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December 24th, 2015

A BSD Wish List for 2016

Larry the BSD Guy

FOSS Force editor Christine Hall beat me to the punch — that’s the luck of the draw (or lack thereof on my part) in my having a column appearing later in the week — on what she hopes to see in 2016 in the FOSS realm. So I’m taking a page from her playbook and, as a new PC-BSD user, I have a wish list for what I’d like to see on *BSD going forward into the new year.

Google Hangouts iconFirst things first: I know that the wide number of variants in the BSD family are primarily aimed at servers. That said, it’s clearly understandable that with the exception of PC-BSD and BSD variants like GhostBSD, desktop/laptop users are not the primary focus in the BSD constellation. I get that, and regardless I am still using it for about 80 percent of my overall computing needs, and still using it on a daily basis on my go-to daily laptop.

That said, my wish list is very short; specifically two simple daily-use items which hopefully would be available sometime for BSD users over the next year.

Number one on the list would be Google Hangouts on BSD. I use Google Hangout not so much to “hangout,” but as a meeting tool with others with whom I work. The workaround here for me, of course, is to go to a Linux box where it is already installed, but not everyone has that option. Also, there is an item on the FreeBSD forums in the way of a solution, but I think there should be a way for desktop/laptop BSD users to enjoy this feature from our friends in Mountain View.

The other thing — and, yeah, this is kind of selfish and shallow — would be a humble request for Spotify on BSD. I can see from the Wanted Ports page on this FreeBSD wiki that it’s on the list of things to port, which is good news. There is, of course, Spotify on BSD using Wine, but I’m not a huge fan of Wine, to the point where having the choice of Spotify-with-Wine or popping in a CD, I’d choose the latter.

I’m in the process of taking a long look at both of these, and I hope — hope — to add to the 2016 wish list my own contribution of a minuscule amount of code toward achieving these two. I would leave the heavy lifting to those who are far more experienced than I am. Here’s why: I am the first to sheepishly admit that I suck, right out loud, at programming. My history shows that documentation and promotional efforts (e.g., FOSS expo work) are the things at which I excel. However, I don’t mind giving it a shot, and I just might next year. Consider that welcome news or a warning — that’s entirely up to you.

One more thing: Tomorrow is Christmas. It’s also Friday, which is normally the day FOSS Force has its Weekly Wrap-Up. I’m taking the day off and I suggest you do, too. Never fear, however, Christine Hall will be here on Saturday with a special day after Christmas (that’s Boxing Day to you folks north of the proverbial 49th parallel) edition of FOSS Week in Review. In the meantime, get the heck away from the screen and enjoy the day — back East, you folks in the U.S. should be having great weather. Happy Holidays, everyone.

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Larry Cafiero, a.k.a. Larry the Free Software Guy, is a journalist and a Free/Open Source Software advocate. He is involved in several FOSS projects and serves as the publicity chair for the Southern California Linux Expo. Follow him on Twitter: @lcafiero

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