Posted Nov 14, 2012 8:51 UTC (Wed) by rsidd (subscriber, #2582)
Parent article: Crowding out OpenBSD
Here's the thing -- at this point I really don't care about desktop environments. I have used BSD in the past (FreeBSD, Dragonfly) and was comfortable with it. If I could run a BSD with a minimal window manager that let me set up icons for a terminal and a few apps, that would be enough (I'd launch other apps from the terminal).
What drove me from FreeBSD to Dragonfly was its incredibly flaky USB stack -- you couldn't use USB peripherals without panicking the system. For example, pulling a USB drive without unmounting it would reliably cause a panic. But I also got panics with USB audio, USB serial, and other USB stuff. Supposedly this is because the BSD kernels were written with the underlying assumption that hardware was always present and does not come and go as it pleases. And this is despite the BSDs boasting that they got USB support before Linux. (Over the years I heard many times that this was fixed in FreeBSD, but when I tried it, it wasn't. Perhaps it is now. It was fixed in Dragonfly, though.)
What drove me back to Linux was, sad to say, hardware support. As I get older I want a system that "just works" without extensive hacking.
I don't mind configuring my network, mounting and unmounting drives, etc, via the command line -- in fact I prefer it to NetworkManager etc which never seem to do what I want. And with GNOME 3, GNOME seems to have abandoned the majority of the Linux community too, so moving to a BSD hardly loses me anything. If the BSDs could cater to us command-line types they'd still have a significant niche. But without adequate support for modern hardware, it's a problem, and it's getting worse with the growth of ARM-based devices.