Linked by Nathan Mace on Thu 31st Jan 2002 18:45 UTC
FreeBSD By now, anyone who is even remotely related to an IT-type position has heard about Linux, and has most likely used it, if only to see what all the hype is about. However, GNU/Linux is not the only "free" Unix type OS available. FreeBSD and its cousins, NetBSD and OpenBSD are all offshoots of BSD UNIX, a commercial UNIX also known as Berkeley Software Distribution. This article will help you learn more about FreeBSD, its differences from Linux, and it will ease a potential migration process.
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Well, it is a very misleading article.
by Mike Hoskins on Tue 5th Feb 2002 21:17 UTC

This is part rant and part plea. Something both Linux and FreeBSD camps need is credibility and truth. They both get mired by the Machine in Redmond, who lies and lies and lies. They are both superior operating systems; they both kick Microsoft all over the place and have similar merits.

First, I definitely agree that FreeBSD beats Linux in several areas. However, since the converse is true, we must be fair in our assessment of both.

In your article at you said, "It [FreeBSD] currently has support for IP version 6 addresses (the internet currently uses IP v4), multi-processor capabilities, reliable TCP networking, true multi-tasking, and has binary support for Linux, SCO Unix, and BSD/OS, and NetBSD, which means that if a specific application hasn't been natively ported to FreeBSD, it can still run it as if you were running a different OS!"

While that's all true, it's also true of Linux. So what, you ask? Well, the opening line (usually where you put the topic sentence which defines the rest of the paragraph) says this, "On the other hand, in some ways FreeBSD is more mature than Linux, due in part to the fact that it is based on BSD, which has been in existence since the mid-80's."

If a newbie came along, they'd think that the top paragraph was proof that FreeBSD is more mature than Linux, when, in fact, Linux had most of those capabilities before FreeBSD, precisely for the reason you stated: "It also has something to do with the maintainers [of FreeBSD] sacrificing the latest and greatest features for wonderful stability and robustness."

While it is true that FreeBSD is more mature and less buggy than Linux, Linux has more leading-edge (even bleeding-edge) features than FreeBSD, as you point out. The whole paragraph, though, makes a newbie think Linux is far behind and is still far less stable. In fact, Linux has its advantages, and FreeBSD has its advantages.

I really don't think you intended to mislead people, as my subject indicates. I know you have to condense content for the editors, yada, yada. I just wanted to point out the apparent contradiction and misinformation I think (I hope) you accidentally put in that paragraph.

In your next paragraph, though, you oddly say this: "Keep in mind however that while Linux is aiming for the corporate desktop, FreeBSD is designed to be a server OS." This isn't true of Linux. Linux aims to please in multiple areas, but there is no way it is aiming for the corporate desktop, or else it would be dead, buried, gone. This simply isn't true at all. It also sounds like you don't think Linux is stable -- it is very stable. However, I'd agree that it isn't as stable as FreeBSD; and this paragraph is a bad charicature (or outright exaggeration/flamebait/whatever). You also contradict yourself both in the next and previous paragraphs, when you say it'll basically run all the same stuff as Linux -- the same stuff that is bleeding-edge and crashes servers!!!

FreeBSD is claimed to be working on 32-processor support in 4.5. Linux is claiming 64 - 256 processor support (and higher) in 2.4 and especially 2.5. Just look at IBM's and HP's massive scaling projects, especially surrounding NUMA, which is far better than SMP. Also, look at the tremendous number of processor support in clustering projects such as Beowulf and MOSIX (also available for BSD's). If we use those numbers, then we unfairly conclude that Linux is more scalable than FreeBSD. However, that's bad, too -- just on the other side of the fence. Both OS'es have similar capabilities, in this case.

For file system journaling, we have Reiser-FS, ext3 (also does logging), JFS, and XFS. We also have logged filesystems -- JFFS, DTFS, and others. We also have something unique in a new one called Tux (not the same thing as the kernel-based web server by the same name). This, of course, is only the tip of the iceberg, for Linux advanced filesystem support -- the largest anywhere. Does FreeBSD have all of these, and more? Nope. How mature are they? At least the journaled stuff in Linux is considered to be of excellent production-ready quality and maturity.

Is FreeBSD faster and more stable than Linux? Yes, probably it is quite so, but it depends on setup of either. Does Linux have more features and software, including or excluding emulation? Yes, definitely so. Do both scale up almost equally well? Probably, but it depends on definition. In fact, software that must be emulated on FreeBSD (I'm assuming iBCS or something similar, not VMWare under iBCS, which is another story, altogether), such as Oracle definitely won't be scalable or reliable, since the COMBINED limitations of both OS'es and the emulation layer, itself, will wind up hurting it. Besides, who'd be silly enough to have a productional SCO or Linux version of Oracle running in FreeBSD under emulation, just because you can? Nobody worth their salt, of course.

I am a Linux fan (or bigot, depending), plain and simple. I don't think Linux is the best tool for every job, though. FreeBSD shines in areas where Linux doesn't, and vice-versa. Solaris, HP/UX, AIX, Tru-64, SCO, BeOS, OS/2, MacOS, and others can boast the same thing. Windoze even has a few good points, especially on the desktop -- I really hate to admit that. What I don't think is right is unfairness to any OS (except, maybe M$ -- just kidding). Something I notice about FreeBSD people is that they often take cheap pot shots at Linux -- ALOT -- while Linux people, more often than not, DEFEND FreeBSD, and have tried it/liked it. I'm doing the same in this email, and so do the owners of Slashdot, for instance. FreeBSD rocks, at times, but so does Linux, and others. Be fair, is all I'm asking. This article wasn't. (Why is this common among FreeBSD fans, and what did we do to you?)

OK, rant mode over.