FreeBSD uses the BSD license. With a BSD style license, you are not required to make your changes to the source available to the public. In fact, you can take BSD licensed code, and make it into a commercial proprietary product. This is what Apple has done with OS X, and it seems to be working out well. It’s also working out well for FreeBSD as Apple has hired Jordan Hubbard, one of the founders of FreeBSD. This is in contrast to the license Linux is distributed under, the GPL. This copyright does not allow you to make proprietary changes to the source code.
The install routine for FreeBSD is nothing like the Mandrake or Red Hat installations. Probably the closest thing to it in the Linux world would be Slackware. FreeBSD has no graphical partitioning tool, you’re expected to use fdisk and disklabel. There is no “linuxconf” type application; upon booting it the first time you’re handed the root login and vi (or emacs if you choose to install it), and the ports tree (or pkg_add) to install software. There are some text-based apps for configuring network settings and such things, included in /stand/sysinstall. That however is about the extent of FreeBSD’s “hand-holding”.
On the other hand, in some ways FreeBSD is more mature than Linux, due in part to the fact that it is based on BSD, which has been in existence since the mid-80’s. Because of this, it has had more time to work out existing bugs. It also has something to do with the maintainers sacrificing the latest and greatest features for wonderful stability and robustness. FreeBSD is reputed to be one of the most robust and stable operating systems on the x86 platform. In fact, go to netcraft.com. Notice that the top 13 servers with the longest uptimes are all either BSD/OS or FreeBSD. It currently has support for IP version 6 addresses (the internet currently uses IP v4), multi-processor capabilities, reliable TCP networking, true multi-tasking, and has binary support for Linux, SCO Unix, and BSD/OS, and NetBSD, which means that if a specific application hasn’t been natively ported to FreeBSD, it can still run it as if you were running a different OS!
I love the smell of FreeBSD in the morning – the smell of victory.
I was just looking at the QA/release team’s mailing list archive and from what they are saying 4.5 should be out sometime next week. They still don’t have all the packages in 4.5-RC3, but they plan on having that fixed, plus some additional security fixes in by the end of this week. Then, one more round of testing and we should be able to get at the 4.5 ISOs.
Apparently Yahoo wasn’t able to wait for the blessed version of 4.5, according to the release team’s page they already deployed one of the 4.5-RC’s on their systems. I love that no matter how much press hype Linux gets FreeBSD silently powers Yahoo and Hotmail, arguably two of the busiest sites on the Internet.
A couple of errors:
1. /stand/sysinstall is the curses interface which allows you to format a drive,mount nfs partitions and set up a network. If I remember right linuxconf has a tcl/tk and a ncurses version?
2. ee is also installed by default and has to be one of the most friendly editors available.
Interesting – I have been thinking about giving FreeBSD a test drive. Guess I’ll wait another week or so for 4.5
I wouldn’t mind if at the end of this BSD series there would be a short paragraph describing the differences between Free- Open- and NetBSD as I’m a bit confused as to which one is best suited from a users perspective.
FreeBSD is better for a “desktop” and also as a heavy db/web server.
NetBSD is also pretty good as a desktop, but prefer it from FreeBSD only if FreeBSD does not run on the particular platform you want to run BSD on.
Choose OpenBSD if you have security concerns or as a firewall in your network as it is the most secure of all.
wow, i didn’t know that 4.5 was coming out so soon!
i just spent $50.– on a book on 4.4
doh, still it’ll be good reading………
yes, ee is a nice tect editor for newbies such as myself
and hated it. i’m afraid to say i’m just too dependant on linux now. i tried netbsd which is, as was said, minimal to say the least. not that that is a bad thing, i just could get used to vi and the (seemingly) strange layout of files, especially config files.
i have yet to try the wonderful ports system because i can never get that far without running home to linux. its not that i cant cut it at the prompt: this box i installed from scratch, and many before it, but bsd seems a harsh and unfriendly environment…
even after i changed my keymap i still cant get vi to delete anything less than a line (i confess, i like joe) at a time, and my networking config never even got off the ground. wscons confused me, even though the docs are very well written and theres no command history. as i said it didnt help that my delete key wasnt working properly ^H^H^H, etc…
maybe freebsd will be more welcoming, but i do hope theyve got bash
bsd has bash……
freebsd has bash, but it is not installed by default. you can either install it via the ports tree, or from the bash package on the CD
I tried to install FreeBSD a few weeks ago on VMWare. A quick warning for 56k modem users: It can’t resume an ftp install, hence why I’ve not yet given it a go.
A small correction: IIRC, the ports collection contains appr 6000 makefiles, not 4000 as stated in the article.
And to the linux user that cant handle vi, you do know joe is available in BSD as well, dont you?
Its as simple as ‘cd /usr/ports/editors/joe && make install’, wait while it downloads and compiles, and you will have joe. Same for bash, just cd to /usr/ports/shells/bash instead.
cool! FreeBSD week!
On the server http://ftp.freebsd.org the release 4.5 is already available.
Only ftp://ftp.freebsd.org/pub/FreeBSD/releases/i386/ISO-IMAGES/4.5/“&g… has that particular files. The mirrors are not updated yet.
In fact, I just reloaded the particular ftp page and the second disk is STILL UPLOADING as of this writting. This means that both the FreeBSD 4.5 disk will be finishing uploading in LESS than ONE hour.
I tried Linux and hated it and ran back to FreeBSD.
Linux installations blow crud all over your disk with no organization, and you never know where anything is. FreeBSD is nice and neat and everything is organized. During an install you know exactly what you are getting, instead of just getting a dump of 6000 packages I’ll never use, like most Linux Distros install.
In FreeBSD it’s easy to know what tools to use to administer your system: /stand/sysinstall and emacs (or your favorite editor) manage everything. In Linux, there seem to be 10 different management tools for every feature. Talk about confusing.
FreeBSD also behaves simply at startup. You stick stuff in /usr/local/etc/rc.d, or you edit /etc/rc.conf, and stuff runs. Simple. I never could figure out the silly Linux startup stuff.
The ports tree just rules. Who hasn’t downloaded an RPM, gone rpm -U some.rpm, and gotten about 20 failed dependencies? Package management in Linux is just ridiculous. Give me “cd /usr/ports/editors/emacs21 && make install” any day!
Plus, if you don’t run release candidates (betas) or the CURRENT version of FreeBSD, and stick to STABLE or RELEASEs, it NEVER crashes. Ever. Linux stuff is always beta.
My two bits. Feel free to flame.
I followed Eugenia’s link to the main site and 4.5-mini.iso and 4.5-disc2.iso are there, and from the looks of it have finished uploading, but if you look in the md5sums those are the only two cds listed. I hope they finish uploading all of them, but i’m not sure they will until next week. The images that are up there are the mini bootable version of the os on a single cd and a fix it cd, so they might have been able to finish those images before the final release version is done.
in my opinion, FreeBSD is many times better than any Linux. A long time ago I used Linux for a bit. Then I found out about FreeBSD. After that I have not been able to use Linux. Why? Because *BSD has everything i need and presents it better. The ports tree is just one of the amazing features the OS provides. I can’t be bothered looking for RPMs or DEBs (or trying to install Slackware packages).
To end this little note, I have to say that FreeBSD is the best OS I have tried.
I tried FreeBSD 4.4 on my desktop machine as a dry run for replacing my Slackware Linux server.
I was very impressed by the well thought out filesystem, and how the whole system felt. With native Java support coming, this will be the ideal development platform.
Last night I downloaded all the ISO images for FreeBSd 4.5….can’t wait to load it onto my server.
I own my own business and have a few servers too run. Microsoft has been really pissing me off with their liscensing so I became interest in open source solutions. I tried Linux and FreeBSD and I like FreeBSD better. It is made to be a server OS and that is it. The best thing is it does that really really well. I have it running on an old pentium 100 as a test box and apache is flying. I tried Redhat 7.2 on the same box and it was jerky. I’ve been using Microsoft products for a long time now but have had only minor dificulties so far in learning FreeBSD. As for using an editor if you don’t like vi use ee
FREE BSD KICKS ALL ASS!!!
I wnat to thank Nathan Mace for his clear, informative, helpful articles on FreeBSD.
I’ve evolved from Red Hat 6.0 through 7.2, over to Corel, then SuSE 7.3 and was contemplating Mandrake 8.1.3 when I read that Yahoo runs on FreeBSD (I think). So I Googled over to OSNews and consumed Nathan’s words eagerly. Why can’t Linux be less..well, Linux, and more like BSD?
To quote Chris Issak, “I wonder…”
If I can run my beloved KDE on BSD, I’m yours for life!
hay FreeBSD is fast then Linux. for what
if u r compiling the software, running the web servers, BIND Servers etc
if Linux solve the query in 10 minuts then FreeBSD can do it with 7 minuts wowoowow
thank’s a lot