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Old 10th December 2013
ocicat ocicat is offline
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 3,300

Originally Posted by harishankar View Post
But I find that BSD folks seem to bitterly resent that fact that Linux has a lot of abstractions and "bolted-on" features that make it easier to work as a desktop OS and are tied down to Linux...
All I can offer is an opinion; I do not speak for the overall community.

The prevailing attitude nearly a decade ago was that third-party applications needed to target their code to POSIX criteria. If this was done, then porting to whatever Unix-like operating system should be similar as everyone agreed (to some extent...) that POSIX was to be considered the lowest common denominator.

However, a number of developers in the better known applications in the Unix world migrated to Linux, & eventually the attempt to stay agnostic to the target operating system was seen to be a boat anchor. Just write to Linux since this was seen to be the dominant target audience. I would say this is a nit which doesn't mesh in the *BSD world very well. Traditionally open & universal applications are narrowing their focus.
I don't see any BSD developers putting their hands up to work on true desktop features. I understand that their itch is different and that they aren't interested in making BSDs more desktop oriented. I just wanted to know why.
I suspect you have already answered this question when you acknowledged above that the *BSD developer community is small, & that they have to pick & choose what battles they can or will fight. Beyond that, I again state that I am not a spokesperson for the community. All I can offer are observations.
But the surprising fact is that, in the modern era, barring a few, there seems to be no real OS that is single-user, desktop based written from the ground up.
Perhaps this says something about those who are project developers, or perhaps this says something about their priorities.
Even Windows or MacOS X are not truly desktop oriented OSes from the ground up. I think Mac Classic is probably the most prominent commercial and proprietary desktop OS.
I suspect what you are observing here is that it takes significant time for the development & stabilization of operating systems. I would wager that those in the Unix community value stability, & working with a vetted source base such as the descendents from AT&T and Berkeley Unix has its advantages. Yes, a new environment could & can be developed, but given the time & expense, using something which has already been tempered by decades of use is seen to be good enough.

Coming full circle, I suspect this is the reason for using X Windows, a "bolted-on" third-party graphical layer. Originally, it was written to be platform-agnostic, it was a known protocol, & those that needed it could install it; those that didn't (the embedded community...) were not forced to swallow code bloat which wasn't needed.

However, I suspect your core complaint is that there isn't a lot of standardization -- yet. Yeah, I agree.

The true value of Unix is that it is open & flexible. The core system is small, & can be adapted to lots of uses. Does this fit the needs of the desktop market? Personally, I don't see much agreement in what is considered to be a "desktop". I do know that in general, OpenBSD fits my needs. I suspect this sentiment can be inductively extrapolated to the community at large too.
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