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Debian Elevates KFreeBSD Port to First-Class Status

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the you-want-options-here-are-options dept.

Debian 376

Reader tail.man points out this press release from Debian which says that the port of the Debian system to the FreeBSD kernel will be given equal footing alongside Debian's several other release ports, starting with the release of Squeeze. Excerpting from this release: "The kFreeBSD architectures for the AMD64/Intel EM64T and i386 processor architectures are now release architectures. Severe bugs on these architectures will be considered release critical the same way as bugs on other architectures like armel or i386 are. If a particular package does not build or work properly on such an architecture this problem is considered release-critical. Debian's main motivation for the inclusion of the FreeBSD kernel into the official release process is the opportunity to offer to its users a broader choice of kernels and also include a kernel that provides features such as jails, the OpenBSD Packet Filter and support for NDIS drivers in the mainline kernel with full support."

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376 comments

OK (5, Funny)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | more than 4 years ago | (#29673807)

But, does it run Linux?

Re:OK (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29673849)

Yes, and may run them faster too.

Re:OK (2, Informative)

joe_bruin (266648) | more than 4 years ago | (#29674001)

But, does it run Linux?

No, it's GNU/FreeBSD. It can, however, emulate Linux system calls and therefore natively run binaries compiled for Linux.

Re:OK (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29674351)

Well, according to half the open source community it should just be "FreeBSD", without the "GNU".

Re:OK (2, Informative)

dazjorz (1312303) | more than 4 years ago | (#29674467)

No, because in Debian GNU/kFreeBSD, as the name indicates, the userspace is GNU, not BSD. Therefore, GNU/FreeBSD. (in Debian GNU/kFreeBSD, the k stands for "kernel".)

Re:OK (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29674605)

I was referring, by analogy, to the fact that half the community refuses to call Linux distributions GNU/Linux.

yay! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29673809)

First post!

SAY IT AIN'T SO JOHNNY !! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29673811)

Say it ain't so !!

1 st Post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29673815)

Is it possible ?

That's...nice (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29673829)

So how many other platforms and ports that no one will ever use does Debian plan to support? I assume they have infinite resources.

Cool (5, Interesting)

Faw (33935) | more than 4 years ago | (#29673833)

First apt based distro with ZFS? Something worthy of a post about...

I know about Nexenta, but FreeBSD has more drivers than OpenSolaris, right?

Re:Cool (1, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#29674089)

There has been a lot of hype about ZFS but what use is it in a desktop system? And honestly, while APT is great for desktop systems, I really wouldn't use it much on a server. So unless there is some amazing benefit for the average user with ZFS why even have this port as a main system?

Re:Cool (5, Interesting)

characterZer0 (138196) | more than 4 years ago | (#29674121)

Why would you not want to use APT on a server? What part of automatic dependency handling, automatic unneeded package pruning, easy security update application, and secure package retrieval do you not want on your servers?

Re:Cool (3, Insightful)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | more than 4 years ago | (#29674205)

Why would you not want to use APT on a server? What part of automatic dependency handling, automatic unneeded package pruning, easy security update application, and secure package retrieval do you not want on your servers?

Possibly the "automatic unneeded package pruning". It could be dangerous if your custom apps don't specify their dependencies correctly (say, they rely on something that had been automatically installed by one of their other dependencies).

Re:Cool (1)

gehrehmee (16338) | more than 4 years ago | (#29674245)

If your custom apps required you to install a package, it'll already be listed as manually installed, so it'll never be automatically uninstalled.

Re:Cool (4, Informative)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | more than 4 years ago | (#29674297)

If your custom apps required you to install a package, it'll already be listed as manually installed, so it'll never be automatically uninstalled.

The idea is that $app depends on $foo and $bar. But because $foo also depends on $bar, someone was able to goof up and only document that $app depends on $foo. So when $foo gets updated and drops its dependency on $bar, $bar goes away (due to being automatically installed) and $app stops working.

Re:Cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29674353)

I thought open source apps weren't $app, I thought they were 0$app? And if it costs money to fubar my system then I would hope that 0$app would drop its dependency on $fu and $bar and go with 0$free or something...

Re:Cool (2, Insightful)

flydude18 (839328) | more than 4 years ago | (#29674637)

And new installations of $app don't work either because users are never told they need $bar. This is a fairly obvious bug that gets noticed, and an update for $app adds the dependency to $bar.

Sure, I'm assuming that someone will fix it, but you're assuming that someone will goof up in the first place. Seems fair.

Re:Cool (4, Informative)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 4 years ago | (#29674455)

If your custom apps required you to install a package, it'll already be listed as manually installed, so it'll never be automatically uninstalled.

Not if the required package was already installed because a third package that required it and correctly specified it was installed. Uninstall that package, which seems to be utterly unrelated to your custom app, and BOOM, custom app breaks.

Re:Cool (1, Flamebait)

idontgno (624372) | more than 4 years ago | (#29674259)

Possibly the "automatic unneeded package pruning". It could be dangerous if your custom apps don't specify their dependencies correctly (say, they rely on something that had been automatically installed by one of their other dependencies).

That's OK, that's the kind of thing which is easily caught in non-production test server evaluation of the config change.

You do non-production evaluation of config changes, don't you?

C'mon, no professional just pokes "apt-get update" into the root shell on a live production server. That's just asking for hilarity, fail, and unemployment.

test? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29674363)

You do non-production evaluation of config changes, don't you?

C'mon, no professional just pokes "apt-get update" into the root shell on a live production server. That's just asking for hilarity, fail, and unemployment.

can you tell me more about the potential applications of this "test machine" idea? i've been asking for a test machine for 7 months and my predecessor for the 8 months before me, but since we've had no failures, who can find the money?

Re:Cool (0)

idontgno (624372) | more than 4 years ago | (#29674373)

Come to think of it, "apg-get update" is mostly harmless, but I still wouldn't do it on a production server until the entire "upgrade" process is beaten thoroughly down on a test server.

IMHO, you shouldn't do anything with apt on a production server until you're sure you're not shooting yourself in the foot.

Re:Cool (2, Informative)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 4 years ago | (#29674507)

That's a case for having apt on the test server, not the production server.

Come to think of it, you'd have apt on the production server solely because you don't want it to look different from the test server, but you'd still never use it, instead simply copying the package changes from the test server.

Re:Cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29674645)

That's not how we do it. We apt on test for testing and then apt on prod.

Copying packages/files and manual installs, etc. adds a point of failure. If apt works on test, then it will work on prod.

Re:Cool (1)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | more than 4 years ago | (#29674557)

C'mon, no professional just pokes "apt-get update" into the root shell on a live production server. That's just asking for hilarity, fail, and unemployment.

Because "professionals [wikipedia.org] " are perfect and have unlimited time and resources, right?

A couple days ago, I had something failing in test that worked in production... turns out someone had put an emergency fix for this in the production system, and because it was an "emergency" they hadn't bothered to update the test environment first (or at all, actually). Shit happens everywhere, so it's a bad idea to rely on shit not happening.

Re:Cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29674139)

You don't like having snapshots of your files, just in case something happens to them?

Re:Cool (1)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 4 years ago | (#29674143)

Care to explain why you wouldn't use apt on a server? You don't like security patches?

Re:Cool (4, Insightful)

spun (1352) | more than 4 years ago | (#29674115)

First apt based distro with ZFS? Something worthy of a post about...

I know about Nexenta, but FreeBSD has more drivers than OpenSolaris, right?

You seem to be asking some interesting questions, but fail to do so in a timely fashion.

Re:Cool (1)

shish (588640) | more than 4 years ago | (#29674275)

First apt based distro with ZFS?

Do we need ZFS any more, now that btrfs is nearly here, based on the same ideas but with zfs's design problems known about and worked around?

Re:Cool (1)

joe_bruin (266648) | more than 4 years ago | (#29674461)

For units with bitlength a multiple of 4, (0x2B | ~0x2B) == 0xFFFFF...

x | ~x = 0xFF..FF, which is equal to -1 in the 2's complement signed version of the resulting type. Why not (0x2B | ~0x2B) == -1

example:
    main() { printf("%d\n", (0x2b | ~0x2b)); }

Re:Cool (4, Insightful)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 4 years ago | (#29674579)

"nearly here". No other words can strike such fear into the heart of a production system sysadmin. How about something that's seen production use for years, instead?

Linux vs. FreeBSD (3, Interesting)

Boawk (525582) | more than 4 years ago | (#29673853)

As a UNIX/Linux veteran, I have to admit that I've almost no experience with FreeBSD. Could someone summarize why one might prefer it over Linux?

Re:Linux vs. FreeBSD (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29673883)

Features such as jails, the OpenBSD Packet Filter and support for NDIS drivers in the mainline kernel.

Re:Linux vs. FreeBSD (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29674057)

why is NDIS considered a feature? assuming we're both thinking of running Windows drivers.

Re:Linux vs. FreeBSD (4, Informative)

cbhacking (979169) | more than 4 years ago | (#29674395)

A lot of wireless hardware still doesn't have drivers (at least, not working ones) on Linux (or FreeBSD). For obvious reasons, NT drivers do exist. FreeBSD's kernel supports directly loading those NT drivers. Linux has ndiswrapper, a project to allow the same thing (ndiswrapper itself is a Linux kernel module that attempts to load the NT driver binary) but the FreeBSD NDIS support is a feature of the kernel itself, and supported as such.

For TL;DR folks: if you've ever had trouble making WiFi work in Linux, this might help.

Re:Linux vs. FreeBSD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29673897)

You will be more l33t for using it.

Re:Linux vs. FreeBSD (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29673915)

Using it would make you the archaeologist of UNIX/LINUX, because BSD is dead.

Re:Linux vs. FreeBSD (3, Informative)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 4 years ago | (#29674183)

That depends upon what you mean by veteran, and what you mean by UNIX. FreeBsd is closer to Unix due to its BSDness. So if you are used to kernels that are more Unix-y than Linux-y you may prefer it for that reason. If you are simply a fan of OSS that runs it as a desktop, there may not be any obvious advantages and perhaps some disadvantages due to lack of desktop like software. It should also include ZFS & dtrace which may entice you. Its also just a different kernel with a different schedule that may perform better for your specific tasks. Osnews carried a story about a benchmark between FreeBSD and Ubuntu [osnews.com] the comments from osnews readers are also pretty insightful which is why I linked to them and not the source article. .

Re:Linux vs. FreeBSD (2, Funny)

Xtifr (1323) | more than 4 years ago | (#29674629)

That depends upon what you mean by veteran, and what you mean by UNIX.

Ayup.

FreeBsd is closer to Unix due to its BSDness.

A peculiar interpretation. In the early days, I tended to prefer Linux over BSD because Linux generally acted more like the real UNIX(tm) systems at work, while BSD remained inherently...BSDish. Linux was like a Unix inflicted with a random, confusing scattering of BSDisms (like the operation of ps(1)). Of course, if you consider BSD to be The One True Unix (as many BSD fans do), then Linux looks like a UNIX with a random, confusing scattering of SYSVisms. In conclusion, I think I have to say that your first statement quoted above completely invalidates the second one, and I agree with the first. But I like BSD anyway. :)

Re:Linux vs. FreeBSD (5, Informative)

Niten (201835) | more than 4 years ago | (#29674199)

In my opinion, the biggest advantage of FreeBSD is how coherent the system is. Everything, from documentation to userspace utilities to the kernel, was developed and tested and released as a single project.

This allows for neat features that require cooperation between several system components, which would be more difficult to implement in the Linux world. For instance, in FreeBSD you can press ^T while cp is copying some huge file, and this will send SIGINFO to cp, causing it to print a progress report to STDERR. Handy.

So it seems to me that this Debian project defeats the most attractive feature of the FreeBSD operating system (by separating its kernel from its tightly integrated BSD userspace), while simultaneously casting aside Linux's advantages over FreeBSD (more drivers, more supported architectures, somewhat better performance, and--this may be controversial--in my experience, better stability). On the other hand, maybe Debian really can improve on the FreeBSD experience; apt rocks, and the Debian project does perhaps a better job than anyone of combining the disparate parts of the GNU/Linux ecosystem into a coherent operating system. So kneejerk reactions aside, I guess I shouldn't judge this until I have the chance to try it... still, I don't see myself trading in my Debian GNU/Linux anytime soon.

Re:Linux vs. FreeBSD (3, Informative)

XanC (644172) | more than 4 years ago | (#29674253)

For instance, in FreeBSD you can press ^T while cp is copying some huge file, and this will send SIGINFO to cp, causing it to print a progress report to STDERR. Handy.

Isn't this an internal feature of their cp implementation? I don't see what this has to do with the kernel, or indeed any program besides cp, at all.

Re:Linux vs. FreeBSD (4, Interesting)

poopdeville (841677) | more than 4 years ago | (#29674303)

On the other hand, maybe Debian really can improve on the FreeBSD experience; apt rocks, and the Debian project does perhaps a better job than anyone of combining the disparate parts of the GNU/Linux ecosystem into a coherent operating system.

I am not a big fan of the BSD userland, and I typically install "prefixed Gentoo" on my Macs. (Basically, it brings in a GNU user land, a fresh compiler chain, etc. It works well, but the repositories are very basic. It can help set up a Unixy programming environment, not a feature complete Unixy desktop system)

kFreeBSD Debian can potentially make Apt a real option on Macs. Fink sucks. Debian's repositories are much better.

Re:Linux vs. FreeBSD (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 4 years ago | (#29674427)

This allows for neat features that require cooperation between several system components, which would be more difficult to implement in the Linux world. For instance, in FreeBSD you can press ^T while cp is copying some huge file, and this will send SIGINFO to cp, causing it to print a progress report to STDERR. Handy.

I've looked up SIGINFO (which doesn't exist as such on Linux), and I'm not sure why this would require several components to work together. I imagine it works just like SIGINT does. You know, SIGINT, the signal sent to the running process when you hit ^C?

Or did you mean this when cp is running in the background?

'course, on Linux, the standard shell (GNU bash) and the standard cp (part of GNU coreutils [gnu.org] ) are by the same people, so if they really wanted to, there's nothing stopping them from linking the two.

Re:Linux vs. FreeBSD (1)

Sancho (17056) | more than 4 years ago | (#29674519)

I haven't noticed many stability differences between FreeBSD and Linux. What I have noticed is ABI stability--which is much better on FreeBSD.

5 years ago, I probably would have been really gung-ho about Debian FreeBSD. Back then, managing FreeBSD ports was difficult, and there wasn't a binary update mechanism for kernel or world. Now we have freebsd-update (which rocks), portsnap (for syncing your ports tree) and the port management tools are more fleshed out and stable. You still have to compile for ports updates, which takes time, so that's probably the main place where Debian can improve things at this point.

Overall, I like the FreeBSD system more than most Linux distributions I've tried. PF is great at what it does, though the modularity and extensions to Netfilter can be pretty useful. In ad-hoc testing of stock FreeBSD and Linux systems, we tend to get more throughput from FreeBSD bridging firewalls, and I personally find them easier to manage than most Linux distributions.

My "best of both worlds" would be the performance of FreeBSD, the drivers of Linux, and a flexible firewall. Unfortunately, I suspect that you only get one of these with Debian's FreeBSD offering.

Re:Linux vs. FreeBSD (2, Informative)

ground.zero.612 (1563557) | more than 4 years ago | (#29674203)

As a UNIX/Linux veteran, I have to admit that I've almost no experience with FreeBSD. Could someone summarize why one might prefer it over Linux?

FreeBSD is unix-like http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FreeBSD [wikipedia.org] .

You might prefer it over Linuxes for some of the same reasons you might prefer Apple's Mac OS X http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OS_X#History [wikipedia.org] .

Other than that, perhaps rock-solid stability, ZFS, or it's package management system (admittedly I don't use much Linux, but the pkg_add utility and the ports tree in fbsd are excellent). Oh and did I mention Linux binary compatibility?

Re:Linux vs. FreeBSD (5, Interesting)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 4 years ago | (#29674213)

One thing I noticed: a working and consistent sound system.

Re:Linux vs. FreeBSD (1)

quantum bit (225091) | more than 4 years ago | (#29674273)

One thing I noticed: a working and consistent sound system.

QFT.

Every time I've tried Linux on my desktop, one of the major things that's always driven me back to FreeBSD is the utter mess that is the Linux sound system.

Re:Linux vs. FreeBSD (5, Interesting)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 4 years ago | (#29674371)

As someone who has had a lot of experience with both, I switched to BSD in 1999. Back then the main reason was Ports. Needed to install MySQL: /usr/bin/ports/databases/mysql/ make && install. Then go grab a cup of coffee come back and it would fetch everything it needed, compile, and run. Or you could fetch a pre-compiled binary via pkg_add -r mysql. Hell, the first few version of PostgreSQL I used, the only way I could get the damn thing to work was to use BSD ports. The best you had with Linux was RPM and that was dependancy hell at times.

Also, back in the day it had a better tcp/ip stack and was generally more stable as a server platform and decent SMP support. And frankly it was far easier to support than "linux" was back in the day because there was a single FreeBSD, not umpteen different flavors.

Today it has ZFS and Dtrace from solaris ported over. I know ZFS hasn't made it into Linux as of yet, not sure about DTrace. But both are handy tools.

Currently we're deployed 100% on FreeBSD for our web, mail, and database servers running PostgreSQL. But that has more to do with using Pair Networks than any other single factor. They've been 100% FreeBSD and consistently in the top 10 in terms of uptime according to netcraft.

For the past 10 years, I've found FreeBSD to be a stable, secure server operating system that doesn't take a lot of system resources to run. It seems like Linux takes about 256MB of ram these days in most default configs to run a web server whereas our BSD machines were using closer to 150MB for the core OS. And was both systems running Apache 2.

We have to put an end to their monopoly of awesome (5, Funny)

SafeMode (11547) | more than 4 years ago | (#29673877)

It's nigh time that we look at the sheer scrumtrulesence of Debian and realize that it's reign of End All Be All of OS's must be curtailed and possibly even put an end to. No single OS should be this awesome. And we can no longer ignore the fact that it is.

Awesome! But... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29673879)

This is a really cool thing, except that I wonder how much this is going to be used? I'm sure there's a group of people who will be interested in this, and it might be a great stepping stone for those that want to move to/from FreeBSD to/from Linux, but a lot of the FreeBSD community is heavily focused on the fact that FreeBSD is developed as a complete OS. The userland and the kernel are developed by the same people and integrated. So while this is exciting, I'm not sure how much interest you're going to get from the FreeBSD community. Similarly, a lot of the Linux people who use Debian don't think of using Debian but think of using Linux, Debian just happens to be the distribution they choose.

Now, what may be interesting that'll come out of this is packages with better FreeBSD compatibility. That is something I look forward to.

Re:Awesome! But... (1)

characterZer0 (138196) | more than 4 years ago | (#29674135)

I have been using Debian for years. I have seen comparisons that indicate that I would get better performance on my mail server with FreeBSD, but I am not going to make that leap. However, if I get some or all of the performance advantage using Debian/kFreeBSD, I will try it.

Re:Awesome! But... (1, Informative)

SafeMode (11547) | more than 4 years ago | (#29674191)

and that's the problem with the terminology of calling Linux Linux and not Gnu/linux and the like. While being pedantic, it separates the fact that what people are familiar with in dealing with linux, has little to do with the kernel and mostly to do with the utilities and apps that run on top of it. With debian, you dont change the utilities and apps , so it's the same OS no matter what kernel you're using. The kernel just makes subtle changes in what those apps can do (and possibly let you run different apps that aren't compatible between kernels). Start thinking of "Linux" in the same light as we think "Unix". It's not an OS, but it's a superset of OS's. Distributions aren't simply repackaging an OS, they are different OS's. Some limited to just one kernel, some limited by the gui even. We need to stop visualizing them as all revisions of the same pseudo OS.

So no, For the most part, i dont think linux users who use Debian Linux will find themselves in an alien environment with Debian kFreeBSD. And i dont think it would be a stepping stone to using FreeBSD. I think it just gives Debian users (which should be considered it's own OS) a different backend that may do certain things better than the more familiar Linux backend.

With Debian crossing the kernel boundaries, i think the idea that the OS is the kernel will be even more obviously misguided. It's the Debian OS. It really can't be described as anything else. Debian refuses your limitations. Unless it has a non-free license.

Re:Awesome! But... (2, Interesting)

at_slashdot (674436) | more than 4 years ago | (#29674255)

While packages with better FreeBSD compatibility are nice, I wonder if getting more critical release bugs won't slow down Debian releases even more. If it's all positive development then is nice, but I'd like to know the downside of things too in order to tell if it's a good or a bad decision.

Re:Awesome! But... (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#29674501)

I wonder if getting more critical release bugs won't slow down Debian releases even more.

Unlikely, since the Debian method of handling RC bugs is to remove the package from the release if its got RC bugs. And that process seems brutally fast...

Re:Awesome! But... (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 4 years ago | (#29674281)

The users I see are those who want stuff that the freebsd kernel has but don't want to learn a completely new userland and package management system*

Now, what may be interesting that'll come out of this is packages with better FreeBSD compatibility.
I doubt there will be much of that. It's only the freebsd kernel that Debian are using. The C library and toolchain are still GNU.

*personally my only experiance with the freebsd "ports tree" has been bad. It seems that once a system had been installed for a while that you couldn't use the ports tree that came with it because you couldn't get the "distfiles" and when I tried to update the ports they borked the system. I then tried to update the core system to match the ports tree but I still ended up stuck with some library issues that I couldn't fix.

truly a testiment to OSS (not entirely F/OSS) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29673893)

Kernel choices is a good thing. Good job fellas.

I bet the HURD team is turning in their graves. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29673895)

Everything but HURD is being developed. Free Software Foundation should get it's priorities correctly in order. I wouldn't doubt if the gnashing of teeth sounds like this ( http://www.pornhost.com/3717444522/ [pornhost.com] ) as the team get's pounded down to the floor for lack of priorities.

If Linus Torvalds would put priorities to Linux, so why not HURD? As if the *BSD's will ever be a bastion for free and open source software, it is a bad choice to devote any resource to those platforms. Priorities NOW! Stop screwing the original master ( http://cgi.4chan.org/gif/src/1254939124218.gif [4chan.org] ) Debian

Re:I bet the HURD team is turning in their graves. (1, Offtopic)

rickb928 (945187) | more than 4 years ago | (#29674211)

Wait a minit. HURD is just another Plan 9.

You WANT to do that? BAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Seriously, HURD is pointless. If I want more CPUs, I buy a bigger chip. If I want more cores, I code it for GPGPU and get more cores on more video cards. If I want more drives, I get SASI or some other expensive SAN technology.

HURD doesn't solve anything. Of course, that makes it a great open source project. And some day, somewhere, someone will make something useful out of it.

Open Source Wins! Yaaaaaah!

Whatever.

I still dont see the point (2, Interesting)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 4 years ago | (#29673953)

if you want FreeBSD, use it.. If you want Linux, use it instead.

What real advantage is there in mixing things like this? And no im not trolling, i really don't understand the point here.

Re:I still dont see the point (1)

QUILz (1043102) | more than 4 years ago | (#29674005)

APT, maybe? I'm sure there are plenty of other reasons to combine Debian's userland with the FreeBSD kernel.

Re:I still dont see the point (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#29674041)

About the only thing that I can think of is that a Debian admin good with the few debian-only tools like APT feels more at home. I really don't get why Debian would do this though because of the fact that it will take away from its primary user base (Linux users) to help fill a possible niche of users (KFreeBSD users) that are small in number.

Re:I still dont see the point (2, Informative)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 4 years ago | (#29674181)

So just take stock freebsd, rename pkg_add to apt-get and you are done :)

Ok, im joking of course but you see the point im sure.

Re:I still dont see the point (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#29674073)

Debian is in effect raising BSD from the dead. IMO it's a good thing, the more OSes there are, the better.

Re:I still dont see the point (5, Insightful)

acey72 (716552) | more than 4 years ago | (#29674267)

Debian is in effect raising BSD from the dead. IMO it's a good thing, the more OSes there are, the better.

If being made into the un-dead means becoming more like GNU/Linux, I'd rather just keep me and my demonic servers six feet under please.

Re:I still dont see the point (1)

bzzfzz (1542813) | more than 4 years ago | (#29674097)

Well, the whole point behind a distro is that everything -- the kernel, a bunch of loadable kernel modules, the libraries, the userland, any X Window system you might choose to run, and various other stuff -- is assembled and tested by others, and some sort of effort is made to evaluate interdependencies and resolve them in a sensible way. It isn't a trivial job.

Sure, you could take an older Debian distro or one of the other distros, remove Linux, add FreeBSD, and you might get it to work. But I can guarantee that at least *some* of the packages will be broken. What Debian are doing is treating those problems as release-critical, so that they will fix them either on the kernel side or in the affected packages themselves before issuing the distro.

Re:I still dont see the point (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 4 years ago | (#29674161)

Well, the whole point behind a distro is that everything -- the kernel, a bunch of loadable kernel modules, the libraries, the userland, any X Window system you might choose to run, and various other stuff -- is assembled and tested by others, and some sort of effort is made to evaluate interdependencies and resolve them in a sensible way. It isn't a trivial job.

And this happens now on BOTH sides of the fence, so mixing this improves the situation how? I see it making it worse if anything.

Re:I still dont see the point (4, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#29674561)

And this happens now on BOTH sides of the fence, so mixing this improves the situation how? I see it making it worse if anything.

Software that compiles and installs on BOTH BSD and Linux, has not been all that unusual since, perhaps, 1991-1992.

Re:I still dont see the point (1)

spiffmastercow (1001386) | more than 4 years ago | (#29674101)

The point is that Debian is not supposed to be dependent on a specific kernel, but essentially it has been until now because HURD was such a failure.

Re:I still dont see the point (3, Interesting)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 4 years ago | (#29674173)

if you want FreeBSD, use it.. If you want Linux, use it instead.

Yeah, that's what Debian said.

Re:I still dont see the point (1)

livingdeadline (884462) | more than 4 years ago | (#29674177)

You'd get a dpkg [wikipedia.org] /apt-based distro with awesomeness that can't be ported to Linux due to GPL constraints ( [wikipedia.org] DTrace [wikipedia.org] , ZFS [wikipedia.org] ). These two tools alone bring an insane amount of features any sysadmin would love.

An apt-based system with some of the modifications and default configurations Debian provides is in lots of situations just that much simpler to maintain than a BSD userland. It's way easy to use a rolling release [wikipedia.org] in a Debian environment or upgrade between stable releases with a couple of commands.

Re:I still dont see the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29674215)

if you want FreeBSD, use it.. If you want Linux, use it instead.

What real advantage is there in mixing things like this?

"Mixing" things like what? Most of the software used in Debian e.g. GNU tools and X Window system isn't aimed at Linux in particular.

Re:I still dont see the point (1)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 4 years ago | (#29674257)

Debian is designed with absolute stability in mind. Everything should conform precisely to spec and never crash. If they can use multiple full-featured kernels, they have something to test against, and help weed out bugs on the kernel side that might otherwise not have been found.

Ports are valuable if only for the stability they add (and they're even more valuable if people use them so that they're deployed widely and help root out even more bugs.)

Re:I still dont see the point (1)

Daniel_Staal (609844) | more than 4 years ago | (#29674425)

One good one is to test your assumptions: Making sure software ports cleanly over a couple of different (although very similar) underpinnings means you are likely to find bugs that you might otherwise overlook. But which would likely bite you later.

Ok, so that's a reason for Debian to do it, not necessarily for you to use it, but it's a valid reason non the less.

Also, the Linux kernel and the FreeBSD kernel are tuned differently. It's quite possible that one would be better under some loads than the other. This gives you the choice.

Re:I still dont see the point (1)

Korin43 (881732) | more than 4 years ago | (#29674617)

Because Debian is not Linux and Linux is not an operating system. Debian is an operating system that uses either the Linux kernel, FreeBSD kernel, or HURD. Don't confuse the fact that the Linux version is most popular with the idea that it's the only one. The Debian project doesn't produce any kernel, so using the FreeBSD kernel is not any more of a "mix" than using the Linux kernel. As to why you'd want it: apt.

debian expectation from a "debian" user (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29673965)

firstly, i use debian only for that it release "stable updates". at work i use slackware on servers. i hate *rpm files ;) and most of server related support software is linked to redhat (shit) and suse (double shit).

some thoughts:
1) linux have more hardware support. i've an amd64 processor and nvidia goes only on freebsd on i386 platform. today linux is an "official" platform. not freebsd. **user people** likes hardware compatibility, not license power :)
2) why i continue to use debian if slackware arrive to 13Â release? and, checking startup speed it's better?
3) why someone tell that zfs is usefull for SANs works, when everybody use hardware-based SANs? like EMC or NEXSAN or others (that are embedded windows (EMC :P ) or embedded rtos/linux?

waiting...

Re:debian expectation from a "debian" user (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29674043)

>> 3) why someone tell that zfs is usefull for SANs works, when everybody use hardware-based SANs? like EMC or NEXSAN or others (that are embedded windows (EMC :P ) or embedded rtos/linux?

False. Many of these high end SAN systems run variants of FreeBSD.

Re:debian expectation from a "debian" user (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29674093)

30^6$ are the cost of freebsd? eh? or it's only support?
Qlogic Freebsd drivers are written, or not?

bye America. your time is done ;P

Re:debian expectation from a "debian" user (2, Interesting)

livingdeadline (884462) | more than 4 years ago | (#29674223)

ZFS with snapshotting and stuff is usable in any file system.. even root ones. True, ZFS is a memory hog, but man, imagine a root file system where you could have file system provided revision control for *every* file...

Re:debian expectation from a "debian" user (1)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 4 years ago | (#29674565)

Actually, that's saved our rears a couple times as we run ZFS on our development machine (freeBSD) and have accidentally over written files. Being able to recover the old ones saved at least a day's worth of work once.

Start the RMS timer... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29674129)

How long before he tries to shoe "GNU" into the FreeBSD name?

Re:Start the RMS timer... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29674505)

No need, it's already called Debian GNU/kFreeBSD.

What's Next ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29674133)

Running the OpenSolaris system on the FreeBSD kernel ?

Will Debian move to BSD permanently? (2, Interesting)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 4 years ago | (#29674171)

Is this a stepping stone to Debian moving from Linux to BSD permanently? I'm trying to figure out if the FreeBSD licenses are more compatible with the Debian philosphy, or less.

Re:Will Debian move to BSD permanently? (3, Insightful)

IgnoramusMaximus (692000) | more than 4 years ago | (#29674265)

Is this a stepping stone to Debian moving from Linux to BSD permanently?

Unless the elected leaders of Debian all go insane at the same time, not very likely.

I'm trying to figure out if the FreeBSD licenses are more compatible with the Debian philosphy, or less.

Far less. If Debian were to ever go BSD as its primary license (see point one), somewhere in the vicinity of 90% of its contributors would leave, probably to start a new GPL-ed distribution.

Inclusion of the BSD kernel is not the same as an adoption of the BSD philosophy, as the kernel is an interchangeable component of the whole, very much like the much maligned Hurd is, of which there is also a Debian-based experimental distro.

Re:Will Debian move to BSD permanently? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29674293)

No, Debian is not moving from one kernel to another. They are offering a choice between two kernels. Most people will continue to use Linux, but some niche of users' will prefer BSD. Both will be maintained permanently.

Re:Will Debian move to BSD permanently? (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#29674361)

Is this a stepping stone to Debian moving from Linux to BSD permanently? I'm trying to figure out if the FreeBSD licenses are more compatible with the Debian philosphy, or less.

Essentially boils down to, is GPL or BSD closer to the DFSG and the Debian Social Contract. BSD allows closing the source off, thus it permits (but certainly does not require) behavior that is pretty much the opposite of social contract #1, #2, and #4, and DFSG #1, #2, #3. The BSD license does not by any means require a third party to participate in anti-social behavior.

GPL is kind of like a nerf gun, you can't really hurt the community with it as long as you follow GPL rules, but BSD is more like a real gun, in that its possible to derive software using it to screw over the community, or, perhaps not, its your choice.

Re:Will Debian move to BSD permanently? (1)

MonsterTrimble (1205334) | more than 4 years ago | (#29674471)

As I recall and gleen from both Debian & FreeBSD, Debian will always redistribute it's changes to the community. However, this is a construct of GPL also. BSD does not require redistribution of the source code, only that copyrights are still in the binary & source code IF they are redistributed. That's why OSX can be based off BSD and not release the sourcecode. Long story short, the BSD licence is neither more nor less.

Off Topic side question: Is OSX's GUI GNOME? And if so, how does Apple get away with not release the source?

Re:Will Debian move to BSD permanently? (1)

rjstanford (69735) | more than 4 years ago | (#29674625)

Off Topic side question: Is OSX's GUI GNOME?

Nope... its Aqua.

And if so, how does Apple get away with not release the source?

See (1) above.

Re:Will Debian move to BSD permanently? (2, Insightful)

cbhacking (979169) | more than 4 years ago | (#29674527)

Permanently seems unlikely, especially since Linux still has more users and developers (AFAIK) than FreeBSD. That said, if they maintain FreeBSD as a supported kernel, then more of the software packages that are normally run on Linux will be tested and supported on FreeBSD. This is a good thing. One problem that *BSD has faced historically is that a lot of software isn't actually written for a UNIX-like OS (i.e. written to the POSIX API) but is instead written for Linux specifically. Not only does that make it less portable, it makes it less maintainable - Linux sometimes dumps things when it discovers a better alternative to its current way of doing this. Coding against the common API puts you at less risk of finding the API you use getting deprecated.

How long... (1)

NNKK (218503) | more than 4 years ago | (#29674239)

...before some vocal peanut-gallery subset of Debian developers decide this is a horrible, undemocratic idea and must be put to a vote of everyone who has ever contributed a toenail to the distribution?

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