- In the world of desktop computers, anything that is not Windows, is niche.
- In that niche, anything that is not Mac OS X is niche.
- In that niche, anything that is not Ubuntu Linux is niche.
- In that niche, anything that is not Red Hat or SUSE Linux is niche.
- In that niche, anything that is not one of the commercial workstation UNIX operating systems, like Solaris, or AIX, or HP/UX is niche.
- And down there, in that niche, in that fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a percent of the world of desktop computers, FreeBSD is niche.
From a technical point of view it actually has quite a lot to recommend it. The kernel is very well tested and reliable. For a UNIX, it has generally made decisions for correctness over performance. Something Linux certainly can’t match. The user land is a consistent space, harking back through over 20 years of tradition. The ports system is a pretty good way to install and manage software.
But. In the whole world there are perhaps 15 people using it (no, not really). Anytime you Google for any problems or issues, you’ll find Linux, and just have to hope that you can figure out to translate the instructions.
And this is to say nothing of the complete dearth of available software. To use FreeBSD is to always be several versions behind in Firefox. To have to compile Emacs from CVS source. To have to tweak the source code to your video driver.
FreeBSD may once have had the One True Filesystem layout, but not anymore. Linux is now nearly the king of that hill. Don’t use FreeBSD as your desktop. You really don’t care about how good the kernel is. You really do care about not having to compile video drivers. Worst Desktop Operating System Evar.