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What's New In FreeBSD 7.0

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the what-indeed dept.

Software 103

blackbearnh writes "FreeBSD is about to release the much-anticipated version 7, and as usual there's a comprehensive interview with over two dozen of the major contributors over at O'Reilly's ONLamp site. Federico Biancuzzi interviewed the developers to discuss all the details of FreeBSD 7.0: networking and SMP performance, SCTP support, the new IPSEC stack, virtualization, monitoring frameworks, ports, storage limits and a new journaling facility, what changed in the accounting file format, jemalloc(), ULE, and more."

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no nvidia on amd64 yet (2, Interesting)

Ojuice (638639) | more than 6 years ago | (#22565562)

I wish there were nvidia drivers for amd64 :(

Re:no nvidia on amd64 yet (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 6 years ago | (#22569704)

Me too. I was excited when I saw they had i386 drivers on FreeBSD (and I had been using the linux x64 ones for a while) but was more than slightly annoyed that they didn't have x64 FreeBSD drivers.

Really, if you can do one, why is the other so much more trouble that you would ignore it?

Re:no nvidia on amd64 yet (1)

Fweeky (41046) | more than 6 years ago | (#22584312)

Really, if you can do one, why is the other so much more trouble that you would ignore it?
Here's why [freebsd.org] . Some appear to have been resolved, but many haven't.

Feel free to hire a developer to get things moving.

Re:no nvidia on amd64 yet (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 6 years ago | (#22585062)

Thanks for the info. While I don't have the abilities to do any of this, or the resources to "encourage" someone else to, it is nice to know that the problems preventing better i386 and any amd64 use are being worked on.

Nice of them to specifically tell us what needs doing, though, rather than just sticking their thumbs up their * and doing nothing - which I would have expected.

people still use freebsd? (-1, Flamebait)

DragonTHC (208439) | more than 6 years ago | (#22565594)

what for?

Re:people still use freebsd? (3, Informative)

The Ancients (626689) | more than 6 years ago | (#22565604)

Apple use it as the basis for OS X for one.

Re:people still use freebsd? (4, Informative)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 6 years ago | (#22566346)

Apple use it as the basis for OS X for one.
No they don't. There may still be some cross-pollination between them, by way of packages they both use, but Darwin/OSX and FreeBSD forked a long time ago.

Re:people still use freebsd? (3, Informative)

KugelKurt (908765) | more than 6 years ago | (#22571856)

Darwin is not a fork of FreeBSD. Darwin has its own kernel that's partially BSD-based. Darwin's userland is mostly FreeBSD and Apple contributes the changes to the FreeBSD-based userland directly to the FreeBSD project. So the relationship between Apple and FreeBSD (at least on the userland part) is similar to Ubuntu and Debian.

Re:people still use freebsd? (2, Insightful)

bconway (63464) | more than 6 years ago | (#22580990)

Read and learn [apple.com] .

This fully-conformant UNIX operating system--built on Mach 3.0 and FreeBSD 5--bundles over a hundred of the most popular Open Source products.

Re:people still use freebsd? (5, Funny)

Drooling Iguana (61479) | more than 6 years ago | (#22565662)

It makes an excellent test subject on which to practice necromancy.

FreeBSD is not dead (1)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 6 years ago | (#22565730)

It was coughing up blood just last night.

Re:people still use freebsd? (1)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 6 years ago | (#22565760)

I heard somewhere that it was dead. They seemed to have some reputable source backing them up...

Re:people still use freebsd? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22565840)

For making insecure Linux users feel good about themselves and their chosen OS despite its complete absence of impact on the desktop user market.

Re:people still use freebsd? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22565862)

what for?
Kickin' ass and takin' names, of course.

Re:people still use freebsd? (3, Interesting)

misleb (129952) | more than 6 years ago | (#22566004)

what for?


Web serving and mail filtering, here. But it's nothing I couldn't use Linux for. It is all the same software, really. Honestly, the only reason I don't use LInux is because FreeBSD is what was here when I got here and I figured I should at least take the time to learn it. Also, if it ain't broke...

-matthew

Re:people still use freebsd? (4, Interesting)

LizardKing (5245) | more than 6 years ago | (#22566114)

what for?

Better performance than Linux, that degrades under load much more predictably than Linux (as does Solaris, but FreeBSD is better on commodity hardware). A better written C library (just look at the source code to glibc - it's shockingly bad, unreadable macro soup as though its maintainer hates C). A better documented userland than Linux with complete and accurate manpages.

FreeBSD is popular amongst hosting companies (the tools for security are easier to use and more mature than Linux), and is also used by companies like Yahoo! because of it's reliability and performance. Linux has outperformed FreeBSD for a while, as the fine grained locking introduced in version 5 matured, but the pain getting it right is beginnng to pay off now.

Re:people still use freebsd? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22566310)

> Better performance than Linux,

Heh, don't get cocky :) It's good to have some competition at last, we've only been waiting... for over 5 years.

Re:people still use freebsd? (0, Flamebait)

NuShrike (561140) | more than 6 years ago | (#22567894)

And we waited for Linux to become a real-ish unix for over 10 years. ;)

Defensive much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22566538)

Interesting. Original poster did not mention Linux, but most replies went rabidly anti-Linux immediately.

Re:people still use freebsd? (1)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 6 years ago | (#22566764)

I don't know. I think the best reason to use FreeBSD now is habit. And there's a huge number of working FreeBSD systems, so people just gradually upgrade them - no sense to fix something when it is not broken...

The other reasons are not very convincing. Personally, I like GNU userland better ("screen" - I love you!), for example. Glibc may not nice, but it works fine (I only looked at its sources when I needed to build a cross-platform toolchain).

Oh, and Linux has much better hardware support.

Re:people still use freebsd? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22569218)

Do you even know what screen is? I run it on every OS I use, including Windows!

Re:people still use freebsd? (2, Insightful)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 6 years ago | (#22569386)

Yes, but it is a part of GNU tools (which you most certainly can use on FreeBSD).

But it's not present in the 'native' FreeBSD userland.

Re:people still use freebsd? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22570150)

> But it's not present in the 'native' FreeBSD userland.

MySQL, Oracle, Apache, Postfix, Qmail, Samba and SANE aren't part of the default userland as well. Nor should they be.

Install from packages.

Re:people still use freebsd? (1)

LizardKing (5245) | more than 6 years ago | (#22574912)

GNU screen is the equivalent of window(1), which has been in the BSD userland since the mid 1980's. Glibc is something I detest, as its footprint is huge, its maintainer is a notorious jerk and compared to porting from a BSD to Solaris I find myself having to sprinkle my code with a lot of #ifdefs to port to Linux. The bloat of glibc may not be an issue for desktop or server machines, but is a pain in the backside for the embedded stuff I've worked on.

Re:people still use freebsd? (1)

Architect_sasyr (938685) | more than 6 years ago | (#22566146)

The running of a nation wide bank in Australia, the perimeter security for a myriad of other companies. The US Military for example (no citation available - not sure where I have the info from on that one).

But hey, BSD is dead, netcraft confirms it.

I just hope 7 gives me the same speed increase over 6 as 6 did over 5.

Re:people still use freebsd? (1)

FST777 (913657) | more than 6 years ago | (#22571180)

I hope for the maturity and rock solid stability that I remember from 4. The innovations in 5 were needed and long overdue, but the decrease in stability has not recovered in 6 (IMHO).

I have never used another OS that was as stable as FreeBSD 4.11.

Re:people still use freebsd? (1)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 6 years ago | (#22571894)

I hope for the maturity and rock solid stability that I remember from 4. The innovations in 5 were needed and long overdue, but the decrease in stability has not recovered in 6 (IMHO).

I've found 6.x to be almost stable as 4.x on the hardware I run it on, the only problems I've had have been on a couple of occasions where it didn't like USB hardware on a desktop machine getting disconnected without warning which seemed to lock up everything USB-related.

I have never used another OS that was as stable as FreeBSD 4.11.

I have to agree with this, the only hardware+OS combination I've personally seen outperform 4.11 in terms of stability was a rickety old RS/6k with not nearly enough RAM that ran AIX ("AIX is a great operating system, too bad it's not a very good UNIX"), that seemed to survive just about anything including brownouts (I have no idea how) and system loads so high it took a good minute to log on to the thing using SSH, yet somehow it just kept on going...

/Mikael

Re:people still use freebsd? (1)

Faust (78492) | more than 6 years ago | (#22566238)

What's with the FreeBSD hate?

Re:people still use freebsd? (1)

zsau (266209) | more than 6 years ago | (#22567102)

FreeBSD isn't used on the desktop as much as GNU/Linux is, obviously because it's hardware support is not as good, but it is used on heaps of high-end servers out there, including most promimantly Yahoo! I suppose if Microsoft do buy Yahoo! there will be some truth to the saying "FreeBSD is dying", but that's not the case yet and MS Yahoo turning down FreeBSD won't be its end, either

Re:people still use freebsd? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22571326)

Seems to be the trend. MS bought out hotmail, previously run on FreeBSD exclusively, and then took a few years to replace all of those with a bunch of NT servers.

ARM support (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22565656)

sweet. Now I can install FreeBSD with ZFS on my iPhone.

No Xen Support? (1, Redundant)

nbritton (823086) | more than 6 years ago | (#22565870)

* Does FreeBSD support Xen Dom0 yet?
* Did they fix ZFS RAID-Z2 (double parity) support yet?
* Is KDE 4 is ports yet?
* What version of X.Org are they using, did they fix the dri/drm problems with ATI cards yet?

Re:No Xen Support? (3, Informative)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 6 years ago | (#22566368)

Umm all those questions are clearly answered in the article.

Re:No Xen Support? (1)

linux_geek_germany (1079711) | more than 6 years ago | (#22566440)

You have to remember we are on Slashdot here. No one RTFA. ;-)

Re:No Xen Support? (1)

prestomation (583502) | more than 6 years ago | (#22567026)

You must be new here

I really like the addition of ZFS in FressBSD 7.0 (4, Informative)

mrcgran (1002503) | more than 6 years ago | (#22565944)

Re:I really like the addition of ZFS in FressBSD 7 (4, Interesting)

tknd (979052) | more than 6 years ago | (#22566422)

I was toying around with Freebsd 7.0 RC3 just a few days ago, well actually I was testing it to see if ZFS was really working as claimed. A very basic installation to a 40gb disk went pretty quick (5 to 10 minutes). Rebooted into the installed system and everything was fine. Took an old 1.6gb drive I had and plugged it right in, recognized as /dev/da1 or whatever. Ran "zpool create tank da1" and BAM! /tank already mounted and ready to go. No stupid fdisk, no stupid format command, no fstab nonsense.

Now I wouldn't run out and switch everything to freebsd 7 and zfs because work isn't finished. For example there's no ACL support since ZFS supports NFSv4 ACLs while freebsd only supports Posix1e. My next test will involve getting samba working and this may be a little tricky since there are some reports of issues with running samba on ZFS. But all of the available reports are quite old (half a year or older). I don't really care about the ACLs because I just intend to use the system as a single user and a convenient area to dump my files on a bunch of disks that all conveniently appear as one along with some redundancy (better than just a bunch of disks and raid5).

Re:I really like the addition of ZFS in FressBSD 7 (1)

nbritton (823086) | more than 6 years ago | (#22567066)

Yes, but does ZFS RAID-Z2 work yet? The last time I tried it (FreeBSD 7-RC1) I got a kernel panic right off the bat. The test system was a 16 disk array using two Supermicro AOC-SAT2-MV8 cards (Marvell Hercules-2 PCI-X chipset). This same system worked perfectly fine using Solaris Express 10/07.

Re:I really like the addition of ZFS in FressBSD 7 (1)

Fweeky (41046) | more than 6 years ago | (#22567448)

Using Broadcom ServerWorks motherboard chipset? Some pretty serious DMA bugs in the HT1000 were worked around pretty recently, not sure if they made it to RC1. There were also reports of problems with the Marvell SATA chipset used on that card, though mine works fine for what little use I have of it.

Re:I really like the addition of ZFS in FressBSD 7 (1)

Daniel_E (75554) | more than 6 years ago | (#22571208)

raidz2 is working just fine on a 10 disk array I set up a few months ago.

Re:I really like the addition of ZFS in FressBSD 7 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22570414)

I'm interested in running Samba on ZFS for a fileserver. That's why I'm waiting for 7.0 release. Has anyone had any experiences with Samba on ZFS?

Re:I really like the addition of ZFS in FressBSD 7 (1)

saleenS281 (859657) | more than 6 years ago | (#22573518)

I can tell you from first-hand experience that whatever the samba issues were, they've since been fixed. I've run ZFS with Samba as my home fileserver with 7.0RC1 and had no issues.

Re:I really like the addition of ZFS in FressBSD 7 (0, Offtopic)

Solra Bizna (716281) | more than 6 years ago | (#22567340)

I switched from Gentoo Linux on my server to FreeBSD solely for ZFS.

Yes, I'm running FreeBSD on a SPARC for ZFS. Not Solaris. LONG story; nothing against Solaris.

-:sigma.SB

Re:I really like the addition of ZFS in FressBSD 7 (4, Interesting)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 6 years ago | (#22571824)

Earlier this year, we (fortune 1000 company) switched from a mixture of Linux/Windows 2003 to Solaris just for ZFS. (We have a few remaining Windows boxes which we may always be stuck with). We were hoping ZFS would make it's way into Linux (we were ready to put up a lot of cash to make it happen). All the dick wagging and license posturing made us re-evaluate our commitment to linux.

I have to ask... (2, Interesting)

Lally Singh (3427) | more than 6 years ago | (#22565992)

I mean this as advocacy bait :-D

Why would I choose FreeBSD over, say, Solaris x86 or Linux?

Re:I have to ask... (2, Funny)

misleb (129952) | more than 6 years ago | (#22566040)

Why would I choose FreeBSD over, say, Solaris x86 or Linux?


You probably wouldn't unless you were one of those people who gets all excited about the difference between GPL an BSD licensing.

Re:I have to ask... (1)

farkus888 (1103903) | more than 6 years ago | (#22566184)

not sure about freeBSD, but I know openssh came from openBSD. The reputed security there and throughout the rest of the OS can provide great peace of mind to those of us who are paranoid. if my memory serves correctly it was generally more lightweight from a default install than a linux distro would be, I know openBSD is still a very minimal install because I've used it more recently. I overcome the default loaded crap on most linux distros by using arch linux myself. does any one know how much of the network stack optimization that was done in the last major release of openBSD has been ported into linux yet?

Re:I have to ask... (1)

misleb (129952) | more than 6 years ago | (#22566308)

not sure about freeBSD, but I know openssh came from openBSD. The reputed security there and throughout the rest of the OS can provide great peace of mind to those of us who are paranoid. if my memory serves correctly it was generally more lightweight from a default install than a linux distro would be, I know openBSD is still a very minimal install because I've used it more recently. I overcome the default loaded crap on most linux distros by using arch linux myself. does any one know how much of the network stack optimization that was done in the last major release of openBSD has been ported into linux yet?--


Last I checked, OpenBSD suffered some serious problems under heavy load. And I don't really see why it is so important to have a very minimal base install unless you're putting it on an embedded device. Any time I install a FreeBSD box I have to jam pack it full of ports before it is useful... so what's the point?

As for security... my problems with security have typically been bad passwords, exploitable PHP apps... the sort of things that would have happened on just about any *nix. Again, they pretty much all the run the same software by the time they're setup to do anything useful.

Re:I have to ask... (1)

SigmundFloyd (994648) | more than 6 years ago | (#22571324)

Last I checked, OpenBSD suffered some serious problems under heavy load.
Citation needed.

Re:I have to ask... (1)

ghostcorps (975146) | more than 6 years ago | (#22580018)

Any time I install a FreeBSD box I have to jam pack it full of ports before it is useful... so what's the point?

So many things I could say, but ...

This sounds more like a user issue. The idea of a minimal install (OS independant) is that you can build the box exactly how you want it, rather than dropping some stinking great GUI lump on it. If you want a desktop in FreeBSD, start with minimal, then pkg_add CTWM, OO, Mplayer, Firefox, and Thunderbird, keeping in mind that any deps are automatically matched and installed. Voila! a fully funtioning desktop that runs like crazy, and fits on your phone if you must do.

I am curious though, what ports do you feel you 'must' you pack into FreeBSD that you dont 'need' on Linux?

Re:I have to ask... (1)

sremick (91371) | more than 6 years ago | (#22574688)

There's a lot more that differentiates FreeBSD than its licensing. For some people/situations, that might be a priority, but it wasn't for me and I still went with FreeBSD. Same with countless other people/companies.

Re:I have to ask... (1)

misleb (129952) | more than 6 years ago | (#22575962)

There's a lot more that differentiates FreeBSD than its licensing. For some people/situations, that might be a priority, but it wasn't for me and I still went with FreeBSD. Same with countless other people/companies.


If you say so. I just know that I have setup my share of Linux and FreeBSD servers and quite frankly, they feel more or less like different distributions of the same OS to me. I mean, they all run the exact same software (Postfix, Apache, Lighttpd, Rails, PHP, etc) The only thing that differs (at least on the surface) are the kernel, switches to base commandline tools (which isn't much), and the packaging/ports system.By the time you load them up with ports/packages, managing them nearly is identical.

Now, maybe you can nitpick about how one kernel performs a little better under heavy load or one has better SMP support, but for the most part those differences are small compared to the similarities on a fully configured system.

Ok, I admit that it is an exaggeration to say that there is NO reason besides licensing to choose FBSD over Linux, but the reasons tend to be relatively minor.

-matthew

Re:I have to ask... (1)

sremick (91371) | more than 6 years ago | (#22576182)

I agree that on the surface, the differences can sometimes seem trivial (minor differences in commands), political (licenses), or just obscure (claims of stability, performance, etc). However that last one is major. There is a lot different under the hood, and just because something doesn't translate well to a consistent reproducible metric or an earth-shattering feature, doesn't mean it's not worthwhile.

Some people don't look beneath the surface, so unless something has massive obvious user-side differences, they won't change. I'm not that sort... I look beneath. For example, if faced with two coffees and one is fair-trade organic, I'll go with the fair trade organic one, even though it might cost more and not taste different. I support what I believe in, not what's "convenient" or "what everyone else is doing".

That said, the ports system is what I would call "an earth-shattering feature". I've known plenty of people who've chosen FreeBSD for that reason alone. For me, it wasn't just that, but also the different structure of the development group and the different design philosophies. Linux and FreeBSD go about it differently. I personally agree with and prefer the way FreeBSD does things, and feel that FreeBSD has many advantages (ports, documentation, etc). If someone else prefers Linux, well that's fine I suppose... in the end we're both still running Apache et al and it sure beats running Windows.

Re:I have to ask... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22566258)

Why would I choose FreeBSD over, say, Solaris x86 or Linux?

Though I'm a Solaris admin at work, I prefer to run FreeBSD at home, simply because I got used to it. Been using it since version 2.something and got no reason to discard it. It just runs rock solid.

Basically the same reason why I don't use Linux instead. That and Linux crashed on me so many times at work, I now can't really see what the hype is all about. And I don't like Linus' attitude. Compared to him, Theo looks like a real nice guy.

Re:I have to ask... (4, Insightful)

Enleth (947766) | more than 6 years ago | (#22566776)

You probably would, if you liked it, if not for any other reason. For most use cases, wether The Right Tool for The Job(tm) is Linux, BSD, Solaris or just about anything else should be determined by asking the people due to be in charge what they feel most comfortable with. And that's it. If you don't expect to push the system to its limits in a very specific way, fear a particular kind of attack vectors or require in-kernel support for this or that newfangled widget, be it hardware or software, and don't consider some platform a burden in the case of staff turnover, the most sensible choice is really what the staff would like to work with.

Actually, in most other cases it's even easier, because there often is an industry standard - e.g. half (warning: that's an educated guess, that is, a number pulled out of my, er, back pocket, representing something close to reality in a simplified, but suitable way) of the banks and other financial institutions tend to use Solaris a lot (the other half using IBM stuff) just because a tried way of doing things for them and there's no point in changing that.

And if you want an OS for personal use, feel free to choose on any basis you like, from the license to the number of lines of code to the project founder's hair color - just be careful not to become a brainwashed zealot...

Re:I have to ask... (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22566872)

Just a bit of statistics that might help you understand where FreeBSD is used en-masse besides Yahoo! (only other one I can think of right now):

I work for a company that solely employs FreeBSD at financial institutions across the US (and one site in Hyderabad, India). Here's the run-down (warning, these statistics were compiled in less than an hour, solely for this post; I just did a quick head-count via our named DNS records):

3,483 FreeBSD systems employed by Bank of America
1,544 for PNC
872 for Wells Fargo
around 100 or so for Mellon
around 500 or so for JPMorgan Chase

I'm forgetting a few... but you get the point.

Seems to be a big hit in the financial institutions. BTW, all systems mentioned are used for check processing in wholesale lockbox sites.

(crossing my fingers that this information isn't confidential, lol)

Re:I have to ask... (2)

debatem1 (1087307) | more than 6 years ago | (#22567132)

This is going to sound snarky, but it's not intended that way- if you don't already know the answer to that, you probably aren't going to choose FreeBSD. The reason I say that is because the advantages of FreeBSD are really only relevant at the point where you're making your living off of the care and feeding of servers, and even there it seems to be largely opinions or software availability that drive the decision between UNIX variants and Linux. Some say that BSD is better put together than Linux (I disagree, but that's beside the point), most agree that it has a better security track record, and nearly everybody acknowledges that it has some advantages as a server operating system. Truth in advertising warning: I personally use Linux on all but two of my servers (both are FreeBSD), and advocate it to my clients, while my familiarity with Solaris has bred a contempt entirely divorced from the technical merits of the project, and so I will refrain from comment there. Hope that helps.

Re:I have to ask... (3, Interesting)

ImustDIE (689509) | more than 6 years ago | (#22567256)

I can't speak for Solaris, but I've used various Linux distros quite a bit (both for servers and desktops). I absolutely love FreeBSD. Having everything unified and maintained by one group brings consistency that you just don't find in linux. Ports is amazing; it has over 17,000 packages iirc and you can be sure they will 'just work', installing everything in just the right places (consistency!), automatically installing prereqs, and even compiling from source if you wish. Like others have mentioned: it's faster, more secure, and handles load better. It even has a more open license than Linux! I really wonder why more people don't prefer FreeBSD. Using it on a server or a desktop is a breeze. I was using Ubuntu as a desktop for a while, because I was afraid getting gnome to work on FreeBSD would be hard. Turns out it takes two commands: pkg_add -r xorg && pkg_add -r gnome2. That's it! Done! And I was even quite surprised that installing packages via ports automatically created entries in the gnome menus as you would expect on Ubuntu. The docs are also great and provide step by step walkthroughs for just about anything. That said, I do hate the installer -- but at least there are good doc pages for it.

Re:I have to ask... (1)

SigmundFloyd (994648) | more than 6 years ago | (#22571384)

I really wonder why more people don't prefer FreeBSD.
I do, but I had to switch to Linux because:
  • FreeBSD 6.2 didn't support HW 3D acceleration on my ATI;
  • ACPI support (suspend/resume) didn't work well;
  • KDE/freeBSD had too many quirks.

Re:I have to ask... (1)

_Sharp'r_ (649297) | more than 6 years ago | (#22579634)

Just a little curious as to why you're still using pkg_add instead of portupgrade?

For example, your "two commands" could just be one command, `portupgrade -R gnome2`, after which it'll figure out what else needs to be installed that you don't have and take care of it all.

Do you use cvsup or cvsup-without-gui [slashdot.org] ? I'd hope so....

Re:I have to ask... (1)

_Sharp'r_ (649297) | more than 6 years ago | (#22579686)

Or rather, `portinstall -R gnome2` for a new installation. You'd have to add a -N to the portupgrade command if you wanted it to install if it doesn't exist already. Of course, the two progams are actually the exact same program, sharing a man page.

Re:I have to ask... (2, Insightful)

a_nonamiss (743253) | more than 6 years ago | (#22569332)

I have to answer this seriously, as I recently started using FreeBSD for two specific projects, and I'm loving it. First and foremost, it's great when you know EXACTLY what you need to do. I'm speaking here of FreeNAS [freenas.org] and pfSense [pfsense.com] . Both are designed to be embedded and run on FreeBSD, and both were designed to do very specific tasks. Both will install entirely on and boot directly from any garden variety USB flash drive. Because the memory footprint is so small, they run by loading the entire OS into a RAMdrive, eliminating the need for a noisy and failure-prone hard drive. This results in a quick boot and very speedy application. The base configuration of FreeNAS (at the most recent release) is like 54MB installed and will run (literally) on a first-generation XBOX. From these measly specs, you can get a fully functional device, complete with NFS, Samba, FTP server, full Active Directory integration, iSCSI target, SMART, Software RAID, and many other file-server specific features, all of which are configured through an easy to use WebGUI. The Linux equivalent of the same file server distro is Openfiler, and having downloaded and tried that out, I can say that FreeNAS is light years ahead. Much easier, faster, smaller footprint, etc. Much of these same comparisons can be made with pfSense vs. IPCop. The Linux equivalents are generally larger, heavier and well suited for more general use, whereas the BSD versions are extremely light.

Strangely enough, I had many more hardware compatibility problems with the Linux equivalents as well, which is where I thought Linux should really shine. The BSD versions detect all hardware at bootup, and only load the specific driver modules for the hardware that they actually use. Compiling and installing additional modules, while tricky at first, is actually easier than I've ever experienced in Linux. I actually got my hardware RAID card working out of the box on FreeNAS, and after weeks of fighting, have yet to get the same card working on a separate install of CentOS for a different server. It should be said that I put absolutely no effort into choosing BSD-specific hardware. It may have just been blind luck.

Now, despite all this gushing over these apps, they are clearly designed for a specific purpose. I wouldn't want to use my FreeNAS box as an email server, or run my company knowledgebase off of pfSense. But if you want to dust off an old PC, slap a couple of hard drives in there and make a file server, you can do no better than FreeNAS.

Re:I have to ask... (1)

Laughing Dog (913885) | more than 6 years ago | (#22570272)

I've actually used it as an alternative desktop for the past few years. All I ever have to do on that particular machine is write documents, float around the net, and use some open-source science applications- there's no reason for me to upgrade the hardware for things that are that trivial. I tried installing Ubuntu later and Gentoo on the same box, but they both failed (not enough RAM, supposedly). FreeBSD went on without a hitch. Later, I picked up an old UltraSparc free from a friend. Debian and Gentoo both failed during the install; again, FreeBSD went on just fine. The ports system is quite nice, and my eight-year-old desktop was able to handle Blender and GRASS just as well as my recently deceased 4-year-old laptop running XP. The laptop was top-of-the-line when new; the desktop was not. Where FreeBSD seems to be lacking is in USB and wireless; USB printing wasn't well-supported until about two years ago, and not all wireless cards will work. The new laptop (smoke started coming out of the old Dell's case shortly after it came off warranty, so dude, I'm *not* getting another Dell) will likely dual-boot XP and one of the Linux distros if FreeBSD gives too much trouble, as, for a laptop, USB and wireless are absolutely essential to me.

Old hardware was my primary motivation, but, honestly... I just like it. The handbook is thorough, it works on all my old stuff, and the boot loader doesn't suck. For me, that's all I need.

Re:I have to ask... (1)

mdemonic (988470) | more than 6 years ago | (#22573626)

I mean this as advocacy bait :-D

Why would I choose FreeBSD over, say, Solaris x86 or Linux?
It's a whole operating system. The different pieces actually fits together.

Re:I have to ask... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22577364)

Because you're a fag?

404 Not found (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22566056)

How amusing. My first click on to view the article gave me a 404 not found :-)

Re:404 Not found (1)

mfnickster (182520) | more than 6 years ago | (#22574184)

> How amusing. My first click on to view the article gave me a 404 not found :-)

Netcraft confirms it. :)

And the parasites love it (-1, Flamebait)

wtcorrea (267172) | more than 6 years ago | (#22566098)

Because of the BSD license, any parasite company can now just use those great new features and performance improvements in their proprietary products without giving back to the community.

Re:And the parasites love it (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22566608)

Contrary to popular belief, it is this parasitic nature that actually ends up profoundly improving the operating system and proliferating it. Think of the following hypothetical scenario:

1. CEO sees product XYZ and thinks to himself "Wow, we can compete with that!"
2. CTO responds to CEO with "We need to research viable means to penetrate this [new] vertical-market with a high profit margin." This all means "I'll get back to you with the cheapest possible implementation after I consult our developers."
3. Director of IT says "Hey, we can use FreeBSD as a platform because it's free and has an open license."

This is where the general populous that conforms to your statement stops thinking and fails to realize the rest...

4. Developers are tasked by the director to learn FreeBSD.
5. Support staff is tasked with inundating themselves with FreeBSD to support the product/customers.
6. Quality Assurance is subjected to FreeBSD to test the product.

and in my experience at Yahoo! (in the beginning days when FreeBSD was but a murmur on the lips of the Directors and CTO), the following happens...

7. Developers, Support staff, and Quality Assurance falls deeply in love with FreeBSD.

which leads to...

8. Developers giving back to the FreeBSD community.

You don't have to believe it, but the arguments for the decision to use FreeBSD do exist. The people that choose it are not always vapid management. Sure, it may start out that way, but if you look closely at the Netcraft [netcraft.com] , you might just find that BSD even found a niche in the web-server world (where your argument of parasitic license globbing does not and cannot apply as the GPL has no grounds in the argument of which OS serves up your content to the World-Wide-Web).

I am not a zealot. I find that every OS has its place. I for one, for a desktop environment would definitely suggest Linux because it has very good device support. I for one don't think that the BSD's will ever corner that [desktop] market.

Even within the BSD world, there is dissention and each flavor (very much alive and kicking) has its purpose. For example, I believe that the greater and more well-known BSD variants can be summed up into a single sentance (see below):

BSDi Commercial BSD Version. Commercial Support.
FreeBSD Optimized for the Pentium Processor.
NetBSD Runs on almost every platform.
OpenBSD Security and Cryptography. Runs on many platforms.
PicoBSD Fits on a single 1.44MB floppy disk.

That was true, being said in an article [daemonnews.org] from 1999 (by Chris Coleman, author of BSD advocacy articles and unbiased BSD editorials on DaemonNews [daemonnews.org] ), I would add the following summations to bring it up to present day:

BSDi
Enterprise-level use (close-source product). This BSD variant intends to compete with people such as RedHat Enterprise Linux and other Enterprise UNIX flavors. Runs on Intel only.
FreeBSD
If running Intel, there is no better choice. FreeBSD focuses on security (not as hard-core as OpenBSD though) and stability/performance on the Intel platform. DEC Alpha is supported but stability/performance may be better on NetBSD for Alpha support.
NetBSD
Bleeding edge hardware compatibility. More often than not, this team has support before any other distribution (before Linux even). Hardest distro in the world to[?] (besides Windoze).
OpenBSD
Security security security (derived from NetBSD).
PicoBSD
Minimalism at its best (maintained by the FreeBSD community). Small and lite. Intel only.

Back in the first days of open-source BSD, FreeBSD and NetBSD diverged because NetBSD wanted to go multi-platform while FreeBSD wanted to focus its efforts on the Intel platform (FreeBSD was originally Intel only, full DEC alpha support was not available until the late 90's).

So, as you can see, just as Linux has its place, each BSD has its place with FreeBSD cemented in its little niche.

FreeBSD is far from dead. I should know as I am a regular commiter. Surely, it *may* take the expertise of a developer to truly recognize the beauty of the OS, but let me assure you, I have worked on many-a-Linux-distro (and many other OS's over the past 12 years) and at this point in my life find FreeBSD to be one of the most elegantly designed OS's. Device drivers are written by gods of the C language (usually, on rare occasions I find myself cleaning up drivers from others) and the peer-review system is amazing.

Just my 2p.

Re:And the parasites love it (1)

wtcorrea (267172) | more than 6 years ago | (#22567402)

7. Developers, Support staff, and Quality Assurance falls deeply in love with FreeBSD.

which leads to...

8. Developers giving back to the FreeBSD community.
I can see how that might happen. But I bet those are very rare cases, because there is no way to enforce it.

You don't have to convince me of BSD's greatness. I know it's fantastic.

My point is that the hard work of the brilliant BSD developers gets hijacked all the time by unscrupulous companies.

Speaking of PicoBSD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22570386)

I believe the next Boku no Pico [wikipedia.org] is due out soon. I heard they were waiting for FreeBSD 7 to be released first.

Re:And the parasites love it (1)

ruinevil (852677) | more than 6 years ago | (#22570058)

They probably won't steal the entire project and rename it. Anyways this isn't a totally bad thing.

Since everyone can use BSD code by just leaving the copyright statement in, the BSD license and its relatives help promote standards and interoperability. There is BSD code in the heart of the Microsoft TCP/IP stack, and several useless command line programs in Windows.

FreeBSD Rant (1)

simeeon (974133) | more than 6 years ago | (#22566552)

FreeBSD has been around for a long time and I am surprised when more people don't get on the band wagon and support it. Does anyone know if they have FreeBSD support for virtual machines like vmware esx or gsx? FreeBSD is a great server environment for anybody that's looking for something easy and secure.

Re:FreeBSD Rant (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22566692)

Are you asking if you can run FreeBSD in VMware? or are you asking if VMware has vmware-tools for support in FreeBSD?

Either way, the answer to both is "Yes". I've run almost every conceivable version of FreeBSD in both VMware ESX and GSX and they also make vmware-tools to be installed (via the fake CD-ROM that you can mount via the menu bar) so that you can get better resolutions of video etc. etc.

Re:FreeBSD Rant (1)

hcmtnbiker (925661) | more than 6 years ago | (#22566832)

FreeBSD has Linux 2.4.x binary support built into it, as well as support for the 2.6.x branch is almost complete.

Re:FreeBSD Rant (4, Informative)

Heavy Machinery (65932) | more than 6 years ago | (#22568196)

Check out page 25 of this document: http://www.vmware.com/pdf/GuestOS_guide.pdf [vmware.com]

According to the Guest OS compatibility table, FreeBSD 6.2 is supported on VMWare Workstation 6.0.2 and VMWare ACE 2.0.2

Having said that, VMWare guest is running on a fairly standard sort of virtualised platform. With VMWare ESX 3.5 you can use a Buslogic virtual scsi controller or an LSI virtual scsi controller. So you may have to do some fiddling to get FreeBSD to load the appropriate device driver (don't ask me how, I've only ever done generic installs of FreeBSD)

VMWare ESX Server 3.5 will (officially) support:
  * Ubuntu Linux 7.04
  * Solaris 10 for x86
  * Suze Linux Enterprise Server 10
  * Redhat Enterprise Linux 5
and various other OSs...

I've been using ESX 3.5 on an HP DL385 G2 with dual core Opterons and 8GB of RAM, I wonder if that is powerful enough to run Vista as a guest OS... :-)

Re:FreeBSD Rant (1)

ruinevil (852677) | more than 6 years ago | (#22568728)

I love FreeBSD and all, but if you FreeBSD doesn't support VMWare as a host. Someone hacked an old version of the player to work in FreeBSD, but it only works in i386 non-SMP kernels. It's works fine as a guest though. However, if you want to run FreeBSD guests on a FreeBSD host there is always jails, which are chroot on steroids. Maybe it's more like KVM. Eventually the Xen port from NetBSD's implementation will be done.

That's the good thing about the BSD, three separate project with three separate design philosophies with a license that makes it easy to port code from one system to the other. I think there is some input from the Apple guys too sometimes.

Some interesting info on jemalloc (3, Interesting)

bconway (63464) | more than 6 years ago | (#22566948)

This is kind of old news, but we ran into it at work today. Within the past couple weeks, Firefox 3 has imported FreeBSD 7's (je)malloc for its superior multithreaded performance and non-fragmentation.

http://ventnorsblog.blogspot.com/2008/02/beta-3.html [blogspot.com]

More info on jemalloc:

http://ivoras.sharanet.org/freebsd/freebsd7.html [sharanet.org] (near the bottom, under "Userland enhancements")

http://people.freebsd.org/~jasone/jemalloc/bsdcan2006/jemalloc.pdf [freebsd.org]

Re:Some interesting info on jemalloc (2, Interesting)

ruinevil (852677) | more than 6 years ago | (#22568838)

If only FreeBSD's threading didn't break Wine's support for Blizzard games...

I couldn't play Starcraft D:. I hear WoW works with it though.

Re:Some interesting info on jemalloc (1)

LizardKing (5245) | more than 6 years ago | (#22574766)

The Wine breakage is most likely down to how Linux implements pthreads - there are some grey areas in the POSIX threads spec, where things could be more strictly enforced such as double locking or freeing of mutexes. Linux takes a less stringent approach than FreeBSD and NetBSD, accepting such common coding mistakes, whereas the kernel and libc threading code in the BSD's will print an error and dump core. Being a fan of such things as rigidly type safe languages and compilers that offer a high degree of warnings - having seen the mess less exacting languages can cause (*cough* Perl *cough*) - I prefer the BSD approach over the Linux one.

I will definitely try it out of curiosity (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22567434)

I'm not in IT, not a computer geek... but I did switch from Windows a long time ago (97) just because it made no sense to me as an OS. Also, I always had older/slower hardware too, so windows was a no-no...

So I started off with Caldera Open Linux (ew), dual boot... then went to Red Hat for a few weeks, and finally stayed with FreeBSD for many years. The ease of software install was what made the difference (although having to recompile a kernel to get sound working was a strange experience since I didn't know what "compile" meant, but, it was easy to do with directions). I could network install it off of a floppy or two. The online directions worked, and that's what mattered to me. FreeBSD had a great online community back then, not sure about today, since I wouldn't know...

But then I met apt, and everything changed. Many years of Debian... and now Ubuntu. I know I will be hated for saying it, but I don't program, don't really know my way around the terminal, and don't really care. I need a free awesome desktop OS, and that's it.

FreeBSD was very easy to use and install for newbie like me. I remember my CS friends telling me it was meant to be a server, but it completely worked for my purposes. I'm sure it's still like that. I will definitely give this new release a try just to see.

What about DragonFly? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22567598)

As coincidence would have it, DragonFly BSD 1.12.0 was released today. As a fork of FreeBSD, I'm curious if anyone could compare and contrast the progress made by each project. I'd be especially interested in hearing how the DragonFly developers feel about their different path now that they are several years down the road. I realize it must be slow going at first, but are they really seeing the benefits they thought/hoped they might see with this different design philosophy? Is there anything that hasn't worked out as they hoped?

I know this is /. and all but ... (2, Interesting)

ghostcorps (975146) | more than 6 years ago | (#22568136)

After 48 posts, not one has opened a discussion specific to TFA. Other than to say RTFA.

Linux Vs BSD is a moot argument, I have my preference, and I'm not going to change because yours differs. Similarly, no amount of bible bashing is going to convince me that man and dinosaurs walked together 2000 years ago!

To get on topic... (no I am not new here) :p

I am running RC1 ATM, and will upgrade to the final as soon as it is out. I'd like to know if anyone has successfully implemented RAID-z yet, and if so, what should I be aware of that is not documented.

Also, can anyone confirm the increased performance claimed by the upgraded TCP handling?

Perhaps an unbiased, or at least well reasoned comparison of Linux Vs FreeBSDs' Multi-thread handling? I would be very interested to know the details here.

Opinions on STCP Vs TCP?

If you must, be all 'Linux it t3h gr34t357', I would love to know what upgrades in TFA are old hat to Linux users.


peas

what upgrades in TFA are old hat (1)

r00t (33219) | more than 6 years ago | (#22569544)

A number of changes are merely fixes, starting off with network performance.

I'm shocked to see FreeBSD claiming to be the reference implementation of SCTP. It's been in Linux for years.

Performance monitoring is of course old hat.

Heh. A "large number of CPUs" is 8+ to you. Linux is struggling to handle 16384. (yes, SMP-style NUMA with 1 OS image)

Tmpfs is way old.

ARM architecture is of course way old. Niagra is old too.

Wow, "(as seen in Solaris & others)" for the fine-grained permissions stuff. Can't mention Linux by name?

Of course Linux does high-definition audio.

SATA is old. (how have you been able to run FreeBSD without this???)

iSCSI is old.

MSI is old.

The libthr behavior (1:1) has been standard in Linux from the start. Linus never wandered off into the thicket of thorns that is N:M and scheduler activations.

Re:what upgrades in TFA are old hat (1)

ghostcorps (975146) | more than 6 years ago | (#22570084)

Thanks :)


I must say, when I saw the details in your reply, I was glad that someone had read my post and taken it seriously. But, I noticed quite quickly that very few of your comments seemed relevant. To the point that I think you read a different article (?).

Performance monitoring, of course is old hat to all (?) OS's. The specifics, as discussed in TFA are way over my head, but I don't mind trying to understand for the sake of conversation. I don't mean to be argumentative when I say that the interview discusses particular updates to the monitoring services, if these details are worth discussing, please continue :)

I'm not sure where the number of CPU's-handled was mentioned as being increased.

Tmpfs, was not discussed, AFAIK.

Olivier Houchard: Just to nitpick, technically the ARM port first appeared in RELENG_6 :)

I am not familiar with Wow, but there is no mention of fine grain permissions in TFA.

Agreed: Hi-Def audio would have to be a welcome addition for those who use the desktop, and long overdue I dare say! :)

You completely lost me at SATA, I reread the article, and searched every page, but there is no reference to SATA at all. Am I missing an inference?

Ditto with iSCSI

MSI support was simply updated, not added.

I was really looking forward to some insight here, perhaps it was so deep I missed it? I am trying to not be a smart arse here, cos I have a feeling in my stomach I have missed something, but if I haven't then I am very confused. Please clarify why you made mention of so many things that were not mentioned in TFA.


peas

Re:what upgrades in TFA are old hat (1)

Big_Breaker (190457) | more than 6 years ago | (#22573000)

Well one of the most common SATA controllers, the Silicon Graphics family, are totally borked in all flavors of BSD. Is that fixed yet?

Re:what upgrades in TFA are old hat (1)

ghostcorps (975146) | more than 6 years ago | (#22580204)

You should ask the FreeBSD mail list, this is /. no one even Rs'TFA, let alone research outside the material provided.

there were a few articles (1)

r00t (33219) | more than 6 years ago | (#22584602)

I read over more than one article. One was more interview-like, one was a listing of FreeBSD 7 highlights, etc.

Performance monitoring in this case means taking advantage of CPU-specific monitoring ability. (the Pentium 4 needs a different driver from the Core architecture, which in turn needs a different one from AMD's stuff) It's nice, but old hat to Linux. (with oprofile being the standard Linux interface and perfmon being an alternate)

"Wow" is an expression of amazement. The author was happy to announce that FreeBSD was getting a feature found on Solaris, but preferred to avoid mentioning that Linux also had the feature. Prior to Linux the feature was uncommon, though it did exist on DG-UX and IRIX and it was part of an unratified POSIX standardization attempt. Outside of the UNIX world, NT had it. I've seen this odd behavior before; it seems that many FreeBSD fans adore commercial UNIX in some odd way and have a strange disrespect for Linux. I guess I can try to return the favor!

Re:what upgrades in TFA are old hat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22580840)

> I'm shocked to see FreeBSD claiming to be the reference implementation of SCTP. It's been in Linux for years.

First to make it part of the shipping kernel. It says so clearly in the article.

> Heh. A "large number of CPUs" is 8+ to you. Linux is struggling to handle 16384. (yes, SMP-style NUMA with 1 OS image)

"large number of CPUs" is not in the article as well. Are you quoting that? Why did you use quotation marks?

> Tmpfs is way old.

And also isn't mentioned in the article. Are you referring to unionfs? Which has nothing to do with tmpfs?

> Wow, "(as seen in Solaris & others)" for the fine-grained permissions stuff. Can't mention Linux by name?

Also in quotations, also not in the article.

> SATA is old. (how have you been able to run FreeBSD without this???)

I went through each of the four pages of the article and there was no mention of SATA.

wrong article (1)

r00t (33219) | more than 6 years ago | (#22584628)

There were several articles. One was interview-like, one was a listing of the best new features, etc.

FreeBSD didn't beat Linux to a shipping kernel for SCTP. There are more Linux distributions than you can count. Also, let me introduce you to Gentoo and Linux From Scratch.

I used quotation marks for a direct quote. The article's author thought that 8+ was large. For some time now, you could get 8 CPUs in an totally standard consumer-targeted Apple machine.

Re:I know this is /. and all but ... (1)

jgrahn (181062) | more than 6 years ago | (#22581056)

Opinions on STCP Vs TCP?

SCTP.

It appears to be loved by Telecom people, so a fair guess is that it sucks. The Wikipedia article references horrors like the OSI model, the SS7 protocols and Diameter -- not encouraging.

Re:I know this is /. and all but ... (1)

ghostcorps (975146) | more than 6 years ago | (#22582494)

Ha! Thanks for the correction. :)

Why FreeBSD??? (3, Insightful)

swordgeek (112599) | more than 6 years ago | (#22568236)

Lots of people are asking why FreeBSD. There's a simple answer. Not comprehensive, not all-encompassing, but a decently accurate and sufficient answer for most cases.

FreeBSD is just plain ol' Unix. No bells, no whistles (except ZFS--Fancy!), just Unix as it always was. And sometimes, that's exactly the right answer to a problem.

Re:Why FreeBSD??? (1)

ghostcorps (975146) | more than 6 years ago | (#22569294)

Can I call it the cornflake paradox? :)

jemalloc vs ptmaloc3? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22569842)

How does jemalloc compare to ptmaloc3, the eventual replacement for the ptmalloc2 in glibc?

Who really cares? (2, Funny)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 6 years ago | (#22572466)

Slashdot shows like all BSD news as just a collapsed article... is that my settings (I get Linux and MS and OSX and Vista stuff), or it it just because nobody gives a shit?

Re:Who really cares? (1)

ghostcorps (975146) | more than 6 years ago | (#22579518)

It's so that only the ppl who care will visit it. This way people who are only here to troll are inclined to go elsewhere ;p (Usually anyway)

umm yeha SCTCP has been in BSD far longer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22574178)

I have a book from 1991 or so and it has SCTCP in it

FreeBSD 7.0 Released (not offical) (1)

sternix (969941) | more than 6 years ago | (#22575900)

Hi You can download the freebsd 7.0 release iso images from www.freebsd.org (please prefer mirrors) or download torrent file from http://torrents.freebsd.org:8080/ [freebsd.org] Good luck...
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