“After three years in the making the FreeBSD Release 5.0 operating system has been made available to the general public. Released towards the end of January, the OS provides first-time support for Sun’s Sparc64 and Intel’s IA64 platforms. And while some effort has been put into AMD’s Hammer architecture, there is presently no usable support for the 64-bit mode of Hammer, said FreeBSD engineer, Scott Long.” Read the article at LinuxWorld.
FreeBSD 5.0 Looks to the Enterprise
2003-02-04 FreeBSD 15 Comments
FreeBSD is definitely poised for taking on enterprise tasks, which are typically I/O bound instead of CPU bound, thus fine-grained locking becomes more important. Solaris has been the undisputed leader in this department, but it seems likely that as FreeBSD 5 matures we’ll see more of these I/O intensive tasks offloaded from Solaris/SPARC systems onto cheaper FreeBSD/x86 servers.
The title is promising, but the article is pathetic. It’s short, only lists one new feature of 5.x, and is 50% quotes.
(Before the earth starts rumblin’, I’m not criticizing osnews for linking, only the author for his poor effort).
How ready is it for the desktop? Is OpenOffice.org ported to FreeBSD? How does it compare to Linux in errors you have to fix to get a desktop working? Can you get any desktop comouters preloaded with FreeBSD?
I can say that FreeBSD (-STABLE or -RELEASE) can handle the load big time. The boxes we have in deloyment are file servers (it’s a pretty basic thing). It does the NAS thing (services out both NFS and SAMBA) for over 500 workstations and 52000 user accounts. I’ve only had one operational failure in over a year-and-a-half and that was more a quota bug, not a performance thing.
FreeBSD just moves data. Like the saying says: it has the power to serve.
How ready is it for the desktop?
I must say, it’s ready and pretty stable so far on me. I have no problem, only one simple bug that hit on me was related with GCC 3.2.1 and they fixed it like in few hours.
Is OpenOffice.org ported to FreeBSD?
Yes, vesion 1.02..
How does it compare to Linux in errors you have to fix to get a desktop working?
Well, if you are using RedHat, Lindows, Mandrake or whatever major Linux distro with a lot of GUI configure, then it’s not same as FreeBSD. You have to edit X by command line and editor. Errors? Well, it’s same as in Linux, but more stable to me.
Can you get any desktop comouters preloaded with FreeBSD?
You mean, like prelinking? I am not sure, what you mean by this.
I think what he means is could he call, say, Dell, and order an Optiplex with FreeBSD. The answer is yes, though, not specifically Dell. There are vendors out there that offer hardware preloaded with FreeBSD. I don’t have names, but take a look at http://www.freebsdmall.com and see what you can find. I BELIEVE most of the boxes are aimed towards server-level applications (1U & 2U rackmounts) but there might be desktops out there as well.
I used FreeBSD on my desktop for years and I was very happy with it. Easier to maintain than any Linux distro I had tried before, stable, fast. Some glitches, mainly because of some “linuxisms” in some applications (people tend to develop for Linux nowadays, not for Unix), but all in all, it is more or less as ready as Linux for the desktop.
Which means it’s not fit at all for the infamous Joe Sixpack.
<quote>How ready is it for the desktop? Is OpenOffice.org ported to FreeBSD? How does it compare to Linux in errors you have to fix to get a desktop working? Can you get any desktop comouters preloaded with FreeBSD?
Here’s one place you can get a FreeBSD system preloaded http://www.freebsdsystems.com/ . Most companies that preload FreeBSD are focused on server systems though obviously.
but it seems likely that as FreeBSD 5 matures we’ll see more of these I/O intensive tasks offloaded from Solaris/SPARC systems onto cheaper FreeBSD/x86 servers.
It’s more likely that these tasks will be offloaded to Linux systems, which have and order of magnitude more market support and momentum. For ‘I/O intensive tasks’, 2.4 already offers a host of things FreeBSD 5 doesn’t, such as a reasonably mature LVM and software raid support. A patched 2.4, such as is found in RedHat AS, Suse ES or SGI/Linux (1GiB/s block IO througput in the case of the latter), goes even further.
If we look to the future, which I think we must if we’re talking about a production ready FreeBSD 5.x, Linux 2.5, which looks increasingly likely to be on time and well tested, is probably going to be out and in distros around the same time as 5.1/5.2.
I’m not saying FreeBSD 5 won’t make any penetration, but it seems unlikely to storm the market.
Works good on the desktop for me, except for Real Audio player which I think needs to have the linux compatibility libraries loaded.
There’s only one thing you need to setup a FreeBSD desktop system: PATIENCE
I’m not going to go into the details as last time I did I was shot down by a million and one zealots that couldn’t handle the idea of anyone saying anything negative about FreeBSD.
One positive thing I can say is you get to start with a nice clean system — then add stuff to it. VS the linux way of starting with tons of crufty mess and not knowing what to do with it. Yes, I understand there are minimalist linux distros which don’t do it this way, so you don’t need to correct me.
Seems to me the Linux community have spent 10+ years reinventing UNIX when we already had the BSDs. I dont care how much hype Linux generates-i would use FreeBSD on a server over Linux any day.
For ‘I/O intensive tasks’, 2.4 already offers a host of things FreeBSD 5 doesn’t
Except performance, which is the one thing that actually matters.
DBench [ http://samba.org/ftp/tridge/dbench/ ] numbers for Linux 2.4.20 (XFS) versus FreeBSD 5.0-RELEASE (UFS2), on a dual 1.53GHz Athlon MP system with 512MB RAM, IBM UltraStar 18ZX. Tests were conducted in single user mode after a fresh boot.
Throughput 17.5915 MB/sec (NB=21.9893 MB/sec 175.915 MBit/sec) 64 procs
Throughput 31.9033 MB/sec (NB=39.8792 MB/sec 319.033 MBit/sec) 64 procs
Now, don’t get me wrong, dbench has drawn a great deal of criticism as far as its usefulness as a benchmark goes. (see http://mail.nl.linux.org/linux-mm/2001-07/msg00126.html for an example) and it seems that many factors unrelated to the OS can affect these numbers.
Yes, these only show the numbers for Linux/XFS, and I’m sure that you all think this isn’t a Linux kernel issue, and that JFS/ReiserFS/ext3/whatever will solve it. If so, download DBench and run some tests yourself, and post your numbers. Think Linux 2.5 will be a radical upset in these figures? Download DBench and run some tests. However, I refuse to waste my time benchmarking an operating system that won’t even be released for around a year… the numbers certainly won’t be an accurate reflection of the released product.
Here’s a little information from Alan Cox: http://parallel.rz.uni-mannheim.de/Linux/smp/node2.html . It’s rather dated (1995) and therefore isn’t directly applicable to the Linux kernel in its current incarnation, but serves to illustrate the importance of fine grained locking:
“…it is necessary to move to finer grained parallelism in order to get the best system performance. This can be done hierarchically by gradually refining the locks to cover smaller areas. With the current kernel highly CPU bound process sets perform well but I/O bound task sets can easily degenerate to near single processor performance levels. This refinement will be needed to get the best from Linux/SMP.
Well, certainly Linux’s locking has reached much higher granularity levels than when that was written (when the only lock was the BKL). However, I think this still serves as an illustration of Linux’s I/O performance when compared to the bigger players (i.e. Solaris) The performance of CPU bound tasks is certainly acceptable, but performance degrades when a great deal of I/O is involved.
I will say this: Linux 2.4.x still contains the Big Kernel Lock, and this was theoretically removed in 2.5.x.
FreeBSD 5 doesn’t, such as a reasonably mature LVM and software raid support.
FreeBSD most certainly does have mature software RAID support in the form of vinum, which was modeled after the VERITAS volume manager. See http://www.vinumvm.org/
FreeBSD 5.0 seems a bit more difficult to install than 4.7; I had some cases that it crashes on ACPI even if I disable it at all.
It could be bad luck, of course