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OpenSolaris Or FreeBSD?

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the ten-paces-and-turn dept.

Operating Systems 405

Norsefire writes "I am in quite a predicament. I decided a while back to branch out and use a new operating system (currently running Debian). After a bit of searching (trying Gentoo, Gobo and Arch along the way), I decided to use something that isn't Linux. Long story short: I narrowed the choices down to OpenSolaris and FreeBSD, but now I'm stuck. OpenSolaris is commercially backed by Sun, has nice enterprise-y tools in the default install, and best of all, a mature implementation of ZFS. FreeBSD is backed by a foundation, has a minimal default install and a rather new (but recently improved in the 8.0 release) implementation of ZFS, however it offers the Ports Collection (I quite like the performance boost due to compiling from source, no matter how small it might be) and a bigger community than OpenSolaris. That is just a minimal mention of the differences. I would be interested to see what the Slashdot community thinks of these two operating systems."

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What? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30253490)

Those are commie Operating Systems you have there. Get some Windows 7 and be a good patriot.

Just think about what you're saying in the future.

Re:What? (2, Informative)

lord_rob the only on (859100) | more than 4 years ago | (#30253670)

C'mon ! Parent is funny not a Troll :) Mods try to have some second degree ...

Only copyleft is "commie", BSD isn't. (0, Troll)

AlexLibman (785653) | more than 4 years ago | (#30253896)

Restrictive (copyleft) licensed software like the Linux kernel and the GNU toolchain indeed follows a communist philosophy that fails to see the value of free market competition, and instead relies on government force (see gpl-violations.org).

Public domain software is ideal, but the most permissive (least restrictive) FLOSS software stack you can get today would be based on minimalist "cover our legal butts" licenses like BSD. Other great permissive software includes Apache, PostgreSQL, Python, LLVM, X, vim, libtorrent, the Xiph codecs, and so on. Major kudos to Google for releasing Chromium under the BSD license, which for the first time in history finally makes a decent 100% free software desktop possible!

The Windows Interix subsystem could have evolved into a great UNIX server platform, but socialist governments (especially in Europe) place severe restrictions on what Microsoft can include in their products, which is the only thing holding them back. There has been some effort to get Gentoo's portage or NetBSD's pkgsrc working on it, but it never got off the ground. It seems like the open source community is ostracising Interix for purely irrational anti-capitalist reasons, and that's really a shame - it could have brought the power of UNIX to the >90% of users who run Windows! (Yes, there's also Cygwin, but it's embarrassingly slow, buggy, and incomplete.)

As Stallman's economic fallacies become ever more evident, I expect ever-more developer time to shift to 100% free (non-copyleft) software, which means there's a very bright long-term future ahead for platforms like FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD, NewForkBSD, and even MINIX 4!

Re:Only copyleft is "commie", BSD isn't. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30253946)

As Stallman's economic fallacies become ever more evident, I expect ever-more developer time to shift to 100% free (non-copyleft) software, which means there's a very bright long-term future ahead for platforms like FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD, NewForkBSD, and even MINIX 4!

I expect some BSDs to flourish as well, but if you think that'll happen because the GPL/LGPL stack is somehow shunned by the commercial players... well, all I can say is that you are the one with blinders on.

Copyleft is successful now because companies see value in contributing to copyleft software. You can keep trash talking all you want, that doesn't change the reality.

Trying to pin the non-success of SFU on the open source community is especialy rich...

Re:What?Christmas sale, free shipping discounts (-1, Offtopic)

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Dual boot. (4, Insightful)

Lando242 (1322757) | more than 4 years ago | (#30253496)

Dual boot and use them both. Any other world endingly difficult questions you need answered for?

Re:Dual boot. (1)

elronxenu (117773) | more than 4 years ago | (#30253640)

Don't talk to the Chancellor that way!

I have a PROBLEM. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30253826)

I am in quite a predicament. My boss hired me because I bullshitted my way through an interview, but really I don't know shit from shinola when it comes to servers and operating systems and such. I can play WoW... HELP ME PLEASE.

Re:Dual boot. (1)

isabellf (230363) | more than 4 years ago | (#30253976)

Who's moderating this ?!? The user clearly doesn't want some 'dual-boot' system to run a server operating system ...

First Post!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30253498)

FUCK YEAH!!!

Go the whole hog... (4, Interesting)

Enter the Shoggoth (1362079) | more than 4 years ago | (#30253504)

Rather than playing with just another un*x clone, try something like Haiku [haiku-os.org] or FreeVMS [freevms.net] or my personal favourite Plan 9 [bell-labs.com]

Re:Go the whole hog... (5, Informative)

MROD (101561) | more than 4 years ago | (#30253572)

Ah, but OpenSolaris isn't a clone, it's one of the true heirs to the throne, a direct descendent of the original UNIX lineage.

The *BSD family are now cousins to the original UNIX as all the original code was excised to make the 4.3BSD-lite codebase.

Re:Go the whole hog... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30253634)

BSD is the original code. AT&T was re-boxing their work. The same few files excised from BSD are also absent from Solaris for exactly the same reason.

ATT Bell Labs started Unix (and the C language) (2, Informative)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | more than 4 years ago | (#30254034)

"BSD is the original code. AT&T was re-boxing their work."

You have that backwards [slashdot.org] .ATT&T Bell Labs invented C, and then used it to write Unix, which was a play on the name of the OS called Multics, which was also AT&T Bell Lab's baby (along with MIT and General Electric.)

Re:Go the whole hog... (4, Insightful)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#30253674)

Except that they look outdated for at least a decade, and that their paradigms also are outdated.

I wish someone would come up with something new, that combines all good ideas of all OSes into a new basic architecture, after understanding that, creates some new, modern paradigms, and then re-builds all those good ideas from scratch into those new main paradigms.
Which should in itself already result in a load of new possibilities. But some new functions of top, and you have a certain winner.

The only problem is to get the resources to be able to pull something like that off. Because it is certainly possible. Hell I could do it, if I had the budget to hire the right people.

Re:Go the whole hog... (3, Funny)

jasonq (244142) | more than 4 years ago | (#30253820)

Hell I could get us to Mars, if I had the budget to hire the right people.

Re:Go the whole hog... (0, Flamebait)

mario_grgic (515333) | more than 4 years ago | (#30253902)

There is already such a thing. It's called Mac OS X.

Re:Go the whole hog... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30253962)

Most people believe, hardware support is a pretty good idea. A modern OS, that supposedly "combines all good ideas", but won't even run on my machine? Yeah, right.

Re:Go the whole hog... (1, Insightful)

mario_grgic (515333) | more than 4 years ago | (#30254040)

Really? And what kind of hardware does Solaris run on? What kind of hardware does HPUX run on? What kind of hardware does AIX run on?

Now what kind of hardware does Mac OS X run?

Re:Go the whole hog... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30254064)

Haha, no.. no, it isn't.

Re:Go the whole hog... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30253950)

try Darwin which is the base of OS X

Re:Go the whole hog... (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#30253964)

I hear ya. I was *hoping* that Google was going to do as much with their ChromeOS. Unfortunately, I'm not much intrigued with the tangent they have gone off on.

Re:Go the whole hog... (2, Insightful)

smash (1351) | more than 4 years ago | (#30253980)

Well, problem is that what you propose will result in another 10-25 years worth of development and mistakes in implementation to get back to where we are today (in terms of stability, feature set, and correctness under real world operating conditions). During which time the "old, outdated" operating systems will have moved on and left you behind (HURD, I'm looking at you).

What problems are you trying to solve? Re-writing code for the sake of rewriting code to make it look shiny or do shiny type things is all well and good, but if there is no real world problem to mitigate you're basically putting effort into a non-problem - effort that could be put to better use solving problems we do have - such as improving existing code.

Its easy to look at the current platforms out there and think that you could do better if you had the resources, but you're starting from so far behind. And with coding, you can't always just throw more programming hours at it. This is what Microsoft has done with Windows and look where they're at - it works, but no one knows how exactly (including coders within MS - hence the big project for minwin).

I guess my point is this: re-inventing the wheel for the sake of reinvention (eg, the linux way of "not invented here!" for many things) is wasted effort. Think long and hard before going down that path, but if you do - good luck with it. Many talented and intelligent people have tried and just added yet another fragment to the software universe.

Re:FreeVMS (5, Informative)

bpechter (2885) | more than 4 years ago | (#30253864)

Instead of FreeVMS which isn't ready for prime time... Get the OpenVMS hobbiest edition, load up SimH and run OpenVMS on a real emulated Vax. For fun you could boot OpenBSD, NetBSD or BSD4.x on the emulated Vax.

As far as Solaris vs. BSD -- I run 'em both here. Solaris mostly on Sparc and BSD on x86. I've done Solaris x86
and it's ok, but it's really fun to set up a jumpstart server and load up some old Sparcs.

I've even got SunOS 4.1.4 up...

Take a look at the software available on the http://www.openvmshobbyist.com/ [openvmshobbyist.com] site. A ton of VMS languages including C, ADA, Pascal, Macro32... TCP/IP and Clustering.

http://simh.trailing-edge.com/ [trailing-edge.com]

Re:FreeVMS (1)

bpechter (2885) | more than 4 years ago | (#30253868)

Also... take a look at the early Unix varients for PDP11 for SimH. You wouldn't recognize it.

Re:Go the whole hog... (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#30253952)

A fair post. You could have made an excellent post, had you told us what you like about them, and what you don't like. I've played with a bunch of OS's now, and continue testing and playing. Solaris, for instance, is a nice strong contender in the server field, but it is much more limited as a desktop or workstation OS than most of the Linux flavors, due to a shortage of ported applications.

I've tried Haiku - can't remember now why I passed it over. Probably as limited as Solaris as a desktop/workstation, but I'm not sure.

I'll try the others.

It would just be nice if you told us what it was that YOU liked or disliked about them. ;^)

Why? (1, Insightful)

linzeal (197905) | more than 4 years ago | (#30253508)

For instance, why are you switching from an OS with more support to ones with less support?

Re:Why? (2, Insightful)

MROD (101561) | more than 4 years ago | (#30253554)

Surely it depends upon what you mean by "support?"

OpenSolaris is backed by one of the big UNIX developers and is a true, direct lineage UNIX. You can also pay Sun for full enterprise OS support, which could include getting their programmers to fix a particular kernel or core OS bug for you within days.. if you're rich enough to afford the Platinum Support.

Re:Why? (3, Informative)

jimicus (737525) | more than 4 years ago | (#30253732)

Surely it depends upon what you mean by "support?"

OpenSolaris is backed by one of the big UNIX developers and is a true, direct lineage UNIX. You can also pay Sun for full enterprise OS support, which could include getting their programmers to fix a particular kernel or core OS bug for you within days.. if you're rich enough to afford the Platinum Support.

And you've bought hardware on their "supported hardware" list.

Re:Why? (2, Interesting)

Enleth (947766) | more than 4 years ago | (#30253560)

Looks like this is "just for fun" or to learn new, interesting things. A good reason, if you ask me.

Having used both briefly, I can't think of a good answer other than "try both" or "flip a coin" - neither is better or more interesting than the other and both are different from Linux in many subtle ways, enough to force you to learn something, and to cause that funny feeling when you perform some learned, almost mechanical tasks as if it were Linux and almost forget it isn't, when suddenly something unexpected happens (as in, a command having completely different output formatting or existing under a different name, or a subtle difference in directory structure, not a spurious rm -rf /, hopefully).

Re:Why? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30253776)

"Looks like this is "just for fun" or to learn new, interesting things. A good reason, if you ask me."

Yup, that would be a good reason to do BSD/Solaris.

But that's not a good reason to post it on slashdot, is it.

It would be like asking "I want to have fun. What does slashdot think I should do?" It's not as if he can't do both or that slashdot would know better which one HE would enjoy more, is it.

So, "Why".

Why ask slashdot?

BSD trolling.

Re:Why? (1)

war4peace (1628283) | more than 4 years ago | (#30253700)

...and to widen the question, why are you switching?

There must be a reason to switch, and that's exactly what doesn't appear in the article. What does Debian lack? What makes you want to switch? Is it because of some features, or maybe you got bored? One can't give you an advice based on just "I want something else".

Re:Why? (1)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 4 years ago | (#30253872)

Yep, why indeed would you use linux over Mac OS, or Mac OS over windows... after all, each of those has more "support" in sequence*.

* For a given definition of support, other peoples definition of support may vary.

Why pick just one? (2, Insightful)

argent (18001) | more than 4 years ago | (#30253520)

If you just have to pick one, I would wait on this decision until the Oracle-Sun deal is through and see what Oracle does. I don't think either is likely to go away any time soon, though, and if OpenSolaris is really open source it *would* be forked if Oracle tried to close it.

Given that you've already tried three different Linux distros, though, why not try both? You're going to be the best judge of what your requirements are.

Disclaimer: I'm an ex-FreeBSD-committer, so I have a dog in the hunt.

They're both good. What are you doing? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30253532)

If you're looking to learn something new, OpenSolaris is the way I'd go. Lots of commercial enterprises use Solaris, so you're learning a skill that is of direct to a great many businesses.

Of course, that's not to say that Solaris is the only Unix out there - I'm certain that FreeBSD is used in commercial enterprises as well, just not at as high a level as Solaris is. And, ultimately, learning the idiosyncrasies of more than one Unix environment means that you're well placed to adapt if (for example) you find yourself maintaining an AIX or HP-UX host - you've already had the pain of dealing with the differences between FreeBSD/Solaris and Linux, so the next step won't be quite so difficult.

I run emacs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30253534)

Is there an operating system under it?

What the emacs operating system needs... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30253786)

...is a good lightweight text editor.

Performance boost? (4, Insightful)

scsirob (246572) | more than 4 years ago | (#30253536)

I am always surprised when people make this claim about compiling from source giving a performance boost. Why would code compiled on your system run any faster than the same code on someone else's system?

Unless you know how to tweak the compiler flags for this particular app (and know them better than the developer who distributes the binaries), the binary delivered with the distribution will be just as quick as the one you compile yourself.

Re:Performance boost? (4, Informative)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 4 years ago | (#30253582)

For x86, you may get a very slight boost, because binaries in conservative distros/OSes (like FreeBSD) are still typically compiled for i686. Turning SSE and other such stuff on can let gcc generate more optimal code, particularly when floating point is involved.

On x64, it is of course quite meaningless.

In practice, either way, it's not worth the hassle at all.

Can give a boost even with same instruction set. (5, Interesting)

spaceturtle (687994) | more than 4 years ago | (#30253662)

You can also gain some performance by tweaking code for different processor types, even if they have the same instruction set. One example would avoiding XOR swaps on CPUs that have instruction pipelining, which is independent of the instruction set.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XOR_swap_algorithm [wikipedia.org]

This maybe wasn't the best example since XOR swaps are rarely useful anyway. I suspect that other things like word (mis)alignment and varying cache miss costs may be a factor for different processors.

Gentoo claims that picking e.g. core2 over nocona can boost performance by 15% (which seems a bit much to me), so picking the right x86_64 variant is still something that is considered. Not something I worry about though, unless I am compiling from source anyway.

Re:Can give a boost even with same instruction set (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 4 years ago | (#30253738)

Gentoo claims that picking e.g. core2 over nocona can boost performance by 15% (which seems a bit much to me), so picking the right x86_64 variant is still something that is considered. Not something I worry about though, unless I am compiling from source anyway.

Gentoo makes all sorts of outlandish claims which seldom stack up, in exchange for which you get an OS which if you don't keep it up to date religiously will ultimately suffer bitrot. Over time, emerge <package> becomes less and less reliable.

(Yes, I have used Gentoo. For several years. I concluded at the end that the amount of work was greater than the benefit.)

Re:Can give a boost even with same instruction set (2, Interesting)

caluml (551744) | more than 4 years ago | (#30253846)

(Yes, I have used Gentoo. For several years. I concluded at the end that the amount of work was greater than the benefit.)

Me too. I love Gentoo, and think it's pretty much as close to my perfect distro as possible. Gentoo Hardened is brilliant.

However, if you do what I do, and only update packages that have security issues, you'll find that suddenly one day, your profile has expired, and packages you need to bring it up to date have entered and left portage, meaning that you have to jump through hoops just to get Python working enough to update.

Say anything about this, and you get the statement "Just do emerge world every night", which is stupid for a production server.

I much prefer Gentoo to Ubuntu or Debian (and nothing to do with speed (claimed or otherwise)), but my current host? Ubuntu 9.04.

Re:Performance boost? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30253830)

Not sure about ports, but the use-flags in Gentoo Portage also allows for compile-time pruning of unwanted features, resulting in smaller, faster apps.

Linux-mag did some testing not too long ago; http://www.linux-mag.com/id/7574/1/ [linux-mag.com] . It seems especially in some cases, there is quite a lot of performance to be had in compile-time tweaking.

But yes, it's only worth it if you consider your own time very cheap.

Re:Performance boost? (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 4 years ago | (#30254048)

Not so much meaningless, it's just that the lowest common denominator is much closer to what you're likely to have, eg first gen athlon64 vs 386.

That said there are enough differences between AMD/Intel and different models that there are still minor gains to be had. Try some benchmarks, set the cpu type to athlon64, generic, barcelona or core2 and you get varying results (tested on my core2 quad q6600).. The differences may be fairly small, but they're free and add up.

[picking a fight over a socialist sig] (0, Troll)

AlexLibman (785653) | more than 4 years ago | (#30254052)

Mafia theft... err... "taxes" don't "pay for civilization", civilization comes from voluntary cooperation between self-interested individuals that occurs in the free market! Read Murray Rothbard, David Friendman, and other free market philosophers. The government is a violent and effectively unaccountable monopoly that has clipped the wings of human civilization, and may bring it to a screeching dystopian halt if not debunked and dismantled by the end of this century!

Re:Performance boost? (3, Interesting)

arcade (16638) | more than 4 years ago | (#30253624)

I only have my own anecdote about this, but I kind of like it.

Back around '00, I had several computers (I still do, but that's beside the point). I had my main desktop, and I had this nice old Pentium 200. I also had a TV-card (Hauppage, I think). If I tried using the TV-card on my main desktop, it would be hellishly slow for doing other things. In addition to some of my screen being covered by the TV-window, of course.

So, I installed the Hauppage card in the P200, which was running stock FreeBSD. It worked, sort of, but the machine was almost unusable for other things.

I tuned the kernel, fiddled with compiler flags, and remade the world.

And what do you think? The entire machine went from lurching slow to usable, while displaying TV. It was the "little extra boost" that was needed.

Now, of course, I don't think it would be of much use to me in most cases these days - as machines have grown so extremely much faster since back then. But, it's the story I tell whenever people ask about performance boosts from recompiling everything.

Re:Performance boost? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30253774)

so you finally figured out how to enable the overlay mode after rebuilding everything? nice job

Re:Performance boost? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30253654)

I personally don't care about the little performance gain from the flags. BUT you can get a lot of performance and customization options if you compile it from source because there are many options available for you only if you compile it. A simple example: try installing pidgin from ports, and you will see a bunch of options you probably never saw before! You can disable networks you don't use, enable some underground ones, etc. Now try compiling apache and other server stuff...

It is time consuming, but ports make it really easy for you.

Re:Performance boost? (1)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 4 years ago | (#30253702)

As I understand it, though the x86 instruction set is the standard, there are

1- optional elements to it: MMX, SSE1/2/3/4... I assume one-size-fits-all code either shuns these subsets, or branches. Both cases diminish performance.

2- Various underlying micro-architectures. So code compiled specifically for one will perform better than a generic compile: cache sizes/alignment, register count/swap...

Re:Performance boost? (2, Interesting)

Klaus_1250 (987230) | more than 4 years ago | (#30253762)

Why would code compiled on your system run any faster than the same code on someone else's system?

Because many pre-compiled packages use conservative optimization flags and may lack specific code paths for certain processors and instruction sets. They might also have chosen a compiler which doesn't produce the fastest code around. I'm not sure how it stands today, but a few years back, ICC produced code up to 30% faster than GCC or MSVC.

The difference all depends on the type of application of course. Overall, you might only see a performance difference of 1-5%, but for specific parts of the application, performance increase may be anywhere between 10 to 200%.

Last, compiling yourself also means you can choose what gets compiled and what not. Which in turns reduces diskspace and memory usage of the executable and may increase security and performance a bit. For things like Kernels and such, you need to compile it yourself if you want support for specific things (ALTQ for PF under FreeBSD for instance).

Re:Performance boost? (1)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 4 years ago | (#30253894)

I'm not sure how it stands today, but a few years back, ICC produced code up to 30% faster than GCC or MSVC.
That was my understanding, but it's 10 years old... What I do know is that now Clang [llvm.org] is considered production ready for C and Objective-C code, and it produces *significantly* faster code than gcc at least. I expect ICC probably still beats it, but it's a good improvement.

Re:Performance boost? (2)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 4 years ago | (#30253788)

Why would code compiled on your system run any faster than the same code on someone else's system?

Emphasis mine. You are making an unwarranted assumption - that it is the same code. When compiling a port, you can often set flags to change which functionality is compiled into the port. For example, if you are running a server, you can specify that support for X11 should be omitted. Generic binaries can't be as flexible.

Re:Performance boost? (1)

sqldr (838964) | more than 4 years ago | (#30253796)

Memory usage and load times with library linkage. It always amuses me when on certain systems, as a result of downloading KDE, it pulls in libraries which are linked against other libraries, which in turn are compiled with GTK support. I don't use GTK anywhere, and yet I have its code sitting in my memory, needlessly. If you compile it yourself, you don't have these needless dependencies.

That said, the difference in loading times is negligible, and I haven't had an OCD approach to software installation for a while. I also trust the likes of $DISTRO's packagers to have a lot more experience in compiling software than I have, since, er, that's what they do all day.

Re:Performance boost? (1)

AlexLibman (785653) | more than 4 years ago | (#30254030)

I get at least a 10% performance boot recompiling i386 binaries for pentium4 with all gcc optimisations. Even more importantly, you get your packages to include the libraries you need and avoid those you don't. Most precompiled distros are getting really bloated, and you can't uninstall many things you don't need because whoever compiled another package decided to link it with everything plus the kitchen sink.

The more settings are set at compile-time, the faster a package runs. Compiling also allows for greater hardware flexibility, including having your software take full advantage of all the hardware you have on your system: CPU's, graphics, sound, specialty network adapters, and so on. In the future, hardware platforms will continue to become ever-more diverse. An ideal compilation for a server with 256 128-bit CPU's is very different than the ideal compilation for a wristwatch!

Precompiled packages become a self-fulfilling prophecy that discourages market innovation. Imagine you're a small-time electronics manufacturer in Taiwan and you want to release a hardware product that would boost performance of certain applications 50%, but it will only work if the software is compiled to take advantage of that. If your target customers are running precompiled distros, your product launch is no-go until you convince the distro maintainers to compile all their packages your way, or you have to set up your own package repository for your clients. If your target customers are running Gentoo, on the other hand, after installing your hardware they'll just have to set a new USE flag and re-emerge!

OpenSolaris is more supported (4, Interesting)

vanilla_face (1369183) | more than 4 years ago | (#30253538)

When it comes to things like flash, acroread, nvidia drivers, fluendo (multimedia plugins, DVD Player), skype etc being supported, having the commercial entity behind OpenSolaris does seem to help...I think behind the scenes Sun offer some sort of incentive to these companies to support OpenSolaris. I do like that FreeBSD is backed by a foundation though, it is much more reassuring to an open source project to know that its backing entity wont dump them the next day.

Re:OpenSolaris is more supported (3, Informative)

lcs (61658) | more than 4 years ago | (#30253678)

I have to say that I really love OpenSolaris.It's polished, works out of the box with nvidia, has good Java support (LiveConnect actually works in Firefox) and the admin tools for stuff like zfs, zones, glassfish, fault management, system services etc are really excellent.

The list of software packages is still a bit limited, but at least most important things are there. Blastwave, /contrib and /pending helps a lot.

The thing that really bothers me, however, is the lack up security updates in /release. There have been very few updates to 2009.06, even though Mozilla, for instance, has released Firefox 3.5 updates several times. It's hard to believe that 3.1 beta 3 (which is what's in 2009.06) would be immune to all these security issues found in 3.5 ..?

Why switch operating systems due to it's own sake? (2, Insightful)

Zarhan (415465) | more than 4 years ago | (#30253540)

You didn't say what's your specific need. If you are just testing out different systems and doing some studying, then the correct answer is probably "Both". If you have specific need then would have been nice if you outlined that. FreeBSD is more towards a desktop, Solaris is more for servers, but you already know that. So if you aren't just doing this out of academic interest, would sure help to know your requirements (and why didn't the Linux flavors work out?).

Nobody will probably help you (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30253556)

because you forgot to write down the most important part of your question: for which purpose is this server intended.

Article is trollbait (1, Insightful)

bmo (77928) | more than 4 years ago | (#30253562)

Goddamnit, is this /g/?

> gentoo, gobo, arch

You have been trolled.

> compiling from source no matter how little performance boost it gives

Still trolled by gentoo -O flag weenies, aren't we?

> using Debian

This is a good choice

> Switch to OpenSolaris

No, just no, not unless you have a specific reason to. As a desktop? They don't call it Slowaris for nothing, y'know.

> Mature ZFS

Well, it is Sun, after all. They did write the bloody thing. But don't forget that ZFS has its own overhead, so if you don't have a use for it, you're wasting your time and your system resources.

> FreeBSD

Why? Not unless you have a specific reason to. You're already running a stable operating system that works on your hardware. Have you looked to see if the drivers you want are available? If it supports your hardware, go for it. If not, why put yourself through hell?

> Corporation vs not-for-profit

Doesn't make any difference, bro, unless you are trying to start a flamewar. It either does what you want or it's crap.

8/10, would rage again.

--
BMO

Re:Article is trollbait (1)

ettlz (639203) | more than 4 years ago | (#30253726)

Heheh, yeah... way to flush out all the FreeBSD zealots.

Re:Article is trollbait (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30253752)

Well said, Sir!

Re:Article is trollbait (1)

BountyX (1227176) | more than 4 years ago | (#30253834)

bmo is right, just stay...you have no real reason to switch, unless you want a different package management system, which doesn't seem to be the case. I was thinking about switching to BSD myself and decided not to because I was happy with my Fedora install and the BSD's are a tad bit behind on performance compared to Linux according to these benchmarks [bulk.fefe.de] ( I know they are a little outdated, but do include kernel 2.6).

Sure thing bro (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30253860)

>> Corporation vs not-for-profit

>Doesn't make any difference, bro, unless you are trying to start a flamewar. It either does what you want or it's crap.

There speaks a man who believes that is on the winning team and has a bigger slice of the cake. Technical questions are just one part of the equation bro. Ethical considerations are important to some people y'know.

Chill out dude.

(Ethical: look it up in the dictionary)

Re:Article is trollbait (1, Troll)

Norsefire (1494323) | more than 4 years ago | (#30253936)

I knew when I was composing this question that someone would accuse it of being trolling or flamebait, this is the internet after all and any attempt to compare things on the internet must be trolling, right?

You have been trolled.

Nope. They are the distros I tried. Gentoo for its compiled-from-source nature, Gobo for its new approach on the filesystem, and Arch because it was recommended that I try it. All had their hangups but if I was sticking with Linux I would probably use Arch.

Still trolled by gentoo -O flag weenies, aren't we?

I also like setting compile-time options, applying patches etc. that you can't do with packages.

This is a good choice

Yeah ... but I feel like a change :-)

No, just no, not unless you have a specific reason to. As a desktop? They don't call it Slowaris for nothing, y'know.

Now who's trolling/flambating?

Well, it is Sun, after all. They did write the bloody thing. But don't forget that ZFS has its own overhead, so if you don't have a use for it, you're wasting your time and your system resources.

I have plenty of use for ZFS, it was one the main factors in narrowing my choice down to FreeBSD and OSOL.

Why? Not unless you have a specific reason to. You're already running a stable operating system that works on your hardware. Have you looked to see if the drivers you want are available? If it supports your hardware, go for it. If not, why put yourself through hell?

I have both OSOL and FreeBSD installed already. But there's only one of me so I can't use both. So I wanted to see what the general opinion about those two was.

Doesn't make any difference, bro, unless you are trying to start a flamewar. It either does what you want or it's crap.

No it doesn't, I was merely mentioning some differences.

Re:Article is trollbait (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 4 years ago | (#30254012)

No, just no, not unless you have a specific reason to. As a desktop? They don't call it Slowaris for nothing, y'know

It's the long boot time that gives it the name (and makes its appearance in a Stargate episode amusing when they need the gate going in 20 seconds and the machine controlling it is still showing the openboot prompt). Once it's running it isn't slow. I'm running it on some pretty old sparc hardware and it runs quite well. NFS on linux for one thing has not yet caught up so it's faster in some areas, and zones are nice.

Linux has more users and software (3, Interesting)

h00manist (800926) | more than 4 years ago | (#30253564)

I assume you are looking for a server. If it's for a desktop, more users and software help a lot. Although BSD and Solaris are more reliable indeed, the intricately, meticulously designed user-oriented design interface of Linux provides details and config files enough to entertain for generations. I have never tried out GnuStep [gnustep.org] , however an open source nextstep-like interface seems promising.

Re:Linux has more users and software (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30253960)

You have a hardon with config files? Good for you.

Try both (2, Interesting)

Logic Worshipper (1518487) | more than 4 years ago | (#30253574)

Make a VM of each system and see what you like. The other question is what do you want to do with your system? Run it on your laptop? Use it as a web server? A directory server? Or something else?

This is question is like being asked by a computer illiterate user "What kind of computer should I get?" I always ask "Well what do you want to do? If you want to surf the web, maybe type a paper or two, get a netbook, if you want to play games, get a desktop, if you need to carry it to school or work..." It all depends on what will best preform the functions you're looking for.

If your goal is to learn, try both.

Re:Try both (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30253586)

What he said.
These two systems are engineered very differently and suit very different kinds of people.

My take on this (1)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 4 years ago | (#30253576)

I've been using FreeBSD since somewhere around 1999-2000 and I've also played around a bit with various versions of Solaris and the way I look at it is:

If you want to learn something that you can put on your resumé then Solaris is probably the better choice, likewise if you want mature ZFS support, other than that I'd have to say that FreeBSD is the better choice for most people but as a long time FreeBSD user I suspect I'm quite biased, FreeBSD has always made a lot of sense to me, it's well-organized and I just happen to like the simplicity and sane layout that it has. But yeah, neither OS is Debian/Ubuntu and you'll have to learn their little peculiarities (and there's no point fighting it, trying to dump all software into /usr and making /usr/local a symlink to /usr because that's how your Linux distro of choice did it isn't going to fly with FreeBSD, just accept that when you install software it goes in /usr/local and be happy with it :).

(Yes, I once (1998-ish) saw what was a large Linux distro at the time pull that stunt)

/Mikael

Re:My take on this (3, Interesting)

CoolVibe (11466) | more than 4 years ago | (#30253648)

I'd have to agree here. Although FreeBSD's ZFS support is getting quite good now. I'm using it on a production system and it hasn't let me down. It even saved my bacon a couple of times (yay, ZFS snapshots). I guess it depends on what you want to do. Both have strong features. OpenSolaris has Crossbow, but FreeBSD will have vimage soon. Both have Dtrace and ZFS. Solaris has zones, FreeBSD has jails. But I think FreeBSD is easier to tinker around with (personal opinion).

Re:My take on this (1)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 4 years ago | (#30253736)

Exactly, I'm only using ZFS on FreeBSD for my home file server but it has run fine so far (and considering the issues I had with the combination of cheap consumer SATA disks + expensive RAID controller that I used before it would have to act up a lot to be worse than that (although I suspect if I had gone with better disks they wouldn't have been such a PITA)).

As for the tinkering, yeah, I agree that FreeBSD feels a bit friendlier in that respect, I've also never had FreeBSD tell me that there are upgrades available and then proceeded to fill the root partition of the system and crash, I suppose that's partially my fault for not checking how large all the update files were but still...

/Mikael

Re:My take on this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30253784)

As for the tinkering, yeah, I agree that FreeBSD feels a bit friendlier in that respect, I've also never had FreeBSD tell me that there are upgrades available and then proceeded to fill the root partition of the system and crash, I suppose that's partially my fault for not checking how large all the update files were but still...

More likely your fault for not having /var on a separate partition.

Re:My take on this (1)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 4 years ago | (#30253798)

Well yeah, the Solaris installation suggested I just put everything on one big partition and I decided to at least split off home directories and /usr from that. Guess I should've done a better job, still doesn't make sense not to warn about the whole "first thing that happens after you login is that the system will attempt to download 10+ GiB of update files" thing.

/Mikael

Grow Up (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30253608)

Why don't you get a fucking life and make a decision all by your little self. You may even be an adult

Re:Grow Up (1)

oPless (63249) | more than 4 years ago | (#30253636)

Whilst I don't agree with the profanity, I agree with the sentiment.

This site used to be such a haven for trolls and geeks, now it's full of wannabes for both :(

self-compiling not such a black/white matter (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#30253642)

I quite like the performance boost due to compiling from source, no matter how small it might be.

While I generally agree... (I use Gentoo for years on multiple systems and love/hate it.)
What if the boost is smaller than the resources it takes to compile it in the first place?

If you once compiled gcc, glibc, kdelibs (or all of gnome) java (se) and ghc (with vmem requirements up to 8GB!) in a row, just to go from x.x.x.2 to x.x.x.3, you know what I am talking about. Here that can take a good day. And the gain from not simply keeping the old version is next to nothing, but often still required because of a security hole.

Here, a weekly update can consist of over 50 packages wanting to be re-compiled. For shit like going from -rc1 to -rc2, or a changed use flag (compile option).

I wonder if it wouldn’t be simpler, to just compile every combination of configure setup / architecture once, and put the binaries on a giant (and I mean bigger-than-google-by-some-magnitudes giant) server. ;)
(At least if you have multiple similar servers, you can save time by using ccache and "binpkg"es.)

Re:self-compiling not such a black/white matter (2, Insightful)

jimicus (737525) | more than 4 years ago | (#30253746)

Or you could use Debian and accept that your distribution hasn't been compiled with -Oevery silly little option for a fraction% improvement.

Re:self-compiling not such a black/white matter (1)

caluml (551744) | more than 4 years ago | (#30253862)

Or you could use Debian and accept that your distribution hasn't been compiled with -Oevery silly little option for a fraction% improvement.

This might surprise you, but I actually don't use Debian because I don't like it, not because it "hasn't been compiled with -Oevery silly little option for a fraction% improvement".

Re:self-compiling not such a black/white matter (2, Insightful)

caluml (551744) | more than 4 years ago | (#30253858)

There needs to be a Gentoo Stable version of Gentoo, where packages update very infrequently, but people test the ebuilds to make sure that they work even if you're not updating from the version that was issued 15 minutes ago.

FreeBSD (3, Interesting)

tgetzoya (827201) | more than 4 years ago | (#30253644)

I've used both as my primary desktop (each for a few months) and if you want to try something new, go with FreeBSD. OpenSolaris felt like GNU/Solaris, which it mostly is, with a few Sun coded things (I think it was libc and a few more of the libraries). FreeBSD was all about fine control: I found myself wanting to recompile the kernel and playing with rc scripts and asking my OpenBSD-using friend so many questions he demanded I switch to Linux:-D
Plus, when you've spent a whole night figuring out why KDE won't compile correctly on FreeBSD....it feels good, like you've accomplished something.

FreeBSD ZFS kernel panics? (3, Interesting)

david.given (6740) | more than 4 years ago | (#30253660)

Does ZFS on FreeBSD still suffer from random kernel panics when it gets low on memory?

I'm particularly referring to this bit of documentation:

To use ZFS, at least 1GB of memory is recommended (for all architectures) but more is helpful as ZFS needs *lots* of memory. Depending on your workload, it may be possible to use ZFS on systems with less memory, but it requires careful tuning to avoid panics from memory exhaustion in the kernel.

Yeah, kernel infrastructure that can't cope with running out of memory. That fills me with confidence. Particularly I've run ZFS on OpenSolaris on a 48MB Pentium laptop and it coped fine.

Unfortunately the FreeBSD ZFS pages are a wiki, which means they're badly organised and out of date. I have no idea when the above was written or whether it's still valid. Does anyone know?

OpenSolaris is desperate (1)

1s44c (552956) | more than 4 years ago | (#30253664)

OpenSolaris is Sun's desperate attempt to keep up with Linux. Sun had a great history but they just aren't as relevant anymore, there is little they have that redhat ( for example ) don't. Solaris just isn't in a position to make any kind of comeback at this point.

It's pretty sad that Linux has taken market share from good companies like Sun at least as much as Microsoft.

It looks you are looking for a free sollution.. (1)

Nikolai D. (1395189) | more than 4 years ago | (#30253672)

IMHO for server CentOS for desktop Ubuntu for workstaion Fedora (otherwise i had of sayd for home Mac for office Win everything else Linux) The rest isnt serious (maybe even practical is what i mean) enough. :) hf

use pkgsrc for third party apps (1)

blymn (621998) | more than 4 years ago | (#30253698)

You could try using pkgsrc (http://www.pkgsrc.org/) on opensolaris for third party applications. There are a lot of packages for opensolaris already but I think that pkgsrc beats them. Alternatively, you could try your hand at sourcejuicer and feed the apps you want into the opensolaris pool.

Debian GNU/kFreeBSD (4, Informative)

lord_rob the only on (859100) | more than 4 years ago | (#30253706)

You are used to Debian ? Then try Debian GNU/kFreeBSD [debian.org] .

The Debian distro on top of a FreeBSD kernel.

Re:Debian GNU/kFreeBSD (2, Insightful)

hackel (10452) | more than 4 years ago | (#30253832)

I have no mod points, but this is exactly what I was going to suggest... Get the best of both worlds.

Re:Debian GNU/kFreeBSD (3, Informative)

BountyX (1227176) | more than 4 years ago | (#30253870)

Here is a review of Debian GNU/kFreeBSD [talkgeektome.us] for those unfamiliar with it. It was one of the only recent ones I could find.

Depends on what you are looking for (2, Insightful)

mendred (634647) | more than 4 years ago | (#30253794)

From reading your post, it looks like you are looking to use a desktop OS (I may be wrong). Also it seems to me that you have tried various distros of linux but are rejecting them because it doesn't hhave ZFS.

Therefore if we are to restrict our options to OpenBSD and FreeBSD i would lean towards FreeBSD simply due to the large no. of apps available through ports.Also i believe driver compatibility is a little better in FreeBSD, especially recently with nvidia cards.

However as another poster said, the best judge is you. therefore install each and try them out and see which works best with your hardware. you may also want to compare desktop responsiveness with Linux, as I believe that recent linux kernels have received further optimizations for desktop performance.

If its a server OS you are looking for then it depends on what you are using it for (LAMP, file server, DB host etc.). If you are looking to run commercial DBs like Oracle on it, a certified OS like RHEL/Solaris may be a better bet if u plan to ask for support. Thats a totally different ball game all together and is something on which one can write pages on.

Good luck on whatever you choose to use.

GNU Hurd (0, Offtopic)

Lord Lode (1290856) | more than 4 years ago | (#30253806)

How about GNU Hurd, that's something really different.

hm (5, Informative)

Danzigism (881294) | more than 4 years ago | (#30253836)

Although I always enjoy the opportunity to recommend FreeBSD to somebody, I didn't really get an explanation of your needs. Are you going to be running servers? Desktop? Or just having fun? I imagine that you're just going to have some fun since you just want to learn something new. In that case I'd definitely go with FreeBSD. It is a great "learning" OS and is well documented thanks to the Handbook [freebsd.org] . The /usr/ports collection has the source code for just about any piece of software you'd ever need, and the dependencies are all taken care of for you. You get some pretty awesome hardware support, server daemons are incredibly easy to configure, it is robust as all hell, doesn't use a lot of resources, can also make a great desktop OS, lots of smart people on IRC you can get help from, and countless amounts of other things. Additionally I'd go with FreeBSD because there are a large percentage of servers on the internet use this OS. If IT is your profession, it definitely won't hurt to learn FreeBSD. All you need to know is, /etc/rc.conf and /usr/ports. Then you just move on from there :-) Good luck!

Drivers, Drivers, Drivers.... (2, Interesting)

mangastudent (718064) | more than 4 years ago | (#30253900)

I'm using Debian stable right now as the solution for my particular requirements (development desktop that's a good Xen Dom0), but I'd much rather be using a BSD (the first machine I bare metaled was BSD 2.x onto a PDP-11/44 in 1981 (sic)) or Solaris (it took me most of a decade, but I eventually got over their switch to AT&T :-).

The big problems with FreeBSD when I made my decision were no Dom0 support and an immature ZFS, and the problem I've always had with Solaris is solid mass storage device driver support, at least for vaguely affordable controllers that don't require a PCI-X bus. E.g. when I last checked nVidia SATA chipset support was iffy (which was odd since a classic workstation they shipped had a rebadged Tyan motherboard with a nVidia chipset; I've got two of those Tyans in prodution and they're rock solid ... with Windows XP :-( hey, I'm not willing to put my parents on Linux or whatever quite yet )).

This may have improved since then, but be sure to check for problems in the field.

What are your goals??? (2, Insightful)

syousef (465911) | more than 4 years ago | (#30253914)

Without that information, all you'll get is a bunch of people suggesting their own pet projects.

Even if you just want to learn and play you might want to have a goal. Do you want to learn to administer ZFS? You seem to be fixated on it.

Why? (2, Interesting)

funkboy (71672) | more than 4 years ago | (#30253928)

What makes you want to blow away something you're already running & comfortable with? You give no reason for switching away from Debian.

Suggestions:

  - For Linux, Debian is pretty much the granddaddy, and can likely be wrangled to do whatever you want. You seem the explorative type. If you're comfortable with Debian, figure out how to do whatever it is you're interested in on Debian and get on with it. Changing distros won't change your life.

  - For other OSs, you're blessed to live in the age where you can just grab virtualbox, fire up a VM of whatever it is you wan to play with, and fiddle with it. When I was messing with all this I had 5 crappy old noisy minitower PCs around my desk (and a NeXT on top of it, which was what I actually used as my workstation becuase it Just Worked). If you're really really impressed by something that you've monkeyed with in your VMs for a while, switch to it if you really want to, but honestly in ISP and hosting type shops Debian is what I see most.

  - It sounds like you want slowlaris or FreeBSD just to get ZFS, presumably because you have an ever-expanding collection of media, pr0n, und w4r3z and want to be able to just add disks to your storage pool on the fly and all the other spiffy stuff that ZFS does. If you want to kick the tires on a new filesystem technology, may I suggest that you grab the latest iso release of DragonFlyBSD and check out HAMMER? It's really a lot simpler to use than ZFS, and personally I feel it's really designed The Right Way.

  - If you really want a challenge, get a Mac (or buy yourself Snow Leopard and make yourself a hackintosh) and learn how to use the powerful and complicated tools that make Mac OS X Server work. Things are very different from the way other unixen do things, and I find messing with them and learning how they work to be very satisfying.

Re:Why? (1)

funkboy (71672) | more than 4 years ago | (#30253942)

BTW, there's no media-and-popcorn festival behind it so it doesn't get a lot of press, but on Linux, the most mature, stable, and enterprise-grade advanced filesystem is XFS. It's been well supported in the kernel for a really long time, still has an active developer community after all these years, and basically just sits there & works without getting in your way. Kind of like HAMMER minus the maturity :-).

Stick with Linux (2, Interesting)

TheRealDamion (209415) | more than 4 years ago | (#30253948)

I came from a SunOS background but used Linux based distributions at home (Slaskware was the easiest at the time).
I the tried NetBSD and FreeBSD and they were okay, I found general responsiveness felt good, not necessarily faster, but more consistant, this was years before low lateny linux kernel.
After about 9-12 months, I realised I was spending a lot of my time just trying to get iBCS, Wine and Linux compatibility working so I could be productive. I realised I wasn't gaining anything from running FreeBSD
and was struggling to make it work like a Linux based desktop OS. As a server I favoured Solaris anyway.

I've been Happy with Both (3, Interesting)

N9VLS (8026) | more than 4 years ago | (#30253968)

I'm quite happy with both OpenSolaris and FreeBSD as desktops, as well as servers.

You didn't specify what your primary goals are for the system in question-- if you're looking for a general purpose web surfing/light development machine, OpenSolaris should be fine for you-- as long as you have at least a gigabyte of memory and a moderately fast processor.

FreeBSD's a lot less resource intensive in my experience-- I'm currently supporting two sites that still have Pentium III/600-based servers with uptimes approaching a year each. (Last reboot for each was due to a multi-day power outage.)

If you have VirtualBox installed, give both FreeBSD and OpenSolaris a whirl, see what you think.

Use CP/M (5, Funny)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 4 years ago | (#30253996)

Since you're not telling us what you're actually planning to do with the OS, might as well advice some random OS based on no reason whatsoever.

why not Solaris proper? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30254004)

Ran 8, ran 9 for 10 years, now I am running Solaris 10. Server with SunRays.

both (1)

smash (1351) | more than 4 years ago | (#30254014)

Test each in a VM and see what you think. I've run Solaris x86 back in the day (2.6) and compared to linux or bsd - its slow. It can handle load gracefully without stumbling, but if you're running a benchmark or relying on high throughput for fairly serialized tasks - its not really what its intended for.

If you need the features (or paid sun support) though, go for it - but FreeBSD has most of the feature set these days and is much faster. Ports are also way easier than obtaining package X from source and then running into whatever undiscovered bugs exist in that particular package under opensolaris becuase you happen to be the first one to actually run it on that platform.

It REALLY depends on your intended purpose as to which OS is best - the only one who can really answer that, whilst taking into account your previous history, skillset andn willingness to learn/fiddle is you.

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