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FreeBSD 4.1.1 vs. Linux 2.4

Hemos posted more than 13 years ago | from the battle-of-the-titans dept.

BSD 623

A reader writes: "This article finds's Linux guru wondering why he isn't running FreeBSD. 'Linux 2.4.0 is available for no money. So is FreeBSD. Linux uses advanced hardware, so does FreeBSD. FreeBSD is more stable and faster than Linux, in my opinion. We penguinistas sometimes believe we are having more fun than anybody. But then I lean over the fence and discover the FreeBSD folks are having a hell of a party, too. And their OS is as fast as I have seen. I have to ask myself why I don't just switch my server to FreeBSD.'"

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Jesus... (1)

Wakko Warner (324) | more than 13 years ago | (#454230)

This is just a blatant attempt to start an all-out flamewar, right?

You could've thrown an "Oh, and Microsoft sucks, too!" in there for good measure.

- A.P.

* CmdrTaco is an idiot.

Why I use Linux on my main machine: (1)

Wakko Warner (324) | more than 13 years ago | (#454231)

Specifically, Debian:

apt-get update

apt-get upgrade

* CmdrTaco is an idiot.

This is a bad attitude (1)

geek (5680) | more than 13 years ago | (#454276)

I work with both operating systems, more so with Free and Open BSD. My philosophy has always been, "Use the right tool for the right job". This is especially true with UNIX distros. UNIX has forked in so many ways for a reason.

I use freebsd on most of my servers, it's much more stable and easier to manage than most linux distros, emphasis on MOST. I run into a lot of issues with linux ranging from SMP issues in glibc to basic load problems and threading.

Now on the flip side of this coin, FreeBSD makes a horrendous desktop OS offering really poor sound card support and I have yet to come across a decent Xserver for my geforce card.

Use the right tool for the job, FreeBSD is a better server hands down for most purposes, Linux makes a damn fine server as well, especially when we talk about beowulf clusters. FreeBSD and Linux are not competing with each other, I think it's a shame that advocates of either operating system make it appear as if they are.

Do it all OS's (1)

geek (5680) | more than 13 years ago | (#454277)

I don't like an OS that claims to be able to do everything, such as Red Hats Linux distro is doing. To me that shows a lack of focus.

In fact a good analogy came from a biker friend of mine who said:

"You can take a dirt bike on the street but it will perform better in the dirt. You can take a street bike and take it in the dirt but it will perform better in the street."

Just makes sense to me to leave FreeBSD in the dirt, and let Linux have the street.

Re:Last night. (1)

JB (8504) | more than 13 years ago | (#454285)

You couldn't log in as root with ssh because by default, root logins are (and should be) disabled with ssh. This is a good thing.


Re:Why not FreeBSD... (1)

JB (8504) | more than 13 years ago | (#454286)

A lot of the issues you cite are human issues, rather than technical ones. People like to use the things they're comfortable with, even if something else is better. Linux has a greater marketshare than FreeBSD, but Windows has a much larger market share than either, should we use Windows?

I would say that Windows out of the box is more friendly than most Linux or FreeBSD distributions, another argument for Windows? Certainly MacOS is "friendlier" than either.

This wouldn't be such a silly discussion topic if it didn't inavriably degenerate into a dick-waving fest. Both Linux and FreeBSD are good. Maybe one is faster than the other in some things, but so what?

Can't we all just get along? :)


Re:Do it all OS's (1)

pivo (11957) | more than 13 years ago | (#454293)

You know, that really doesn't make too much sense at all. Linux and *BSD aren't physical objects, like motorcycles, so they don't have the limitations of physical objects, specificially, it's easy to add and remove parts of an OS to suit your need. There's no reason that both OSs can't be good on the server and the desktop.

Re:Penguin vs Daemon - Argument (1)

pivo (11957) | more than 13 years ago | (#454294)

I need sound support on my servers because I have a little script that picks up the phone, dials the user and echos the string, "You have mail" to my speech synthesizer, which is connected to the phone. It does this when any mail for any of our approximatly 2000 clients come in. So you can see how important sound is to me.

Re:Damn Straight (1)

pivo (11957) | more than 13 years ago | (#454295)

I've tried OpenBSD twice, both times it didn't support my IDE controller. How's that for fine howdy-do?

Re:yes and no (1)

tommy (12973) | more than 13 years ago | (#454302)

Last time I used Slackware it had a BSD init. Can't help with ports though...

Agreed. (1)

SimplyCosmic (15296) | more than 13 years ago | (#454312)

I have to agree with you on the philosophy of "Using the right tool for the right job", even when it gets a little hard sometimes, with the natural human tendency to favor one camp over the other.

I too have found the *BSD's to make excellent servers (I use an OpenBSD as my personal firewall), whereas the multimedia hardware support, and therefore desktop, has always seemed to have an edge with Linux.

The important thing that I try to remember is that it's not about which operating system is better, but which is better at a particular job.

Why not FreeBSD... (1)

Oates (18921) | more than 13 years ago | (#454315)

...because I'm cheap. I don't want to replace my IDE CD-RW with a SCSI model just because cdrecord can't handle IDE drives natively.

And because when I talk to the network managers at work, my fellow consultants/contractors, and my clients, they all talk about Linux, not FreeBSD. I've convinced a few of the wonders of OpenBSD and audited source, but many still compare Linux and FreeBSD in terms of market share: who is the bigger? Linux. Which is a customer more likely to ask for? Linux over BSD, but Solaris and AIX and HP-UX above Linux.

And besides that, FreeBSD out of the box isn't as friendly as most Linux distributions.

Maybe when my hardware needs change, I'll run FreeBSD. If FreeBSD NFS and Linux NFS start talking to each other faster, I'll be more inclined to switch. I like the ports project, but I like apt and Debian better these days (it's simply more convenient).

Re:and the bell has rung... (1)

Bio (18940) | more than 13 years ago | (#454317)

Spell it "Perl vs. Python".

Recently I read a manual document coming with Postgres, and according to it MySQL isn't worth any time spend in using or even developping it ...

Let's live each other!

Re:BSD's have always been the good for reliability (1)

nmos (25822) | more than 13 years ago | (#454324)

If your Linux box craps out every day then something's wrong with your setup. I use both Freebsd & Linux on servers and IMHO both are nearly perfect in terms of stability.

Re:NOT Linux (1)

arseonick (28913) | more than 13 years ago | (#454326)

That is EXACTLY WHAT LINUX IS! It's a KERNEL. Most of the tools you use are GNU.

Re:RedHat Worm (1)

HeyZuess (35885) | more than 13 years ago | (#454341)

That was just RedHat - NOT Linux.

Re:Do it all OS's (1)

sid crimson (46823) | more than 13 years ago | (#454362)

I don't like an OS that claims to be able to do everything, such as Red Hats Linux distro is doing. To me that shows a lack of focus.

[scratches head]

I'm not sure I agree.. on either account. RHL is not trying to do "everything" but it is try to do a great many things. I suspect mostly because they have money to burn and a business model to keep afloat. And, IMHO - RHL does make a great desktop Linux dist and includes plenty to run any kind of server you desire.

However, I don't think RHL does it any better than other distributions... that's for sure. And, security-wise RHL leaves something to be desired.

As for your analogy -- that's a stretch. Comparing NT to Linux/BSD in that fashion makes more sense than Linux vs. BSD... but only because NT really should be left in the dirt!! :-)


BETA vs VHS ; BSD vs Linux (1)

BWindle (54348) | more than 13 years ago | (#454367)

I've never used any BSD, but almost all benchmarks I've seen show BSD faster than even 2.4 Linux; however, the Linux marketshare keeps going up and up, dispite BSD being faster (and therefore, better?). I wonder if BSD will eventually die off (or just shrivel) and leave the "slower" Linux to strive (a la BETA/VHS).

Re:the death of *BSD (1)

IAmATuringMachine! (62994) | more than 13 years ago | (#454377)

1) Perhaps there are even more users, and just the ratio of people having problems with it is a poor indicator of the number of users.

2) Apple, which has a fairly decent market share is basing their next OS off of this dead one.

I am glad to hear that you are open minded though.

Re:FreeBSD is free'd from the pressures. (1)

Pinback (80041) | more than 13 years ago | (#454398)

Or TrustedBSD.

Or the eclipse OS.

Re:Why not FreeBSD... (1)

/ASCII (86998) | more than 13 years ago | (#454404)

"And besides that, FreeBSD out of the box isn't as friendly as most Linux distributions." I know what you mean. I installed Mandrake on my Aibo, and it started fetching the newspaper every morning. It even made me breakfast, though I hadn't adjusted the timezone, so it actually made ít just after midnight. Previously I used FreeBSD, and my Aibo wouldn't even play catch with me. What a grinch! Seriously, WTF is "friendly"? FreeBSD doesn't automatically install a shitload of unneeded junk, it doesn't open every port on your computer with thosuands of worthless daemons. (Oh, RH enables lpd by default, even when I don't have a printer. How clever! And ftpd too? And how many root exploits where found for ftpd in the last year?)

Re:This isn't really anything new... (1)

/ASCII (86998) | more than 13 years ago | (#454405)

It's a JOKE for crying out loud!!!

Even better, become the local guru.. (1)

eightball (88525) | more than 13 years ago | (#454407)

I found the BSD's to be easier to set up and maintain. In the end that is what converted me. A day will come when tweaking the system is not what you look forward to, you just want something that just works.

Back on topic, I would rather be the person who can answer the basic questions about an OS than to be the one who has to ask for advice. Just because everybody speaks linux doesn't mean some aren't thinking about other OS'es.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

NOT Linux (1)

mr (88570) | more than 13 years ago | (#454411)

Well then what is 'linux'? A kernel?

how useless then.

That's right. Linux is useless.

Ever tried using a kernel without userspace?

Re:BSD is nice, but... (1)

ozzmosis (99513) | more than 13 years ago | (#454426)

outdated? what the hell are you talking about 90% of the port tree (found here [] ) is more up to date than freshmeat is , there is more ports in the port tree than debian has packages. about 4500 ports.

Re:This isn't really anything new... (1)

UU7 (103653) | more than 13 years ago | (#454441)

I agree.. too many AC's just blurt out techno babble. I would like to kmow how its implemented in hardware and hardwired

Re:Why this Penguinista uses Linux over FreeBSD. (1)

psxndc (105904) | more than 13 years ago | (#454445)

LOL. Actually, I really like my OpenBSD firewall because the documentation (OBSD man pages rock!) I've found (Building Linux and OpenBSD Firewalls too!) is so good. I like a lot of the O'Reilly books for my Linux queries, but the OBSD stuff I have questions for is pretty much covered by one of the two sources I mentioned.


*yawn* (1)

skazatmebaby (110364) | more than 13 years ago | (#454450)

can this be summed up as- personal preference, environment you're using it and resoources available?

s k a z a t []

Re:Sorry (1)

jred (111898) | more than 13 years ago | (#454451)

Since I was recently lucky enough to score (inadvertantly, it was next in the queue) a xxx 666 (the xxx were actual letters) license plate, maybe I should switch to BSD. I'm thinking of painting a huge devil on the back, it can be the bsdmobile:)

jred []

The religious war (1)

dtr21 (120759) | more than 13 years ago | (#454461)

I can't be the only person who thinks that getting involved in the OpenBSD vs FreeBSD war is too much hassle :)

There's a place for all Operating Systems. The real reasons I use linux are because I am used to it, it's fast, stable, efficient, and does everything I need. The developer base for Linux is huge, all my company machines now use it, and it's what I'm used to.

For the time being, I see no reason to change. Perhaps when I get *some* free time, I'll play around with one of the BSDs, but for now, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. And Linux is far from being broke.

Re:Debian (1)

misleb (129952) | more than 13 years ago | (#454469)

I second that! Debian/BSD! Give me apt-* or give me death!

Hell, I would probably run Solaris x86 if it came in the form of a Debian distribution!


A Debian fan more than a Linux fan... (1)

misleb (129952) | more than 13 years ago | (#454473)

There are many reasons why I prefer Linux to FreeBSD. THe biggest is the fact that I love Debian. I have installed FreeBSD but the install is just too minimalist. I have run various versions of RH Linux and Slackware as well. What can I say, apt-get rocks! Oh and I absolutely despise the BSD startup scripts. I will trade a little speed for the power of Debian. There are the political issues of the GPL versus the BSD license. I really perfer supporting GNU.

If there was a Debian distribution build around the FreeBSD kernel, I would jump on it in a heartbeat, but until FBSD gets a better packaging, I am going to have to just say no to it.


Re:Sorry (1)

sik puppy (136743) | more than 13 years ago | (#454475)

Good luck keeping the plate - the religious reich will be out to get you. If you do keep it, make sure to get a Lamborghini Diablo after the ipo...

(I know - waaaay off topic)

Re:Penguin vs Daemon - Argument (1)

edunbar93 (141167) | more than 13 years ago | (#454479)

There's certainly a lot less in terms of choice. And you can forget finding sound drivers, or the like.

There seems to be no problem porting drivers to FreeBSD. For instance, FreeBSD had USB support in a stable version a whole year before Linux did. And ATA100 if I recall correctly (and I'm sure I'll be corrected if I'm wrong). *BSD developers seem to focus more on making it work than making it cool, but that's okay by me, since 9 times out of 10 I would much rather have something working instead of waiting for it to come out "real soon now."

*BSD doesn't support SMP on non-x86 machines (1)

jbellis (142590) | more than 13 years ago | (#454480)

Linux supports SMP on (at least) Sparc and Alpha. Which is why my SS10 is running linux.

FreeBSD (1)

BitwizeGHC (145393) | more than 13 years ago | (#454485)

I'm an open-minded guy. I use Linux, love Linux, but decided it would be cool to give FreeBSD a try. Unfortunately, the damned thing won't even install on my second hard disk. Something about the boot code not recognizing it or something. With Linux and GRUB, I could install put-near anywhere. Any BSDophiles got any tips?


theseum (165950) | more than 13 years ago | (#454494)

At the risk of being redundant, here are a few comparative advantages of FreeBSD over Linux, and vice-versa. Linux Advantages *Much* more commercial/developer support Microsoft:Linux::Linux:FreeBSD(::FreeBSD:OpenBSD). And I'm not only talking about tech support. I'm talking about developers adding and improving the operating system. This has huge implications. Many companies will be much more comfortable building a linux box than building a BSD one. The Java implementation, overall, is better. Hardware support is further along the way. There are more options for clustering, etc. FreeBSD Advantages Just because Linux has more people behind it does not mean it is more mature. Linux has a lot of things to sort out. First is its development cycle - things happen quickly, but with not enough thought. That's why you see kernel updates like every week. FreeBSD, on the other hand, has had more playing time, and its development philosophy is much more precise. The kernel isn't the only place this advantage manifests itself; the other is in the ports collection, which I like a lot more than the various packaging systems of linux. Also, FreeBSD is generally more reliable and fast under heavy loads.

Re:Correct me if im wrong (1)

theseum (165950) | more than 13 years ago | (#454495)

You're wrong. Umm...NetBSD has basically *all* the platforms out there (like dreamcast)

Re:Last night. (1)

SquadBoy (167263) | more than 13 years ago | (#454499)

Have you everheard of "su" the simple fact is you should *never* login as root at all but at all time login as a user and su or sudo to do things that require root. Then if you look at your logs and see a login as root you know there and then that you have a issue. Also most of the Apache developers run *BSD so just grab the source and compile. You should almost always compile Apache from source in any case.

Re:Why I use Linux on my main machine: (1)

SquadBoy (167263) | more than 13 years ago | (#454500)

Thanks for the address. I was not aware it was being developed.

Re:FreeBSD is free'd from the pressures. (1)

j-pimp (177072) | more than 13 years ago | (#454510)

FreeBSD runs X, its designed to run it from the console. It supports alot of sound cards. It has a graphical console based screensaver. There are plenty of "desktop" applications in the ports collection. It supports PPP. Sure it shines as a server, but pop Gnome on it with Gnumeric and ABIword and it makes a fine Desktop.

Linux Compatable (1)

hex1848 (182881) | more than 13 years ago | (#454518)

isnt BSD linux compatable? not to mention that OSX is based on BSD. is BSD catching up and passing linux?

device drivers (1)

phreno (187982) | more than 13 years ago | (#454523)

When setting up a home server/firewall box a few years ago, the Linux/*BSD decision was made for me: I needed a driver for the AMD pcnet32 home lan card (i.e., the ethernet cards that run over your existing phone lines). Linux had it, BSD didn't. The BSD code is cleaner though.

Correct me if im wrong (1)

beaverthecleaver (194971) | more than 13 years ago | (#454526)

But doesnt Linux support more arch's than bsd cause it only sounds like bsd supports i386 and alpha's. Now linux on the other hand supports lots more plus the GPL is alot better than the BSD license in my opinion. Just my 2 cents.

BSD = Arcane with no apps? (1)

ltmdweaver (203267) | more than 13 years ago | (#454531)

I used to be a DEC Ultrix (A BSD derivative) kind of person, and my thought by comparison to Linux is: A rather arcane system as far as sysmgt & configuration were concerned. I was sure glad when DEC shipped OSF/1 (now Tru64 I think), it was a much cleaner environment. Heck if I know if the current BSD is the same. I would wonder if the number of applications are available (in nice easy RPM format) for BSD. I would wonder how many commercial apps will run w/o a hitch (ala Oracle, Sybase, Star Office, Netscape servers). But then I suppose the argument would be that glibc and binary compatibility is the great equalizer??? mdw ;-)

Re:How much RAM? ;) (1)

jcrowe (207448) | more than 13 years ago | (#454543)

This is a typo. In a previous article ( hw talks about the same server w/ 768mb of RAM.

Re:Why this Penguinista uses Linux over FreeBSD. (1)

theroge (214016) | more than 13 years ago | (#454547)

I've played around with several of the distros, as well as Debian and RedHat, and the absolute most basic reason I use Windows over Linux is simply because I have an easier time finding out how to install, maintain, admin or fix some problem from the various Microsoft sites out there.
It's not really a matter of which is technologically superior, and I suspect that Linux may in fact be so. However, in the particular style of searching for information on how to accomplish a particular task, I've always found the Windows information quicker and easier than for the Linux way of doing things. Again, this doesn't mean that Windows is better, far from it. It's just easier for me to run thanks to the types of online resources I come across.

Re:This isn't really anything new... (1)

theroge (214016) | more than 13 years ago | (#454548)

"FreeBSD's TCP/IP stack is faster than Linux's because it is implemented in hardware"

Please eleborate on this claim. As it stands now, without any arguments, this is a ridiculous claim.


FreeBSD as a development platform. (1)

BlowCat (216402) | more than 13 years ago | (#454550)

FreeBSD is very inconvenient as a development platform. Many tools - sed, m4, make, csh - are inherited from UNIX. They don't have many nice features offered by their GNU counterparts. Other tools - gcc, as, ld - are old versions of GNU software. But if you upgrade them, you almost certainly lose the ability to recompile the kernel.

But what annoys me most - the sources are packed together and split in chunks. So if you need the sources of sed, you have to download the sources of the whole /usr/bin!!!

Good comparison. (1)

tuxrules (227341) | more than 13 years ago | (#454557)

While there was nothing new, this is a good comparison. FreeBSD has long been ignored by too many. I have tried Linux and FreeBSD, and found FreeBSD better for my server (although I am disappointed that with the new release the old ports collection has been basically destroyed from my 4.0-STABLE installation, especially with my cvsup-ing.) Everybody says Linux but ignores FreeBSD. Thanks, Hemos, for putting a great OS in the spotlight. For those of you who don't know, FreeBSD also runs Linux binaries, so non-open-source programs can often be used.

If you're planning to install FreeBSD, a helpful reference is the FreeBSD Cheat Sheets [] , which help replace Linux's HOWTOs.

768GB of RAM!!!! (1)

rppp01 (236599) | more than 13 years ago | (#454562)

Woah! I think I want this box! It has more RAM that HD space. Imagine, swapping out all those mp3's, window managers.

I fart in your general direction

Re:Last night. (1)

ConsumedByTV (243497) | more than 13 years ago | (#454568)

Yes I have, I wasnt able to use su, because I wasnt part of the right group, I want to KNOW how to enable root access to the box via ssh, I know its bad form, and I realise that I should compile it, I just wanted to see a binary for it.

Fight censors!

Re:Last night. (1)

ConsumedByTV (243497) | more than 13 years ago | (#454569)

This is true.

can you link me to some sites that will have this info in a format for a begginer?

Fight censors!

Re:and the bell has rung... (1)

ConsumedByTV (243497) | more than 13 years ago | (#454571)

That is silly, each has its own strengths and weakness's for a different job.

Fight censors!

Re:Last night. (1)

ConsumedByTV (243497) | more than 13 years ago | (#454572)

How can I turn this on?
I want to do this so I can admin from the computer next to it with my web documentation.

Fight censors!

Re:the death of *BSD (1)

maxmutt (247203) | more than 13 years ago | (#454576)

The same things that can save linux can save *BSD.

True it might fade from the commercial stage, it might not be seen for a long time.

But as long as there is 1 copy of the source out there, it won't die. It will just sit on some harddrive, or CD until someone comes along and has a need and or interest in reviving it, then it can come back.

It's harder to kill something that has thousands of copies distributed and no restrictions on it's use then to kill some thing that a company controls and even decides it doesn't want to work with any more. Think Windows 3.1, or even 95 or any of a number of systems that have fell by the side.

The comparison that I wanna see (1)

dasunt (249686) | more than 13 years ago | (#454583)

Tux vs BSD devil.

(Makes me almost want to take up claymation or computer modeling.)

A retards point of view (1)

The Blackrat (255469) | more than 13 years ago | (#454585)

I come from the world of Windows...MCSE 2k, I'm an exchange admin. To me, and I know it is because of extensive use, the win way of doing things seems fairly logical, I know and understand it. At home, I have messed around with various open source distros. Red Hat always seemed to kaka out on me. Debian ran fine, but seemed WAY arcane to me, as far as location of configuration files and whatnot. FreeBsd hit the spot. Very straight-forward, logical. I still have no idea what the hell I am doing with it, but it seems easier...I know it all depends on experience, but FreeBSD is my foot in the door of *nix's. Linux is just too damned varied it seems...

Debian (1)

moz25 (262020) | more than 13 years ago | (#454592)

Well, I've been a Red Hat user for quite a while.. even paid for a distro or two, but after the current interesting events I have decided to switch to another distribution.

The next distro I install will be Debian :-) Bye bye, buggy Red Hat.


Sweet Mother of Mercy!!! (1)

'M0f0! (265851) | more than 13 years ago | (#454595)

"I chose -- once again -- IBM's Netfinity 5100 server. This one is a dual CPU system with PentiumIII 900-MHz processors and 768 GBs of RAM. "
Thats either a typo or a Shitload of RAM

Re:The comparison that I wanna see (1)

rleidle (300819) | more than 13 years ago | (#454598) []

Re:and the bell has rung... (1)

popular (301484) | more than 13 years ago | (#454599)

Yeah, but any one or more of the above subjects in a /. article is bound to get a certain percentage of the readership riled up.

I did not mention Python, OpenBSD, NetBSD, TrustedBSD, Theo de Raadt, et al. It was not because I forgot, it was because they suck and aren't worth mentioning.

TIA for catching on to the deliberate sarcasm and/or irony of this comment, as well as the deference of comment by Anglophiles that undoubtedly tell me which/both/neither is appropriate otherwise.


Rx: Herring and Prozac (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 13 years ago | (#454616)

Perhaps the byte article explains Tux's recent behavior, as reported here:

Wayward Penguin Treated for Depression []


Re:and the bell has rung... (1)

robert-porter (309405) | more than 13 years ago | (#454638)

vi vs. emacs

Re:Sorry (2)

dattaway (3088) | more than 13 years ago | (#454660)

a xxx 666 (the xxx were actual letters) license plate, maybe I should switch to BSD

pictures, please...

How to make this benchmark more meaningful. (2)

Shane (3950) | more than 13 years ago | (#454668)

First of all I think this benchmark is unfair. Even that being the case linux showed it can outperform Freebsd in mysql and sendmail. I believe this test was unfair in the following ways: 1) The author used the latest version of Freebsd, yet did not specifiy what distro of Linux he used. For this to be really fair, I think he should have used say RedHat 7.0 (with patches) (or any other distro based on glibc 2.2 compiled with -i686 extentions). 2) There are a number of well documented performance (bad paging) and stability issues with Kernel 2.4.0 which all have been corrected in 2.4.1-AC3. Because of this I think it would be more fair to either test 2.4.1-AC3 or wait until 2.4.2 and retest. 3) He should of used apache 1.3.17. 1.3.17 finally adds some Linux specific hooks to take advantage of v2.2+ kernels (see for details: Now before the Freebsd crowd jumps up and down, I ask you to check the apache history file for all the Freebsd kernel hooks in 1.3.x apache compared to linux. On top of this, it would seem that the Linux kernel 2.4 adds even more functionality that apache could take advantage, but at this time does not. 4) I would like to see if using the version of Mysql and sendmail that comes with redhat 7 changes the results at all. These applications have been compiled with the 2.96 compiler which is supposed to effect performence to some degree. In summary I don't think this was a apples to apples comparision as the author used the latest and greatest Freebsd (not just the kernel) against an unknown Linux distro. I would be interested to see if Linux couldn't also pull ahead of freebsd in webserving with Kernel: 2.4.1-AC3, apache 1.3.17 and glibc2-i686.

Re:How much RAM? ;) (2)

"Zow" (6449) | more than 13 years ago | (#454682)

Well, the 4GB cap on memory with an Intel processor on Linux is causing me some headaches at the moment (massive database stuff). If FreeBSD can do 768GB, I'm so there.


Re:Last night. (2)

Lx (12170) | more than 13 years ago | (#454694)

2 points:

a) You can always get the newest version of apache and php for bsd. Get a current version of the ports tree(use cvsup), cd /usr/ports/www/apache;make install. That's it. The current version is available within several days of the release.

b) You can't ssh in as root because it's a *really* stupid thing to allow people to do. The BSDs, IMO, come with a far more sensible security setup than Linuxen and other SysV style Unices, e.g. group wheel, jail(), kernel security levels, etc. Security tends to make doing stupid things harder, that's pretty much the idea.


All OS's have their uses. (2)

Sangui5 (12317) | more than 13 years ago | (#454695)

They all have their strong points, and their weak points. MS's various offerings are easier for people with little experience to use/admin. You can buy excellent support for Solaris. OpenBSD is very secure. NetBSD will run on just about anything.

Both FreeBSD and Linux are attempting to fill the niche of "fast feature-full Unix". FreeBSD (at least by these benchmarks) is a bit better at the fast part, but I think that Linux is more feature-full, and has better commercial support.

It really doesn't matter, anyway. Having two free Unixes that run well on PC hardware is better than just one. If every box out there was a Linux box, when (when, not if) somebody finds a new remote exploit, then everybody would be vulnerable. Similarly, an all-FreeBSD world isn't good either. A mix of different operating systems, all slightly better at their own little tasks, is more robust than a homogeneous environment. It was poor performance compared to NT that spurred many of the improvements in 2.4. It will be a wonderfull thing if 2.6 becomes better because FreeBSD's VM kicked the 2.4 VM's ass. It will also be a wonderful thing if FreeBSD can benifit from friendly competition with Linux (those mail scores seem a bit low. tsk. tsk. tsk.).

Competition and cooperation between the free OS's will lead to better free OS's. Encourage both as much as you can. Just remember that FUD spreading or any other pissing contest is not healthy competition.

Debian (2)

The Famous Brett Wat (12688) | more than 13 years ago | (#454696)

I'd be happy to give FreeBSD a try, but I'm only going to do it when it's distributed by Debian. Yes folks, I'm afraid I'm another one of those apt-thing bigots. I've no particular desire to go clambering up the FreeBSD learning curve for its own sake, any more than I'm interested in doing the same with other Linux distros. Debian FreeBSD sounds like a fine idea to me, though.

Re:Debian (2)

Apache (14188) | more than 13 years ago | (#454704)

Freebsd already has an apt-thing type thing. It's called "the ports tree".. for example:

cd /usr/ports/graphics/Mesa3
make install

The Makefile will fetch everything needed to compile mesa, then build and install it. When you want to get rid of it, just make deinstall. And it's got a mechanism for updating the ports too. See the freebsd handbook for that though.

Re:Why this Penguinista uses Linux over FreeBSD. (2)

Roofus (15591) | more than 13 years ago | (#454705)

Interesting. I've often found the opposite. Whenever I have a problem I need to solve, I go to one of two places:

The FreeBSD Diary [] or the FreeBSD Handbook [] .

I like the diary because it's a collection of problems/solutions that actual users have run into. It's very practical. The Hanbook is basically the official documentation for FreeBSD. I like the Handbook, because whatever it says, is the way it is. I don't have to worry about "Will this How-To work for my distro?", because there is only one FreeBSD.

I've always had a bitch of a time finding the solutions I need under linux, probally because there are 90 million different ways to do things. That could be good or bad, depending on your viewpoint.

Re:RedHat Worm (2)

Raul Acevedo (15878) | more than 13 years ago | (#454709)

Switching solely due to the Ramen worm is a pretty sad and scary reason to switch. You might as well switch OS's at random every couple of months.

The problem with the Ramen worm was not with Red Hat, but with sysadmins that don't frequently update and maintain their systems. If you don't do that, it doesn't really matter what OS you use.

In response to this comment and the parent as well (2)

redhotchil (44670) | more than 13 years ago | (#454724)

As far as documentation for FreeBSD goes: Unlike Linux, freebsd has a standard documentation place. Whereas in Linux you must go and find the documentation for the specific distribution, in freebsd its all there. apt-get might be all good and all but imo using ports and /usr/src for upgrading and isntalling new programs is alot cleaner and better than installing everything as 386 optimized binaries (ala debian)

This isn't really anything new... (2)

bconway (63464) | more than 13 years ago | (#454740)

But it is nice to see an article that represents the differences between the two well. I agree that Linux often has faster support for the latest and greatest hardware, which is why I use it on my desktop, but I wouldn't think of using anything besides FreeBSD in a server environment (commerical UNIXes aside). There really wasn't anything new in this article, as we've know that FreeBSD's network stack and VM subsystems are a lot more mature (and faster, yay!) than Linux's, but I will say that I've seen some impressive improvements with the release of 2.4.0 and now 2.4.1.

Re:The comparison that I wanna see (2)

Cramer (69040) | more than 13 years ago | (#454748)

  • Tux vs BSD devil
Oooo, that'd make a great celebrity deathmatch!

Re:FreeBSD is free'd from the pressures. (2)

mr (88570) | more than 13 years ago | (#454761)

FreeBSD is a pure server OS.


BSD Desktop edition []
BSD Desktop Edition - Includes FreeBSD, The Complete FreeBSD Book, ApplixWare Office Suite 5.0, and Partition Magic (Special Edition)

Now that you know that BSD is a desktop OS, you don't need to run Linux, do you?

Re:FreeBSD is free'd from the pressures. (2)

CaseyG (97275) | more than 13 years ago | (#454764)

Please read Bob's Quick Guide to the Apostrophe, You Idiots [] . Soon.

This public service announcement was brought to you by the letter 3 and the number e.


What do you want it to do? (2)

swordgeek (112599) | more than 13 years ago | (#454771)

Same old question as OS decisions ALWAYS come down to.

What do you want it to do?

Do you want to run the latest open source programs on the latest hardware? Linux has better hardware support than anyone.

Do you want a support stream that you're willing to pay for, and need to run Unix on Intel? Sun's support is remarkably good.

Do you want the fastest and most cleanly written OS that's being developed? *BSD is your candidate.

If security is your #1 concern, FreeBSD specifically is the beast for you.

If you want to deploy a corporate desktop environment, WinNT is probably the only option you'll be given. (and may be the best!)

If all you want to do is play games, get Win98SE.


Re:Why I use Linux on my main machine: (2)

SquadBoy (167263) | more than 13 years ago | (#454787)

I personally think that the good folks at Debian should dump the Hurd and work on Debian with a BSD Kernel (GNU/BSD?) [] .

Re:Penguin vs Daemon - Argument (2)

BluedemonX (198949) | more than 13 years ago | (#454797)

I'm not running a server.

Your argument may very well be "well, in that case run Linux". There's nothing to say that I don't want to run a pure BSD system, but want to enjoy my sound card as well. I have a laptop, which most variants of Linux have problems with, even, and the "generic Soundblaster driver" doesn't work.

I realise you're making a specific point response to something I've said, and what you say is TOTALLY valid. But as a developer and enthusiast, I like something I can run on a lot of different machines, and which I can play around with, yeah?

BSD is nice, but... (2)

PSUdaemon (204822) | more than 13 years ago | (#454798)

I used to use BSD. I loved it, still do. There's just one problem with it. Software! All you Linux lovers (one of which I too have become) write for Linux. Sometimes as an afterthought you'll port to BSD. Granted BSD does have an awesome ports collection, it's just a tad outdated. Plus lots of stuff will compile on BSD and on Linux, but a lot of software won't. That's the sole reason I switched over. Software...

With a lot of new Linux 2.4 kernel improvments taken directly from BSD, Linux is shaping up to be as good a bet as BSD with the added benfit of all the programmers writing Linux code. But I still think the Daemon is cooler than Tux. ;-)

RedHat Worm (2)

graveyhead (210996) | more than 13 years ago | (#454800)

It was the RedHat "ramen" worm [] that made me switch. I switched to FreeBSD 4.0. Other than the hastle of copying over 3GB files, it went very smoothly. I think he's right about the speed. Remote sessions seem much faster now. OK enough advocacy already.

BSD's have always been the good for reliability... (2)

rigor6969 (240549) | more than 13 years ago | (#454801)

I've been tweakin linux kernels for a long time. Yet when it comes down to the dirty of having the server uptimes its always been freebsd (or BSDi). Good god i love linux for its nifty features, but when the same webserver on the same box, craps out every day on linux (2.2 or 2.4, tweaked), and lasts forever on freebsd, the problem answered itself. I wish linux had the stability in my application, but when 24/7 non-stop is my job, i'll stick to freebsd. Not as fast, not as pretty, or krad. but hey, it works. You may say my application is poor, or my hardware choice is poor, but when it comes down to explaining why the site was down to the CTO, "linux is cooler and faster" just doesn't cut it :) The big wigs have solaris reliably as a minimum, with :) Intel/linux prices in mind, that leaves my only option to freebsd/bsdi at this point.

Last night. (2)

ConsumedByTV (243497) | more than 13 years ago | (#454802)

I installed freebsd on a box and I couldnt get the newest version of apache for it... This is why I will be using linux, I would rather have it be BSD, but its sad that I couldnt get the newest version of php either, this bugged me. I also couldnt log in as root via ssh, why? I like BSD, but I really like the idea of linux, its so much easier and the software is more current. Then again BSD is rock solid and their version of apache isnt always going to have the same bugs as the other ports... What do you guys/girls think? should I just use bsd, or should I use linux with the new kernel? Where can I get ISO's for the dist. you suggest? Do they come as secure by default? I can install Freebsd and have it be secure with nothing open, redhat, well it cant. I would like to set up a linux box for a server, but it doesnt seem to want to happen with out much work, and I know that people will argue about how easy it is with linux, but thats not always true. Can anyone help?

Fight censors!

Re:How much RAM? ;) (3)

tmontes (80312) | more than 13 years ago | (#454821)

Hmmm, there is clear evidence of a typo in the article. I certainly believe they meant...

'This one is a dual CPU system with PentiumIII 900-GHz processors and 768 GBs of RAM. The disks are under a RAID controller, letting the five 18.2-TB disks be visible under RAID5.'

...these boxes wouldn't scale otherwise, would they ?:)

FreeBSD features (3)

elainerd (94528) | more than 13 years ago | (#454823)

FreeBSD already emulates most Linux software out there. It runs my SBLive natively and perfectly. I didn't install it because I wanted it to do everything Windows does, I installed it because I wanted a kick-ass Unix system to run at home. I use it for a workstation at home and have it on servers at work. It is rock solid. Easy to Upgrade? Yes every morning it cvsup's that nights changes, fixes, to the src code. Then every month I run make buildworld and make installworld and I have the latest FreeBSD every bin freshened. I used Linux since 1993, since changing to FreeBSD I've had no desire to go back. The people who are complaining about lack of documentation and resources are being silly. Besides the brand name FreeBSD books out there, there are many resources and websites with step-by-step help for newbies. IRC especially has very knowledgeable people.

Run both! (3)

raju1kabir (251972) | more than 13 years ago | (#454826)

Okay, well, this only makes sense if you have several machines (I've never seen the appeal of dual-booting unix), but there are definitely comparative advantages to each OS.

For mail servers, DHCP, DNS, NFS, firewall, NAT, etc., FreeBSD means less headaches. I've got plenty of FreeBSD boxes that have never been down except for OS upgrades or hardware moves. You can lock them in a closet and never think about it again - it's like the golden days of Novell Netware all over again. And under intense loads, say, a well-utilized IMAP or Samba server, FreeBSD keeps its chin up far longer than Linux.

However, the problem with FreeBSD is that, let's face it, the userland is just not as friendly as that in Linux. You spend days installing all the happy-fun GNU tools with useful command-line arguments and post-1970 approaches to system management, and by the time you've done that, you've kluged together a system only a mother could love. So, for day-to-day messing around, Linux can be much friendlier.

Perhaps even more importantly, the new generation of commercial software is largely just not available for FreeBSD. Want to run Oracle? Domino? You can try to shoehorn them into FreeBSD's Linux emulation environment, but I can tell you from painful experience, it's not pretty - if it works at all. And when you try to do things like linking other third-party software against the Oracle libraries under Linux emulation, you'll spend weeks up to your eyeballs in Makefiles and header files. Not worth the trouble, even for the incremental improvement in stability.

So they both have their places, and they're both well-worth learning about. But I'd be quite suspicious of someone who claims that one is a "better" OS than the other - it depends far too much on one's specific needs.

Kernels and system policy (3)

izzertaq (304006) | more than 13 years ago | (#454828)

The article said something about Linux performing much better after hand-tuning the VM, which begs the question, seeing as how FreeBSD tunes its own VM for good default settings, why can't Linux do the same? This is just like the IDE DMA situation on BSD vs. Linux -- FreeBSD has had autodma working forever on VIA chipsets, and Linux, even in 2.4, defaults to PIO mode on IDE disks unless you enable 'highly dangerous' code. Oddly, the I/O elevator in 2.2 has a sensible out-of-the-box setting, but 2.4 requires tuning with an arcane tool called 'elvtune' or something if you want an elevator at all. Seems like a step backwards to me, regardless of how technically superior the 2.4 way is.

Unix purists go on about how the kernel should never set policy, but that's rather silly. Really, the kernel-'enforced' policy is whatever the defaults are, as most users expect the default behavior to be intelligent. People install Linux all the time and complain about how they can't do anything without getting choppy audio and mouse movement, because IDE defaults to PIO. It's rather sad that people get bad impressions of Linux because of its braindead default settings for so many things, when it's capable of doing much more.

Maybe this is work for the distros to be doing, I don't know. I suspect most of them would prefer to pass the buck as well.

Re:Why I use Linux on my main machine: (4)

dvdeug (5033) | more than 13 years ago | (#454829)

It shouldn't be a matter of dumping the Hurd - if Debian dumped the Hurd, we'd lose the developers that develop the Hurd. But if you want Debian GNU/BSD, subscribe to and start working. The biggest problem with Debian GNU/BSD is interested workers, not anything political and certainly not anything having to do with the Hurd.

Re:Penguin vs Daemon - Argument (4)

Cerb (10299) | more than 13 years ago | (#454830)

The FreeBSD handbook is pretty much THE reference for FreeBSD, and it's on every FreeBSD box that has the docs installed. You can get a dead tree version too if you want. I know of at least one other dead tree text on FreeBSD, it has regular updates posted to the list.

And what's this about no sound drivers? When was the last time you actually used a FreeBSD machine? Or, if you claim to be a FreeBSD user, have you not read LINT? There are tons of sound drivers. The pcm device runs many PCI and ISA cards. And what qualifies as "and the like"? My hauppauge WinTV card works better in FreeBSD than it did in Linux. The machine doesn't slow down when I watch TV. My USB mouse was spotted and configured as soon as I started the install. The ONLY thing I miss about Linux is the Nvidia drivers.

No, I'm not a FreeBSD bigot. I use both Linux and FreeBSD. If you look, I'm actually a Debian developer. They both have a place in the world. But, if you are going to post something, post facts.

Better Switch! (4)

jackal! (88105) | more than 13 years ago | (#454831)

We should all switch to FreeBSD anyway now that Microsoft has declared Linux doomed!


How much RAM? ;) (4)

ssimpson (133662) | more than 13 years ago | (#454832)

From the article [] :

'I chose -- once again -- IBM's Netfinity 5100 server. This one is a dual CPU system with PentiumIII 900-MHz processors and 768 GBs of RAM. The disks are under a RAID controller, letting the five 18.2-GB disks be visible under RAID5.'

Damn. Makes my half a gig of RAM look very sad :)

and the bell has rung... (4)

popular (301484) | more than 13 years ago | (#454833)

OK, no hitting below the belt.
Let's see a good clean fight.

Also on tonight's fight card:
Perl vs. PHP
MySQL vs. Postgres


Re:FreeBSD is free'd from the pressures. (5)

stripes (3681) | more than 13 years ago | (#454835)

FreeBSD is a pure server OS. Nobody has to worry about the other possible applications, it is designed purely for one purpose, and one purpose alone. It does it well.

If FreeBSD is a server-only OS why did it get USB support before Linux did?

If FreeBSD is a server-only OS, what is PicoBSD all about?

Fact of the matter is FreeBSD serves multiple intrests as well. And it does them all reasonably well.

Why this Penguinista uses Linux over FreeBSD. (5)

SimplyCosmic (15296) | more than 13 years ago | (#454837)

I've played around with several of the distros, as well as FreeBSD and OpenBSD, and the absolute most basic reason I use Linux over FreeBSD is simply because I have an easier time finding out how to install, maintain, admin or fix some problem from the various Linux sites out there.

It's not really a matter of which is technologically superior, and I suspect that FreeBSD may in fact be so. However, in the particular style of searching for information on how to accomplish a particular task, I've always found the Linux information quicker and easier than for the FreeBSD way of doing things. Again, this doesn't mean that Linux is better, far from it. It's just easier for me to run thanks to the types of online resources I come across.

Your mileage, as always, may vary. Offer void in most major cities. Not to be taken internally, while pregnant, or running for Congress.

Fishy benchmark (5)

Pemdas (33265) | more than 13 years ago | (#454838)

The overall conclusions may be valid; I don't know. I've used NetBSD for a few things here and there, but don't have enough experience with FreeBSD to make any sort of judgement.

This, however, caught my eye:

  • int x;
    long y;
    y = 28.2839281;
    x = 339829;
    y = x / y;

Notice how I included some simple floating point arithmetic in the C program to make things just a tad tougher.

He admits he's no benchmark specialist, but any compiler worth its salt (and many that aren't) will optimize the floating point operations away. Also, since the result of the divide is never used, that will be optimized out, too.

I don't know what the real story is, and I do know a lot of knowledgeable people split on the Linux vs. FreeBSD issue. However, such a blatant error in benchmarking methodology gives me large doubts about this guy's credibility as a competent judge.

Re:Better Switch! (5)

Pinball Wizard (161942) | more than 13 years ago | (#454840)

I realize you were joking but... MS would never say nasty things about the BSD's since their TCP/IP stack and kerberos are largely based on BSD code.

They love BSD for this reason. They have told their developers to not even look at GPL code while on the job.

If anything BSD is doomed by their license(trying hard not to troll here). Most open source developers would rather not have their code end up in Windows. Hence, eventually the popularity of Linux and the GPL with developers will mean that Linux will likely overtake the BSDs in performance in the not-too-distant future.

Penguin vs Daemon - Argument (5)

BluedemonX (198949) | more than 13 years ago | (#454842)

Well, I look at it this way. I can walk into any bookstore and get an O'Reilly book detailing how to write drivers for Linux, another explaining Linux internals in detail, yet more describing for newbies how to install same. There are wonderful distributions like Debian and (well, at least when they can make a release that allows you to get the kernel to compile) RedHat, etc etc etc.

On the daemon front, I've seen books available by mail, none in the bookstores. There's certainly a lot less in terms of choice. And you can forget finding sound drivers, or the like. What you do get is the suggestion to take the drivers from the Linux people and port them yourself. Of course you can do that, because you're a g0d l337 ha>0r d00d, right? Otherwise you'd be running Windows.

FreeBSD is free'd from the pressures. (5)

Lover's Arrival, The (267435) | more than 13 years ago | (#454843)

Linux is being pushed in several different directions by different groups and organisations. Some want it to be a Desktop OS, some wish it to be a Server OS, and some wish it to be in the world of embedded devices. Everybody has a different agenda for a free OS, and the means, if they wish, to take Linux and mould it for their wishes.

FreeBSD is a pure server OS. Nobody has to worry about the other possible applications, it is designed purely for one purpose, and one purpose alone. It does it well.

If I were running a server alone, I would use FreeBSD. For any other purpose, I would use Linux. Each have their strengths.

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.

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