Linked by Eugenia Loli on Wed 5th Oct 2005 07:44 UTC, submitted by Dan
FreeBSD BSDForums interviews FreeBSD Release Engineering Team's Scott Long relating to various aspects of FreeBSD. Topics discussed include FreeBSD general issues, its academic roots, how FreeBSD compares to other BSDs - OpenBSD, NetBSD, and the ongoing debate on FreeBSD vs. Linux. Scott gives us his perspective on the corporate adoption and popularity of FreeBSD. He brings us up to speed on FreeBSD 6.0, its new features and enhancements, including Apple G4 PowerMac, AMD64 and wireless compatibility. Scott also discusses FreeBSD 6.0's upgrade path and release timetable.
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platform focus
by butters on Wed 5th Oct 2005 10:04 UTC
butters
Member since:
2005-07-08

There really isn't anything related to userspace components in this interview, which was interesting to me. In my opinion, the answer to the "what makes FreeBSD different from Linux?" question must be (first and foremost) that FreeBSD provides a unified kernelspace/userspace stack at the core release engineering level. While Linux distributions also provide a complete OS stack, they respond to the releases of the kernel, glibc, etc., rather than driving these releases. When Linux 2.6.0 was released, there was no distribution releasing along with it, most of them migrated over time. In this sense, the new kernel series was a disruptive technology for the distributions.

Instead of highlighting the ways in which FreeBSD 6.0 will leverage the improvements under the hood, Scott mentions the under-the-hood improvements themselves as a reason to upgrade. It reads like a Linux kernel release notes. It seems to me that FreeBSD doesn't get the media attention it deserves because there's nothing glamorous about the kernel guts. The journalists writing about Linux are talking about Ubuntu and how awesome GNOME 2.12 is and how easy it is to manage packages. If FreeBSD wants to create excitement and develop the evangelism that drives Linux growth, then they need to highlight the ways in which users (whether they be desktop users or server admins) will see improvements to the usability, performance, or reliability of their machines. Otherwise it is just vague technical jargon that separates FreeBSD from Linux or any other platform.

My point is that FreeBSD is a platform, and the project, especially the head of release engineering, needs to start talking about FreeBSD as a platform. Not as a kernel, not as a fine example of quality software development, but as a platform on which one can be productive or run a business. How does FreeBSD 6.0 enable me to be more productive? Well, Scott says I can get double the throughput when writing to a RAID array with dd. This is a good start, I guess, but some information on how awesome FreeBSD 6.0 is as an AMP (apache, mysql, php) platform would probably get more attention from the media.

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