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FreeBSD 6.3-RELEASE Now Available

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 6 years ago | from the put-the-daemon-back-in-the-box dept.

Operating Systems 100

cperciva writes "FreeBSD 6.3-RELEASE, the fourth release from the highly successful 6-STABLE branch of FreeBSD development, has been released. In addition to being available from many FTP sites, ISO images can be downloaded via the BitTorrent tracker, or for users of earlier FreeBSD releases, FreeBSD Update can be used to perform a binary upgrade."

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Wait, what? (2, Funny)

Seumas (6865) | more than 6 years ago | (#22104214)

I thought BSD was dying? I've been on Slashdot for a decade and I precisely recall hearing that BSD was dying a few hundred thousand times.

Re:Wait, what? (2, Insightful)

mdenham (747985) | more than 6 years ago | (#22104226)

It still is. In the same fashion any of the rest of us without a terminal illness are.

Re:Wait, what? (4, Funny)

jd (1658) | more than 6 years ago | (#22104426)

You see, if it dies more than 32767 times, you get an overflow, the sign bit flips and it becomes alive again. This is the problem with using fixed-length integers. If computers were using variable-length precision, you wouldn't get this problem.

Re:Wait, what? (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 6 years ago | (#22105898)

Thank God they're not using 64-bit integers. The reports of BSD's sudden death would never die.

Re:Wait, what? (2, Insightful)

LighterShadeOfBlack (1011407) | more than 6 years ago | (#22104466)

I thought BSD was dying?
It is dying. Just like this is the 10th consecutive Year of Linux.

Re:Wait, what? (1)

jim.hansson (1181963) | more than 6 years ago | (#22104510)

I have never really liked the name, it sound like a STD

Re:Wait, what? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22104684)

peaking of stds, last week I had bathroom sex with a guy up in Holland, Michigan. This morning, I took a shit that was bloody and there was a yellow cheesy discharge (no, not sperm...). My asshole has been itching all day. Any ideas?

Re:Wait, what? (1)

bcat24 (914105) | more than 6 years ago | (#22105022)

No, no, no! You see, in Korea only old people use BSD!

Re:Wait, what? (2, Funny)

hey! (33014) | more than 6 years ago | (#22108272)

Well, the most likely explanation woudl seem to be that BSD has joined the ranks of undead operating systems.

So while it cannot be said in strict truth to be "alive and kicking", it nonetheless is still "kicking", and will continue to do so until somebody can devise the operating system equivalent of a wooden stake through the heart.

That'd be something involving unresolved intellectual property rights, I suppose, although there is little chance at this late date that might happen. If vampires could only be killed by wood from the descendants of a particular tree, they could breath, er rest easily once that line was extinct.

Re:Wait, what? (1)

PachmanP (881352) | more than 6 years ago | (#22110864)

Yeah BSD is dying just like $YEAR is the year of linux on the desktop

Re:Wait, what? (1)

turbidostato (878842) | more than 6 years ago | (#22114040)

"I thought BSD was dying? I've been on Slashdot for a decade and I precisely recall hearing that BSD was dying a few hundred thousand times."

And yes, it is.

It's only it's diying *very* slow motion. Just like Sean Connery on The Untouchables don't you remember it? Ratatatatatatttt Weahuheawhagghhh!

Re:Wait, what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22203948)

Yes, these companies must be crazy!... ;-)

The following companies have donated to OpenBSD:

Intel, Advanced Micro Devices, Inc., Google, Adobe, Ernst & Young, Price Waterhouse, VMware, Inc., Hewlett-Packard, Compaq Computer Corp., US DoD via DARPA (for the Pentagon and US Air Force), LSI Logic Corporation, Motorola Labs, Vonage, Xircom, AMI, Adaptec, Inc, Cyclades Corporation, Emulex Corporation, HighPoint-Tech, ICP-Vortex, Infineon Technologies, Internet Engineering Group, Internet Software Consortium, SmoothWall Ltd., 3Ware, ADMtek, Areca Technology Corporation, GoDaddy, Initio Corporation, Iron Systems, Inc., New York Internet, Tehuti Networks Ltd, Tekram Technology Co., Ltd., The USENIX Association, WildPackets, Inc.

That's just the cream from around 400 companies (plus 3,600 individuals).

Some companies and projects using BSD developed software in their own products:

Microsoft (Microsoft Services for UNIX - OpenBSD)
Cisco (switches and routers - OpenBSD's OpenSSH)
Juniper (JUNOS - FreeBSD)
Nokia IPSO (Nokia Firewalls - FreeBSD)
Novell (Netware - OpenBSD's OpenSSH)
Dell (switches - OpenBSD's OpenSSH)
Cacheflow proxies (now known as Bluecoat - OpenBSD's OpenSSH)
Packeteer (PacketShapers - OpenBSD's OpenSSH)
Top Layer (IDS load balancers - OpenBSD)
IBM (AIX - OpenBSD's OpenSSH)
Hewlett-Packard (switches and HPUX - OpenBSD's OpenSSH)
Sun Microsystems (Solaris - OpenBSD's OpenSSH)
Apple (OS X - OpenBSD's OpenSSH)
Silicon Graphics (IRIX - OpenBSD's OpenSSH)
Armorlogic (Firewalls and VPN - OpenBSD's OpenSSH)
Stallion (Firewalls - OpenBSD and OpenBSD's OpenSSH)
IPCop (Firewalls - OpenBSD's OpenSSH)
SmoothWall (Firewalls - OpenBSD's OpenSSH)
GeNUA (Firewall and VPN appliances - OpenBSD's OpenSSH)
CebaTech (OpenBSD based ASIC and FPGA logic)
Core Security (security products - OpenBSD's OpenSSH)
assurent (uses OpenBSD for firewall and VPN solutions)
NetThruPut (anonymous crude oil trading systems, IDS - OpenBSD)
Network Security Technologies (IDS and VPN for US DoD and govt. - OpenBSD)
Digi (networking devices - OpenBSD's OpenSSH)
Alcatel (networking devices - OpenBSD's OpenSSH)
All Linux systems - OpenBSD's OpenSSH
All the BSD's - OpenBSD's OpenSSH

In addition to all this, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security programming best practices web site refers to the use of OpenBSD technologies for greater security.

But the BSD-is-dying myth is alive and well it seems. The truth however is, that there are plenty of GNU faithful that want to see the death of BSD and that is why the BSD-is-dying myth is so prevalent. They're religious kooks.

Yes sirree... (4, Insightful)

dosius (230542) | more than 6 years ago | (#22104216)

BSD is alive and well!

-uso.

Sweet! (1)

brilinux (255400) | more than 6 years ago | (#22104220)

Thanks guys! I will be sticking this on my laptop!

My desktop requires 7.0, though; I am currently running Beta 2, and I will binary upgrade when that is released. 6.3 does not support my SATA controller, and I want to mess around with ZFS as well.

Keep up the good work!

Dedicated to Itojun (5, Informative)

gertam (1019200) | more than 6 years ago | (#22104222)

The release is dedicated to Dr. Jun-ichiro Hagino, known throughout the Internet community as itojun. He did lots of important work on the IPv6 protocol through the KAME project, and made many other contributions to the Internet and BSD communities.

Re:Dedicated to Itojun (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22104418)

I KAME

OLOLOL

Re:Dedicated to Itojun (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22105032)

is he dead?

Re:Dedicated to Itojun (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22107260)

only as much as BSD.

A very niche OS (3, Insightful)

slashuzer (580287) | more than 6 years ago | (#22104230)

It is good to see FreeBSD keep on going, but I cannot help but feel that all BSDs, to some extent, have become a very niche, and bit of a dead-end OS. Today if someone wants to move away from windows, they can go to Linux (free) or Mac (not-free). Aside from server space, what does BSD bring to the average desktop user? Let's just say I want to move to a free OS, what exactly does FreeBSD offer that is not already available with any number of Linux distributions? And what purpose do two similar OS (Linux, BSD) serve when they pretty much appeal to the same segment of computer users. Truly, sometimes I wonder if it might not be better to have *one* OSS alternative to Windows instead of having the developer resources working on two, parallel, different-under-the-surface-but-similar-in-usage operating systems .

Re:A very niche OS (5, Informative)

0x000000 (841725) | more than 6 years ago | (#22104296)

FreeBSD brings a stable OS to the desktop user. Since both userland and kernel are in the same source tree, and are developed concurrently, any changes in the kernel will be immediately reflected in the userland utilities. What does this mean? Well, if I upgrade my kernel and my world, I will know that I always have a perfectly functioning system. It takes the guess work out of upgrades.

Besides that? I find that it is more consistent. If you move from one Linux distribution to another, you need to go hunting for the configuration files, they are not in a set location as specified by man hier. I know that when I install something from the ports tree, the configuration files can always be found in /usr/local/etc/, which is a nice change from having to hunt in /var/www/httpd for Apache's configuration file and /opt/etc/ for the dhcp servers config file.

Re:A very niche OS (1)

cbart387 (1192883) | more than 6 years ago | (#22104368)

I tried freeBSD 6.(2?) about a month ago and found myself spending a lot of time getting the system configured (upgrading xorg was fun). I'm curious if once you get it initially set up does it become more easy to maintain? I enjoy using the *nix type of system but don't want to spend most of my time configuring stuff (I'm currently on Fedora 8). Maybe I'll give freeBSD a go again in the future if it's easy to maintain.

Re:A very niche OS (1)

Brandybuck (704397) | more than 6 years ago | (#22105290)

It is very much like Slackware or Arch. (Actually closer to Arch). You get a basic bare bones system, and Xorg is installed on top of that. I have never had any problems upgrading Xorg, even when it moved from /usr/X11R6 to /usr/local.

Once you have it setup it's extremely easy to maintain. You still need to edit some configuration files here and there. If you don't want to do some very lightweight sysadmin duties, then it probably isn't for you. You may want to try PC-BSD or DesktopBSD instead.

Re:A very niche OS (2, Interesting)

dknj (441802) | more than 6 years ago | (#22105372)

FreeBSD is like solaris with better driver support and a robust third-party package library. If you know how to use it, its fucking solid. If you're new to the game, you will feel lost unless you pickup a good book

Re:A very niche OS (1)

jonadab (583620) | more than 6 years ago | (#22173272)

Is there a specific book you would recommend? I've been using FreeBSD on my main workstation at home for a while (since a month or so after 6.0 was released IIRC), and while some things about it are comfortable, others still feel a bit alien. I'd be interested in wrapping my mind around FreeBSD's way of doing things a little better. (Just at a power-user level, not as a developer. I write bits of custom app-level code for this and that, mostly in Perl, but I'm not interested in being an OS developer.)

If it matters, I have a pretty good background as a poweruser on various Linux distros, which I first started fooling with in '98. I've lost count of how many different Linux distributions I've worked with, but they still all tend to have some things in common (beyond just the kernel), as I rapidly discovered when I started using FreeBSD (which, despite being Unixey in general, is clearly not Linux). I've also worked with and played with an assortment of non-Unix OSes: DOS, BeOS, old Mac systems, ... so I don't need general comp-sci stuff or explanations of how Unix is different from Windows XP. Mostly I just need to understand the things that set FreeBSD apart from other Unices.

Incidentally, the most oustandingly *different* OS I've ever had occasion to work with, in a lot of ways, is VMS. Compared to how different VMS is, Windows and Unix start to look VERY similar, and FreeBSD and Linux may as well be identical. There are things about VMS that I really like... and things that I don't. But either way it's different.

Re:A very niche OS (1)

dknj (441802) | more than 6 years ago | (#22195542)

FreeBSD Handbook [freebsd.org]
The Complete FreeBSD [amazon.com]

I used Linux back in the 90s, but it was such a toy OS it wasn't going to help my career at the time. FreeBSD, however, has been serving high profile sites such as ftp.cdrom.com from this time. This proves FreeBSD's maturity, unfortunately the lawsuit left a bad taste in everyone's mouth forever. If I had a choice between FreeBSD and Linux, i would go for FreeBSD (assuming hardware support and that there were no other versions of unix in the shop). Unfortunately, FreeBSD lacks in enterprise support so RedHat, SuSE, et al have won the market.

Re:A very niche OS (1)

jonadab (583620) | more than 6 years ago | (#22260614)

> I used Linux back in the 90s, but it was such a toy OS it wasn't going to help my career at the time.

I remember the first time I got a distro with the new kernel with the improved virtual memory system. (I want to say that was kernel 2.2 IIRC, but it could have been 2.0 or 2.4, I don't really remember for sure anymore.) Boy, was that a huge improvement. The vm handling in Linux now is better than what's in FreeBSD, but back in the bad old days, if you started running low on swap space, your system would slow down to the point where it could take hours just to close a window, and forget about switching to a text vt and logging on there to kill off a memory-hog process, because the system wouldn't be anywhere near responsive enough to log you in inside the timeout.

Linux has had a lot of improvements over the years, of course, but to my way of thinking that's the really big one.

And yeah, Linux was in the right place at the right time. A lot of programmers became interested early on in using it (and therefore in improving it) at least partly because of the BSD lawsuit thing. Once it achieved a certain critical mass of interested parties, ...

But anyway, BSD is important for me because, as an IT professional, I cannot afford to know Linux but ignore other Unix variants. I have to broaden my horizons beyond that. The reason I picked FreeBSD specifically is just because, when I was looking to install, the 6.0 release had just come out, so I grabbed that and used it. I had been thinking about getting into OpenBSD, and still might at some point, although it is also tempting to experiment with other things, like Darwin or Solaris x86, for the same reason I moved from Linux to BSD: I'm building a broader base of knowledge.

FWIW, there are things I like about FreeBSD, and other things where I like the Linux way better, and some areas where I've noticed a difference but not formed an opinion about which is better. And it is possible that some of the areas where I currently like Linux better that's just because it's more what I was used to, and I might eventually get over that as I use more other systems.

But why, oh why, do these Unix variants not have VMS-style file versioning? I really want that. Sure, it uses up more hard drive space, but have you seen the prices and sizes of hard drives lately? I want file versioning.

Re:A very niche OS (1)

cbart387 (1192883) | more than 6 years ago | (#22108004)

Thanks for the tip, I may try one of those just to get my feet wet. Editing config files doesn't bother me, I do that anyways to customize how I want the system to run. It does sound like freeBSD does a good job of providing a upgrade path to the next version.

I was using Ubuntu Dapper for the longest time but I found that the repositories didn't provide newer versions of certain software. Also since it was the long term support (LTS) version they didn't provide an upgrade path to the next one. It gets messy when the user starts updating software manually (I don't know how I stood doing it for Windows). But if I find Fedora doesn't do a good with upgrading I may be back to try freeBSD (or another version). I can understand not keeping older version entirely fresh, but if that's the case you should at least provide a path to upgrade.

A very nice OS (1)

KlaymenDK (713149) | more than 6 years ago | (#22106458)

If you want a ready-to-run BSD-based OS, try DesktopBSD. :) Its GUI is just about on a level with Kubuntu; at least there's nothing I miss.

Re:A very nice OS (1)

cbart387 (1192883) | more than 6 years ago | (#22111112)

Thanks, I'll keep then in mind if Fedora's too much of a pain to upgrade.

It's a distro. (2, Insightful)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 6 years ago | (#22104662)

What you've just described is exactly what any modern distro worth its salt does.

Any changes in kernel are immediately reflected in userland utilities -- check. Not "immediately" as in "the day they're released" -- more like, by the time they hit your distro's repository, they generally work together. Any "guesswork" at that point is a bug.

Consistency is also a feature of the distribution, not the OS. Gentoo might have stuff in a different place than Ubuntu, but Ubuntu has everything in the same place as Ubuntu. Your comment would mean more if you said that FreeBSD had everything the same as OpenBSD and NetBSD, but in any case, I find any BSD (including OS X) to have a number of quirks in the commandline utilities that are unique to *BSD, and do not show up on Linux.

So, another way of looking at it is that FreeBSD is as consistent as, say, Ubuntu, with regards to itself. But Ubuntu is more consistent with the majority of *nix distros, by user or by kind, mostly because Linux has more users and distros than anything else.

Your example of having to hunt for config files in /var/www/httpd is a bit disingenuous -- or at least, I've never used a good distro that had Apache's configuration anywhere other than /etc/httpd or /etc/apache, or some variant thereof (like /etc/apache2) -- in any case, easily something I'd expect to find with tab-completion. Same with dhcp servers -- unless I installed a really strange one, it's going to be somewhere in /etc/dhcpd, or it's going to be named after the particular dhcp server (like /etc/dnsmasq).

Re:It's a distro. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22106520)

The problem is, people switch distros quite regularly over the years. For a while Redhat was the defacto, or one derived from Debian, or Gentoo, or Ubuntu. Every few years the most recommended distro changes, which means different system layouts. With one group who maintains the stack, there is an added consistency and a larger community to evolve the distribution. Note that different FreeBSD distros have formed, but never took off because users were very happy with the current model. Instead we're seeing enchancements off of the same base occur, such as PC-BSD and TrustedBSD, which leverage a common base and explore different directions. These changes, by and large, make there way back into FreeBSD-base.

The "quirks" in FreeBSD are, most likely, the traditional way that UNIX (SysV or BSD) operated. Linux and the GNU tooling are known for making "changes". BSDs were the system of choice for those coming from UNIX-based platforms, who could immediately migrate and often were frustrated by Linux. Its quite amusing that now its those coming from Linux wondering why BSDs are different. In short, it simply stems from the fact a standard layout emerged before Linux even began and, quite frankly, many users greatly prefer it.

Re:It's a distro. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22107976)

The problem is, people switch distros quite regularly over the years.
speak for youself. I switched from freebsd to ubuntu and never looked back

Re:It's a distro. (1)

turbidostato (878842) | more than 6 years ago | (#22114288)

"The problem is, people switch distros quite regularly over the years. For a while Redhat was the defacto, or one derived from Debian, or Gentoo, or Ubuntu."

Yeah, well:

I've been on Debian since 2000, and Debian has always been "like Debian" just like you feel "FreeBSD has always felt like FreeBSD".

On the other hand, people switch from FreeBSD to NetBSD to OpenBSD to DragonFly, etc. regularly over the years. And you know what? Those changes have indeed quirks just like if you go from Debian to Red Hat or the other way around, so you are speaking nuts.

"Instead we're seeing enchancements off of the same base occur, such as PC-BSD and TrustedBSD, which leverage a common base and explore different directions. These changes, by and large, make there way back into FreeBSD-base."

If you really think there are more differences from Debian to Ubuntu (a Debian derivative) than from FreeBSD to PC-BSD (a FreeBSD derivative) you are stoned. Even more, from RHEL to CentOS there are even less differences than from FreeBSD to any of the derivatives you mention so, again, what the hell are you talking about?

"The "quirks" in FreeBSD are, most likely, the traditional way that UNIX (SysV or BSD) operated."

As if there were no "quirks" between Sys V5 and BSD themselves. I bet there are more diferences between "traditional" V5 and BSD than between two Linux distributions taken out of a bucket.

"BSDs were the system of choice for those coming from UNIX-based platforms"

Yeah, well, talk for yourself. I come from HP-Ux 9.x (quite a UNIX-based platform, you see) and I wouldn't change sysadmin-wise Debian for FreeBSD any day of the week so, since I'm a counterprobe, your argument is clearly at failure.

"Its quite amusing that now its those coming from Linux wondering why BSDs are different."

That's true for anything popular whose history is lost and moot. I'm old and certainly won't be amused by FreeBSD being "different", it is not, but I will see why youngster will think so, just as they will thing it's "different" the one that is attached to his old Telefunken vacuum-valves based Hi-Fi instead of preferring an MP3 player.

"it simply stems from the fact a standard layout emerged before Linux even began and, quite frankly, many users greatly prefer it."

Yeah, just like USA is attached to the old SECAM TV standard instead of using the obviously superior PAL one in use on all the "second TV generation" countries. Regarding technologies being second is a very nice chance to learn from the mistakes of the olders. There's nothing "greyback" in using punched cards instead of USB memory sticks; it's just oldfashioned and amusing.

Re:It's a distro. (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 6 years ago | (#22132296)

The problem is, people switch distros quite regularly over the years. For a while Redhat was the defacto, or one derived from Debian, or Gentoo, or Ubuntu. Every few years the most recommended distro changes, which means different system layouts.

Recommended by whom?

RedHat has been RedHat for forever. Unless you are an enterprise user, recently, your RedHat was renamed to Fedora.

Debian has been Debian forever. If you really want to, you can try Ubuntu, but it's not going to be much different than Debian -- and Ubuntu has been Ubuntu for as long as it's existed.

With one group who maintains the stack, there is an added consistency and a larger community to evolve the distribution.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA....

Seriously, are you trying to say that the various open BSDs combined have a larger user-base than Ubuntu alone?

That just makes my point for me. I mean, I don't have anything against BSD, and I mean no offense when I say this, but all of the advantages you've cited are distro advantages, not OS advantages.

The "quirks" in FreeBSD are, most likely, the traditional way that UNIX (SysV or BSD) operated. Linux and the GNU tooling are known for making "changes".

And as many of these changes are reasonably consistent across distros, I welcome them. It was an abrupt change to go from Debian's standard network init script to Ubuntu's GUI network daemon, but on a laptop, I wouldn't have it any other way.

It may be that BSD is just different, but I do think that there are actually features in the Linux tools that I find lacking in the BSDs.

Re:It's a distro. (1)

LandruBek (792512) | more than 6 years ago | (#22124050)

First let me echo the mantra that Linux and FreeBSD are not in a fight, we don't need to declare one or the other a winner. Having said that, let me turn around and now say that you yourself are practically presenting an argument for the (IMHO) superior consistency and sensibility of FreeBSD's configuration:

I've never used a good distro that had Apache's configuration anywhere other than /etc/httpd or /etc/apache, or some variant thereof (like /etc/apache2)

unless I installed a really strange [DHCP server], it's going to be somewhere in /etc/dhcpd, or it's going to be named after the particular dhcp server (like /etc/dnsmasq)


So, these configuration files are going to be in a handful of plausible locations. Debian puts it here, Fedora here, etc. A n00b who needs help must ask the right community -- not just "Linux" but Ubuntu, or SuSE, or whatever. A friend of mine was just getting started and decided to go for SuSE. He eventually asked me for some help getting his Java browser plugin to work. I gave him some generic advice, but I didn't know the SuSE directory structure so I couldn't be specific. This is typical: because the distros do different things, the Linux knowledgebase is somewhat splintered.

As you say, FreeBSD is like a Linux distro in that it has a (self-consistent) scheme for where to put stuff. It's unlike a distro in that application software like Apache or KDE is not treated as part of the bundle. I remember one forum complaint of, "I tried to install FreeBSD on my machine, and I said install everything, but later it asked if I wanted to install X11 and KDE. That's so amateur hour!" The thing is, FreeBSD is not exactly a distro: "everything" in FreeBSD roughly corresponds to Linux kernel + GNU tools. Installing additional packages is easy though: the ports tree makes adding new software very easy. I love the ports tree.

FreeBSD incidentally has excellent documentation; I have found answers to my questions faster with the FreeBSD docs than with the Linux docs and HOWTOs. Also I find it easier to get FreeBSD help via email. Perhaps this is be changing now: the Ubuntu community is pretty huge and it might now be a better resource that the FreeBSD community. That is saying a lot: the FreeBSD-questions list is extremely helpful, n00b-respectful, and timely.

I am not trying to put down Linux, I like it too. My desktop machine dual-boots FreeBSD and Slackware. When I started programming in OpenGL I used Linux, and I never could port my programs to FreeBSD (and ran out of patience to figuring out why). Also, when I am forced to use Macromedia Flash I usually turn to Linux. But for the majority of setup and config problems I've faced in the past handful of years, I just have had more molar-grinding moments with Slackware and CentOS than I have had with FreeBSD -- and maybe it's my fault, I don't care. Life is not about operating systems anyway, it's about getting your stuff done.

Re:It's a distro. (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 6 years ago | (#22135658)

All of your arguments are perfectly valid. The technical ones I can't confirm or deny, but I assume you're not making them up, so they're valid.

But all of your remarks are still based on the assumption that FreeBSD is an OS -- an alternative to Linux. I see it as just another quirky L/Unix distro.

That batteries do not come included doesn't exclude it from being a distro; Gentoo, for the longest time, came with a tarball. That's it. Ok, yes, there was a livecd, but you could use any livecd to install that tarball, provided it had a recent enough kernel and supported chrooting. And Gentoo is generally called a distro, and we say it "includes" various things -- certainly, we'd say it includes KDE, although that's absolutely not in the initial tarball. (In fact, if you're a purist and start from Stage1, almost nothing that came in that tarball will still be there by Stage3.)

Unless Ports works very differently from what I expect, it just confirms my assertion that FreeBSD is effectively a minimalist L/Unix Distro, which allows you to install other packages -- even if, like Gentoo, they must be compiled first. Even Ubuntu is similar -- by default, you get it on a CD that's packed to the gills, and it installs just about everything that's on that CD, but you can certainly start with a more minimal version. It's really the repository and the community that defines the distro, and Ubuntu certainly has a lot of both.

And I'm not trying to put down any BSD, either. After all, I love my Ubuntu -- "just a distro" doesn't begin to cover it. (Ubuntu is responsible for things like network-manager, which makes Linux wireless bearable for everyone, on every distro smart enough to adopt it.) I'm just trying to explain why I don't see it as incredibly unique in the ways I often hear.

There are other ways in which it's unique, of course -- more liberal software license (could be good or bad), even smaller target for attack, possibly more secure, and details like filesystems -- wasn't there a BSD that supports ZFS? These are not issues which are important to me -- except license, maybe; I prefer GPL-ish for my own stuff. Low-level details are somewhat more important to me, and I know more about Linux there than about BSD, so I'm probably not giving BSD a fair shot -- although Linux, by nature of simply being more popular, has more people tweaking those details. But Linux is secure enough, and I prefer to be a low target through other means than OS choice.

As for not wanting life to be about operating systems, I hate to sound like a broken record, but Ubuntu all the way. I find myself almost missing the odd problems I'd have with Gentoo.

Re:A very niche OS (4, Interesting)

geek (5680) | more than 6 years ago | (#22104820)

I used to be a diehard FreeBSD fan. Used it on all my servers and my desktop. I'd still use it before Linux on a server but on the desktop there just is no comparison to something like Ubuntu. The last time I installed FreeBSD on my laptop I felt I had gone back in time 10 years to 1998. Everything I wanted seemed to be a linux emulation too. That's just how I felt anyway. I love FreeBSD and always will, but they don't seem to have the focus on usability for the desktop that distros like Ubuntu have.

Re:A very niche OS (2, Informative)

setagllib (753300) | more than 6 years ago | (#22105340)

That's what PC-BSD is for. All of the FreeBSD 6 foundation you love, but with Ubuntu-like usability layered on top with minimal fuss. I have not tried it myself, but all reviews I've read are highly positive. And it's not just an Ubuntu clone either, with some innovation in integrating a new packaging system into the OS.

Re:A very niche OS (1)

geek (5680) | more than 6 years ago | (#22106102)

Thanks for the tip. I'm going to give it a shot and see how it goes. Much appreciated.

Re:A very niche OS (1)

KlaymenDK (713149) | more than 6 years ago | (#22106486)

Go ahead and try PC-BSD; but like anything else in this game, it's not the only one in town. If you don't like it, you might also want to try DesktopBSD.

PC-BSD has these nice ready-built binaries for installing, where DesktopBSD relies more directly on the ports (through a nice gui, with portsnap).

Re:A very niche OS (1)

hdon (1104251) | more than 6 years ago | (#22112476)

Besides that? I find that it is more consistent. If you move from one Linux distribution to another, you need to go hunting for the configuration files, they are not in a set location as specified by man hier. I know that when I install something from the ports tree, the configuration files can always be found in /usr/local/etc/, which is a nice change from having to hunt in /var/www/httpd for Apache's configuration file and /opt/etc/ for the dhcp servers config file.


Not to knock FreeBSD or any *BSD for that matter, but this is kind of a poor comparison. You've just attributed FreeBSD with advantages over, it seems, GNU/Linux, because different GNU/Linux distributions do things differently from one another, whereas FreeBSD doesn't suffer from this problem.

Well, just how many different FreeBSD distributions are there?

Re:A very niche OS (1)

turbidostato (878842) | more than 6 years ago | (#22114170)

"FreeBSD brings a stable OS to the desktop user. Since both userland and kernel are in the same source tree, and are developed concurrently, any changes in the kernel will be immediately reflected in the userland utilities"

Is it either KDE or Gnome on the main tree nowadays (or Enligthment or fluxbox, for that matter). If not, your argument is absolutly moot for any desktop user, you see.

And even then, since the window/desktop manager is all a desktop user is going/wanting to see, there's no real difference from *BSD, Linux or say, OpenSolaris.

"Besides that? I find that it is more consistent"

Yeah, well, having what? 80% of what a desktop user will need under /opt and/or /usr/local makes for a very consistent environment, yes.

"I know that when I install something from the ports tree, the configuration files can always be found in /usr/local/etc/"

Sure? Even if you install something within the main tree? Even if you go from FreeBSD to Open or NetBSD? If that's not the case, if you just know where to find things in FreeBSD your argument is -again, moot for I for sure can say exactly the same regarding Debian: I know exactly where to find *any* configuration file, no matter if they are on "main", "contrib" or "non-free"; they all will be under /etc; directly under /etc if the program only uses one config file or under /etc/programname if it needs more than one.

"which is a nice change from having to hunt in /var/www/httpd for Apache's configuration file and /opt/etc/ for the dhcp servers config file."

Bullshit. I challenge you to find just *one* config file on Debian GNU/Linux that is not under /etc. Apache's will be under /etc/apache or /etc/apache2 (and I bet you'll know which case will be each one) and dhcp server will be under /etc/dhcp or /etc/dhcp3. I even give you an easy ride since I know exactly one case (on more than 10.000 packages) for a service which configuration files are *not* under /etc (of course even in this case there's a symlink from under /etc/ to its real location). You just need to tell us which package is it. If you don't, we all will know you are just a troll talking from out your total ignorance and bias.

Re:A very niche OS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22104336)

Also *BSD offers a bad license for those who want it.

Re:A very niche OS (1)

QuickFox (311231) | more than 6 years ago | (#22105564)

On the contrary, the license is better.

Re:A very niche OS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22132304)

A bitch would say that.

Re:A very niche OS (1)

MyDixieWrecked (548719) | more than 6 years ago | (#22104436)

I don't consider your post to be flamebait... it seems like an honest question.

Aside from server space, what does BSD bring to the average desktop user?

Personally, I don't consider BSD to be a desktop OS, although I have known people to use it. What it is, though, is a OS that gives you consistency across flavours and distributions. You can go from one BSD box to another and feel confident you know where config files are kept and how the filesystem is laid out. With Linux, there's some guesswork involved, and if you don't know what distro you're on, you may have to hunt for the proper configs (maybe apache's config lives in /etc/httpd, maybe it lives in /etc/apache2, maybe it lives in /usr/local/apache2/conf).

BSD is more of a true Unix where Linux is an open source implementation of the POSIX environment.

BSD also has a completely different licensing structure than GNU/Linux. I haven't compared the licenses side by side, but I do know that there have been incompatibilities in the past and there are some fundamental differences between them.

Also, depending on the flavour (openBSD, NetBSD or FreeBSD), they have different levels of quality control and all can be considered to be extremely stable. If I was going to create my own dedicated router or firewall box, I would probably choose BSD over linux.

Re:A very niche OS (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 6 years ago | (#22104448)

I prefer FreeBSD as my everyday computing environment, last time I loaded up Linux I was infuriated by the spotty driver support and performance issues. To be fair, these days I've heard that most of those problems have been fixed, but I also prefer knowing that the code my computer is running doesn't contain hacks to make things work the way they should. I'm not sure that I'd be able to say that if I were running Linux.

But beyond that there are viewpoints represented, is it more important to have support for a piece of hardware or is it more important to have a consistent OS. Is it allowable to have a hack in the tree before it gets formally fixed in a long term manner, or is it better to wait for a proper fix. Is an OS a revolution, or is it a continued evolution from previous designs.

The desktop support for at least FreeBSD, and I'm not familiar enough with the other ones to say, is quite good, I can do pretty much everything that I want, and there aren't tasks that I'd be able to do on Linux which I can't do in FreeBSD.

It is a serious issue to consider the idea of whether or not an OS should contain everything necessary for a basic system or if it's permissible to have just a kernel, plus all the base packages as a separate proposition. I like the fact that if I ask for help, I only have to say 6.2 p5 or 7.0RC1 and such for people to know enough about the OS environment to focus elsewhere.

But, it is mostly preference, I happen to think that FreeBSD is the best, I'm sure that some people have compelling reasons as to why their OS of choice is.

I don't think that, at least the large, *BSDs are going anywhere in the foreseeable future, there's just too much history and too much commitment to the venture for people to give up now. With AMD releasing more of its documentation in addition to what Intel has been providing, it's probably looking brighter than it has in a really long time.

Re:A very niche OS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22108132)

but I also prefer knowing that the code my computer is running doesn't contain hacks to make things work the way they should. I'm not sure that I'd be able to say that if I were running Linux.
I'm not sure that you're able to say that running FreeBSD either. I take it you've never even look at the kernel code? it's like an ugly mess of spaghetti that is badly in need of refactoring, but no one will do it out of fear of breaking something cause it's so damn fragile

is it more important to have support for a piece of hardware or is it more important to have a consistent OS
why choose when you can have both with ubuntu? all you're opinions of linux sound like they're from 1994. it's as lame as the linux supporters who bash windows today based on their experience using windows 95

Re:A very niche OS (1)

turbidostato (878842) | more than 6 years ago | (#22114398)

"The desktop support for at least FreeBSD, and I'm not familiar enough with the other ones to say"

Your main point is fool then. You talk about consistency but then you say you talk about *exactly* FreeBSD and you can't talk about other flavours (because you *know* they are different enough not to be able to honestly talk about them). Well, then I have news for you: *any* Linux distribution is as consistent to itself from version to version as FreeBSD is to itself. And differences among Linux distributions are neither bigger not lesser than those among *BSD flavours, so stick with one and your "experience" will be as consistent as with FreeBSD.

"It is a serious issue to consider the idea of whether or not an OS should contain everything necessary for a basic system or if it's permissible to have just a kernel, plus all the base packages as a separate proposition."

I can swear Linux kernel and Apache (to name two as disparate as possible packages) are not "a separate proposition" on my distribution of choice. I would even bet that they two are viewed as "single entity" even more than they are on FreeBSD where you can find a "kernel and basic stuff" and "everything else" as two really different entities. Linux distributions just don't work that way.

"I like the fact that if I ask for help, I only have to say 6.2 p5 or 7.0RC1 and such for people to know enough about the OS environment to focus elsewhere."

Well, I like the fact that if I ask for help, I only have to say RHEL4u6 or RHEL4u1 and such for people to know enough about the OS environment, so what's your point again?

Oh, yes, and Linux distributions have generally better desktop support.

"But, it is mostly preference, I happen to think that FreeBSD is the best"

That's it. Because of your history, mates, interest or whatever you are hardly opinionated in favour of FreeBSD. That I respect (specially knowing how slim are differences between all those open unix-like systems), but please, don't support your position on obviously flawed arguments: this doesn't show anything positive about you nor helps the least to your OS of choice.

"I don't think that, at least the large, *BSDs are going anywhere in the foreseeable future"

I'd say you should reestate this phrase, since I think it means quite the opposite you wanted to say.

Re:A very niche OS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22104732)

You should not speak about things you know nothing of. The Free BSDs (all of them) are licensed under a BSD style license or ISC license (openBSD). This means nothing to end users. But it means everything to corporations. Mac OS X? Lots of BSD code. Windows NT and beyond? Lots of BSD code. Cisco? Lots of BSD code... in fact, Cisco *employs* FreeBSD developers. Why? b/c they can use the code with the viral GPL license bullshit. Also, lawsuits against BSD has been settled. It's unencumbered by the threat of lawsuits... unlike the Linux Kernel. So, shut the fuck up, OK?

Re:A very niche OS (1)

toadlife (301863) | more than 6 years ago | (#22106740)

NT does not contain a lot of BSD code.

Re:A very niche OS (1)

baadger (764884) | more than 6 years ago | (#22107280)

Show me the source and prove it.

Re:A very niche OS (1)

toadlife (301863) | more than 6 years ago | (#22114632)

There is no need too have the source. All that's needed is a little bit of knowledge about the history of NT and BSD, and a bit of common sense.

You wanna know what parts of NT were amde using BSD code? grep the binaries and dlls for "regents". ping, ftp, rsh, and rcp, finger and probably some other networking tools that I forgot is what you will get. Since the license permits it's use, I don't see why Microsoft would admit to using BSD code in a few low level network utilities but not in other areas. And why would a former Microsoft employee write this [kuro5hin.org] , when again there was no legal restriction against them using BSD licensed code in their operating system?

Aside from that, NT and UNIX are fundamentally different from the core. BSD code would have been of little use to the people who originally built NT.

Re:A very niche OS (1)

KingOfGod (884633) | more than 6 years ago | (#22107738)

Sorry to break your bubble, but even Windows Server 2003 uses enough BSD code for Microsoft to acknowledge that they
- Cannot write it better themselves
- Have to provide the Berkeley copyright notice
Source: Windows Server 2003 Copyright info [microsoft.com]

I guess you could call that "Not a lot"...

Re:A very niche OS (1)

toadlife (301863) | more than 6 years ago | (#22114492)

So you are saying that ping, telnet and ftp a "large part" of the NT code base?

Shark attacks (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 6 years ago | (#22104734)

If you can call this [xkcd.com] a feature, then sure. (Be sure to read the alternate text, too.)

Re:A very niche OS (2, Interesting)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 6 years ago | (#22104812)

1) *BSD isn't encumbered by politics (or at leat the same set of politics). ZFS will be a part of FreeBSD while goldilocks and the 3 hippies argue over whether it's too FREE or not FREE enough.

2) They don't appeal to the same segment of computer users. "Linux is for people that hate windows. BSD is for people that love UNIX". If you look at the commandline utilites, BSD distros maintain them, they're consistent, and the man pages are up to date. Linux distros are a hodgepodge from various sources. It's a good thing they're open source because the man page is probably non existant or hopelessly out of date.

3) Considering there are 4 BSDs (Open, Free, Net, and Draogfly) it seems unlikely core developers would rather be developing linux.

Re:A very niche OS (1)

Anonymuous Coward (1185377) | more than 6 years ago | (#22110672)

ZFS ? I don't think it's stable on FreeBSD yet. It's just crashing and locking hard.

Will it be stable by the time the hippies end arguing ?

At which point everybody will realize ZFS will NEVER live up to the hype, and find something better to waste one's time with ;-)

Re:A very niche OS (1)

RT Alec (608475) | more than 6 years ago | (#22154358)

I have been using FreeBSD 7 (started with the betas, now at RC1, using cvsup), with my entire music and photo collection on a set of drives mirrored with ZFS. I had to tweak samba slightly, but otherwise it has been smooth sailing. My server has less than the recommended ram for ZFS, but the box has been working just fine for months.

I have 4 workstations (WinXP, Win2000, Mac, Ubuntu) simultaneously connected, and I can make snapshots of the live file systems while in use (>1 second for 100GB). I can also do a scrub while the system is in use, with no noticeable performance hit.

ZFS seems perfectly stable to me, and I am trying to use all of the goodies that come with it as well as moderately stress it. I'd say it is ready for prime time.

Re:A very niche OS (1)

zsouthboy (1136757) | more than 6 years ago | (#22110944)

1) You mean lawyers (or hippie-lawyers). The FREE vs. Absolutely FREE argument has been done to death, please don't try to troll people into a useless argument.

2) I can't remember the last time I was at .. well, ANY box (Windows, Linux, *nix, OSX) and NOT had access to the greatness of our friend Google - chances are, if I don't know a command, I'll just Google it, and in the process learn more than any man page (which are sometimes clear as mud anyway) can tell me. Besides, have there really been any huge changes to any of the main command line utilities in years?

3) Agreed, and I have great respect for the *BSD devs.

Re:A very niche OS (4, Funny)

jcgf (688310) | more than 6 years ago | (#22104860)

FreeBSD has the advantage of not being for bitches. [linuxisforbitches.com]

That's the main reason I use it ;)

0/6 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22107748)

1) The root partition should be small... painfully so.

Application and administration style; for a VM image or flash fs on an embedded device, it doesn't necessarily hold.

2) /var is not for web servers or their content.

What stops *BSD users from compiling httpd for installation under /var ? Besides, now it's --prefix=/srv/www and I can live with that. I also serve weekly regenerated static content from var; it's where variable data belongs.

3) The kernel has one job: to keeping the system up, running and stable, not to serve web content - I don't care if it's faster from the kernel.

I don't care that J. random 12 year old doesn't care; the world doesn't revolve around the x86 in his bedroom.

4) Really understanding IP and the applications built upon it is a requirement before you are "1337"

What does this even mean?

5) I don't care how fast something is, if it comes at the cost of security or stability it's stupid.

Only when stability and security are the primary goals. See also 3.

6) *BSD is the way. (Free, Open, or Net - pick one)

OSX!


Re:A very niche OS (1)

uofitorn (804157) | more than 6 years ago | (#22105470)

Why is there more than one OSS alternative to Windows? Probably for the same reason that we don't all drive Camry's. Choice is good, and some of us like to drive something cooler.

More seriously, the BSD's have more users today than Linux did 8 years ago: would it have been reasonable to say that Linux was a dead-end OS in 2000? Of course not :)

Re:A very niche OS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22106472)

> what exactly does FreeBSD offer that is not already available with any number of Linux distributions?

FreeBSD did everything before linux; why did you bother using linux?

> Aside from server space, what does BSD bring to the average desktop user?

OS X

Re:A very niche OS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22114446)

"FreeBSD did everything before linux; why did you bother using linux?"

Yeah, well, but you should really reestudy your facts. Been there, seen that.

Re:A very niche OS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22108878)

I've used Linux for years and recently switched to FreeBSD.

With Linux, I've never been compelled to stay away from windows. I've been fairly careful and not had any issues in windows. Linux, for en-user (office, web browser, mail) space hasn't really had significantly better performance, and with any software install tool (yum/apt/etc) I've always found myself still spending more time getting things working than doing what I want to do on my computer. That was fixed with Ubuntu, except the software installer broke itself or packages it installed ocasionally, and gave no useful information on how to fix the problem.

The UI was also significantly less responsive than that of Windows XP on the same machine (1.66Ghz Core Solo, 512MB memory). I preferred to do things in Windows, and just use Cygwin for my programming and Unix needs.

A friend showed me FreeBSD 6.1. I got a fully functional system up and running in a day, with the exception of Ubuntu, getting a system to this state would take me a week in any Linux distro I tried. From the times I've tried Ubuntu, I could get this setup in about 3 or 4 hours, assuming nothing broke horribly requireing way to much time to diagnose the issue, and making a fresh reinstall preferrable. The UIs of the desktop/session/window manager (KDE in my case) and the various apps are much more responsive than in Linux or Windows.

So, what does FreeBSD offer?
In my experience:
1) The lowest maintenance+setup : doing-what-I-want-to-do ratio of any OS I've used.
2) High performance
3) High stability (though honestly, none of the OSes I've used recently have crashed short of hardware failure, excep Ubuntu when I tried playing Boson)

What do I do on FreeBSD
Desktop/Notebook:
    Writing (Open Office)
    Playing Games (Wine)
    Email (KMail)
    Web (Firefox)
    Programming (XEmacs, GCC, Python, QT4)
Server:
    Webserver (Apache 2)
    Mail Server (AKPop3, Sendmail - setup properly)

Re:A very niche OS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#22119218)

And what purpose do two similar OS (Linux, BSD) serve when they pretty much appeal to the same segment of computer users. Truly, sometimes I wonder if it might not be better to have *one* OSS alternative to Windows instead of having the developer resources working on two, parallel, different-under-the-surface-but-similar-in-usage operating systems .

Actually you might just as well be arguing against the incoherent multitude of subtly incompatible Linux distributions...

FreeBSD is different enough to lead its own life. Its kernel is arguably better architected and implemented under the hood than the spaghetti that Linux still is and probably continues to be, and anybody fluent in both can attest to this. The BSDs all in their own ways deserve the developer attention they're getting. Much like Plan9/Inferno deserves its own place in the grand unplanned scheme of things :)

And don't get this wrong, but what you said has been said a million times ever since Linux emerged and the BSD lawsuit ended, and it is getting a bit tiring. BSD has given a lot to Linux, Linux has given a lot to BSD. I for one wish both cousins a happy co-existence... while I keep on using FreeBSD simply because it's better for my needs and tastes. (And I feel it's important to keep a lively example of that licensing model ongoing too, so we keep getting data for comparisons -- BSDL works better in practice than on paper with regard to the "give back" aspect, which many may be surprised to observe.) But I'm happy about the success and increasing adoption of Linux and the amazing growth of the open-source scene, it's all just good for us all.

Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22104240)

I didn't actually know there's a BSD section of /., so I'm gonna post as AC as to not look a fool.

Re:Wow (1)

empaler (130732) | more than 6 years ago | (#22108862)

A fix is available [userscripts.org] .

Looking forward to 7.0 (5, Informative)

0x000000 (841725) | more than 6 years ago | (#22104254)

I am personally looking forward to 7.0 as it will bring many speed improvements and enhancements. There have been some tests done to compare FreeBSD 7 performance to FreeBSD 6, and the gains are impressive.

FreeBSD 6.3 for me and my servers will be the last update to the series before switching over to the new hopefully soon to be released 7.0. My suggestion for anyone planning on trying FreeBSD out after having heard about this new release, grab whatever the latest RC disc is of 7.0 and play with that. There is practically no difference between the two, when it comes to userland and will make it easier to stay up to date by already being being on the right branch.

I definitely need to check out freebsd-update. See if it can be used in our systems to keep them up to date, with less down time than using the rebuild world and kernel steps that we take currently.

Re:Looking forward to 7.0 (5, Informative)

kace (557434) | more than 6 years ago | (#22105738)

There have been some tests done to compare FreeBSD 7 performance to FreeBSD 6, and the gains are impressive.

See these slides [freebsd.org] by Kris Kennaway for more details on that.

Re:Looking forward to 7.0 (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22105890)

Wow, they're finally back and beating the crap out of Linux again. That's awesome!

Re:Looking forward to 7.0 (1)

baadger (764884) | more than 6 years ago | (#22107314)

While the results are great, and I love FreeBSD, it is important to put these results into perspective.

If you look on pages 17 and 18 you can see Linux 2.6.22 compared very well to FreeBSD 7.0 on the PostgreSQL and MySQL transaction tests. In fact it says "2.6.22 is still 15% slower than FreeBSD 7.0".

Personally I would like to see the results against 2.6.24 when it ships, now the new CFS scheduler has had a tiny bit more development.

I know its so tempting (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 6 years ago | (#22106138)

I fear however that most of the apps like those in the LAMP stack are being optimized for Linux. The threading situation on BSD used to be a nightmare. I agree 7.0 looks awesome. I'm amazed and grateful for all the developers that kept hope alive. I'll find a use for it somewhere.

Re:Looking forward to 7.0 (1)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 6 years ago | (#22109114)

I'm using 7.0RC1 on my notebook. It's perfectly stable and works quite well.

*BSD is Dying (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22104328)

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

Re:*BSD is Dying (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22105140)

I KEEL you, anti DSD flamepig!

I HUNT you down & make you eat your pets entrails!

You = PWNED!!!!, trollboy!

FreeBSD's race to "oblivion" (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22104420)

All joking aside, FreeBSD really is "dying" in a certain sense. After Jordan and Mike left, the project has been a shambles. The best way to describe FreeBSD kernel code now is "shabby". Matt is a brilliant perfectionist who wants to do the right thing. The current state of FreeBSD kept him from pursuing excellence.

Unfortunately the FreeBSD core has come to be dominated by political types who are short on engineering skills. They gave Matt the air and locked him out of CVS. The FreeBSD kernel is currently full of ugly expedient hacks *and* several intractable bugs.

Of all the BSD kernels, FreeBSD can now be considered the most hackish and ill conceived. It wasn't always this way, of course. But presently the FreeBSD development environment continues to favor the political solution over the technically correct one. OpenBSD and NetBSD both do much better on quality issues. I suspect that DragonFly will come to be highly regarded as the latter two as well.

Re:FreeBSD's race to "oblivion" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22112772)

> The FreeBSD kernel is currently full of ugly expedient hacks *and*
> several intractable bugs.

I guess that explains why it's faster than Linux now.

Well, this is slashdot after all (1)

Chlorus (1146335) | more than 6 years ago | (#22104602)

So I take it that 2008 will be the Year of the BSD Desktop?

Re:Well, this is slashdot after all (2, Funny)

kace (557434) | more than 6 years ago | (#22105880)

So I take it that 2008 will be the Year of the BSD Desktop?

I'm thinking yes and hell yes. PC-BSD is going to be carried in Fry's and Microcenter (for starters).

And, whenever one is choosing an OS, even for the desktop, you've got consider what sort [pcbsdbabe.com] of crowd [pcbsdgirl.com] you'll be getting mixed up with.

"Unleash your desktop with PC-BSD! [spreadbsd.org] "

That's nice and all, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22105200)

...where's my goddamn 7.0-RELEASE? It was due on the 9th.

Re:That's nice and all, but... (1)

empaler (130732) | more than 6 years ago | (#22108912)

You mean "planned" or "expected. What really annoys me is that they haven't updated their plans to reflect their new expected release (and no, I'm not going to go trawling through their mailing lists to find out)

better engineered? (1)

debatem1 (1087307) | more than 6 years ago | (#22105800)

If BSD is better engineered than Linux because it comes from a single consistent source, I guess Windows is better than either because they don't risk bad code leaking in from the outside. BS- use the code you want to use, and don't whine when the systems you have taken responsibility for fail.

Re:better engineered? (2, Informative)

RLiegh (247921) | more than 6 years ago | (#22106054)

No...BSD is better engineered because it's .... (wait for it) .... engineered . Linux is just a kernel with a bunch of separately developed utilities strung together -no real coordination, no real direction.

Re:better engineered? (1)

debatem1 (1087307) | more than 6 years ago | (#22109800)

Linux is just a kernel with a bunch of separately developed utilities strung together
Welcome to open source. If you don't like having code from a lot of different places put together to give you the maximum possible feature set, my advice would be to just turn around now, because *no* open source project, BSD included, can provide all the functionality you are going to need by itself. To put it another way, used X lately? Then cut the crap about only using the best engineered, in-house code.

Re:better engineered? (3, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#22110740)

You misunderstand engineering. Here's an example. How do you get the CPU speed from the kernel? In all of the BSD family there is a single sysctl that you call and it gives you the answer, irrespective of the architecture. On Linux, the answer is in /proc/cpuinfo. This is a plain-text file, so you need to read it and parse it. It gets better though; the format of this file is different on different architectures; write code to parse it on x86, and it won't work on PowerPC. The main job of the kernel is to present programmers with an abstraction so that they don't have to know about the underlying architecture, and Linux fails miserably at this.

Re:better engineered? (1)

debatem1 (1087307) | more than 6 years ago | (#22115224)

My point is that well-engineered code can come from multiple sources as easily as one. The existence of such quirks (I admit I hadn't dealt with that, and that it is annoying- perhaps you could work up a patch for it?) in Linux (or BSD) does not prove either of our points.

Re:better engineered? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#22116274)

The existence of such quirks (I admit I hadn't dealt with that, and that it is annoying- perhaps you could work up a patch for it?) in Linux (or BSD) does not prove either of our points.
Working on a patch is impossible due to the development philosophy of Linux. In *BSD, there is one codebase. If you add a feature, it must be tested on all Teir-1 platforms and it must define an interface that is accessible on all others and any architecture-neutral code must be factored out and put where it can be shared by all of the others. In Linux, everyone maintains their own fork, and things are moved between them in a very haphazard way. Features in the PowerPC or SPARC or x86 tree might never appear in the other architectures, or they might be re-implemented in an incompatible way in the others.

The question is not where the code comes from - there is a lot of code sharing between the BSDs and from research projects to the BSDs - it's a question of what happens to the code when it goes in to the official tree. The BSD team produce something with a clear overall design, Linus produces something with an incoherent jumble of competing designs.

Re:better engineered? (1)

debatem1 (1087307) | more than 5 years ago | (#22118334)

Alright, that's just BS. If you seriously think that it is impossible to patch the kernel to deal with bugs, then you just don't know what the hell you're talking about.

Re:better engineered? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#22119754)

You can patch bugs, but you can't patch bad engineering. If you apply a patch which fixes this specific example - the different, incompatible, syntax of /proc/cpuinfo between platforms - then it won't fix the underlying cause, and the next time someone adds something to /proc/cpuinfo they will do it in the same haphazard fashion and you will be right back where you started.

Re:better engineered? (1)

debatem1 (1087307) | more than 6 years ago | (#22123866)

You'll forgive me if I find the idea that fixing mistakes inevitably leads to mistakes quite hard to swallow. If it bothers you, fix it; if you're resigned to accepting it as it is, then don't complain- but you're foregoing the biggest benefit of open source.

Re:better engineered? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#22125570)

You are missing the point. You can fix specific instances of a mistake trivially with open source. Hell, I could write you a patch for the PowerPC Linux kernel that would make the format of /proc/cpu compatible with the x86 version in about half an hour. Fixing this would not cause more mistakes, but it would also not fix the root cause of the original problem, which is the lack of overall design and direction in the Linux kernel.

The fix for this problem would be a better set of rules for inclusion of patches in the mainline kernel (e.g. must be tested on at least two archs, new interfaces must be flexible enough to work on other archs, must use existing functionality and interfaces if such exist on this or other archs, and so on). The only person who can fix this is Linus.

I could maintain my own fork of Linux with these rules, but it would be incredibly time consuming and expensive to do. A better 'fix' from my point of view is to simply use an existing kernel that follows these rules. Fortunately, there are five decent (POSIX-compliant) kernels with Free Software licenses that do follow these rules. They all support Linux ABI emulation too.

Re:better engineered? (1)

debatem1 (1087307) | more than 6 years ago | (#22129234)

Maintain any kernel you want; that's your option. But if you have no desire to participate in the development process, then I'm just not going to take your point of view on how it should work very seriously. Demonstrate that you have an interest in fixing problems, then start telling others how they should do it- not the other way around.

Re:better engineered? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22162504)

Say, that's a really sad way to argue.

What the hell is going on with FreeBSD? (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 6 years ago | (#22152574)

This isn't a troll, it's an actual real question.

I've been using FreeBSD since 3-point-*mumble*. I'm running 6-STABLE on my home server, but since about 5-point-something (maybe zero) I've noticed an irritating trend in the install process... The packages seem to be placed on the cds... oddly. When I try to install the OS, I get a message that bash3 requires some library on disc 2 so switch discs... then chugs along until something on disc 2 requires a package on disc 1... Back and forth half a dozen times or more?

I'd almost talked my boss into moving our new servers to freebsd as they come up, but the install just takes so blasted long because of all this disc-swapping. Anyone know of a fix?

Re:What the hell is going on with FreeBSD? (1)

Sol-Invictus (1221002) | more than 6 years ago | (#22153934)

I would advise you to do a minimal install of the OS, forget about the optional CDs and install everything from ports or packages.

Re:What the hell is going on with FreeBSD? (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 6 years ago | (#22154730)

I thought about that. The only problem there is that building all the needed stuff from ports adds a significant amount of time overhead to provisioning a new server, which is already a little high with the need to make buildworld to -STABLE.

I personally think it's worth it, but selling it to the boss is another matter...

Re:What the hell is going on with FreeBSD? (1)

neafevoc (93684) | more than 6 years ago | (#22183416)

I thought about that. The only problem there is that building all the needed stuff from ports adds a significant amount of time overhead to provisioning a new server, which is already a little high with the need to make buildworld to -STABLE.

I personally think it's worth it, but selling it to the boss is another matter...
You don't need to install everything from ports. You can also install them from packages by doing

pkg_add -r bash
If anything, check http://www.freshports.org/ [freshports.org] for what you want installed and it'll show you how to add it as a package (or install as a port).

I usually just do a base install from the first CD and install from ports or packages. Shameless plug: http://notes.twinwork.net/freebsd/ [twinwork.net] It hasn't been updated since 6.1, but it still works.

Two Options (1)

angryfirelord (1082111) | more than 6 years ago | (#22195936)

1) Use a bootonly install disc and download the packages from ports or simply stick your necessary packages onto a CD/DVD and have sysinstall point to that medium.
2) Take the two iso images and create a DVD image. http://www.pa.msu.edu/~tigner/bsddvd.html [msu.edu]
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