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

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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Kebabbert
Member since:
2007-07-27

Well, GNU/Linux has a lot of hardware drivers but all these drivers are quality drivers? And do you really need that exotic controller on you mission critical server? ;)

Yes, Linux has some 150.000+ drivers and a couple of 100 drivers released every week. There are only so many Linux developers, so they will never be able to update all of them when Torvalds changes the API in the kernel. That is one of the reasons Linux is unstable, unless you are very restrictive with what software you install. If you are on a Long Term Cycle distro, like LTS, and you want to install some kind of software that uses new libraries, you need to upgrade your libraries too. Which forces you to upgrade other software on your system so they can use the new libraries too. etc. This triggers a chain reaction so you have upgraded your entire system. Ergo, LTS does not work. You can only use LTS if you install old software, or, if you hack the software so it uses your old libraries.

So, no, most Linux drivers does not work. When Torvalds upgrades the kernel and changes the API, drivers does stop working. So of these 150.000+ drivers, I wonder how many of them are up to date? Maybe 5%? 95% of the drivers does not work?

http://www.osnews.com/permalink?561858
"...You have 150,000+ drivers for Linux, with a couple of hundred new devices released WEEKLY..how many Linux kernel devs are there again? if you pumped them full of speed and made them work 24/7/365 the numbers won't add up, the devs simply cannot keep up...which is of course one of the reasons to HAVE a stable ABI in the first place, so that the kernel devs can work on the kernel while the OEMs can concentrate on drivers..."

Reply Parent Score: 0

darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

which is of course one of the reasons to HAVE a stable ABI in the first place, so that the kernel devs can work on the kernel while the OEMs can concentrate on drivers..."

Ah, but OEMs are evil, remember? They make hardware and accompanying drivers for profit, when they should be donating every waking hour to support Linux and giving their time for free. </sarcasm>
If you hadn't picked it up yet, I agree 100% with you concerning the ABI as well as the API. It's attitude that prevents this from happening; the pervasive entitlement complex that has made its way into most corners of the Linux community.

Reply Parent Score: 2

Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

Kebabbert,

"So, no, most Linux drivers does not work. When Torvalds upgrades the kernel and changes the API, drivers does stop working. So of these 150.000+ drivers, I wonder how many of them are up to date? Maybe 5%? 95% of the drivers does not work?"


Has this actually affected you or are you just trying to paint linux more negatively than it is? Trust me I want a stable ABI/API as well, however in practice I've found long term linux driver support to be simply amazing. If you pull out an old device that used to work with linux, it's more likely to still work under linux than under windows.

I cannot complain about the device support itself, but I have gripes with how drivers all mashed up into a huge bloated kernel tree. There's no simple way to determine what one needs to select in the kernel, it's very discouraging. The drivers are pretty good, but the management of them is absolutely horrid and I end up compiling way more than I need because I just don't know what drivers I'll need. I'd rather see all of these drivers stripped out of the kernel source and separated into more manageable projects (using a stable API/ABI).

Thinking off the cuff, ideally a standardized userspace framework would take care of managing device drivers transparently as needed in the way which makes the most sense for the particular linux distro (downloading drivers from a repo/compiling from source/install from disk/notifying the user). This way one could compile a simple kernel up front and the drivers could be managed separately and only compiled as they're needed.

Reply Parent Score: 6

Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

To rope this back to the article's topic, can someone illustrate the BSD driver code&binary management? Does the model differ much compared to linux?

Reply Parent Score: 3

Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

He's just pissed at Linux for some reason and brings up this tired old "Linux isn't stable" harangue like a broken record.

Reply Parent Score: 2

Kebabbert Member since:
2007-07-27

Alfman,
Every once in a while in forums, I read about people having unstable Linux systems. I tried to help a friend with Ubuntu who got problems after upgrading the kernel. After that, I recommended against upgrading the kernel. If it works, why upgrade? Just because Ubuntu says so?

I think the Linux driver model is broken. Actually I am not the only one saying this, as you maybe noticed. If you think about it, I think you will understand why the driver model is less optimal. It could be better, dont you agree?

Reply Parent Score: 1

Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

Yes, Linux has some 150.000+ drivers and a couple of 100 drivers released every week.


No, there are hundreds of new devices every week. Didn't you read what you yourself quoted?
Most new devices does not need a new driver anyway since a) many of them are just "clones" of existing devices and b) one driver usually handles many devices.

So, no, most Linux drivers does not work


Really. I can't even remember the last time I encountered a driver that didn't work.

So of these 150.000+ drivers, I wonder how many of them are up to date?


What does "up to date" really mean though. If it's an old(er) device a stable driver doesn't need to be constantly updated.

Reply Parent Score: 6

lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

Really. I can't even remember the last time I encountered a driver that didn't work.


I don't have them either because I am careful about how I buy my hardware because I might want to run something on there other than Windows. Every laptop I buy is Intel based everything, every desktop-ish bit of kit is intel + nvidia (nvidia have the better drivers and if I don't need 3d VESA will suffice).

It is a lot a hell better than 10 years ago, but there are still times when something is either supported poorly or there are problems with it.

I do however that a lot of the driver problems have been solved by things becoming more commodity because the hardware manufacturer developers are just going to say "just use the standard spec".

Edited 2013-09-26 20:07 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

Risthel Member since:
2010-12-22

Kebabbert, you look like a parrot.

You said the same thing(with other words) about kernel API breakage :

here - http://www.osnews.com/permalink?573118
here - http://www.osnews.com/permalink?566906

One does not need to be too much dramatic. Things dont break so easy as you sad.

Back to the topic, the thing i miss on FreeBSD is the lack of Dogfeeding on Notebooks/ACPI related things, and that's why my notebook uses OpenBSD...

Reply Parent Score: 3

Kebabbert Member since:
2007-07-27

@Soulbender, @Risthel

You said the same thing(with other words) about kernel API breakage :
here - http://www.osnews.com/permalink?573118
here - http://www.osnews.com/permalink?566906

One does not need to be too much dramatic. Things dont break so easy as you sad.

So both of you dont agree that the Linux driver model could be better? You never see any threads about people having problems after upgrading the kernel?

When anyone, me, or bassbeast or anyone else, point out all the problems with Linux drivers - we get called ugly names, "parrot", "idiot", etc. Is it not acceptable that people thinks the Linux driver model is not good, and could be done better? Linux can not have flaws? The source code is far from good?

Reply Parent Score: 1

Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

For things that really matter, you only buy them that already have linux support. Like the aforementioned dell server, most major hardware vendors have their gear certified to run linux. They aren't unstable at all.

Reply Parent Score: 4