Linked by Drumhellar on Wed 25th Sep 2013 22:02 UTC

I've been a big fan of FreeBSD since I first acquired 4.4 on 4 CDs. By that point, I had already spent a lot of time in Linux, but I was always put off by its instability and inconsistency. Once I had FreeBSD installed, it felt like a dream. Everything worked the way it was supposed to, and the consistency of its design meant even older documentation would be mostly applicable without having to figure out how my system was different. There is a reason why in the early days of the Internet, a huge portion of servers ran FreeBSD.

But, that was a while ago. Since then, Linux has matured greatly and has garnered a lot of momentum, becoming the dominant Unix platform. FreeBSD certainly hasn't stood still, however. The FreeBSD team has kept current with hardware support, new features, and a modern, performant design.

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"So, no, most Linux drivers does not work. When Torvalds upgrades the kernel and changes the API, drivers does stop working. So of these 150.000+ drivers, I wonder how many of them are up to date? Maybe 5%? 95% of the drivers does not work?"

Has this actually affected you or are you just trying to paint linux more negatively than it is? Trust me I want a stable ABI/API as well, however in practice I've found long term linux driver support to be simply amazing. If you pull out an old device that used to work with linux, it's more likely to still work under linux than under windows.

I cannot complain about the device support itself, but I have gripes with how drivers all mashed up into a huge bloated kernel tree. There's no simple way to determine what one needs to select in the kernel, it's very discouraging. The drivers are pretty good, but the management of them is absolutely horrid and I end up compiling way more than I need because I just don't know what drivers I'll need. I'd rather see all of these drivers stripped out of the kernel source and separated into more manageable projects (using a stable API/ABI).

Thinking off the cuff, ideally a standardized userspace framework would take care of managing device drivers transparently as needed in the way which makes the most sense for the particular linux distro (downloading drivers from a repo/compiling from source/install from disk/notifying the user). This way one could compile a simple kernel up front and the drivers could be managed separately and only compiled as they're needed.

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