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Why FreeBSD

CmdrTaco posted about 9 years ago | from the something-to-think-about dept.

Unix 644

An anonymous reader writes "The FreeBSD operating system is the unknown giant among free operating systems. Starting out from the 386BSD project, it is an extremely fast UNIX-like operating system mostly for the Intel chip and its clones. In many ways, FreeBSD has always been the operating system that GNU/Linux-based operating systems should have been. It runs on out-of-date Intel machines and 64-bit AMD chips, and it serves terabytes of files a day on some of the largest file servers on earth."

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Free my BSD (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13149609)

Free this First Post :-D

*Rolls eyes* (1, Troll)

gavri (663286) | about 9 years ago | (#13149612)


FreeBSD is so unknown to Taco (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13149613)

He didn't even flag it for the BSD section [] on the site. I guess this is a step up from that RAID article, though.

Why not. . . (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13149615)


frost piss? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13149616)

first p0st!

Why? (5, Insightful)

Doc Squidly (720087) | about 9 years ago | (#13149621)

Simple, choice is good. As muck as I like Linux, I'm glad to see that there are viable, open alternative OS's.

Uh Oh. (0, Flamebait)

cpuh0g (839926) | about 9 years ago | (#13149622)

If this were "Windows" or "Solaris" in the title, it would result in an all out bashing session by the Linux faithful.

Re:Uh Oh. (4, Funny)

cahiha (873942) | about 9 years ago | (#13149662)

Well, if anybody asserts that "Windows is the operating system that Linux should have been", they clearly deserve a bashing.

Re:Uh Oh. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13149840)

"Windows is the operating system that Linux should have been"

On a non-technical level, Windows is the OS that Linux should have been... think about it...

Re:Uh Oh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13149716)

There would still be some bashing in this case, whenever any operating system is brought up, many sides of it are discussed. Frequently witnes people criticizing linux on Slashdot... it's just not done by bringing up TCO all the time or showing two CEOs hugging each other and calling that a fruitful partnership. Instead it tends to concentrate more on actual situations where the software needs to be improved, and suggestions in doing so. It can be quite constructive. If you spend all your time looking at what Anonymous Cowards + Trolls say, of course you're going to come up with comments that look like yours. But there is good with the bad, like I pointed out. Don't throw out all of the good just because bad happens to come with it. This is real life, you always have to take the bad with the good, there is no utopian society yet.

Re:Uh Oh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13149793)

Just wait some more seconds, and the Linux zealots will come out and have spread their wisdom about The One and Only OS.

Seriously. (0, Troll)

dotdan (902253) | about 9 years ago | (#13149627)

This is news?

The "Life" section (2, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | about 9 years ago | (#13149705)

Let me make an analogy to a newspaper. Not everything you get in a newspaper is "news". For instance, there's the "Life" section of USA Today or the "Living" or "Features" section of a typical local daily newspaper, which typically runs plenty of articles other than news. Even the "Business" section (called "Money" in USA Today) usually has some articles other than news.

Re:The "Life" section (2, Insightful)

_Sharp'r_ (649297) | about 9 years ago | (#13149761)

This story is more like the editorial section of most papers. A thinly disguised attempt at flamebait and/or trolling in order to induce responses.

And for the record, I prefer FreeBSD over any other operating system. I'm currently sitting surrounded (well, surrounded on three sides) by FreeBSD boxes, one of which I've even convinced my wife to use as her normal desktop.

Re:Seriously. (2, Interesting)

trmj (579410) | about 9 years ago | (#13149714)

Nope. But it's sunday, and slashdot is almost always slow on sundays. Just take a look at today's "news [] " about google.

Yep. A slow day indeed.

Re:Seriously. (5, Insightful)

ebuck (585470) | about 9 years ago | (#13149893)

Look, it's a giant troll posting thinly disguised as a news article!

BSD is great, but it's not the only game in town. Suggesting that it is what Linux should have been is nothing more than troll bait.

Re:Seriously. (1)

mcgroarty (633843) | about 9 years ago | (#13149895)

It's good for a discussion, and Slashdot has continued to grow over the years so some might not be as familiar with the alternate free unices.

FreeBSD (3, Insightful)

JeiFuRi (888436) | about 9 years ago | (#13149632)

Don't ask why, ask why not.

FreeBSD is dying (3, Funny)

NewWorldDan (899800) | about 9 years ago | (#13149744)

But BSD is dying! I thought everyone knew that. I guess someone forgot to tell CmdrTaco.

Re:FreeBSD is dying (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13149806)

In Korea, only old (dying) people use BSD.

Re:FreeBSD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13149772)

So then why? Is it becasue it isn't tied to the highly restrictive GPL?

Re:FreeBSD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13149798)

Answer: Device drivers

That said, I have a freeBSD live cd I use for accessing USB sticks, one thing that sucks under linux and the FBSD automounter gets right.

What about NetBSD? (1, Interesting)

Zweideutig (900045) | about 9 years ago | (#13149830)

I used to run FreeBSD on my server for Apache/PHP, but after I upgraded my server's hardware (was a 300 MHz PII) to a 1.1 GHz Celeron (which came from my Compaq after the 3.0 GHz P4 upgrade,) I decided go with NetBSD for my server. NetBSD seems to meet my needs for a server *BSD, and is nice because it will run on a Motorola 68030-based machine (with FPU,) along with of course many other architectures. My only gripe with FreeBSD was that it didn't support hardware like my PPC Mac Mini. I realize that supporting many platforms is difficult and alot of times it is better just to target something common and support it well, I guess I am strange. :)

Re:FreeBSD (1, Flamebait)

drsquare (530038) | about 9 years ago | (#13149836)

FreeBSD is for people who hate Linux.
OpenBSD is for people who like Unix.

If you want a BSD, then you want Open. FreeBSD is a bit pointless, it doesn't really do anything well like OpenBSD, it's just more fashionable and mainstream so wannabe-geeks use it who think they're too elite for Linux.

Re:FreeBSD (1, Troll)

Erik Hensema (12898) | about 9 years ago | (#13149851)

Why not:
  • You need to track security updates for kernel, base and ports and apply them in different manners
  • Package management is a decade behind what rpm and dpkg have to offer
  • It's essentially a DIY kit to build an OS. I just want an OS.
  • Building ports takes ages, time I don't have
  • Building ports takes resources. Resources I want to use for the server's core buisiness. Which is not compiling ports.
  • Bad documentation. The official freebsd manual often explains the most time consuming, error prone way of doing things. Later you'll find out there are many convienient ports to perform common tasks.
  • No journalled filesystems. Yeah, it's really scary to remotely kill the power of a crashed machine.
The only really good thing of freebsd seems to be the kernel. The userspace is really amateurish though.

Re:FreeBSD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13149896)

Okay. Well, in my case, I installed FreeBSD 5.4, configured my kernel with the help of the people in an IRC channel, and everything was working fine. For a while.

Then, I started getting a lot of SDL related crashes. Any time that a program would use SDL for 3D graphics, I'd get a floating point exception error (with or without the NVidia drivers for Xorg). After trying for a week or two for solutions I had none, so I was forced to go back to Gentoo -- and I've been using it ever since.

This isn't an attempt to step on your toes or anything, but you did ask.

freebsd (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13149633)

is dying

as is macos x and windows

The future is Linux.
The future is Free.

FreeBSD is free'er, MacOS X better for users (4, Insightful)

AHumbleOpinion (546848) | about 9 years ago | (#13149733)

freebsd is dying as is macos x and windows. The future is Linux. The future is Free.

FreeBSD is free'er than Linux, or more accurately the BSD license is free'er than the GPL. That said, the less free GPL's restrictions are meant to be benevolent for certain users.

Mac OS X's share is growing wildly. For some it is replacing Linux as their general purpose unix. Now some people have more specialized needs and Linux may be a better choice but many folks using Linux just need a general purpose unix box and are not into the politics and Mac OS X combines unix, a consumer GUI, FOS software, and off-the-shelf retail software very nicely.

Re:FreeBSD is free'er, MacOS X better for users (1, Insightful)

Bizzeh (851225) | about 9 years ago | (#13149802)

the future is an operating system that cant run mainstream wifi devices, even after 18 months of them being available. the future is a slow as hell assed kernel compaired to BSD kernel or NT kernel (which is proven faster than linux, so no arguments). the future is something that has no centralisation on its main projects AT ALL? yeah, ok...

Re:FreeBSD is free'er, MacOS X better for users (-1, Troll)

benjamindees (441808) | about 9 years ago | (#13149811)

the less free GPL's restrictions are meant to be benevolent for certain users.

Of course, you say the GPL is "benevolent" because it guarantees the freedom of the little guy. Freedom means nothing unless it's extended to the poorest among us.

The BSD brand of freedom is like the US before the civil-war. Freedom for a small group of capitalists. Freedom for those capable of enslaving others. The GPL, on the other hand, means freedom for everyone.

Re: benjamindees (441808) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13149861)

You're an idiot. The BSDL is no less free for the little guy than is the GPL, and I contend that it is *more* free.

The future is Free. (2, Funny)

Sr. Pato (900333) | about 9 years ago | (#13149809)

The future is Free.
Which... brings us right back to FreeBSD. God, you love to dance around in circles, don't you? Does it make you feel groovy? Want to go to the disco?

Hurray! (1)

Sr. Pato (900333) | about 9 years ago | (#13149849)

Hurray for people getting jokes! *sigh*

Before somebody else does... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13149634)

I, for one, welcome our new operating system overlords!

It's my choice (1)

slazzy (864185) | about 9 years ago | (#13149638)

For webhosting and file servers, I use FreeBSD. But I use OpenBSD for filewalls and I have a winning combo! BSD never seems to get the mainstream headlines like Linux does - anyone know why?

Re:It's my choice (4, Informative)

Lifewish (724999) | about 9 years ago | (#13149673)

IIRC, there was just enough controversy over the sealed agreement in the Berkely vs. AT&T kerfuffle that developers were a teensy bit nervous about working on BSD. By the time that was all properly dealt with, Linux was already gaining speed, and had the additional advantage of riding the back of a wave of MS hatred.

Re:It's my choice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13149807)

No advertising budget?

"FreeBSD, FreeBSD, Uber Alles" (4, Funny)

ProudClod (752352) | about 9 years ago | (#13149639)

Jesus Christ, is this post a bloody propaganda speech or something? Slashdot - keeping the Nuremburg spirit alive!

Re:"FreeBSD, FreeBSD, Uber Alles" (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13149826)

Can we please refrain from commentary that compares interesting-if-pointless slashdot postings to a regime responsible for events of genocide and blood-letting on an unimaginable scale? While I agree that the article on IBM's website is very rah-rah-rah, I think it hardly compares to a speech by Hitler or Goebbels.

I mean, this is slashdot, after all. Let's try not to take it TOO seriously...

Flaimbait (5, Insightful)

DemENtoR (582030) | about 9 years ago | (#13149645)

"FreeBSD has always been the operating system that GNU/Linux-based operating systems should have been."
Can it get anymore flaimbaitish than this. Ironicaly enought it comes from I.B.M developer works.

P.S: Opinions are like assholes, everyone has one.

Re:Flaimbait (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13149729)

P.S: Opinions are like assholes, everyone has one.

...and some stink!

Re:Flaimbait (4, Informative)

portwojc (201398) | about 9 years ago | (#13149731)

It's only true flame bait when you don't quote the whole thing.

In many ways, FreeBSD has always been the operating system that GNU/Linux®-based operating systems should have been

The key phrase is "In many ways". It's not a definite and there are many who would agree with that statement.

Unix is Unix (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13149658)

Who cares what you use, as long as it's a free Unix system. No point in flamewars over your OS.

gaaarr (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13149667)

I usually hate complaints about bad posts more than I do the offending post, but not this time. Flame away.

Linux And The BSDs (3, Informative) (687626) | about 9 years ago | (#13149670)

Linux and BSD based operating systems provide many of the same services, and pretty much work the same way. I think that you can't go wrong with either of them. I see no need to pit them against each other, as they both provide freedom and excellence to the user.

Re:Linux And The BSDs (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13149726)

FreeBSD is extremely scalable and runs most applications written for Linux or BSD flavors. Don't assume that FreeBSD is a Swiss army knife among free operating systems, though: It's neither as secure as OpenBSD nor as scalable as a future Open Solaris version can be safely thought to be. But it competes with any operating system -- commercial or free -- on the Intel chip and, in many cases, provides a more stable and scalable platform than any of its nearest competitors.
A very fair article.

Re:Linux And The BSDs (4, Insightful)

cheesybagel (670288) | about 9 years ago | (#13149824)

Neither FreeBSD, nor OpenBSD scale as well on large SMP systems as Linux. Period. OpenBSD may have more security features and FreeBSD may have its own strong point, but scalability sure as heck isn't one of them.

Re:Linux And The BSDs (1)

latroM (652152) | about 9 years ago | (#13149763)

"Linux" is GNU+Linux, FreeBSD is a complete OS.

Re:Linux And The BSDs (4, Interesting)

stoney27 (36372) | about 9 years ago | (#13149781)

Yes but there is the licenses issue. BSD style licenses vs the GPL.

At least for companies to use the OS with there products.

Now the licenses issue is not going to concern me if all I am doing is setting up a machine to run at home. And I think it comes down to what you are use to. I have been mostly a old Sun Admin and I like FreeBSD over Linux, although I do like the rc start up scripts of Linux over FreeBSD.

And it did make the move to OS X easier coming from FreeBSD. However I am not sure I will ever get use to the changes in the startup files that Apple has introduced. Maybe some day.


News? (3, Insightful)

N3TW4LK3R (841526) | about 9 years ago | (#13149674)

Exactly how is this news?

I've know that FreeBSD was much better than Linux for ages ;)

Joking aside, FreeBSD is a bit hard to install and get working if you're using it as a workstation OS...
I've been using it for 4 years now and it still took most of my free time in a period of 2 weeks to get it installed properly on my newly bought laptop (with all the details and little stuff, that is)
Of course when I was done, it was very much worth it. I don't think any system is as robust and stable as FreeBSD.

A huge "Thank You" to the developers!

Re:News? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13149796)

Installing is not a problem anymore. PC-BSD [] is FreeBSD underneath, which has the most easiest installation process ever!

FreeBSD Hard to Install No More! (Re:News?) (4, Informative)

chronicon (625367) | about 9 years ago | (#13149808)

Joking aside, FreeBSD is a bit hard to install...

I think those days are over...

The PC-BSD [] project makes it a snap to install a functioning FreeBSD system. DistroWatch [] mentions a very nice step-by-step guide [] to installation process but really, you don't even need that if you are already handy at installing various GNU/Linux distros. (Although the guide does go into some custom configuration things that are useful/interesting.)

The torrent for PC-BSD [] is ready to roll, give it a try. Now there are no more excuses ;-)

Re:FreeBSD Hard to Install No More! (Re:News?) (1)

N3TW4LK3R (841526) | about 9 years ago | (#13149873)

hmmm... i don't have any experience with what you're mentioning here,
but i very much doubt these things will automatically install Nvidia drivers, OpenGL drivers, Ndiswrapper, recompile my kernel, install a good firewall ruleset, etc etc etc...

seriously though, I really really like FreeBSD, I just don't believe that installing it can be easy, as you say. Am i wrong?

worth it (1)

cinnamon colbert (732724) | about 9 years ago | (#13149922)

"2 weeks to get installed" can you tell me specifically what advantages you have in a laptop that justify 2 weeks of work ?
even assuming zero maintenance for bsd (ha !) and 30 mins every 2 week for windows (windows update + norton) it is hard to see the advantage, particularly given the wealth of windows apps and ease of communicating with others

What? What linux should have been? (1)

demon_2k (586844) | about 9 years ago | (#13149684)

Who writes this crap?

People make more and more software for the unix like. Nicer looking with more eyecandy, it also helps to keep up with Windows looking more and more like a toy then an operating system.
The point is, people should install more appropriate software for their older hardware. Software that is less demanding. Because some idiot complains that kde 3.4.1 doesn't look nice on his 386 is not a fault on the pingiuns behalf.

More appropiate software and components make more specialized Operating System.

Re:What? What linux should have been? (1)

dotdan (902253) | about 9 years ago | (#13149695)

The worst part is that the same person wouldn't even think of installing Windows XP on the same box.

I know, I know... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13149690)

"It runs on out-of-date Intel machines and 64-bit AMD chips, and it serves terabytes of files a day on some of the largest file servers on earth."

Re:I know, I know... (3, Informative)

dnaumov (453672) | about 9 years ago | (#13149762)

No, FreeBSD runs THIS [] .

Re:I know, I know... (0, Offtopic)

cheesybagel (670288) | about 9 years ago | (#13149846)

Linux runs this [] . :-)

386 (1)

qualico (731143) | about 9 years ago | (#13149691)

Are there any versions still available for 386?

Re:386 (1)

ocelotbob (173602) | about 9 years ago | (#13149764)

The kernel can be built for the 386 by following instructions in the handbook [] . It's not enabled by default anymore, but as long as you have a decent amount of disk space, you should be able to build it without any problem.

Re:386 (1)

TheBracket (307388) | about 9 years ago | (#13149775)

Are there any versions still available for 386?

I know you can still get 5.x to run on a 486DX (not the SX - it requires a hardware FPU), and I believe it will run on a 386DX if you have an external floating point chip. Unfortunately, 5.x would need to be recompiled with different compiler flags to run, so installation might be a challenge!

3.x and 4.x both run fine on 386 and 486 class chips.

Re:386 (1)

portwojc (201398) | about 9 years ago | (#13149791)

4.11 supports the 386 just 5.* and above won't. l []

Of course you have to ask yourself the question why would you want to use a 386?

I can't think of a good reason. Well except to poke at their decision. Or unless you can't just dig down a little deeper in the dumpster to the 486's.

modE do3n (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13149692)

re4per Nor do the there are 5ome MOVIE [] things I still

What about man-pages? (0, Troll)

flowerHercules (897821) | about 9 years ago | (#13149694)

It is unusual to mention operating system documentation that comes with UNIX systems because such documentation tends to be as unreadable as it is intrinsically interesting and useful.

xine - a free video player
xine [options] [MRL] ...
This manual page documents briefly the xine audio/video player.


-f, --fullscreen
Switch xine to fullscreen mode on start (just like pressing "F")
-g, --hide-gui
Hide all GUI windows (except the video window) on start. This is the same as pressing "G" within xine.


I guess if you want a fluffy story to cuddle up with at night, FreeBSD is for you. If you want to get a man-page that tells you what you want to know without complicated characters and a twisting plot...(L)Unix is the way to go. I can't imagine what I would want option parameters listed in the documentation for?

Re:What about man-pages? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13149825)

i hate how man pages list every single options.. but ime can't include the most common usages, for example tar

Re:What about man-pages? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13149872)

Umm.. try man xine in Linux. You have it completely backwords. If you want a fluffy, gui/ncurses admin platform, go Linux/Windows (Linux can be done by hand, but you ain't gonna see that in Fedora/Suse). *BSD users -live- in the man pages

Re:What about man-pages? (0, Troll)

drsquare (530038) | about 9 years ago | (#13149909)

Parent is a Linux troll.

BSD is renowned for having better documentation than Linux. Unlike on Linux where the man pages are a half-arsed effort, an after-thought, brief, confusing and full of errors, on BSD they're done properly, with skill and expertise.

They leave nothing to chance, they explain everything simply and easily, with plenty of intuitive examples and useful explanations. Yes, with BSD, you know exactly where you are and what to do.

Some of the Linux developers might think that documentation is for losers (or lusers as they like to call the people who use their software), but on BSD they realise that people might not necessarily know everything about their system, every command, every option or every file, so they treat the user with respect, explaining things which need explaining. This means that BSD is easier to use and configure, a great user experience.

So the next time you're frustrated trying to fix Linux, and the IRC channels tell you to RTFM, the newsgroups call you a Microsoft shill, and you wonder why TFM is so poor, or why no-one cares, remember that just around the corner is an operating system where the user comes first. BSD.

Here are some useful links: [] [] []

Why Skippy? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13149701)

Skippy is the unknown giant among peanut butters. Starting out from George Washington Carver's project, it is an extremely creamy spreadable peanut product mostly for the "& Jelly" sandwich and its clones. In many ways, Skippy has always been the peanut butter that Peter Pan should have been. It spreads on Wonder Bread and artisan sourdough loafs fresh from the oven, and it serves terabites of children a day on some of the largest daycare centers on earth.

Re:Why Skippy? (1, Funny)

ThePatrioticFuck (640185) | about 9 years ago | (#13149784)

I'm sorry, but Jif kicks Skippy's ass :)

Eh.. (1)

ratta (760424) | about 9 years ago | (#13149702)

This is a good reason for which we really need hardware with open specifics, and not just closed source linux drivers...

Re:Eh.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13149736)

"specs" stands for Specifications, not Specifics...

Giant FreeBSD (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13149708)

Unknown Giant huh...

FreeBSD is the the guts of Apple's Mac OS X. Which incidentally outnumbers all other forms of Unix/Linux by about five to one.

And although OS X on Intel is coming, it is still 99.999% PowerPC.

OpenBSD (1)

Bizzeh (851225) | about 9 years ago | (#13149712)

OpenBSD [] is another Free Open Sourced BSD OS, one of its bigest points is its security, it has only had 1 remote exploit in 8 years. its very fast to install, very easy to use, super secure, perfect for a router box or a server.

FreeBSD is nice and clean (3, Informative)

slummy (887268) | about 9 years ago | (#13149723)

But all the new and fun stuff comes out for Linux. If you're looking for something close to the style of FreeBSD, but with the new and freshness of Linux, try Gentoo.

Re:FreeBSD is nice and clean (1)

TeknoHog (164938) | about 9 years ago | (#13149817)

Agreed. I read the article, and couldn't find any answer to the question "Why FreeBSD?" since I already use Gentoo.

I was surprised by this because... (1, Funny)

Pao|o (92817) | about 9 years ago | (#13149727)

Isn't it dead?

Why we use FreeBSD (5, Interesting)

TheBracket (307388) | about 9 years ago | (#13149738)

We use FreeBSD a lot; small firewalls on obsolete hardware, SMP database servers (PostgreSQL and MySQL, mainly), LDAP servers, mail servers, NFS/samba file servers, web servers, servers to monitor servers... just about anything that doesn't HAVE to be Windows to satisfy a client's desire for Exchange.

In general, it is rock solid; I've seen a FreeBSD server with a load of 80-something (process went nuts), and still been able to login and take corrective action without rebooting. I remember being quite shocked to find a console reporting that / was inaccessible due to a drive error - but server processes on other partitions continued to run just fine anyway. We've had a few hiccups with 5.x (although 5.4 fixed most of them), but our testing of 6-beta is going really well. FreeBSD is the masochist of operating systems: you hit it, and it just keeps asking for more!

There are other reasons to love it. The ports system is very solid, and it's been years since we had problems applying an upgrade due to dependency issues. The documentation is marvelous - man pages are useful, and the handbook covers most things. The community support mailing lists are very useful, too. Jails provide a convenient way to partition processes on a single server, although they are far from perfect at this point (they keep improving, though).

I really can't say enough good things about FreeBSD. It has been running most of our hosting setup, and many of our client's networks for years, and the only time we ever seem to run into problems is when hardware dies.

(For the record, I also use Debian - and it is good, but I prefer FreeBSD for servers that have to be trusted)

Goes both ways (5, Insightful)

plasticsquirrel (637166) | about 9 years ago | (#13149747)

One could also argue that Linux is what FreeBSD should have been, and cite the huge number of supercomputers using Linux [] , or the success of Linux on the mainframe [] . However, it would be nice if the poster realized that it's a pissing contest and both operating systems are impressive and have their uses, benefits, and drawbacks. Neither is what one "should have been". They both have their own, very different methodologies, so let's leave it at that.

Not that it's news anyways...

Well, I know why I love my BSD. (1)

Noal (898714) | about 9 years ago | (#13149748)

It's because of Beastie! []

That's my story and I'm sticking with it. :-)

pointless (1, Insightful)

cahiha (873942) | about 9 years ago | (#13149752)

The differences between Linux and BSD are minor; anybody who thinks they matter needs to have their head examined, and the kind of (implicit) Linux bashing represented by the article is pointless.

Silly Question (2, Insightful)

rathehun (818491) | about 9 years ago | (#13149758)

...but why isn't this in the BSD section?


There's a lot to like (5, Insightful)

confusion (14388) | about 9 years ago | (#13149765)

I've admin'd most every flavor of Unix at some point in my life and I really really like how FreeBSD is managed, from development to the ports tree.

Now that there is a push to support binary updates, my last major complaint has been addressed.

Anyone who has ever been stuck in the perl dependancy hell will absolutely love the ports tree - I really don't understand why there hasn't been more adoption of that concept in Linux.

Also, I am suprised that Linux is the platform of choice for all of these appliances that companies are pumping out, like wireless routers, security devices, etc, when the BSD license is so much more attractive to business.

The major stumbling block that FreeBSD has left is their development team. It seems like the way things are organized really creates a lot of opportunity for personality clashes.

Jerry []

Re:There's a lot to like (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13149890)

Anyone who has ever been stuck in the perl dependancy hell will absolutely love the ports tree - I really don't understand why there hasn't been more adoption of that concept in Linux.

That's because linux is a kernel.

Re:There's a lot to like (1)

confusion (14388) | about 9 years ago | (#13149906)

That is certainly true, I guess I meant Linux distros like Redhat, Debian, etc.

Jerry []

Er... (0, Troll)

Sr. Pato (900333) | about 9 years ago | (#13149773)

It runs on out-of-date Intel machines
That's because BSD is dead! Geez! Get a clue!

"Tell a joke; speak humorously; 'He often jokes even when he appears serious'"

Extremely fast? (2, Insightful)

Cee (22717) | about 9 years ago | (#13149774)

Starting out from the 386BSD project, it is an extremely fast UNIX-like operating system mostly for the Intel chip and its clones.

This sounds like FreeBSD performs vastly better than any OS in the world. And how much faster is exteremly compared to Linux or Windows? Twice the speed? Four times?

Where is the Netcraft confirms troll (1)

John Biggabooty (591838) | about 9 years ago | (#13149789)

This many comments into a BSD thread, and no one has inserted the "Netcraft confirms BSD is dying" troll? Is it now confirmed that BSD is actually growing, and that troll is nonsense?

FreeBSD makes sense (5, Interesting)

alex_delarge (187598) | about 9 years ago | (#13149799)

The first time I installed FreeBSD, I looked at the screen and kind of went "What do I do now?". After a bit of digging, my impression was that of a system that had all the kinks worked out of it. After trying many Linux distros, FreeBSD made more sense.

If I install software, it's going to be in /usr/local, if I upgrade the system, cvsup is simple, the ports tree makes keeping software up to date a breeze, I'm not going to have to hunt for a distro specific rpm or a wierd library just to get something to work. The amount of software available for FreeBSD is astounding, chances are, if a project is in development, it's already in the ports tree.

I've used FreeBSD for about 6 years and I really don't see myself using Linux anymore. The community is very supportive, intelligent and open minded, I always seem to get things done with FreeBSD, I haven't found a problem I couldn't solve within a few hours, it just works, and works well. Try it, you might find that it works as well for you.

Yes I read TFA, but (1)

ThaFooz (900535) | about 9 years ago | (#13149819)

I still don't really understand how FreeBSD is fundamentaly different then Linux. I'm not much of an OS hacker... I have a Linux machine, darwin on the Mac, and I've poked around BSD boxes without noticing major differences.

Can someone explain why I should use one over the other, or if I should care?

The real difference... (2, Informative)

benjamindees (441808) | about 9 years ago | (#13149926)

The reason you'll see just as many BSD fanatics as Linux nuts is for just the same reason: the license.

*BSD is a stable, secure OS with a proprietary-friendly, open source license. Linux is a stable, secure OS with a proprietary-hostile, open source license.

90% of the actual software that runs on the two is exactly the same. However, each has its own kernel and basic libraries.

Possible Bias? :-) (3, Funny)

John_Booty (149925) | about 9 years ago | (#13149831)

Seems like an informative and unbiased article, but I couldn't help but laugh at the author's email address. Especially given the "FreeBSD has always been the operating system that GNU/Linux-based operating systems should have been" jab that the story submitter felt compelled to include.

Why FreeBSD
A quick tour of the BSD alternative
Level: Introductory
Frank Pohlmann (, U.K. Technical Editor, Linuxuser and Developer
19 Jul 2005

Better question: (4, Interesting)

artifex2004 (766107) | about 9 years ago | (#13149838)

Why FreeBSD instead of OpenBSD, NetBSD, OSX, etc.?
The article was really sketchy on this point.

Why FreeBSD when there's NetBSD? (1)

RLiegh (247921) | about 9 years ago | (#13149860)

For real, yo. NetBSD works far better and smoother than anything in the FreeBSD 5.x series. Of course, for those scared of the command line there's always mac, windows and linux; but if you're going to run a unix, why settle for FreeBSD when you can have something far better?

Is release 5 stable yet? (5, Insightful)

bofar (902274) | about 9 years ago | (#13149875)

I work at a large internet organization that runs thousands of FreeBSD systems. When we need 64-bit though, we switch to Linux because it has a stable 64-bit distribution and FreeBSD does not. I've gone through all the kudo's about FreeBSD being stable, but are you using release 5? and are you using 64-bit? (and don't even get me started about threading support.)

FreeBSD vs. Linux ideologies (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13149882)

Despite all the good things that have beein brought about by the most recent Linux 2.6.XX series kernels and boxed up by Redhat and Suse and CentOS people, there are still areas where the two differ a lot and will continue to do so.

FreeBSD's motto has always been rock solid stability, robustness and serving capability.

Thus, for the ones who mentioned their discomfort in installing FreeBSD for workstation - hey it's just another market demand driven issue; when there's enough pressure, the things will start getting cleaner.

For robustness one just can't beat FreeBSD, despite Linux's latest achievements. Remember the time when Linux had almost screwed itsef out of the server platform due to the incredible VM issues plaguing it's early 2.4.X series? Well, even today the VM is still not as stable as it should be. FreeBSD has the best VM out there, and it can take any types of loads.

Linux tends to be "quite fast" when people throw small tiny workloads at it like a few disk requests, or a few HTTP requests to a webserver, say Apache. If you throw any reasonable amount of workload, you gotta sit down and tune it. I mean literally re-write the code, coz it's not going to be able to handle thousands and thousands of requests. So it ends up being a very fast, low latency platform for a lot of non-serious non-server oriented uses. But it quickly looses the latency advantage when any serious load is thrown at it. I have had to re-write sizeable portions of the Linux kernel to make it handle better loads.

OTOH, FreeBSD seems to be slower and more sluggish when one throws non-server type one-off requests at it; however this latency can be multipled over thousands of requests. If you throw one request at FreeBSD or you throw thousands of thousands of requests, the latency is nearly the same - that is the DEFINITION of robustness.

I remember when I had installed FreeBSD 4.2 a few years ago, and the httpd could handle only about 1000 simultaneous requests. I just had to change a few kernel sysctls, and it smoothly managed to increase that to about 100000 simultaneous requests; all chuggnig along at the same latency. That is what I want in a server platform.

I have never seen that kind of capability in Linux. When it comes to internet serving, one can still not beat FreeBSD.

Of late it's been plagued a bit by the big change in architecture for SMP scalability in the 5.X series; and it always seems to have an issue with driver availability - but that is just due to the fact that it is a small enthusiast community compared to Linux. Hence the lesser number of hands working on it.

Linux does have some advantages though, and their driver availabilty is very very good. It addresses almost every bit of desktop hardware money can buy, and is the only one that can compete with microsoft in the driver availability market.

Good luck to both!

Why ask why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13149884)

Why not?

Obligatory FreeBSD Quote (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13149885)

Typical Slashdot (1, Troll)

spudchucker (680073) | about 9 years ago | (#13149900)

Smells like an advertisement.
Follow the money,
the path ain't long.

Antiquated Filesystems (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13149901)

Oh, great, only support for ancient filesystems.

How many hours does it take to fsck a 9 terabyte filesystem?

I'll stick with something that supports a journaling fs thanks.
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