[PC-BSD Testing] Rolling release criticism

Kris Moore kris at pcbsd.org
Tue Dec 17 07:38:01 PST 2013

On 12/17/2013 10:05, Arthur Koziol wrote:
> On 12/17/2013 7:12 AM, Claudio L. wrote:
>> On 12/17/2013 06:13, Sam Fourman Jr. wrote:
>>> The FreeBSD ecosystem needs MORE people running HEAD/CURRENT as well
>>> as the VERY top of the ports tree, this is how you attract
>>> developers and power users... and these people are the ones that
>>> will help improve FreeBSD/PC-BSD for the general population.
>> Precisely, but the only way you get more people to use it, is if it
>> actually works. What I mean is the basic system should always work.
>> Then you can test individual features that you **want** to install
>> and test, but you probably shouldn't be testing all at the same time
>> and without your consent:
>> * The package manager
>> * Hardware drivers
>> * Basic web browsers
>> * Basic services like Virtualbox
>> These are basic things that should always work fine, then I agree
>> with the testing of individual features.
>> Imagine you are trying to test a new feature in 10.0, but you can't
>> because you are wasting time fixing your browser, your packages, etc.
>> You should have everything else working and out of your way so you
>> can focus on testing PCI-PASS THROUGH on bhyve, not more, not less.
>> If things break too much, you'll alienate users and they will leave
>> to other more stable OSes.
>> For example, we could have other packages updated fast, but the
>> package manager only changed once or twice a year, for example. Just
>> to make sure it works, and when the update gets pushed, it HAS to
>> work for everybody.
>> Claudio
> While it is great that the BSD's have gotten much needed attention the
> past 5-10 years, it was originally designed to be a stable and secure
> *server* OS and nothing more. It's not supposed to be bleeding edge
> and work with all hardware that came out 5 minutes ago. That's it has
> been able to be made usable at the desktop level is nothing short of a
> miracle. You have to understand that BSD is never going to be like
> Linux, OS X, or Windows in terms of near *perfect* usability at the
> desktop level. It just wasn't designed that way so to some degree you
> have to have lowered expectations of its capabilities. The stewards
> and developers aren't trying to make it like Linux so that's why these
> gotchas tend to happen at the level you are experiencing them. Any
> hacks or bolt-ons that are being thrown into it are outside of the
> scope so it's no surprise they occasionally break or experience
> horkage. There are not nearly the amount of people working on BSD that
> there are for Linux or the other popular OSes. If you want it fixed,
> learn to code and fix it yourself instead of complaining or making
> absurd demands with respect to the fitness of the product.
> Arthur
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Well, in this case I think Claudio has done plenty to push the project
along :) He's the author of the fantastic new "ZFS / Disk Manager GUI"
that has gone in recently.

While I agree, our task is much more daunting to make BSD a serviceable
desktop OS, I also agree with Claudio that we should be striving for
better. This past year there has been a TON of changes made to both the
FreeBSD ports and package systems, more-so in this last year than in
many years combined previously. I'm hopeful that going into 2014 some of
that churn should settle down and stabilize. Since we know this is
happening, what I think we need to do on the PC-BSD side is find more
creative ways to insulate users from some of the bulk of the breakage
that occurs from upstream. Be it driver or package which was updated and
now has a regression. BE's was a first-step in this direction, which is
partly why I insisted on going to ZFS for its roll-back / boot selection

Part of my future plans for Life-Preserver revolve around this, making
it a seamless solution for doing backups / rollbacks / restores, in the
case of disaster. I'm thinking that sometime early next year I'll get a
chance to start hacking more on this, once the dust from 10.0 settles.

Kris Moore
PC-BSD Software

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