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"If you have a database server with 8 processors, OpenBSD might not be the best choice. But for a firewall, a router, a small server or a super stable desktop system it is one of the best choices. And its installation is not a pain at all! It is not graphical, of course, but that is a different thing. If you take time to read carefully the small booklet with the CD and the installation notes/README files on the CD (they are on the website, too), installation is quite easy and *without any trouble* (that is, for an average geek). I prefer a trouble-free command-line installer that takes some time to learn than a buggy graphical installer that makes you scratch your head and make you retry multiple times if something fails. If you wonder why it is not graphical, it is in order to have the same installer for all supported architectures (some of them can only be installed over a serial port or through the network). And, contrary to popular belief, OpenBSD *is* the most user-friendly of all the BSDs. It is not the prettiest, for sure, but it is the most stable and it has, by far, the best documentation. Otherwise, it is probably not as performant as DragonFly, Linux, NetBSD or FreeBSD (at least, in micro-benchmarks), but it is not slow anyway, and at least it is stable as a rock "
Thanks for that. I just might give OpenBSD a go. OpenBSD seems to be the most stringent on code review and overall technical excellence. BTW - I have no problem whatsoever with a text based install - I've done many of them. But just looking over the doc on installation at the OpenBSD website, it looked rather complicated. But I'm probably wrong about that. It's probably pretty straight forward once I jump in.
"And for all those complaints about FreeBSD 5 being a disaster, remember that the vast majority of that was in 5.2 and previous versions, which were NOT recommended for production anyway. And Linux had its own history of problems when the 2.6 kernel began moving into production, so let's not start trading barbs, please."
Does that mean that 5.3 and 5.4 have the problems solved? Are FreeBSD 5.3 and 5.4 currently running stable in production systems, with no or little problems? Are they just fine for a desktop (I'm actually considering PC-BSD)?
And, btw, I've heard different things (SMP, NUMA, memory issues), but what were the actual problems in 5.2?
And yes, you make a great point about the 2.6 Linux kernel. I actually still prefer the 2.4 kernel a lot of the time as it seems to work more consistently with my hardware. 2.6 gives the occasional kernel panic, or failure to detect my wheel mouse (on one of my machines), or failure to detect my pcmcia on my laptop. 2.4 works perfectly with all of it, every time. That said, I've used some distros that managed to make the 2.6 kernel work fine with all of my hardware, so the problems might have been more distro specific, rather than kernel specific.
Anyway, I really want to give one of the BSDs a go. I just want to make sure it's worth my while.