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FreeBSD, Stealthy Open Source Project 291

Posted by michael
from the can't-get-no-respect dept.
zam4ever writes "Sean Michael Kerner has written an article on how FreeBSD has become a Stealth-Growth Open Source Project with various reasons outlined for FreeBSD's growth over the last years."
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FreeBSD, Stealthy Open Source Project

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  • by LaserLyte (725803) * on Monday June 14, 2004 @08:03AM (#9418644)
    Quandt also contends that FreeBSD is not currently on the same level as Linux when it comes to supporting heavy enterprise workloads...

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

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

    </ BSD advocacy >
    • by geminidomino (614729) * on Monday June 14, 2004 @08:12AM (#9418682) Journal
      However, I don't remember ever seeing any evidence of this, except that FreeBSD has proven itself time and time again on some of the largest, busiest internet sites.

      It's purely anecdotal, but back in 2002, the webhosting company I was admining for had two boxes dedicated to slashcode sites. They were brand new with the latest updates for FreeBSD 4-STABLE(I think) on one and RedHat on the other. We hosted some high-profile sites, and these poor servers took a MASSIVE beating. The RedHat box went casters-up when the system load hit somewhere around 7. FreeBSD stayed up (admittedly, slow as hell) even when the load peaked at 22. I switched sides then and have been a loyal Daemon worshipper ever since. ;)
      • by Alioth (221270) <no@spam> on Monday June 14, 2004 @08:49AM (#9418851) Journal
        I host a site for a pilot's union. Around bid time they all hammer a heavily DB oriented application with many, many reloads.

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

        It runs RedHat Enterprise Server. It's not fallen over once.
        • by rsidd (6328) on Monday June 14, 2004 @09:15AM (#9419000)
          Where Linux does badly is in "out of memory" situations. I doubt a load average of 7 will, by itself, kill any system, but I've seen Linux boxes become unusable because of memory leaks -- hard reboot required, or equally bad, eventually some random processes get killed that bring the machine back up but all those processes have to be restarted by hand. Ditto if all those processes contributing to the load average of 7 required a huge chunk of memory. FreeBSD shines in this situation. If you configure enough swap space, it will usually get through somehow, if not, it will kill the offending process but not butcher the system.
          • My experience from load testing a few years ago was that linux's biggest problem was properly closing/destroying sockets after they were no longer needed. BSD cleaned up very quickly even with thousands of connections, while Linux (Red Hat 8 Beta) and Solaris 2.6 had serious problems and ran out of fd's after a while.
        • Purely anecdotal ofcourse but..

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

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

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

          The exact same setup on FreeBSD handles upto 12k requests/hour with 20 parallel connectio
      • by TheBracket (307388) on Monday June 14, 2004 @10:34AM (#9419743) Homepage
        I had a virus-scanning mail gateway hit a load of around 90 a while ago, running FreeBSD 4-STABLE (we were seeing how far we could push it before putting it into production); amazingly enough, at load 90 I could still login and tweak Qmail's settings. We primarily use FreeBSD for hosting at work, it takes a beating day-in, day-out - and is solid as a rock.
    • by B747SP (179471) <slashdot@selfabusedelephant.com> on Monday June 14, 2004 @08:23AM (#9418723)
      There was a write up on slashdot a while back, don't remember enough to search it, but someone did a bunch of tests on a range of *nix OSes and, interestingly, *BSD got pretty well pasted (by a flavour of Linux) in some of the tests. That surprised me, because Linux is not something that I've ever regarded as being reliable, stable, or up to taking a beating (though my regard (or lack thereof) for Linux is probably more religous than factual - I've been a Daemon worshipper since the beginning of time).

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

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

      • by thue (121682) on Monday June 14, 2004 @08:59AM (#9418909) Homepage
        I assume you are talking about this: Benchmarking BSD and Linux [bulk.fefe.de] from this slashdot story [slashdot.org]. Linux 2.6 is the clear winner in all almost all tests.

        (The trick for finding it was to use google instead of slashdot search. This search [google.com] found it at once.)
        • by mzs (595629) on Monday June 14, 2004 @02:38PM (#9422316)
          Here is a choice quote:

          This mmap graph is the only part of the whole benchmark suite where FreeBSD did not perform top notch. If the FreeBSD people fix this one dark spot, they will share the top space with Linux 2.6.

          Also if you notice the The socket benchmark, FreeBSD was optimized for when a process allocates in excess of 3500 sockets. Also in Measuring HTTP request latency you can see that there is optimization for when there have been in excess of 4000 requests. These types of clever optimizations are what sets FreeBSD apart.

          Also keep in mind that absolute magnitude is not what is really important in these test results. The idea is that if your software scales well, you just get enough hardware to handle what you expect as worst case. The nice thing is that FreeBSD has some optimizations that are directed for scaling even better under some particular high load cases.

          I would not say from these tests that FreeBSD performed much worse than Linux. In fact mmap syscalls are not actually used much except for mapping in dynamic libraries on many server type loads.

    • here [bulk.fefe.de] is a decent benchmark I remember from a while ago. 2.6 put alot of work in and is better to on-par with most tests, though all statistics are flawed, the code for the benchmarking is open if you want to give it a shot.
    • by HighOrbit (631451) on Monday June 14, 2004 @09:11AM (#9418974)
      You only quoted part of it
      Quandt also contends that FreeBSD is not currently on the same level as Linux when it comes to supporting heavy enterprise workloads. "The community activity around Linux in the late 1990s and support from system vendors and large independent software vendors fueled key enhancements in Linux," Quandt said. "Improvements in symmetric multiprocessing (SMP) virtual memory, asynchronous I/O, a native POSIX thread library, as well as other features and support from multiple vendors [in Linux] made FreeBSD a less likely choice for enterprise workloads."
      Big Business has put a lot of money into Linux, and it is just now overtaking FreeBSD (and then only in some areas). If just half of the money and effort that has been poured into Linux had been put into *BSD, FreeBSD would be a truly bad-ass system and would probably smoke any other Unix/Unix clone. I had high hopes that Apple would contribute back to the community, but I don't think that has materialized like I had hoped. Although I don't like to get into the license religous wars (I prefer the BSD license for freedom), I think this is a case where the GPL has served Linux well by forcing users (i.e. developing corporations) to give back.

      As far as stability and consistancey goes, only Debian-Stable approaches BSD, because Debian enforces a strict development and testing process (as opposed to adding in just any random unstable bleeding edge package because it is "new").
      • by LizardKing (5245) on Monday June 14, 2004 @09:40AM (#9419225)

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

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

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

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

        Chris


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

          Technically, Mac OS X's "xnu" kernel is not a microkernel with a BSD server process. The BSD emulation runs within the kernel address space for better performance.
        • grandparent post:
          As far as stability and consistancey goes, only Debian-Stable approaches BSD

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

          It's odd that you'd point that out as a difference from Debian-Stable, since that's exactly what the Debian project, especia
    • That's because "heavy enterprise workloads" might not be what you think it is. In the computer industry, "enterprise" no longer means merely "business". But don't worry about FreeBSD's reputation. Most Linux distributions aren't ready for the enterprise either. Neither is Windows.
  • I know for damn sure I'm one of those who's gonna seriously love having a 5-STABLE branch. :) Damn tho, they need to stop talking to Linux people for these articles. I'm sick of hearing the GPL partyline.
  • Odd... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by dotslashconfig (784719) on Monday June 14, 2004 @08:08AM (#9418663)
    FreeBSD is used on over 95 of the top 100 servers (greatest average uptime). FreeBSD is tested and true on the server-side in a way few linux distrobutions can claim. The closest any distro has come to actually matching reliability with FreeBSD is Debian. But even then, FreeBSD is still light-years ahead. I'm not really sure what inspired this article, but a simple google search reveals that BSD is the route most major corporations are taking with servers. So while I do appreciate GNU/GPL support, try to be less blatant. ;)
    • Re:Odd... (Score:2, Insightful)

      by chez69 (135760)
      Many operating systems wrap the uptime or don't report it to netcraft.
    • Re:Odd... (Score:4, Informative)

      by KennethSundby (723521) <sundby&kennethism,org> on Monday June 14, 2004 @08:21AM (#9418712) Homepage Journal
      FreeBSD is used on over 95 of the top 100 servers (greatest average uptime)
      While that is true, it is not because they have the greatest uptime. They merely have the best uptime-code =) (I am not advocating either over the other.)
    • Re:Odd... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by molarmass192 (608071) on Monday June 14, 2004 @08:41AM (#9418800) Homepage Journal
      Your Google search is wrong. I have never seen or dealt with a FreeBSD box at use at any of the Global 500 corp data centers I've visited / worked with. The breakdown is more like there's a whole lot of Solaris, a whole lot of Win2K (groans), a fair amount of AIX and HP-UX, and occasionally Linux (mostly RHEL) in use at major corporations. Understand that this isn't a reflection of how good FreeBSD is, it's simply that major corporations appear to be more interested in support contracts super human uptime guarantees than the quality of the OS in place. Granted, I haven't been to every data center on the planet, nor been told what every box is running (some of these places football field size) , but I've been to A LOT throughout North America and Europe over the years I've been doing this gig. The types of places I'd expect to find FreeBSD are the smaller, less bureaucratic data centers and ISPs where there are a handful of guys with free reign of the place.
      • You never visited Yahoo or many sites like it obviously.
      • Re:Odd... (Score:3, Interesting)

        by steve_l (109732)
        yes, corporates are stuck in Windows land. One of their goals is to run fancy app server stuff, and for that -be it ASP, ASP.net or Java based- means windows, and historically a commercial unix (Sun, HP, IBM), with Linux a late entrant.

        now that BSD does Java, things may change.

        But outside the corporate, big sites like IMDB and Apache run FreeBSD, as far as I know.
      • Agree, mostly, and well stated. At the corporate/enterprise level, and especially for core business functions, what people want most is a competent vendor behind whatever they deploy. (Or perhaps more accurately, a vendor that is _perceived_ as competent.) They want to know that there's a go-to guy, that he is going to be able to fix whatever problems come up (technical, business, or legal), and that he's going to be around for a while.

        That said, Linux is used quite a lot for smaller projects which are
  • by Sneeka2 (782894) on Monday June 14, 2004 @08:09AM (#9418673)
    Woah, 3 devils on the main page (for me at least), all posted within a few minutes. Is BSD dying faster today or are they simply on Speed?
  • by corporatemutantninja (533295) on Monday June 14, 2004 @08:12AM (#9418684)
    Uh oh. I read the sentence "Linux actually inherits a lot of BSD code" and immdiately thought of Ken Brown. Ken, if you're reading this (or having it translated into a version using only monosyllabic words) be advised that the preceding quote refers to GNU/Linux, not the Linux kernel that Linux wrote in a year.
  • Community is key (Score:2, Interesting)

    by wombatmobile (623057)

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

    Right [216.239.57.104].

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 14, 2004 @08:19AM (#9418706)
    It is now official. FreeBSD is Undead.

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

    Recent growth in FreeBSD's market share, as reported by Slashdot, is evidence that a Faustian pact with the daemons has been made. Stay tuned for more on this recent development...
  • over one million new domains were hosted on FreeBSD over the last year

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

  • by dekeji (784080) on Monday June 14, 2004 @08:31AM (#9418759)
    But why hasn't FreeBSD become as widespread as Linux? The answers may lie in its history.

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

    The answer is not history, it's that they are different kinds of "products" with different strengths and weaknesses.
    • Easy, potatoes are less expensive. Quit comparing apples to oranges.

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

      Agreed 100%. I half expected all of these comments to center around the old BSD vs. GPL dead horse, but thankfully haven't run across one yet.

      Now, in regards to the plethora of comments regarding either Linux or FreeBSD as being superior... take a hike, guys. Neither is superior. The main differences between FreeBSD and Linux can be summarized like this:

      - Linux: Flexibility
      - FreeBSD: Stab
      • by endx7 (706884) on Monday June 14, 2004 @02:09PM (#9421989) Homepage Journal

        Example: Linux makes a darn good high-traffic web server, but FreeBSD makes an even better one. However, you won't see too many (or any) companies working on porting FreeBSD to wristwatches or big-iron supercomputers like you do with Linux because the FreeBSD kernel doesn't scale well in either direction.

        That's what NetBSD is for. I'm typing this on my NetBSD toaster.

  • by B747SP (179471) <slashdot@selfabusedelephant.com> on Monday June 14, 2004 @08:40AM (#9418794)
    I'll show my colours up front: I've been worshipping the Daemon since somewhere around version 1.1 - practically since forever!.

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

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

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

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

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

      Hell, I was almost going to roll my own BSD/Linux and lay everything out / clone install scripts f
      • by harikiri (211017) on Monday June 14, 2004 @09:38AM (#9419211)
        Nvidia has FreeBSD drivers available [nvidia.com]. However for ATI drivers, there still remains a need for people to visit the Linux Driver feedback page [ati.com] and ask for FreeBSD support.

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

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

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

        • I had a look at the nvidia driver for FreeBSD and it looked like it lagged somewhat behind the Linux driver, but that combined with trying to make games work in the compat layer just means it's too much hassle to use as a desktop, I actually have a couple of VM's locally running Debian and FreeBSD, i'm sure it won't hurt to have another with Gentoo to have a look at how it's laid out and play with portage.

          a while back I was hunting around for info on distributions that were similar to FreeBSD and came acro
        • by clymere (605769) on Monday June 14, 2004 @12:12PM (#9420691) Homepage
          Ironic that you are a BSD user clinging to Linux for the games while many Linux users are stil clinging to a windows partition for games.

          Seems to me sometimes that a lot of Linux users are cross-overs from the Windows world, whereas BSD users are more likely to have been using Unix all along.
    • by mslinux (570958) on Monday June 14, 2004 @09:02AM (#9418923)
      This is a great point. In fact, besides the license difference, this is the main difference between FreeBSD and GNU/Linux.

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

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

      FreeBSD = All core parts developed together.

      Linux = Assembling a collection of core parts from different sources.
      • by quantum bit (225091) on Monday June 14, 2004 @09:07AM (#9418953) Journal

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

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

        • Maybe somebody can correct me if I'm wrong (and I know they will), but I don't think I've ever seen binary incompatibility brought on by a minor version increment in FreeBSD. With glibc, it seems that moving from say 2.2 to 2.3 is guaranteed to break your binaries unless you install the compatibility patch or re-compile.
      • by PCM2 (4486)
        In FreeBSD, you get the filesystem, the kernel, a shell... all developed by the same group of SW engineers. In GNU/Linux, you get a Kernel from kernel.org a filesystem from Hans Reiser a shell from GNU, etc...
        Wouldn't the appropriate way to sell Linux be, then, to describe it as a "best-of-breed system"?
    • by swb (14022) on Monday June 14, 2004 @10:00AM (#9419403)
      I was a big RedHat/Linux user until about 5 or so years ago. I got sick of:

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

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

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

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

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

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

      • FreeBSD just seems how it *should* be. The filesystem and startup environment isn't static, but doesn't make wholesale changes.

        I am a big supporter of FreeBSD for this major reason. When people ask why BSD over Linux I tell them it feels better, and that feeling is half of knowing how to use, and fix, a computer. Used and installed many a linux, Slackware was my first love, worked with redhat a bit remotely, worked (unknowingly) with FreeBSD remotely and everything seemed better in a kind of inexplicable
    • by rho (6063) on Monday June 14, 2004 @10:18AM (#9419572) Homepage Journal

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

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

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

    • The thing that sells me for FreeBSD in corporate environments is that FreeBSD is an operating system. The same group of people do the kernel *and* the OS. [...] I've always had the impression that the Linuxes are all terribly fragmented, incoherent, and you never know what you're getting.

      This may be true, but it is not necessarily a good thing. Having the kernel developed seperately from everything else may be better in the sense that it promotes modularity and cleaner interfaces. If different distributi

  • "Stealthy"? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ewg (158266) on Monday June 14, 2004 @08:47AM (#9418838)

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

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

    PS: Neither are for sale. :-)

  • Enterprise Load (Score:5, Informative)

    by anacleto (786742) on Monday June 14, 2004 @08:56AM (#9418885)
    I have several corporate systems consisting of Sun E10k hosts, Linux, and FreeBSD systems. In my experience, FreeBSD performs very well under heavy load, on par with Solaris and slightly better than Linux. Not that I'm downing Linux; Each OS has strengths and weaknesses, but the author seemed to indicate that FreeBSD was not suitable for corporate use and I believe that it is.
  • by embill (551301) *
    According to Open Source Development Labs (OSDL), which bills itself as a "center of gravity" for Linux development, Free BSD is on a separate path compared to Linux. Then why aren't they called the Linux Development Labs?
  • by agraupe (769778) on Monday June 14, 2004 @09:05AM (#9418940) Journal
    Let me say that I'm a happy Linux user, with 3 systems, each working fairly well (only one is in constant use; the others I use for fun). In my experience Linux is a very robust system (I've tried Gentoo and Red Hat, with Gentoo being my favorite), but I also tried OpenBSD. It gave me the feeling that if I got to know it better, then it would be great. But I wasn't into running a big server, so I left it alone. At some point, I would like to try FreeBSD, because it has a great reputation. I don't have the hardware right now, but I heard about a FreeBSD LiveCD that I would like to know more about. Why do open-source projects bicker among each other so much? Think "Life of Brian": Brian: "People, people, we should be fighting the common enemy." Fighters: "The Judean People's Front!" Brian: "No! The Romans!" Until Windows is brought down to an equal level, there is no reason to compete among Open OSs. After all, the *NIX (or *BSD) motto is: do one thing, do it well.
  • FreeBSD isn't transitively "stealthy" (the onus is on the mainstream media), it just isn't widely regarded as having the potential to challenge Microsoft on the desktop, and there has never been a FreeBSD IPO announcement. From the mass media's perspective, what layperson wants to read about FreeBSD's growth in the server market (or overall greatness) unless they can take advantage of it?
  • A non-article (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kirkjobsluder (520465) <{kirk} {at} {jobsluder.net}> on Monday June 14, 2004 @09:29AM (#9419118) Homepage
    A few hundred words of copy from a Linux advocate with a few choice quotes from a BSD advocate for balance. Other than the once-a-month "there is more than linux in open-source operating systems" there is not really that much in this article that is NEWS or worth reading.
  • by ckd (72611) on Monday June 14, 2004 @10:01AM (#9419411) Homepage

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

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

  • by Korpo (558173) on Monday June 14, 2004 @12:22PM (#9420777)
    A lot of "Daemon worshipper since ever" and "Tried Linux, didn't like it" in here. Some "Like both". A few trolls have been modded down.

    But when looking at it, *BSD users are throwing praise at each others in here. It's not like anyone is arguing in here, because mostly people with the same opinion responded to the article.

    But no one is really talking about why Linux has more market/mind share. Or why the kernel developers for Linux have created a technologically similar kernel without having a head start (i.e. a full UNIX kernel). Or why - if any *nix - is taught, nearly always Linux is taught at universities. What made Linux the platform of choice for so many people in so "little" time?

    These are not flames. These are questions I'd really like answers for. And maybe the *BSD communities should have them, to take advantage of that knowledge!

    Nothing gained from 20 somewhat posts of the style "I like the ports tree", "Me, too!".

    Start asking: "Why isn't *BSD dominating the *nix world now?" Don't answer: "It doesn't want to." Because that's not true. Hear yourselves talk. You want to! But you don't.

    So why? Don't give me the USL/Novell case. In the time from 1991-1993 Linux had not become a comparable kernel, it became after.

    Is it the license? The more chaotic collaboration? Linus' personality? The anti-Windows stance? The urge for people to develop something new (that lured more developers)? Why is (almost virtually etc.) nobody talking of a FreeBSD desktop?

    As long as a lot of people talk about history, or past successes, or think along "I always have done it that way / have used it" nothing is won for *BSD in terms of "innovation" (it hurts to write it). *BSD needs some new answers to the Linux question, not some self-content same ol', same ol'.

    If *BSD asked these questions, found the answers for them, and used them, it actually again become the most-used *nix system.
  • by alexhmit01 (104757) on Monday June 14, 2004 @01:06PM (#9421232)
    I love the BSDs, first played with them when Linux was a toy. When we were evaluating OSes for our Web Servers, we installed an OpenBSD machine and a Redhat machine and went to lunch. When I got back from lunch, before we could go to work, I was fielding calls that my new Redhat machines was launching attacks in Germany. We decided not to use Redhat at that point.

    We recently started playing with FreeBSD 5 and RHEL 3 for comparisons... Quite frankly, I MUCH prefer the BSD ports to up2date, they are terrific. Both OSes are pretty good in the performance departments (OpenBSD while a rock, just couldn't perform).

    Why did I switch to Redhat?

    Redhat is simply moving in a direction that I like. Getting the machines to talk to our LDAP Server and Kerberos KDC (an OS X Server that does our central directory system) is a joke, as was straight LDAP before we started playing with Kerberos.

    Adding software is a bit easier in BSD-land, because if I need to switch compile-time options, the ports are MUCH easier to work with than SRPMS. Granted that compiling source on Linux is easier, because most developers target Linux first, however, source tarballs are great for testing, not so great to roll out and keep track of across my networks.

    Redhat support, while pretty mediocre at the low-end (RHEL 3.0 ES, $350/machine or so), I can put support requests in and get a response over time and get things escalated to engineering. With Apple Support, it's even worse, I can fill something out on Apple's bug report/feature request site, but I can't find out if they are doing anything on it.

    It's a dilemma for a small company, you don't have the money to get the GOOD support from a top company, but dealing with a small company may get you personal service, but not the capabilities of the big boys.

    FreeBSD is a GREAT system, and the ports/packages are a DREAM to work with.

    The greatest thing about a BSD is how streamlined/stripped down the core is, then it is off to ports to configure.

    The worst thing about a BSD is how streamlined/stripped down the core is, as making network configuration changes is just harder/more time-consuming, with multiple files to change.

    FreeBSD, great OS, just not offering the easy-to-use Enterprise features that Redhat provides. Without the easy integration, it just isn't as easy for my little business to take advantage of everything that I can with Redhat.
  • If you asked me whether it was a good idea to use FreeBSD on a desktop, I'd say "no." Any Linux distribution would get the same answer as well. However, for the production environment I highly recommend either Free or Open BSDs. as somebody who works on Linux and BSD servers, I prefer BSD.

    The weird thing about BSD is that it does not want to dominate the market. It does work well and for some reason there is no hype associate with it. Linux, on the other hand, is overhyped in my opinion. IBM and Nove

  • BSD Growth (Score:3, Interesting)

    by vga_init (589198) on Tuesday June 15, 2004 @08:56PM (#9437151) Journal
    I don't doubt for a moment that BSD adoption is growing, and to me it just seems like a matter of course; the development of the system, the machines people are putting them on, and shifts in the market just seems to point in that direction.

    Consider this: computers are getting more and more popular; they are being integrated into more aspects of our lives than they ever were before, and now it's standard for people to own them. Another interesting combination is that personal computers have gotten cheaper and more powerful at the same time.

    Of course, none of this is a new development; people could have and were saying these sorts of things over a decade ago, but the good thing is that it's still true.

    What's newer is the fact that open source seems to have escalated since then; every day it keeps becoming a bigger and bigger deal. More large companies are working with it than ever before, development has increased, and code maturity levels are always rising. A linux system installed today is something really different than what I started out using only three years ago.

    Okay, so what does this all mean, and what does it have to do with BSD? Well, nobody will deny that linux is the big thing, and, while linux gets most of the press, BSD has always been around, and BSD is always being further developed and improved upon at a rate not at all unlike linux. What's good for one open source software product is good for another, and it seems that BSD is chugging right along with the rest of them.

    I don't have data like Netcraft does, and it's a mistake to make hard conclusions based on pseronal experience, but I've spent a bit of time on the #freebsd channel on freenode, and from that alone I see FreeBSD adoption/development taking place. Any time I go in there (the channel is a little crowded), there is always somebody there who has questions about FreeBSD; some of them are curious about it, some are trying to install it for the first time, some are new to their systems and need help getting started with a particular task, and some are a little bit more experienced but are still pressing forward with something new. These people are always there. Talking to some of them, you'd find that most were people who had been using linux and started using FreeBSD after hearing good things about it or simply developing an interest in something new.

    When people aren't talking about learning FreeBSD, they are talking about projected development, new features, etc. And this is all very apt because new developments in this modern operating system have proliferated (just look at all the changes in the FreeBSD new technology release).

    I can imagine how people might consider BSD to be something traditionally "old-fashioned", but to me it's about as shiny and new as linux, and I regard both systems with equal fervor.

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