I first got internet access in 2001 and had the luck of hearing the word “FreeBSD” just a few monthes later. My friend Luigi, who was at U.C. Berkeley in the 80′s, suggested me to try it when I asked him about Linux and UNIX. I started with 4.2-RELEASE.
At first, I was well impressed by the order of the hierarchical filesystem layout, by the power of the ports sistem and above all by the clarity of the official documentation and by the acceptance of the Italian community.
The more I use(d) the OS and live(d) its community, the more I like(d) it. But why?
I was and am astonished by the variety of technology, science, skills used to produce this OS. There’s so much a yearning mind can discover and learn that one would probably feel fullfilled when he really understood how a relatively simple part of the system works. There’s always something more to learn, from how the RCng framework works, to why are threading libraries so important but so difficult to use, not to talk about their development.
I was also by the openess of the community, both international and Italian. People wants to help newcomers. They like to. They tend to agree with that Anonymous who said:“Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime”. Altough the people are open-minded (which doesn’t mean weak-minded), accept improvements and suggestions from others and some discussions end up in bikeshed, this does not result in a fragmentation of the community: even in the development you can find order.
Order doesn’t necessarily slow down development: it makes development stronger, thanks to fertile discussions. Order doesn’t necessarily withold development in narrow tracks: it avoids the birth of sterile dead-end tracks.
That’s what I like in FreeBSD: the order, the clarity, the people, all three well flavored with fun.