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Feedback requested: LiveCDs / LiveDVDs
- To: advocacy_(_at_)_openbsd_(_dot_)_org
- Subject: Feedback requested: LiveCDs / LiveDVDs
- From: Josh Grosse <josh_(_at_)_jggimi_(_dot_)_homeip_(_dot_)_net>
- Date: Fri, 23 Feb 2007 23:57:22 -0500
At the beginning of the year, I began building simple .iso images for the
OpenBSD-interested, as well as the OpenBSD-literate. As the first versions
were being completed, I posted about this in two newbie-focused arenas:
Usenet's comp.unix.openbsd.misc, and at www.bsdforums.org. These low volume
low use arenas were acceptable for such a "beta test."
Now that I have access to a fatter pipe to offer downloads, I thought I
would ask here for suggestions and advice, prior to any sort of
announcements to the community at large.
While this sort of unofficial advocacy is not of *direct* interest to the
project, there may be indirect value in showing OpenBSD to a wider audience,
through additional sales of CDs and merchandise, and perhaps additional
donations of money or hardware, in ratios similar to the existing community.
Q1 of my FAQ is, "Why did you make these LiveCDs available to the public?"
To aid with OS familiarization and to aid with hardware testing:
* To allow curious people the opportunity to try out an OpenBSD environment
without actually installing it.
* To allow existing users the ability to easily test out new hardware without
changes to what is on hard drive. This might be for the purpose of testing
a system or peripheral device in a retail store, or similar situations.
* To give a new user the opportunity to try the OS first, before making the
decision on whether to conduct a standard installation.
* It could also be used as a rescue disc for production environments, if
desired, though most production environments would have installation media,
network boot, or some other form of recovery process in place.
To be clear, the purpose of these LiveCDs is to make testing of the OS
easier. They are not used to install the OS on hard drive, and are not
intended to advocate OpenBSD as the OS for the masses. The OpenBSD Project
has no interest in taking over the world, or winning any popularity contests.
The project is run by the developers for the developers, and we lucky users
go along for the ride (though many support the Project in a variety of ways).
LiveCDs have been produced over time by members of the community for a number
of different reasons. Those that were made available to the public that I
am aware of have been special-purpose rather than generic OpenBSD.
The OpenBSD installation process is quick and easy. But, for the new user,
the process of doing the install can be intimidating and possibly risks
losing data due to manual partitioning. These LiveCDs may help a new user
decide whether or not to make that minimal, but required, intellectual
The only negative feedback I have received so far has been emotional,
elitist and classist: "Don't bring us any more stinking newbies."
While I can be just as elitist as the next snob, I believe that the possible
benefits of a small increase in the user community outweigh the risks that
a new user might embarass him or herself by, if you will, throwing
themselves into a pool of sharks that make up misc@, tech@, and the other
lists. From what I've seen, the vast majority of newbies don't post to
misc@ or ports@ -- they go to places like bsdforums.org instead. In
general, noobs who post in the lists have either carefully done their
homework -- or, they are clueless, or fearless.
So far, just over 130 .iso's have been downloaded since I made my
little project semi-public. I have not had any technical questions
or support issues arise, nor have I seen a single post in misc@ about them.
I think that so far, the concern about newbies polluting mailing lists has
Right now, the discs are based on 4.0-release, and are i386. I plan to
refresh these with each -release, and add additional architectures as time
and resource allow.
I am interested in feedback, and I will gratefully accept any suggestions
for technical improvements, or FAQ improvements, or other constructive
advice. Even negative criticism would be accepted with grace, as long as it
is rational and constructive. This is an *unofficial* project, created
at my whim, but I believe its benefits will outweigh flaws.
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