Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 29th Nov 2015 17:47 UTC
FreeBSD

I am less frustrated, and more focused working on this setup. A big chunk of that is even outside the constant popups in OS X, there's simply less to be distracted by.

I've gone so far as to have to literally switch a cable to move between machines (as opposed to a KVM), to help me train my brain into a different context.

Overall I'm quite happy with the choices I made here.

A nice write-up from someone switching from OS X to FreeBSD, and everything that entails.

Order by: Score:
Yay FreeBSD!
by Gullible Jones on Sun 29th Nov 2015 18:58 UTC
Gullible Jones
Member since:
2006-05-23

I kind of wish FreeBSD were still popular in the server sphere. I mean, Linux is great and all, but diversity would be a good thing. Right now, from my own experience, there are no challengers for Linux on the server; except maybe Solaris on extremely high-end hardware, and that's for very specialized roles. (Bare-metal servers running giant databases, stuff like that.)

Also too bad the interoperability with Linux filesystems is poor. If FreeBSD had proper read-write support for XFS, I would probably use it everywhere.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Yay FreeBSD!
by Lazarus on Sun 29th Nov 2015 19:39 UTC in reply to "Yay FreeBSD!"
Lazarus Member since:
2005-08-10

I am curious, regarding servers (vague) how do you see FreeBSD really not competing with Linux?

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Yay FreeBSD!
by Gullible Jones on Sun 29th Nov 2015 19:45 UTC in reply to "RE: Yay FreeBSD!"
Gullible Jones Member since:
2006-05-23

I mean in terms of usage statistics, not features.

http://w3techs.com/technologies/details/os-freebsd/all/all
http://www.w3cook.com/os/freebsd

In terms of features, FreeBSD is competitive and then some... But nobody's using it.

Edited 2015-11-29 19:46 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Yay FreeBSD!
by laffer1 on Mon 30th Nov 2015 21:34 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Yay FreeBSD!"
laffer1 Member since:
2007-11-09

I'm going to have to disagree yet. You're right that linux is installed on more servers per the limited tracking those sites do. However, FreeBSD is also included on every Playstation 4, netapp appliance and ixsystems freenas derived box, half the enterprise routers used on the internet, by Netflix and Yahoo, and various other sources. 33% of all internet traffic is netflix and a good chunk of that is going through freebsd boxes.

So if you want to look at cheap hosting companies that offer wordpress sites, yeah, linux is winning the war. If you want to look at what people are doing with them, it changes quite a bit.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Yay FreeBSD!
by tylerdurden on Mon 30th Nov 2015 22:04 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Yay FreeBSD!"
tylerdurden Member since:
2009-03-17

Ironically Netflix depends as much (if not more) on linux than it does on FreeBSD (not that in any way implies anything regarding the qualities of either OS).

Edited 2015-11-30 22:08 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Yay FreeBSD!
by Risthel on Fri 4th Dec 2015 11:09 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Yay FreeBSD!"
Risthel Member since:
2010-12-22

Yahoo! is not a FreeBSD stronghold - https://forums.freebsd.org/threads/yahoo-no-longer-a-freebsd-strongh...

And yeah, we all know that Netflix build it´s infrastructure using FreeBSD, but it has to STOP being the only example available. I love FreeBSD too, but some "Netflix/ZFS/Dtrace wada wada seems" to be all that some folks can talk about, when the subject is FreeBSD.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Yay FreeBSD!
by mkools on Sun 29th Nov 2015 23:05 UTC in reply to "Yay FreeBSD!"
mkools Member since:
2005-10-11

I'm using FreeBSD on all my servers, web and databaseservers, even on my personal Plex media server.

Why would you need XFS anyway when you can use ZFS? It's the only file system I currently use.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Yay FreeBSD!
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Mon 30th Nov 2015 15:05 UTC in reply to "RE: Yay FreeBSD!"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

XFS is the best *performance* File system I've seen for large files. ZFS is great because of all of its integrity checks z-raid and snapshots. So it kind of depends on how you manage backups and how much performance you need. Oh, and last time I checked XFS used less memory, to make a difference on some lower specked machines.

As always with file systems, there are trade offs.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Yay FreeBSD!
by mkools on Mon 30th Nov 2015 21:44 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Yay FreeBSD!"
mkools Member since:
2005-10-11

Given the right hardware and correct configuration I'm pretty certain ZFS outperforms any XFS hardware raid setup all day long which is not really fair of course since like you said it requires a lot more memory as well.

I agree it's not suitable for use with external drives, not only for the obv reasons but because ZFS generally requires ECC memory which means you can't just hook a drive up to any machine without running into risks of data corruption.

I love it on my 40 TB media center server though, with 3 raid5 vdevs it's super reliable and VERY fast.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Yay FreeBSD!
by jessesmith on Mon 30th Nov 2015 22:12 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Yay FreeBSD!"
jessesmith Member since:
2010-03-11

ZFS definitely does not require ECC RAM and works fine with external drives.

The whole fear about data corruption from using non-ECC RAM is just FUD. There is nothing about ZFS which makes it any more vulnerable to data corruption using low-end RAM than any other file system. So if you're fine with using ext4 or XFS with low-end RAM you are just as safe using ZFS with the same RAM.

Someone suggested further up that ZFS might not perform well with low-end hardware. This is misinformation. ZFS runs fine on low end machines like the Raspberry Pi. I've been using ZFS with Raspbian for six months with zero issues and half my RAM is still free.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Yay FreeBSD!
by Gullible Jones on Mon 30th Nov 2015 16:30 UTC in reply to "RE: Yay FreeBSD!"
Gullible Jones Member since:
2006-05-23

Again, interoperability. XFS is good for external hard drives and such. (Unless you're using Windows. Which I don't.)

Reply Score: 2

RE: Yay FreeBSD!
by bitwelder on Mon 30th Nov 2015 14:14 UTC in reply to "Yay FreeBSD!"
bitwelder Member since:
2010-04-27

Well, FreeBSD still finds its place in the server room with pfSense/OPNsense and FreeNAS appliances.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Yay FreeBSD!
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Mon 30th Nov 2015 15:08 UTC in reply to "RE: Yay FreeBSD!"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Well, there are Server Rooms, and then there are datacenters, and then there is the cloud. Many of the small businesses I have friends working for have transitioned their server rooms straight to the could.

Reply Score: 2

lacking
by nicubunu on Sun 29th Nov 2015 19:54 UTC
nicubunu
Member since:
2014-01-08

He left out the most important (and juicy) part of such a transition: the software. I get it, he uses mostly the terminal for his work. but he mentioned the media library formerly on iTunes, he mentioned his wife editing pictures and videos, he mentioned his daughter having an account on the computer. How they deal with such a huge change?

Reply Score: 1

RE: lacking
by Drumhellar on Sun 29th Nov 2015 20:54 UTC in reply to "lacking"
Drumhellar Member since:
2005-07-12

They continue using the Mac.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: lacking
by nicubunu on Mon 30th Nov 2015 10:05 UTC in reply to "RE: lacking"
nicubunu Member since:
2014-01-08

then is pretty much a non-story: geek changes his own OS with a geekier one

Reply Score: 6

RE: lacking
by joekiser on Sun 29th Nov 2015 20:55 UTC in reply to "lacking"
joekiser Member since:
2005-06-30

He left out the most important (and juicy) part of such a transition: the software. I get it, he uses mostly the terminal for his work. but he mentioned the media library formerly on iTunes, he mentioned his wife editing pictures and videos, he mentioned his daughter having an account on the computer. How they deal with such a huge change?


I'm guessing there's more than one workstation in the house.

Reply Score: 2

RE: lacking
by beowuff on Sun 29th Nov 2015 20:57 UTC in reply to "lacking"
beowuff Member since:
2006-07-26

From the article:

"I didn’t want to install FreeBSD on my iMac. My wife uses it for photo and video editing, my music is all tied to OS X, sometimes I have an hour to play the latest Shadowrun game. Dual booting would just be a pain.

I decided to build a computer for home use. I hadn’t done this in at least ten years – I’ve built plenty of servers in that time, but at home I’d been happy to just have my Macs."

Reply Score: 2

RE: lacking
by TheNorseWind on Sun 29th Nov 2015 21:15 UTC in reply to "lacking"
TheNorseWind Member since:
2015-07-21

Regarding apps on BSD:

http://www.freebsd.org/ports/categories-grouped.html
http://openports.se/ (OpenBSD)
http://pkgsrc.se/ (NetBSD)

Most will work just as they would when running on Linux. There are a few differences:

Most (all?) of the BSDs limit normal users' access to mount(8). On FreeBSD, the vfs.usermount kernel parameter needs to be set to 1, you need to be a member of the operator group, and you also need to own the mount point. It's discussed about halfway down the page in this link:

https://www.freebsd.org/doc/handbook/usb-disks.html

Another issue is HAL/udev. FreeBSD had HAL support, but that's deprecated now (even on Linux), and there's no udev port. That's the bad news; the good news is that FreeBSD and OpenBSD both had functional kernel device-notification systems well before udev came out, and it's not too hard to script them. Here's one example, which you should be able to install with pkg(8):

https://github.com/vermaden/automount/blob/master/automount

It negates the mount(8) permission issues, but I don't like how it does it (security-wise). I wrote a similar set of scripts years ago that preserved the normal limits on usermounting (quoting from my old web page):

This is a little set of shell scripts that I wrote to automount removable storage in KDE on FreeBSD; HAL was ported just after I finished it, so it's obsolete.

It's based on a project (http://caia.swin.edu.au/reports/041130A/) by Jason But at CAIA (http://caia.swin.edu.au), with a number of changes and additions.


goals:


integrate with the KDE media:/ protocol handler
handle multiple usb devices
handle firewire (untested, but should work)
handle disk slices (FreeBSD partitions)
check for mount permission

changes and additions to the original:

removed reference to nonexistent 'auto' fstype (a Linuxism) in /etc fstab

'grep :0' in 'umassaction' was changed to 'grep "[[:blank:]]:0"' to avoid matching time output from 'who'

$device-name argument was unused by umassaction (now named removableaction)

update fstab, mount points on boot to catch cold-swapping

limitations:

requires KDM
limited to the initial X user only (no fast user switching)
no console integration

firewire.conf

attach 100 {
device-name "firewire[0-9]+";
action "/bin/sleep 3; /usr/local/share/removable/removableaction attach";
};

detach 100 {
device-name "firewire[0-9]+";
action "/usr/local/share/removable/removableaction detach";
};


umass.conf

attach 100 {
device-name "umass[0-9]+";
action "/bin/sleep 3; /usr/local/share/removable/removableaction attach";
};

detach 100 {
device-name "umass[0-9]+";
action "/usr/local/share/removable/removableaction detach";
};

/usr/local/share/removable/removableaction

#!/bin/sh
#
# /usr/local/share/removable/removableaction
#
# This script assumes that any scsi direct access device that is not # in the fstab is a usb or firewire device.
# If you have a scsi system, make sure that all of your disks are
# listed in the fstab
#

# Define a group that is allowed to mount removable media
MOUNT_GROUP=operator

# Find out who, if anyone, is the primary user of XWindows
USR=`who | grep "[[:blank:]]:0" | cut -f 1 -d " "`

# If they aren't a member of $MOUNT_GROUP, or don't exist, set
# owner to something safe
if ! grep $MOUNT_GROUP.*$USR.* /etc/group >/dev/null 2>&1 || test "$USR" = ''
then
USR=root
fi

case $1 in
attach) cd /dev
for i in da*
do
if ! test -e ${i}s* # Don't configure mounting of da? if da?s? exists
then
if ! grep $i /etc/fstab >/dev/null 2>&1
then
echo -e /dev/$i"\t"/removable/$i"\tmsdos\trw,noauto\t0\t0" >> /etc/fstab
chmod 0660 $i
chown root:$MOUNT_GROUP $i
if ! test -e /removable/$i
then
mkdir /removable/$i
chown $USR:$MOUNT_GROUP /removable/$i
fi
fi
fi
done
;;

detach) cd /removable
for i in da*
do
if ! test -c /dev/$i
then
sed -i -e '/\/dev\/'$i' \/removable\/'$i' msdos rw,noauto 0 0$/d' /etc/fstab
rmdir /removable/$i
fi
done
;;

*) exit 1
esac

/usr/local/etc/rc.d/updateremovable

#!/bin/sh
#
# PROVIDE: updateumass
# REQUIRE: devfs
#
# /usr/local/etc/rc.d/updateremovable
#

. /etc/rc.subr

name="updateumass"
start_cmd="${name}_start"
stop_cmd=":"

updateumass_start()
{
cd /dev
for i in da*
do
if ! test -e ${i}s* # Don't configure mounting of da? if da?s? exists
then
if ! grep $i /etc/fstab >/dev/null 2>&1
then
echo -e /dev/$i"\t"/removable/$i"\tmsdos\trw,noauto\t0\t0" >> /etc/fstab
chmod 0660 $i
chown root:$MOUNT_GROUP $i
if ! test -e /removable/$i
then
mkdir /removable/$i
chown $USR:$MOUNT_GROUP /removable/$i
fi
fi
fi
done

cd /removable
for i in da*
do
if ! test -c /dev/$i
then
sed -i -e '/\/dev\/'$i' \/removable\/'$i' msdos rw,noauto 0 0$/d' /etc/fstab
rmdir /removable/$i
fi
done
}

load_rc_config $name
run_rc_command "$1"


Xreset

#! /bin/sh
# Xreset - run as root after session exits

# Define a group that is allowed to mount removable media
MOUNT_GROUP=operator

# Exit if the user doesn't have mount permission
if ! grep $MOUNT_GROUP.*$USER.* /etc/group >/dev/null 2>&1
then
exit 0;
fi

USR=`who | grep "[[:blank:]]:0" | cut -f 1 -d " "`

# Don't do anything unless we're the primary user
if test $USR = $USER
then
# uncomment if you have a floppy
#chown root:wheel /floppy

# uncomment if you have a CD-ROM
#chown root:wheel /cdrom*

if ls /removable/da* >/dev/null 2>&1
then
chown root:wheel /removable/da*
fi
fi


Xstartup

#! /bin/sh
# Xstartup - run as root before session starts

# Define a group that is allowed to mount removable media
MOUNT_GROUP=operator

# Exit if the user doesn't have mount permission
if ! grep $MOUNT_GROUP.*$USER /etc/group >/dev/null 2>&1
then
exit 0;
fi

# Find out who, if anyone is the primary user of XWindows
USR=`who | grep "[[:blank:]]:0" | cut -f 1 -d " "`

# Don't do anything unless we're the primary user
if test $USR = $USER
then
# uncomment if you have a floppy
#chown $USR:$MOUNT_GROUP /floppy*

# uncomment if you have a CD-ROM
#chown $USR:$MOUNT_GROUP /cdrom*

if ls /removable/da* >/dev/null 2>&1
then
chown $USR:$MOUNT_GROUP /removable/da*
fi
fi


This worked for me as of 5.4 or so, but I have no idea whether it will still run. I'm also not a developer, so it could have serious bugs. I do know that fstab polling was re-enabled in the KDE port, so that should work again.

Also, sorry about the formatting. The auto line-wrap on OSNews mangled some of the comments (I did a quick proof-read a fixed a few), so be very careful if you paste this into a shell script. I could clean it up and test it if enough people are interested.

Edited 2015-11-29 21:18 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: lacking
by nicubunu on Mon 30th Nov 2015 10:02 UTC in reply to "RE: lacking"
nicubunu Member since:
2014-01-08

if the apps work on BDS just as well as on Linux, then I expect a lot of Mac users will consider this a huge step back.

Reply Score: 2

RE: lacking
by SaschaW on Mon 30th Nov 2015 17:58 UTC in reply to "lacking"
SaschaW Member since:
2007-07-19

These things you mention might not matter to this person. Most people using only OpenSource Operating Systems have to sacrifice on proprietary software. That's why I like OS X, because for me it offers the best of both worlds

Reply Score: 1

I can really relate to this
by LaceySnr on Sun 29th Nov 2015 23:04 UTC
LaceySnr
Member since:
2009-09-28

"Circa OS X 10.6, I was really happy with OS X. It was fast, stable, and never got in my way."

When OS X launched I was super excited. I was running FreeBSD, Windows, BeOS and Slackware at the time (I was pretty wrapped up in the OS world thanks to OSNews) and the idea of *nix system that was pretty and didn't take a lot of futzing really appealed to me.

These days I'm tired of it. Everything 'new' seems to just be gimmicks or iOS sytle features. The OS does more annoying things with each release (I could never stop it posting App Store notifications: event after upgrading to Yoemite it was telling me I should upgrade to Yosemite) and other things I want to do (often with OSS) just seem to be harder than they should be. Every update seems to reset my keyboard settings and disable key repeat, which has a vim user is crazy annoying.

I recently built a PC after years of using Mac laptops exclusively, and I'm loving it.

I do still use the Mac for work, and I have manged to shut up notifications for the most part by enabling quiet hours from 4:00am to 3:59am.

Edited 2015-11-29 23:06 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE: I can really relate to this
by mdsama on Mon 30th Nov 2015 01:05 UTC in reply to "I can really relate to this"
mdsama Member since:
2005-07-08

Me too. Switched to Linux in the past year because
a) OS X was getting too slow
b) it was constantly using up bandwidth in the background, and
c) I was spending "too much time telling OS X to shut up and leave me alone" (as the article author says)

Reply Score: 3

Used to love FreeBSD
by acobar on Mon 30th Nov 2015 01:37 UTC
acobar
Member since:
2005-11-15

For a couple of years I used it on servers. As my main desktop it did not last so much, unluckily. I loved how easily I could configure it, probably the most sane way I have seen, though.

As I said some time ago, I try to keep the software stack as close as possible to what is inside the official repositories. Compiling and installing from ourself usually generate a bit of headache down the road and, as I got older, I started to be less lenient to even small nuisances. Hardware support and some new features/updated versions of software I used/needed killed it for me.

I suggest the author to use tmux (if he doesn't already). Copy & past from terminals work way better with it and, I'm sure, the other pluses will delight him.

My favorite terminal is also urxvt, even though I play a bit with st (from suckless) and tilda from time to time.

There is a little mistake, I think, inside the text where he cites LXCE instead of LXDE. By my side, I plan to try LXQt as soon as I get some free time available.

i3 is nice and if most of my job was remote administration, editing and file management with mc I would probably set down with it. That is not my case, though, perhaps unluckily.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Used to love FreeBSD
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Mon 30th Nov 2015 15:12 UTC in reply to "Used to love FreeBSD"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Yeah, if Copy and Paste aren't working.. Uck. I'd go back to OSX and just deal with everything else. Trying a different terminal is a good suggustion. Personally, I like xfce term, even though I don't care for running XFCE itself.

Reply Score: 2

What ever happened to darwin?
by missingxtension on Mon 30th Nov 2015 04:27 UTC
missingxtension
Member since:
2011-01-14

Wasn't Darwin supposed to be apple's bsd?
Why not use Darwin? or was darwin just for the old ppc stuff?

Reply Score: 1

RE: What ever happened to darwin?
by Drumhellar on Mon 30th Nov 2015 07:50 UTC in reply to "What ever happened to darwin?"
Drumhellar Member since:
2005-07-12

The OpenDarwin project was abandoned almost 10 years ago, mainly because of lack of interest - it was hard enough tracking changes (Apple doesn't go out of their way to make their open source stuff easy to build outside of OSX), and people were using the OpenDarwin site mainly as a hosting facility for various OSX projects.

PureDarwin is much more recent, but still hasn't been updated in a few years. (The last update was February, and was just an updated boot sector for a 2012 release)

Reply Score: 3

Do Not Disturb
by Dreadrik on Mon 30th Nov 2015 11:38 UTC
Dreadrik
Member since:
2015-09-23

While the FreeBSD workstation experiment sounds fun, educational and doable in itself, there is really no need to use "constant pop-ups in OS X" as an excuse for it.

Seriously: Turn on "Do Not Disturb", and be done with it. No more pop-ups.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Do Not Disturb
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Mon 30th Nov 2015 15:11 UTC in reply to "Do Not Disturb"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

He implied that he tried that. I agree with many of this points about OSX, but I'd agree this is one I haven't come across. Mainly because I don't have idevices in use right now.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Do Not Disturb
by SaschaW on Mon 30th Nov 2015 17:59 UTC in reply to "Do Not Disturb"
SaschaW Member since:
2007-07-19

That would be way too easy :-D

Reply Score: 2

RE: Do Not Disturb
by tylerdurden on Mon 30th Nov 2015 21:51 UTC in reply to "Do Not Disturb"
tylerdurden Member since:
2009-03-17

In my professional experience, much ado about nothing and sysadmins go hand in hand like peas and carrots.

Reply Score: 4

WIFI support
by netpython on Mon 30th Nov 2015 15:31 UTC
netpython
Member since:
2005-07-06

How good does FreeBSD support wifi adapters? Is it on par with linux?

Reply Score: 2

RE: WIFI support
by laffer1 on Mon 30th Nov 2015 21:30 UTC in reply to "WIFI support"
laffer1 Member since:
2007-11-09

Not nearly as well as linux. For example, there is a project to support the current intel wifi that ships with most new laptops but it's not ready yet. Further, 802.11ac doesn't work. You get 802.11g for most wifi cards.

Reply Score: 2

RE: WIFI support
by matthekc on Tue 1st Dec 2015 06:20 UTC in reply to "WIFI support"
matthekc Member since:
2006-10-28

In my experience from trying to install BSD next to my Linux partition on several laptops the hardware support is not as good as Linux. The standard advice of research your hardware's compatibility with your OS before buying is still very much in effect for Linux and BSD users. Even people upgrading versions of a mainstream desktop OS should do a little research.

Reply Score: 2

I must be missing something
by M.Onty on Tue 1st Dec 2015 10:56 UTC
M.Onty
Member since:
2009-10-23

I read the article, but I still don't understand...

If all he needs is a terminal and a browser then why all the fuss? Install Linux Mint (or almost anything else), set the session so a terminal window opens and fills the screen after login, and he'd be done in half an hour, including enough time to make a cuppa and set the background image.

Reply Score: 3