough to lock it
down.

Ted Mittelstaedt te...@toybox.placo.com
Author of: The FreeBSD Corporate Networker's Guide
Book website: http://www.freebsd-corp-net-guide.com

To Unsubscribe: send mail to majo...@FreeBSD.org

Anthony Atkielski

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Nov 30, 2001, 5:07:34 AM11/30/01