Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 14th Mar 2008 20:48 UTC, submitted by Valour
FreeBSD "Here we are at the moment of truth for the FreeBSD operating system - the 7.0 release. This is what FreeBSD users and developers have been waiting for ever since the dark days of the 5.X series when the promises of superior performance, threading, and stability fell flat. Though each release in the FreeBSD 6.X series improved markedly in quality and performance, 7.0 has been widely anticipated as the release that FreeBSD fans can have confidence in. I wish I could say that FreeBSD 7.0 lived up to the hype."
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Very good review...
by porcel on Fri 14th Mar 2008 21:06 UTC
porcel
Member since:
2006-01-28

One of the most honest and thorough reviews of FreeBSD that exposes many of the real shortcomings of FreeBSD from a user's perspective.

It's 2008, not 1998. Adapt or die. Make both sysadmins and desktop users lives easier or you won't be around too long. Sun appears to understand this as the Indiana project seems to show and Linux distributors have long been providing easier to install and reliable operating systems for serious computing.

FreeBSD has potential, but it needs to focus on fundamentals and find its identity as an OS if it is to remain relevant in market terms.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Very good review...
by Doc Pain on Fri 14th Mar 2008 22:05 UTC in reply to "Very good review..."
Doc Pain Member since:
2006-10-08

One of the most honest and thorough reviews of FreeBSD that exposes many of the real shortcomings of FreeBSD from a user's perspective.


Interesting read, indeed. I liked the comment about the relationship to Mac OS X and the short summary about what FreeBSD is.

It's 2008, not 1998. Adapt or die.


Just from adaption, you don't have innovation. Innovate != adapt.

Make both sysadmins and desktop users lives easier or you won't be around too long.


From my point of view - and please note that that's a very individual feeling - FreeBSD does perfectly do what it is intended to. Of course, other audiences have different expectations regarding what FreeBSD is or what it should be like. But I'd have to mention many things that I'd like to see changed in future releases, but that's lots of fundamental and comfortability stuff, such as a better preconfigured shell... "hardcore stuff", you know. :-)

Sun appears to understand this as the Indiana project seems to show and Linux distributors have long been providing easier to install and reliable operating systems for serious computing.


I think you're wrong. This is not because of the opinion you've expressed (which I do understand), but because of the words you chose: Serious computing - what's this exactly? Easier to install? Depends on point of view (for example, I found "Knoppix" Linux too complicated to install). Reliable: Isn't FreeBSD a reliable operating system? Why do you think it isn't? There are systems out there that are based upon FreeBSD and follow the most common expectations (KDE preinstalled, preconfigured, lots of stuff included, autodetecting this and that, use PC-BSD or DesktopBSD). Differentiate fine: "the base OS" and "everything else" - mentioned often before.

FreeBSD has potential, but it needs to focus on fundamentals and find its identity as an OS if it is to remain relevant in market terms.


I think FreeBSD already found its identity. Just because users of other OSes don't seem to understand it, it's not FreeBSD's fault. Regarding marketing terms, you're basically right.


Let me comment on a few passages from the review:

Your FreeBSD skills and expertise will be totally meaningless at an OS X terminal.

Not totally. UNIX generics are handy everywhere. :-)

The freebsd-update utility, which provides binary release upgrades and security fixes, is now part of the base system

A very useful solution.

[...] selecting a large number of binary packages involves hours of disc-switching among the CDs.

In most "field study" cases, you only use CD1 to install the base system and add everything else via network. The CDs are handy for computers that don't offer a DVD drive (but you can create a FreeBSD DVD easily to get rid of the CDs). Especially this feature makes FreeBSD interesting for computers with low hardware ressources. In most cases, you install the packages you want afterwards.

The good news is that the partitioning scheme seems to scale better with larger disks than I remember in past releases. This can be difficult to understand from a Linux perspective because the largest partition -- /usr -- on FreeBSD is also the default location for the symlinked /home and /sys directories. I'm not sure that I agree with the small default size of /var, but it's not like you can't adjust that manually.

You can, however, move /home to an own partition to have it excluded from the /usr subtree. This makes it easier to backup your partitions, or, to speak more practically, to backup your data partition-wise. As you will notice, fixed partition sizes always have a good and a bad side ("out of space" vs. "too much spare space").

While I was working on benchmarking, I noticed that the GENERIC kernel config file had debugging symbols turned on by default. I disabled this, installed a properly tuned make.conf, compiled and installed a new kernel, and saw a measurable increase in performance (not a terribly significant increase, but it did show up in Sysbench).

For some users, creating a "tailored as you need" custom kernel is one of the most natural things. :-)

Annoyingly, on test systems that use USB keyboards, I would sometimes have to unplug and replug the keyboard in order for it to work at the login prompt. In the past, the USB keyboard problem was worse, so I suppose this is an improvement.

In fact, it is. This is due to kbdmux which now allows parallel use of AT and USB keyboards; in the past, you were required to switch between keyboards using kbdcontrol. At early boot stages the USB keyboard does not work, but I found the same "problem" with some Linux systems, too.

I used to be under the impression that FreeBSD had reasonably good hardware support, but in taking notes on hardware compatibility problems in 7.0, I've discovered that among all of the Unix-like operating systems I have tested in the past year, encompassing other BSD variants and Linux distributions, FreeBSD 7.0 has by far the worst hardware compatibility of all.

That's something I've experienced, too, but it usually depends on the hardware you're using. With standard-compliant hardware, you've got no problems, but with "strange" settings (such as they happen to appear in laptops) hardware support is not as good as commonly in Linux.

Aside from the above, I could detect no other significant changes in FreeBSD from an ordinary user's perspective. All of the same old FreeBSD processes and habits remain unchanged.

The same old ones? :-)

Though FreeBSD's internals have changed for better, it still needs a lot of work before I'd recommend it as a production-ready as a server or desktop operating system.

See? That's where the author and me do disagree. If setup correctly by an experienced user, FreeBSD is definitely a welcome and viable production system for desktops, servers and mixed forms. But you have to know how.

On paper, FreeBSD should be a technologically advanced operating system, but when you actually install it on a computer, its limitations are glaring: It lacks the network driver support that OpenBSD and Linux have, it doesn't work properly on established workstation hardware, and the lack of reasonably complete installed-by-default configuration files makes initial installation and configuration more of a hassle than it should be.

That's true, at least from my point of view. There are many things you usually will tweak before your system is in the state you want it to have. So I'm glad to have some scripts avaiable to do lots of the modification works. :-)

The "old" FreeBSD -- the reliable, stable, speedy network server -- died when 4.X ended development.

...

A more intelligent kernel profile. The default FreeBSD 7.0 kernel configuration has debugging symbols enabled, and excludes many drivers and options that could be quite useful. Instead of forcing people to make a LINT configuration to use as a reference, I'd rather see an updated and streamlined GENERIC config with all of the potential options commented out.

Agreed.

[The installation program] doens't have to be graphical, but it does have to be practical.

Very true.

After installation, FreeBSD is left with no real make.conf or rc.conf, although there are example files in /usr/share/examples.

That's not completely true. The /etc/rc.conf already contains every setting you made during sysinstall (Configure: keyboard, startup, services, networking, mouse...). The /etc/make.conf is a file you don't touch very often (except you're compiling something); in most cases, it just contains CPUTYPE, CFLAGS, some SUP stuff if desired, PAPERSIZE and PAGE for A4 compliance - important in Germany! - and some PERL variables.

Every time I install FreeBSD, I find myself copying over these files (and cvsup supfiles) to /etc and customizing them myself.

I know... :-) But after "make update ; make buildworld" (or freebsd_update) you encounter diff problems (mergemaster).

Reply Score: 9

RE: Very good review...
by rhavenn on Fri 14th Mar 2008 23:47 UTC in reply to "Very good review..."
rhavenn Member since:
2006-05-12

One of the most honest and thorough reviews of FreeBSD that exposes many of the real shortcomings of FreeBSD from a user's perspective.

Maybe from Joe Six-Pack user. If you call that review "thorough" then I have some ocean front property in Montana for you.


It's 2008, not 1998. Adapt or die. Make both sysadmins and desktop users lives easier or you won't be around too long. Sun appears to understand this as the Indiana project seems to show and Linux distributors have long been providing easier to install and reliable operating systems for serious computing.


Perhaps, focus on desktop joe users is lacking. However, for serious computing all 3 of them have been ready for some time.


FreeBSD has potential, but it needs to focus on fundamentals and find its identity as an OS if it is to remain relevant in market terms.


FreeBSD needs to do better marketing and if they want to become a more mainstream desktop OS then court the likes of Adobe and Nvidia, etc... with a co-ordinated plan. However, as a server OS I think they're in pretty good shape. Sure, Java could use a helping hand from Sun. However, all in all as a server OS FreeBSD is solid, well documented and rock solid assuming you have the right hardware ;)

Reply Score: 0

RE: Very good review...
by kkenn on Mon 17th Mar 2008 13:30 UTC in reply to "Very good review..."
kkenn Member since:
2007-08-06

This guy is full of it. He takes FreeBSD to task for "leaving debugging symbols enabled in the GENERIC kernel", and claims that they have a performance overhead -- but the debugging symbols are stripped out when the kernel is installed, and they have **no functional effect** on the running kernel.

It is completely bogus.

Reply Score: 0

Useless Review
by Don T. Bothers on Fri 14th Mar 2008 21:44 UTC
Don T. Bothers
Member since:
2006-03-15

What a wasteful and stupid review. The guy is wrong on so many accounts it is not even funny. Obviously, the guy is a Linux user who tried BSD and did not like the fact that it was different. I was going to go one by one, shooting down each of the rants, but then I figured why bother. The guy claims to be writing a review but I do not see a review... just a long, amateurish rant. The guy is just trying to get attention by trashing a great, sleek OS that just happens to be out of his intelligence level.

Here is some honestly good advice for everyone out there trying to write a review:
1) Define the scope of your review
2) Compare product to previous versions
3) Compare product to other stuff on the market
4) Focus comparison on important stuff like manageability, security updates, upgrading, performance, scalability, ease-of-use, etc.
5) Don't bother to review something you are obviously not an expert in. Last thing anyone wants is someone's opinion on something they are relatively clueless in.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Useless Review
by CaptainPinko on Fri 14th Mar 2008 21:55 UTC in reply to "Useless Review"
CaptainPinko Member since:
2005-07-21

As soon as I read your comment I knew it had to be a Jem review, flipped to the tab where it was loading and so it was! Whelp, no need to read that sucker. While I consider him a useless wind-bag I guess its nice that OSNews at least informs you that he has posted more drivel should you wish to subject yourself to that.

I only take pity upon the poor reader who may read that review without such context. Each of his reviews has been controversial and is met with hostility on here by numerous people. Take whatever he says with at least a barrel of salt.

For those not reading the review just imagine someone repeating "this server software is not noob friendly enough" over and over again. "OMG, the people who make particle accelerators are teh sux, why can't they learn usability and ease-of-use from Apple?"

Reply Score: 5

RE: Useless Review
by Oliver on Fri 14th Mar 2008 21:59 UTC in reply to "Useless Review"
Oliver Member since:
2006-07-15

No Jem Matzan doesn't even like Linux, he doesn't like anything but he likes ranting.


From Jems report:

>AMD64 release testing. FreeBSD has always had the most buggy and unstable AMD64 port of any operating system I've tested.

This for example is mere crap,okay it's not perfect, but there are many users (desktop/server) who are using AMD64 without any problems.

>Less hassle for the JDK and JRE.

He should really ask Sun first.

>I could detect no other significant changes in FreeBSD from an ordinary user's perspective.

Maybe he should actually start using it before badmouthing any he doesn't understand.

>It's probably going to be Linux and OpenBSD for me from here on in

Apropos OpenBSD, his installation guide (10 bucks from O'Reilly) was a mere joke. So much for his 'experience'.

Most weblogs/news-sites don't even link Jems 'reviews' anymore. Guess why? It's pure flamebait.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Useless Review
by Chezz on Sat 15th Mar 2008 07:21 UTC in reply to "RE: Useless Review"
Chezz Member since:
2005-07-11

Yes I agree.

The author does not know what he's talking about. he is just ranting left and right claiming instability without giving evidence.

What's wrong with the AMD64 port?

I am running multiple AMD64 servers without any problems. I have been using the RELENG_7 Branch since it ever existed and until today I have NOT seen a SINGLE crash!

Reply Score: 2

RE: Useless Review
by rhavenn on Fri 14th Mar 2008 23:30 UTC in reply to "Useless Review"
rhavenn Member since:
2006-05-12

I've been forced to use CentOS for a LAMP stack at work now and I cry for FreeBSD. The defaults settings, documentation and general cleanliness of the CentOS install blows compared to FreeBSD. Not to mention that PF walks all over ipchains.

Yes, FreeBSD has some hardware issues. However, I run it on a laptop, desktop and multple servers at home without issue. The only thing I miss is Flash support.

The JDK issue is annoying, but not a big deal.

The installer is awesome. Custom install for base and the kernel only and then CVSUP stable and build world.

Command line works great. Learn how to setup your own shell init files and login scripts and you too can have color.

Yes, the defaults can be considered "basic" and it does lack the flash and pomp of Ubuntu. However, the target audience of FreeBSD are for the most part admins and the like. PC-BSD is the version targeted at more end users.

If Adobe released Flash for BSD and apps like vmware console were released for BSD I wouldn't touch Linux. As it is, I need to have a Linux terminal server setup in the basement to run vmware-server-console. *blegh*

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Useless Review
by Doc Pain on Sat 15th Mar 2008 00:29 UTC in reply to "RE: Useless Review"
Doc Pain Member since:
2006-10-08

Yes, FreeBSD has some hardware issues. However, I run it on a laptop, desktop and multple servers at home without issue.


Same here. I think it just depends on the hardware. It's well known (at least I think it is so) that Linux has the best hardware support overall, but if you have standard compliant hardware, FreeBSD should run fine.

The only thing I miss is Flash support.


That's true. For basal support, you can of course use "Flash" for Linux via the Linux ABI, or gnash. This causes trouble in some cases. Or just leave "Flash" stuff aside. Personally, I don't miss it. :-)

The JDK issue is annoying, but not a big deal.


It is, but once you have downloaded the needed files, you can transfer them to any new system you setup. (Or you transfer the complete system using dump and restore to transfer 1:1 partition-wise, followed by changing some few configuration files to support the changed hardware setting.)

The installer is awesome. Custom install for base and the kernel only and then CVSUP stable and build world.


The installer just does what it is intended to. It installs the operating system and, if you wish it to, it installs additional software, and configures your system in a dialog driven way (in opposite to editing files or using the respective command line tools).

Command line works great. Learn how to setup your own shell init files and login scripts and you too can have color.


Just put into your /etc/csh.cshrc (and look if local a .cshrc eventually overrides it):

setenv LSCOLORS ExGxdxdxCxDxDxBxBxegeg
set promptchars = "%#"
set prompt = "%n@%m:%~%# "
set autolist


There are even some more special character sequences that could give you a colored prompt (e. g. brown user name, blue system name, yellow path and green or red clearance prompt). As I mentioned, console mode applications support color (e. g. Midnight Commander or CenterICQ - or simply the sysinstall utility). And you can play around with the vidcontrol utility to make all the pretty colors. :-)

Yes, the defaults can be considered "basic" and it does lack the flash and pomp of Ubuntu.


On the other hand, Linusi like Ubuntu are distributions containing the OS and much additional stuff, for example GUI system administration tools. This is not what the FreeBSD philosophy implies. You are free to add it, if you want, but it's not the default.

The same is true for security reasons: Services need to be enabled. Security barriers need to be abandoned manually (to increase comfortability, e. g. file permissions in /etc/devfs.conf or an automated login without password). This is well intended. In a multi user setting, you'll see that it makes sense not to allow anyone put USB sticks into the system and copy classified data, or install stuff on his own, or destroy data by doing nonsense (dd, combined with /dev/null and an arbitrary hard disk device come into mind).

However, the target audience of FreeBSD are for the most part admins and the like. PC-BSD is the version targeted at more end users.


PC-BSD and DesktopBSD are good solutions for users that are not interested in learning the basic stuff of UNIX system operations. They provide (mostly) what they already might know or like from Linux systems.

Reply Score: 4

Comment by anomie
by anomie on Fri 14th Mar 2008 21:48 UTC
anomie
Member since:
2007-02-26

Jem Matzan's ongoing FBSD complaints generally leave me with the impression that either a) there is some history behind all this that makes him unnecessarily bitter; or b) FBSD is legitimately not the correct choice for his needs. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and assume the latter. FBSD doesn't work out for everyone. Move on with your life.

A couple snippets from the review:

selecting a large number of binary packages involves hours of disc-switching among the CDs


This is why you get the bootonly CD, install just the base system, and then install packages or ports afterwards.

Installation of default config files. After installation, FreeBSD is left with no real make.conf or rc.conf, although there are example files in /usr/share/examples.


The default config file for rc.conf is in /etc/defaults. It would help to look in the correct place. Why does he want to mess with his make.conf? Who knows. This is normally not necessary and not advisable on FBSD.

Better organization of the Ports tree


cd /usr/ports && make search name=foo display=path

or

search fresports on the web.

Modernize the command line experience.


Another comment that I find silly. You have the freedom to install and customize any number of available shells.

Reply Score: 7

RE: Comment by anomie
by Doc Pain on Fri 14th Mar 2008 23:25 UTC in reply to "Comment by anomie"
Doc Pain Member since:
2006-10-08

The default config file for rc.conf is in /etc/defaults. It would help to look in the correct place.


And they are loaded by default anyway, as far as I know, so their settings are applied. You can change (!) how things work by editing //etc/rc.conf.

Why does he want to mess with his make.conf? Who knows. This is normally not necessary and not advisable on FBSD.


Excatly. Only if you need special optimization flags or non-obvious settings...

Another comment that I find silly. You have the freedom to install and customize any number of available shells.


As I mentioned before, a friendly preconfigured C shell would be nice (see my proposals), centralized in /etc/csh.cshrc with no overriding values in /root/.cshrc and /usr/share/skel/dot.cshrc. But that's mostly nonsense from a user's point of view, it's just "hardcore stuff"; a Linux user would "pkg_add -r bash" and be happy with its default settings, I think.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Comment by anomie
by toomany on Sat 15th Mar 2008 10:49 UTC in reply to "Comment by anomie"
toomany Member since:
2005-11-09

Yes!!! But I don't understand why ever is the same... There are people that is unsatisfied with a linux install, people in the same trouble with any BSD, and with ... well!!! It's impossible that with the large amount of different hardware, everybody have the same problems... Ok, english is not my native language and maybe all I write is a bit "obscure" or better, Inaccurate.
All I would to say is that I (for example), I had problems with a X Linux distro in a machine, and hadn't problem in the same machine with the Y Linux distro. And in the same machine, FreeBSD was a good trick but not with Net or OpenBSD... And so on...

Reply Score: 2

unclefester
Member since:
2007-01-13

This guy must be brilliant if he can find all the flaws in Freebsd that none of the experts seems to notice!

Reply Score: 1

Doc Pain Member since:
2006-10-08

To be honest, I think he makes some (!) few (!!!!) valid or at least acceptable points. But along with them, he uses allquantified epxressions and often combines them conjunctively - something a scientist would not even try! :-) Okay, maybe he's not a scientist, but in order to write a review that includes some worth for its readers, he should be able to expand his narrow points of view (at least I think that's how he's evaluating things) to get a more objective relationship to the item of his review. Of course, it's hardly possible to write an objective review, you're always subjective - but I feel you should try to be fair, after all.

As it has been mentioned before, the author does not like FreeBSD. That's okay. He makes particular suggestions about what could be improved (in his opinion), and even I do follow some of his ideas, as I pointed out in my previous posting. In some cases - and this has been mentioned before, too - he looks like a Linux user who does not feel comfortable in a FreeBSD setting, because things he expected to exist there are different.

From my point of view, FreeBSD is an excellent, viable and modern OS. I'm using it since the 4.X days nearly exclusively (along with Solaris) for home and business uses, and it's even good enough to have a "do everything" OS on a 300 MHz P2. And I've tried many Linusi, but I always came back to FreeBSD. The 7.0 release offers much improvements to me (especially ZFS, faster startup). But I'm a bit old fashioned: I've still got a DEC vt100 running on a serial line, maybe I should get punished because of my abuse of this museum-like device. :-)

A final note: The author didn't mention the quality of the documentation of FreeBSD, the manpages, the handbook, the FAQ and the tidy source code - things that are very important for developers. Want to know something about system binaries, kernel interfaces, library functions, maintenance procedures or file layouts? Just use the "man" command. A difference to Linux: FreeBSD is a complete OS, developed by a core team and very consistent in layout and conception. Everything from one and the same hand. Linux distributions seem to be a compositum of more or less arbitrary selected pieces of software, causing many differences from distribution to distribution. That's something you don't have in FreeBSD.

So well, the author has his opinion, but you could argue if it's the opinion of a well educated and intelligently working reviewer. =^_^=

Reply Score: 3

Well...
by R_T_F_M on Fri 14th Mar 2008 23:23 UTC
R_T_F_M
Member since:
2007-02-24

This should be a review ? I would call it
"All bad things about something called FreeBSD"

"FreeBSD 7.0 seems to be a marginal improvement over 6.2..." right dude :-) !

Please, Jam, if you don't know what are you talking about then... just leave it.

Do yourself a favor, take some time to read, here :

http://ivoras.sharanet.org/freebsd/freebsd7.html

and

http://ivoras.sharanet.org/freebsd/freebsd8.html

At least you will learn what happend between FreeBSD 6.2 and FreeBSD 7.0 and even what's cooking in FreeBSD 8.0 :-)

Reply Score: 2

security by default
by rhavenn on Fri 14th Mar 2008 23:38 UTC
rhavenn
Member since:
2006-05-12

FreeBSD also leans towards more security by default then some of the more user orientated Linux distros. They don't have all the device files, etc... set to be readable / writeable by normal users. On a server or "public" workstation this is a good thing. Sure, it seems that the user experience is lacking, but if you take the time to learn the devfs.conf, install NFS, tweak sysctl.conf, etc.. and how stuff works you can do everything and anything Linux can do. It's better to be off and have to turn it on then to be running and not know about it. The amount of useless cruft linux "server" installs install is just ridiculous. Especially, the "corporate" distros like RedHat and SUSE, etc... A base debian install is good. However, then you wouldn't be able to attract the MCSE WinAdmins who don't know anything besides clicking through setup wizards.

Reply Score: 0

RE: security by default
by melkor on Mon 17th Mar 2008 05:33 UTC in reply to "security by default"
melkor Member since:
2006-12-16

This is an example of the attitude I was talking about in my previous post:

"but if you take the time to learn the devfs.conf, install NFS, tweak sysctl.conf, etc.. and how stuff works you can do everything and anything Linux can do."

Ridiculous? Imagine if we told all Microsoft Windows users, "sorry, if you can't do admin stuff, edit the registry etc, it's [Windows] not for you". Is that daft or what?

A good operating system has things set up to work out of the box. OOB. Look it up. freeBSD is not user friendly, and I don't think the developers have had any intentions to make it so - if users don't like it, they can sod off. If that isn't elitist, I don't know what is.

Dave

Reply Score: 2

Comment by Seph
by Seph on Sat 15th Mar 2008 00:27 UTC
Seph
Member since:
2007-10-26

This review bites and was a waste of my time. What I took exception to the most was his comments regarding the AMD64 port. My experience with the AMD64 port is completely opposite to his. My home development x86_64 box with 12GB runs perfectly under 7.0 and I can say that that was not the case with the other major free open source OS. I can go on and waste your time (and mostly mine) telling you why this review was basically garbage but why bother because I have the feeling the wise ones already have this one figured out.

Edited 2008-03-15 00:35 UTC

Reply Score: 3

Dependency check
by JimBlim on Sat 15th Mar 2008 00:59 UTC
JimBlim
Member since:
2008-03-15

I believe the author must read the following books first before jumping in to a "Review"...

http://www.absolutefreebsd.com/
http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/bsdhks/

It seems the review was an RPM package that can't be installed because of missing dependencies.

Reply Score: 2

by Lazarus on Sat 15th Mar 2008 01:02 UTC
Lazarus
Member since:
2005-08-10

I've not been a FreeBSD user since the old 4.x days and my experience with version 7 is very limited and I've not yet tried it on anything other than a couple older P2/P3 boxes I have laying around. I am curious if many people have the same problems with the AMD64 version as Jem does, or if he just has some really oddball hardware. I know that FreeBSD isn't yet "legacy free*" but can it really be as bad as he makes it out to be?

The only general stability complaint I see about FreeBSD has to do with USB flakyness, be it booting with a USB keyboard or consistently panicking when mounted USB media accidentally gets unplugged.

As for hardware support, there's not much that I can say about it as the range of cards and things I have kicking around is limited, but the number of drivers included with FreeBSD at least seems impressive, and I do doubt they'd ship the thing if the vast majority of that hardware support didn't work**.

Sysinstall is a demon born of the ancient world, an evil that haunts FreeBSD users to this day. Well, I don't find it *that* bad, and from what I've read there is a new installer almost ready to replace it regardless. Sysinstall may be a fugly throwback, but it gets the job done.

One of the things I used to love about FreeBSD (well all the BSDs) is that it _Doesn't_ include a desktop environment in a default install. They let the user decide what is best to use, instead of standardizing on one DE or another, and having piss-poor support for the secondary choice. Anyone who prefers to use KDE and has used any recent RHEL/Fedora will know what I mean.

* http://www.onlamp.com/pub/a/bsd/2008/02/26/whats-new-in-freebsd-70....

** I am completely ignoring anything they released from 5.0-5.3 here when I say that, as they at least never made the claim that those versions were production ready, or even particulary useful for anything to a non-FreeBSD developer.

Reply Score: 3

RE:
by Oliver on Sat 15th Mar 2008 12:56 UTC in reply to " "
Oliver Member since:
2006-07-15

>The only general stability complaint I see about FreeBSD has to do with USB flakyness, be it booting with a USB keyboard or consistently panicking when mounted USB media accidentally gets unplugged.

UBS flakyness is somewhat exaggerated. There are of course some quirks, but if you want to test it try some operating systems like Linux, Windows with different types of USB devices - common denominator: USB is a mess. Of course there are more fixes for several USB-devices in Linux, but you need these fixes to actually use these crappy devices.

For example I do know this problem with USB media as mentioned above, but I have never seen a problem booting with USB mice and keyboards (Logitech, Cherry).

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]:
by sbergman27 on Sat 15th Mar 2008 14:15 UTC in reply to "RE: "
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

I don't find USB to be a mess in Linux or Windows. In fact, USB has worked quite well for a long time.

The owner of the device doesn't know or care if it is "crappy" by your definition or not. He only knows that it works well in Windows or Linux and doesn't in FreeBSD. So they need to be made to work well in FreeBSD... unless you guys have enough pull with the big retailers to get them to pull all those "crappy" devices from their shelves, or maybe get Wal-Mart to post warning signs that say: "These devices are crappy".

Edited 2008-03-15 14:19 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]:
by Oliver on Sat 15th Mar 2008 19:05 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: "
Oliver Member since:
2006-07-15

Well, well the usual saying "I don't have any problems apart from $os". Do you know LKML? No? Then you should first read there and _then_ you will certainly know. USB devices are most of the time crap, this is nothing new and one of the big problems e.g. in stability related problems for Windows. Yes, put the urband legends away and get the real facts. Instead badmouthing something you don't understand you should acquire some knowledge first. ACPI and USB are to standards and free operating systems are following these standards. This is a fact! The second fact is, most of your lovely companies give a shit on these standards and they are producing crappy USB devices and very bad bios.

Why do you think there are a lot of custom patches in Linux kernel for Asus, Toshiba etc.? Look at the LKML and see how many special patches are necessary to run some of your lovely USB devices. Read it first, then tell me something about the quality of the USB stack in FreeBSD or any other operating system!


>He only knows that it works well in Windows or Linux and doesn't in FreeBSD.

This stupid ignorance is the behaviour of a paying customer. Do you pay something for a free OS? Do you help a free OS? Do you test new software?

I can test it in $Linux and I will get maybe x different results, it depends on $kernel and $distro. "Linux can do it" yes it can with a lot of luck. So if you want to make such charges against FreeBSD. Tell me the version of FreeBSD, tell me something about the tested Linux distro like version, kernel etc. And then we can talk about your blathering. But I don't see anything just some people spreading FUD about something they don't understand.

And one huge advice, if you really have a problem with a free operating system, then stop whining and tell the developers! Making such charges without proof is just pure flamebait.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]:
by sbergman27 on Sat 15th Mar 2008 20:13 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: "
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

I'm not sure that you took my post in the right way.

You said that more USB devices have problems with FreeBSD than Linux. I include this quote, for reference:

There are of course some quirks, but if you want to test it try some operating systems like Linux, Windows with different types of USB devices - common denominator: USB is a mess. Of course there are more fixes for several USB-devices in Linux, but you need these fixes to actually use these crappy devices.


I merely pointed out that:

1. On the hundred or so Linux and Windows machines I administer, I have not found USB to be a particular problem (mess) in the past few years.

2. The user does not care if the device adheres to the standard or not. Only that it works (or not).

3. If FreeBSD needs more workarounds for common hardware, it would be best if they went in.

Of course there is plenty of hardware out there that does not adhere to standards. So what else is new? And as long as there is, the patching and blacklisting will have to continue.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]:
by apotheon on Mon 17th Mar 2008 19:52 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: "
apotheon Member since:
2008-02-05

"The user does not care if the device adheres to the standard or not. Only that it works (or not)."

. . . but hardware that adheres to standards "just works", whereas hardware that doesn't adhere to standards requires a lot of effort to get working. Isn't that the point -- getting stuff to work without a lot of effort?

Reply Score: 1

Comment by adkk
by adkk on Sat 15th Mar 2008 01:16 UTC
adkk
Member since:
2007-07-11

I can agree with three things:

- the installer
Even the FreeBSD developers say that it sucks donkey balls (I remember Jordan Hubbart saying that it has to die even before the year 2000). And no, it doesn't matter if the installer has GUI or not. Personally, I like text-based installers, Debian's for example.

- endless cd swapping
That isn't too hard to fix, some Linux distros had the same problem a couple of years ago, you just have to make sure that you don't mess up the dependencies, like putting Konqueror on CD1 and KDELibs on CD2 (just an example..). I don't know if you can eliminate that problem completely with multiple CDs, but you can at least contain it.
But then again... *scratching head* the installer just copies the files into the correct directories right? Why would be switch CDs at all?!

Of course you can use the bootonly cd, but that's not the point. If someone (for whatever reason) wants to use the CDs, this behavior is unacceptable.

- still non working USB keyboard
Seriously, this is a joke. But the whole USB stack needs some serious love. E.g. still running under Giant and in my experience low performing.

Other than that, I don't think the review was particularly good ;)

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by adkk
by Doc Pain on Sat 15th Mar 2008 03:41 UTC in reply to "Comment by adkk"
Doc Pain Member since:
2006-10-08

- still non working USB keyboard
Seriously, this is a joke. But the whole USB stack needs some serious love. E.g. still running under Giant and in my experience low performing.


This seems to depend on the keyboard used. For example, I have tested those:

% dmesg | grep "^u[mk]"
ums0: <vendor 0x0430 product 0x0100, class 0/0, rev 1.00/1.02, addr 2> on uhub1
ums0: 3 buttons.
uhub4: <Mitsumi Electric Hub in Apple Extended USB Keyboard, class 9/0, rev 1.10/4.10, addr 2> on uhub3
uhub4: 3 ports with 2 removable, bus powered
ukbd0: <Mitsumi Electric Apple Extended USB Keyboard, class 0/0, rev 1.10/4.10, addr 3> on uhub4
uhid0: <Mitsumi Electric Apple Extended USB Keyboard, class 0/0, rev 1.10/4.10, addr 3> on uhub4
ukbd1: <vendor 0x0430 product 0x0005, class 0/0, rev 1.00/1.02, addr 3> on uhub1


They work without any problems. No problems even if I plug them in and out. Along with the AT keyboard one more keyboards than I have hands for. :-)

Sadly, the Sun keyboard and mouse don't get identified with their name. This worked in FreeBSD 5 (and 6 I think), but in 7, it isn't the case anymore, and I can't imagine why. Maybe a small change in /usr/src/sys/dev/usb/usbdevs, ukbd.c and ums.c will lead to the expected result that should look like this:

% dmesg | grep "^u[mk]"
ums0: Sun Microsystems Type 6 USB mouse, rev 1.00/1.02, addr 2, iclass 3/1
ukbd0: Sun Microsystems Type 6 USB keyboard, rev 1.00/1.02, addr 3, iclass 3/1


Which kind of USB keyboard did you use?

I'm aware of the facts that some USB things don't work as expected (some crappy MP3 players, or detaching mounted USB stick), and I hope this will improve.

Reply Score: 2

sdodson
Member since:
2007-01-06

Seriously, there's one thing that accompanies each and every FreeBSD release and that's yet another shitty review from Jem Matzan. The guy just simply doesn't get it. He expects FreeBSD to be exactly as he envisions it and is unwilling to learn FreeBSD to the depth required to write a truly informed review. He consistently mistakes conscious design decisions for mistakes. This is how they want their OS to be. It's not wrong, it's just not what you want it to be. No need to rehash your same complaints every release.

Reply Score: 3

rycamor Member since:
2005-07-18

As far as I'm concerned, I'll be happy if people like Jem continue to stay away from FreeBSD. Otherwise they might be too tempted to "improve" it until it's just like another messy Linux release.

The day FreeBSD defaults to a graphic installer is the day I become a NetBSD user. Doubly so if FreeBSD starts shipping with every daemon in the world turned on, like Fedora or CentOS.

Due to my work, every day I am forced to compare between Fedora, CentOS and my FreeBSD servers. The Linuxen might ship an easier default server, but once you need an even moderately customized system, you end up spending 10X as long with them as with FreeBSD.

Reply Score: 2

SH*T
by indiocolifa on Sat 15th Mar 2008 03:24 UTC
indiocolifa
Member since:
2006-06-20

This is not a review. Just stupid sh*t like all that Jem has wrote.

Do not waste time on this. This cannot be taken seriously.

Reply Score: 1

Would like an osnews.com original review.
by Quag7 on Sat 15th Mar 2008 06:55 UTC
Quag7
Member since:
2005-07-28

You know, I read the story before reading the comments and I predicted the tone of the comments beforehand. The rule for writing OS reviews seems to be - praise the OS first, then criticize gently, and then finish up saying, "It's great, but I just see a few things I'd like to change." That typically anaesthetizes the die hards. This reviewer didn't bother with this convention, so the comments aren't surprising (and it's possible that this guy is, in fact, full of it, but I'm not so sure.)

I don't know anything about this guy except, obviously, FreeBSD users here don't like him. So I'd like to see another review, preferably one from one of osnews.com's resident curmudgeons (who, to their credit, don't seem to have any problems skewering anything if they believe it is lacking).

I'm half considering doing it myself, but I don't have a spare machine to do it on right now. Might as well do it on amd64 just to really stir it up good.

My previous subjective experience with FreeBSD was that it worked just fine (late 5 and I believe early 6 series). I used it in a limited way, got networking going, a desktop running, and Apache serving pages.

I didn't push it too much harder than that but I did do my own kernel (which wasn't hard) because I was curious about that as well. Didn't have any problems other than the ordinary learning curve (different directories, etc.) I was surprised, given FreeBSD's reputation (that it's for propellerheads), how easy it all kind of went onto my system. I think when the desktop booted up I actually shrugged. No big deal.

As a Linux user, I know what's different about it and what perplexed me about it but I'm not sure that this is the case with this review (a Linux user annoyed because it doesn't work as he likes). I don't read it that way, anyway. These complaints seem unrelated to that orientation unless someone can point out something they suspect is a result of having Linux on the brain.

sysninstall didn't particularly bother me. It reminded me of Debian's old installer. I don't recall any disk geometry issues, but it's been awhile.

So how bout it - anyone at osnews.com with a spare machine willing to do a review of it and see how it compares? While I can see how a review of a new version of this by someone experienced with FreeBSD would be of use to FreeBSD vets, I don't think it's the only valid perspective. It's not one that helps me out, personally, at any rate, only because I'm not a FreeBSD vet.

FreeBSD users tend to be fairly derisive when it comes to Linux (it's a mess, etc.) - a viewpoint I don't quite understand (I don't have problems with Linux, nor find it a mess. Occasionally something goes pear- shaped but generally speaking, it makes perfect sense to me).

I guess I don't find FreeBSD particularly different from Linux from the perspective of a user. That's probably due in part to the fact that I use Gentoo, but also because I've used HP/UX and Solaris machines at work and I expect there to be differences.

Reply Score: 3

Oliver Member since:
2006-07-15

Just read some of Jems 'reports', then you will get it. Guess who submitted the news?

Reply Score: 2

Quag7 Member since:
2005-07-28

One thing I notice in his reviews is that they tend not be overly fawning - even his article on OpenBSD v4.2, which he likes, has a list of recommendations/complaints at the end.

Again, I'm just not qualified to judge some of the stuff he says as I don't run FreeBSD but I would expect a bitchy review to come from a Windows user, or maybe a shit-stirring Linux partisan, but it seems weird that someone so into OpenBSD would have some kind of vendetta against FreeBSD, unless there is internecene snippiness between different xBSD camps that I am unaware of.

Maybe I'll just install it via QEMU over the weekend and see what happens for me.

Edit: I found this post re: this review interesting:

http://www.tjrforum.com/showthread.php?p=24235#post24235

Edited 2008-03-15 10:24 UTC

Reply Score: 3

complete FUD by a complete idiot...
by celt on Sat 15th Mar 2008 11:37 UTC
celt
Member since:
2005-07-06

"Though FreeBSD's internals have changed for better, it still needs a lot of work before I'd recommend it as a production-ready as a server or desktop operating system."

This guy get out much?

Reply Score: 2

Benchmarks reply
by kernpanic on Sat 15th Mar 2008 14:41 UTC
kernpanic
Member since:
2008-03-15

Jeff posted a reply to Nick Piggin's benchmarks, including new benchmarks (done by Linux folks) showing FreeBSD pipes are significantly faster:

http://jeffr-tech.livejournal.com/

Reply Score: 2

RE: Benchmarks reply
by sbergman27 on Sat 15th Mar 2008 15:21 UTC in reply to "Benchmarks reply"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

And he tested a development version of FreeBSD against a stable version of Linux, which makes the results meaningless. Or at least that was what some tried to argue when the situation was reversed. When FreeBSD8 is released and tested against the contemporary stable release of Linux, and we are then comparing apples to apples, then we will know which is faster in this particular test. ;-)

Edited 2008-03-15 15:23 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Benchmarks reply
by kernpanic on Sat 15th Mar 2008 15:38 UTC in reply to "RE: Benchmarks reply"
kernpanic Member since:
2008-03-15

Since 8.0-CURRENT is not, for the moment, vastly different from 7.0-RELEASE then it hardly makes the tests meaningless, but your point is taken.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Benchmarks reply
by sbergman27 on Sat 15th Mar 2008 15:42 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Benchmarks reply"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

I'm only joking, of course. But I will point out that when I quoted Nick stating that he knew of no siginificant performance related change between 2.6.24 and 2.6.25-rc3, I was told that the statement had no bearing on the matter, whatsoever. :-)

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Benchmarks reply
by Oliver on Sat 15th Mar 2008 19:10 UTC in reply to "RE: Benchmarks reply"
Oliver Member since:
2006-07-15

It doesn't make anything meaningless if you see the *context*. This benchmark is a big help to develop FreeBSD in the proper direction. I did see these benchmarks in FreeBSD 7 current and I see the exact result in FreeBSD 7 release. Of course it is a problem to compare the messy development (it's no flame, they are really proud of it) with the academical development of $BSD. So maybe you don't know what's up with Linux kernel if it is ready, but you really know it in $BSD.

Reply Score: 2

Really?
by windexh8er on Sat 15th Mar 2008 18:07 UTC
windexh8er
Member since:
2008-03-15

This is probably one of the worst reviews of an OS I've seen in a long time. The author, obviously, does not know the target audience of FreeBSD platforms.

1) I really don't care that a USB keyboard has issues on the system -- the only time I'd be at the console is during install.

2) Wireless? Again, I don't care. Gig and 10-Gig interfaces are for server platforms.

3) Sound? No thanks

4) Performance? YES! Something the review knows and talks nothing about.

Get a clue... If you want a desktop BSD system than look at PC-BSD or equivalents. If you want a lean, performance oriented BSD system then look at 7.0.

Reply Score: 2

Rotten review
by Dubbayoo on Sat 15th Mar 2008 19:23 UTC
Dubbayoo
Member since:
2006-02-09

This guy is so desperate to be a media conglomerate so somebody will buy him out he'll do anything.

All these domains cross linking his own writing to get his name in Google more often.

http://www.softwareinreview.com
http://www.hardwareinreview.com
http://www.thejemreport.com
http://www.tjrforum.com
http://www.jemmatzan.com

Reply Score: 1

little benchmark
by Xender on Sun 16th Mar 2008 12:22 UTC
Xender
Member since:
2006-06-28

I was working in this little benchmark. After take times, i think FreeBSD 7 can now compete with Linux in some areas.

http://www.tod-os.com/?page_id=3618

Reply Score: 1

Compile time
by Doc Pain on Sun 16th Mar 2008 20:49 UTC
Doc Pain
Member since:
2006-10-08

I'd like to ask if anyone (except me) did notice that the compile time for the system has increased? On the same hardware, FreeBSD 5 buildworld lasted approx. 2:30 and kernel 0:30, FreeBSD 7 buildworld lasted nearly 4:00 and buildkernel lasted 1:00. (Time for installation - installkernel, installworld - are not significant to me.)

Is this a normal observation? This is neasly a factor x 2 on the same hardware...

Reply Score: 2

RE: Compile time
by kkenn on Mon 17th Mar 2008 13:57 UTC in reply to "Compile time"
kkenn Member since:
2007-08-06

FreeBSD 7 includes gcc 4 instead of gcc 3. It's a slower compiler, because it does more optimization work. It's not a FreeBSD performance issue.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Compile time
by Doc Pain on Tue 18th Mar 2008 01:21 UTC in reply to "RE: Compile time"
Doc Pain Member since:
2006-10-08

FreeBSD 7 includes gcc 4 instead of gcc 3. It's a slower compiler, because it does more optimization work.


Thank you, I thought something into this direction. (I'll have to admit that I thought it would have a larger heap of source code that would of course last longer to compile.)

It's not a FreeBSD performance issue.


The recompiled system is working well and fast. Only downsides for me:
1. Compiled in keymap (ATKBD/UKBD_DFLT_KEYMAP) doesn't work anymore.
2. Sun Type 6 mouse and keyboard work, but no identification string is displayed at startup (ukbd, ums), allthough entries in usbdevs database are present.

Strange... No idea why... :-(

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Compile time
by kkenn on Tue 18th Mar 2008 02:00 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Compile time"
kkenn Member since:
2007-08-06

The recompiled system is working well and fast. Only downsides for me:
1. Compiled in keymap (ATKBD/UKBD_DFLT_KEYMAP) doesn't work anymore.


You should probably bring this up on the stable@ mailing list and/or file a PR.

2. Sun Type 6 mouse and keyboard work, but no identification string is displayed at startup (ukbd, ums), allthough entries in usbdevs database are present.


I am not sure if this is expected. It doesn't sound like it's causing any problems though.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Compile time
by Doc Pain on Tue 18th Mar 2008 02:13 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Compile time"
Doc Pain Member since:
2006-10-08

"The recompiled system is working well and fast. Only downsides for me:
1. Compiled in keymap (ATKBD/UKBD_DFLT_KEYMAP) doesn't work anymore.


You should probably bring this up on the stable@ mailing list and/or file a PR.
"

I'll surely do that. Up to this point, I didn't have any issues with 7.0-RELEASE so far. Setting keyboard layout manually (even in SUM) works.

"2. Sun Type 6 mouse and keyboard work, but no identification string is displayed at startup (ukbd, ums), allthough entries in usbdevs database are present.


I am not sure if this is expected. It doesn't sound like it's causing any problems though.
"

That is the "fascinating" part - there is no problem except the missing identification string, but the mouse and the keyboard do work without any problems, even if constantly plugged in and out. It's just.. instead of

ukbd0: Sun Microsystems Type 6 USB keyboard, rev 1.00/1.02, addr 3, iclass 3/1
ums0: Sun Microsystems Type 6 USB mouse, rev 1.00/1.02, addr 2, iclass 3/1

I get

ukbd0: <vendor 0x0430 product 0x0005, class 0/0, rev 1.00/1.02, addr 3> on uhub1
ums0: <vendor 0x0430 product 0x0100, class 0/0, rev 1.00/1.02, addr 2> on uhub1

I checked the source code and I didn't find a hint why it could be that way. Well... I'm not a skilled kernel coder, so I don't expect myself to find the problem unless it's very obvious... :-)

But if I plug in an Apple USB keyboard, it works!

ukbd0: <Mitsumi Electric Apple Extended USB Keyboard, class 0/0, rev 1.10/4.10, addr 3> on uhub4

Strange things happen in the new kernel... :-)

Reply Score: 2

Spot the freeBSD lovers...
by melkor on Mon 17th Mar 2008 05:02 UTC
melkor
Member since:
2006-12-16

It's not hard to see the freeBSD lovers - who still live in denial.

The last time I used freeBSD, it was not what I considered user friendly. What I can see here is people's attitude of "if you don't like it [freeBSD], then bugger off". That's a great attitude and sure to discourage people from trying freeBSD.

I also see people who dislike the reviewer, and thus make denigrating comments about it. Nice. Doesn't exactly endear me to the freeBSD public either.

A point in example - people saying that if the CD install system doesn't work, just do a network install. huh? If I'm on dialup (yes, some of us are unlucky sods stuck with dialup), that's not what we want to hear. I expect a CD install to work. Linux has been able to do that for years...

My experiences with a lot of freeBSD users (and BSD users in general) are that they are stuck up, anachronistic, rude, arrogant and generally unhelpful. They do not tolerate criticism, even valid criticism, and seek to make excuses to protect their beloved freeBSD. Anyone who doesn't see things there way is a whinger, or troublemaker, or just plain stupid (or D: All of the above). What a bunch of lovely people!

I'm really hoping that those that posted already aren't generic of the freeBSD lot of users, but I doubt it from my experiences.

Dave

Reply Score: 1

RE: Spot the freeBSD lovers...
by apotheon on Mon 17th Mar 2008 07:36 UTC in reply to "Spot the freeBSD lovers..."
apotheon Member since:
2008-02-05

I have had far fewer problems (both with installs and with operation) since I switched from Linux to FreeBSD. I guess my experience differs from yours.

I've also encountered fewer self-righteous jerks like you who find it necessary to denigrate others as some kind of marketing for their OS of choice.

Reply Score: 0

RE[2]: Spot the freeBSD lovers...
by melkor on Mon 17th Mar 2008 08:52 UTC in reply to "RE: Spot the freeBSD lovers..."
melkor Member since:
2006-12-16

I'm simply noting the reaction from loyal freeBSD users to any form of criticism about their operating system, and some of the replies posted here, which pretty much confirm the elitist nature of at least some freeBSD users (but I suspect the majority of them). Your reply is along the lines of many others.

I've used Linux for a good number of years and truth be told, it generally works, and works well, unless I tinker with it and start breaking things. I'll give you a hint - that's usually my fault for tinkering. I could easily install a Debian Etch system and it'll run for years. Install might take 30-60 minutes, depending on what I choose to install, but the vast majority of hardware will work out of the box, and work well, as will the applications. My experiences with freeBSD (admittedly a few years ago now) aren't so gracious. To be entirely fair to freeBSD, I need to give the latest versions a try to see how they've grown and improved, which is what I actually intend to do in about 2 months time when I have enough money to put my new PC together. Hopefully, freeBSD has improved.

I do note that freeBSD documentation is excellent, and it did impress me back then, and impresses me now.

What I have issues with is many of the freeBSD users here who basically have the attitude of "it's not a desktop system, go use PC-BSD", which I find completely unacceptable. There's no reason why freeBSD cannot be a desktop system, and there's no real reason why it should be difficult. Things should work out of the box, or at least the majority of them. That's a well designed operating system. freeBSD has many good things as far as I'm aware, but the implementation leaves a little to be desired. Don't get me wrong, Linux is far from perfect, as is Microsoft Windows or OS X. Such is life.

Dave

Reply Score: 3

apotheon Member since:
2008-02-05

"I'm simply noting the reaction from loyal freeBSD users to any form of criticism about their operating system, and some of the replies posted here, which pretty much confirm the elitist nature of at least some freeBSD users (but I suspect the majority of them). Your reply is along the lines of many others."

Your comments consist of insulting generalizations about an entire community of open source software users, and appear to be calculated to denigrate the reputations of users of non-Linux OSes. If that's not your intent, perhaps you should look into charm school to learn how to communicate politely with others.

"I could easily install a Debian Etch system and it'll run for years."

Ironically, Debian Etch was the Linux system I was using when frustration with Linux issues finally pushed me to give FreeBSD a try as an alternative. My problems cleared up pretty quickly after that. I'm not saying FreeBSD is perfect -- nothing has been so far, out of the dozen or so OSes I've used to any significant degree since the early '80s -- but for my needs, at least, it has proven the most stable, reliable, convenient OS platform so far.

"My experiences with freeBSD (admittedly a few years ago now) aren't so gracious."

How long ago were those experiences? Have you noticed that Linux systems have improved significantly in the last five years (and also in the five years before that)? Why do you find it so difficult to believe the same could have happened with FreeBSD that you're willing to just give FreeBSD a bad review without giving it a try? It's a bit like giving MacOS X a bad review based on your experience with MacOS 9.

"I do note that freeBSD documentation is excellent, and it did impress me back then, and impresses me now."

It's the best OS documentation I've ever had the pleasure to encounter.

"What I have issues with is many of the freeBSD users here who basically have the attitude of 'it's not a desktop system, go use PC-BSD', which I find completely unacceptable."

I find that troubling as well. There is a contingent of FreeBSD users who regard FreeBSD as the ultimate general-purpose server OS (which it may or may not be), but get into a snit any time someone asks for "desktop" functionality. I'm not in that camp -- I'm typing this from a Thinkpad with FreeBSD installed, and it's the best OS for a laptop I've ever used.

"There's no reason why freeBSD cannot be a desktop system, and there's no real reason why it should be difficult. Things should work out of the box, or at least the majority of them."

I agree -- and, in my experience, the majority does work "out of the box". When additional configuration is required, it's easier to manage than on Linux-based systems too -- multi-channel sound is a short shell command away, unlike the configuration hell of ALSA, for instance.

"That's a well designed operating system. freeBSD has many good things as far as I'm aware, but the implementation leaves a little to be desired."

FreeBSD is better designed. Linux distributions (which vary wildly from one to the next) occasionally have default configurations that provide an easier transition for people used to MS Windows, which makes it seem more "user friendly" to people used to a particular way of doing things. In my experience, the differences between FreeBSD and Linux-based systems is like a step further on the path to better design than what you get moving from MS Windows to a Linux distribution.

My favorite Linux distro was, and is still, Debian. Everything I liked about Debian more than its Linux-based cousins, I like even more about FreeBSD.

Obviously, your experience from several years ago may differ from mine today.

By the way . . . considering the often Linux-centric community here, when judging the entire FreeBSD community off a couple of comments, you might want to keep in mind that the people posting here are those who step outside of the FreeBSD world to interact with people like you, who (outnumbering them probably 50 to 1 in a more Linux-oriented community) likely promote something of a siege mentality in them with your selection bias prompting you to insult all FreeBSD users everywhere.

. . . and, frankly, from what I've seen people here are commenting on the general poor quality of the reviewer's work, as well as the specific poor quality of this individual review. Maybe the common thread isn't FreeBSD so much as it is a general distaste for this particular reviewer.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Spot the freeBSD lovers...
by melkor on Wed 19th Mar 2008 12:45 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Spot the freeBSD lovers..."
melkor Member since:
2006-12-16

If you read a few of my other posts in that article, you'll see that I was cautious to question if the replies I was seeing in response to the article were representative of the entirety of freeBSD users.

I last used freeBSD around 4.2, so yes, a while ago. And you'll note elsewhere that I've said that I suspect freeBSD has improved (like Linux) in that time period. The question is by how much? Linux has come along in leaps and bounds in that 7 years, and in all honesty, I doubt freeBSD (or any other BSD) has matched it.

As I said in previous posts, I'm about to get my new PC, which will relegate the current PC to testing purposes, and freeBSD will be something I'll be trying. I used to be a Linux junkie, but now I use Windows for most of my work, as it suits my needs better. So, I'm certainly not a Linux user having fun bashing freeBSD because of some BS rivalvry. True, I have a huge distaste for the BSD licence, and that does influence my reasoning on using a BSD system, but that's a personal preference. Since I use Microsoft Windows (even more "proprietary" than any BSD), I think I can stretch things and relax enough to try freeBSD anyways, whatever my personal dislike of the BSD licence itself.

Debian can be a bit of a mongrel to set up, which is why Ubuntu is so popular (I have my problems with Ubuntu).

I've also been known to "bash" (as some zealots so succinctly put it) Linux for the variety of what I consider weaknesses that will stop it from ever becoming popular with the masses. I always find it amazing that it's touted as an o/s for the people, but the way that it is constructed means that most ordinary people will never even want to try it. Your average person doesn't give a damn about choice, they want something that just works. Once the Linux zealots get over themselves and realise that Linux choices are killing development of essential killer apps, which in turn will affect how many ordinary people move to it, it'll start to get more general adoption. Until then, it remains the province of geeks, geeks and more geeks, as well as those too tight to pay for proprietary software (yes, I wager that most of those trying Linux are doing so not because of theological reasons (the raison d'etre of the FSF), but because they will NOT pay for Microsoft Windows. I'll also wager that most of those that have moved to Linux in the past few years were those that were pirating proprietary software the most when they did use Microsoft Windows.

I despise those that think Debian is just a server, that desktop users should bugger off and use Ubuntu etc etc. I apply the same logic to freeBSD users who expect that it's simply an excellent server o/s, and anyone that wants to tailor it to be a desktop o/s have to "know their stuff" or otherwise sod off. From my experiences, that seems to be a lot of freeBSD users, and mirrors the attitudes of the old Linux guard from 5-10 years ago. The damage that that attitude did is only just slowly being overcome with Linux now.

Dave

Reply Score: 2

apotheon Member since:
2008-02-05

"Linux has come along in leaps and bounds in that 7 years, and in all honesty, I doubt freeBSD (or any other BSD) has matched it."

Considering that the majority of improvements to Linux were, in fact, improvements to software that runs on top of Linux and works just as well on FreeBSD, I don't see how you can justify that doubt. The things that differentiate Linux distributions from each other are the installer, the software management system, the community, and the default install configuration. What's particular to Linux distributions that are not true of FreeBSD is the kernel and core utilities -- and FreeBSD's kernel and core utilities are certainly no worse than those common to most Linux distributions. Everything else is not specific to Linux distributions at all, and is basically shared by FreeBSD.

So . . . why the heck wouldn't you think FreeBSD could have improved as much? The fact that MS Windows has mostly gone downhill in the last seven years (Win2k was the high point for MS Windows in terms of OS design) does not provide a very impressive analogy for FreeBSD's performance in the realm of overall improvement.

"True, I have a huge distaste for the BSD licence, and that does influence my reasoning on using a BSD system, but that's a personal preference."

What's your problem with the BSD license? Personally, I find the GPL more offensive than the BSD license.

"Debian can be a bit of a mongrel to set up, which is why Ubuntu is so popular (I have my problems with Ubuntu)."

I actually prefer Debian over Ubuntu. It's a lot easier to get Debian set up the way I like, quickly and without fuss, than Ubuntu. I guess Ubuntu is great if, for the most part, you don't care about how it ends up configured -- if you're just willing to live with someone else's idea of a "good" system configuration -- but my preference is to be able to make use of my own preferences. Since I can get an entire Debian system set up to my preferences in under 45 minutes, and Ubuntu makes it almost impossible by reasonable means to get what I actually want out of it, I guess I differ from the people who make Ubuntu so popular.

In summary:

Ubuntu: Quicker and easier to set up the way I don't like.
Debian: Quicker and easier to set up the way I do like.

"I've also been known to 'bash' (as some zealots so succinctly put it) Linux for the variety of what I consider weaknesses that will stop it from ever becoming popular with the masses. I always find it amazing that it's touted as an o/s for the people, but the way that it is constructed means that most ordinary people will never even want to try it."

I think that many of these perceived weaknesses would evaporate if Linux was distributed the same way MS Windows is distributed: installed on hardware so the user doesn't have to bother. The same is true of FreeBSD as of some Linux distributions in this respect.

"because they will NOT pay for Microsoft Windows."

I wouldn't pay for MS Windows if I didn't have to, either. It's not worth the money. FreeBSD, on the other hand, is worth a fair bit.

"I'll also wager that most of those that have moved to Linux in the past few years were those that were pirating proprietary software the most when they did use Microsoft Windows."

I doubt they've moved to Linux just because they're cheap. If they were "pirating" MS Windows, they have no financial incentive to switch OSes to another free option. They wouldn't be paying either way -- and if there's no other reason to switch, they might as well stay with the free option with which they're already familiar. Thus, if they're making the switch, they must have some other reason.

"I despise those that think Debian is just a server, that desktop users should bugger off and use Ubuntu etc etc. I apply the same logic to freeBSD users who expect that it's simply an excellent server o/s, and anyone that wants to tailor it to be a desktop o/s have to "know their stuff" or otherwise sod off. From my experiences, that seems to be a lot of freeBSD users, and mirrors the attitudes of the old Linux guard from 5-10 years ago."

That depends on what you mean by "a lot". If you mean there's some minimum number -- say, a thousand people or more -- then yeah, I guess you could say there's "a lot" of such FreeBSD users. If you mean something like "a majority" or even "nearly 50%", I don't think that's an accurate estimation at all. Of course, you apparently haven't touched FreeBSD in seven years, so you're probably not on the same FreeBSD mailing lists of which I'm a member.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Spot the freeBSD lovers...
by Carpetsmoker on Mon 17th Mar 2008 08:52 UTC in reply to "Spot the freeBSD lovers..."
Carpetsmoker Member since:
2008-03-17

> The last time I used FreeBSD, it was not what I
> considered user friendly.

"User-friendly" is very subjective, I personally consider tcsh, grep, sed, find, etc. very user-friendly.

> What I can see here is people's attitude of "if you don't like it [FreeBSD],
> then bugger off". That's a great attitude and sure
> to discourage people from trying FreeBSD.

Yes, that's because people like you keep saying that FreeBSD *should* do this or that, why "should" FreeBSD be "user-friend (i.e.. "noob-friendly")"? Not everything can be noob-friendly and idiot-proof, different people and different needs.
Also, FreeBSD has no plans to conquer the world, abolish copyright, kill Microsoft or whatever.
The FreeBSD project simply tries to make a good OS.

More users is always good, but if people with little or no technical knowledge come "barging in" saying that FreeBSD should adapt to *their* needs than I say "bugger off".
You would do the same thing ...

> I also see people who dislike the reviewer, and thus make denigrating comments about it.
> Nice. Doesn't exactly endear me to the FreeBSD public either.

Maybe it has something to do with the factual errors, biased tone, poor writing style, or the fact that he has been writing inaccurate/unbalanced FreeBSD (Like this one) reviews for years?

--

Is Jem right about the CD swapping and some other minor issues? Yes.
But he *only* focuses on negative issues, and relative minor issues too (You only install your system *once*, right?) and has NOTHING to say about any of the positive points, for example he doesn't even MENTION zfs!

--

Anyway, read the post I (Carpetsmoker) made on the forums for a bit longer reply:
http://www.tjrforum.com/showthread.php?t=3746

Reply Score: 1

chip on his shoulder
by apotheon on Mon 17th Mar 2008 19:55 UTC
apotheon
Member since:
2008-02-05

Could we possibly get a review from someone that doesn't hate FreeBSD? I don't really understand the rationale behind publishing a review by someone with a chip on his shoulder. That pretty much guarantees a bad review.

Reply Score: 0

the explaination for this 'review'
by Oliver on Tue 18th Mar 2008 21:53 UTC
Oliver
Member since:
2006-07-15

He did not have the time ;)

http://www.thejemreport.com/mambo/content/view/391

"Most of my time is now consumed with book writing, editing, and evaluation, not with technology journalism."

... so his place for rants is for sale.

Reply Score: 2

sdodson Member since:
2007-01-06

Priceless. Well, maybe not. Apparently $1,999.00.

Reply Score: 1