Linked by snydeq on Tue 8th Nov 2011 01:29 UTC
BSD and Darwin derivatives Deep End's Paul Venezia wonders why more folks aren't using FreeBSD on the desktop. 'There used to be a saying -- at least I've said it many times -- that my workstations run Linux, my servers run FreeBSD. Sure, it's quicker to build a Linux box, do a "yum install x y z" and toss it out into the wild as a fully functional server, but the extra time required to really get a FreeBSD box tuned will come back in spades through performance and stability metrics. You'll get more out of the hardware, be that virtual or physical, than you will on a generic Linux binary installation.'
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I agree, 10 years ago.
by evilsjg on Tue 8th Nov 2011 02:39 UTC
evilsjg
Member since:
2006-03-29

In the FreeBSD 2.x (I like to pretend 3.x never existed) and 4.x series, this was absolutely, totally and irrefutably true. FreeBSD was faster, more stable, made better use of available memory, had a better file system and even oftentimes had better hardware support. Since the Linux 2.4-series stabilized though FreeBSD has been totally outpaced. Support for modern video cards isn't there, stability isn't necessarily there, UFS is showing its age and ZFS is a bloated cow. Not to mention the major desktops, KDE and Gnome are using OS features only available on Linux, which leads to a degraded experience on FreeBSD.

He cites examples like DTrace, which is really a developer tool, not something a desktop user cares about. He cites examples of companies using BSD, even Apple, so it must be good, right? No! What it DOES have is the best license for this purpose.

I am a HUGE BSD fanboy, but I don't even find Linux suitable in some cases for desktop use and FreeBSD is much further behind. The author of this article is reminiscing about the good-old-days (which I like to reflect on too) of FreeBSD, and is unfortunately out of touch with the current state of things.

Reply Score: 14

v RE: I agree, 10 years ago.
by celt on Tue 8th Nov 2011 02:47 in reply to "I agree, 10 years ago."
RE[2]: I agree, 10 years ago.
by TechGeek on Tue 8th Nov 2011 03:09 in reply to "RE: I agree, 10 years ago."
TechGeek Member since:
2006-01-14

you question a few of his points and call him a troll, ignoring all the points everyone knows. ZFS is hacked together in BSD, just like it is on Linux. Not a big shocker there. As for stability, I dont really know anything about that. But I do know that BSD is falling way behind and its the license that is the problem. Corporations are not willing to dump resources into a BSD licensed project that anyone can then steal without contributing anything back. And Linux has taken off in the business sector. It may not be that BSD support has waned, it just hasn't grown like Linux support. And the license is the reason.

Edited 2011-11-08 03:12 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 7

RE: I agree, 10 years ago.
by rycamor on Tue 8th Nov 2011 03:02 in reply to "I agree, 10 years ago."
rycamor Member since:
2005-07-18

Hmm... I have found that KDE, for example, works much more stably on FreeBSD than on Linux. I've been using FreeBSD as a desktop/workstation since 2003 and the ONLY complaints I have are in the area of hardware support, which is unfortunately mostly out of FreeBSD's hands, due to proprietary hardware drivers for video and wireless cards.

However, I personally have no need of a 3D rotating desktop, nor do I need my *nix desktop to be a gaming station (alternate boot to Windows for that). What I *do* need is a stable OS that I can leave running for weeks at a time without worrying about malware or hack attacks, and that supports a broad range of tools for handling information. Nothing beats FreeBSD as a power workstation.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: I agree, 10 years ago.
by TechGeek on Tue 8th Nov 2011 03:12 in reply to "RE: I agree, 10 years ago."
TechGeek Member since:
2006-01-14

I respect your right to use FreeBSD, but what tools are you using that don't exist on Linux? I think for most people, they want what you want, but they also want the 3D and cool games and all the extras.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: I agree, 10 years ago.
by renox on Tue 8th Nov 2011 09:54 in reply to "I agree, 10 years ago."
renox Member since:
2005-07-06

Some of your criticism are a bit weird: what don't you like about ZFS?
Its lack of maturity? The FS equivalent in Linux BTRFS is even less mature..
FreeBSD9 will bring another interesting improvement: capsicum, which will be used by Chrome for sandboxing in a much less 'hacky' way than on Linux.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE: I agree, 10 years ago.
by kaiwai on Tue 8th Nov 2011 21:39 in reply to "I agree, 10 years ago."
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

In the FreeBSD 2.x (I like to pretend 3.x never existed) and 4.x series, this was absolutely, totally and irrefutably true. FreeBSD was faster, more stable, made better use of available memory, had a better file system and even oftentimes had better hardware support. Since the Linux 2.4-series stabilized though FreeBSD has been totally outpaced. Support for modern video cards isn't there, stability isn't necessarily there, UFS is showing its age and ZFS is a bloated cow. Not to mention the major desktops, KDE and Gnome are using OS features only available on Linux, which leads to a degraded experience on FreeBSD.

He cites examples like DTrace, which is really a developer tool, not something a desktop user cares about. He cites examples of companies using BSD, even Apple, so it must be good, right? No! What it DOES have is the best license for this purpose.

I am a HUGE BSD fanboy, but I don't even find Linux suitable in some cases for desktop use and FreeBSD is much further behind. The author of this article is reminiscing about the good-old-days (which I like to reflect on too) of FreeBSD, and is unfortunately out of touch with the current state of things.


The gap will become bigger as Linux moves further from its dependency on Xorg in favour of wayland server that will bring a nicer experience overall for the end user desktop - which at the end of the day what matters is the end result rather than the individual parts and their awesomeness. For me back when I was using Linux the problem had always been with FreeBSD the real lack of any push to get the basics such as Xorg development that went beyond merely 'does it compile' in favour of heavy optimisation and drive writing for FreeBSD. Wireless drivers is another good one when one considers that pretty much today wireless support is a must for any operating system but FreeBSD hardware support in those regards have trailed behind the likes of OpenBSD.

Putting that aside for a moment I think the bigger challenge is having an ecosystem where there are at least 20 programmers within the GNOME and KDE community who can add in the platform specific features so that both can run as first class citizens rather than the current situation - the low level operating system features such as drivers will eventually arrive but the bigger challenge for the desktop/laptop is whether or not there is vibrant advocacy and development community working to bring and maintain both desktops on FreeBSD, something that I have no seen beyond merely ensuring that things compile which is a bit disappointing.

Reply Parent Score: 3