I am a FreeBSD user since October 2017, choose FreeBSD because it supports my old but well running i386 netbook, its robustness and ‘bare bone’ install. This way I can decide what software to use and forget about the rest. Soon after my netbook experiment, I migrated my main box as well and never regretted.
Primarily having a system that works in console, it boosts my productivity. I mainly write and edit texts. CLI is for productivity, GUI is for socializing. When starting with personal computers in the 1980s, I wasn't a fan of the (MS-DOS) command line. But I grew up and now I see the power and speed of it, appreciating the Unix Philosophy — doing one thing at a time and do it well.
Before FreeBSD I was a Linux Fedora user for about eight or nine years. IMHO Fedora had the best support and forum in the Linux world. As this distro became better over the years, it also became noticeably heavier by ongoing high CPU use and fan noise. In fact all major Linuxes grow (too) big, but my main concern was that they would dump the i386 architecture. I use my hardware until it really breaks down, my family members are the same (since they rely on my admin skills). Obese growing systems also made me go to Linux when my Windows box doubled its system size, worsening performance back in 2007.
Over the years I got to appreciate the FOSS-way determining myself what software and hardware to use. Keep using well working hardware also has an environmental side to me: don't waste what does the job. IMHO we need better software, not faster hardware per sē. ‘Better’ nowadays means more basic to me — Vim instead of some GUI editor, that kind of way. Back in 1990 I wasn't able to out-type my 8 MHz Mac Classic, so why should I want a faster computer now?
I didn't look too much around in the BSD landscape. DragonBSD looked nice but has no i386 support. Just to start somewhere, I picked FreeBSD. It is the community, forum and excellent documentation that make me stay, next to the reliability. With FreeBSD I never had a broken system or freezing software, and that's great! Starting with a black screen and not even a package manager, CLI was a bit of a challenge. But with the patient and excellent help of the Handbook and FreeBSD Forum, within a day or two I had a well running system and I learned how all software is set and works together. Besides, primarily working in console is a good training for my brain. I still use the ‘sh’ shell without history to sharpen my memory.
I use FreeBSD only on my own machines and educate myself in keeping things running and improving. BSD may not be an easy start like buying a working system in a box, but really provides an excellent system for home desktop use.
If you want to reach me, just look for my name on Twitter, Mastodon, the Vim-mailinglist or FreeBSD Forum.
24 Apr 2019
Mischa Peters and
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