Linked by Corey Holcomb-Hockin on Wed 5th Nov 2003 19:48 UTC
FreeBSD I've been using computers since I was quite young and have been using Unixlike OSes for about two years. Most of my life I've used Macs and only started using Windows and Unixlike OSes recently for programming. I'm good at learning OSes as long as they are documented. I've been using FreeBSD for about a year and a half.
Order by: Score:
Couple of minor corrections...
by GeekGod on Wed 5th Nov 2003 19:58 UTC


RELENG_4_9 is actually 4.9 RELEASE
RELENG_4_8 is 4.8 release
RELENG_5_1 is 5.1 release,etc

RELENG_4 is 4.9 STABLE and generally contains newer features that are backported from 5.X

If you care to track 5.1 CURRENT, use .

Hope this helps someone.

;)
by Anonymous on Wed 5th Nov 2003 20:16 UTC

Just a suggestion to the poster, try NetBSD as well. It's great. And with the recent work it scales better than FreeBSD - http://bulk.fefe.de/scalability/#newdata

Re: Anonymous
by Bascule on Wed 5th Nov 2003 20:28 UTC

And with the recent work it scales better than FreeBSD

That's a highly dubious claim. The author of the paper makes it because NetBSD now scales 1:1 on the mmap() benchmark, while FreeBSD is still O(n). However, a number of performance aspects of the system are untested, such as anything to do with SMP/multithreading, or I/O scheduling (i.e. sustained I/O throughput when handling a shared resource contention) Also, there was no test of general VM/heap performance, an area where FreeBSD has dominated for quite some time.

accurate review
by sz33d on Wed 5th Nov 2003 20:29 UTC

I just recently switched to freebsd 4.9 at work and I have to agree that the post install was time consuming. I use kde and it works great.

</help me plz!!>My biggest problem has been getting java runtime environment to work. I use netscape 7 and have looked at forums and read the handbooks and still can't get it to work. I tried soft linking and it verifies being in the plugin directory. I don't know what else to do </end help me plz!>

One interesting thing I noticed was that the ports collection has MORE programming tools/utilities than linux (debian and slack). My only advice to a newbie would be to be familiar with your video card and monitor and how to set-up X.

I've enjoyed freebsd and will try netbsd sometime this week.

standard-supfile and fastest_cvsup
by John on Wed 5th Nov 2003 20:47 UTC

my two cents:

standard-supfile (same place as stable-supfile) already is tagged with the release version (RELENG_4_9)

I don't even change the default host now. I just install the fastest_cvsup package and let it do the work

cvsup -g -L 2 -h `fastest_cvsup -q -r -c ca,us,uk,de` standard-supfile

Now if I could only get 4 channel output from my audigy...

Updating FreeBSD
by Isamoor on Wed 5th Nov 2003 20:52 UTC

Is there a way to update a FreeBSD via binaries? I know CVSup will sync all of ports and packages, but is there any command that would just go through and update the packages with new packages instead of compiling from ports?

I just ask because I spend enough time getting FreeBSD going in general that I don't want to wait for ever updating it with compiling it all.

Thanks for the nice article though.

v Wow!
by Steve W on Wed 5th Nov 2003 21:01 UTC
Another user's thought on FreeBSD
by Manik on Wed 5th Nov 2003 21:04 UTC

I do lack experience: I have only used half a dozen of Linux distros, FreeBSD and NetBSD (the latter not enough to pretend to any familiarity with it). Unlike the author, I have found FreeBSD the easiest of all Unix-like OSes, maybe because it has been the first time I found any logic in a system?

After having used FreeBSD as my desktop during more than 2 years, I am using OS X now. But one of these days, I'll give NetBSD and OpenBSD a try. I'm sure I'll have a lot of fun.

RE: Updating FreeBSD
by mp on Wed 5th Nov 2003 21:11 UTC

synch ports and
#portupgrade -rR ?
if you want to upgrade all the installed ports then update ports and run
#portupgrade -arR
(-a switch witch some reservations)

About article: another one loast in the woods?

RE: Updating FreeBSD
by MattPie on Wed 5th Nov 2003 21:15 UTC

As far as the base OS goes, there's an official project that's just starting:
http://www.freebsd.org/projects/updater.html

As well as a less offical project that has gotten good reviews (but I haven't used myself):
http://www.daemonology.net/freebsd-update/

As for applications, the only solution I know of is portupgrade (tutorial: http://www.onlamp.com/pub/a/bsd/2003/08/28/FreeBSD_Basics.html ), but that builds from source. I see there's a -P option to portupgrade which will use binary packages when possible, but I haven't used it myself.

RE: Updating FreeBSD
by aab on Wed 5th Nov 2003 21:21 UTC

For binary security updates install 'freebsd-update' port. It doesn't support 5.x yet but 4.8 & 4.9 should be supported.

For KDE packages look at http://fruitsalad.org/. There might be other projects too but I'm not aware of those.

RE: Updating ports via packages
by anemone on Wed 5th Nov 2003 21:53 UTC

You can use portupgrade with option -arRPP if you want to update your installed ports using only packages. (See 'man portupgrade'.) Using only packages you don't get the latest software and you also lose the possibility to optimize your system via make.conf (like explained in the article). If you use FreeBSD on the desktop, I would recommend you to first install just the base system from CD, then tweak make.conf, and then build everything else - including XFree - from the ports tree. This way you'll get a notably snappier desktop.

RE: Couple of minor corrections...
by Corey on Wed 5th Nov 2003 22:28 UTC

RELENG_4_9_0 is 4.9 RELEASE
RELENG_4_9 is 4.9 stable
RELENG_4 is stable

RE: Couple of minor corrections...
by bsdrocks on Wed 5th Nov 2003 22:36 UTC

RELENG_4_9_0 is 4.9 RELEASE
RELENG_4_9 is 4.9 stable
RELENG_4 is stable


No, the RELENG_4_9 is RELEASE. Check here: http://www.freebsd.org/doc/en_US.ISO8859-1/books/handbook/cvs-tags....

ports - highly overated
by Dino on Wed 5th Nov 2003 22:37 UTC

I use FreeBSD at work and I must say the "port" method is highly overated. Most of the users will simply giveup after spending 3 hours compiling X and Mozilla. True it has the "packages" collection but there is no way to find out what packages are avilable and what to install. FreeBSd will probably pickup a lot more users if the adopted Debian's apt-get system (like fink in OSX). Oh well...

Re: Dino
by Bascule on Wed 5th Nov 2003 23:00 UTC

True it has the "packages" collection but there is no way to find out what packages are avilable and what to install.

Incorrect

/stand/sysinstall

Configure > Packages

RE: Re: Dino
by mp on Wed 5th Nov 2003 23:09 UTC

.. or check the availability here http://www.freebsd.org/ports/index.html
and then run:
#pkg_add -r package_name

it is like ~10 min including search?

Better choice over linux
by Anonymous on Wed 5th Nov 2003 23:12 UTC

I think this is a better choice over linux. The stability, and just overall better system.

Why can't they push this to a basic desktop package?

RE:Couple of minor corrections...
by Corey on Wed 5th Nov 2003 23:14 UTC

Sorry, I was confused with the terms.

RELENG_4_9_0 would be the source when it was actually released

RELENG_4_9 is RELEASE but has has security advisories and other seriously critical fixes.

Re:Better choice over linux
by SiLiZiUMM on Wed 5th Nov 2003 23:28 UTC

An advantage of *BSD over Linux in my opinion is consistency. My FreeBSD server and my OpenBSD firewall are clean and logical machines (just look into /etc). My Linux desktop is overall not... I think of switching my main OS from Linux to FreeBSD since I can get NVidia drivers for FreeBSD, but I'm not sure yet. I think I will try FreeBSD as a desktop on a laptop I might buy soon.

re:Better choice over linux
by lanjoe9 on Wed 5th Nov 2003 23:58 UTC

It depends on what you're going to do with the computer, but anyway I like it better than linux because linux is too confusing for me.
You might have to configure much less in linux than freebsd, BUT if something does not work, I've found FreeBSD much easier to configure.

FreeBSD Desktop
by Yousef Ourabi on Thu 6th Nov 2003 00:14 UTC

I love FreeBSD as a server os. But on the Desktop I would say Gentoo, or Red Hat/Fedora. My reason being, that half the port moderators don't create the icons for their gui programs. So if you install gnome, and you want to run mozilla you have to crack open a terminal and type mozilla &. This is small, but it pisses me off to no end, what is the point of a gui/DE if you have to crack open the terminal to run most programs. In gentoo all the the icons are created when installed and installed in the gnome start menu. But again. I think FreeBSD is a better server OS, more logical, unified and easy to administer.

Re: SiLiZiUMM
by dpi on Thu 6th Nov 2003 00:27 UTC

"An advantage of *BSD over Linux in my opinion is consistency. My FreeBSD server and my OpenBSD firewall are clean and logical machines (just look into /etc)."

Comparing a kernel with an OS is an unfair compare (and not so smart if you ask me).

With which GNU/Linux distributions are you comparing FreeBSD and OpenBSD to? Otherwise, you're generalizing.

I've never found my /etc on my Debian GNU/Linux or Gentoo Linux boxes inconsistent. Not in any way i can think of.

Re: ports - highly overated
by jgisclon on Thu 6th Nov 2003 00:47 UTC

True it has the "packages" collection but there is no way to find out what packages are avilable and what to install.

http://www.freebsd.org/ports/index.html

the only thing...
by jief on Thu 6th Nov 2003 00:48 UTC

i don't like about Gentoo is the apache config files. they have 2-3 files instead of just one httpd.conf file. it makes no sense to me. lately, i've been trying out openbsd on a test box as a desktop OS. So far so good. but there's no nvidia drivers yet. so that's a big problem since Doom3 will be released natively in Linux.

But yes, *BSD is much more easier to configure in my opinion. The OpenBSD install is so simple, even Windows is more confusing.

Re:dpi
by SiLiZiUMM on Thu 6th Nov 2003 01:15 UTC

"I've never found my /etc on my Debian GNU/Linux or Gentoo Linux boxes inconsistent. Not in any way i can think of."

By inconsistent I mean Linux distributions in general (not the kernel itself, but the various distributions as a whole OS). There is no clear standard that distributions maker follow, eg locations of programs change (sometimes /usr, sometimes /usr/local, etc.).

FreeBSD>Gentoo
by mudrii on Thu 6th Nov 2003 01:40 UTC

FreeBSd will probably pickup a lot more users if the adopted Debian's apt-get system (like fink in OSX).

Try Gentoo, it is more then Ports and apt-get, and it realy works.

Sysinstall
by Zach on Thu 6th Nov 2003 01:43 UTC

Just configure sysinstall to use any number of the package FTP sites, and you can browse to your hearts content. It installs the deps for you, and does all the dirty work. Though, I don't really see what's so bad about /usr/ports... I use it for all my software.

By the way, this wasn't so much a review of 4.9 as a general "well, here's my experience with it". FreeBSD is NOT Linux, and should not be reviewed as if it were.

"FreeBSd will probably pickup a lot more users if the adopted Debian's apt-get system (like fink in OSX).

Try Gentoo, it is more then Ports and apt-get, and it realy works."

Yuck!

I seems a matter of opinion more than anything but man, I don't want atp-get or portage, and neither do any of the BSD users that I know personally, or have talked to online. Yes, the ports and packages system could be improved, and likely will be, but importing whole new (and much less robust IMO) packaging systems is an insane idea.

Yuck!

My experience
by Denis Law on Thu 6th Nov 2003 03:05 UTC

I not yet have time to configure my FreeBSD box to work right yet... And it doesn't work right after installation, basically X. Hopefully I can get it working later when I have more time on hand.

I agree though, the Linux /etc or sometimes the file placement is just all in a mess. I once work with a aged Linux server has like 5 samba installations all over the places, and countless smb.conf... Of course I still prefer this to the Windows registry...where you have no clue what's going on at all. ;)

SiLiZiUMM
by dpi on Thu 6th Nov 2003 03:15 UTC

Both Debian and Portage exist for FreeBSD, too.

http://www.debian.org/ports
http://www.gentoo.org/~g2boojum/bsd.html

What i'd like on a firewall is a simple method to become remotely ''secure'' via CLI. It should require only 1 or 2 commands and should be possibly automated. Patching a source is a horror, it should be an option for me, not required. Debian GNU/Linux allows me this, but i hate IPTables so much as i love PF that i wouldn't chose for Debian GNU/Linux. Since PF runs on {Open|Free|Net}BSD i'm considering any of these 3 which allows me to use Debian and PF. I think it'll become Debian GNU/NetBSD.

"By inconsistent I mean Linux distributions in general (not the kernel itself, but the various distributions as a whole OS). There is no clear standard that distributions maker follow, eg locations of programs change (sometimes /usr, sometimes /usr/local, etc.)."

How about i give you a shell account on my Debian GNU/Linux box and you show me which .deb's have been installed in /usr/local? Answer: none.

Only the 3rd party software compiled myself is installed in /usr/local but ./configure --prefix=/usr would have fixed this; i don't want it to be in /usr because when i'd like to do a reinstall i can see in /usr/local which 3rd party apps i installed.

Besides, does it matter much when all you need to do is run a binary? It's in $PATH, you know. Can you give me an example with a GNU/Linux distribution and this problem?

RE: FreeBSD Desktop
by Catlord17 on Thu 6th Nov 2003 04:05 UTC

I love FreeBSD as a server os. But on the Desktop I would say Gentoo, or Red Hat/Fedora. My reason being, that half the port moderators don't create the icons for their gui programs. So if you install gnome, and you want to run mozilla you have to crack open a terminal and type mozilla &. This is small, but it pisses me off to no end, what is the point of a gui/DE if you have to crack open the terminal to run most programs. In gentoo all the the icons are created when installed and installed in the gnome start menu. But again. I think FreeBSD is a better server OS, more logical, unified and easy to administer.

Er... how hard is it to right click on the desktop and create an icon for your chosen program? I don't know if you can do that in Gnome, because I use KDE... but with KDE, it's a snap. Right click>Create New>Link to Application>Execute>Browse and then you name it and choose an icon to represent it, and click OK.

FreeBSD, in my opionion, makes more sense overall than Linux, even as a desktop operating system. It just requires more time to set up. Of course, I am not running cutting edge hardware... but I think FreeBSD (no experience with other BSDs) makes more sense for use in more places overall.

RE: CATLORD17
by Yousef Ourabi on Thu 6th Nov 2003 04:17 UTC


I love FreeBSD as a server os. But on the Desktop I would say Gentoo, or Red Hat/Fedora. My reason being, that half the port moderators don't create the icons for their gui programs. So if you install gnome, and you want to run mozilla you have to crack open a terminal and type mozilla &. This is small, but it pisses me off to no end, what is the point of a gui/DE if you have to crack open the terminal to run most programs. In gentoo all the the icons are created when installed and installed in the gnome start menu. But again. I think FreeBSD is a better server OS, more logical, unified and easy to administer.

Er... how hard is it to right click on the desktop and create an icon for your chosen program? I don't know if you can do that in Gnome, because I use KDE... but with KDE, it's a snap. Right click>Create New>Link to Application>Execute>Browse and then you name it and choose an icon to represent it, and click OK.

FreeBSD, in my opionion, makes more sense overall than Linux, even as a desktop operating system. It just requires more time to set up. Of course, I am not running cutting edge hardware... but I think FreeBSD (no experience with other BSDs) makes more sense for use in more places overall.


The isseue with the icons is not that one cannot make them. But one should not have to make them. ITs a lazy thing on the part of the FreeBSD package maintainers. RedHat and Gentoo both manage to create/install icons and install them in the menu's. Which is a major tic for me that freebsd does not. if it take that approach it might as well not have gnome/kde in the ports.
I am not bashing FreeBSD. I love the OS, I am complaining more about its approach to the desktop.

Re: Yousef Ourabi
by V. Velox on Thu 6th Nov 2003 05:27 UTC

"The isseue with the icons is not that one cannot make them. But one should not have to make them. ITs a lazy thing on the part of the FreeBSD package maintainers. RedHat and Gentoo both manage to create/install icons and install them in the menu's. Which is a major tic for me that freebsd does not. if it take that approach it might as well not have gnome/kde in the ports.
I am not bashing FreeBSD. I love the OS, I am complaining more about its approach to the desktop."

LOL, no it is a issue of laziness. Packages should not mess with users home dirs till they are told to do so by that user.

One User's Thoughts on FreeBSD 4.9
by william verna on Thu 6th Nov 2003 06:43 UTC

A good analysis of your experience with FreeBSD 4.9 so far. I hope to read more of your experience with fbsd in future articles. No doubt it is a great os and the ports collection is really fun to use. To print the index of everything in the ports collection you could:
# cd /usr/ports
# make print-index > index.ps
And to build an index of all the ports in html document:
# cd /usr/ports
# make readmes

(A great source of info for newbies to FreeBSD I highly recommend -- The Complete FreeBSD 4th Edition, by Greg Lehey, O'Reilly Community Press 2003)

RE: V. Velox
by Yousef Ourabi on Thu 6th Nov 2003 09:32 UTC

If you use that argument then none of the FreeBSD ports should add icons. However the Gaim port does(Which I applaud). So I dont think its because they dont want to mess with your user dir.

Re: mudrii
by jgisclon on Thu 6th Nov 2003 10:07 UTC

Try Gentoo, it is more then Ports and apt-get, and it realy works.

It also has no credibility in the enterprise

Sendmail config in rc.conf
by Guldan on Thu 6th Nov 2003 11:22 UTC

Hi,

I just want to mention that setting sendmail_enable="NONE" without having a other mailer will cause your /var/spool/clientmqueue to be filled up with crontab messages. It is wiser to set sendmail_enable="NO" which causes sendmail to listen only to localhost and spool messages from cron etc.

I had a friend who also set sendmail_enable to NONE, he ran out of inodes on his var slice. So strange things started to happen.

my 1 euro cent

Fantastical Review
by James Carter on Thu 6th Nov 2003 14:46 UTC

Absolutely fantastic review, nice to see configuration file snippets.

;-)

Names for CVS Tags
by Jud on Thu 6th Nov 2003 17:52 UTC

Good and fair article. RE: "a long time" to compile during FreeBSD's 'make world' updating process, with my 1.533Ghz Athlon XP1800+ it takes me about 25 minutes to build world, 5 minutes to build the new kernel, a few seconds to install the kernel, and about a minute and a half to install world. To update an entire OS and kernel, that ain't bad. Do it while you're having breakfast on a weekend morning (afternoon?;).

The following are, from my reading of the Handbook and FreeBSD mailing lists, generally accepted terms for the following CVSup tags:

Tag=. Term=-CURRENT

(This is the up-to-the-minute development version.)

Tag=RELENG_x Term=-STABLE

(This is a more stable version backporting those items from the development branch that appear to be stable after testing by developers and users running -CURRENT. Though the author was somewhat reluctant to try this branch, I haven't had a problem with it in several years of use.)

Next is what seems to me to be the most often used term for the following CVSup tag:

Tag=RELENG_x_y_0 Term=x.y-RELEASE

(That's the same source as appears on the release isos, no changes. It has been extensively tested through preview and release candidate stages.)

Next is a branch for which there is less consensus about what to call it, but the term I've seen most often (a good one IMO, since it doesn't duplicate the names of other branches) is as follows:

Tag=RELENG_x_y Term="Security branch"

(This is the source that went into the release updated to fix security bugs and perhaps a limited number of non-security bugs deemed to be especially critical.)

v Idiocy running rampant.
by sfdjlkf on Thu 6th Nov 2003 21:30 UTC
Re: sfdjlkf
by Bascule on Thu 6th Nov 2003 21:49 UTC

I'm also blown away by the author of the article using the FreeBSD 2.x method of kernel configuration+building. This hasn't been the recommended method for years upon years now. Read /usr/src/Makefile for details.

I prefer the old method personally, and I've seen no technical reason not to use it. It's quite convenient if you only check out the src-sys tree via CVSup (thus the toplevel Makefile won't be present), with the plan of a binary upgrade to bring the system to the next release. I admit the article could teach a bit more pertainent practices, or at least show both, but there's no technical reason to be critical of this method, at least that I'm aware of.

Stable, stable, or horse barn?
by Jed on Sat 8th Nov 2003 00:01 UTC

The author trys to fit his concept of stable to the FreeBSD concept of stable, and just succeeds in confusing the readers. Some of the follow up comments also make mistakes.

Section 21.2.2.1 of the handbook http://www.freebsd.org/handbook/ has the FreeBSD definition of Stable (capitlized proper noun). It is important to note that Stable is still a development branch. Presently Stable's cvs tag is RELENG_4, but I believe the project hopes to move it to RELENG_5 real soon now.

RELENG_4_9 is not Stable. It certainly seems to be very stable, and the author properly chose it as fitting the authors concept of stable, but it is not what FreeBSD calls Stable. Properly "RELENG_4_9, [is] the release branch for FreeBSD-4.9, used only for security advisories and other seriously critical fixes." A release branch is the heavily tested, ready for primetime, sta^H^H^Hproduction version that the author wanted.

Please read the handbook page defining Current and Stable to determine if either is right for you and then the handbook appendix on CVS tags to pick the correct one. RELENG_4_9 is the right tag to track until you understand why to chose others.