However, there are some places where Linux is further “ahead” that FreeBSD. One example that springs to mind is commercial Nvidia video card drivers. Keep in mind however that while Linux is aiming for the corporate desktop, FreeBSD is designed to be a server OS. You don’t need 3D graphics drivers on your firewall or DNS server. You need tried and tested code that won’t crash at 3 in the morning. If you can look past a few of the newer cutting edge features, FreeBSD makes a great desktop OS as well. When it’s 3 in the morning, and I’m writing a paper thats due at 8:00 AM, I want a nice stable OS just as much as the sysadmin in the next building
FreeBSD is a Unix based operating system. As such it can run much of the same software as Linux. XFree86, the windowing environment, will compile and run on FreeBSD, just as it will on Linux. Most, if not all, of the same window managers are available. I am currently running Window Maker, but I also have enlightenment and KDE installed. If there is an application that you must have, check the ports tree, and don’t be surprised if it’s there. Imagine a directory containing sub-directories which have makefiles for over 4000 open-source applications. If I want to install the latest and greatest Window Maker, all I have to do is ‘cd’ into the Window Maker directory and type, ‘make’ and it will download and compile Window Maker, along with any Window Maker dependancies that aren’t already installed. It doesn’t matter if you installed a dependency via the ports tree, via binary package or compiled locally from source, as long as it’s in your $PATH it doesn’t matter. That, my friends, is the ports tree. In my humble opinion, it’s the greatest packaging system I’ve seen on any OS, it’s ever better than apt-get in my opinion. Although I must admit that it’s been a long time since I’ve used Debian, and even then I wasn’t anything close to a expert on the inner workings of apt-get and dselect. Just take my word for it: the ports tree needs to be experienced to be believed.
The -CURRENT version of FreeBSD is supposed to be released as Freebsd-5.0 in November of 2002. It will include much better muti-processor capabilities, which will allow FreeBSD to scale better as the number of processors increases. It will also include major improvements to the VM system, as well as the TCP stack. While 4.5 is only a minor release, it helps in it’s own small way of easing us towards the eagerly awaited version 5.0.
I’ve been running the first release candidate for Freebsd-4.5 for over a week and a half now (which is mostly a bug fixed version over 4.4 with some new lements/improvements on the networking & filesystem side of things). It’s been very stable, not a single thing to complain about. I’ve got the usual software installed: XFree86-4, KDE2, galeon, xmms, all from the ports tree. I’ve compiled all of my software from the ports tree, and I also run a distributed.net client. All of these tasks, especially compiling large apps such as X Windows or KDE, stress the OS sub-systems. Granted, I’m not serving 100+ hits a second on Apache, and I’m not running a 100+ GB file server either. But I can honestly say that it is the most stable OS I’ve ever ran and I welcome everyone to at least give it try. It could very well surprise you.
Related Link: The Big *BSD Interview
About the Author:
Nathan Mace is currently a Senior enrolled at the University of Charleston, majoring in Computer Information Systems. He is interested in all types of operating systems, expecially Unix-type OS’s such as Linux, *BSD’s, and other commercial Unices. Nathan can be reached at email@example.com
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