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As a Debian user who started on Gentoo, I think the linked article was very interesting in terms of at least getting an idea of what the differences in design are.

I've never used a BSD or even looked into it... given what I read there, it seems like it'd be a lot nicer in at least one sense, since Debian releases die off and release-upgrade can be either perfect or very painful.

On the other hand, I do love how small and unassuming a basic Linux installation is, and -- as the author repeatedly and correctly stresses -- I'm used to doing things the way I currently do them. That's not good or bad, it's just momentum.

I do hope I'll get the chance to work with a BSD at some point, but much like my attempts to really get into Clojure... well, unlike the Stones, most of us do not have time on our side.

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>On the other hand, I do love how small and unassuming a basic Linux installation is

There is no "basic linux installation". Every distro is its own thing. Size seems like a really odd thing to bring up since every mainstream linux distro's "basic" installation is larger than the full OS of any of the four BSDs.

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> Size seems like a really odd thing to bring up since every mainstream linux distro's "basic" installation is larger than the full OS of any of the four BSDs.

I don't think that's entirely true. The Debian install I do by default, with no tasksel tasks selected, is very minimal. I haven't checked recently how large it is (and one of the reasons I am considering moving away is that I suspect the minimal required system has been growing with the adoption of things like systemd), but I remember a few years ago noting that it was a fair bit smaller than a clean OpenBSD install. That's not including X and compilers IIRC.

Also, as I understand it, Arch Linux is becoming quite popular and it is also pretty spartan by default.

(Not that I think this really matters for most cases (embedded excepted); I would like to be able to uninstall tcsh, though.)

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So your contention is that there is no basic installation... followed by the assertion that the basic installation, which does not exist, is larger than that of any BSD. Sorry, I'm going to have a hard time taking this seriously. And, frankly, your statement about the "full OS" is meaningless, as unless you consider the "full OS" to be only the base system, it includes every possible package, which very obviously is NOT going to be smaller than anything you could consider a basic Linux installation.

I meant small in terms of packages. The kernel, a shell, and not much else unless you specify it. Obviously you will specify something else, but the point was that I'm used to specifying exactly what else I want, so I have that habit to break/relearn.

The point you ignored or missed is that as a Linux user with no BSD exposure there's a basic difference in philosophy that creates several kinds of tradeoffs that I find compelling and interesting. I'm not "bringing up" anything in terms of absolute pros and cons, I'm highlighting what I consider noteworthy differences in terms of learning more about things I have not used.

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>Sorry, I'm going to have a hard time taking this seriously.

That will happen when you don't read it. Allow me to repeat it for you: 'There is no "basic linux installation"'. Linux is a kernel. There is no "basic linux installation". I do not know how it could possible be stated any clearer. Each individual distro is its own OS, which may or may not have a installation labelled "basic". Most of those are larger than any BSDs full OS. This is very simple.

>And, frankly, your statement about the "full OS" is meaningless

No it is not. You are awfully hostile for someone who just wants to learn. BSD operating systems are operating systems. The full OS means the full OS. Plain and simple. The lack of distinction between the OS and third party packages is unique to linux distros, where the OS itself consists almost entirely of third party packages in the first place. In BSD systems as in most systems, the operating system is everything included in the operating system, and third party software is third party software.

>it includes every possible package

This is one of the fundamental differences, which is why it seems to odd that you claim to be talking about the differences but you don't even know them.

>I meant small in terms of packages. The kernel, a shell, and not much else unless you specify it.

There is no mainstream linux distro where that is the case. Only specialized micro distros intended for embedded use and based on busybox provide anything like that. Debian, ubuntu, fedora, etc all have a few hundred MB more stuff in their minimal installation.

>but the point was that I'm used to specifying exactly what else I want

It is unreasonable to expect me to understand that was your point when you said something completely different. Nonetheless, you do not get that unless you are doing a custom LFS.

>The point you ignored or missed is that as a Linux user with no BSD exposure there's a basic difference in philosophy

No, that's the point you missed and instead talked about being minimal.

>I'm not "bringing up" anything in terms of absolute pros and cons

Saying "I love thing that is my own misunderstanding" implies that the other option lacks that thing. That's what pros and cons are all about.

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There is a huge amount more than a kernel and a shell in a Linux distro. There is of course a package manager, which is usually written in python. There are all the utils to configure hardware and file systems (mkfs, mount, raid, ip, etc). The minimal Ubuntu is 63MB compressed[1], although it is not strictly comparable with a BSD base, as the BSDs include compilers in the base system.

[1] http://blog.dustinkirkland.com/2014/08/re-introducing-jeos-j...

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Yeah... poorly phrased. I understand that there's more than a kernel and a shell; I started with Gentoo and worked quite a bit with RedHat/CentOS/Fedora before moving to Ubuntu and then to Debian.

The point was that what you get without selecting or installing anything else via a package manager is still apparently far less than what you get with a "base install" from a BSD (at least according to the article) and that that starting point is what I'm used to.

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Gentoo is probably the most similar, as it has enough to bootstrap the system in the base (stage3), which is not surprising as it was modelled on BSD ports to a large extent. Although the BSDs will also include a debugger too. Linuxes generally got pretty hard to bootstrap reliably though, nad had binary packages earlier, which was where things diverged in base systems.

NetBSD takes bootstrapping most seriously - you can cross build it on any system with a vaguely functional C compiler, and it will bootstrap completely.

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> release-upgrade can be either perfect or very painful.

This seems to be in the nature of the task. Freebsd-update is also often perfect, but if it goes wrong it can be very painful as well.

On the other hand, you do have a rollback feature, but then you're back to a probably working, outdated system.

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Never listen to anyone saying that.

Better suggestion: Be careful when listening to anyone making absolute judgments based on generalizations.

Some operating systems, just like some applications, are better for certain purposes (often because they were designed and built specifically to be suitable for those purposes). "You can do anything with anything" is a very idealistic oversimplification that's implied by the idea that no OS is ever better than any other.

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Google throws its weight around just as much as Microsoft ever did, they just smile while they do it.

I think it's less a matter of attitude and more a matter of being really, really good at doing it either unobtrusively or at least in a way that people won't mind or won't understand.

With so many years of experience with how users interact with information, they have the potential for unprecedented insight into the realities of UI interaction.

I'm not saying it's a good thing, and I agree that Google isn't doing us as users any favors in this regard (any more than Microsoft ever did or does), but there's more behind the fact that they're getting away with it among less user outrage than simply public image.

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Absolutely agreed on the great knife bit. As for the bread... I think ditching the expectation of perfectly even slices is a good start. Cut a piece and cut it in half; there, half a sandwich (assuming your bread maker spits out loaves with a square cross section). Want another half? It may not be the same thickness as the first one, but as long as you're a little bit careful, your pieces should at least be consistent with themselves, so there you go.

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I can respect your aesthetic reasons for running OS X, but it's entirely subjective. I'm exactly the opposite: I run Mac hardware because, for my requirements, it's the only option. I run Debian on it because, for my requirements, looking pretty is the very last thing on my list and whatever doesn't run from the terminal is a few easy clicks away.

"Lukewarm" with respect to a "desktop experience" depends entirely on what you want from your desktop. I have the same "why does this software hate me" while attempting to use OS X. It doesn't make either of our experiences more or less valid; it simply means that different people have different tastes and requirements, and that any given mix of hardware and software might be great for you but will be totally inappropriate for someone else.

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There are two fairly consistent benefits to running OS X:

1. It usually comes installed on great hardware.

2. It's less vulnerable to most things than Windows.

Beyond that, if you choose to build a Hackintosh, in my opinion you (for whatever reason) enjoy OS X enough to depend on it but don't like Apple enough to run their OS without paying their hardware premium (entirely understandable from the price perspective but a little illogical if you take it a bit further).

Frankly, I can't see any reason for the Hackintosh middle ground other than people who can't cope without the OS but can't afford the hardware. The software is little more than a neutered and compromised version of BSD that lets you part way into a walled garden (cue It's a trap! meme).

Granted: There's also the requirement of a Mac for iOS development... but guess what? You're still stuck with the developer program membership fee. Save $500 here, lose $100 a year there, along with probably being in violation of half a dozen usage limitations.

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First, I don't think Apple hardware is expensive when you compare it to other machines with similar specs.

The reason for building my own Hackintosh was mostly getting a machine that was good for gaming (a powerful GPU). It wasn't about saving money, as the same money would have bought a decent iMac, but using that money better.

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I'd second this. In general, Apple hardware is not terribly expensive for what you get (assuming that you don't value things like software, industrial design, power efficiency, noise, compactness at zero because you personally are not interested in them).

A Hackintosh lets you get combinations of hardware that Apple doesn't sell. It also lets you add or remove features that Apple doesn't offer on any model such as replaceable components and large/loud/inefficient machines. In many cases this does end up being cheaper because you are purposely choosing to use fewer or lower quality components.

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> Frankly, I can't see any reason for the Hackintosh middle ground other than people who can't cope without the OS but can't afford the hardware.

I have several Mac laptops that cost more than most desktops (from apple or otherwise) but use a hackintosh desktop. Price isn't the issue, Apple simply doesn't make a desktop Mac with the specs I want, specifically there is no Mac with a desktop class GPU. You can choose between an iMac with a mobile GPU or a Mac Pro with a compute optimized GPU, I don't need nor want either. If Apple made a desktop with a desktop class GPU, I'd buy it.

> The software is little more than a neutered and compromised version of BSD that lets you part way into a walled garden (cue It's a trap! meme).

It's the best user experience available on a POSIX compliant OS. I used linux as my only OS for 6-7 years, I will never go back to fighting to get basic functionality to work.

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The benefit I get from running OS X is "a unix-y system that is beautiful and maintenance-free." No worrying about drivers, sound systems, display managers, fonts and hinting systems. People who write software for this system tend to care deeply about adhering to the HIG. All of the ugly problems I run into with linux distributions are taken care of in OS X.

If I had money, I'd buy a real mac. But I don't, and this option is as easy as (and way more appealing than) running something like Ubuntu.

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Why does "we're taking it down while we figure out what's going on" not qualify as a valid approach? Shouldn't safety be a higher priority than "well someone might want to look at the home page so we'll put more effort into a crappy default landing page?"

It's easy (and often correct), in hindsight, to say that some things should be prepared for in better or different ways. However, that's a different animal than "crap, something is up, we need to react in the best way we can now."

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> Why does "we're taking it down while we figure out what's going on" not qualify as a valid approach?

Because availability is more important than your forensic shenanigans. (2 hours to verify a bunch of checksums? really?)

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Yep, the recycling/trash system is nightmarish. Furnishing a new apartment (they don't typically come with anything, including a washer or fridge) results in a huge amount of packaging (the Japanese absolutely love to box, rebox, bag, rebag, wrap, rewrap, etc.) which makes your first month a very nasty lesson in how trash pickup works and doesn't.

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Argh. I haven't even thought of that. Moving into a new apartment in Tokyo in 1 weeks time.

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On the same logic moving out of a place requires planning in advance what to throw and when. You're moving on saturday and have to throw your remaining cleaning stuff ? Too bad, non burning garbage is on tuesday. If your building doesn't have a garbage room you'll be pissing off the neighbourhood for 4 days.

I was going to justify all the complexity by an extremely good recycling rate, but it seems Japan is at 20% on average, which is behind 16 other countries [0], way behind South Korea.

[0] http://www.pinterest.com/pin/129830401728417991/

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If you are moving out, then you bring the trash of the old apartment with you and you throw it the day that you are supposed to throw it in the new neighborhood. It is a no-brainer for Japanese. Been there, seen that. :)

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There's nothing wrong with that for people who choose to use it that way. But it kills discoverability (well, more accurately, there is no discoverability) for people who may hear about it without being given the direct link to this particular site or the page itself and attempt to search for it, only to find... they're not really sure what.

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Valid point on worth-of-mouth. Since the app is relatively new, it might take a while for it to rank. (Not sure that's how the App Store works, but can imagine the more downloads/reviews the higher it will rank for its keywords)

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Exactly. If I were the author I'd come up with a more unique name.

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I've been using and (for the most part) promoting Android ever since the G1... but after 2.x the rate of UI change has, in my opinion, been terrible from a usability experience.

Pretty much all software (whether that's apps, websites, programming languages, or anything else) past a certain complexity has quirks. Getting used to the quirks is part of learning the software.

Massively changing large swathes of your built-in software is bad for users! I get that it'd be suicide to say "OK, permanent feature freeze... now," but big changes to the UI on apps that are (to many normal users) fundamental to using Android break the user's understanding of their use, often amounting to months of acclimation down the drain.

It's very frustrating.

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I too have been using Android since the G1 (I still have it for testing on!) and I would agree that the introduction of new paradigms/ways of interacting with apps (seemingly introduced every I/O every year) is frustrating.

The hamburger menu is in fashion. Then it isn't. Swiping from the left is, then it isn't. All of the examples in their design spec of how NOT to do things was precisely what they did on 2.x.

I know you have to be seen to be "innovating" for attention-deficit new phone buyers, but living in a world of constantly shifting sands just means it's hard to see from all the dust blowing around in your face.

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I don't see it the same way - Android's been behind the other smartphone operating systems in UI quality, and has had to iterate quickly in 2.x, 4.x and 5 in order to catch up. As they reach a point where Android has as good or better user interface as the competition (I think they're close to that now), the rate of change will most likely slow down.

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Also, it's a kind of new field for ergonomics and usability so all these changes (both hardware and software-wise) are something to be expected.

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Whilst true to some extent, it isn't as new as we think. Window Mobile has been around for a very very long time and Palm OS preceded it with usable Palm Pilot devices.

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Although it's not obvious, I guess popularity as a lot to do with ergonomics and usability and their evolution so something will only continue to be pushed forward if there's enough people to actually use it. I don't know, I'm just thinking out loud why something which has been on the market for such a long time only recently has seen such a crazy amount of innovation.

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"A man must be big enough to admit his mistakes, smart enough to profit from them, and strong enough to correct them." - John C. Maxwell

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