Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 24th Mar 2010 16:55 UTC, submitted by Joel Dahl
FreeBSD The FreeBSD team has released FreeBSD 7.3, the fourth release of the 7-STABLE branch. There will be one more release in this branch, but at this point, most developers are already working on the 8-STABLE branch. FreeBSD 7.3 focusses on bug fixes, but has a few new features as well.
Thread beginning with comment 415149
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
I have always liked FreeBSD
by tylerdurden on Wed 24th Mar 2010 21:12 UTC
Member since:

I have never liked their installer though, last time I installed FreeBSD I used the PC-BSD installer.

Arcane exoteric installations were cool a decade and a half ago. But come on... when I had to do a FreeBSD installation involving ZFS, the process was borderline maddening.

I am actually very excited for the technologies which the FreeBSD team are incorporating: Jails, the trace subsystem from solaris, ZFS. Heck if they had the possibility of supporting OpenCL/CUDA, FreeBSD would be pretty close to my ideal development platform. The instability of linux's programming interfaces among so many variables (not just major kernel revision) makes it such a PITA to deploy software on it.

At one design team, we had 3 different commercial tools, which supported 3 different distro/revision combinations. I honestly feel that if Solaris or FreeBSD had a similar HW support than Linux, either of them would have made a far better x86 unix for large vendors to standardize around (at least as a clear alternative to windows in the x86 market).

Edited 2010-03-24 21:12 UTC

Reply Score: 7

RE: I have always liked FreeBSD
by Delgarde on Wed 24th Mar 2010 23:09 in reply to "I have always liked FreeBSD"
Delgarde Member since:

I honestly feel that if Solaris or FreeBSD had a similar HW support than Linux, either of them would have made a far better x86 unix for large vendors to standardize around (at least as a clear alternative to windows in the x86 market).

I don't think hardware support has much to do with it - if Linux has better hardware support than Solaris or FreeBSD, it's because people are writing drivers for it. Or more to the point, because it *has* people to write drivers for it.

Linux may have it's flaws, but it's managed to build a much, much, larger development community. Services like HAL are built on Linux, then adapted to other platforms by one or two struggling volunteers. Likewise most of the current work on open video drivers - developed on Linux, and (partially) ported to FreeBSD.

That's what it comes down to, as far as I'm concerned. Linux isn't dominant because it has better hardware support. Linux is dominant because it has all the developers.

Reply Parent Score: 3

rhavenn Member since:

Which came first? The chicken or the egg? Same scenario here. Personally, I think the parent is correct. If BSD hadn't had the legal issues it did in the early 90s it had a really good shot at becoming the dominant "free" UNIX. Linux didn't start getting heavy commercial support and recognition until 2004/5 or so and now it's got a decent marketing wave behind where even many PHBs are okay with running Linux, but turn all white and pasty when you suggest something like FreeBSD.

Linux is the kernel and FreeBSD is the kernel plus base userland and a much more unified and integrated "system", plus it hasn't splintered into a bajillion little pieces like the Linux distros have. Many argue this is a good thing, but I counter that in the end it hurts the end user. It was great when it was a relatively unknown OS and no one really cared, but now you've got companies cherry picking distros to "support" and if it isn't one you like or run then you're screwed. I think Linux would have been better served maintaining a concentric core and base system. However, it's freedom of choice and I normally choose FreeBSD.

Reply Parent Score: 2

tylerdurden Member since:

Not being able to run an OS due to lack of support for the HW one has at hand has everything to do with it.

Reply Parent Score: 2

marafaka Member since:

I agree that hardware support is not a major factor, but I can also tell you what it is: it's culture. Yes, there are struggling volunteers porting HAL, ALSA, PulseAudio, V4L, Flash etc., but they're struggling because they came from another world and don't realize that most of us have no need for that technology anyway. What was needed was already implemented by the FreeBSD and other project in superior forms.

And about domination of any operating system there's not much to say. Picture yourself a Gauss curve then meditate on who dominates who again.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: I have always liked FreeBSD
by cycoj on Fri 26th Mar 2010 02:38 in reply to "I have always liked FreeBSD"
cycoj Member since:

Although I agree with you that FreeBSD is very interesting and I really like the approach they take with things I don't think it is due to the HW support. Initially both BSD and Linux were on a very similar level with respect to hardware support. I think there's a number of reasons why Linux is more popular than all the BSD. The major factor now is IMO momentum. Linux just has a lot more momentum behind it due sheer numbers. As others pointed out the legal uncertainty in the 90s might have slowed BSD adoption (I personally don't think that is much of a reason, the hackers who would have been interested in it wouldn't care too much about the legal bickering and corporate adoption of Linux really only took of in the late 90s). I think one of the main reasons is simply the licence. Initially I think more developers were attracted to Linux because of the GPL, especially developers not coming from an academic background didn't want a company to profit from their work without giving back (the reason why I think academics are more comfortable with the BSD licence is because they are more used to the fact that other people might profit from their ideas without them profiting except through citation. The BSD licence is very "academic" in that way.). Later big companies like IBM realised that Linux gave them an equal playing field, i.e. they could implement their ideas and another company could not take it make it uncompatible and profit from it. For IBM who use software as a service model this is essential. Because nobody can make closed source derivative they will be able to sell services to everyone using Linux.

Reply Parent Score: 2

marafaka Member since:

You're making a problem when there is none, then analyze how that problem came to be. Let me paraphraze:

FreeBSD is not like a big fat hamster. This is a problem, I declare. What can we do about it? Maybe his mother was a small furry drinking bitcch so this poor FreeBSD had bad furnes and greatnes genes? Let's come together and waste our brainwaves on how can we avoid this tragic problem when history repeats itself. Yea, then we'll make FreeBSD into a hamster.

If you need a prepackaged and polished version of FreeBSD why don't you take OsX? Now what's the problem again?

Reply Parent Score: 1

tylerdurden Member since:

I agree with a lot of your points.

I still believe that the whole momentum is a bit of a chicken and egg issue. Linux gained momentum because lots of vendors decided to offer HW support for that OS.

From my perspective, I do like both Linux and the BSDs (each have their strengths). It is just that linux ever changing interfaces are a total pain in the a**. How many time do they need to reinvent the wheel exactly.

As much of an authoritarian ass Torvalds is portrayed as being sometimes, he has been rather focused on the kernel and completely ignored the user land. Which has been both a blessing: lots of choice for OSS developers. And a curse: too "many mediocre choices" for the end users.

Linux is a developers' system, not an users' system. That is the main issue why it will never gain traction in the Desktop. As I said, from my personal perspective... Linux has been a nightmare when it comes to use commercial tools, but it is a dream for custom solutions.

Reply Parent Score: 2