Home > FreeBSD > FreeBSD 5.2-RELEASE Review FreeBSD 5.2-RELEASE Review Submitted by Jem Matzan 2004-01-22 FreeBSD 33 Comments Here’s a review of the new FreeBSD 5.2-RELEASE. A few new improvements were made to the kernel and several to the userland, and of course there was a bug or two. If you’re looking for an AMD64 operating system, FreeBSD 5.2 might be for you. About The Author Eugenia Loli Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker. Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 33 Comments 2004-01-22 9:12 pm I understand the Author’s point that if the hardware is labeled “Tier 1” then everything should work the same as the i386 platform however, Java is a port in the FreeBSD ports system and really has nothing to do with the release. It is my opinion that it is going to be a while before the AMD64 platform matures and has the the entire open source comunity behind it. This is same kind of problem that IBM will have on it’s new “G5/970” servers and is not the fault of SUSE. 2004-01-22 9:21 pm I will have to agree with this if you run several benchmarks. The 5.1 runs faster than 5.2, it might be because of the default dynamically linked or some simple silly mistake(s) that impact the performance negatively. Let’s hope, it will get better and better in future of -CURRENT that I am running right now. 2004-01-22 9:36 pm It’d be better if he spent more time on the i386 version. I’ll be installing tonight, maybe I’ll even write a little review. Although, I’d like to point out that the when kuser erased the root password, to solution is not to reinstall (that’s a very Windows approach), but to boot single user, or off that second live cd he mentions and vipw. 2004-01-22 9:55 pm I have 5.2 running on two machines (and Athlon and a Duron) and haven’t had any issues at all with either. Both had all hardware detected (custom built boxes, a few years old) and both are running like champs. The only dhcp error i had is that /etc/resolv.conf wasn’t created with my nameservers listed in there (works on 4.x). Once I added those, no problems. 2004-01-22 10:05 pm “[…] the new release of FreeBSD means absolutely nothing to OS X development.” This is not quite right. See http://www.apple.com/macosx/features/unix/: “Panther integrates features from state-of-the-art FreeBSD 5 into Darwin, the Open Source base of Mac OS X, to provide enhanced performance, compatibility and usability.” 2004-01-22 10:12 pm I have FreeBSD 5.2-RELEASE installed on my current testing computer, an Intel Pentium 4 1.8G machine with 256MB SDRAM and a 40GB HD; the sound card is some built-in type which I care not to find out about, but it DOES work in FreeBSD 5.2-RELEASE by simply adding the ‘pcm’ driver to the kernel. Then I wanted to install 5.2-R on my brother’s Athlon XP 2500+ with 512MB Corsair XMS DDR2700 RAM and an ATA100 HD, well, 5.2-R would not even boot. The install process won’t give an error, just hangs at the “Time Counter” part of the kernel text. Dissapointed, I blamed the failure on the motherboard, which is a very popular board, BTW, an ASUS A7N8X Delux. FreeBSD my favorite OS, ASUS my favorite board maker, when the combo won’t work, I feel sad. Next I tried to install it on a friend’s machine, an Intel 2.4a GHz on some Intel chipset motherboard built by Intel itself. The OS didn’t boot again. But I again blamed the boot failure on the machine because even Windows won’t play nice with that system, takes several reboots to get the clunky POS to even get to loading Windows 2000. This time, I think it really IS the motherboard’s fault, but it these boot failures do make me sad, considering the fact that 4.9-RELEASE will install fine on the two systems on which 5.2-RELEASE would not even boot. I really hope 5.3, or a bugfix version of 5.2 will be MUCH better. 2004-01-22 10:46 pm I agree with the author that it may have been released too early, I have had performance problems but over all this release is still as stable as it’s predecessor. I also hope that the release teams puts some more thought into the next 5.* release no matter how long it takes . 2004-01-22 11:46 pm The first release of OS X used the userland tools from NetBSD (don’t know the version) and FreeBSD 4.x. OS X.1 used mainly FreeBSD 4.x apps. OS X.2 used mainly FreeBSD 5.0 apps. And OS X.3 uses mainly FreeBSD 5.1 apps. These comprise the Unix parts of the OS. I have no idea where this guy gets his info, but it is *way* off the mark. 2004-01-22 11:50 pm That fact that it wont even boot on the A7N8X could very well be due to the nforce chipset on that model, for which nvidia offers no bsd support of any kind 2004-01-23 12:15 am Here’s where the FreeBSD/OS X facts came from: http://www.opendarwin.org/en/faq.php#lineage The OpenDarwin FAQ. -Jem 2004-01-23 2:32 am Call me when FreeBSD supports WinModems 2004-01-23 2:43 am Call me when WinModems support FreeBSD. ;P 2004-01-23 2:51 am x86 users should be weary of this article. I’ve put all 5.x releases of FreeBSD (so far) under very heavy load and I can tell you that 5.2 is the only one that hasn’t had stability problems with me. It also feels closest in performance to 4.9 (on a uniprocessor system) but of course a lot more scalable with SMP. Take this article with a grain of salt, as well as my opinion Anyone else been pleased with 5.2 like me? 2004-01-23 2:57 am But your mileage may vary. To me, Slackware is the best of both worlds. Sean 2004-01-23 3:39 am I, too, find 5.2-RELEASE superior to 5.1 (-patch10). It seems notably faster overall, really, and I haven’t run into any odd problems. Then again, I’ve never had stability problems with FreeBSD. Okay — one minor concern is that sometimes the sound driver will go all funky on me, but that happened — to a lesser extent — on 5.1 as well. Perhaps after I recompile the kernel (currently loading modules on boot) that, too, will subside. I can’t say why, but the BSDs seem to be the only operating systems that run acceptably well on this “ancient” K6-2 machine. FreeDOS, Win9X, NT 5.x, and GNU/Linux (Slack, Debian, Mandrake, Vector) are all so slow as to be unusable and don’t seem to support my hardware out-of-the-box. 2004-01-23 3:40 am About 2 weeks ago when it was just released i migrated one server from an OpenBSD 3.3 snapshot to FreeBSD 5.2. Somehow i feel a performance boost which i haven’t benchmarked and even better, one app i run has instead of ~65 MB memory usage now only about ~30 MB memory usage. I like that. The loss is encrypted swap and encrypted loopback partitions. Encrypted swap doesn’t exist for FreeBSD 4.x/5.x afaik. Loopback vnconfig-alike exists with mdconfig as replacement but this doesn’t have crypto support. There’s vncrypt in Ports, but i can’t get this compiled nor there are Packages. What i can’t get compiled either is SFS. Both vncrypt and SFS are succesfully compiled on FreeBSD 4.x, i just checked. I miss both. Though it’s not important for this box, it’s nice to know FreeBSD 5.x finally has NSS_LDAP. OpenBSD doesn’t, neither does it have PAM_LDAP, neither does it have an option like security.bsd.see_other_uids in the kernel. Finally, i’m not missing PF with integrated AltQ (i dislike IPF, IPT). They’re there, in Ports. Yay! 2004-01-23 4:04 am “Encrypted swap doesn’t exist for FreeBSD 4.x/5.x afaik” Well, you *could* use “GEOM Based Disk Encryption” in FreeBSD 5.x, but damned if I know how to set it up. As always, the FreeBSD Handbook is your best bet, but I found the examples on the relevant page kind of lacking… 2004-01-23 5:09 am I had installed 5.2 on couple of DELL m/cs. Its working fine without any problem. In new machines with ACPI, it works fine but on older machines it hangs while booting. But it working fine when disabling the ACPI. I also feels that there should be another round of testing should be carried on before releasing the 5.2. Overall, 5.2 is a better release compared to 5.1 in performance and more ACPI support. 2004-01-23 7:15 am I have an Asus A7N8X Deluxe board and I have no problem running BSD, althought it is NetBSD, on it. Everything works fine except for the Nvidia NIC. So I very much doubt it is the nforce chipset. 2004-01-23 7:19 am http://www.freshports.org/comms/ltmdm/ Should support any Lucent WinModem. Works fine with the WinModem in the Compaq laptop I’m using for a firewall. 2004-01-23 7:37 am Jem Matzan wrote: “Here’s where the FreeBSD/OS X facts came from: http://www.opendarwin.org/en/faq.php#lineage The OpenDarwin FAQ.” The Unofficial Darwin FAQ. copyright © 2000 Rob Braun 2004-01-23 8:01 am Overall, 5.2 is a better release compared to 5.1 in performance and more ACPI support. The ACPI stuff is very much missed and 5.2 fixes this which is great. I do hope though that next step is autodetecting sound card and asking about it on boot, as well as fixing the X-setup (including gfx card etc). For some reason I believe that somewhere during the 5.x process these things might be solved… 2004-01-23 8:41 am 5.2-release worked SO MUCH better for me. all prior 5.x releases would not even boot on my laptop or desktop due to ACPI issues. Until I could boot without disabling acpi, i was not going to switch. 5.2r was the first to boot with acpi enabled! I was impressed at how much they fixed in 5.2r over 5.1r.. 5.2r is certainly a legup over prior releases. 2004-01-23 11:22 am “I do hope though that next step is autodetecting sound card and asking about it on boot” If the FreeBSD folks would just compile the kernel with “device pcm,” the kernel should pretty much auto detect any supported sound card. As their sound card support isn’t exactly buggy, I’ve wondered why they do not do this. Not that it’s hard to load the correct module, or recompile the kernel ones-self, but the out of box experience in this regard is admittedly somewhat lacking. 2004-01-23 3:21 pm “I do hope though that next step is autodetecting sound card and asking about it on boot” If the FreeBSD folks would just compile the kernel with “device pcm,” the kernel should pretty much auto detect any supported sound card. As their sound card support isn’t exactly buggy, I’ve wondered why they do not do this. Not that it’s hard to load the correct module, or recompile the kernel ones-self, but the out of box experience in this regard is admittedly somewhat lacking. How many times must this lie be corrected. FreeBSD supports every sound card it possible can, out of the box. If you sound card isn’t working and it is supported then obviously it hasn’t been detected. Disable the PnP in the BIOS and reboot, that normally makes it “appear”, and if that fails, manually specify in the /boot/defaults/loader.conf and put “YES” next to the module which you need, save and reboot. Why is it every time we have some nimrod bringing up some diatrip about their supa-dupa-ultra-tweaka-sounda-carda not working with FreeBSD and then claiming that they needed to recompile the kernel. The only time you should need to recompile the kernel is either because you want SMP support OR you have a hyperthreading CPU and want it enabled on the OS, other than that, there is little reason to recompile as the benefits are microscopic at best. 2004-01-23 4:02 pm ** WHAT TO DO IF YOU HAVE A WEIRD APIC MAINBOARD ** (e.g. an Asus A7N8X) FreeBSD 5.2 works on your system if you disable APIC or boot without ACPI (which renders the APIC ineffective). To install, boot the CD without ACPI (second option in the boot menu). Then, when you have a working system, add ‘hw.apic.0.disabled=”1″‘ to /boot/loader.conf (or build a custom kernel without device apic), and you’ll have a working system with ACPI. 2004-01-23 5:55 pm I have installed it on my home system and a few servers at work. The install was perfect. It has run flawlessly (although it only has an uptime of two days so far). I am mostly very impressed with it’s speed. It feels very fast… much faster than other *nix’s I’v played around with. Also, it’s new startup rc.d is just awesome. No going back to 4.x’s for me. 2004-01-23 5:57 pm “How many times must this lie be corrected. FreeBSD supports every sound card it possible can, out of the box” It’s not a lie, and nothing he said was incorrect. In order for the kernel to proble for hardware, it needs to know about it, meaning that the support must be compiled in, or loaded as a module. OUT OF THE BOX (ie. on the install CD) this is not the case for sound cards in FreeBSD. I think that you should re-read Kingston’s post. I repeat, nothing in it was incorrect. In fact, Kingston did say “Not that it’s hard to load the correct module, or recompile the kernel” and so your points are pretty much moot. 2004-01-23 6:00 pm Oh, and one more thing: in FreeBSD 5.2 you don’t need to recompile the kernel to get SMP support as it’s in the GENERIC kernel configuration ;p 2004-01-23 6:24 pm FreeBSD makes a mean workstation, but it is still a server os. Sound support shouldn’t be built into a server os by default. Besides when you install FreeBSD you become a sysadmin, and setting up the hardware is your job not the systems’ ( autodetection is evil, the system shouldn’t do anything like that without explicit instructions from the sysadmin ) 2004-01-23 6:42 pm Thanks i totally forgot GEOM. It’s new in FreeBSD 5.x and i readed earlier about it when 5.0 was just out. Still have to read throught the fine handbook too as i’ve not done so yet; all was so easy and BSDish that there weren’t any problems, except those 2 ports and the apparent difference in vnconfig. 2004-01-23 9:20 pm “How many times must this lie be corrected” I’m begining to wonder this with regards to you. Do you even use FreeBSD? You don’t seem to have even a vague idea about how it really does things… We need more Solaris kernel developers posting here and fewer fruitcakes.. er, ChocolateCheeseCakes… 2004-01-23 10:19 pm “Call me when WinModems support FreeBSD. ;P” Indeed. Can’t wait for some of these hardware manufacturers to stop grovelling before MS.