Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 26th Nov 2009 19:41 UTC, submitted by Gabor
FreeBSD Astute readers probably already saw this one waiting in our backend, but since there was no official announcement yet, I decided to wait. Now that it's officially here, let's rejoice: the FreeBSD team has released version 8.0 of their operating system, packed with new features and improvements.
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What's the point with *BSD?
by toast88 on Fri 27th Nov 2009 07:19 UTC
toast88
Member since:
2009-09-23

Seriously, why would anyone except a geek install something like *BSD nowadays? I tried FreeBSD several times and I could never get used to it.

First, there is the installer which is really horrible and reflects what Debian did when they where on Potato which is more than 10 years ago. You *have* setup everything manually, the interface of it is just *ugly* and awkward to use (try the text-based Debian installer and you know what an installer should look like). Why doesn't this ever get seriously updated?

Second, hardware. FreeBSD supports a fraction of what I can use on other operating systems. It's the situation like it was with Linux 10+ years ago. You can't use anything fancy. Sound and graphics work, sure. But what if I ever want to use something like a DVB-T Stick or an UMTS Dongle. Or certain wireless devices? Or the power management of a recently purchased laptop? Or webcams. When using FreeBSD with that kind of hardware, one will certainly run into trouble with things not working and that's in 2009. When Linux actually supports hardware that's not even released yet neither supported in Windows (USB3.0, certain ATI Radeon etc)?

Third, software. Linux users have pledged for years to get things like flash, java plugins, Skype and Acrobat Reader (and there is even Mathematica, LabView, MatLab and much more) natively for Linux and the vendors have finally conceded and we have all that stuff running on open source operating systems. Why should one switch and have less such software meaning less comfort? I know, *BSD have emulators for the Linux ABI but everyone knows this is always kind the last option you would choose and that's what people do with wine because there a few apps that are only available on Windows. But still, one should always avoid such setup because there will *always* be cases where something won't work properly, wine can and will never replace Windows and the same for the Linux ABI in FreeBSD.

Fourth, FreeBSD features. I know, *BSD has some unique features that may look Linux deprecated. But, check them out:

zfs: Nice filesystem but the same will be on Linux with btrfs soon and it's probably going to be even better. And btrfs has been developed by the company which actually bought Sun, namely Oracle. Furthermore, what's actually what people are so crazy about zfs? You can have nearly all of those features with xfs+lvm as well (even snapshots) and you will much more flexible, zfs even lacks an fsck which *disqualifies* it's professional use (by professional I mean a SAN with 150+ harddisks and several TB of filesystem with hundreds of GB of userdata). And, yes, all filesystems corrupt, even zfs did. Check out the zfs ML. And when you have something like a SAN, you will get your SAN exposed to the operating system as one single block-device. So half of the zfs magic features will just be useless.

Scheduling: *BSD claims to have a much a better scheduler than Linux. I have run FreeBSD on various hardware and it never blew me away like BeOS when I saw it the first time neither like Linux when upgrading from 2.4.x to 2.6.x. I bet, I can setup two Unix servers with Linux and *BSD and you will never be able to tell the difference from the responsiveness and how the machines cope with load. A bad Linux scheduler is just history.

Fifth, package management. I have a software project which is written in Qt and several open source libraries. I write build instructions for several opererating systems, including *BSD and even Haiku. Building the software requires some packages to be installed. On all kind of Linux systems (Ubuntu, Arch, Fedora) I've seen so far, installing those packages (qtcreator, glib2, taglib, libmcrypt, libmad, git) takes around 1-3 minutes depending on the hardware. On FreeBSD with it's so much *superior* ports system and recently binary package management, the installation took around 20(!!) minutes and that's in 2009. Who would want to use that? I'm currently using Fedora on my laptop and I'm already somewhat annoyed that yum is somewhat slow compared to apt/aptitude but it's still ok to use. But FreeBSDs pkg_add is just way beyond and if I had to use it on a daily basis, I'd run seriously mad.

Sixth, realiability. Many FreeBSD users claim that *BSD is just way more stable than Linux. Well, just one thing. At my university, we have Linux servers serving 20000+ users and guess what, we don't have daily crashes. The largest businesses (Google) and facilities (CERN, other physics labs) run Linux and so do 90%+ of the Top500 supercomputers. Isn't that a sign that Linux is kind of mature nowdays!?!

Seriously, what's the point in using FreeBSD!?! I mean, yes, I have several Amigas as well and the hardware and the software is just unique and nice but, hell, not for daily work (anymore). What's the point of using a nice operating system when I can just perform half of the tasks I can do with a common operating syetem?

Bernd

Reply Score: -1

Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

What's the point of using a nice operating system when I can just perform half of the tasks I can do with a common operating syetem?


Yeah, why should I use Linux when there's Windows?

Seriously, get some professional help. All that irrational anger can't be healthy.

Reply Parent Score: 8

toast88 Member since:
2009-09-23

Seriously, get some professional help. All that irrational anger can't be healthy.


Sorry, maybe I missed the point but where exactly did I offend someone personally so that you would have to offend me? I criticized the FreeBSD project and the way it is conveyed ("We're better than Linux because we're better.") and I put down my arguments. You didn't provide any arguments but just called me an idiot.

Great discussion,

Adrian

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE: What's the point with *BSD?
by talaf on Fri 27th Nov 2009 08:20 in reply to "What's the point with *BSD?"
talaf Member since:
2008-11-19

When I read your comment, and replace "*BSD" by "Linux" and "Linux" by "Windows", I actually have SUCH A GOOD TIME because you cover every one of my Linux-as-a-desktop experiences. And too bad we're not on LinuxNews.

Linux have useless hardware support (usb3.0) but still can't operate most graphic cards properly. Woohoo. BSD isn't that bad too. The ZFS block I don't understand, but you seem to imply that whatever technology linux copies will be better done. Okay, reeks of bias.

Scheduling, both Linux and BSD don't have desktop-oriented scheduling, and I think that yes, one would be hard pressed to feel the difference without heavy benchmarking tools. How does that mean that BSD is bad?

You know that Arch/Debian/Fedora use different yet all binary packages, while FreeBSD default to ports? At least compare it with Gentoo. Also, your install might use alot of Linux-flavored stuff, default on Linux but not BSD.

Who claims that? Fact is, BSD is rock solid, especially OpenBSD (though I had 0 problems with FreeBSD on my servers). From an admin PoV, the system is much more clean and comprehensive, have very nice technologies built-in (zfs, jails, to name those that I could not live without).

I'd put OpenBSD over any Linux on a sensitive server without even thinking though.

What's the point? Honestly, I like being on BSD, and I despise each and everyone of my Linux experiences. I always run in crap and band-aids, which almost never happened to me on FreeBSD. The system is clean, is NOT a mess, you know what's going on, and ports are pretty nice to use (though the same can be said about Gentoo). And the license is much less restrictive and matches my view of what freedom is.

Edited 2009-11-27 08:23 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

toast88 Member since:
2009-09-23

When I read your comment, and replace "*BSD" by "Linux" and "Linux" by "Windows", I actually have SUCH A GOOD TIME because you cover every one of my Linux-as-a-desktop experiences. And too bad we're not on LinuxNews.


When was the last time you used Linux? 1995?

Linux have useless hardware support (usb3.0)


It's useless just because Windows doesn't support it? There are already USB3.0 devices out there and once USB3.0 will be on most mainboards and laptops, it will just work out of the box without a hassle. And it is as predictable as the snow in winter.

but still can't operate most graphic cards properly. Woohoo.


What *most* graphic cards? Linux Intel drivers are written by Intel (like the Windows drivers), nVidia's drivers share 90% of the Windows code (according to nVidia), so they are virtually the same. I can't speak for ATI because I use xf86-video-radeon there and those lack some functionality (which I blame ATI/AMD for). If I had the option, my graphics adapter would be Intel.

BSD isn't that bad too.


*BSD uses xorg and thus the same drivers like Linux. I don't see why *BSD should be better here.


The ZFS block I don't understand, but you seem to imply that whatever technology linux copies will be better done. Okay, reeks of bias.


I didn't say it's better on Linux. I just say you already have the equivalent functionality.

You know that Arch/Debian/Fedora use different yet all binary packages, while FreeBSD default to ports? At least compare it with Gentoo. Also, your install might use alot of Linux-flavored stuff, default on Linux but not BSD.


I used the binary ports.

Who claims that? Fact is, BSD is rock solid, especially OpenBSD (though I had 0 problems with FreeBSD on my servers).


See, that's what I meant. "It's rock-solid because it's rock-solid."

And the license is much less restrictive and matches my view of what freedom is.


It depends on your point of view. The BSD-license means more freedom who uses code which is under the BSD-license. You can do whatever you want with the code without having to give anything back to the original authors. That's not what I prefer. I put my code under the GPL because I want people to give something back when they use my code. I prefer the GPL over BSD but it doesn't mean that either of them is more free, it's just two totally different goals.


Adrian

Reply Parent Score: 1

Doc Pain Member since:
2006-10-08

Fact is, BSD is rock solid, especially OpenBSD (though I had 0 problems with FreeBSD on my servers).


I share this experience.

From an admin PoV, the system is much more clean and comprehensive, have very nice technologies built-in (zfs, jails, to name those that I could not live without).


Yes. I would add dtrace. I'm familiar with means that are especially intended for server and development use coming from a Sun / Solaris background, so I'm happy to have the same or equal tools on a BSD platform.

I'd put OpenBSD over any Linux on a sensitive server without even thinking though.


Maybe this changes when Linux advances much more. I won't argue that it has already outperformed "Windows" in many fields (costs, stability, security, openness, conformness to standards etc.), but there are still fields where I do consider BSD being superior.

What's the point? Honestly, I like being on BSD, and I despise each and everyone of my Linux experiences. I always run in crap and band-aids, which almost never happened to me on FreeBSD. The system is clean, is NOT a mess, you know what's going on, and ports are pretty nice to use (though the same can be said about Gentoo). And the license is much less restrictive and matches my view of what freedom is.


As a developer, those facts and the excellent DOCUMENTATION of the BSD operating systems make all of them a joy to use, allthough I would prefer FreeBSD on the desktop, as well as OpenBSD on the server. But that depends on the actual requirements...

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: What's the point with *BSD?
by Dubhthach on Fri 27th Nov 2009 09:22 in reply to "What's the point with *BSD?"
Dubhthach Member since:
2006-01-12


zfs: Nice filesystem but the same will be on Linux with btrfs soon and it's probably going to be even better. And btrfs has been developed by the company which actually bought Sun, namely Oracle. Furthermore, what's actually what people are so crazy about zfs? You can have nearly all of those features with xfs+lvm as well (even snapshots) and you will much more flexible, zfs even lacks an fsck which *disqualifies* it's professional use (by professional I mean a SAN with 150+ harddisks and several TB of filesystem with hundreds of GB of userdata). And, yes, all filesystems corrupt, even zfs did. Check out the zfs ML. And when you have something like a SAN, you will get your SAN exposed to the operating system as one single block-device. So half of the zfs magic features will just be useless.


I've let to see BrtFS been used in production systems let alone storage systems that are been sold on the market, all I ever hear is "it's going to be ready real soon". Meanwhile ZFS is production ready and in actual usage. As for your argument about "professional use". I wonder why Sun sells a OpenStorage system using ZFS that scales to 288TB with 1TB disks (288 disks)? Perhaps you can pass me that crack pipe of yours.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: What's the point with *BSD?
by strcpy on Fri 27th Nov 2009 12:10 in reply to "What's the point with *BSD?"
strcpy Member since:
2009-05-20

Wow.

The Linux trolls just keep coming from the woodworks.

This place has now more Linux advocacy than Slashdot. Good work. Job well done.

We get it. You convinced us.

Linux is the ultimate perfection of technology. There is no point to develop anything else. You can not even scratch an itch anymore because Linux has already done that. Linux is so much better. Linux will crush Microsoft. Linux will dominate the world. I love Linux. I hate everyone who does not love Linux. Google uses Linux. Linux runs on supercomputers and embedded devices. Linux has everything. It absorbs everything in its great power. Linux will solve the third world hunger. Linus Torvalds will win the Nobel price. Linux liberates me. Linux monoculture will save us from monoculture. Linux is so good that I must keep advocating it and crushing everything that comes to its path with vulgar display of power!

Reply Parent Score: 19

vikramsharma Member since:
2005-07-06

Beautifully put, I couldn't agree with you more.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: What's the point with *BSD?
by Doc Pain on Fri 27th Nov 2009 13:30 in reply to "What's the point with *BSD?"
Doc Pain Member since:
2006-10-08

Let me enlighten you. :-)

Seriously, why would anyone except a geek install something like *BSD nowadays?


In order to have a stable, fast, non-bloated, secure and easy to use OS.

I tried FreeBSD several times and I could never get used to it.


That's quite possible. I may say that I'm using it exclusively on the desktop since version 4.0, as well as on many servers (along with OpenBSD and Solaris). At the moment, I don't feel a need for something else, allthough I'm often trying out various Linusi.

First, there is the installer which is really horrible and reflects what Debian did when they where on Potato which is more than 10 years ago.


The installer does exactly what it is intended to: It assist you to install the OS. It can even be used via a serial line, and it can be scripted to work without interaction.

You *have* setup everything manually, [...]


That's true. Because FreeBSD is an OS for servers, for desktops and for "mixed forms", there's no "default" install like with the many Linux distributions that primarily target desktop users (so they come with KDE or Gnome preinstalled, and with lots of applications).

The goal if this particular procedure is to make sure that ONLY the settings take effect that the user INTENTIONALLY made.

[...] the interface of it is just *ugly* and awkward to use (try the text-based Debian installer and you know what an installer should look like).


I don't use the installer very often, I have to admit. Only once - for installation. Everything else can be done without the installer, so I really don't mind how it looks like. It's seriously unimportant.

Why doesn't this ever get seriously updated?


What do you expect? An installer that requires a recent high-end GPU, and that cannot be used via a remote line? This would make FreeBSD completely useless in certain settings.

Second, hardware. FreeBSD supports a fraction of what I can use on other operating systems.


I agree with that.

First of all, FreeBSD supports all STANDARD hardware, this means that you can use every device that follows certain standards. From its history as mainly server-oriented OS, the support for "modern hardware" (things that do not follow existing standards, but require a specific driver that isn't available for this OS) is not very good.

But keep in mind that if hardware vendors would be interested that you can run their devices on FreeBSD, they would (a) release drivers for it, (b) open the specification of their hardware so others could implement drivers or (c) make their devices follow existing standards so that they are supported "out of the box" by the OS.

It's the situation like it was with Linux 10+ years ago.


It's a situation you'll find with Solaris even today: The range of supported hardware may be narrow - and may not include the most recent commodity hardware and geek toys - but the support is 100%.

You can't use anything fancy.


How do you define this?

Sound and graphics work, sure. But what if I ever want to use something like a DVB-T Stick or an UMTS Dongle.


There's support for various chipsets. Still, not all of them that exist are supported, I did explain the reason before.

Or certain wireless devices?


True.

Or the power management of a recently purchased laptop?


Often a problem of improperly implemented ACPI (done by the manufacturer).

Or webcams.


True.

When using FreeBSD with that kind of hardware, one will certainly run into trouble with things not working and that's in 2009.


Will be in 2010, too. It has been the case in the past and it will be the case in the future: Not every hardware will work on every OS.

A good way to avoid trouble is to FIRST check the hardware support lists of FreeBSD and the additional software products (especially regarding printing, that can be troublesome, too), and THEN buy. In this order.

--- to be continued ---

Reply Parent Score: 3

bousozoku Member since:
2006-01-23

First, there is the installer which is really horrible and reflects what Debian did when they where on Potato which is more than 10 years ago.


The installer does exactly what it is intended to: It assist you to install the OS. It can even be used via a serial line, and it can be scripted to work without interaction. [/q]

The installer isn't a problem merely because it's a throwback to the 1980s/1990s. It's more of a problem because it's confusing.

The people who don't need assistance don't get it and neither do the people who need it. It's not much worse than a big iron operating system but there is a whole lot less clarity or help.

Of course, PC-BSD is better for the masses but the FreeBSD installer has been a sore point for a long time and I seem to remember the "don't bother us with it" attitude.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: What's the point with *BSD?
by cerbie on Fri 27th Nov 2009 13:43 in reply to "What's the point with *BSD?"
cerbie Member since:
2006-01-02

Installer: OK, I agree.

Software: *shrug* wholly different system, wholly different license, wholly different development process, wholly different outlook on what the OS should be. If you want Linux, go use Linux.

ZFS: ZFS is a fine FS, and leagues above what FreeBSD did have. If some of the recent additions to better apply roll-backs can be used, it will remain a fine FS for a long time.

Scheduling: matching BeOS will not take good scheduling. I'd dare say you could do it without very good scheduling. BeOS was designed with interactivity in mind from the GUI you looked at down to the core where it talked to hardware. You need the whole software system done that way to get back to that point. Hence Haiku. The great scheduling is good for things like heavily multithreaded media encoding, DB apps, embarrassingly parallel web app requests, etc.. If you want some better interactive scheduling, get a Linux kernel w/ BFS (uClib for the apps won't hurt a bit, either).

Package management: I've never stuck with a FreeBSD release long, so n/a.

Reliability: Linux has reliability/compatibility issues mostly regarding desktop users. Time and time again, it shows that's it's really a server OS. It beats out much of the competition, but it ain't perfect.

The point? Linux, OpenBSD, NetBSD, et al, aren't doing what they think are the right things to do, dammit. And others agree with them. So they are doing it their way, and there are users that like it.

Reply Parent Score: 2

Doc Pain Member since:
2006-10-08

Installer: OK, I agree.


Checo out PC-BSD, a desktop-oriented FreeBSD version which features a GUI installer. Is this more the way you think an installer should look like?

I have many friends who use PC-BSD on their desktops and are completely happy with it, no issues so far. So I would recommend it to try for everyone who things that FreeBSD is "too old-fashioned". PC-BSD comes with KDE and many applications preinstalled, as well as an innovative package installer which can be used with a web browser. Well, in my opinion, manually downloading things from the web and clicking on it - to install a program - is quite old-fashioned... :-)

If you want Linux, go use Linux.


That's a good statement. Nobody is forcing anyone to use FreeBSD. It has its places and its users. If you don't want to belong to them, it's completely okay.

ZFS: ZFS is a fine FS, and leagues above what FreeBSD did have. If some of the recent additions to better apply roll-backs can be used, it will remain a fine FS for a long time.


You say it: For a long time. I prefer carefully engineered and implemented filesystems over those that appear and disappear in masses. For storage facilities, a reliable filesystem is very important. I'm familiar with ZFS, coming from a Solaris background. While I was comfortable with UFS, ZFS has a lot to offer. I would rather stay with ZFS than migrating all data from one file system to another one.

Package management: I've never stuck with a FreeBSD release long, so n/a.


The native tools of FreeBSD offer you a good basis for managing your software, be it in binary form or by source. Additional programs, such as portmaster, make things much more comfortable. Of course, there are GUI frontends for them so you can manage your software with the mouse.

Reliability: Linux has reliability/compatibility issues mostly regarding desktop users. Time and time again, it shows that's it's really a server OS. It beats out much of the competition, but it ain't perfect.


Well, I never had performance problems on my desktop. Sometimes, I read stories about Linux users complaining that their audio is skipping or that video playback gets desynchonized from audio. I cannot imagine that. It's 2009. Computing power is much more than some years ago. One of my first systems was a 150 MHz Pentium (1 - one, to emphasize this) with 64 (later 128) MB EDO RAM. I could compile the kernel, download an ISO via FTP, burn a CD, browse the web with a responsive Opera and have XMMS play MP3 files AT THE SAME TIME and WITHOUT SKIPPING AUDIO. It's true!

I think most performance issues on the desktop are related to the more and more upcoming tradition of bloat. I have told here (at OSNews) that bload isn't bad per se, and that it is needed (or at least an unavoidable side-effect) for modern software creation, a result of reducing development costs and always using the most modern technology. I have often complained that the "feeled overall speed" of applications is reduced when the programs are updated, usually in order to use a newer version of a library, e. g. the translation from Gtk 1 to Gtk 2. It may be that those new libraries offer new functionality, but what's the point when a program doesn't use it? You get a new interface, wow, but the program needs much more time to come up, and even worse, accessibility is reduced (e. g. the doubleclick = select doesn't work anymore in Gtk 2 since the list entries do switch into input fields, but those input fields lose focus and can't be fed by the edit buffer via the middle mouse button). The joy of the new modularized X is another topic. While it is great not to need xorg.conf in order to access modern GPUs, it can cause trouble when you can't get things working with new X that worked flawlessly in old X (e. g. XFree86), especially when you need specific settings (e. g. a german keyboard layout). The place of a centralized configuraton file (xorg.conf) has been abandoned in favour of various configuration files (for HAL, for DBUS, for PolicyKit etc.), and some of them require XML editing (instead of often more comfortable plain text). Finally, there's not sufficient documentation for those settings, or the settings are changing from day to day, so documentation isn't up to date.

Yes, to sum it up: There are many things that make me wish FreeBSD would be better, but in fact, those things aren't caused by FreeBSD! Most annoyances are grounded in incompatible hardware and bloated software.

It sometimes makes me angry, but when things don't work, I simply don't use them, because I don't need them. And just for toying around, it's not worth being angry. Life's hard enough. :-)

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: What's the point with *BSD?
by Doc Pain on Fri 27th Nov 2009 13:51 in reply to "What's the point with *BSD?"
Doc Pain Member since:
2006-10-08

--- continued ---

Third, software. Linux users have pledged for years to get things like flash, java plugins, Skype and Acrobat Reader (and there is even Mathematica, LabView, MatLab and much more) natively for Linux and the vendors have finally conceded and we have all that stuff running on open source operating systems. Why should one switch and have less such software meaning less comfort?


Because there are users that do not need or want "Flash" and Mathematica on their mail servers. :-)

Seriously: You basically choose an OS from your requirements. If "Flash" is one of them, FreeBSD may require you to invest some more time in getting it up and running (and: Yes, you can actually run "Flash" on FreeBSD, but there are better platforms for that.)

I know, *BSD have emulators for the Linux ABI but everyone knows this is always kind the last option you would choose and that's what people do with wine because there a few apps that are only available on Windows.


You're confusing things. The Linux ABI is not an emulator. It is what ABI says: an alternative binary interface which translates Linux calls into FreeBSD calls, easily spoken.

Wine is a very useful tool to get the "Windows" stuff running if you really need to. Many programs can be run that way, but I agree, not all of them.

But still, one should always avoid such setup because there will *always* be cases where something won't work properly, wine can and will never replace Windows and the same for the Linux ABI in FreeBSD.


That's correct.

Fourth, FreeBSD features. I know, *BSD has some unique features that may look Linux deprecated.


Deprecated? Surely not.

Scheduling: *BSD claims to have a much a better scheduler than Linux. I have run FreeBSD on various hardware and it never blew me away like BeOS when I saw it the first time neither like Linux when upgrading from 2.4.x to 2.6.x.


It seems that the scheduler doesn't have impact on the general operations speed, but on the speed still available when the system is on load. While I found that Linux systems can freeze if you create enough load (e. g. "while true; do firefox &; done"), while FreeBSD can still accept commands. But I have to admit that my "Linux years" (of testing and comparing) are already over.

I bet, I can setup two Unix servers with Linux and *BSD and you will never be able to tell the difference from the responsiveness and how the machines cope with load. A bad Linux scheduler is just history.


This may actually be true in present.

Fifth, package management. I have a software project which is written in Qt and several open source libraries. I write build instructions for several opererating systems, including *BSD and even Haiku. Building the software requires some packages to be installed. On all kind of Linux systems (Ubuntu, Arch, Fedora) I've seen so far, installing those packages (qtcreator, glib2, taglib, libmcrypt, libmad, git) takes around 1-3 minutes depending on the hardware. On FreeBSD with it's so much *superior* ports system and recently binary package management, the installation took around 20(!!) minutes and that's in 2009.


Have you thought about all the corresponding dependencies of the dependencies? It would be interesting to make a comparison in a quite controllable environmen (disk I/O, network, CPU speed and disks).

Who would want to use that?


I do prefer the binary installation methods (e. g. pkg_add -r) over the compilation methods (e. g. with portmaster, portupgrade or "make install"), but for some cases, especially when you intentionally WANT to set build-time options, compiling is neccessary.

Sixth, realiability. Many FreeBSD users claim that *BSD is just way more stable than Linux.


Depends mostly on the hardware and how you treat it.

Well, just one thing. At my university, we have Linux servers serving 20000+ users and guess what, we don't have daily crashes. The largest businesses (Google) and facilities (CERN, other physics labs) run Linux and so do 90%+ of the Top500 supercomputers. Isn't that a sign that Linux is kind of mature nowdays!?!


Well, Linux has been a mature OS for quite a long time already.


Seriously, what's the point in using FreeBSD!?!


Great OS. =^_^=

I mean, yes, I have several Amigas as well and the hardware and the software is just unique and nice but, hell, not for daily work (anymore).


Depends on your work. For example, my grandmother is still using her DOS computer with GeoWorks Ensemble and a dotmatrix printer. Okay, that's not the example you would take into mind, but... :-)

What's the point of using a nice operating system when I can just perform half of the tasks I can do with a common operating syetem?


Speaking for me: I am performing ALL my tasks with this OS. I am sure that I could do that with Linux, too, but then, I would be missing lots of things.

Let me name few of them:

FreeBSD offers EXCELLENT documentation. Every program of the OS has a manpage, available right after installation. No web browser and Internet connection required. The same applies to kernel interfaces, system calls, maintenance procedures and configuration files.

Most programs follow this tradidion. Compare "man opera" and "man mencoder" to, let's say, "man firefox" or "man acroread".

The file system hierarchy (see "man hier") is well intended. I don't need to search for files because I can PREDICT where they are located. Everything that belongs to the system is stored in the appropriate directories (given some UNIX history knowledge). Third-party software (installed by ports or packages) does reside in the /usr/local subtree. I can remove this subtree whithout affecting the OS, which means that it remains fully functional even if I remove all other programs.

FreeBSD has a very friendly and helpful community. Especially its mailing lists are full of people who are more than willing to help you if you run into trouble.

I completely agree with you that FreeBSD isn't an "egg-laying wool milk sow", a kind of "one size fits all" OS. Its uses may be very specific (e. g. mail or web server, forensic data recovery system), but can be quite generic, too (e. g. WLAN capable laptop for outdoor activity, everyday working and gaming PC).

All it takes to come into good contact with the OS is that the user is willing to learn, which primarily means to read and to use the brain. That's nothing special.

I see that you seem to have used FreeBSD, but you didn't "fall in love" with this OS. Well, you surely made a different choice. It's obvious that you could not understand why others are using FreeBSD, so I hope my explainations could make things a bit more clear.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE: What's the point with *BSD?
by Ludicrous on Fri 27th Nov 2009 15:50 in reply to "What's the point with *BSD?"
Ludicrous Member since:
2009-08-19

I don't mean to insite anger into anyone, so please accept my apologies if this does offend.

The BSD heritage comes from true UNIX source code. Add to the fact that the BSD releases are basically coherent and complete UNIX environments as well as a free UNIX flavor with concise documentation (the FreeBSD handbook as well as the man pages), it's difficult to argue against BSD. I am not a coder, but believe me (and explore if you don't) when I say this. Go ahead and compare the man pages on GNU/Linux distributions with BSD. <poke>BSD man pages don't end with "For more information, use GNU info" (which contains the same text as the man page</poke>

FreeBSD isn't a be-all end-all operating system. However, it is a very solid UNIX. Being mainly a GNU/Linux user myself, reading your comment has made my BSD-using friend's sarcastic comment more understandable: "Linux is for Microsoft haters. BSD is for those who love UNIX" (or something in that context).

If you understand UNIX (not the userland, but what it means to be UNIX, such as the system calls), I am unable to understand why UNIX-loving GNU/Linux users would hate on BSDs. Solid implementation. Solid documentation. Solid userland. What is there to hate?

If GNU/Linux is your favorite UNIX-like OS, more power to you. It is mine too. Just don't forget that the current socket implementations (and a lot of commonly-used technologies) originated in BSD hackers.

You don't have to use it over your favorite GNU/Linux distribution if your current OS suits you best. Some people choose BSD for the philosophical difference in the license. Others are just used to the BSD style init over the SYSV implementations. To each, their own.

Ciao

Reply Parent Score: 4

phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

BSD man pages don't end with "For more information, use GNU info" (which contains the same text as the man page


What's worse than that are all the man pages on Linux systems that are basically empty shells with "someone write a man page" in them. A lot of man pages on Debian systems are just placeholders like that. I find myself going to http://man.freebsd.org/cgi-bin/man.cgi a lot when using Linux systems. It's just easier than trying to track down where the "real" info is located (project website, info, README hidden somewhere, etc).

"Linux is for Microsoft haters. BSD is for those who love UNIX" (or something in that context).


This is how I've seen it in a lot of .sigs:
Linux is for those who hate Windows.
BSD is for those who love UNIX.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: What's the point with *BSD?
by phoenix on Fri 27th Nov 2009 19:02 in reply to "What's the point with *BSD?"
phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

Seriously, why would anyone except a geek install something like *BSD nowadays? I tried FreeBSD several times and I could never get used to it.


Anyone that wants to learn about their OS, learn about their computer, learn about networking, learn about GUIs, etc. IOW, anyone who actually wants to learn, would do well by installing/using a BSD (not just FreeBSD).

They're not for the fainthearted, or the lazy, or the pointy-clicky crowd.

You don't need to be a super-genius to use a BSD, but you will find yourself a heck of a lot smarter after using it for a few months.

First, there is the installer


Yes, sysinstall is not the prettiest installer ever. But, how often do you run an installer? Once? Twice? Maybe three times if you really screw things up?

Why doesn't this ever get seriously updated?


There are multiple projects underway (bsdinstaller, finstall, something else) to come up with nicer installers. Instead of complaining so much, how about joining in and helping bring forth "the world's greatest OS installer ever". ;)

Second, hardware. FreeBSD supports a fraction of what I can use on other operating systems.


Sure, you can't just grab any old piece of crap hardware device off the shelf of the nearest Radio Shack. But the devices that are supported tend to be very well supported. IOW, it's a quality vs quantity thing. And server hardware tends to be very well supported, since FreeBSD is geared more toward servers than desktops (not to say it's bad as a desktop).

zfs: Nice filesystem but the same will be on Linux with btrfs soon and it's probably going to be even better.


btrfs is currently a joke, and under heavy development. It's not even listed as experimental yet. There's still another 3-5 years before btfs will be useful and usable.

Furthermore, what's actually what people are so crazy about zfs? You can have nearly all of those features with xfs+lvm as well (even snapshots) and you will much more flexible, zfs even lacks an fsck which *disqualifies* it's professional use (by professional I mean a SAN with 150+ harddisks and several TB of filesystem with hundreds of GB of userdata).


I take it you've never actually tried to manage a multi-TB storage setup with LVM, and ZFS. If you had, you'd realise just how much of a joke your statement is. You really cannot compare LVM with ZFS. They are two very different concepts.

For example, you have to set aside disk space ahead of time in the LVM volume group in order to be able to use LVM snapshots down the road.

LVM still uses a "partition and format" layout, where you have to initially decide how big to make things, and later hope you have enough room to expand your LVs and filesystems. ZFS uses a pooled storage setup, whereby every filesystem has access to every single byte of storage in the pool. No need to guess at how large to make things initially. You just set ZFS quotas if you want to make sure one filesystem can't hog all the space in the pool.

ZFS doesn't come with a separate "fsck" tool because it doesn't need one. It comes with background scrubbing (zpool scrube <poolname>) that does the same as fsck ... but while the server is up and running, and the filesystems are live. It also comes with the ability to rollback to a previous transaction group at boot, which puts you back at a known-good, consistent setup (something none of the "fsck" tools can do).

I challenge you to try and manage over 10 TB of disk space with LVM + XFS, with persistent snapshots. I've tried to do this with hardware RAID, LVM, and XFS. It's not fun, or easy, or stable. Yet I do this on a daily basis using FreeBSD + ZFS, even replicated across two locations.

And when you have something like a SAN, you will get your SAN exposed to the operating system as one single block-device. So half of the zfs magic features will just be useless.


Not if your SAN is using ZFS. Then it doesn't matter what the OS on the other side is using. Which is the whole point. You can put ext2 onto an iSCSI-exported ZVol and still have access to snapshots, transactions/journalling, checksumming, dedupe, etc.

Scheduling: *BSD claims to have a much a better scheduler than Linux. I have run FreeBSD on various hardware and it never blew me away like BeOS when I saw it the first time neither like Linux when upgrading from 2.4.x to 2.6.x. I bet, I can setup two Unix servers with Linux and *BSD and you will never be able to tell the difference from the responsiveness and how the machines cope with load. A bad Linux scheduler is just history.


FreeBSD and Linux are virtually identical now in terms of scheduling, as seen by all the MySQL and Postgresql benchmarks that have been done. For a while Linux was ahead. Then FreeBSD was ahead. Then Linux. The FreeBSD. See how this works?

The major difference between the two, though, is that it's virtually impossible to overload a FreeBSD system to the point where you can't SSH in to fix it. Yet, it's overly simple to overload a Linux box to the point you can't even login to the console.

Seriously, what's the point in using FreeBSD!?!


If you have to ask that, then you've missed the point. ;) Obviously, FreeBSD is not for you. That doesn't apply to the thousands of people that are actively using FreeBSD every day.

Reply Parent Score: 2

Drumhellar Member since:
2005-07-12

User friendly installation is not that important. You only install the damn thing once on a system, and it only takes 20 minutes or so, compared to the thousands of hours of use the system give. The FreeBSD installer is straight forward, too, and results in a fully configured system.

You obviously don't understand the ports system.
When you install a port, the source is downloaded and compiled, as are the package's dependencies. You can customize each package fully, so if you remove features which also remove dependencies, those dependencies aren't built. You can also easily create installable binary packages to be transported to other systems or archived.

If you need packages right away, a simple pkg_add -r <pkgname> should suffice. Many of the ports are available that way. It is very easy and fast.

Also, Linux ABI emulation is remarkable. It has been a while since FreeBSD was on my desktop, but as an example, it ran Unreal Tournament 2004 at a 35% higher framerate than Linux did, and even slightly higher than XP at certain resolutions. This was using the nVidia drivers.

The few other frequent-use cases mirrored those results, with FreeBSD running desktop Linux apps at the same speed or faster. Anything with graphics ran much, much better.

Also, perhaps the biggest reason why FreeBSD is so cool: The FreeBSD Handbook.

I have yet to see any document for any operating system that compares. There are really good ones out there for Windows, Solaris, Red Hat, etc etc, that are great, but they are not free.

Reply Parent Score: 2

The point of using ZFS:
by Kebabbert on Mon 30th Nov 2009 13:09 in reply to "What's the point with *BSD?"
Kebabbert Member since:
2007-07-27

Bernd,

You dont understand ZFS. The main point of using ZFS, is that your data is safe. No other solution h/w raid or s/w raid offers the same level of data safety that ZFS does.

With time, your data will be slowly corrupted. Some of the problems your drives can detect and correct, but some of the problems are not correctable. But the worst point is, some of the problems are not even DETECTABLE by h/w! Your bits will rot. Without no one telling you. Look at a spec of a new drive: "irrecoverable error: 1 in 10^14 bits".

ZFS corrects those errors and also DETECTS errors your h/w will let through. Read here for more information on this, if you really value your data:
http://queue.acm.org/detail.cfm?id=1317400

All the rest ZFS goodies are just icing on the cake: simplicity, performance, snapshots, etc etc.

Even if ZFS was cumbersome to use and slow - I would still use it. Because I value may data. That is the most precious things I have. The h/w can be repaired or bought anew, but data can not. Read that link and you will see the single only reason to use ZFS: it guarantees your data. All other solutions, does not. Of course they offer some rudimentary protection but the thing is: they trust the underlying h/w! If the h/w can not detect errors, the solutions cant do shit. ZFS does not trust the underlying h/w and does double checks all the time. All other solutions trust the underlying h/w.

Reply Parent Score: 2