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291 comments

High load: Linux/BSD? (5, Interesting)

LaserLyte (725803) | more than 9 years ago | (#9418644)

Quandt also contends that FreeBSD is not currently on the same level as Linux when it comes to supporting heavy enterprise workloads...

I was almost certain this paragraph was going to end praising FreeBSD over Linux, and I was slightly suprised to see this was not the case. FreeBSD's ability to cope with extremely high workloads is often cited as one of the reasons to use it over Linux in such environments.

However, I don't remember ever seeing any evidence of this, except that FreeBSD has proven itself time and time again on some of the largest, busiest internet sites. It'd be interesting to see how the two compared side-by-side in a real production environment. Perhaps someone can convince Yahoo to switch to Linux for a day :)

</ BSD advocacy >

Re:High load: Linux/BSD? (5, Interesting)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 9 years ago | (#9418682)

However, I don't remember ever seeing any evidence of this, except that FreeBSD has proven itself time and time again on some of the largest, busiest internet sites.

It's purely anecdotal, but back in 2002, the webhosting company I was admining for had two boxes dedicated to slashcode sites. They were brand new with the latest updates for FreeBSD 4-STABLE(I think) on one and RedHat on the other. We hosted some high-profile sites, and these poor servers took a MASSIVE beating. The RedHat box went casters-up when the system load hit somewhere around 7. FreeBSD stayed up (admittedly, slow as hell) even when the load peaked at 22. I switched sides then and have been a loyal Daemon worshipper ever since. ;)

Re:High load: Linux/BSD? (4, Interesting)

Alioth (221270) | more than 9 years ago | (#9418851)

I host a site for a pilot's union. Around bid time they all hammer a heavily DB oriented application with many, many reloads.

The load average on the system regularly gets over 50 during the last hour or so of the bid period.

It runs RedHat Enterprise Server. It's not fallen over once.

Load average misleading... (5, Informative)

rsidd (6328) | more than 9 years ago | (#9419000)

Where Linux does badly is in "out of memory" situations. I doubt a load average of 7 will, by itself, kill any system, but I've seen Linux boxes become unusable because of memory leaks -- hard reboot required, or equally bad, eventually some random processes get killed that bring the machine back up but all those processes have to be restarted by hand. Ditto if all those processes contributing to the load average of 7 required a huge chunk of memory. FreeBSD shines in this situation. If you configure enough swap space, it will usually get through somehow, if not, it will kill the offending process but not butcher the system.

Re:Load average misleading... (3, Informative)

the chao goes mu (700713) | more than 9 years ago | (#9419179)

My experience from load testing a few years ago was that linux's biggest problem was properly closing/destroying sockets after they were no longer needed. BSD cleaned up very quickly even with thousands of connections, while Linux (Red Hat 8 Beta) and Solaris 2.6 had serious problems and ran out of fd's after a while.

Re:Load average misleading... (1)

Strog (129969) | more than 9 years ago | (#9419431)

I have seen this happen a few times on our busy online classes webserver running RH. This box really needs more ram in it and I think it would do a better job. It doesn't happen very often but it sure brings things down hard at inopportune times when it does. At least we are getting a new box soon with MUCH more ram in it. I know this isn't really a fair test and it could be corrected with more ram and/or load balancing between more boxes.

I continue to be impressed with BSD boxes continuing to keep on rolling when loads get crazy. This and solid, consistent updating is where BSD really shines and is why I choose whenever it can fit the bill.

Re:High load: Linux/BSD? (1)

SillyNickName4me (760022) | more than 9 years ago | (#9419265)

Purely anecdotal ofcourse but..

I used to run FreeBSD 5.2.1 with Apache 2, MySQL 4.0, PHP 4.3.7 (with Turckmmcache) and Geeklog on a dual CPU pII 333 machine with 512mb ram. (the machine is still running MySQL, but geeklog moved to a bigger machine by now)

I also tested this with Debian (current) and gentoo.

With both Linux distributions, this configuration tops at approx 10k requests/hour with 20 parallel connections.

The exact same setup on FreeBSD handles upto 12k requests/hour with 20 parallel connections.

In both cases the machine its rather busy. In neither case it runs out of memory.

In case of FreeBSD I do get a response from the shell within a few sec still, that is not the case on Linux.

As I said, purely anecdotal, but enough reason for me to believe the 'handles high load very well' claim. approx 20% more connections is not a little bit either in my world.

Re:High load: Linux/BSD? (0)

mattyrobinson69 (751521) | more than 9 years ago | (#9418962)

it would be nice to see freeBSD compared against a proper distro, like debian, slackware, esmith or gentoo

(ive never tried esmith or debian, but ive heard good things about them - especially debian, so i thought i would include them too. infact, ive not tried gentoo either - just slack, mdk and rh)

Re:High load: Linux/BSD? (4, Informative)

B747SP (179471) | more than 9 years ago | (#9418723)

There was a write up on slashdot a while back, don't remember enough to search it, but someone did a bunch of tests on a range of *nix OSes and, interestingly, *BSD got pretty well pasted (by a flavour of Linux) in some of the tests. That surprised me, because Linux is not something that I've ever regarded as being reliable, stable, or up to taking a beating (though my regard (or lack thereof) for Linux is probably more religous than factual - I've been a Daemon worshipper since the beginning of time).

The tests were more 'tests' than 'real world'... create a million files and delete them, generate a million big numbers, shuffle great gobs of stuff around in memory, spawn/fork a million processes, etc, etc, etc. The BSDs took a shocking beating.

On the other hand, the BSDs, and FreeBSD in particular shows up in a *lot* of large and heavy duty installations, so maybe the tests weren't representative of the real world?

Re:High load: Linux/BSD? (5, Informative)

thue (121682) | more than 9 years ago | (#9418909)

I assume you are talking about this: Benchmarking BSD and Linux [bulk.fefe.de] from this slashdot story [slashdot.org] . Linux 2.6 is the clear winner in all almost all tests.

(The trick for finding it was to use google instead of slashdot search. This search [google.com] found it at once.)

Re:High load: Linux/BSD? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9418986)

The trick for finding it was to use google instead of slashdot search.

I wouldn't think that's a ``trick.'' Slashdot search has proven itself to be entirely useless for any purpose.

Re:High load: Linux/BSD? (1)

Pros_n_Cons (535669) | more than 9 years ago | (#9418842)

here [bulk.fefe.de] is a decent benchmark I remember from a while ago. 2.6 put alot of work in and is better to on-par with most tests, though all statistics are flawed, the code for the benchmarking is open if you want to give it a shot.

$$$ Poured into Linux, puts it over the top (4, Insightful)

HighOrbit (631451) | more than 9 years ago | (#9418974)

You only quoted part of it
Quandt also contends that FreeBSD is not currently on the same level as Linux when it comes to supporting heavy enterprise workloads. "The community activity around Linux in the late 1990s and support from system vendors and large independent software vendors fueled key enhancements in Linux," Quandt said. "Improvements in symmetric multiprocessing (SMP) virtual memory, asynchronous I/O, a native POSIX thread library, as well as other features and support from multiple vendors [in Linux] made FreeBSD a less likely choice for enterprise workloads."
Big Business has put a lot of money into Linux, and it is just now overtaking FreeBSD (and then only in some areas). If just half of the money and effort that has been poured into Linux had been put into *BSD, FreeBSD would be a truly bad-ass system and would probably smoke any other Unix/Unix clone. I had high hopes that Apple would contribute back to the community, but I don't think that has materialized like I had hoped. Although I don't like to get into the license religous wars (I prefer the BSD license for freedom), I think this is a case where the GPL has served Linux well by forcing users (i.e. developing corporations) to give back.

As far as stability and consistancey goes, only Debian-Stable approaches BSD, because Debian enforces a strict development and testing process (as opposed to adding in just any random unstable bleeding edge package because it is "new").

Re:$$$ Poured into Linux, puts it over the top (5, Informative)

LizardKing (5245) | more than 9 years ago | (#9419225)

I had high hopes that Apple would contribute back to the community, but I don't think that has materialized like I had hoped.

Mac OS X uses the Mach kernel with a FreeBSD layer above it. This means that much of Apples work on the Mach kernel is irrelevant to FreeBSD. Mach is a microkernel, which was of course derived from BSD Unix, but it was forked so long ago that few similarities remain.

As far as stability and consistancey goes, only Debian-Stable approaches BSD

The BSD's also benefit from being a complete system, not a kernel with various userland stuff slapped together into 1001 distributions. This means that users running the development versions are using the same userland as the developers, and bugs can be shaken out far quicker.

Chris

I just set up a 5.2.1-RELEASE server. (2, Interesting)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 9 years ago | (#9418649)

I know for damn sure I'm one of those who's gonna seriously love having a 5-STABLE branch. :) Damn tho, they need to stop talking to Linux people for these articles. I'm sick of hearing the GPL partyline.

More open license rules (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9419171)

Did anyone else pick up from the article that BSD was gaining vs Linux because it did not have the GPL legal baggage?

Screw this (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9418657)

If the article says "leverage the strengths" it's not for me.

Odd... (4, Interesting)

dotslashconfig (784719) | more than 9 years ago | (#9418663)

FreeBSD is used on over 95 of the top 100 servers (greatest average uptime). FreeBSD is tested and true on the server-side in a way few linux distrobutions can claim. The closest any distro has come to actually matching reliability with FreeBSD is Debian. But even then, FreeBSD is still light-years ahead. I'm not really sure what inspired this article, but a simple google search reveals that BSD is the route most major corporations are taking with servers. So while I do appreciate GNU/GPL support, try to be less blatant. ;)

Re:Odd... (2, Insightful)

chez69 (135760) | more than 9 years ago | (#9418671)

Many operating systems wrap the uptime or don't report it to netcraft.

Re:Odd... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9418694)

I bet Netcraft doesn't rely on those uptime statistics, but rather polls and does OS fingerprinting.

Re:Odd... (1)

chez69 (135760) | more than 9 years ago | (#9418722)

you can discover uptime through os fingerprinting? (i'm not being sarcastic =-) ) that's neat.

Re:Odd... (2, Informative)

supersnail (106701) | more than 9 years ago | (#9418808)

"but rather polls and does OS fingerpinting"

Netcraft queries uptime on servers periodicaly and uses fingerprinting to identify the OS.

Re:Odd... (4, Informative)

KennethSundby (723521) | more than 9 years ago | (#9418712)

FreeBSD is used on over 95 of the top 100 servers (greatest average uptime)
While that is true, it is not because they have the greatest uptime. They merely have the best uptime-code =) (I am not advocating either over the other.)

Re:Odd... (4, Interesting)

molarmass192 (608071) | more than 9 years ago | (#9418800)

Your Google search is wrong. I have never seen or dealt with a FreeBSD box at use at any of the Global 500 corp data centers I've visited / worked with. The breakdown is more like there's a whole lot of Solaris, a whole lot of Win2K (groans), a fair amount of AIX and HP-UX, and occasionally Linux (mostly RHEL) in use at major corporations. Understand that this isn't a reflection of how good FreeBSD is, it's simply that major corporations appear to be more interested in support contracts super human uptime guarantees than the quality of the OS in place. Granted, I haven't been to every data center on the planet, nor been told what every box is running (some of these places football field size) , but I've been to A LOT throughout North America and Europe over the years I've been doing this gig. The types of places I'd expect to find FreeBSD are the smaller, less bureaucratic data centers and ISPs where there are a handful of guys with free reign of the place.

Re:Odd... (1)

SillyNickName4me (760022) | more than 9 years ago | (#9418929)

You never visited Yahoo or many sites like it obviously.

Re:Odd... (1)

jaseuk (217780) | more than 9 years ago | (#9419674)

Yahoo is a large website operation. For most corporates the web server is a _very small_ part of the overall IT infrastructure. Yahoo is not representative of what you'd find in a typical corporate datacentre / computer room.

Re:Odd... (2, Interesting)

steve_l (109732) | more than 9 years ago | (#9419017)

yes, corporates are stuck in Windows land. One of their goals is to run fancy app server stuff, and for that -be it ASP, ASP.net or Java based- means windows, and historically a commercial unix (Sun, HP, IBM), with Linux a late entrant.

now that BSD does Java, things may change.

But outside the corporate, big sites like IMDB and Apache run FreeBSD, as far as I know.

Somebody's on a role here... (5, Funny)

Sneeka2 (782894) | more than 9 years ago | (#9418673)

Woah, 3 devils on the main page (for me at least), all posted within a few minutes. Is BSD dying faster today or are they simply on Speed?

Ken Brown: Don't Read This Without Assistance (5, Funny)

corporatemutantninja (533295) | more than 9 years ago | (#9418684)

Uh oh. I read the sentence "Linux actually inherits a lot of BSD code" and immdiately thought of Ken Brown. Ken, if you're reading this (or having it translated into a version using only monosyllabic words) be advised that the preceding quote refers to GNU/Linux, not the Linux kernel that Linux wrote in a year.

Re:Ken Brown: Don't Read This Without Assistance (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9418705)

Would be funny if some slashdot admin could do a grep for adti.net in their server logs and post the results...

Community is key (1, Interesting)

wombatmobile (623057) | more than 9 years ago | (#9418692)

Though he acknowledged that a FreeBSD license can be simple to deal with, he thinks the GPL (define) license, under which the Linux kernel is licensed, fosters a better sense of community.

Right [216.239.57.104] .

The real story (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9418698)

Hahahaha! I just RTFA and it's all based that piece of shitty non news that was posted in the BSD section a couple of days ago.

According to Netcraft, over one million new domains were hosted on FreeBSD over the last year, bringing the total number in its survey of companies using the Unix-variant OS to over 2.5 million.

Never mind the millions of new domains are just yahoo subdomains. *BSD's reliance on a few big vendors are the very reason why it's on such a downward spiral. If one of those do the Linux switch then Pffffft...

Face it, zealots. BSD is dribbling down the drain, like Janet Leigh's blood in Psycho. And just like Leigh in that movie..BSD is already, INEVITABLY, dead. Wake up.

Hope this helps.

So Stealthy.... (-1, Troll)

fataugie (89032) | more than 9 years ago | (#9418699)

That they're being accused of dying almost every other day on /.

Re:So Stealthy.... (1, Interesting)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 9 years ago | (#9418710)

Eh, let the Linux fanboys talk all they want, as long as my mailserver keeps chugging away. ;)

Re:So Stealthy.... (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 9 years ago | (#9419219)

Exactly. I really don't care if no one else is using FreeBSD. I have yet to find a better server and workstation environment (although OS X beats it on the desktop). It's stable and fast (especially the 5.x series). It also handles sound in a sensible way. When I was running it on a workstation I was able to listen to sound from a GNOME music player, beeps from a KDE Jabber client and occasionally play BZFlag (which uses /dev/dsp directly) at the same time (for those who have not used FreeBSD, it creates a numbe of virtual dsp devices and mixes the result in the kernel, even if the sound card does not support hardware mixing).

FreeBSD is Undead (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9418706)

It is now official. FreeBSD is Undead.

It has long been argued that FreeBSD is dead, but now new evidence is coming to light that it has been resurrected, and like a zombie process is lurching across the Unix landscape once again.

Recent growth in FreeBSD's market share, as reported by Slashdot, is evidence that a Faustian pact with the daemons has been made. Stay tuned for more on this recent development...

Re:FreeBSD is Undead (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9418737)

White on white translucent black capes
Back on the rack
BSD's dead
The bats have left the bell tower
The victims have been bled
Red velvet lines the black box
BSD's dead
Undead undead undead
The virginal brides file past its tomb
Strewn with time's dead flowers
Bereft in deathly bloom
Alone in a darkened room
The count
BSD's dead
Undead undead undead

Re:FreeBSD is Undead (4, Funny)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 9 years ago | (#9418740)

Maybe BSD users are like the lurkers on /. and usenet.

They are millions of them, but they don't talk much.

Maybe they're....watching us right now!! ......

Re:FreeBSD is Undead (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9418752)

Yes we are watching you, and you're a *very* naughty boy.

Re:FreeBSD is Undead (1, Informative)

Secrity (742221) | more than 9 years ago | (#9418906)

Some just don't talk much about using FreeBSD. I myself admin boxes for a large ISP that runs Solaris on enterprise production boxes. I run FreeBSD on several non-enterprise production servers. I have also tried several Linux distros and run some of them to test dialer support and I still don't like Linux for some reason. FreeBSD is more stable for one thing, and the ports system runs rings around the various Linux package systems. I find it frustrating when an RPM package refuses to install because I have a library or other dependancy that is a LATER version than the one that the package wants. Ports just seems to iron all that crap out for me.

Re:FreeBSD is Undead (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9418947)

I find it frustrating when an RPM package refuses to install because I have a library or other dependancy that is a LATER version than the one that the package wants.

Possible solution: Compile your own software.

Re:FreeBSD is Undead (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9419139)

Thats what I love about windows. They force us to compile our own software which makes it so easy to use. Oh, wait...

Re:FreeBSD is Undead (3, Interesting)

cpghost (719344) | more than 9 years ago | (#9419224)

Isn't it actually funny that the ports system is a pure userland framework that has nothing inherently FreeBSD-ish? It could just as well be adopted by Linux distros, but right now, only gentoo [gentoo.org] did it.

One of the best features of FreeBSD is in my experience the ease with which you can update the whole system with a simple cvsup and recompile. No need to go hunting for N utilities and libraries all over the Net, just to get the sources to a base system. It's in the CVS repo, ready to be grabbed.

The CVS repository is also a great resource if you are interested in the development history of the system. Not only the kernel, but the whole system. If Linux (as an OS, not only a kernel) had a unified CVS just like the BSDs right from the start, it would have been much easier to debunk TSG/SCO's myths and FUD.

Re:FreeBSD is Undead (1)

tolan-b (230077) | more than 9 years ago | (#9419453)

Have you tried apt / apt-rpm / yum? They all work fine in my experience. The only time you're likely to get problems is if you mix repositories.

Re:FreeBSD is Undead (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9419124)

Well BSD is in a lot of strange places. Recently the company I work for aquired an eCabinet - which runs FreeBSD. The sales guy will usually say that it runs Unix, the tech guys who set up the thing say the thing runs Linux, but no one seems to actually KNOW that it runs FreeBSD. The same thing happens at my company where people think many of our servers are Linux or Unix (etc) but don't seem to know what BSD is. That's fine, it takes too much effort to explain the difference, and doesn't really matter what they know. I admin the servers, they get the reliable service and that's all that matters.

I think half the time FreeBSD admins don't say anything because they don't want to go on and on explaining what FreeBSD is. It's bad enough explaining what Linux is even though Linux has gained a lot of recognition.

Re:FreeBSD is Undead (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9419134)

Yes, we are.

This in fact is the first time i post to slashdot ever :) (and i am a looong time reader)

MOD PARENT UP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9418823)

This isn't offtopic, it is funny. It is making fun of the usual "FreeBSD is Dead" trolls, in light of the evidence in this story that FreeBSD is rising in popularity.

Good or Not.... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9418713)

If Open(Free)BSD would give me HEAD, I'd use AND recommend it to my friends!!!!

-Fanks

Incorrect name. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9418714)

"According to Open Source Development Labs (OSDL)"

The place is called the "Open Source" Development Labs.....got it.

Bill Weinberg then is quoted: "our mandate centers around Linux."

Then why is the place called "Open Source Development Labs"? Why is it not called the more honest "Linux Development Labs"? Why the deception?

OS X Server part of FreeBSD count? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Writer (746272) | more than 9 years ago | (#9418742)

over one million new domains were hosted on FreeBSD over the last year

Since OS X (Darwin) is based on FreeBSD, does this mean that the Netcraft figures [netcraft.com] counted OS X Server hosts as FreeBSD?

Re:OS X Server part of FreeBSD count? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9418822)

It is not "based" on FreeBSD. It incorporates much of FreeBSD here and there, (and NetBSD as well). It's atleast more "based" on mach than
FreeBSD. And no, Netcraft reports OSX as .. OSX.

Re:OS X Server part of FreeBSD count? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9418964)

Nope, OS X can be distinguished by its TCP/IP fingerprint from FreeBSD.
Most of the time even minor version can be determined using this technique.
Use NMAP [insecure.org] to discover ...

Re:OS X Server part of FreeBSD count? (1)

avleeuwen (697047) | more than 9 years ago | (#9419169)

No. MacOS X can be perfectly identified by Netcraft, and for that matter, it's not even based on FreeBSD (only userland programs come from FreeBSD).

competition with Linux (5, Insightful)

dekeji (784080) | more than 9 years ago | (#9418759)

But why hasn't FreeBSD become as widespread as Linux? The answers may lie in its history.

That's roughly like asking: why do people eat less chocolate than they eat potatoes?

The answer is not history, it's that they are different kinds of "products" with different strengths and weaknesses.

Re:competition with Linux (1)

tarks (529856) | more than 9 years ago | (#9419687)

That's roughly like asking: why do people eat less chocolate than they eat potatoes?

Funny, I think I actualy eat more chocolate than potatoes

security and uptime (1, Troll)

p9fos (788021) | more than 9 years ago | (#9418791)

I admin a web server at my university. I have to say *knock on wood* that it has stayed up and not been cracked into (yet). Unlike the previous web server running slowlaris 8, which has been broken into several times. We also have a linux server for the computer science majors, that also has been broken into. freebsd seems to be pretty solid in my experience. anyone have diffrent or same experinces as this?

Re:security and uptime (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9418959)

Which part, exactly, got broken into though? I think that the operating system themselves don't normally get cracked, it's just the applications running as root that can be exploited (although it has happened; and also most kernels now have protection against stack-breaking in applications to prevent exploits).

Re:security and uptime (1)

p9fos (788021) | more than 9 years ago | (#9419467)

well the solaris and linux breakins were before my time and I don't have access to the files reporting the breakins (or they don't exist) but yes, a lot of exploits are in applications running on a system. by comparison, I see a lot more application expoloits than operating system exploits. though slashdot just got an article about the linux kernel crashing with just shell and c compiler access, and there are plenty of users on systems you just can't trust.

FreeBSD is an OS, Linux isn't.... (5, Insightful)

B747SP (179471) | more than 9 years ago | (#9418794)

I'll show my colours up front: I've been worshipping the Daemon since somewhere around version 1.1 - practically since forever!.

The thing that sells me for FreeBSD in corporate environments is that FreeBSD is an operating system. The same group of people do the kernel *and* the OS. I've put a lot of FreeBSD boxes in production corporate environments, and I've never been bitten by the choice of OS, so I've become a pretty loyal punter. On the other hand, I just can't bring myself to put any OS that uses the linux *kernel* (there isn't an OS called 'linux' as best as I can tell) on a production enviroment - I've always had the impression that the Linuxes are all terribly fragmented, incoherent, and you never know what you're getting.

(by about now, all the script kids with mod points have cluelessly clicked the 'flamebait' button already... should I bother going on?!!! :-) )

In other news, I've become a really big fan of Gentoo Linux... it's just brilliant. I'm using it all kinds of non-production environments, and loving every minute of it. Bottom line though, it's too hard to sell something that is just a kernel as stable, reliable, and suitable for business.

Re:FreeBSD is an OS, Linux isn't.... (1)

AliasTheRoot (171859) | more than 9 years ago | (#9418878)

I'm thinking about killing off my Windows box at home and switching over, i've admined a ton of FreeBSD boxes over the years and i'm really comfortable with the way things are laid out - but Linux has better drivers for nVidia and suchlike, so that kind of made my choice for me.

So how is Gentoo? Is it laid out logically and stuff? I've been trying a really cut down version of Debian which seems pretty decent.

Hell, I was almost going to roll my own BSD/Linux and lay everything out / clone install scripts from BSD but that's too much hassle.

Re:FreeBSD is an OS, Linux isn't.... (4, Informative)

harikiri (211017) | more than 9 years ago | (#9419211)

Nvidia has FreeBSD drivers available [nvidia.com] . However for ATI drivers, there still remains a need for people to visit the Linux Driver feedback page [ati.com] and ask for FreeBSD support.

As both a FreeBSD user and Gentoo user, I think the best description would be that Gentoo is BSD for Linux users. As a humourous aside, some friends have also started describing Gentoo as "ricenix: 2Fast2Optimized". ;-)

Gentoo is laid out fairly logically (no idea if it follows the Linux Standards Base [linuxbase.org] though). The main benefit is the total control you gain over your installation - much like you gain with BSD (hence, BSD for Linux users). Though it is achieved through the remarkable Portage [gentoo.org] package management system, vs FreeBSD which is a wholly maintained o/s, with a very large [freebsd.org] "ports" system.

The only thing that keeps me from using FreeBSD on my workstation is that I do play some games on Linux, and write software [mod3.net] to support game playing on a local Australian gaming network. For those that don't need the fluff that's supported on Linux (games being a primary example), almost everything else is available under FreeBSD. But to save you extra work, Gentoo is probably the way to go (easy to manage once installed through portage).

Re:FreeBSD is an OS, Linux isn't.... (5, Insightful)

mslinux (570958) | more than 9 years ago | (#9418923)

This is a great point. In fact, besides the license difference, this is the main difference between FreeBSD and GNU/Linux.

In FreeBSD, you get the filesystem, the kernel, a shell... all developed by the same group of SW engineers. In GNU/Linux, you get a Kernel from kernel.org a filesystem from Hans Reiser a shell from GNU, etc... that's why most Linux installs are called distributions and that's why distros vary so much.

Don't get me wrong, I like both GNU/Linux and FreeBSD. Just think others should be more aware of this difference as it's a fundamentally different approach to developing SW:

FreeBSD = All core parts developed together.

Linux = Assembling a collection of core parts from different sources.

Re:FreeBSD is an OS, Linux isn't.... (4, Insightful)

quantum bit (225091) | more than 9 years ago | (#9418953)

In FreeBSD, you get the filesystem, the kernel, a shell... all developed by the same group of SW engineers.

...and libc. It always seemed strange to me that the Linux C library (glibc) was not developed together with the kernel, since the C library is how most programs interface with the kernel.

Re:FreeBSD is an OS, Linux isn't.... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9418961)

So any bad coding practises (not saying that any exist) go through all software? isnt that one of the big arguements against windows? that its all the same thus easier for something to go wrong?

Re:FreeBSD is an OS, Linux isn't.... (0)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 9 years ago | (#9419289)

``The thing that sells me for FreeBSD in corporate environments is that FreeBSD is an operating system. The same group of people do the kernel *and* the OS.''

And what is the advantage of this? You can bet that the GNU project takes great care that their software works on Linux, as they know that is what most people will run it on. Saying that the same group does the kernel and the OS says to me that it's probably going to be monolithic, interwoven, non-portable. That said, I don't know if that is actually the case, and I find the BSD code a lot more pleasing than GNU bloatware.

``I've always had the impression that the Linuxes are all terribly fragmented, incoherent, and you never know what you're getting.''

Fragmented: yes, there are many distributions, and many are guilty of putting stuff in non-standard places, leading to incompatibilities. However, you are going to be using only one of them, are you? Then, diversity means more probability of finding something that suits you.

You never know what you're getting: I think that goes for any sufficiently complex system. You read the descriptions, you get some vague idea, but you never get the whole picture until you actually use the product.

It's FreeBSD's biggest advantage (4, Interesting)

swb (14022) | more than 9 years ago | (#9419403)

I was a big RedHat/Linux user until about 5 or so years ago. I got sick of:

* The constantly changing startup environment and filesystem layout. I started typing "evolving", but that implies it was small changes for the better, not wholesale changes which weren't always for the worse.

* Kernel upgrades became a big nuisance, requiring me to track down a whole bunch of userland applications that needed updating for the kernel. to be usable (psutils, for one). Why the kernel and key kernel applications aren't packaged together is beyond me.

* The installer became more and more piggish, adding X11 elements even when I specifically told it not to. The portions were hard to remove, since they almost always were snared in RPM dependencies.

* RPM itself wasn't bad, but what DID drive me nuts about binary packages was the total absence of build documentation. So many UNIX applications have significant build-time options which are never documented in RPM. SRPM helped, but it was still an annoyance.

FreeBSD just seems how it *should* be. The filesystem and startup environment isn't static, but doesn't make wholesale changes. The entire system is rebuildable from source, applications are transparently and easily buildable from source thanks to ports.

FreeBSD's installer could be improved, though. sysinstall needs to be reinvented and perhaps have picobsd merged into it. I'd love to be able to install a variable-sized FreeBSD for firewall or appliance-type installs.

Re:FreeBSD is an OS, Linux isn't.... (5, Insightful)

rho (6063) | more than 9 years ago | (#9419572)

The best part of this cohesion you get from FreeBSD (and Open- and Net-) is that the filesystem is not laid out like they gave a paintbrush to an epileptic. Things are put in logical places.

This changes a bit when you delve into the /usr/ports/ tree, but not much. The port maintainers generally keep to the standards. I.e., they don't fill /etc with a bunch of crap.

I can't bear to use any of the GNU/Linux distros these days. Partially for aethetic reasons, but also because of the gung-ho mentality of Linux nerds who will stick any damn thing any damn place they damn well want to. *BSD admins tend to stick to canon, I've noticed, whereas GNU/Linux admins each do their own thing. So after a couple of years, you can't find anything and often enough find the same thing installed twice. My experience, YMMV.

Who's dead? (1)

leakingmemory (750252) | more than 9 years ago | (#9418811)

I think we have seen some corruption problems over the net. Somehow SOLARIS was switched out with the word 'FreeBSD'. So the real statement is 'SOLARIS is dead'.

Sun seems to have realized this, so they say that SOLARIS will be open sourced. Why not? Then we'll see where they (Sun) took the code.. or, oh wait..

"Stealthy"? (5, Insightful)

ewg (158266) | more than 9 years ago | (#9418838)

FreeBSD is a "stealthy" open source project in the same way the Brooklyn Bridge [nyc.gov] is a "stealthy" public works project:

It's been there forever, doing its job, fully appreciated only by an informed minority.

PS: Neither are for sale. :-)

Re:"Stealthy"? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9419028)

OMG some dudes just took the Brooklyn Bridge and painted fancy colours on the road, painted the struts metalic then drilled speed holes in them. "multi coloured, water cooled cheese-grater bridge" and they are selling them with processors from IBM!

Enterprise Load (5, Informative)

anacleto (786742) | more than 9 years ago | (#9418885)

I have several corporate systems consisting of Sun E10k hosts, Linux, and FreeBSD systems. In my experience, FreeBSD performs very well under heavy load, on par with Solaris and slightly better than Linux. Not that I'm downing Linux; Each OS has strengths and weaknesses, but the author seemed to indicate that FreeBSD was not suitable for corporate use and I believe that it is.

[...] FreeBSD's growth over the last years (-1, Offtopic)

R.Caley (126968) | more than 9 years ago | (#9418896)

Don't things often swell up when they die?

Re:[...] FreeBSD's growth over the last years (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9419206)

Yes, that explains your head Ms. Caley.

Java support is still lacking... (-1, Troll)

jarich (733129) | more than 9 years ago | (#9418910)

Until the BSDs get current Java support, I can't use it.

Re:Java support is still lacking... (1)

APurplePolarBear (721761) | more than 9 years ago | (#9419090)

I've always found the lack of Java very annoying too. To be fair, I think it's more like Sun/Java lacking support for FreeBSD rather than the other way around? Anyway, it is possible to get past this, though it involves downloading the source from Sun, enabling Linux compatability, getting a Linux JDK installed then compiling your own FreeBSD JDK... no fun, but can be done and I found it worth the hassle.

Re:Java support is still lacking... (3, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 9 years ago | (#9419126)

Troll. FreeBSD has Java support [freebsd.org] . I think you still have to download the source from Sun and put it into /usr/ports/distfiles before you can install the port due to licensing restrictions, but it does work.

I don't believe (although I could well be wrong. Please correct me if I am) that it uses the new KSE in the 5.x branch, so it's still slower than on other platforms for multithreaded things.

Re:Java support is still lacking... (1)

jarich (733129) | more than 9 years ago | (#9419399)

From the page you listed:

The current release of the JDK and JRE available via the FreeBSD Foundation is 1.3.1

1.3.1 is ~not~ current.

It probably is just Sun not supporting the platform but it still impacts usability.

OSDL is Linux only? (2, Insightful)

embill (551301) | more than 9 years ago | (#9418934)

According to Open Source Development Labs (OSDL), which bills itself as a "center of gravity" for Linux development, Free BSD is on a separate path compared to Linux. Then why aren't they called the Linux Development Labs?

Why the Wars, People? (3, Insightful)

agraupe (769778) | more than 9 years ago | (#9418940)

Let me say that I'm a happy Linux user, with 3 systems, each working fairly well (only one is in constant use; the others I use for fun). In my experience Linux is a very robust system (I've tried Gentoo and Red Hat, with Gentoo being my favorite), but I also tried OpenBSD. It gave me the feeling that if I got to know it better, then it would be great. But I wasn't into running a big server, so I left it alone. At some point, I would like to try FreeBSD, because it has a great reputation. I don't have the hardware right now, but I heard about a FreeBSD LiveCD that I would like to know more about. Why do open-source projects bicker among each other so much? Think "Life of Brian": Brian: "People, people, we should be fighting the common enemy." Fighters: "The Judean People's Front!" Brian: "No! The Romans!" Until Windows is brought down to an equal level, there is no reason to compete among Open OSs. After all, the *NIX (or *BSD) motto is: do one thing, do it well.

But we do one thing well! (2, Funny)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 9 years ago | (#9419549)

``After all, the *NIX (or *BSD) motto is: do one thing, do it well.''

I think the arguing goes really well.

What has FreeBSD got to offer? (0, Troll)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 9 years ago | (#9419001)

WARNING: This post contains what may be perceived as FreeBSD criticism and GNU/Linux advocacy. However, I have an open mind and would like to hear constructive responses to the issues I raise. I like FreeBSD, I just like Debian GNU/Linux and NetBSD better.

I wonder what FreeBSD really has to offer that makes it better than the competition.

It doesn't enjoy the popularity and mindshare that GNU/Linux enjoys. People in the server world sometimes prefer it, but outside of this world Open Source = Linux (and, usually, = Red Hat), and FreeBSD is unheard of.

It uses a much more monolithic kernel than Linux, making it lose some flexibility. You wouldn't really want to use FreeBSD for an embedded system. (And I mean really low-end, not "we call it embedded because it's small, but it's actually powerful enough to run a desktop OS".) Linux and NetBSD are more suitable choices here.

Fewer drivers are available (especially those available as binary modules for Linux). Many applications developed for the GNU system won't work on a vanilla FreeBSD system. While this is the applications' fault, it still is a disadvantage for FreeBSD. It also has fewer binary packages available than Debian GNU/Linux.

It loses against Linux and NetBSD in terms of supported architectures.

It loses against Linux and NetBSD in this benchmark [bulk.fefe.de] .

FreeBSD systems are easy to administer using ports, but the same can be said of other BSDs. There are Linux distributions using ports (or variants thereof), and apt is at least as convenient.

So what is left? FreeBSD (and also NetBSD) definitely has a more professional feel about it than many Linux distros. It has also proven itself many times in server environments. However, with GNU/Linux (at least Debian) beating it in technical and usability aspects, are these emotions really warranted? Then there is the license. I don't think either license (BSD or GPL) can be said to be better than the other, but there must be cases where the BSD license is to be preferred, so the license could be an argument. Is that what it all comes down to, then?

PS. I've heard many people complain about the Debian installer (the one used in woody), and I've heard the FreeBSD installer time and time again. Personally, I find the Debian installer vastly superior to FreeBSD's (which has failed a number of times, and given me a hard time making the right choices, especially when partitioning). Yes, I am a Debian zealot, but let me add that the installer I've liked best is OpenBSD's.

So, what's up with the FreeBSD installer being easy to use (except for me) and the Debian installer being hard to use (except for people who read the messages it gives you)? Is it really me, or are they measured against different standards (FreeBSD being for more technically apt people than GNU/Linux)?

Re:What has FreeBSD got to offer? (5, Informative)

cpghost (719344) | more than 9 years ago | (#9419102)

it uses a much more monolithic kernel than Linux, making it lose some flexibility

Wrong. FreeBSD uses KLD modules just as extensively as Linux.

You wouldn't really want to use FreeBSD for an embedded system

I'm using FreeBSD on Soekris [soekris.com] net4801 boxes as router/postfix/imap/http/... low-power ADSL appliance.

Re:What has FreeBSD got to offer? (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 9 years ago | (#9419163)

How small does the FreeBSD kernel get? Last time I tried it with Linux (2.4.19; 2.6 is supposed to get smaller), I got a kernel with some essential drivers and network support compiled in at about 600KB (on disk), just small enough to make myself a usablo boot diskette.

Can you match or beat that with FreeBSD? My hard drive is dead, so I can't really test this right now. :-(

Re:What has FreeBSD got to offer? (2, Informative)

cpghost (719344) | more than 9 years ago | (#9419358)

It's not about how small the kernel image gets, but how much RAM it typically uses. The net4801 is a rather powerful box with 128 MB RAM. You can easily fit a FreeBSD base system on a 512 MB CF card and operate without the need for swap. A stripped down kernel would take approx. 2.5 MB diskspace, but you can tune it down to nearly 800k if you really must. BTW, you can put a small Linux system on that box just the same. It just happens hat I used 5.2.1 because it supports PXE booting and network install out of the box.

Re:What has FreeBSD got to offer? (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 9 years ago | (#9419457)

With 128 megs of RAM you really don't have anything to worry about. I have made Linux 2.4.19 kernels for systems with under 4 MB of core. That is about as low as I managed to go, and I doubt 2.4 could go much lower (preserving hard drive access - it was for installation). I don't think FreeBSD can, either. The practical benefit is probably gone these days, but I just have an obsession with small and modular code.

Re:What has FreeBSD got to offer? (1)

DashEvil (645963) | more than 9 years ago | (#9419665)

Any size comparison here isn't going to be fair. Linux kernels are bzipped, FreeBSD kernels are not.

Therefore the actual end size says nothing about the kernel itself, and everything about the method used to package it.

Re:What has FreeBSD got to offer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9419242)

I wonder what FreeBSD really has to offer that makes it better than the competition.

How about a under 500 word license VS over 2,500 word license?

(and my reply is factual rather than your handwaving post)

Why, thanks (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 9 years ago | (#9419383)

``How about a under 500 word license VS over 2,500 word license?''

May I recommend my own tutorial operating system? It has a kernel providing basic console services, and it's in the public domain. License: 0 words. Obviously, it smokes the BSDs, GNU/Linux, Windows, and all the rest!

Re:What has FreeBSD got to offer? (1)

kirkjobsluder (520465) | more than 9 years ago | (#9419249)

Ultimately, it comes down to a matter of preference and a lot of the "my operating system is better than your operating system" just resolves to a pissing match. I cut my teeth on solaris and irix back before I tried Linux and I found Linux (granted with an early version of Red Hat) to be a bit scattered in comparison. I've not found the same problems to be true of FreeBSD.

Stealthy NOS? No. Redirected reporting? Yes. (1)

base_chakra (230686) | more than 9 years ago | (#9419036)

FreeBSD isn't transitively "stealthy" (the onus is on the mainstream media), it just isn't widely regarded as having the potential to challenge Microsoft on the desktop, and there has never been a FreeBSD IPO announcement. From the mass media's perspective, what layperson wants to read about FreeBSD's growth in the server market (or overall greatness) unless they can take advantage of it?

BSD not dead?? (-1, Offtopic)

clawsoon (748629) | more than 9 years ago | (#9419112)

You lied to me, Slashdot troll, you lied!

Next someone will tell me Natalie Portman doesn't have any hot grits down her pants.

I'm losing my innocence.

A non-article (2, Insightful)

kirkjobsluder (520465) | more than 9 years ago | (#9419118)

A few hundred words of copy from a Linux advocate with a few choice quotes from a BSD advocate for balance. Other than the once-a-month "there is more than linux in open-source operating systems" there is not really that much in this article that is NEWS or worth reading.

Thanks for the link to freebsd.org in the article! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9419227)


I never would have found it otherwise!

Ignores biggest cause of *BSD's early slow growth (4, Informative)

ckd (72611) | more than 9 years ago | (#9419411)

The article ignores the biggest obstacle that *BSD faced in its early days, which gave Linux a big head start: the AT&T lawsuit.

The FUD was flying and unlike today's situation with the SCO attacks, the open source model was not well known, and the idea of a free *BSD was not as established as Linux is today. The suit was eventually taken care of (AT&T had violated UCB's license terms, heh, heh) but the damage to *BSD's momentum was done, and Linux had taken a mindshare lead.

Real comparisons? (1)

21chrisp (757902) | more than 9 years ago | (#9419438)


Recently I've actually been trying to determine which would be better for new low cost servers, FreeBSD or a hardened Gentoo style Linux system. I like BOTH OS's (imagine that), and just want to use what works best for the application. Unfortunately, the net is flooded with fanatical cult-like debates and arguments that seem to only prove ignorance on both sides. Does anyone have any compelling reasons to use FreeBSD over modern Linux? Sure, FreeBSD has proven itself as being the best in the past and certainly isn't a poor choice, but I want to know what's best NOW. The above mentioned benchmarks favour Linux.. are there others to confirm this?
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