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BSD Operating Systems

New FreeBSD Book Aimed At Newest Users 158

Posted by timothy
from the good-to-see dept.
Chris Coleman writes: "Annelise Anderson has written a new FreeBSD book titled "FreeBSD: An Open Source Operating System for Your Personal Computer". The book includes: * installation CD-ROM for the entire system plus many software applications * space requirements, screen shots, and detailed instructions for installing FreeBSD * step-by-step instructions on configuring and running FreeBSD, connecting to the Internet, setting up an internal network, and setting up sound, X Window System (the graphical user interface), and printing." I think the raftload of available books have helped tremendously in making GNU/Linux popular, by first making it possible for non-experts to install it -- with more BSD books, perhaps the same will happen. Fame awaits you if you care to give this book a Slashdot review :)
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New FreeBSD Book Aimed At Newest Users

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  • ...that FreeBSD is a mature, stable, organized, reliable and good OS. I think he or she is right.

    Dependency check: Life -> needs FreeBSD&Coffee
  • an opensource os? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Stochi (114270) on Friday August 17, 2001 @09:15AM (#2116628) Homepage
    why is it that everything has to be billed as opensource? like that's really a selling point? i mean sure, there are some people that are just looking into the opensource thing, but it makes it seem as though that's the only reason you might want to run FreeBSD. never mind the fact that it's stable, fast, and has many of the popular apps that linux does. plus it includes linux emulation so that you can run native linux apps under FreeBSD. why not have a title that shows this in addition to it's being opensource? "FreeBSD: The opensource OS for your PC that's fast, versatile, and dependable". Sounds much more catchy to me.
    • why is it that everything has to be billed as opensource? like that's really a selling point?

      It's part of being Buzzword Compliance.
      In past years, the buzzwords have been:

      • Compatible (eg, IBM PC compatible)
      • User-Friendly (whatever that really means)
      • Upgradeable (eg, 16-bit ISA M/B has CPU on a module so that you can "upgrade" your 286 to 486)
      • Integrated software (eg, Framework & Symphony)
      • Object-oriented (a good idea, but tiresome as a buzzword)
      • Just-in-time (as a parts warehousing strategy)
      • Fuzzy logic (including "Taguchi method" of replacing engineering with guesswork)
      • and now, Open-source
    • Actually, being directed at newbies I would argue that the book's name gets across what it needs to. After all, Open Source operating systems has been portrayed as an Linux "fad," so many people mightn't know about *BSD. Also, most people tend to think of FreeBSD as being more of a server platform, I know of many people who use it to power their servers but of few who use it to run their desktop system.

      Of course, given the centralized source [freebsd.org] of packages (ports [freebsd.org]), and the quality of the documentation there [freebsd.org] (especially the FreeBSD handbook [freebsd.org]) FreeBSD is really a pretty good place for Newbies [freebsd.org] to begin their foray into Open Source. Hell FreeBSD was where I started, and at this point I don't own any windows machines, save my old laptop.

    • it is a selling point. if the code for *BSD were not open, i assure you, it would not be as widely adopted. sure, it's fast and reliable. so are other operating systems... and i would consider getting a BSD distro over any of the closed source alternatives, for the learning experience of being able to delve into a matured and tested code base. it's great, and it's open source. both are selling points in this case. i know the phrase 'open source' is overused here a lot, but in this case it's appropriate...
  • by Chundra (189402)
    Bao Ha and Tina Nguyen are re-releasing their 1999 ground breaking best seller, Slackware Linux Unleashed (Sams Publishing). The 2001 release offers a working copy of Slackware 4, complete with 900 pages of manpages and roughly 200 pages of exciting information you can't find anywhere else. You too can learn to be a Slackware Linux guru! Industry insiders rave:

    "It's the most definitive Linux book you can buy" (Linus Torvalds).

    "Absolutely superb." (Richard Stallman).

    "The only book you'll ever need about Linux...heck...about UNIX!" (W. Richard Steven's widow).

  • by typical geek (261980) on Friday August 17, 2001 @09:25AM (#2131229) Homepage
    I think we Americans should consider buying this book and moving to FreeBSD, because most of the FreeBSD developers are Americans. Nothing against the Finns, UKians, Russians and Germans that make up the bulk of the Linux developers, but I'm not so sure I'd want my OS of choice to be dependent on a bunch of foreigners. Sure, we're mostly friends now, but it was only a few decades ago that some of those folk were our mortal enemy. I'd feel better knowing that in a national crisis, I'd have a bunch of Californians keeping my OS developing.
    • I'm not so sure I'd want my OS of choice to be dependent on a bunch of foreigners.

      There are real reasons for not wanting the OS to be developed in the USA. One is the way the US wants to control technology, such as encryption and, now, copyright. OpenBSD [openbsd.org], for example, is based in Canada for the specific purpose of avoiding constraining US export laws.

      I don't care who develops my OS. The only foreigners that bother me are the ones that have "Kill Americans" on today's list of things to do. Additionally, California isn't necessarily going to keep up in a crisis, especially if their UPSs are draining during a blackout.

    • But the Americans are all dotheads anyway.
  • As another Windows user trying to learn more about the un*x world, I have found FreeBSD to be far more straightforward than the Linux distros I've dealt with.

    Really, a new user has very few initial tasks, which freebsd handles quite nicely.
    1) Install the bugger.
    2) See things with pretty windows.
    3) Install some new software.
    4) Browse the WWW.

    The freebsd installation is very straightforward. It even allows for FTP installation, so for those of us too lazy to pick up a CD, but with a fast connection, we can install in an hour online.

    Then, the ports are incredibly straightforward, and you can build almost all of them from the installer. Getting X + KDE up just takes knowledge of your video card and monitor, and willingness to guess a couple of times.

    Installing additional software again is handled through the install, which you can always access from the command line -- which it nicely tells you how to do! Or, just find the port in the Ports collection, and type Make Install -- any dependencies are downloaded and built for you, automagically. I haven't yet had to deal with a dependency issue on my new box.

    Finally, if you've made it this far with an FTP install, your network connection is already set up, so there's nothing more to do to browse the web. Just fire up Konqueror, and you're there!

    I've tried Caldera, Corel, Red Hat in the past, and always managed to get hung up on one of those steps. Now, I have a working FreeBSD box, it's been up for two weeks, and I have a stable platform to start working on my advanced goals. This book looks like just the ticket.

    • Oops, in my haste, I thought I'd make my miniature code sample stand out with initial caps -- which somebody will surely call me on. Try "make install"...
    • I have found FreeBSD to be far more straightforward than the Linux distros I've dealt with.

      Will you shut up already! Geesh, you're gonna have all these Linux folks blocking up the FreeBSD servers if you keep talking like that. Where the heck are you going to cvsup from if the entirety of the Linux community starts in on it. Think man!

      Ummm, woohoo, uh, Redhat, Mandrake, Debian, Yay! Root root, hip hip, and all that. Nothing to see here, move along.
  • by ferreth (182847) on Friday August 17, 2001 @09:49AM (#2132464) Homepage Journal
    Check out the BSDwall Project. [cuug.ab.ca] It's along a similar vien, but with a specific purpose in mind: Get your average (well, slightly above average user) to be able to make their own BSD firewall out of an old 486+ 2 NICs.

    Our local UUG (CUUG) [cuug.ab.ca] ran a course where they put you step-by-step though the process of making a firewall in one evening. You just had to take the thing home and plug it into your cablemodem/hub or PC. They even made sure you had the right IP's for your local provider, being DSL or cable

    Books are good, yes, but the UNIX/Linux community reaching out with projects kept simple to show the user something they can't do with Windoze is another way to clue the masses to the strenghs of other OS's.

  • by joneshenry (9497) on Friday August 17, 2001 @11:05AM (#2132555)
    A book written for newbies on how to install FreeBSD makes no sense because the policy of FreeBSD's developers is not to cater to newbies. Linux and FreeBSD are targetted towards different segments of users, why can't we just accept that? Take a look at a typical posting from a Linux user [freebsd.org] on the freebsd-newbies list. We're talking two different worlds here.

    I am relatively young to the scene myself, but let's take a walk down memory lane say six years ago. Back in those days the Linux Howto's, especially the Installation Howto, were essentially Slackware Howto's. (The book I used to figure out how to install Linux was essentially the Howto's printed out.) My PC's BIOS from that era did not support booting from an ATAPI CD Rom drive. Hard drives were much smaller but the EIDE ones were coming up against a succession of limits, limits in where a kernel could be located and still be seen by a bootloader. For Linux there was a well-defined path introducing newbies: you installed and created a custom bootdisk. Linux installation instructions also told how to edit the kernel for the bootdisk floppy to change the root partition location.

    From my newbie perspective, this was installation Nirvana! I didn't have to worry about LILO if I didn't want to. From the perspective of other people sharing the PC I used, other than taking up hard drive space, they didn't have to know Linux existed. And Linux could be installed in an extended partition not just a primary partition. Keep in mind that hard drives were a lot smaller then, so for dual-boot setups it was nice to be able to dedicate some more room for the Windows C: drive. And not only that but since everyone did the custom bootdisk compiling as a rite of passage, people could compile bootdisks to help others if the default floppy didn't have the right drivers.

    Now from what I have read of the FreeBSD community's thoughts, they couldn't care less about such concerns. The ISP I used back then was hosted on a collection of FreeBSD boxes, abandoning a more monolothic solution with an SGI server, because the ISP's lead technical person knew how to do it. FreeBSD is more like an industrial consortium as far as the core developers go, and at least at that time there was a huge emphasis on stuff related to running ISPs. From their perspective it was laughable to devote much effort to support the most unreliable medium of all, a floppy, for custom booting a machine. And someone like an ISP wouldn't be using EIDE, they'd be using SCSI. 528MB limit [linuxdoc.org], "get some real hardware, kid" I'd imagine they'd think. And they'd have their internal network and their own procedures for mass replicating setups to many machines.

    Six years later I think we can see everyone got what they wanted. The Linux community developed critical mass and got wildly popular with newbies. The FreeBSD community was left alone by the newbies they didn't want to deal with.

    • A book written for newbies on how to install FreeBSD makes no sense because the policy of FreeBSD's developers is not to cater to newbies.

      Apparently I missed something in the handbook. Where exactly is there some "policy" that says anything about not catering to newbies?

      Now from what I have read of the FreeBSD community's thoughts, they couldn't care less about such concerns.

      Okay, with that level of FUD going on I've got to see some quotes, or at very least some names attached to these "thoughts". Especially with all the efforts now going in to make the port installations even easier, and a new version of sysinstall coming in 4.4, again to make things easier. All the mailing lists are archived on the FreeBSD site, on Google, and lots of stuff sitting on the Usenet right now. Finding these "thoughts" shouldn't be too awfully hard.

      By gosh, Microsoft would be proud. Have you considered a job in PR?
  • by Bluetick (516014) on Friday August 17, 2001 @10:10AM (#2132626)
    About six weeks ago I wanted to get into this whole Linux revolution. So I downloaded just about every major distro (got about 7 I think). Mixed success. Some crashed during the install. Some didn't recognize my SCSI card, and I didn't know what to do. Some didn't recognize my vid card. Some didn't recognize my USB mouse. The one that I did get installed and get X up was Redhat, and it's support for my vid card was abysmal and had all sorts of horrid side effects.

    Just when I'm down and out and nearly giving up with *nix, I find FreeBSD. I install it in half the time on my old computer that the other Linux distros took. I was running Lynx and felt like a ninja soon after. Within a day I got X running. Then I went to a bookstore to pick up a book. There's a whole shelf for Linux books. And one lonely FreeBSD book. A day later I've recompiled my kernel as well. The book is a bit too advanced for my tastes, so I should probably pick up this book and maybe a 'Basic *nix Primer' or something. But for me FreeBSD has been infinitely more valuable as a learning tool than Linux was. But really, that's just my experience. No doubt I'm in the minority, and people with more typical hardware will do better with Linux.

    • No, I had an experience similar to yours. I fought with Linux (I only tried Red Hat 6.1 and 6.2, and cannot speak about other distros) until I was convinced I was an utter idiot. (Which may still be true). But when I installed OpenBSD it was so easy.

  • Hello,

    I've been awaiting the arrival of FreeBSD Unleashed [amazon.com] by Michael Urban and Brian Tiemann.

    It's 1000 pages -- here's hoping they're useful!

    Helevius

  • keeps getting easier (Score:2, Interesting)

    by sik puppy (136743)
    Is there some sort of competition between Red Had and *BSD?

    As an amateur tinkerer with various unix flavors, I found rh5 a bit awkward to do anything with, 6.2 was considerably better. From there I went to buying the 4.1 BSD at the house of evil (aka Fry's), and found it to be the easiest *nix distribution yet.

    Between the book (the whole reason for buying the package in the first place) and the install system, I found it very easy to get up and running. The management system for getting patches and updates was wonderful...

    Then I got a copy of RH7.1 That has to be the slickest install package yet. Flawless install, everything works, and less interaction than even the most basic windoze install (ducking violently hurled heavy objects).

    If rh keeps going this way, it could well be ready for general use in the near future.

    As for the book in question, it sounds worth a read, although I won't be doing a write up on it - as you can already see, my writing sucks...

    • Hey, your writing doesn't suck. I'd rather have a plain-ish, appeal to everyone type review than the flaimbait Katz writes or the unforgivable academic speak that Jamie is so fond of. Can we say English major?
    • > Is there some sort of competition between Red Had and *BSD?

      Not likely. /compat/linux is redhat. Personally I wish it was debian, but there doesn't seem to be a big push to switch.
  • I think a FreeBSD for newbies book is a great idea but, lets face it, the number of Darwin newbies struggling to gain some *nix skills dwarfs the number of FreeBSD users in the same boat. Most Darwin newbies are trying to make do with FreeBSD docs, since the Darwin Docs are so far behind. For the most part this works since Darwin and FreeBSD are so close but where Darwin is different it's very different and newbies especially shouldn't be asked to just hack it out for themselves.

    The online sites, like Darwinfo.org, are aimed at more experienced users and are often very slow. Maybe that's because they are overloaded.
  • Quoting from the book:

    ... step-by-step instructions on configuring and running FreeBSD, connecting to the Internet, setting up an internal network, and setting up sound, X Window System (the graphical user interface), and printing. ...

    Apart from printing and setting up an internal network, everything ought to be done by the installation program by default, with minimal user intervention. Why should I read a book to do something like that? To be honest, this is where FreeBSD and Linux still scare many people away. Windows may not be the easiest, but at least, it makes the things mentioned above easy enough that most people (except those that don't even know how to use a mouse) don't need to read a book at all, with self-help wizards.

    But making something too easy to install is also troublesome (e.g. IIS)...

    • Apart from printing and setting up an internal network, everything ought to be done by the installation program by default, with minimal user intervention.

      I disagree. That's exactly the reason why I prefer BSD: If you've set it up yourself, you know how it works and how to fix it.

    • Perhaps FreeBSD isn't meant for the average user. I wouldn't have my parents or my girlfriend using it. Windows works fine for them. Cheers
  • Great (Score:2, Troll)

    by Wind_Walker (83965)
    I, for one, am glad to see that more effort is being put into initiating new members into the "fold", so to speak. The sheer volume of information that needs to be assimilated just to get a version of BSD/Linux installed is enormous to the average user.

    I've always said that one of the biggest problems with the BSD/Linux community was the high level-of-entry that was required. I mean, just to start into a text-only operating system is intimidating enough, but trying to decode cryptic interfaces and even more cryptic man pages is often too much for John Q Computer User.

    • Text-only operating system? What the hell are you talking about?

      About a year ago friend came over and saw my computer monitor. It was running KDE with the Acqua theme, and all the bells and whistles running. He said "I see you decided to stop using that text-only Linux stuff." "Yep", I replied, "I'm running FreeBSD now..."

      FreeBSD isn't any more or less text-oriented than Linux. You have your X11R6 and the very same GUI programs you are used to. It has xdm, gdm, kdm and all the other *dms do you never have to see a text console.

      If you're frightened of seeing raw text unsurrounded by themed GUI borders, then by all means stay away from FreeBSD. But also stay away from Linux for the same reason. Eventually you're going to have to delve into the inner working of the operating system and configure something unanticipated by YaST or DrakConf.

      Bob Young once compared proprietary software to a car with its hood welded shut. If you want every automobile function to be accessible through the dashboard, why then, you might as well have one of the hood-welded cars.
    • Re:Great (Score:2, Interesting)

      by pschmied (5648)
      The sheer volume of information that needs to be assimilated just to get a version of BSD/Linux installed is enormous to the average user.


      I recently taught a short course on FreeBSD at my university.

      Why did I pick FreeBSD? Because it is really easy to install, but still doesn't abstract things with wizards.

      The audience of the class were people who had never touched UNIX before and only two of my students had ever even installed Windows.

      Every single one of my students was able to install FreeBSD at the end of the class. This was even after they were bombarded for two weeks with things like package management, X11, Window Maker, KDE, StarOffice, gimp, etc.

      They were able to mainly intuit the install afterward.

      FreeBSD is darned easy to install, and even easier to use afterward. If FreeBSD ever added a gui to the install, people would be bitching that MacOS was hard to install.

      As a (now) longtime Linux/BSD user, I have to say: FreeBSD is as easy as UNIX installs get. And I'll say its easier than any version of Windows to install other than Win2k.


      -Peter

      • Good for you! I for one appreciate the fact that you are taught that course. However, now that you have seen the truly naive and how easy it is to go through the learning curve, don't you just laugh at anyone that whines "This is really hard." yet prefesses to be anti-MS and pro-linux?
    • How on earth does this post get modded Troll? He makes a very valid point and doesn't go far from the topic just to bring out conflicts. Hell, he isn't even posting against OSS *ix's, he's just making a common observation. When was the last time you were able to explain partitioning or ip tunneling to an average user without their eyes glazing over?

      Give me liberty or mod me down.
  • I'm a long-time Mac user who has just purchased OS X (based on FreeBSD). I'm trying to figure out the command-line interface, but the online tutorials I've found have been hard to follow.

    I was brought up on DOS (started with 3), so I am familiar with a CLI, but the *nix commands just seem so arcane.

    Is this a good book? Are any of you aware of a good net-based trainer for FreeBSD?

    Thanks.
    • Check out the Fink project at fink.sourceforge.net and get on the users mailing list. Fink is a package manager for Darwin/OS X that makes it really easy to install and use *NIX software. The mailing list is also very helpful with advice.
  • Yeah, it doesn't look to have as much as the $80 lart sized set that I've seen around but the price is much more attractive if you want to give the OS a spin. $25 makes for a much better impulse buy.
    • Oh yeah, I paid $20 (CND) and got to take home my system. That's $20 for a fully functional, upgradable firewall.

      CUUG had to charge 20 bucks to cover the cost of the NICS. Everything else they got for free, plus some sweat put in by volunteers to teach and get systems ready.

  • Hrmm (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NitsujTPU (19263) on Friday August 17, 2001 @08:59AM (#2154868)
    I dunno. BSD has been around for a LONG TIME. In many ways, no offense, I am using a linux box to type this, it is a superior OS to linux (not to say that linux doesn't beat it in other areas). It's not any harder to install than most linux distributions (save mandrake, redhat, oh, perhaps it is harder to install), but I think that what makes Linux more popular is a face recognition and the loud mouths of its user (again, nothing wrong with that). BSD has been popular in academic circles for AGES, but you hardly ever hear someone who's never touched unix say "hrmm, maybe I'll try BSD." Whereas you hear plenty of windows users either slamming linux, in an uninformed manner, or saying "gosh, maybe I'll try that, often in an equally uninformed manner." BSD is a great OS, but I don't think that a lack of documentation is the reason linux has "more popularity (if it does)." I just think that it's more advertised.
    • I don't think that a lack of documentation is the reason linux has "more popularity (if it does)." I just think that it's more advertised.

      Disagree, i think it plays a part.
      IMHO most budding geeksters who are sitting on their wondiws boxes just waiting to install a proper OS over the top come to sites like this to lurk and find out what OS to go for.
      the general consensus is that *nix is thaw way to go and the choice is either BSD or Linux.
      BSD is much more elitist that Linux so its bes tto learn linux and then 'gradyuate' onto BSd at a later date.
      if you really wanna be a sheep you have to follow this path... corel, redhat, mandrake, debian, slackware. then and can you go on to bigger and B(SD)etter things.
    • Re:Hrmm (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Octorian (14086)
      Well, to explain this, I can easily quote a friend of mine as saying:

      "Linux is for people who hate Windows. FreeBSD is for people who like UNIX."

      What this pretty much means, is that FreeBSD is popular in the role Linux was originally intended for ('nix for low-cost PCs), while Linux is touted as the big/noisy "alternative to Microsoft".

      Another thing to note, is that while Linux can't technically be called a UNIX (it looks the same, but is very different inside), BSD is a real UNIX (though it can't be called one only for legal reasons).
      • Re:Hrmm (Score:3, Informative)

        by connorbd (151811)
        I don't know if I quite agree that "Linux can't technically be called a Unix" -- dmr considers it part of the family (Linux Magazine, a couple of months ago), and if he doesn't have final say on the matter who does?

        Another point: your point is a good one, but it's more about perception than reality.

        I do applaud the existence of a BSD book, finally, though -- I use Linux myself (I have OpenBSD running on a Mac SE/30, but it's wedged in rather painfully and I don't use it much) but I do think BSD gets rather short shrift these days. There are five different major Open Source BSDs out there these days, only one of which (Darwin) gets any significant amount of media play. But Yahoo has been running FreeBSD for a long time, and development continues on all the variants... it's about time.

        /Brian

        (how come we don't have a female mascot around here, anyway? What do Tux, Beastie, and Hexley go home to at night?)
        • (how come we don't have a female mascot around here, anyway? What do Tux, Beastie, and Hexley go home to at night?)

          Why would the individual they go home to have to be female?

          Dinivin
        • Being "part of the Unix family" is usually just meaning "pretty close to posix compliant" these days. Most Unix Sys V systems I've seen have the BSD compatibility package loaded. BSD also has roots in projects based on the original AT&T source. Also, check out SecureBSD's mascot if you want a cute chick.
        • by ae (16342)
          how come we don't have a female mascot around here, anyway? What do Tux, Beastie, and Hexley go home to at night? I dunno about those other guys, but Tux goes home to Gown.
    • by ergo98 (9391)

      It's (BSD) not any harder to install than most linux distributions (save mandrake, redhat, oh, perhaps it is harder to install)...

      So in essence what you're saying is that Linux is for the point-and-clicker newbies, and FreeBSD is for the intelligentsia that don't need fancy dancy pointy-clicky wizards and helpers? I get it. So the progression of knowledge should be:

      >-PlayStation 2 ->-Windows 98 ->-Linux ->- Windows 2000 ->-GEM (Atari ST) ->-BSD.

      ;-) Seriously though user friendliness is one of those hilarious multi-headed hydras: When you don't have it you can disparage it as being for idiots and dullards, but once you have it it's a wonderful feature.

      • Seriously though user friendliness is one of those hilarious multi-headed hydras: When you don't have it you can disparage it as being for idiots and dullards, but once you have it it's a wonderful feature.

        User friendly is a relative statement in my opinion. For some things I find linux and FreeBSD more user friendly than Windows. What we seem to mean by user friendly is idiot freindly, or no knowledge required friendly. As a user I like the fact that I do not have to reboot the system to regain speed, stop an app which is not cooperating and such.

        Don't get me wrong... if you setup a system for someone and it keeps running as setup for years is that not user friendly??? Everyone keeps saying that windows is better because anyone can administer it, but I have yet to see everyone administer it. When they refer to anyone, they meen someone with a bit of computer knowledge, but in that case they can as easily administer any other OS.

        This comment is not to insite a flame war of which OS is friendlier, this is to make a simple point. I have clients which use BSD's as ther server OS and have not had to visit them to admin the system,in some cases, for over 5 years. Now is this not user friendly?

      • ...user friendliness is one of those hilarious multi-headed hydras: When you don't have it you can disparage it as being for idiots and dullards, but once you have it it's a wonderful feature.

        On a few levels I quite agree with you. The real problem with the whole concept of "user friendliness" is just that, the *user* part. What comes to mind is the SWAT (SAMBA ) interface. It's pretty decent, covering all the essentials that an experienced user might wish to quickly check/alter. The problem is that an unexperienced user would have no idea about most of the settings . Does that mean that this UI is crap? I don't think so. The real solution is to correctly target your audience with the right level of "help". Don't forget, SWAT (and most *nix apps - correct?) allow for editing the config file with a text editor for all that advanced stuff anyway..

        So back to BSD - heck any *nix; the level of computer education is the real problem. Grandma probably shouldn't be using *BSD, and CompSci grads probably should't be using Windows.
        • by binner (68996)
          So back to BSD - heck any *nix; the level of computer education is the real problem. Grandma probably shouldn't be using *BSD, and CompSci grads probably should't be using Windows.

          Unfortunately, this doesn't seem to be the case. At my university, most of the grads know 'Just enough Unix' to get by. There are the odd few that realize the power of Unix, but for the most part, they're content using putty as a terminal client to access our Solaris machines. Heck, around here, there is no 'Vi vs. Emacs' debate (except among a few)...the real debate is 'Pico vs. anything else! Pico, they use Pico as an everyday text editor! Makes me wanna cry.

          -Ben

  • At Last (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Erasei (315737)
    I think this is just what the general public needs. Most of the 'into' *nixish books assume a general command line background, if even DOS. Many of the younger geeks have not been exposed to DOS or a command line in general. If there is a book they can read through and gather background knowledge, in easy to understand format, that will be at help to them, at least.
    • Most of the 'into' *nixish books assume a general command line background, if even DOS. Many of the younger geeks have not been exposed to DOS or a command line in general.

      But- can you REALLY consider yourself a computer geek if you've never had regular exposure to the command line in some form? Last I checked, the more *geeky* the operating system the more available the command line.

      Ah well, anything to help a quality OS become more popular and gain "market" must be a good thing.
  • by Jucius Maximus (229128) <zyrbmf5j4x AT snkmail DOT com> on Friday August 17, 2001 @09:02AM (#2154905) Homepage Journal
    And I would buy it for several reasons:

    - I am primarily a Windows user (and Windows support tech,) but want to get more involved with the alternative OSs, especially because of Windows XP. (I already installed Mandrake 8.0, but I don't want to be permanently GUI handicapped)
    - I don't have an enormous pipe to download applications. I can only get 28.8 where I live
    - When people say 'RTFM' I actually have something to refer to
    - It's too time consuming to look up all kinds of documentation online. I know it exists, but downloading it, finding what I want, printing it, etc is annoying. I don't have another box to use while setting up BSD.
    - It essentially centralises everything, and I can even learn things without my box at hand because I can just sit down with the book

    It's this kind of thing that might lasso in users who otherwise have too little time/patience to break out of the windows mold.

    • - I don't have an enormous pipe to download applications. I can only get 28.8 where I live
      Upgrading FreeBSD via cvsup can be done easily over a slow line. "I can't upgrade because my link is slow" is a common myth. Now downloading an install ISO or installing via FTP do take some speed/time.

      - When people say 'RTFM' I actually have something to refer to
      The whole handbook and many docs are located on the system post-install in /usr/share/doc/(language)/ if they are not there, you can use cvsup to get the latest Docs from the FreeBSD Documentation Project [freebsd.org]

      - It's too time consuming to look up all kinds of documentation online. I know it exists, but downloading it, finding what I want, printing it, etc is annoying. I don't have another box to use while setting up BSD.
      That's why there are the ``man'' and ``info'' commands, in addition to the documentation above. ``info'' has loads of manuals and other documentation, but many people don't even know it exists. Docs are also put in /usr/share/doc/ or /usr/local/share/doc/ for installed applications.

      The FreeBSD project has great existing documentation. A book is nice but for some it is a waste of money. (Unless the money goes back to the project somehow, and then it's a nice donation.)
      • "Upgrading FreeBSD via cvsup can be done easily over a slow line. "I can't upgrade because my link is slow" is a common myth. Now downloading an install ISO or installing via FTP do take some speed/time."

        For ISOs, I just get someone I know to download for me via a fiber office connection and then bring the hard drive over to my place.

        But for normal upgrades, sadly, they STILL cause problems. Even if I start pulling something 500k+ down over the 28.8, some other family member gets pissed because I'm hogging the connection. Such is life. I just have to hope that Look Communications [www.look.ca] doesn't go bankrupt so that we can sign up for their wireless broadband.

    • - I don't have an enormous pipe to download applications. I can only get 28.8 where I live - When people say 'RTFM' I actually have something to refer to

      - It's too time consuming to look up all kinds of documentation online. I know it exists, but downloading it, finding what I want, printing it, etc is annoying. I don't have another box to use while setting up BSD.

      - It essentially centralises everything, and I can even learn things without my box at hand because I can just sit down with the book

      well, this is one thing i loved that is part of both Linux and FreeBSD, all the docs. FreeBSD with its manual and docs, Linux with its HowTo's, etc.

      both when installed, have swaths of documentation.

      dont have another box for printing? screen/alt-f2 etc. docs in one console, doing it in another..

  • by cperciva (102828) on Friday August 17, 2001 @09:05AM (#2154974) Homepage
    I saw this on the freebsd mailing lists and my only thought was "wow that's a lot of buzzwords".

    "A FRIENDLY, TASK-ORIENTED INTRODUCTION to FreeBSD, a FREE, OPEN-SOURCE, INDUSTRIAL STRENGTH operating system..."
    I count six buzzwords in there out of a total of only 12 words.
  • Let's be real, there's a limit to people who are weird enough to get excited about a true multi-user multi-tasking OS (Yeah, I'm on of them). Most of these people are already running Linux, which is good enougn for them, so they won't feel the need to run for FreeBSD. It sounds like a great book, but I can't see hordes of Win 95 AOL'ers dropping it all to go there.


    So, sadly, marketing and buzz will allow a less technologically elegant OS (Linux) to trump a better one, FreeBSD.

  • I think this is a great idea, not only will it further introduce fbsd and make it more accessible to those who want to try it out but are just daunted by the 'bsd' portion of Freebsd. Secondly I'm not sure how adequate the current state of documentation on fbsd is on the net. Even though it exists, its somewhat lackluster and decentralized. Given freebsd.org has that great online handbook, there is still no where the amount of documentation that there could be. Look at all the linux documentation projects, pretty impressive. This really seems like a good step in the right direction. I have a friend who is an avid linux user and has been wanting to checkout fbsd, but has been somewhat apprehensive because he couldn't find any beginner level material to start with. I guess I'll forward this to him.
  • Wasn't O'Reilly supposed to come out with this? Anyone know what happened to it? I'm fairly sure I remember this being posted because people's main argument against it was that UNIX in a nutshell already existed and there wasn't enough of a difference to warrant the book...maybe I'm just drunk right now.

    psxndc

  • This is great! I remember trying to use FBSD 4.3 ( I think that was it ). The installer wasn't exactly the most friendly or intuitive... I definately could have used a manual like this then.

    I think that the most intimidating part of Linux/*BSD has to be the install itself. Unless you're used to DOS or other shell based OS's it can get a little confusing for the average user. Text == Intimidating. Everyone loves the look of X ( Don't lie to yourselves! ), and once they can get past the installer process I think most people loosen up to the concept. Oooo, pretty windows! This wasn't so hard after all!

    Great work, keep it up guys.

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