Linked by Drumhellar on Wed 25th Sep 2013 22:02 UTC

I've been a big fan of FreeBSD since I first acquired 4.4 on 4 CDs. By that point, I had already spent a lot of time in Linux, but I was always put off by its instability and inconsistency. Once I had FreeBSD installed, it felt like a dream. Everything worked the way it was supposed to, and the consistency of its design meant even older documentation would be mostly applicable without having to figure out how my system was different. There is a reason why in the early days of the Internet, a huge portion of servers ran FreeBSD.

But, that was a while ago. Since then, Linux has matured greatly and has garnered a lot of momentum, becoming the dominant Unix platform. FreeBSD certainly hasn't stood still, however. The FreeBSD team has kept current with hardware support, new features, and a modern, performant design.

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I plan on this being the first in a series of all the BSD's. I'm thinking of tackling NetBSD next - I've got it running on emulated Sparc64 hardware (via QEmu), and might be doing some work on real hardware, too. If there's anything anybody wants to see specifically regarding NetBSD, reply to this comment.

Also, by the time I'm near the end of the series, FreeBSD 10 will be out, and with the enhancements coming to KMS, as well as laptop support in general, I'll definitely be talking about the new features entirely on real hardware.

Maybe I'll use FreeBSD 10's new hypervisor, BHyVe, to cover Debian GNU/kFreeBSD.

Edited 2013-09-25 23:55 UTC

Reply Score: 8

project_2501 Member since:

Thanks for the article. I'm also looking forward to a series on netbsd, openbsd, dragonfly .. and maybe pc-bsd which isn't really different just made for desktops.

If I can make a humble request for the article series:

* I'd like real facts. We keep hearing lots of opinions on "stability", "high volume traffic", "low memory footprint", "bad concurrent performance". Things have moved on since 2002. I'd like to see a proper set of tests done to back such claims up - what do we mean by "stability", .. the last set of tests I saw were probably a decade ago
Tests could include things people care about today like latency under io load, etc.

* rather than focus just on user-facing features, maybe talk about the internal engineering of these systems. These systems actually do have engineering principles that they are built to and evolve around. Perhaps a critique of whether such lofty goals are a worth it - the relative free-for-all in Linux seems tr have paid off, or has it? Does the human intensive code auditing of openbsd have value if 3rd party apps are badly done? Should netbsd be the true core bsd from which drivers are then reimplemented elsewhere?

I don't mean to detract from your good work - it's great - just saying what I'd personally like to see.

Honestly - for a good bunch of serious users, the installation is done once, boot up times are kinda less important on long-running servers..... the focus is more on what these systems are like in operation ... threading performance, latency, resilience to failure, ease of upgrading and management ....

Reply Parent Score: 5

Drumhellar Member since:

I will be sure to include some more info on internals and now the different BSDs are put together, and how they differ from each other.

Since FreeBSD has an excellent system architecture handbook (, I'll touch on it more when I come back around when 10 is out.

Reply Parent Score: 2

Pro-Competition Member since:

I am looking forward to the rest of the series, exactly as you have planned it.

I don't get as much time for researching things as I should, so articles like this are a big help to me!

Reply Parent Score: 2