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xxi wrote (edited )

Ardent Debian GNU/Linux user here. I've at least thought about trying some BSD variant.

At the moment I'm pretty content with my "setup". I wanna stress that I'm a curious/passionate user, the code-stuff I've done i negligible, but it seems like a trend for me to simplify things as I go along. I've really grown fond of some suckless stuff.

I use st and dwm (and various other smaller tools) at the moment. If my Unix history isn't a product of my mind it seems to me that the project's goals are more "Unix:y" than some distro default software. In comparing some of the BSD:s and the GNU/Linux distros it seem that the former might be closer to the Unix ideal or whatever.

With that said. If you want stripped down you can be stripped down no matter what path you choose. I'd tread water if we talked have kernel-design, but when it comes to choosing and using software I've never really hit any walls so far.

I probably could install a Debian-like (or some other distro) base system and the just build all the shit I wanna use from source. So apart from that the BDS:s have this tradition to just dump a whole system on you I'd say that you could probably get what you want no matter which alternative you go with.

I fully subscribe to edmund_the_destroyer's point about licenses though. One thing that I've read but never really got until recently was the criticism of GNU-specific software provide novel and bulky solutions to all kinds of things. 2 examples: take info (texinfo) or tar. There's probably some good reason for info but man pages is fine with me. tar, well... Compare the OpenBSD and GNU man pages and you'll see what I mean.

Buuut... What I said before still stands. If you want stripped down you can have it no matter how you choose.


dieselriot wrote

I never noticed what you said before about GNU software being bloated, but now comparing native BSD tools and their GNU counterparts, I see what you mean. This even shows on basic stuff like cp.

If you're looking for stripped down, the thing is linux and linux distros are evolving around systemd and pulseaudio. You can't use firefox in linux without pulseaudio. I know about apulse but that doesn't seem to work all of the time and shouldn't even be necessary in the first place. Also correct me if I'm wrong, but nowadays most serious (haha) linux distros use systemd. There's artix for example, but it's still a system based on a distro that evolves around systemd.


dieselriot wrote (edited )

At one point I got interested in st so I downloaded the source code from their site and it compiled without a hitch on freebsd. At the time I thought I had found some good use for cmatrix, that is to test how fast a certain terminal emulator is. For example, on my hardware, terminator will lag when rendering faster speeds, while urxvt (my terminal of choice for some time now) only lags a bit on the fastest one.

That said, st performed horribly on my "test", slow as fuck on any speed. So I thought the emulator was just poorly designed. That coupled with fontconfig and having to recompile to change the color scheme just made it a big disappointment for me.

After reading your post I decided to give it another shot, this time I found a patch for using plain .Xresources for configuring the font and the colors, and I found out that the cmatrix thing is just a bug with rendering multiple colors or bold characters in that specific application. If I run it at a mode that has only one color and no bold, it's very fast, and any other applications seem to work great too. I'm considering using it as my main terminal now. Only wish I could find a way to set a background image, but it's something I can live without.


edmund_the_destroyer wrote

Well, I'm going to bring up the angle that has been debated to death all over the net: given the choice, I prefer software with a copyleft free software license. I have nothing against the BSDs and would happily use them if the opportunity arose.

But I fear that if Linux did not have a GPL license, it would never have reached the level of popularity and the driver and feature set it has today. Sure there are thousands of people and companies violating the terms of the license, but enough comply to promote the system.

Apple and Sony, among others, use the BSD code and give almost nothing back by comparison.

Free software 'copyleft' licenses like GPL, EPL, MPL are free-as-in-freedom, free software permissive licenses like MIT, BSD, Apache are free-as-in-labor.


dieselriot wrote

I don't think that's a flaw in the BSD license itself, or that this was the original intent. The corporations you mentioned will keep doing it as long as there are people dumb enough to support them.

Windows using BSD code is a great example of this. People have the choice between using the crappy proprietary system, BSD, Linux or whatever else.

If it weren't for the BSD license, Windows would probably be a bit crappier, and people would still use it regardless because games and commodity are more important than good code and a stable system.


edmund_the_destroyer wrote

Maybe the original creators and users of the BSD license didn't have that intent. But even ten years ago if you adopted a permissive license for a project you had to know the likely outcome.

So I don't think it was short-sighted to use it even fifteen years ago. But today?


jadedctrl wrote

I considered the BSDs-- and've been using OpenBSD/LibertyBSD exclusively for the past two years or so. (Also the default WM, fvwm2).

OpenBSD is so much simpler-- in every decision, process, you can actually understand what's going on. You don't need as much abstraction as with LiGNUx.
Packages are simply tarballs with some meta-data, which are made from a simple ports tree of make-files; a package repo is just one HTTP directory with tarballs and a file or two of metadata; the systems themselves can be compiled from scratch with incredible ease (documented in the man-pages, even!); installation of OpenBSD is incredibly straight-forward, quick, and still fairly powerful and flexible; services and daemons are started from (thank god) simple RC scripts...

I could probably go on ranting for a while...

Basically, BSDs are simpler and saner in design.


froop wrote

I've considered. But BSD is even less mainstream than linux, which means more things not working/not being userfriendly and needing to be hacked.


dieselriot wrote

That's one of the reasons I learned more from BSD in a couple days than from using linux for years. FreeBSD has a handbook that actually tells you how the system works and walks you through advanced tasks. On my current setup (laptop) everything works, (after some hacking) with a few perks I didn't have in linux. The only thing that half works is setting the backlight, I have to do it from sysctl but it works.


Fossidarity wrote (edited )

I chose Linux because at the time I learned about it I didn't know about any other systems. I read some things about BSDs and I'm interested about it but it's pretty low on my list of things to do, who knows though...


mftrhu wrote

Yes, roughly a year and a half ago. I was looking for a new distro/OS to try out, and I was trying to decide between FreeBSD and OpenSUSE.

In the end, what did it for me was the software support. While yes, FreeBSD has a Linux emulation layer and yes, most Linux software I used either worked fine through it or had a port of its own, I still needed to use Slack and a few other Electron apps which, at the time, weren't supported - so I ended up on SUSE (while I could have used at least Slack through Firefox, I learned that it's just a recipe for om nom nom delicious RAM and crashed browsing sessions).