Does BSD lag in supporting modern technology?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by EchoD, Oct 27, 2015.

  1. EchoD

    EchoD Administrator
    Staff Member

    Mar 9, 2013
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    As we consider the long-term direction of DesktopBSD, I have frequently come across statements like the quotes below in popular tech publications, especially articles explaining differences between BSD and Linux to newbies.

    We should ask whether we want this gap with Linux to continue to exist with DesktopBSD. If we are a desktop operating system, then wouldn't make sense to support the latest hardware on our desktops? For example, I am considering getting a phone with a USB 3.1 type C connector, which is poised to take over mobile devices (and probably all new hardware) at a rapid pace. Why should people have to struggle with finding support for modern technology? The same goes for graphic cards, WiFi standards, chipsets, and other peripherals. If there is an OS out there that should support the newest hardware, it should be the OS that was originally tailored specifically to the desktop.

    I would go even further and ask if we should continue to support technologies that have no future because they have long been replaced by modern equivalents. Do we need to ship code with drivers and interfaces for floppies, serial and parallel ports, old modems etc? Why bloat the OS by supporting something that does not belong in a modern computer? There is a thread in the Russian section where a guy is asking for support for an old Irbis x686 computer with 512MB ram. Is it wise to spend time and resources on supporting something that should have been recycled years ago? Should take the bold step and deprecate support for the old in order to focus our energy on the new?

    I am aware this can be a slippery slope toward bloating the OS with newer stuff that may very well also be short-lived and want to be clear that's not what I'm arguing for. But when 67% of the GPU market is dominated by Intel's integrated graphics (see The State of PC Graphics Sales on AnandTech) and an OS doesn't support Intel graphics out of the box, something's not right. If we want DesktopBSD to become a viable replacement for Windows, OS X, and yes, Linux, for a wide audience, this is an area we need to take a look at.
    KyBlackwolf and malco_2001 like this.
  2. KyBlackwolf

    KyBlackwolf Member

    Oct 6, 2015
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    You're right about the slippery slope. While in many ways I agree with the thought of removing older technologies, let me present you with a slightly different perspective. I want you to realize upfront however, that I'm merely presenting alternative views so that maybe my comments as well as yours will spark more community feedback because that's what we ultimately need.

    I would imagine everyone in our community has the cousin,uncle..parent..some relative who has no real computer skills, but who really wants a system they can use to check their email, maybe play a few cheesy games online, and that's about it. And that person typically has a wide network of friends who help them out with different things, and so anything they do, they tell those people about or ask for help to do it.

    So, suppose they are able to get a say a eight year old computer on one of the various website out there to buy used equipment, and they spend $80 and have a older dual core system. Now, if they cant get BSD, they will end up with Linux because Windows in most cases is gonna cost as much as the computer to get a valid liscense. Typically if those people had the money for the liscense, they will buy a new computer and never know half the capabilities it has. But alas I digress.

    So this unsavy computer person gets an older system, say they install's quick, it's easy...and it installs the older hardware along with the newer without a hitch. Suddenly they aren't asking friends or family for help, and when they don't, those same friends and family ask, and they are told that the unsavy person is now savy with OUR bsd. Silly? Not really, I've done this with another BSD version many times in the last few years. In my area, there is a growing awareness of BSD and other *nix systems, and with the amount of computer users, it could be a hot bed for us.

    Not only that, I'm located in the new digital triangle of the Midwest, and if the future is what silicon valley predicted 15 years ago when they started investing here, the future is in whatever OS's take off here, and in the developers being groomed here in the colleges and universities. The truth is, we can debate the uses of the old hard ware, or new software packages or menus, or interfaces, but the biggest key to me when it comes to being a user, and purveyor of BSD to others I help to manage their hardware is usability, stability, and the ability to continue to use a system that Windows, and even Linux now in many ways may have left behind due to bloat...

    Now... if we want to talk about a code clean up...that's definitely something i'd be keen on as I think in the last ten years, there's been a lot of changes that could potentially allow us to cut the code base exponentially. Also, we could also consider the fact that most OS systems are more or less going to the cloud which is a significant risk for the user, as well as the security of the system. Maybe BSD lags behind in some ways, but I'd rather it lag a bit and primarily have my whole system on my hardware than to deal with those OOPS moments many companies have been reporting lately when their systems are hacked, and their users information is carried off to no mans zone to be used in nefarious ways.
  3. LorenS

    LorenS New Member

    Sep 25, 2015
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    I think DesktopBSD is a bit of a misnomer to begin with, just like saying Linux is a desktop OS. The core of each is designed to be multi-threaded multi-user operating system. Windows, on the other hand, is really a single user operating system. You and your girlfriend can have an account on a windows 7 box, but you cannot do a little tweak here and there and both use the machine at the same time over the network.

    I cannot imagine, just being honest, that a real BSD will ever be a consumer desktop. How many years has Linux been around and tried to do the desktop thing? I don't even consider Mac to be a BSD, and certainly wouldn't be used to revive a 10 year old desktop. To play in that market you would have to remove most everything that you like about the OS in order to be assured that there was one way to do a task. When there is one way to do something you can support it with a call center in India.

    I dont know what it would take to clean out old code, and I dont know what would be the benefit in terms of performance. I cannot even imagine having to debug the resultant code if it was neseted in with current code. I think it would be more of an issue for upstream to manage?
  4. malco_2001

    malco_2001 DesktopBSD Veteran

    Feb 22, 2015
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    I think a good example of cleanup would be the removal of support for other archectectures like mips, PowerPC. Or it could be in the form of things like vi when there is already edit. Or smb when there is already samba in ports. Or bsdinstall, bsdconfig when there are graphical equivalents. I wouldn't even go as far as removing those but maybe just building without them.
    KyBlackwolf likes this.