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The Case for FreeBSD

Zonk posted more than 9 years ago | from the i-don't-want-to-go-on-the-cart dept.

BSD 406

essdodson writes "Scott Long of FreeBSD release engineering team describes some of the finer points where FreeBSD continues to innovate and display its mature development environment. Items such as netgraph, geom and incredible desktop support by way of Gnome and KDE." From the post: "While I strongly applaud the accomplishments of the NetBSD team and happily agree that NetBSD 2.0 is a strong step forward for them, I take a bit of exception to many of their claims and much of their criticisms of FreeBSD."

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First post (-1, Offtopic)

Tab is on Slashdot (853634) | more than 9 years ago | (#11795187)

Two minutes and no first post? Get on the ball today /.ers.

Re:First post (-1, Troll)

Colonel Cholling (715787) | more than 9 years ago | (#11795196)

Well then let me do the honors: "BSD is dying."

Re:First post "bsd is dying" (1)

Bigos (857389) | more than 9 years ago | (#11795251)

I've been using linux for couple of years, several times i thought about trying one of bsd systems, but didn't have enough courage to reccucitate it. If i see something that i like about them, then i might give it a try though.

I'm Trying OpenBSD... (1, Interesting)

eno2001 (527078) | more than 9 years ago | (#11795480)

...due to the heavy trolling I got last week regarding my comment that OS security and usability are 50% admin skill and 50% OS distributor integrity.

I'm learning more and more that OpenBSD definitely needs an admin that is more highly skilled admin than most Windows or Linux admins. I've definitely made progress in my implementing of OpenBSD, but I still say that my axiom holds true (see my SIG): With most OSes, if you have a competent admin, then you can have a secure system. OpenBSD might up the ante with oddball features to ensure security, but until those are implemented in other mainstream systems, they don't apply. Additionally, you really need to have very strong Unix skill to use OpenBSD, so it flies right in the face of my theory. Where most OSes would have the admin skills required at 50% competency, OpenBSD requires something more on the order of 80% competency in order to get a usable box.

Re:First post (0, Offtopic)

krautcanman (609042) | more than 9 years ago | (#11795199)

second post! -1 overrated, -1 lame

Re:First post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11795204)

SP

FreeBSD Rocks (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11795191)

And that's an easy FP.

Hmmmm (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11795193)

I think Netcraft would disagree with you.

Say what? (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11795265)

Nearly 2.5 Million Active Sites running FreeBSD (Jun 2004) [netcraft.com]
"[FreeBSD] has secured a strong foothold with the hosting community and continues to grow, gaining over a million hostnames and half a million active sites since July 2003."

:)

Does FreeBSD really need to prove itself? (0, Troll)

ravenspear (756059) | more than 9 years ago | (#11795202)

I mean, FreeBSD already has a much larger userbase than NetBSD, so of what consequence are NetBSD's criticisms? I would say not much.

Of course, <troll>since BSD is dying anyway, I'm sure none of it matters either way.</troll>

Re:Does FreeBSD really need to prove itself? (3, Insightful)

ArbitraryConstant (763964) | more than 9 years ago | (#11795547)

"so of what consequence are NetBSD's criticisms?"

Just because NetBSD has fewer users doesn't mean its criticisms are without consequence. After all, by that logic FreeBSD's criticisms of Linux would also be without consequence.

indeed (2, Insightful)

FidelCatsro (861135) | more than 9 years ago | (#11795554)

if BSD is dying /dead , then its one hell of a zombie.
I use three OSs, debian GNU/linux , freeBSD and Mac OS X.. and i think all three are as healthy as ever
im not sure on the whole of apples market share I think about 5% , but considering that OS X has its roots firmly in BSD from its NeXT heritage not to mention the programs it has from the FreeBSD project, then its safe to say that BSD is more alive than ever .

Developer Laments: What Killed FreeBSD (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11795206)

The End of FreeBSD

[ed. note: in the following text, former FreeBSD developer Mike Smith gives his reasons for abandoning FreeBSD]

When I stood for election to the FreeBSD core team nearly two years ago, many of you will recall that it was after a long series of debates during which I maintained that too much organisation, too many rules and too much formality would be a bad thing for the project.

Today, as I read the latest discussions on the future of the FreeBSD project, I see the same problem; a few new faces and many of the old going over the same tired arguments and suggesting variations on the same worthless schemes. Frankly I'm sick of it.

FreeBSD used to be fun. It used to be about doing things the right way. It used to be something that you could sink your teeth into when the mundane chores of programming for a living got you down. It was something cool and exciting; a way to spend your spare time on an endeavour you loved that was at the same time wholesome and worthwhile.

It's not anymore. It's about bylaws and committees and reports and milestones, telling others what to do and doing what you're told. It's about who can rant the longest or shout the loudest or mislead the most people into a bloc in order to legitimise doing what they think is best. Individuals notwithstanding, the project as a whole has lost track of where it's going, and has instead become obsessed with process and mechanics.

So I'm leaving core. I don't want to feel like I should be "doing something" about a project that has lost interest in having something done for it. I don't have the energy to fight what has clearly become a losing battle; I have a life to live and a job to keep, and I won't achieve any of the goals I personally consider worthwhile if I remain obligated to care for the project.

Discussion

I'm sure that I've offended some people already; I'm sure that by the time I'm done here, I'll have offended more. If you feel a need to play to the crowd in your replies rather than make a sincere effort to address the problems I'm discussing here, please do us the courtesy of playing your politics openly.

From a technical perspective, the project faces a set of challenges that significantly outstrips our ability to deliver. Some of the resources that we need to address these challenges are tied up in the fruitless metadiscussions that have raged since we made the mistake of electing officers. Others have left in disgust, or been driven out by the culture of abuse and distraction that has grown up since then. More may well remain available to recruitment, but while the project is busy infighting our chances for successful outreach are sorely diminished.

There's no simple solution to this. For the project to move forward, one or the other of the warring philosophies must win out; either the project returns to its laid-back roots and gets on with the work, or it transforms into a super-organised engineering project and executes a brilliant plan to deliver what, ultimately, we all know we want.

Whatever path is chosen, whatever balance is struck, the choosing and the striking are the important parts. The current indecision and endless conflict are incompatible with any sort of progress.

Trying to dissect the above is far beyond the scope of any parting shot, no matter how distended. All I can really ask of you all is to let go of the minutiae for a moment and take a look at the big picture. What is the ultimate goal here? How can we get there with as little overhead as possible? How would you like to be treated by your fellow travellers?

Shouts

To the Slashdot "BSD is dying" crowd - big deal. Death is part of the cycle; take a look at your soft, pallid bodies and consider that right this very moment, parts of you are dying. See? It's not so bad.

To the bulk of the FreeBSD committerbase and the developer community at large - keep your eyes on the real goals. It's when you get distracted by the politickers that they sideline you. The tireless work that you perform keeping the system clean and building is what provides the platform for the obsessives and the prima donnas to have their moments in the sun. In the end, we need you all; in order to go forwards we must first avoid going backwards.

To the paranoid conspiracy theorists - yes, I work for Apple too. No, my resignation wasn't on Steve's direct orders, or in any way related to work I'm doing, may do, may not do, or indeed what was in the tea I had at lunchtime today. It's about real problems that the project faces, real problems that the project has brought upon itself. You can't escape them by inventing excuses about outside influence, the problem stems from within.

To the politically obsessed - give it a break, if you can. No, the project isn't a lemonade stand anymore, but it's not a world-spanning corporate juggernaut either and some of the more grandiose visions going around are in need of a solid dose of reality. Keep it simple, stupid.

To the grandstanders, the prima donnas, and anyone that thinks that they can hold the project to ransom for their own agenda - give it a break, if you can. When the current core were elected, we took a conscious stand against vigorous sanctions, and some of you have exploited that. A new core is going to have to decide whether to repeat this mistake or get tough. I hope they learn from our errors.

Future

I started work on FreeBSD because it was fun. If I'm going to continue, it has to be fun again. There are things I still feel obligated to do, and with any luck I'll find the time to meet those obligations.

However I don't feel an obligation to get involved in the political mess the project is in right now. I tried, I burnt out. I don't feel that my efforts were worthwhile. So I won't be standing for election, I won't be shouting from the sidelines, and I probably won't vote in the next round of ballots.

You could say I'm packing up my toys. I'm not going home just yet, but I'm not going to play unless you can work out how to make the project somewhere fun to be again.

= Mike

--

To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. -- Theodore Roosevelt

MODS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11795254)

An anonymous "BSD is dying" troll modded at +1 Interesting? Is this some kind of joke? I never have mod points, how come some fucking clueless moron gave 1 point to this shit?

Re:MODS? (0)

northcat (827059) | more than 9 years ago | (#11795301)

Didn't you even read the comment? The AC posted an article by a former FreeBSD developer. And it's completely related to the topic in question. You should be the one modded down.

Re:MODS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11795334)

hi, welcome to slashdot. grandparent has been posted regularly for at least a year now.

thanks

Re:MODS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11795361)

Thanks but your UID (> 800k) proves you're stupid enough not to understand what's happening: the GP message has been posted regularly for more than a year now. "You must be new here" is what we say on these occasions.

Innovative death cycle (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11795282)

What really sets FreeBSD apart is its robust death cycle. No other BSD at any price dies so reliably and consistently, with painless migration between deaths. It's clear that the FreeBSD development team has death as its highest priority and the result is easy to see in the product.

My case for BSD (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11795210)

It's not dead yet! Or is it?

hmmm (5, Interesting)

Quasar1999 (520073) | more than 9 years ago | (#11795211)

I just installed FreeBSD this morning... I must say, straight off the iso, a quick install had me up and running pretty darn fast... much quicker than any linux distro I've tried in the recent past... Now if only I could figure out how to get visual studio to run under it, I could ditch windows... stupid work... stupid requiring development on Windows...

One serious thing about FreeBSD over linux distro's... It feels like it has more of a structure, especially when installing utilities and apps... I find with linux distros, the stuff included feels like it's all over the place, hard to find where things end up installing... but I'm really a vxworks fan... so take what I say with a grain of salt... ;)

Re:hmmm (4, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 9 years ago | (#11795232)

Some linux distributions are more fragmentary than others. Gentoo linux in particular tends to put things in the same place every time; /etc/conf.d for commandline and environment options, and /etc/ for that package's config files. On the other hand I've been mulling over the possibility of putting QNX on my laptop, which has only 128MB ram :)

Re:hmmm (1)

bcmm (768152) | more than 9 years ago | (#11795256)

As you say, Visual Studio is a real killer...
I am forced to program in VB for an AS level course, and Visual Studio is what keeps me dual-booting (Linux and Windows).

Re:hmmm (1)

agraupe (769778) | more than 9 years ago | (#11795555)

Conceivably, you could run an emulator such as bochs or qemu. I agree this isn't the best situation, but when you're dealing with VB in any capacity, you're pretty much doomed to disappointment.

Re:hmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11795279)

i tryed to install both FreeBSD-4.10 and 5.3 and they both would choke and die while booting from the CDrom, i think it did not like the USB on this computer, it has a MSI mainboard with an AMD athlonXP 1600+ & VIA 4in1 chipset, NVIDIA AGP graphics card, 768 megs of PC2100 DDR RAM...

i bet FreeBSD does not like the VIA4in1 or it chokes on the USB-2.0

Re:hmmm (1)

dadragon (177695) | more than 9 years ago | (#11795404)

FreeBSD 5.3 and 4.10 didn't like my computer, either. 5.2 and 4.9 worked fine. The problem is IEEE1394. There is a bug in its disk code, and it pauses looking for hard drives on the 1394 bus. Disable it, and it worked fine for me.
YMMV

Shared Source CLI (was hmmm) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11795583)

Visual Studio under FreeBSD?

You might be interested in this article [microsoft.com]
from the MSDN magazine (July 2002)
about a FreeBSD implementation of .NET
as well as the corresponding bits [microsoft.com] .

BTW, this runs on Mac OS X too.

Re:hmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11795663)

You had better luck than me then. I installed it just the other day. Clean system, clean HD (used whole drive for FreeBSD). After install it wouldn't boot. I read some complicated crap about how to possibly get it working.

Meh, I gave up and went back to Linux.

Re:hmmm (2, Interesting)

Sentry21 (8183) | more than 9 years ago | (#11795664)

I find with linux distros, the stuff included feels like it's all over the place, hard to find where things end up installing... but I'm really a vxworks fan... so take what I say with a grain of salt... ;)

Generally this is true - this is the reason I restrict myself to Debian. With Debian, everything is packaged in the same manner, to the same standards, and it all makes sense. The structure makes it the only Linux distribution I'm willing to spend any time on.

When I tried FreeBSD, I felt that it had much more of a UNIX feel to it - I felt like I was dealing with something classic and powerful. I wasn't (there's only so much a P133 can do), and I had no use for FreeBSD whatsoever, but even just at the console, it felt more responsive and powerful. All subjective, but interesting.

Who cares about this battle? (5, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 9 years ago | (#11795215)

I don't see why people are so worried about advocacy. If you're not making money, what is the difference? Continue to refine the thing and get what you want out of it, and if other people don't get it, who loses? Personally I have a use for only a couple of operating systems now, and they are Linux and netbsd. netbsd because it runs on just about everything, and Linux because it's most supported. It's nothing against FreeBSD, which I simply don't need. The point is, I use whatever fits the job and if that was FreeBSD then I'd use that. The best fit is determined partially by functionality and partially by familiarity...

Re:Who cares about this battle? (4, Insightful)

thepoch (698396) | more than 9 years ago | (#11795287)

You see, people are worried about advocacy because these create mindshare. Without advocacy, people won't understand what the advantages are with using/supporting whatever it is you are advocating.

Without advocacy, your product/whatever will seem inadequate, small, meaningless. This will make your whatever simply useless in the eyes of those who have not decided for themselves at the moment.

People who are not making money out of this have all to lose if they don't get the advocacy they need. They don't have marketing might, and advocacy is all they have. The moment they lose advocacy, they lose mindshare, they lose users. They will them either wither and cease to exist, or become mediocre and simply unimportant, a relic of the past, with the people unwilling to just move on.

You have already decided what you need/want. This makes advocacy useless for you. For the rest of those who have not finalized that decision, they need this stuff to understand the advantages as viewed by those who use the stuff.

Of course, you are also advocating Linux and NetBSD by stating you use those. You didn't give hard facts, but it's still advocacy in a simpler form.

Re:Who cares about this battle? (1)

jjohnson (62583) | more than 9 years ago | (#11795314)

Advocacy is to free software what marketing is to commercial software: the driver to bring in currency. In free software, that currency is warm bodies, both users and people who actively contribute to the product. Free software projects benefit mightily from community involvement, to the point where a lack of involvement can kill an otherwise promising project.

Re:Who cares about this battle? (5, Insightful)

NutscrapeSucks (446616) | more than 9 years ago | (#11795494)

Advocacy is to free software what marketing is to commercial software

Actually there's a key difference. Most marketing is carefully directed at potential new customers. Most "advocacy" takes place in forums specifically designed for advocacy (comp.*.advocacy, slashdot, ars technica battlefront, etc), where a tiny number of relatively knowlegable users quibble amongst themselves for kicks.

Let's take this very article as an example. Both FreeBSD and NetBSD have relatively small userbases which primarily consists of Unix and BSD-saavy users. Neither project has very much to gain by converting the other's users. (Unless there really is some threat of one or the other dying.) Either project would have much more to gain trying to convert the HUGE market of fleeing commercial UNIX users instead of arguing amongst themselves. You'll notice that's what RedHat is doing rather than trying to pick off Debian customers.

Re:Who cares about this battle? (0, Redundant)

Trick (3648) | more than 9 years ago | (#11795321)

For open source projects, especially projects as large as a full OS, advocacy can be critical. The more people know about, and care about, your project, the bigger your developer pool.

Re:Who cares about this battle? (2, Informative)

debilo (612116) | more than 9 years ago | (#11795326)

I don't see why people are so worried about advocacy. If you're not making money, what is the difference?

Donations. Many (maybe most) FOSS developers don't get paid, this is especially true of FreeBSD (or any of the BSDs) since there's less corporate backing than with Linux. A more vocal advocacy will surely change that by drawing more companies' attention to FreeBSD (look what IBM does for Linux) and get them to support the development, and a larger userbase will surely increase much needed donations, be that money or hardware.

Continue to refine the thing and get what you want out of it, and if other people don't get it, who loses?

The FreeBSD community loses, for the reasons laid out above. The more attention FreeBSD draws to itself, the more donations will flow, the more corporate backing they will get, the quicker native drivers will be written, etc. etc. Advocacy is important.

Re:Who cares about this battle? (4, Interesting)

cperciva (102828) | more than 9 years ago | (#11795357)

[If other people don't know about FreeBSD], who loses? Personally I have a use for only a couple of operating systems now, and they are Linux and netbsd.

To answer your question: You lose.

Linus Torvalds has said that the idea behind Linux is "do it yourself". The idea behind BSD -- coming, as it does, from an academic background -- is "there's lots of trash out there. Let's give people something better".

As far as providing people with a better alternative is concerned, writing FreeBSD doesn't accomplish much if everyone keeps on running the Linux distribution of the day.

Not to mention... (5, Funny)

elid (672471) | more than 9 years ago | (#11795221)

...FreeBSD is getting a new logo (well, 0 submissions to date [freebsd.org] , but still !

Re:Not to mention... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11795274)

Heh, give it time. The contest just started five days ago.

Still, from reading the mailing lists, creating a new logo is pretty unpopular in the FreeBSD community. That unpopularity stems from people thinking that this logo will *replace* Beastie, which isn't the case.

new logo? a coffin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11795422)

Surely one of us can send in a logo that looks like a coffin :-)

" Netcraft confirms - BSD is dead."

My personal experience in the FreeBSD world (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11795223)

I've been an avid follower of the developments in FreeBSD for around 5 years now, so my overview of the entire history of "glue that binds" FreeBSD together isn't complete. That said, I've come to be a bit disappointed at how events in the last 18 months or so seem to be pushing the project in a direction that has made things more difficult, instead of more successful, that has shown distain for experience and quality and made FreeBSD a platform for large ego's to push their personal projects down everyone's throat.

The statistics sample from 2004 over a year was a cheap attempt to minimize Matt's contribution to the project. The reason why he has been mostly silent is probably one of the most prominent signs of his superior maturity. The fact that the official defense (mostly fronted by Greg, atm) he wasn't such a substantial committer is crap, for the most part. If one wanted to go by the stats, Jeff Robertson (sorry if I munged the spelling) would be one of the key committers, and his UMA system isn't even entirely ripe yet, it's just been committed within the sample timeframe. That suddenly phk is at the top of the list, is simple a result of his newest attempt to add another large chunk of bit rot to the project that he can later claim not to have time to maintain "unless someone is willing to pay for my time" (like the atm bits, the half-finished devd monster, et.al.) One can hardly get him to look at his malloc bits, that put his name in lights at some point in the long past.

Matt didn't contribute because he was convinced that that the smp development direction that was chosen (my impression at least from the archives and my fading memory) was overly complex, too complex for the number and talent level of the contributers involved, and that it would delay a release from the -current branch significantly. So he was right. I'll almost bet that that was a constant sore for John, who still hasn't gotten his long-promised, but little delivered re-entrant work done, but he always had time enough to object to any other commits that might help along the way. Strangely Julian and Matt could work together. One might attribute certain commits to both Matt and Julian (if that would matter anyway, since -core is interested in proving the opposite statistically).

If the issue here had anything to do with IPFW, then you all better get out your C-coder hats and take a little more time to fix that rotting pile of muck that has been the standard broken packet filter interface for FreeBSD long past its possible usefulness. A packet filter with no central maintainer which is subject to once yearly random feature bloat through some wild university project from Luigi. The brokenness that Luigi introduced (and the repository bloat through backing out and recommitting, ad absurdum) was probably no less a threat to security than anything Matt did. If the security officer was to be blatantly honest with himself, ipfw would be marked broken for either a full audit or full removal (just port obsd's pf or something that someone actually actively _cares_ about).

You've alienated Jordan, Mike, Bill Paul (for all I can see), Greenman, you constantly rag on Terry, even though he's seen and done more with FreeBSD than most of you, O'Brien is on the verge of quitting (since he, like I, am not convinced that GEOM is anything more than an ego trip that will never be completely maintained or usefully documented). There are certainly others, too, that have attempted to make technically correct contributions, but didn't fit into the sort of paranoid "glee club" that core would like to have around them. You guys lack the talent to steer the positive from Matt into the project and let the crap fall by the wayside. I'm not saying Matt's rants are the most intelligent thing he's done, but he's sat by the wayside and watch the superstars beat up the code to a point where it's less stable, slower, and more bloated than it ever was. I, for one, can understand his frustration (as I can with Mike's, Jordan's, and a few others), although I find his method of expressing it extreme, I often wished he'd have just visited the offenders personally with a clue bat.

All in all, history will judge if -core has made the right decision. I personally believe it was a decision made in weakness. The loss the project as a whole will suffer is greater than the bruised ego's the -core has had to deal with in its communications with Matt. Matt was an extremist, but he put up or shut up. I wish I could say that for most of -core. This is a personality confict in a technical project. I'd say that most of you take this just as personally as Matt did, but instead of insulting him in a moment of anger, you shoot off your own respective feet, lose a good deal of experience and embarass the man publicly. You talk the talk of respect, but you aren't walking the walk. I'd say most of you need thicker skin. In the end, FreeBSD folk will walk smiling though the streets, but the project will become a cult of likeable people, instead of one that achieved technical excellence. That will, imho, be what history says of the current -core. Hint: lose the touchy-feely, hack the code.

PS: if I've offended anyone (yeah, I singled a few out), prove me wrong, but spare me your insultedness. It's become a pathetic hobby in -core.

Re:My personal experience in the FreeBSD world (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11795338)

Thanks but you're just one of those "copy-paste" trolls trying to win a few mod points and you look ridiculous.

More people need to try and use FreeBSD (5, Interesting)

Kip Winger (547075) | more than 9 years ago | (#11795224)

Repeat a lie enough, and it becomes true. That lie, mostly being, that FreeBSD is dying, or is some arcane system only to hack around on, similar to Plan9.

In fact, for those who haven't tried it, it's quite an excellent full-featured Unix, with everything you'd find under Linux. In fact, it's fully binary compatible with Linux.

The only difference is that it does things the old way -- vi is vi, not vim, and you get sh, csh or tcsh instead of bloated bash. It doesn't have anyone pushing for "ease of use," though it's about at the level of slackware, except with ports, the greatest package management system known to man. Gentoo's portage doesn't even come close to the flexibility and reliability of ports.

Internally, it runs great, because it's not doing things the kernel shouldn't do to boost benchmarks. It's not deeply involved in corporate America, but remains strong due to good management.

Plus it's far more secure. With how much Linux websites are hacked these days -- see http://zone-h.org/ [zone-h.org] and check out the statistics section, at least 70-80% of website hacks are Linux based -- I wouldn't run it on Linux. FreeBSD is the obvious choice, as it runs its services flawlessly.

Re:More people need to try and use FreeBSD (2, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 9 years ago | (#11795257)

Amusing that you should mention gentoo, in which vi is vi, not vim. It's not installed with the system by default, though. I also don't know why you say that ports has more flexibility, but it probably does have more reliability.

As for linux websites being hacked, that's because they're not updated. If you fall behind on your FreeBSD updates, you'll get rooted too. Usually it's not a kernel hack, it's an application hack that would probably happen to FreeBSD too.

Re:More people need to try and use FreeBSD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11795364)

On the downlow... the FreeBSD kernel == owned.

never compare signed to unsigned :)

Re:More people need to try and use FreeBSD (1)

oxygene2k2 (615758) | more than 9 years ago | (#11795474)

I wasn't aware that the original vi (by sun) was released as open source. are you sure that gentoo's vi isn't just nvi or elvis?

Re:More people need to try and use FreeBSD (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 9 years ago | (#11795569)

"AUTHOR William Joy. Mark Horton added macros to visual mode and was maintaining version 3. This version incorporates changes by Gunnar Ritter."

The ebuild seems to have fled, though; I got it by emerging vi, but emerge -p vi says emerge: there are no ebuilds to satisfy "vi". so I don't know where the hell it went :/

Reliability of ports? (-1, Flamebait)

Ars-Fartsica (166957) | more than 9 years ago | (#11795286)

A decent number of them are marked BROKEN. The usefulness of ports is overrated. Gentoo has superior coverage in portage.

Re:Reliability of ports? (4, Interesting)

cperciva (102828) | more than 9 years ago | (#11795429)

A decent number of them are marked BROKEN.

If by "a decent number of them", you mean "1.5% of them" (192 / 12396 at last count), sure.

Gentoo has superior coverage in portage.

Gentoo may have fewer ports which are marked as BROKEN at any given time; but does it actually have fewer broken ports?

Re:Reliability of ports? (1)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 9 years ago | (#11795606)

  • A decent number of them are marked BROKEN.
    If by "a decent number of them", you mean "1.5% of them" (192 / 12396 at last count), sure.
It only takes one to make someone's life miserable :-) If I have 100 ports I want installed on my system, and one doesn't work, well, that's a big problem if that's a port I really need. This was what prompted me to switch my dekstop systems from FreeBSD to Debian recently (while leaving BSD on my server) -- I needed to run a recent version of Inkscape, and it was broken.

I don't really think there's one system that has the best availability of all software. Some stuff's broken on Debian. Some stuff's broken on FreeBSD. I'm sure some stuff's broken on Gentoo as well. (Dunno first-hand, because my attempt at installing Gentoo failed.) It's just a question of whether you can get the stuff running that you personally really really need.

One thing I am not happy with about the FreeBSD ports system is that updating one port tends to break lots of other ports in complicated ways that are hard to fix. Portupgrade is the solution that everyone seems to push for solving this type of problem, but in my experience, portupgrade is a good way to hopelessly mung your system. To be fair, I don't think this is entirely the fault of the FreeBSD project; the stuff that gets really difficult to deal with is the Gnome libraries, and I think it's because Gnome just isn't careful enough about QA and maintaining backwards-compatibility (or they value rapid development more than stability).

Re:More people need to try and use FreeBSD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11795576)

vi is vi, not vim, and you get sh, csh or tcsh instead of bloated bash

But vim is one of the best text editors in existence, whereas vi is almost unusable. Why would I want inflict that on myself?

The same goes for bash. I like the "bloated" features; they come in handy. If I wanted to suffer deprivation while I use a computer I'd wear a hairshirt.

Re:More people need to try and use FreeBSD (1)

ArbitraryConstant (763964) | more than 9 years ago | (#11795593)

"Gentoo's portage doesn't even come close to the flexibility and reliability of ports."

Portage's flexibility is considerably better.

However I agree on the other point. Portage's reliability is much, much... much worse.

Re:More people need to try and use FreeBSD (1)

Cthefuture (665326) | more than 9 years ago | (#11795611)

Until I can run the latest VMware under FreeBSD, I'll be sticking with Linux. The same holds for IvTV (hardware PVR) support under FreeBSD.

I generally like BSD but it suffers even worse than Linux when it comes to available software (Linux being worse than Windows).

Plus it's far more secure. With how much Linux websites are hacked these days -- see http://zone-h.org/ and check out the statistics section, at least 70-80% of website hacks are Linux based -- I wouldn't run it on Linux.

Yeah, but isn't this related to the fact that more sites run Linux? I mean, most BSD servers are running the exact same hackable software (Apache, ssh, etc.) Rarely do I see kernel level hacks. Especially not remotely exploitable kernel hacks.

I agree (5, Interesting)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 9 years ago | (#11795225)

Yes, because the BSDs continue to shine where Linux and Windows seem to fall short IMHO. This is software pakgage management. I am using Debian now and was shocked to find that even for Debian, with its much acclaimed apt tool, Debian got confused and made my system unstable when I decided to upgrade it.

I also heard that Windows used or at least used some BSD work in it's internet capability push years ago. One question will always dog me: Why aren't the BSD's as popular with their very good license at least in the eyes of the IBMs and HPs?

Re:I agree (1)

Mr Bill (21249) | more than 9 years ago | (#11795331)

I use both FreeBSD and Debian regularly, and have to say that I've had my problems with the ports collection as well. Has anyone tried to upgrade perl lately? Here is an excerpt from /usr/ports/UPDATING on how to upgrade perl (just a minor version upgrade)

* run some magic incantations to upgrade all ports depending on perl,
that is run something like :
portupgrade -f `(pkg_info -R perl-5\* |tail +4; \
find /usr/local/lib/perl5/site_perl/5.[68].[1245] -type f -print0 \
| xargs -0 pkg_which -fv | sed -e '/: ?/d' -e 's/.*: //')|sort -u`
This is likely to fail for a few ports, you'll have to upgrade them
afterwards by hand.

Not the cleanest way to do a package upgrade. When I upgrade perl on debian, it just had to download a few packages, and everything was handled properly.

I like both systems for what they provide me, but neither system is perfect...

Re:I agree (1)

destiney (149922) | more than 9 years ago | (#11795588)


Yup.. My Perl has been semi-broken ever since the 5.6.8_2 release several weeks ago. I had to rebuild all Perl modules myself ( which should have updated themselves as dependancies if they are dependant on a specific version of Perl, right? ), and I still have 4 Perl modules that refuse to rebuild at all. I thought RELEASE was the most stable version of FreeBSD, that's why I upgraded from 4.10. I gotta say 5.3 isn't living up to the name as far as I can tell.

Re:I agree (0, Troll)

northcat (827059) | more than 9 years ago | (#11795408)

I've been using debian for some time and apt works fine for me. Even with sarge [the testing (beta-like) version of debian]. But FreeBSD's package management system has screwed my system many times. But you can't give much value to what happened on a particular user's system - me or parent. Generally speaking, apt is definitely easier to use and overall better than FreeBSD's package management system. Yes, even for compiling packages from source.

People say BSDs are better than Linux and Windows because of the It's-a-less-popular-OS-so-it-must-be-good-and-I-mu st-be-cool-for-using-it syndrome. The same thing goes for a lot (most) of Mac users. Face it. x86 and x86-based OSes are better than Mac and OS X. Linux is better than *BSD. And in some areas Windows is better than Linux.

Re:I agree (1)

poopdeville (841677) | more than 9 years ago | (#11795633)

People say BSDs are better than Linux and Windows because of the It's-a-less-popular-OS-so-it-must-be-good-and-I-mu st-be-cool-for-using-it syndrome. The same thing goes for a lot (most) of Mac users. Face it. x86 and x86-based OSes are better than Mac and OS X. Linux is better than *BSD. And in some areas Windows is better than Linux.

Good troll! Thankfully, I think people say BSDs are better than linux because they fit their needs better. Same with OS X and windows. Nobody really cares which OS you're using anyways, outside of 12 year olds on usenet.

Re:I agree (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11795421)

"Yes, because the BSDs continue to shine where Linux and Windows seem to fall short IMHO. This is software pakgage management."

Yea because clicking on a single .exe is just so difficult. I'm sorry but that's bsd zealot talk, not real world facts. For Windows from an end user standpoint you have moron-proof double click and from and admin point you have Group Policy and any number of 3rd party tools which make deploying apps a snap.

"One question will always dog me: Why aren't the BSD's as popular with their very good license at least in the eyes of the IBMs and HPs?"

Because the GPL and Linux offer an platform that can't be closed up and co-opted as easily as a platform relying on the BSD license. For as much as people slam the GPL saying its anti-business, the GPL is exactly the reason why Linux is where it is today and why it so clearly won out over the BSD's when it came to major industry backing. The future these companies want is one based or at least influenced by the principals of the GPL.

You can talk till your blue in the face why a BSD style license is better but it won't change anything.

Re:I agree (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11795639)

Yeah, but on the back side of that, there are many commercial products made by thriving companies that used BSD code.

Re:I agree (1)

che.kai-jei (686930) | more than 9 years ago | (#11795493)

because its not as popular. [? probably ?in open source cheerleader terms]
no one cares about the 'good'
apple do by releasing code back. even though they arent
really 'GPld' into doing it!
its not seen as a 'good' and they still keep all their nice toys. [as well they should if they want to/ esp in it benefits them to do so!]

you see?

how many open source developers are shaping the future of the next OS X release? [ i really don't know- it could be thousands of netBSD and freeBSD and openBSD devs -- but the point is i dont know that and i doubt its more than small handful. not that apple needs or cares! ]

but SUSE, redhat, ubuntu, whatvernux 2.0- or any open source package / project *LIBERATED* by ibm/*whateverOpenSourceDarlingCorpoftheMonth??
pe rsonally i know people who are actively helping
the 'community' eg i personally am one of those people . and end users? - they can help too - any wya they can.

i am not trying to malign BSDs or apple. i am reporting on the perceptions of others as related to me and my own somewhat idiotic perceptions.

ps these are also the perceptions which inform me and keep me merely as a user of the wonderful freebsd, openbsd and pf, rather than contributing [as opposed to linux.and tbh.. i'm not THAT thrilled with linux distro's. they just leave me content.]

Re:I agree (1)

dermusikman (540176) | more than 9 years ago | (#11795502)

the BSDs aren't as popular with heavy hitters because if they contribute code, there is absolutely NO promise of return with that code. the GPL puts everyone on equal footing - IBM contributes code, and I can contribute code, and both parties may take advantage of it.
in BSD, IBM contributes code, and I can improve upon that code and close off my source. IBM gains nothing.

Requiem for the FUD (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11795242)

// Please *don't* mod this up. It has [slashdot.org] already [slashdot.org] been [slashdot.org] done! [slashdot.org] Thx

... facts are facts. ;)

FreeBSD:
FreeBSD, Stealth-Growth Open Source Project (Jun 2004) [internetnews.com]
"FreeBSD has dramatically increased its market penetration over the last year."
Nearly 2.5 Million Active Sites running FreeBSD (Jun 2004) [netcraft.com]
"[FreeBSD] has secured a strong foothold with the hosting community and continues to grow, gaining over a million hostnames and half a million active sites since July 2003."
What's New in the FreeBSD Network Stack (Sep 2004) [slashdot.org]
"FreeBSD can now route 1Mpps on a 2.8GHz Xeon whilst Linux can't do much more than 100kpps."

NetBSD:
NetBSD sets Internet2 Land Speed World Record (May 2004) [slashdot.org]
NetBSD again sets Internet2 Land Speed World Record (30 Sep 2004) [netbsd.org]

OpenBSD:
OpenBSD Widens Its Scope (Nov 2004) [eweek.com]
Review: OpenBSD 3.6 shows steady improvement (Nov 2004) [newsforge.com]

*BSD in general:
Deep study: The world's safest computing environment (Nov 2004) [mi2g.com]
"The world's safest and most secure 24/7 online computing environment - operating system plus applications - is proving to be the Open Source platform of BSD (Berkeley Software Distribution) and the Mac OS X based on Darwin."
..and last but not least, we have the cutest mascot as well - undisputedly. ;) [keltia.net]

--
Being able to read *other people's* source code is a nice thing, not a 'fundamental freedom'.

Is it just me? (1, Funny)

ndogg (158021) | more than 9 years ago | (#11795259)

Is it just me or do BSD people dole out more insults to each other than the Linux community does to them?

Not only that, but most of the jokes I hear from Linux people are often in jest, and not serious in any manner.

Re:Is it just me? (1)

endx7 (706884) | more than 9 years ago | (#11795291)

The trolls probably give out the most insults, and who knows whose side they are on. Probably their own.

Re:Is it just me? (1)

mickyflynn (842205) | more than 9 years ago | (#11795592)

No, that is in fact the case. Theo is usually the butt of many jokes and jabs, at least in my experience. While Linux users tend to focus on crap like 'GNOME V KDE,' we often make it very personal very quickly. 'Your software sucks, and so do you 'cause its your fault'

Cat fight! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11795260)

FFFT!!

RRWWOOOOWWWLLL!!

FreeBSD is Dying (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11795266)

It is now official. Netcraft confirms: *BSD is dying

One more crippling bombshell hit the already beleaguered *BSD community when IDC confirmed that *BSD market share has dropped yet again, now down to less than a fraction of 1 percent of all servers. Coming on the heels of a recent Netcraft survey which plainly states that *BSD has lost more market share, this news serves to reinforce what we've known all along. *BSD is collapsing in complete disarray, as fittingly exemplified by failing dead last [samag.com] in the recent Sys Admin comprehensive networking test.

You don't need to be the Amazing Kreskin [amazingkreskin.com] to predict *BSD's future. The hand writing is on the wall: *BSD faces a bleak future. In fact there won't be any future at all for *BSD because *BSD is dying. Things are looking very bad for *BSD. As many of us are already aware, *BSD continues to lose market share. Red ink flows like a river of blood.

FreeBSD is the most endangered of them all, having lost 93% of its core developers. The sudden and unpleasant departures of long time FreeBSD developers Jordan Hubbard and Mike Smith only serve to underscore the point more clearly. There can no longer be any doubt: FreeBSD is dying.

Let's keep to the facts and look at the numbers.

OpenBSD leader Theo states that there are 7000 users of OpenBSD. How many users of NetBSD are there? Let's see. The number of OpenBSD versus NetBSD posts on Usenet is roughly in ratio of 5 to 1. Therefore there are about 7000/5 = 1400 NetBSD users. BSD/OS posts on Usenet are about half of the volume of NetBSD posts. Therefore there are about 700 users of BSD/OS. A recent article put FreeBSD at about 80 percent of the *BSD market. Therefore there are (7000+1400+700)*4 = 36400 FreeBSD users. This is consistent with the number of FreeBSD Usenet posts.

Due to the troubles of Walnut Creek, abysmal sales and so on, FreeBSD went out of business and was taken over by BSDI who sell another troubled OS. Now BSDI is also dead, its corpse turned over to yet another charnel house.

All major surveys show that *BSD has steadily declined in market share. *BSD is very sick and its long term survival prospects are very dim. If *BSD is to survive at all it will be among OS dilettante dabblers. *BSD continues to decay. Nothing short of a miracle could save it at this point in time. For all practical purposes, *BSD is dead.

Fact: *BSD is dying

To be fair, 5.x has been botched (3, Interesting)

Ars-Fartsica (166957) | more than 9 years ago | (#11795270)

It has taken the FreeBSD team literally years to get 5.x to an acceptable stage, which is reminiscent of the 3.x issues. Contrary to popular myth, FreeBSD goes through sustained periods in which the latest release is a very weak product.

Also, the development is getting very political, this also scares off people.

Re:To be fair, 5.x has been botched (2, Insightful)

cperciva (102828) | more than 9 years ago | (#11795393)

the development is getting very political

It is?

Ok, I can't say that I'm the most politically savvy of people, so maybe there's a lot of politics which has whooshed over my head, but... jeez, I had no idea.

It's a sad day when a FreeBSD committer learns something about the internals of the FreeBSD project from slashdot.

Re:To be fair, 5.x has been botched (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11795397)

As a brass tacks matter, the development travails of FreeBSD 5 probably don't matter much.

However, it's been a central pillar of FreeBSD advocacy rhetoric that FreeBSD is so well designed and engineered and Linux is not!. But the FreeBSD 5 has completely blown that ideology out of the water, which of course causes lots of grief for the true belivers.

(None of this really addresses the biggest impediment to FreeBSD which is the lack of produciton-level Java/J2EE support.)

Re:To be fair, 5.x has been botched (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11795499)

Newforge/Jemreport Examines at FreeBSD 5.x [newsforge.com]

Since the introduction of the FreeBSD-5 branch, FreeBSD enthusiasts have been eagerly awaiting the day when the new codebase would stabilize. After much development and four previous releases, FreeBSD-5 has finally gone stable with version 5.3. But don't mistake a stable codebase with stable software [newsforge.com] . While the development team will no longer accept major changes to the base system, FreeBSD 5.3 still has bugs and problems.

FreeBSD is a complete Unix-like operating system entirely developed by a single large team of programmers. This is in stark contrast to GNU/Linux which, as a complete operating system, has no central, cohesive developer base and is packaged in myriad different ways by myriad different distribution projects and companies; and proprietary Unixes, which are closed-source, restrictively licensed, and work on a comparatively small number of usually proprietary hardware architectures. FreeBSD has historically been clean, fast, reliable, and scalable. It's easy to use, learn, set up, and navigate from the command line, has more than 10,000 software programs in the Ports [freebsd.org] system, runs on a wide variety of hardware, and can easily be used for either a desktop or a server.

The transition to 5.x

Until the release of 5.3, the most recent "production release" was the FreeBSD-4 series, which is presently at version 4.10 and has been deemed the "Legacy" release in the wake of the 5.x branch going to STABLE. FreeBSD-5 was supposed to be a grand introduction of new technology -- a revolutionary improvement to the tried and true 4.x branch -- but soon after it left the gate, it got caught up in developer politics [daemonnews.org] and failed implementations of too-ambitious theories [64.233.161.104] among other questionable design decisions [freebsd.org] , causing some developers to fork the FreeBSD-4 project into a separate and more focused operating system.

The ULE (which is not an acronym; its full name is SCHED_ULE as opposed to the older SCHED_4BSD) scheduler continues to have stability and performance problems and was totally disabled instead of being made the default process scheduler in 5.3 as planned. The mix of threading subsystems still yields problems [freebsd.org] with efficiency and stability. Also, the networking subsystem may now be multithreaded and therefore faster on SMP systems, but users with some implementations of the 3Com (SysKonnect/Yukon) gigabit LAN chip are now unable to access their network at all because of new bugs that have popped up in the driver; other SysKonnect/Yukon users have problems under heavy network traffic, along with those using Intel Pro/1000 chips. Unfortunately all of our test systems use these network chips for onboard LAN; coincidentally they are two of the most popular gigabit LAN chipsets used on modern motherboards from major manufacturers. We also experienced lockups during boot if a custom-compiled kernel did not have SMP enabled on a Hyper-Threaded computer. A list of these and other errata can be found right here [unixtech.be] .

Considering the long list of significant problems in FreeBSD 5.3-RELEASE, it would seem irrational to recommend that anyone switch a production server from 4.x or any previous known-working 5.x release to 5.3. Just the same, the FreeBSD project maintains a migration guide [freebsd.org] for this purpose.

A lost lead

FreeBSD 5.x enjoyed an excellent head start in the fully 64-bit AMD64 operating system arena, but now trails the pack, with only Windows XP 64-bit behind it in speed [anandtech.com] and completeness [vfxworld.com] . While 64-bit GNU/Linux in the form of SUSE, Red Hat, and Gentoo have all achieved a reasonable level of accomplishment (and Debian is on its way [lwn.net] ), FreeBSD 5.3-RELEASE did not add any long-awaited features, such as full 32-bit FreeBSD binary compatibility and 64-bit Linux binary compatibility. Linux 32-bit compatibility is also not natively available, but as usual there is an unofficial, not-yet-committed hack [freebsd.org] to get it to work. In addition, there is a severe reliability problem with systems that have more than 4GB of system memory [gw.com] , which is a limit meant to be broken by the AMD64 architecture. After having used FreeBSD 5.2.1-RELEASE for AMD64 on an Asus K8V Deluxe AMD64 workstation for several months, we've found 5.3-RELEASE to be unusable on the same machine. Due to the driver problems with the onboard network adapter as mentioned above, this test machine cannot even be properly used with the i386 edition, essentially forcing a downgrade to 5.2.1-RELEASE.

Improvements since 5.2.1

So far we've only focused on the negative parts of FreeBSD 5.3, but there are a few significant improvements over the previous version:

  • Windows NDIS binary drivers are now natively supported in the kernel; this means better wireless NIC compatibility
  • GCC is now at 3.4.2, Binutils at 2.15, and GDB at 6.1. Also, X.org has been upgraded to 6.7, GNOME to 2.6.2 and KDE to 3.3.0
  • There have also been several bug fixes and security patches [freebsd.org] since the previous release

A mediocre release

While the FreeBSD team seems to have accomplished some of its goals for 5-STABLE, they have also introduced a number of critical bugs. Where FreeBSD used to be a highly usable, reliable, and scalable operating system, the last three releases have been increasingly substandard, culminating in a hardly usable operating system on our test machines. The FreeBSD development team has a tradition of writing good code and maintaining a high-quality operating system. Unfortunately, FreeBSD 5.3-RELEASE lends little credence to that reputation.

Project leader Scott Long's release announcement [freebsd.org] claims that the team focused especially on bug squashing and testing, but considering all of the problems we encountered on our systems (and the fact that we reported one of these serious problems on the mailing lists during the release candidate testing), Long's assertion seems optimistic at best. Here's hoping that the FreeBSD team gets its act together politically and technically, and reclaims its reputation for excellence in operating system design and development.

Jem Matzan is the author [herotale.com] of three books, editor-in-chief of The Jem Report [thejemreport.com] , and a contributing editor for OSTG.

Re:To be fair, 5.x has been botched (2, Informative)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 9 years ago | (#11795646)

It has taken the FreeBSD team literally years to get 5.x to an acceptable stage, which is reminiscent of the 3.x issues. Contrary to popular myth, FreeBSD goes through sustained periods in which the latest release is a very weak product.
Sure, there have apparently been a lot of very difficult problems with SMP in 5.x. But why is that an issue that we should be concerned about as users? Personally, I don't use SMP, and 5.3 has worked great for me as a desktop system. If 5.x doesn't work for you, keep running 4.x, which is very stable, and is going to be supported for a long time to come.

Incredible desktop support? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11795272)

Gnome? KDE? Neither of those qualifies as "incredible", no matter how much crack you smoke...
prehistoric, Windows 3.1-level would be more accurate.

Why FreeBSD? Why go half-way? Why not switch to Mac OS X? It has everything that FreeBSD has, plus the best GUI there is or ever will be!

FreeBSD sounds great - until you realize you're dependent on X-Windows for graphics. X is garbage - Linux and the BSDs need to chuck that dinosaur in the rubbish bin and create something new and efficient from scratch.

Re:Incredible desktop support? (1, Flamebait)

Nine Tenths of The W (829559) | more than 9 years ago | (#11795292)

Why FreeBSD? Why go half-way? Why not switch to Mac OS X? It has everything that FreeBSD has, plus the best GUI there is or ever will be!

Because you're forced to use Apple's overpriced hardware.

Re:Incredible desktop support? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11795413)

Wow, it's 1990 all over again.

Show me where I can get a high-quality rack server like Apple's for $2999.

Or did you mean you can't run Mac OS X on a $399 white box? Well, yeah, I guess you're right. I think if I offered my clients one of those they'd laugh me out of town. Then they'd fire me when the hard drive or power supply died.

Re:Incredible desktop support? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11795524)

Umm, there's a million-n-half places where you can get a kick-ass $3K rack server.

The problem with Mac advocates is that you really only know or care about the Mac world and every bit of information relating to other products is second hand and distorted. That's the main reason nobody takes you seriously.

Re:Incredible desktop support? (1)

ArbitraryConstant (763964) | more than 9 years ago | (#11795661)

"Why FreeBSD? Why go half-way? Why not switch to Mac OS X? It has everything that FreeBSD has"

Except PF, jails, ports, etc.

MacOS is an excellent desktop OS, but it can't touch FreeBSD as a server. Even the server edition is behind FreeBSD.

Don't focus on microbenchmarks. (3, Informative)

HEMI426 (715714) | more than 9 years ago | (#11795295)

Scott has several good points. FreeBSD still has the same level of polish, the same amount of "professional" feel as it always has and it's just as consistent as before. The documentation is fabulous, Netgraph can do a lot of neat tricks, GEOM handles storage pretty well, vendor support is improving, etc. However, I think the most important one is discovered if you read between the lines: "don't focus on microbenchmarks."

FreeBSD Being Swallowed by NetBSD and DragonFlyBSD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11795307)

There isn't nearly as much of a case for FreeBSD as there was a few years ago. The primary benefit it had over other operating systems in the 4.X days were a huge crew of folks keeping the ports up to date and terrific stability. The ports maintainers are the reason NetBSD didn't get the push.

Today, FreeBSD has chucked off the benefits of 4.X and is moving in a direction that will leave them with an unmaintainable codebase that only a handful of (fickle) people can work in. The performance won't be there when they get done, either. Without any benefits, all those ports maintainers are going to jump ship. FreeBSD doesn't have any compatibility benefits over the other BSDs where things like KDE or GNOME are concerned. This could happen at any time. NetBSD is already as good as or better than FreeBSD, and DragonFly is going to be better than all of them. The ports maintainers will leave and FreeBSD will be left as a hobby OS with no benefits over other operating systems.

Elegy for BSD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11795309)


Elegy For *BSD


I am a *BSD user
and I try hard to be brave
That is a tall order
*BSD's foot is in the grave.

I tap at my toy keyboard
and whistle a happy tune
but keeping happy's so hard,
*BSD died so soon.

Each day I wake and softly sob
Nightfall finds me crying
Not only am I a zit faced slob
but *BSD is dying.

Poem for BSD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11795325)

I think that I shall never see
A tree as dead as BSD

Even more interesting than old troll posts. (0, Redundant)

ulib (816651) | more than 9 years ago | (#11795358)

Mod me down if you like, but if an old rant from an ex developer is considered "interesting", whis should be as well.
Facts are facts. ;)

FreeBSD:
FreeBSD, Stealth-Growth Open Source Project (Jun 2004) [internetnews.com]
"FreeBSD has dramatically increased its market penetration over the last year."
Nearly 2.5 Million Active Sites running FreeBSD (Jun 2004) [netcraft.com]
"[FreeBSD] has secured a strong foothold with the hosting community and continues to grow, gaining over a million hostnames and half a million active sites since July 2003."
What's New in the FreeBSD Network Stack (Sep 2004) [slashdot.org]
"FreeBSD can now route 1Mpps on a 2.8GHz Xeon whilst Linux can't do much more than 100kpps."

NetBSD:
NetBSD sets Internet2 Land Speed World Record (May 2004) [slashdot.org]
NetBSD again sets Internet2 Land Speed World Record (30 Sep 2004) [netbsd.org]

OpenBSD:
OpenBSD Widens Its Scope (Nov 2004) [eweek.com]
Review: OpenBSD 3.6 shows steady improvement (Nov 2004) [newsforge.com]

*BSD in general:
Deep study: The world's safest computing environment (Nov 2004) [mi2g.com]
"The world's safest and most secure 24/7 online computing environment - operating system plus applications - is proving to be the Open Source platform of BSD (Berkeley Software Distribution) and the Mac OS X based on Darwin."
..and last but not least, we have the cutest mascot as well - undisputedly. ;) [keltia.net]

--
Being able to read *other people's* source code is a nice thing, not a 'fundamental freedom'.

IT'S GETTING MORE ANNOYING THAN "BSD IS DYING" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11795411)

More annoying than FUD? Hardly. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11795432)

[nt].

Getting defensive? (4, Interesting)

idiotnot (302133) | more than 9 years ago | (#11795371)

NetBSD 2.0 is a higher-quality release than FreeBSD 5.3 on the IA32 platform. There's just no other way to put it.

My experience with FreeBSD is that the 4.x branch is rock-solid stable, fast, and everything works as it's supposed to.

NetBSD has basically reached that level of quality, with better performance.

FreeBSD 5.x has been unstable for me at best. While the userland programs are pretty much the same, the kernel-level changes have killed reliability. Furthermore, some of the much-touted new features simply do not work yet. I'm sure the SMP performance is much better, but I don't have many SMP machines. I've had problems with hard lockups, just doing things like trying to combine vlan and pf. The bridge interface, afaik, also, still doesn't work with pf.

As far as packages go, ports has more packages, true. Still, rarely has there been something not in pkgsrc that I absolutely needed. Pkgsrc is also much easier to work with, and far more friendly when it comes time to upgrade things. Portupgrade is an abortion, especially compared to even *gack* portage from ricerloonix.

There are reasons there's a buzz around NetBSD these days -- and reasons FreeBSD isn't getting the love it used to. I don't know whether the FreeBSD developers bit off more than they can chew, or if they just are rushing things out the door. But until they get their act together and put out a 5.x-RELEASE that truly is release-quality (by which I mean, all the features *work*, and the drivers are supported the same way), I'm going to be using NetBSD and advising my friends to do the same.

Re:Getting defensive? (2, Interesting)

krreagan (173259) | more than 9 years ago | (#11795621)

All I know is that I use FreeBSD 5.3 on three different machines, A laptop, a server and a workstation and on all three they are _very_ rock solid.

I use the portupgrade facilities all the time and have not found anything else as easy to use. On several occations since 5.3 was released I'd set off my workstation to upgrade all userland ports (portupgrade -a) on Friday as I leave and have come to work on Monday and have a complete updated system. This is with both KDE and GNOME being updated along with many other ports. I also build my laptop stuff (kernel, world & ports) on my server and only install on my laptop. All of this with less then 5 minutes at the command line.
I have never tried NetBSD or OpenBSD but have a lot of respect for both of them. I find FreeBSD brain-dead simple to maintain and is as rock solid as ever FMP. I have not found 5.3 to be any less "solid" then 4.10, Which is the last 4.x that I used (also on all three of my machines).

We are BSD! lets not let the Linux factor creep in!

Re:Getting defensive? (1)

Mr.Ned (79679) | more than 9 years ago | (#11795630)

As far as packages go, pkgsrc just doesn't cut it. The quarterly branches simply do not get updates in a timely manner if at all; there's no other way to put it. Upgrading packages was a pain - there are several utilities to help with the process, but none of them do a particularly good job, certainly not like portupgrade does. Getting the newest versions of sotware is also a mess - some people test things in pkgsrc-wip on sourceforge, others just put it in the tree.

FreeBSD-5.3 wasn't the most successful release they've had. Most of the complaints I've seen on the mailing lists were fixed in 5-STABLE shortly after release, and the fast-approaching 5.4 will incorporate those changes.

VPS Services? (1)

KidSock (150684) | more than 9 years ago | (#11795427)

Anyone know where I can get root on FreeBSD for ~$20/month? Right now I'm using a Linux hoster and I'm happy with it but I'd be happier with FreeBSD for something on the Internet.

The FreeBSD 5.x Disaster (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11795431)

Newforge/Jemreport Looks at FreeBSD [newsforge.com]

Since the introduction of the FreeBSD-5 branch, FreeBSD enthusiasts have been eagerly awaiting the day when the new codebase would stabilize. After much development and four previous releases, FreeBSD-5 has finally gone stable with version 5.3. But don't mistake a stable codebase with stable software [newsforge.com] . While the development team will no longer accept major changes to the base system, FreeBSD 5.3 still has bugs and problems.

FreeBSD is a complete Unix-like operating system entirely developed by a single large team of programmers. This is in stark contrast to GNU/Linux which, as a complete operating system, has no central, cohesive developer base and is packaged in myriad different ways by myriad different distribution projects and companies; and proprietary Unixes, which are closed-source, restrictively licensed, and work on a comparatively small number of usually proprietary hardware architectures. FreeBSD has historically been clean, fast, reliable, and scalable. It's easy to use, learn, set up, and navigate from the command line, has more than 10,000 software programs in the Ports [freebsd.org] system, runs on a wide variety of hardware, and can easily be used for either a desktop or a server.

The transition to 5.x

Until the release of 5.3, the most recent "production release" was the FreeBSD-4 series, which is presently at version 4.10 and has been deemed the "Legacy" release in the wake of the 5.x branch going to STABLE. FreeBSD-5 was supposed to be a grand introduction of new technology -- a revolutionary improvement to the tried and true 4.x branch -- but soon after it left the gate, it got caught up in developer politics [daemonnews.org] and failed implementations of too-ambitious theories [64.233.161.104] among other questionable design decisions [freebsd.org] , causing some developers to fork the FreeBSD-4 project into a separate and more focused operating system.

The ULE (which is not an acronym; its full name is SCHED_ULE as opposed to the older SCHED_4BSD) scheduler continues to have stability and performance problems and was totally disabled instead of being made the default process scheduler in 5.3 as planned. The mix of threading subsystems still yields problems [freebsd.org] with efficiency and stability. Also, the networking subsystem may now be multithreaded and therefore faster on SMP systems, but users with some implementations of the 3Com (SysKonnect/Yukon) gigabit LAN chip are now unable to access their network at all because of new bugs that have popped up in the driver; other SysKonnect/Yukon users have problems under heavy network traffic, along with those using Intel Pro/1000 chips. Unfortunately all of our test systems use these network chips for onboard LAN; coincidentally they are two of the most popular gigabit LAN chipsets used on modern motherboards from major manufacturers. We also experienced lockups during boot if a custom-compiled kernel did not have SMP enabled on a Hyper-Threaded computer. A list of these and other errata can be found right here [unixtech.be] .

Considering the long list of significant problems in FreeBSD 5.3-RELEASE, it would seem irrational to recommend that anyone switch a production server from 4.x or any previous known-working 5.x release to 5.3. Just the same, the FreeBSD project maintains a migration guide [freebsd.org] for this purpose.

A lost lead

FreeBSD 5.x enjoyed an excellent head start in the fully 64-bit AMD64 operating system arena, but now trails the pack, with only Windows XP 64-bit behind it in speed [anandtech.com] and completeness [vfxworld.com] . While 64-bit GNU/Linux in the form of SUSE, Red Hat, and Gentoo have all achieved a reasonable level of accomplishment (and Debian is on its way [lwn.net] ), FreeBSD 5.3-RELEASE did not add any long-awaited features, such as full 32-bit FreeBSD binary compatibility and 64-bit Linux binary compatibility. Linux 32-bit compatibility is also not natively available, but as usual there is an unofficial, not-yet-committed hack [freebsd.org] to get it to work. In addition, there is a severe reliability problem with systems that have more than 4GB of system memory [gw.com] , which is a limit meant to be broken by the AMD64 architecture. After having used FreeBSD 5.2.1-RELEASE for AMD64 on an Asus K8V Deluxe AMD64 workstation for several months, we've found 5.3-RELEASE to be unusable on the same machine. Due to the driver problems with the onboard network adapter as mentioned above, this test machine cannot even be properly used with the i386 edition, essentially forcing a downgrade to 5.2.1-RELEASE.

Improvements since 5.2.1

So far we've only focused on the negative parts of FreeBSD 5.3, but there are a few significant improvements over the previous version:

  • Windows NDIS binary drivers are now natively supported in the kernel; this means better wireless NIC compatibility
  • GCC is now at 3.4.2, Binutils at 2.15, and GDB at 6.1. Also, X.org has been upgraded to 6.7, GNOME to 2.6.2 and KDE to 3.3.0
  • There have also been several bug fixes and security patches [freebsd.org] since the previous release

A mediocre release

While the FreeBSD team seems to have accomplished some of its goals for 5-STABLE, they have also introduced a number of critical bugs. Where FreeBSD used to be a highly usable, reliable, and scalable operating system, the last three releases have been increasingly substandard, culminating in a hardly usable operating system on our test machines. The FreeBSD development team has a tradition of writing good code and maintaining a high-quality operating system. Unfortunately, FreeBSD 5.3-RELEASE lends little credence to that reputation.

Project leader Scott Long's release announcement [freebsd.org] claims that the team focused especially on bug squashing and testing, but considering all of the problems we encountered on our systems (and the fact that we reported one of these serious problems on the mailing lists during the release candidate testing), Long's assertion seems optimistic at best. Here's hoping that the FreeBSD team gets its act together politically and technically, and reclaims its reputation for excellence in operating system design and development.

Jem Matzan is the author [herotale.com] of three books, editor-in-chief of The Jem Report [thejemreport.com] , and a contributing editor for OSTG.

Some wise replies to this troll article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11795453)

..are here [newsforge.com] and here. [slashdot.org]
--
Requiem for the FUD [slashdot.org]

Their new logo says it all (1)

Ober (12002) | more than 9 years ago | (#11795440)

The one here [linbsd.org] pretty much says it all.

Guys, please! (1)

Epsillon (608775) | more than 9 years ago | (#11795444)

This is BSD. Sod avocacy if it means in-fighting, mud-slinging, politics and such. We're not Linux or Microsoft so just STFU, code and enjoy. Don't make me come over there... ;-)

just to be clear (4, Interesting)

mqx (792882) | more than 9 years ago | (#11795455)

The NetBSD team were not criticising FreeBSD: basically, NetBSD stepped up their advocacy as part of NetBSD 2.0 release, including some whitepapers on performance comparision between NetBSD and FreeBSD. If anything, the BSD camps all have decent respect for each other, and honestly, Scott suggested that there was more animosity from the NetBSD camp that I think is the case in reality. All of the BSD camps could do with better advocacy, and Scott's post is more an indication that none of them are doing very good marketing, and as soon as NetBSD stepped up the marketing, the other camps (i.e. FreeBSD) felt they weren't getting a good rap: but really, the issue is, that FreeBSD guys just haven't been out there pushing their case as hard as they should really be.

Lessons from the Grave (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11795473)

What We Can Learn From BSD
By Chinese Karma Whore [slashdot.org] , Version 1.0

Everyone knows about BSD's failure and imminent demise. As we pore over the history of BSD, we'll uncover a story of fatal mistakes, poor priorities, and personal rivalry, and we'll learn what mistakes to avoid so as to save Linux from a similarly grisly fate.

Let's not be overly morbid and give BSD credit for its early successes. In the 1970s, Ken Thompson and Bill Joy both made significant contributions to the computing world on the BSD platform. In the 80s, DARPA saw BSD as the premiere open platform, and, after initial successes with the 4.1BSD product, gave the BSD company a 2 year contract.

These early triumphs would soon be forgotten in a series of internal conflicts that would mar BSD's progress. In 1992, AT&T filed suit against Berkeley Software, claiming that proprietary code agreements had been haphazardly violated. In the same year, BSD filed countersuit, reciprocating bad intentions and fueling internal rivalry. While AT&T and Berkeley Software lawyers battled in court, lead developers of various BSD distributions quarreled on Usenet. In 1995, Theo de Raadt, one of the founders of the NetBSD project, formed his own rival distribution, OpenBSD, as the result of a quarrel that he documents [theos.com] on his website. Mr. de Raadt's stubborn arrogance was later seen in his clash with Darren Reed, which resulted in the expulsion of IPF from the OpenBSD distribution.

As personal rivalries took precedence over a quality product, BSD's codebase became worse and worse. As we all know, incompatibilities between each BSD distribution make code sharing an arduous task. Research conducted at MIT [mit.edu] found BSD's filesystem implementation to be "very poorly performing." Even BSD's acclaimed TCP/IP stack has lagged behind, according to this study. [rice.edu]

Problems with BSD's codebase were compounded by fundamental flaws in the BSD design approach. As argued by Eric Raymond in his watershed essay, The Cathedral and the Bazaar [catb.org] , rapid, decentralized development models are inherently superior to slow, centralized ones in software development. BSD developers never heeded Mr. Raymond's lesson and insisted that centralized models lead to 'cleaner code.' Don't believe their hype - BSD's development model has significantly impaired its progress. Any achievements that BSD managed to make were nullified by the BSD license, which allows corporations and coders alike to reap profits without reciprocating the goodwill of open-source. Fortunately, Linux is not prone to this exploitation, as it is licensed under the GPL.

The failure of BSD culminated in the resignation of Jordan Hubbard and Michael Smith from the FreeBSD core team. They both believed that FreeBSD had long lost its earlier vitality. Like an empire in decline, BSD had become bureaucratic and stagnant. As Linux gains market share and as BSD sinks deeper into the mire of decay, their parting addresses will resound as fitting eulogies to BSD's demise.

Same old Linux FUD... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11795491)

Same old GNU/Linux FUD, that has been disproved [slashdot.org] countless times...
In short: the MIT research is *11 years old*, and that Rice study on the TCP/IP stack uses FreeBSD *2.2.6*.

i found one (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11795495)

this is a really nice case [grief.com] for BSD!

My OS is better than your OS. Sheesh! (1)

SpamMonkey (850104) | more than 9 years ago | (#11795508)

Here's an idea, I think X-OS is better than Y-OS because I said so and if you don't like it then my dad will beat up your dad.

Why does it matter what OS is used in a given situation? Surely that's down to the systems architect deciding upon what is best suited for the functionality they want at the price they can afford?

I stopped having the windows/linux/unix/*bsd debate a long time ago because once you learn more than how to install it (something I don't think a lot of /.'rs can do) then you realise that the OS is only as good as it's ability to do the job you want it to.

Thanks.

Hard Times for FreeBSD (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11795517)

Whatever the differences a few of us might possess, we certainly can strive to find some common ground. And when it comes to the subject of operating systems, no doubt all of us can easily acknowledge the plain truth that in the balance *BSD would have to be considered a failure. So why did *BSD fail? What is at the root of *BSD's colossal miscue?

Once you get past the fact that *BSD is fragmented between a myriad of incompatible kernels, there is the historical record of failure and of failed operating systems. *BSD experienced moderate success about 15 years ago in academic circles. Since then it has been in steady decline. We all know *BSD keeps losing market share but why? Is it the problematic personalities of many of the key players? Or is it larger than their troubled personae?

The record is clear on one thing: no operating system has ever come back from the grave. Efforts to resuscitate *BSD are one step away from spiritualists wishing to communicate with the dead. As the situation grows more desperate for the adherents of this doomed OS, the sorrow takes hold. An unremitting gloom hangs like a death shroud over a once hopeful *BSD community. The hope is gone; a mournful nostalgia has settled in. Now is the end time for *BSD.

Embedded Features? (1)

sixoseven (73926) | more than 9 years ago | (#11795545)

As one who is not particularly up to date on these matters, I wonder why so much development must occur? It sounds like Bill Gates argument for bundling IE with Windows: If we don't add more features to the core operating system, we'll die.

But hey, I still use ksh and vi, so what do I know?

A one time try is all that's needed for success (5, Interesting)

Zedrick (764028) | more than 9 years ago | (#11795604)

I've been using Linux since around '96 something, first Redhat, then Slackware and recently Gentoo when I got my AMD64. I tried FreeBSD for the first time a few months ago when I had an old 200mhz machine that I just wanted to use for something, and since that seemed to work ok (a very basic install, no X or anything like that) I decided to give FreeBSD/AMD64 a try when I had to do a reinstallation due to hardware changes.

I downloaded a minimal boot CD, burned in, booted installed the base system over FTP and then X, KDE etc via ports...

After only a few hours I was totally confused. Everything just worked!! Well, almost everything. I had some problems with the soundcard, that was solved thanks to great documentation pointing me to a very logical solution.

I'm still a bit lightheaded. An operating system just can't be this good, I'm probably going to wake up soon.

FreeBSD 5.x; as reliable as a moldy sock (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11795667)

In all seriousness there's only one word that can describe 5.x FreeBSD: CRAP. While I'm sure that some fanbox is going to pipe up about "I got it to run" all that I can say is that I have tried to install and run it on no less than four i386-based PCs and it crashed on ALL of them. In my experience, it's not unusual for it to have a kernel panic in the middle of the install process itself.

I'm sorry, I truly love BSD, and I have used it since 4.0-RELEASE, but the 5 branch of FreeBSD is a total, complete steaming pile.

For the moment, if you want a stable BSD for the i386 family, your best choice is NetBSD (which has NEVER given me problems.), and possibly OpenBSD.

FreeBSD may not be dead, but god DAMN does it smell like a corpse what sat out in the new orleans sun for a month.
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