Linked by Gabe Yoder on Tue 11th Nov 2003 21:51 UTC
FreeBSD We've all heard the age old argument second only to the vi vs. emacs religious wars: FreeBSD Vs Linux. As a long time linux user, I decided that is was time I spent some time on the other side of the fence to see if it was any greener. Oh, and by the way, vi rules.
Permalink for comment
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
vi rules - 4.8 vs. 5.1 - and vipw - and other differences
by David on Wed 12th Nov 2003 01:30 UTC

First, vi is the best. Of course, if you're used to vim on Linux, then FreeBSD's vi will found you wishing for the vim extensions. Then you just install the port and voila! Done.

Secondly, FreeBSD 5.1 remains a "Technology Release." Basically, what this means is that they want everyone who can to use it - but not to rely on it for critical servers and production servers. I've been sticking with 4.9 for now.

Secondly, vipw has been standard for some time now - and exists on Linux. It's not caching, but the problem of updating the password file at the same time that the system just might want to use it. vipw handles this locking problem transparently - and also now handles shadow passwords by asking you if you want to edit the shadow file too.

My experience is that the FreeBSD kernel is leaner and runs in less RAM than Linux - and that Linux has support for more hardware generally - and more software.

Journaling filesystems are a particular rift between the two: Linux has JFS, XFS, ReiserFS, and ext3. The FreeBSD people use "Soft Updates" and refuse to develop any others, saying that journaling is overhyped.

Another BIG difference is that FreeBSD is a distro/kernel combination, whereas Linux is a kernel. Red Hat Linux is a distro - but Linux is the kernel. The FreeBSD people manage both.

Another difference is firewalls; BSD uses ipf or pf, whereas Linux uses ipchains or iptables. The BSD firewall code is also portable and available for other platforms; ipchains and iptables are Linux-specific.

Another difference is that there is very LITTLE GNU code included; almost everything comes out of the FreeBSD team - including csh (the standard shell), et al.

The GNU utilities are available as ports, including find, grep, awk, etc.... not that they aren't available in the system; the utilities just aren't GNU utilities.