Home > BSD & Darwin > Outside Looking In: The BSD Operating Systems Outside Looking In: The BSD Operating Systems Eugenia Loli 2003-10-31 BSD & Darwin 83 Comments Technically, the BSD operating systems are every bit as good as Linux, so why aren’t they commercially successful? eWEEK.com Linux & Open Source Center Editor Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols and software consultant Brian Masinick explain why. About The Author Eugenia Loli Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker. Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 83 Comments 2003-10-31 5:41 pm Anonymous the license? the installer? i like and use both freebsd and linux. 2003-10-31 5:44 pm Anonymous I’m surprised they don’t mention the *real* IMHO reason the BSD is behind in Linux in Marketing: the fact that while Linux started rolling (1993 or so), BSD was being sued by AT&T making people leary of using it. I’m curious to see if the current SCO case will have a similar effect of pushing people from Linux to BSD. (my company is officially “no new critical apps on Linux”, but BSD hasn’t gotten the same tag). The article seems to be from a slightly desktop based perspective, which does favor Linux. If you’re playing with different OSs in your basement, Linux gives much more of a “eyecandy/hr work” number, but if you want to install a lean, simple system, BSD is much easier to manage. 2003-10-31 5:51 pm Anonymous You’re exactly right. For someone who claims to be a BSD user he seems woefully uninformed. 2003-10-31 5:59 pm Anonymous Every bit as good…if you ignore SMP, threading, and hardware support as your primary criteria. Let’s be fair about this. *BSD has security, documentation, stability and great licensing in spades though. But that’s about it. 2003-10-31 6:00 pm Anonymous its all in the license. 2003-10-31 6:00 pm Anonymous Low end system administrators use Linux. If you want the real stuff you go with BSD. interestingly enough I see it the exact same way. Low competence datacenters go with Linux… heavy datacenters with competence (DogSec) go with BSDs… as stability and security mostly is more worth than easy installation. That’s just my opinion anyway… 2003-10-31 6:03 pm Anonymous Every bit as good…if you ignore SMP, threading, and hardware support as your primary criteria. Let’s be fair about this. FreeBSD (5) supported my onboard sound before Linux did, and even now esd crashes frequently on my RedHat 9 partition, but not on my FreeBSD 5.1 partition. Just to say this isn’t always true. 2003-10-31 6:05 pm Anonymous “FreeBSD (5) supported my onboard sound before Linux did, and even now esd crashes frequently on my RedHat 9 partition, but not on my FreeBSD 5.1 partition. Just to say this isn’t always true.” And Linux kernels supported my Audigy years before any *BSD did and *BSD still doesn’t…(unless you count the expensive commercial OSS drivers) As for ESD crashing, never seen it. So I wouldn’t know. There’s always two side to the story… 2003-10-31 6:10 pm Anonymous So you’re basing your opinion of BSD’s hardware support on one soundcard? Man, that’s weak. There are some things BSD does better and some things Linux does better. End of story. 2003-10-31 6:11 pm Anonymous FreeBSD is the only os I would run a server on if I were to choose between all of the open source solutions currently available. I don’t think any of the *BSD/Linux/Unix solutions out there can hold a candle to OSX or WinXP on the desktop but as a server they do a far better job. I really don’t think installing FreeBSD is that hard. I opened up the handbook, did the (recomended) install and it walked me through each step. All you really have to do is pick your partition, everything else has an “auto” command or a default for you. If you don’t agree with their auto settings then you are probably enough of an expert to not be complaining about the installer in the first place. 2003-10-31 6:14 pm Anonymous Linux has been and continues to be more consumer oriented and focused, whereas BSD has been more datacenter focused. Look at Solaris x86. It is widely panned for lack of hardware support, yet it does support good hardware that a company would buy for a datacenter system. When folks build these boxes for production, they don’t start at the desk drawer or scrap bin, they build the machine to spec. But the consumer/hobbyist market DOES want to build from the scrap bin and piece bits from disparate sources, so these capabilities come more quickly to Linux. Where Linux is winning is in the same way DEC and Sun did early on. Give the machines to Universities, and folks will learn on them and recommend them in corporations. Linux, being consumer friendly, makes inroads at home and then the users come to work and say “Linux will do that”. 2003-10-31 6:20 pm Anonymous Give me a break. I was just saying that FreeBSD hardware support isn’t that bad for a server os. IBM won’t even touch our AIX machines unless it runs IBM certified hardware. You should really buy hardware that works well with your os instead of the other way around. 2003-10-31 6:28 pm Anonymous NOTE* This is an attempt to answer the question posed by this thread…I will NOT attempt to say one is “BETTER” than the other… I personally use OpenBSD myself…but I will attempt to explain why Linux is more “popular”, and why it will probably always be more “popular” than the BSDs. Say I am a super-awesome C programmer, and I wanna work on building a free operating system… Do I: 1) Work on bsd, where all my hard work can be taken by any company anytime they want and profit off of it when I get nothing. 2) Work on Linux where all of my work is protected for all to use for ever and ever. The gist of the difference is that if you wanna contribute to the “Community” by doing open source programming, then most people will want their work to be covered under the GPL where it is guarenteed to be free forever. GPL = “for the PEOPLE, by the people” BSD = “for everyone, by the people” As a programmer, with the GPL, companies are free to use your hard work, BUT they have to promise to return any enhancements they make to your effort BACK TO the community…they cant just take your hard work and run with it and never contribute anything back to the community that put so much work into it orginally in return… It’s really much more fair to the open source programmers to be working under the GPL than BSD licenses. That is why Linux is more popular than BSD, the fact is that its more attrctive to programmers who really care about open source and it’s ideas of their work being for the community and for everyone to particpate in the development together. Not that BSD doesnt have some awesome stuff going on, but it’s just going to have a tougher time getting people to donate their hard work and efforts if they know that any lame company can steal all their work without giving anything back in return. One other reason is the simple fact that Linux scales up to 32 processors now and the BSD’s didnt have any multi-processor support until very recently. AND that really is just an example of Linux being more attractive to devlopers…its going to go further, faster because it’s going to attract more people to work on it. 2003-10-31 6:30 pm Anonymous As someone who runs Gentoo, FreeBSD-CURRENT, and DragonflyBSD, I do think that beyond any technical comparison, Linus has always displayed a willingness and ability to have other people contribute to “his” project that is pretty much unmatched. 2003-10-31 6:38 pm Anonymous That’s the key to success! Develop a FreeBSD distribution for the desktop with GUI tools (hardware/software installation, Firewall etc.). Yes I know, it can be done with all kinds of system tools but that’s not what an average user wants/is able to do. Make it simple to use for everyone not only for geeks. sysinstall and vi aren’t the right tools to admin a system in the year 2003. 2003-10-31 6:39 pm Anonymous Put your pants back on. I’m tired of these dick-size contests. Most of the people who have rude things about *BSD have never used it — or botched their install because they were too lazy to read 2 pages worth of online docs. In my experience linux requires a lot more overall pissing around when you actually want to muck with the internals. The people that go around boasting about GUI’s and crap like that never actually mess with their kernels or anything like that. And those that do mess with their kernels aren’t wasting their time posting on these forums bitching about how hard vi is to use. The BSD’s are a bit harder to grasp at first for desktop users but a lot easier for those of us that want to mess with the low level things. Everything is well thought out. It’s consistent. And it isn’t hidden by some patchwork system of GUI’s and userfriendly bandaids. I started with linux, I’ve been there. I really enjoy those that bitch about completely irrelevant technical details that they themselves personally will never touch. It’s like saying “my football team is better than yours”… so what? you’re not the one playing football are you? and considering the grand scheme of things it’s kind of irrelevant. 2003-10-31 6:40 pm Anonymous And Linux kernels supported my Audigy years before any *BSD did and *BSD still doesn’t… There are a number of 3rd party patches for FreeBSD 4.8 and 5.x for the Audigy which work great for me. Adam 2003-10-31 6:41 pm Anonymous “e other reason is the simple fact that Linux scales up to 32 processors now and the BSD’s didnt have any multi-processor support until very recently.” Actually, my friend, FreeBSD has had SMP support since 3.0 which was near 6 years ago. (it just stunk) 2003-10-31 6:50 pm Anonymous Have you honestly ever even read the GPL? Enough of the NON-GPL FUD. How many successful opensource projects use a non-gpl license and have thrived as well as linux? Apache, The BSD’s, Xfree86, python, tcl(I think)… and likely lots of others. The whole licensing thing should be tossed in the wastebasket. Just another pissing contest. Linux is more popular than BSD because it was in the right place at the right time. BSDi was getting sued by AT&T. Linux was just more vocal from the start. It had motivation and used motivation to stay ahead. Plus all the hype to seduce the businesses. People choose what they hear the most of (simple rule of marketting). It had absolutely nothing to do with the GPL. Most people I know who have anything to do with linux haven’t even read the GPL, they couldn’t care less about it. Have you ever considered maybe people used linux because it had some technical capabilities that sparked interest? I know I didn’t find it because of the GPL. Nor did I find the BSDs because of the BSDL. Nor does it make any difference. 2003-10-31 6:52 pm Anonymous Every bit as good…if you ignore SMP, threading Following the release of FreeBSD 5.2 with its KSE-based threads implementation, for smaller SMP servers (i.e. 2-4 way) the differences in threading and SMP support between Linux and FreeBSD will be negligable. Certainly no one on the FreeBSD side expects something like a FreeBSD-based Altix system, but this is a niche market, as opposed to the comparitavly enourmous market of low-end x86 servers. Prior to the NPTL, threading was abominable on the Linux side too… threads were little more than shared memory processes, meaning that thread operations had to alter the process table. Furthermore, FreeBSD’s rfork() system call can operate in a virtually identical manner to Linux’s _clone() system call which was used by LinuxThreads. Consequently, it is possible to use LinuxThreads on a FreeBSD system using this method. In this way, threads could scale across processors if necessary (The MySQL port, for example, comes with an option to build with LinuxThreads) although for most applications the libc_r userspace method was perfectly fine. So, in the past FreeBSD gave you lightweight userspace threads for things like GUI applications where threads are simply used for background tasks while another thread handles window drawing, or heavyweight cross-processor scalable threads for things like MySQL. FreeBSD 5.x will be moving to scheduler entities. Many note the fact that Sun moved Solaris 9 to a 1:1 threads implementation as cite this as evidence that perhaps it was not wise for KSE to be implemented in M:N manner. However, this neglects the slowness of context switches on x86 compared to SPARC. As to how KSE will compare to the NPTL performance wise, it’s a bit early to say, but regardless KSEs will provide FreeBSD will a modern and scalable threads implementation. NGPT should not be taken as evidence of the inferiority of an M:N approach either… if you read the implementation history of NPTL you will see that considerable changes were required on the kernel side as well to provide a proper threads implementation for Linux. and hardware support as your primary criteria. Within the scope of server use, I’ve noticed FreeBSD’s driver development to generally move faster than Linux’s, at least within the scope of hardware I am used to dealing with. FreeBSD’s Adaptec driver, for example, was the first to support my Adaptec 29160 in Ultra160 mode. Linux, which was in fact using an Adaptec driver ported from FreeBSD originally, never supported Ultra160 mode until Adaptec decided to write their own Linux driver. A similar story may be told of the driver for Intel EtherExpress NICs, except that the Adaptec written SCSI driver for Linux works wonderfully, but the Intel EtherExpress Pro driver rather pitifully. Now, does Linux support your sound card when FreeBSD doesn’t? Probably, so don’t run FreeBSD on your desktop… 2003-10-31 7:01 pm Anonymous It depends on what you’re doing. Once I used OpenBSD for my firewall/router, I was hooked on it for that use. It’s small and easily configurable. PF config is well documented. And services are disabled by default. However, as a desktop, it was very difficult. Getting sound to work and various other hardware was a pain. My own ignorance was at fault, but still, there aren’t a lot of resources for that kind of help. I use Gentoo on a few of my boxes. It’s great, but I occasionally have nightmares about having to reinstall for 16 hours should a major crash ever take me out. More recently, I loaded Slackware 9.1 on high end box. Slack detected and handled my soundcard, tv card, onboard usb2, nic, and dvdburner. Using Modules. Damn, that’s sexy. However, I’m glad I was behind my OpenBSD firewall. I log in and everything including the kitchen sink was running as a network service. But for everyone of these OS’s I like and use, I’ve had a bad experience with at one time or another. Depending on your use, your skills, your preferences, your needs, your licensing preferences/beliefs, and your whims, you will choose a favorite operating system. With all those variables, how can anyone expect everyone else to feel the same? -b 2003-10-31 7:01 pm Anonymous “Not that BSD doesnt have some awesome stuff going on, but it’s just going to have a tougher time getting people to donate their hard work and efforts if they know that any lame company can steal all their work without giving anything back in return.” You cannot steal a gift, which is what code released under the BSD license is. 2003-10-31 7:10 pm Anonymous Only two arguments seem to have surfaced here: Linux is more widely used because of the GPL, and Linux is more widely used because of technical reasons. Perhaps Linux is more widely used for a different reason: *BSD is one big operating system, which has imposed more policy on the system administrator, and Linux is more of a platform, for hackers to build their own system from the ground up based on what they prefer. Take /dev, for instance. *BSD’s all deal with /dev in the same way. In Linux, I can use mknod to generate the devices I need, I can use a script like MAKEDEV, or I can use devfs (with or without devfsd). Eventually, udev will become another option. Depending on what choice I take, my configuration files will start looking quite different. Take bootscripts. In Linux, I could theoretically use any damned bootscript method I wish. In *BSD, there is only one accepted solution (although I’d bet you *could* change things around quite a bit if you were so inclined). In Linux, choice is encouraged. Whether or not this is a bad thing is another discussion, but most developers like to do things Their Way (TM). All of this flexibility has led to “I can create my own distribution, based on what I believe to be better solutions.” This has led to much more interest in Linux than *BSD. With Linux, the technology is out there, you can put it together any way you want. There is no governming body to join to do things Your Way. 2003-10-31 7:11 pm Anonymous You can tell this is going to turn into a total flame war by this afternoon, when really it’s just a matter of marketing isn’t it? Getting the word out (Linus), getting it in the news (distros) and even on tv now (IBM). Funny how that lawsuit by AT&T could have done so much damage to BSD and yet this lawsuit by SCO will probably end up being good publicity for Linux (and the OSS) in the long run. It certainly seems like public opinion is running in favor of Linus & Co. (as it should be) rather than in favor of Darl. Always good to have public opinion on your side too. Isn’t basically true that aside from a few websites, there is no advertising for BSD, that you pretty much have to go looking for it, after you’ve stumbled upon it in some article on the history of Unix? 2003-10-31 7:14 pm Anonymous Several posts have suggested that use of the GPL accounts for the popularity of Linux. Perhaps, among open source developers who adopt an ideological posture. In certain environments, licensing is a paramount issue. But, I really doubt licensing is a factor in the choice of OS for consumers. They aren’t writing code. Odds are they’ve never heard of the GPL or the BSD licensing schemes. The eWeek piece, and several other comments here, focus, as usual, on ease of installation. That’s an obvious issue in the consumer market, where RedHat, SuSE, Mandrake and a few others seem to be getting close to doing it right. (I’d argue that Linux distributions still make the mistake of offering too many options. Better off to just install the bloody thing, and then offer an “Install More Software” option.) After using a variety of Linux flavors on desktop machines for several years, I’ve been using FreeBSD for several weeks. The vaunted ability to easily upgrade works (from 4.8-Release to 4.9-stable in my case. The Ports Collection is spiffy. (I run my own mail server and had Postfix built, installed and up and running in less than 30 minutes.) I’m currently viewing this site with Epiphany 1.04 on Gnome 2.4, all from the ports. I’m not interested in multimedia work. If I was, I’d probably wouldn’t do it with FreeBSD. If I was a professional multimedia type, I probably wouldn’t use Linux, either. If I just wanted to play with the latest and greated, I’d use a more cutting-edge Linux. Compared with Linux, FreeBSD does appear very stable, more easily made secure, and better equipped with non-newbie documentation. (While bookshops have bunches of Linux books, most are aimed at the newbie market. Fewer books are available on FreeBSD, but the ones I’ve purchased are excellent. And then Handbook is the bible, of cuorse. However, FreeBSD is not an “install it, use it, but don’t read anything OS”. You can’t click your way to an effective firewall. You can’t click your way to system upgrades and ports collection upgrades. You can’t click your way to an optimum. XFree86 configuration. If you know a bit about Unix and want to learn more, FreeBSD is a fine free OS. If you want a free (beer or ideology) OS that supports configuration-by-clicking and doesn’t really require much reading, any of commercial distributions whill work. 2003-10-31 7:17 pm Anonymous Amen to that James. I started using FreeBSD in July this year and I think it is very easy to use, As an experiment a week ago I tried both Mandrake 9.1 and Suse 8.2. I hated both of them. That ‘s not to say that they’re not perfectly fine distros but coming from FreeBSD I just couldn’t get to grips with them at all. Compared to FreeBSD they were insanely complicated with their wizards and less than satisfactory package management. 2003-10-31 7:22 pm Anonymous The mix of administration-by-GUI with adminstration-by-editing-scripts has been a pain with every Linux flavor I’ve used. Sooner or later, I need to do something that the GUI tools can’t handle. Once I edit that script, though, I have to worry about overwriting it the next time I used the GUI version, or when I update. Linux distributions aiming at the consumer market would be better off to eliminate manual editing of scripts altoghther. Unix-heads would go through the roof, but so what? You can’t stay solvent trying to sell Unix to consumers, or a consumer OS to Unix-heads. FreeBSD isn’t conflicted about this. It’s admin-by-script, period. 2003-10-31 7:22 pm Anonymous You cannot steal a gift, which is what code released under the BSD license is. Indeed, it’s what I always hate when people said that they hate BSD license because others will steal it. Bah, they always get the wrong picture of BSD license. 2003-10-31 7:29 pm Anonymous the current SCO case will have a similar effect of pushing people from Linux to BSD. No, looks like Linux will always be more popular among the average curious user of Open Source Systems, the only reason is Linux has better “Marketing” “hype” and is … “cool” (looks good to say I use Linux – doesn´t look cool to say I su FreeBSD since almost nobody will know what you are talking about). Like teh author says: But what the BSDs don’t have is the business and technical support, independent software vendor products and support needed for any of them to become a first rank business operating system. 2003-10-31 7:39 pm Anonymous [i]Put your pants back on. I’m tired of these dick-size contests. And those that do mess with their kernels aren’t wasting their time posting on these forums bitching about how hard vi is to use. [i] You can always try vile (same as vi …. 2003-10-31 7:48 pm Anonymous The post about Linux vs. GPL is rediculous first of all. GPL just says that if someone changes your code they have to give it back, but IBM is still making billions off of free code, and only paying their developers. They dont owe you a dime if you write the code to scale linux to 1024 processors. I personally use DragonflyBSD because if you want to write code, its much easier to have one source base than trying to peice together all these disparate projects to figure out how everything ties together. It supports all my hardware cause I dont buy junk (Okay, im running a $4 netgear ethernet card, but it’s so i can have the two EtherExpress in the router). It flies on my lowly pIII 600, and I just use it for programming, web, and e-mail at this point. I love debian also, and they serve their purposes. I would like to see BSD get more popularity, but I also want to be a CS professor so I can work full-time on open-source. In the end, open-source benefits everyone, no matter what license it’s under. Imagine the internet if there were no free TCP stack available to push it. Sure you can write your own, but it’s pretty darn involved. I personally think the BSDs have pushed more good technology than any one source in computing history (except maybe CSRG at Bell labs), and they deserve a lot of respect for that. Im just tired of distro wars and stupid arguments. Everything has problems, either fix them, or learn to deal with them, but arguining over licenses and support for cheap hardware is stupid. If you know you want to run linux, buy hardware from vendors that support OSS. Sorry to ramble 2003-10-31 7:52 pm Anonymous Aside from the AT&T/USL lawsuit and “exclusive” nature of the BSDs, I think another major factor in Linux’s growth was ability–especially early on–to run on the average Joe’s PC with IDE hard drives at a time when BSD was SCSI-only. 2003-10-31 8:00 pm Anonymous One thing the BSDs do really well is filter out users who don’t deserve to use them. People who don’t care to read documentation before they ask question. People who want to be “l33t” but don’t want to really know how the system works (The typical Linux “kiddie” crowd). People who want eye-candy installers like that of Mandrake. People who’s religion is the GPL license. I’m glad that such people are NOT using BSD, please stay away, we are better off without you. As for some people above saying that the BSDs don’t support hardware, well I think you guys need to wake up. I’ve been using Free and Net BSD for about 3 years now, and apart from Winmodems, the BSDs have supported every bit of software that I’ve used, and I am a hardware junkie, so I don’t stay with one computer for ages (I’ve bought and sold about 30 computer systems in the last two years, and thats not my business, just for personal use and as a hobby). I’ve been able to run most commercial Linux applications using Linux emulation on both FreeBSD and NetBSD, from Maple to Oracle to Opera and there is almost no performance penalty in doing so. The only thing Linux will REALLY be ahead in when Linux 2.6 comes out will be SMP performance, and that too will be taken care of once FreeBSD’s SMP implementation is completed, which I think should happen by 5.2-STABLE. So all you Linux zealots, please get a clue before you go out and bash the BSDs. 2003-10-31 8:02 pm Anonymous ” the BSDs have supported every bit of software that I’ve used” Typo, SOFTWARE should be HARDWARE. Sorry. 2003-10-31 8:05 pm Anonymous A long time ago, I had a system at my home. It was my main machine. Fully decked out with current hardware. One day I installed Win2K. Ran perfectly. Ran perfectly for a long, long time. Then the time came to leave the comfort of the Win32 world. So I installed Red Hat 7.3 on this machine. It died. Horribly. Nothing worked, and when I say nothing, I mean nothing. Next was Mandrake. Same thing. Everything was broken, and when I say everything, I mean everything. Debian, Slackware and SuSE all followed suit, each with it’s own creative little way of rolling over on their collective backs and uttering final words of despair to the sky before giving up the ghost and fluttering off to dead-OS land. “Maybe it’s my hardware,” I thought. So, I reinstalled Win2K. Nope, everything was working great. Speed was there, the games rocked as always, audio and video were superior to all other platforms I tried. Web pages rendered correctly and IE didn’t crap out every 5 minutes. All the hardware was correctly detected and worked with minimal fuss. No crazy config files to edit and test and retest. No hours wasted on irc trying to figure the simplest things out. Obviously, it wasn’t my hardware, so it must be either the distros, or it must be me. I endeavoured to learn the arcane, inefficient ways of the *nix world. Day after day and night after night I installed, broke, reinstalled, broke, fixed, broke, obliterated, fixed, broke and re-fixed different distros of Linux. Time went by. RedHat 7.3 became 8, and then 9. The version numbers of Mandrake followed suit, as did SuSE, Debian and a plethora of other distros. As always, much was broken. RedHat would simply lock up and die, requiring a reboot. Occasionally after rebooting it would squeal its all too familiar death squeals and go off to dead-OS land like the versions before it. Many of the other distros would still do the same, despite me having been properly schooled in the ways of *nix. Then one day, I tried FreeBSD. It worked. Everything worked. I upgraded when the new version came out. It still worked. I patched it, installed games on it, wrote a resume on it, surfed the net on it, and like a faithful little dog it was always there, humming along like a well-oiled machine. At work, I made servers out of it. Every day it ran, faithfully, dependably. Days became weeks. Weeks became months. The months blended into years, and still it ran. And that, my friends, is why I will never work with the crap code that is Linux ever again. The moral of the story is, just because something is embraced and in widespread use doesn’t mean it is great or even good. It just means that a lot of people still have the potential to be wrong. The bottom line is Linux is, and always will be, inferior code. Always. And like other inferior things, it will eventually be swept aside and replaced by something that isn’t inferior. Personally, I can’t wait =] 2003-10-31 8:14 pm Anonymous The moral of the story is, just because something is embraced and in widespread use doesn’t mean it is great or even good. It just means that a lot of people still have the potential to be wrong. Absolutely. Everything popular is inherently susceptible to being flawed (because it creates an intellectual monopoly). The most amazing pieces of software I’ve been using is all niche. Like BSDs, Foobar music player, Musepack lossy encoder… Popularity is no measure to success/quality if not otherwise. 2003-10-31 8:32 pm Anonymous I’ll wager you that no one on the *BSD teams gives a flying fuck about the people that *could* use their systems if they added some fancy GUI crap and thereby threw their philosophies outside the window. I’m happy with BSD, all those that aren’t should stick to their crap. 2003-10-31 8:45 pm Anonymous Only one person got the reason right. Linux is the most flexible Operating System in existence today, period. Right there from your super computers to your pocketpc. Right there competing for desktop prominence while at the same time being at helm of server computing. Right their at your IBM research labs, to your first introductory class on UNIX. You can’t mention any OS without mentioning Linux. The Mac fanatics will say their OS is cheaper than Linux. The *BSD proud, elitist and pompous would claim it’s a truer UNIX, the Windows zealot buy into Gate’s mantra that Windows is more secure than Linux. Every thing and almost anything related is OS is compared to Linux. Linux is flexible. Take a look at the filesystem it supports. Or the toolkits that have been written for it. Or the Desktop environments built around it. Or the distros that exist for it. Or the developers that develop for it. How many other OSes can even fathom all these. None. Being a jack of all trades but a master of none has its benefits and its drawbacks. The benefits are that you become popular. The drawbacks are that there is little specialization. I’d rather be a jack of all trades than a specialist. Evolution tells me I have a better chance of survival then. 2003-10-31 8:52 pm Anonymous Being a jack of all trades but a master of none has its benefits and its drawbacks. The benefits are that you become popular. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head here. Much of the scorn directed towards Linux comes from the fact that it’s encroaching on several niche markets in which specialized operating systems which have been specifically engineered around that niche dominate, but those niche operating systems, despite their technical superiority, are beginning to lose out in the face of the Linux hype machine. 2003-10-31 9:02 pm Anonymous I wonder what hardware you use… it just doesn’t quite make sense that every Linux fails on you, but BSD is work prefectly. I am not saying Linux is prefect, but it just doesn’t make a lot of sense. 2003-10-31 9:07 pm Anonymous Like many of you I have tried numerous distributions of Windows, OS/2, Linux and other operating systems only to be disappointed by one or more short comings. With the BSD’s I never got further than the first one I tried: FreeBSD…yeah the first installation was/is a little tricky if you can’t follow directions and yeah it takes a little digging sometimes to get what you want done, but like some of the earlier commenters…It Just Works! Currently my Windows 2000 installation has been laid waste by an adware/malware/ product…removing it with a popular tool has rendered the TCP/IP and Winsock2 files inoperative. The installation is two or so years old so I guess this is about max for the typical user. I guess I’ll have to re-install…addicted to Quicken and a couple of other favorites. With FreeBSD I have never had the first problem that couldn’t be resolved…maybe I’ve been lucky, but from what I see for the average desktop user it’s as close to a failsafe system as there is out there. My thanks to all the maintainers and contributors to the FreeBSD system…you are doing great work. Can’t wait to load 4.9!!! 2003-10-31 9:33 pm Anonymous *IMHO* BSD license is a lot more _free_ than GPL as it gives the end user the right to do whatever the hell they want with the code. GPL though is more oriented towards maintaining a sustainable community (which is also very important). 2003-10-31 9:35 pm Anonymous AMD XP-2500+ Radeon 7500 64mb VIA AC97 Intergrated Sound NetGear Ethernet Card Win98 worked win2k worked winxp worked Mandrake 9.0/9.1 worked Red Hat 7.3/9 worked( sound didnt work in 7.3) Debian “woody” worked Slackware 9.0/9.1 almost perfect(sound was messed up in 9) FreeBSD 4.9 FAILED(no X11, no mouse, no sound, GPU didnt work, Netgear did not autodetect but I got it to work evenutally) FreeBSD 5.1 FAILED(no X11, no mouse, sound was crackled, GPU didnt work, NetGear DID autodetect this time) Right now I dual boot Slackware 9.1/Mandrake 9.1 and couldnt be happier. Why do you *BSD fanboys have to come around and bash us because we could’t get it to work? All you do is call us idiots and tells us to: “please stay away, we are better off without you. ” Atleast when I have a problem in Linux, Im not afraid to ask(in fear that ill get slammed by some 1337 freak). If you guys want BSD to suceed maybe you should work on the way people see the BSD community. 2003-10-31 9:39 pm Anonymous … Mac fanatics will say their OS is cheaper than Linux. Cheaper? Now, that’s one thing I’ve never heard from a Mac fanatic. 2003-10-31 9:45 pm Anonymous Pretty standard stuff, really. Asus Mobo, Crucual RAM, WD hard drive, Adaptec SCSI card for the Python tape drive, Sony CDRW, Sony DVD (A newer addition), 3com NIC, Soundblaster Live! soundcard, all crammed into an Antec 400 watt server case with plenty of cooling. I know how you feel, it just doesn’t make sense according to most of the Linux pundits out there. The only think I can come up with is that Linux is total crap at the kernel level and no amount of fluff or polish is going to change that. In fact, it seems to just get worse and worse with every distro. I thinks it’s one of the most successful modern illusions, actually. People say that Linux is innovative, more so than Win32 or *bsd, but the reality is that it only appears that way because of the rampant amount of distros being pumped off the assembly line. There is a lot of copying going on, but very little innovation. FreeBSD releases one or two versions every year or so, whereas there are hundreds of different Linux distros being belched forth onto the industry every year. The illusion (which seems to be accepted without any scientific consideration by those less educated or intelligent) is that Linux must be better, innovative, secure, stable, etc. Reality, however, tells a different story. The backlash against Linux is going to be monumental when it finally happens. 2003-10-31 9:48 pm Anonymous Technical shortcomings on your part does not make FreeBSD bad. It just makes you technically inept. 2003-10-31 9:59 pm Anonymous “Technical shortcomings on your part does not make FreeBSD bad. It just makes you technically inept.” Wow, I rember hearing almost the exact same thing when I was asking for help at: http://bsdvault.net/viewforum.php?forum=1 and on IRC. You know, your just proving my point that a newb cant get help with BSD without being bashed 2003-10-31 10:01 pm Anonymous XFree86 on the BSD’s is the same XFree86 on Linux, etc. If your video card works on XFree86, it will work on XFree86 on any OS. What you’re really saying is that your card wasn’t automagically autodected by an install routine and configured for you. That means you either don’t know enough about your video card to configure it yourself, or you don’t know enough about XFree86 to configure it yourself, or both. Or perhaps, you do know but you just don’t have the energy, eh? Or, perhaps the reason you’re using Linux in the first place is because you think you are rubbing Microsoft’s face in it, and that makes you feel good. There’s a lot of that going on. If you want to use a Unix, the BSD’s are a good option. So is the right distribution of Linux. If you just want a cheap way to get an ego boost, try something else. 2003-10-31 10:07 pm Anonymous “That means you either don’t know enough about your video card to configure it yourself, or you don’t know enough about XFree86 to configure it yourself, or both. Or perhaps, you do know but you just don’t have the energy, eh? ” josh@PhantomAMD: xf86config -bash: xf86config: command not found josh@PhantomAMD:su Password: ********* root@PhantomAMD: xf86config -bash: xf86config: command not found Care to explain? “Or, perhaps the reason you’re using Linux in the first place is because you think you are rubbing Microsoft’s face in it, and that makes you feel good. There’s a lot of that going on. ” IS that why I still own 3 winxp comps and an XBOX? ” If you want to use a Unix, the BSD’s are a good option. So is the right distribution of Linux. ” Like I said before, im doing great with slackware 9.1/MDK 9.1 2003-10-31 10:12 pm Anonymous BSDvault is an independent site not affiliated with any BSD project. If you don’t like the treament you received there, leave it. If you really want good answers from knowledgable people, subscribe to the mailing lists that each BSD offers. E.g., fredbsd-questions. For instance, if you’d posted a question in that list asking why FreeBSD didn’t configure your video card during the install, I would have told you that the install doesn’t autodetect and configure video cards. I would have asked you if you knew the basic stats about your card: horizontal and vertical freq. ranges, amount of memory. Then, I would have referred you to the FreeBSD handbook (either on the web or the one that was installed on your machine), and suggested you read the documentation in it about XFree86. I’ve never seen anyone on a real BSD list or site pull that elitism crap you complained about. 2003-10-31 10:14 pm Anonymous I like FreeBSD, mainly because none (that makes Caldera, Corel, Red Hat, Mandrake, SuSE) of the Linux distros before Red Hat 9 worked on any of my computers. I’ve got FreeBSD working on my laptop, and I think it runs slightly faster than Linux. I also liked it because after setting up XFree86, everything became much more simple to configure and use in FreeBSD than Linux. I recompiled the FreeBSD kernel in just two tries; it is extremely simple. I couldn’t even recompile the UNMODIFIED GENERIC Linux kernel in Red Hat 9, so I simply erased it from my hard drive. I also liked FreeBSD’s fast installation. 2003-10-31 10:14 pm Anonymous FreeBSD 4.9 FAILED(no X11, no mouse, no sound, GPU didnt work, Netgear did not autodetect but I got it to work evenutally) FreeBSD 5.1 FAILED(no X11, no mouse, sound was crackled, GPU didnt work, NetGear DID autodetect this time) You’re not really giving enough information here for anyone to help you; you’re simply giving enough to make an argument that FreeBSD is deficient. FreeBSD *can* make a good desktop system, but you will need to read/learn about the basic usage of certain system facilities such as the bootloader, rc.conf, pkg_* and the ports collection before you can use it effectively as such. Remember, FreeBSD is primarily designed for server use. Let’s start with “no mouse”. Is this a PS/2 mouse? Did you answer “yes” to the question “Does this system have a non-USB mouse attached” when you installed FreeBSD? If not, moused will not run. If you answered yes, on the console you should see a mouse cursor when you move the mouse. When you are configuring X, be sure to use /dev/sysmouse; this is where moused will direct all mouse traffic to. I don’t know how to answer “No X11”, because you didn’t tell us if you even bothered installing X11 during the installation. If not, you will need to install it from packages or the ports collection. Again, there’s extensive documentation on all of this available online. FreeBSD is perhaps the most well documented operating system I have ever used, as not only is it largely self-documenting but there’s considerable reference material and supplemental documentation. If you haven’t looked at it already, take a look at the FreeBSD handbook, it will cover what I’ve already mentioned in much greater detail: http://www.freebsd.org/doc/en_US.ISO8859-1/books/handbook/ 2003-10-31 10:18 pm Anonymous I had forgoten the handbook. If someone did a handbook for some Linux distro, it’d be marvelous. I have rarely seen anything better explained than in the FreeBSD handbook. When I tried getting help with Linux I would always land in a hundred different pages with a hundred different methods for a hundred different distros, all except the one I was using. Or perhaps it’s just my bad luck. 2003-10-31 10:20 pm Anonymous root@PhantomAMD: xf86config -bash: xf86config: command not found Care to explain? xf86config is in /usr/X11R6/bin/. If you installed XFree86 — it is optional during the install — and if that directory is in your PATH, it should launch. (You did reboot when the install completed?) If you installed XFree86 from ports, you should log out and log in so your shell picks up the new PATH. 2003-10-31 10:27 pm Anonymous When I tried getting help with Linux I would always land in a hundred different pages with a hundred different methods for a hundred different distros, all except the one I was using. Or perhaps it’s just my bad luck.. No, it isn’t your bad luck. Every distribution does things differently. It happens because there is no central control of Linux. Anyone can put together a distribution, conjure up their own init structure, layer on some kind of GUI-based configuration tool, tweak the kernel code, and release yet another distribution. Life woth Linux would be a lot simpler if the community could enforce some standards across all distributions. It’s the flip side of choice: confusion. 2003-10-31 10:34 pm Anonymous “josh@PhantomAMD: xf86config -bash: xf86config: command not found josh@PhantomAMD:su Password: ********* root@PhantomAMD: xf86config -bash: xf86config: command not found” What’s there to explain? You did not install it or its somehow not in your path. “FreeBSD 4.9 FAILED(no X11, no mouse, no sound, GPU didnt work, Netgear did not autodetect but I got it to work evenutally) FreeBSD 5.1 FAILED(no X11, no mouse, sound was crackled, GPU didnt work, NetGear DID autodetect this time)” I’ve gotten a Radeon 7500 and a 9000 Pro to work without any hassle in FreeBSD, VIA AC97 sound also works in my Athlon 1.33GHz TBird machine with an ASUS A7M266 motherboard. And I have TWO Netgear 10/100 NICs in my fileserver which has been running 24/7 since FreeBSD 4.5 went STABLE. Jeez, can’t believe some of the bitching thats going on here! But then, the same bitching comforts me that only those who deserve to run a BSD can run it. Hence my Filter theory is true. 😉 2003-10-31 10:41 pm Anonymous The only time I’ve had trouble with a Netgear NIC working in FreeBSD is when it was programmed with the wrong PCI ID at the factory. Netgear released a flash utility (for Windows) to correct this problem. 2003-10-31 10:48 pm Anonymous …and maybe that’s why FreeBSD will always stay a little known OS. Most people don’t like to be bitched by elitist assholes. You’re not really different from people that think they’re l33t by using Linux. 2003-10-31 11:02 pm Anonymous The bottom line is Linux is, and always will be, inferior code. Always. Are you qualified enough to claim this or you’re just copy/pasting what the friend of someone that is the uncle of the son of a kernel developer? I don’t think that being a simple user/sysadmin gives you enough qualifications to back up what you said. And like other inferior things, it will eventually be swept aside and replaced by something that isn’t inferior. That’s what people keep saying for Windows and it’s still here… I can’t understand why Eugenia (or any other admin) didn’t moderated that obvious troll… FYI, I’m a Linux user, but I don’t hate BSD. I’ll try FreeBSD 5.2 as soon as it’s out. I just don’t like people that think they’re so much l33t for using (not even coding) an operating system… 2003-10-31 11:13 pm Anonymous “I just don’t like people that think they’re so much l33t for using (not even coding) an operating system…” It’s worst at /. but it’s bad all over. I can’t believe how arrogant people can be in some of these forums, especially people who haven’t got much of resume, haven’t done anything notable, etc. and yet will ridicule anyone from Linus to Bill Joy. What’s wrong with these people? 2003-10-31 11:45 pm Anonymous BSDvault is an independent site not affiliated with any BSD project. If you don’t like the treament you received there, leave it. If you really want good answers from knowledgable people, subscribe to the mailing lists that each BSD offers. E.g., fredbsd-questions. And if you _really_ want polite hand-holding, fork over some cash for someone who provides professional technical support for you OS. It’s ridiculous to expect random people on Web forums, Usenet and IRC to be “professional” when dealing with a volunteer project and the forum isn’t even an official support channel for the OS in question. In fact, many teenage flamers hang out there just to get a thrill out of bashing newbies, but there’s nothing you can do about it. If you’re on the subway and some guy with a bag of McDonald’s is rude to you and pushes you, does that automatically mean McDonald’s sucks based on the conduct of one of its users/customers? 2003-10-31 11:51 pm Anonymous Arguing about which operating system is the best is like arguing about which Star Trek episode is the best. Why don’t we dress up like Klingons and have a convention? No disrespect intended to Star Trek fans, of course. I watch and enjoy Star Trek, but it shouldn’t be your religion and neither should your OS. 2003-11-01 12:11 am Anonymous I have a dream… Someday we’ll have discussions about which OS is best for specific vertical market applications and specific mobile computing hardware that you can actually buy. 2003-11-01 12:32 am Anonymous root@PhantomAMD: xf86config -bash: xf86config: command not found” This can only mean that you didn’t install xfree binnaries or that your shell is not configured with right the paths and sys environment variables. You can’t make a point against FreeBSD with this. /usr/share/doc/HTML > handbook (or a closer dir) Install BSD XFree first (/stand/sysinstall) and then run ‘xf86config -t’ it’s quite easy. Most people don’t like to be bitched by elitist assholes. I can guarantee that BSD is a very friendly community, specially developers’ mailing lists I contacted when I needed. Some few BSD people think they belong to an elitist corner but they are a minority and … there’s good and bad everywhere (in case you didn’t knew it). 2003-11-01 12:35 am Anonymous And if you _really_ want polite hand-holding, fork over some cash for someone who provides professional technical support for you OS. Which is exactly what a business that relies on their OS ought to do. regardless of the particular OS they use. You’re gonna have to pay for professional advice. In the case of individual non-business users, they’re not gonna pay anything for support, and shouldn’t. Hence, the market for Windows and Mac. 2003-11-01 12:54 am Anonymous “josh@PhantomAMD: xf86config -bash: xf86config: command not found josh@PhantomAMD:su Password: ********* root@PhantomAMD: xf86config -bash: xf86config: command not found Care to explain?” Simple: steve@current:~> which xf86config /usr/X11R6/bin/xf86config You installed bash from ports and didn’t populate your ~/.bashrc & ~/.bash_profile files. In BSD the sh shell is really csh, not bash as in Linux. By the way you do realize that by simply running ‘su’ you keep the environment of the user executing the command instead of truly becoming root, don’t you? You should have run ‘su -‘ instead. 🙂 I like Linux fine….I just like BSD alot better. They each have their strengths. I find BSD much easier to update with cvsup/make world and the ports system. I like the printer configuration wizards in Linux, as I still can’t print from FreeBSD (nor do I really try). I actually destroyed my Red Hat box trying to upgrade to Gnome 2.4. Garnome was a nightmare to build so I went to apt-get/synaptic. I ended up in some bizarre situation where my Gnome Desktop folder was actually ~/ so all my files showed up on the desktop. I plan to try Mandrake 9.2 this weekend, as I still want to maintain Linux familiarity. I just keep my main workstation FreeBSD, my secondary Linux and third WinXP. My 2 home servers are Free/OpenBSD. 2003-11-01 1:34 am Anonymous You installed bash from ports and didn’t populate your ~/.bashrc & ~/.bash_profile files. In BSD the sh shell is really csh, not bash as in Linux. sh is the BSD Lite derived Bourne shell, not csh bash will also pull in /etc/profile so this should not be an issue. I would wager he simply didn’t read anything the installer presented to him, and didn’t install XFree86 2003-11-01 1:36 am Anonymous If you really like the ports system of BSD, instead of going with some rpm-based distro like Mandrake, I strongly suggest you to give Gentoo a try. 2003-11-01 2:49 am Anonymous Let me get out of wars etc. I’ve used FreeBSD since 2.something or other. Tried Linux but more comfortable with FreeBSD. Both are good, no, great. In my opinion why Linux is where it is right now is marketing. Several companies, Susie, Red Hat, and Mandrake, made commercial ventures into Linux, and they were successful. Because the press loves David when he is successful, Linux got some ink. Then people had name recognition. These people here are managers and the like, not IT professionals. Once people started to speak Linux, companies like IBM and Silcon Graphics felt brave enough to use it. They figure the people with the money know the name Linux, so they could pitch it. I don’t feel Linux is where it is right now over BSD because of techinal merit, just good old fashion marketing. Which in a way frusterates me and saddens me, since I like FreeBSD. I think its equal to Linux, sometimes better, sometime worse, but it does deserve a better name recognition than it has. 2003-11-01 5:59 am Anonymous I currently have a triple boot set up. I have Slackware and FreeBSD included in that. I just recently tried FreeBSD. I found it a bit more time consuming to setup initially than Linux is. It seemed like everything had to be set up manually. Because the file system is different than Linux. It took me extra time to find where things were configured. But the ports system in FreeBSD seemed pretty slick. Recompiling a kernel sounds like it is going to be harder than it is. Actually I think the BSD method of hand editing the config is probably easier and better documented than using menuconfig. Even the BSD books admit that the cutting edge software is going to be in the favor of Linux because of the larger base. That goes for drivers and everything. At this point I will be staying with my Slackware. If it wasn’t for Slack though, I think I would go FreeBSD before I went with the bloated distros of Linux. 2003-11-01 6:21 am Anonymous bash will also pull in /etc/profile so this should not be an issue. From my experience bash will not do nothing unless you write (and create from scratch) your own ~/bashrc (I might be wrong). Once people started to speak Linux, companies like IBM and Silcon Graphics felt brave enough to use it. They figure the people with the money know the name Linux, so they could pitch it. Yes, you talk about FreeBSD for a Pentium server to a Manager and he/she goes: FreeBSD ? Is that Chinese ? I heard Linux is supported by Oracle and IBM, tell me about Linux. 2003-11-01 6:36 am Anonymous Recompiling a kernel sounds like it is going to be harder than it is. usr/src/sys/i386/conf/MYKERNEL It’s much more reliable to configure the kernel (and easier) than Linux’s kernel and the modules that Linux needs to run on boot time. 2003-11-01 8:08 am Anonymous Linux v BSD is exactly the same as VHS v BETAMAX; BSD is the BETAMAX: was there first, higher quality, used inside production environments, trusted to be stable. Linux: came along fast, has high quality, still not stable enough to use in production environments, large popularity and market share. 2003-11-01 11:04 am Anonymous The author explains this at: http://discuss.eweek.com/eweek/messages?msg=613.2&mode=advanced&u=4… 2003-11-01 2:26 pm Anonymous “Linux v BSD is exactly the same as VHS v BETAMAX” Ya, I see the relationship all right…this might be a good analogy for why filesystem A is more popular tha filesystem B but it is useless when comparing full operating systems. I forget there are a half dozen versions of BETAMAX and a hundred or so of VHS. You’ve basically used a comparison of two products/formats to compare multiple communities which often cross over. P.S. I don’t have an inherent trust that “Linux” is stable for production — I know for a fact that it is stable for production because it has proven stable in my production environemnts. 2003-11-01 4:08 pm Anonymous ..if you had all of those distros just die, especially the newer ones…I have to say you must have done *something* wrong! OR be extremely unlucky… I used FreeBSD 5.1 and loved it, quick easy install, the setup time including reading the relevent manual chapters was only about 1-2 hours including setting up a nice KDE desktop… BUT I switched back to gentoo(and then to slackware) because everything on FreeBSD just seems so..”old” compared to teh bleeding edge software I can get from portage with just a line ro two typed into teh command line! 2003-11-01 4:21 pm Anonymous IMO both Linux and BSD can be stable. I have used Debian Unstable for quite some time, and it worked just fine. I never had any problems with it. SuSE 8.2’s LVM implementation wasn’t very good for me, when I wanted to shrink a partition something went wrong and the entire /home partition was rendered unusable… NetBSD worked quite good but wasn’t very stable. It’s the only OS with which I have had kernel panics in everyday use (often when writing to the ZIP drive, one time also spontaneously). FreeBSD 5.1 and 4.9 don’t support my soundcard and don’t support DMA on my harddrive, but for the rest I have never had problems with them (that is, since June 29.) I would welcome an easy way to upgrade the packages without using ports, though. 2003-11-01 5:21 pm Anonymous It’s worth remembering that Betacam is still the world wide standard broadcast video format, while VHS is for home use only, and is rapidly disappearing. Some lessons of quality vs popularity to be learnt here… I’ve used both BSD and Linux on various computers, and find them to be not very different. They run pretty much the same apps and both are stable. Linux has better hardware support sometimes, but most drivers appear on BSD sooner or later. What’s all the fuss about? 2003-11-01 6:30 pm Anonymous I use: OpenBSD as a router (P75, 40Mb ram) FreeBSD as a server (PII, 333 MHz, ~300 Mb ram) Gentoo as a Desktop (PIII, 720 MHz, ~400 Mb ram) conclusion? linux works good for desktop, FreebSD perfectly as a server, OpenBSD as a router. Use the system that fits your needs. 2003-11-01 8:02 pm Anonymous sh is the BSD Lite derived Bourne shell, not csh bash will also pull in /etc/profile so this should not be an issue. Actually the default /etc/profile has NO path info in it. I used FreeBSD 5.1 and loved it, quick easy install, the setup time including reading the relevent manual chapters was only about 1-2 hours including setting up a nice KDE desktop… BUT I switched back to gentoo(and then to slackware) because everything on FreeBSD just seems so..”old” compared to teh bleeding edge software I can get from portage with just a line ro two typed into teh command line! I’ve never had to wait much more than a day for any popular port to be upgraded to the latest and greatest version. As far as simplicity goes “portupgrade -rRa” will upgrade every port I have to the latest and greatest and: cd /usr/src/ && make update && make world && make kernel && mergemaster” (which I aliased to ‘rebuild’) upgrades the entire base OS, the kernel and conf files. 2003-11-01 8:12 pm Anonymous Someday you Linux users will realize that FreeBSD is to Unix as Debian is to Linux. Neither is the most user-friendly OS out there but once you get them running properly there’s little reason to look elsewhere. How come none of you guys are flaming Debian for it’s lack of bells and whistles? 2003-11-02 12:14 am Anonymous FreeBSD ports is just as fresh as gentoo’s portage, you did run cvsup against it, right? In some cases the software in ports is more bleeding-edge than Gentoo portage, and there’s more of it; FreeBSD has around 9,500 ports at present, while Gentoo, the last time I looked at it, had about 1,000 – albeit much more games ported than FreeBSD… 2003-11-04 5:17 am Anonymous ?