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Debian BSD Linux

Debian Elevates KFreeBSD Port to First-Class Status 376

Posted by timothy
from the you-want-options-here-are-options dept.
Reader tail.man points out this press release from Debian which says that the port of the Debian system to the FreeBSD kernel will be given equal footing alongside Debian's several other release ports, starting with the release of Squeeze. Excerpting from this release: "The kFreeBSD architectures for the AMD64/Intel EM64T and i386 processor architectures are now release architectures. Severe bugs on these architectures will be considered release critical the same way as bugs on other architectures like armel or i386 are. If a particular package does not build or work properly on such an architecture this problem is considered release-critical. Debian's main motivation for the inclusion of the FreeBSD kernel into the official release process is the opportunity to offer to its users a broader choice of kernels and also include a kernel that provides features such as jails, the OpenBSD Packet Filter and support for NDIS drivers in the mainline kernel with full support."
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Debian Elevates KFreeBSD Port to First-Class Status

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  • OK (Score:5, Funny)

    by Profane MuthaFucka (574406) <busheatskok@gmail.com> on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @03:05PM (#29673807) Homepage Journal

    But, does it run Linux?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by joe_bruin (266648)

      But, does it run Linux?

      No, it's GNU/FreeBSD. It can, however, emulate Linux system calls and therefore natively run binaries compiled for Linux.

      • Re:OK (Score:5, Funny)

        by Jurily (900488) <jurily&gmail,com> on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @04:01PM (#29674553)

        GNU/FreeBSD

        Flamewar starting in 5..4..3..

        Also vi, KDE3, Gentoo and K&R.

      • GNU's not (Score:3, Insightful)

        by fm6 (162816)

        There's a religious tone to your answer. It assumes the question was: "does it run the Linux [kernel]?" But outside the RMS fan club, "Linux" is the name of the OS, not the kernel. So the guy was really asking "does it run the Linux [operating system]?" Hence the "funny" upmods.

        It just occurred to me, that if you're going to quibble about the synechdoche [wikipedia.org] usage of "Linux", then GNU/Linux is even worse, because that term implies that that one OS somehow completely incorporates the other. But you couldn't real

  • Cool (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Faw (33935) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @03:07PM (#29673833)

    First apt based distro with ZFS? Something worthy of a post about...

    I know about Nexenta, but FreeBSD has more drivers than OpenSolaris, right?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Darkness404 (1287218)
      There has been a lot of hype about ZFS but what use is it in a desktop system? And honestly, while APT is great for desktop systems, I really wouldn't use it much on a server. So unless there is some amazing benefit for the average user with ZFS why even have this port as a main system?
      • Re:Cool (Score:5, Interesting)

        by characterZer0 (138196) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @03:31PM (#29674121)

        Why would you not want to use APT on a server? What part of automatic dependency handling, automatic unneeded package pruning, easy security update application, and secure package retrieval do you not want on your servers?

        • Re:Cool (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Timothy Brownawell (627747) <tbrownaw@prjek.net> on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @03:37PM (#29674205) Homepage Journal

          Why would you not want to use APT on a server? What part of automatic dependency handling, automatic unneeded package pruning, easy security update application, and secure package retrieval do you not want on your servers?

          Possibly the "automatic unneeded package pruning". It could be dangerous if your custom apps don't specify their dependencies correctly (say, they rely on something that had been automatically installed by one of their other dependencies).

          • by gehrehmee (16338)

            If your custom apps required you to install a package, it'll already be listed as manually installed, so it'll never be automatically uninstalled.

            • Re:Cool (Score:5, Informative)

              by Timothy Brownawell (627747) <tbrownaw@prjek.net> on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @03:44PM (#29674297) Homepage Journal

              If your custom apps required you to install a package, it'll already be listed as manually installed, so it'll never be automatically uninstalled.

              The idea is that $app depends on $foo and $bar. But because $foo also depends on $bar, someone was able to goof up and only document that $app depends on $foo. So when $foo gets updated and drops its dependency on $bar, $bar goes away (due to being automatically installed) and $app stops working.

            • Re:Cool (Score:5, Informative)

              by Chris Mattern (191822) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @03:55PM (#29674455)

              If your custom apps required you to install a package, it'll already be listed as manually installed, so it'll never be automatically uninstalled.

              Not if the required package was already installed because a third package that required it and correctly specified it was installed. Uninstall that package, which seems to be utterly unrelated to your custom app, and BOOM, custom app breaks.

              • Re:Cool (Score:5, Insightful)

                by Sancho (17056) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @04:09PM (#29674663) Homepage

                Wow, you got modded Troll and Timothy got modded Offtopic for describing a legitimate concern. Man, this place has gone downhill.

                The correct rebuttal to your statement is that you don't mess with things on production machines. You don't uninstall that third package. If you want to make changes like that, you do it on your test machine first. Timothy was concerned with packages dropping dependencies, but that shouldn't happen within -stable.

                • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                  Would everyone who actually manages to run their servers with only "-stable" please raise their hands? One, two... no wait, that person is scratching their head.

                  I'm afraid that "running servers with only -stable" is like "never typing 'rm -rf' as root". It would be nice if we could do so, but far too often we need to get work done and risk a "non-stable" package to get particular critical features, and this approach breaks down very quickly.

                  • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                    by stevey (64018)

                    Raises hand.

                    The only time when I've worried about running (Debian) stable software on production servers has been towards the end of a releases' life.

                    In that case signatures for things like clamav were often useless. However right now I'm running entirely stable software and don't expect that to change for the forseeable future.

                    A lot of people seem to want the latest and greatest releases of software for no appreciable reason. (If they were hitting specific bugs I'd understand ..)

                  • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                    by domatic (1128127)

                    There are more and less correct ways to go about running "non-stable" packages. Just jamming in a foreign binary deb and it's deps is generally the wrong way to do it. The right way to do it is to basically do what backports.org does....and check if backports has it first. If you're not running a Debian derivative then research the equivalent for your distro or BSD flavor:

                    1. add an apt-src line from the "non-stable" distro. I've even done this when Ubuntu had the latest SpamAssassin and I wanted a late

              • Re:Cool (Score:4, Insightful)

                by bfields (66644) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @05:04PM (#29675223) Homepage

                Sure.

                Options are to keep the autoremoval turned off, or build simple custom packages for your third-party aps with the proper dependencies.

                Or you could do without any package management entirely. That doesn't strike me as likely to make anybody safer....

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by petermgreen (876956)

            Which is a good reason to either use apt-get which defaults to the sane behaviour of tracking packages it thinks are unused but not removing them until it's explicitly told to or reconfiguring aptitude to do the sane thing.

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          Because BSD has had this since the 1990's, it's call Ports....

      • by PCM2 (4486)

        Care to explain why you wouldn't use apt on a server? You don't like security patches?

      • Re:Cool (Score:5, Interesting)

        by ToasterMonkey (467067) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @05:56PM (#29675689) Homepage

        There has been a lot of hype about ZFS but what use is it in a desktop system? And honestly, while APT is great for desktop systems, I really wouldn't use it much on a server. So unless there is some amazing benefit for the average user with ZFS why even have this port as a main system?

        You must be kidding. You can snapshot your whole root, or your home directory, or anything and automate it for backups. There is even integration with GNOME's Nautilus to browse ZFS snapshots at the file level. You can create new filesystems and snapshots on the fly, compress them, enforce quotas, export via NFS, send snaps to a remote system or dump as flat file, etc, etc, etc.. if you don't have enough disks to use single or dual parity RAID-Z, you can even have ZFS record multiple copies of each block. ALL of those have uses on desktop or workstation systems.

        I'm not sure if freeBSD supports ZFS root or not, but Solaris does if you want a taste. If anything, ZFS-root is under-hyped.
        When troubleshooting updates, instead of booting into your old kernel with a trashed userland, you can boot into an old BOOT ENVIRONMENT. As easy as picking a different grub entry.

        From OpenSolaris (other ZFS-root capable systems may use different commands, output BUTCHERED for junk filter)
        beadm list
        BE Active Mountpoint Space Policy Created
        opensolaris 25.05M static 2009 04 01 2033
        snv_111b 111.89M static 2009 06 03 1846
        snv_121 38.18M static 2009 08 31 1617
        snv_122 42.10M static 2009 09 14 1522
        snv_124 NR / 19.09G static 2009 10 01 2354

        Those are whole root file system snapshots I can boot, consuming a piddly ~50MB each.

        Junkfilter is retarded.. there is a moderation system for a reason, and this is a technical forum.

    • Re:Cool (Score:4, Insightful)

      by spun (1352) <`moc.oohay' `ta' `yranoituloverevol'> on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @03:31PM (#29674115) Journal

      First apt based distro with ZFS? Something worthy of a post about...

      I know about Nexenta, but FreeBSD has more drivers than OpenSolaris, right?

      You seem to be asking some interesting questions, but fail to do so in a timely fashion.

    • by shish (588640)

      First apt based distro with ZFS?

      Do we need ZFS any more, now that btrfs is nearly here, based on the same ideas but with zfs's design problems known about and worked around?

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by GenP (686381)
        Sweet, I didn't know they added raid5/6 support to btrfs!
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by rivaldufus (634820)
          RaidZ3 is nearly upon us...
          Most slashdot folks will prefer btrfs just because it's GPL and native to Linux... whether or not it's better.
      • by joe_bruin (266648)

        For units with bitlength a multiple of 4, (0x2B | ~0x2B) == 0xFFFFF...

        x | ~x = 0xFF..FF, which is equal to -1 in the 2's complement signed version of the resulting type. Why not (0x2B | ~0x2B) == -1

        example:
            main() { printf("%d\n", (0x2b | ~0x2b)); }

      • Re:Cool (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Chris Mattern (191822) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @04:03PM (#29674579)

        "nearly here". No other words can strike such fear into the heart of a production system sysadmin. How about something that's seen production use for years, instead?

      • Re:Cool (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Jurily (900488) <jurily&gmail,com> on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @04:09PM (#29674661)

        Do we need Linux any more, now that HURD is nearly here, based on the same ideas but with Linux's design problems known about and worked around?

  • Linux vs. FreeBSD (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Boawk (525582) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @03:08PM (#29673853)
    As a UNIX/Linux veteran, I have to admit that I've almost no experience with FreeBSD. Could someone summarize why one might prefer it over Linux?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @03:10PM (#29673883)

      Features such as jails, the OpenBSD Packet Filter and support for NDIS drivers in the mainline kernel.

    • Re:Linux vs. FreeBSD (Score:4, Informative)

      by Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @03:36PM (#29674183) Journal
      That depends upon what you mean by veteran, and what you mean by UNIX. FreeBsd is closer to Unix due to its BSDness. So if you are used to kernels that are more Unix-y than Linux-y you may prefer it for that reason. If you are simply a fan of OSS that runs it as a desktop, there may not be any obvious advantages and perhaps some disadvantages due to lack of desktop like software. It should also include ZFS & dtrace which may entice you. Its also just a different kernel with a different schedule that may perform better for your specific tasks. Osnews carried a story about a benchmark between FreeBSD and Ubuntu [osnews.com] the comments from osnews readers are also pretty insightful which is why I linked to them and not the source article. .
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Xtifr (1323)

        That depends upon what you mean by veteran, and what you mean by UNIX.

        Ayup.

        FreeBsd is closer to Unix due to its BSDness.

        A peculiar interpretation. In the early days, I tended to prefer Linux over BSD because Linux generally acted more like the real UNIX(tm) systems at work, while BSD remained inherently...BSDish. Linux was like a Unix inflicted with a random, confusing scattering of BSDisms (like the operation of ps(1)). Of course, if you consider BSD to be The One True Unix (as many BSD fans do), then Linux looks like a UNIX with a random, confusing scattering of SYSVisms. In conclusion, I think I have to say that

    • Re:Linux vs. FreeBSD (Score:5, Informative)

      by Niten (201835) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @03:37PM (#29674199)

      In my opinion, the biggest advantage of FreeBSD is how coherent the system is. Everything, from documentation to userspace utilities to the kernel, was developed and tested and released as a single project.

      This allows for neat features that require cooperation between several system components, which would be more difficult to implement in the Linux world. For instance, in FreeBSD you can press ^T while cp is copying some huge file, and this will send SIGINFO to cp, causing it to print a progress report to STDERR. Handy.

      So it seems to me that this Debian project defeats the most attractive feature of the FreeBSD operating system (by separating its kernel from its tightly integrated BSD userspace), while simultaneously casting aside Linux's advantages over FreeBSD (more drivers, more supported architectures, somewhat better performance, and--this may be controversial--in my experience, better stability). On the other hand, maybe Debian really can improve on the FreeBSD experience; apt rocks, and the Debian project does perhaps a better job than anyone of combining the disparate parts of the GNU/Linux ecosystem into a coherent operating system. So kneejerk reactions aside, I guess I shouldn't judge this until I have the chance to try it... still, I don't see myself trading in my Debian GNU/Linux anytime soon.

      • Re:Linux vs. FreeBSD (Score:4, Informative)

        by XanC (644172) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @03:42PM (#29674253)

        For instance, in FreeBSD you can press ^T while cp is copying some huge file, and this will send SIGINFO to cp, causing it to print a progress report to STDERR. Handy.

        Isn't this an internal feature of their cp implementation? I don't see what this has to do with the kernel, or indeed any program besides cp, at all.

        • Re:Linux vs. FreeBSD (Score:5, Informative)

          by Sancho (17056) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @04:17PM (#29674729) Homepage

          The grandparent was trying to make a point, but failed. Similar behavior exists throughout the FreeBSD userland--you can send SIGINFO with ctrl-t to many userland processes to get information on what they're doing. The point is that FreeBSD's kernel and userland were designed as a system, and little touches like this show that off.

        • Re:Linux vs. FreeBSD (Score:5, Informative)

          by Guy Harris (3803) <guy@alum.mit.edu> on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @04:27PM (#29674833)

          For instance, in FreeBSD you can press ^T while cp is copying some huge file, and this will send SIGINFO to cp, causing it to print a progress report to STDERR. Handy.

          Isn't this an internal feature of their cp implementation?

          No. The fact that ^T sends SIGINFO, just as ^C sends SIGINT, is a feature of the "tty driver" (standard tty line discipline). The fact that a particular program catches SIGINFO and prints a progress report is a feature of the program.

          I don't see what this has to do with the kernel...

          The standard tty line discipline referred to above is in the kernel.

      • Re:Linux vs. FreeBSD (Score:4, Interesting)

        by poopdeville (841677) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @03:45PM (#29674303)

        On the other hand, maybe Debian really can improve on the FreeBSD experience; apt rocks, and the Debian project does perhaps a better job than anyone of combining the disparate parts of the GNU/Linux ecosystem into a coherent operating system.

        I am not a big fan of the BSD userland, and I typically install "prefixed Gentoo" on my Macs. (Basically, it brings in a GNU user land, a fresh compiler chain, etc. It works well, but the repositories are very basic. It can help set up a Unixy programming environment, not a feature complete Unixy desktop system)

        kFreeBSD Debian can potentially make Apt a real option on Macs. Fink sucks. Debian's repositories are much better.

      • This allows for neat features that require cooperation between several system components, which would be more difficult to implement in the Linux world. For instance, in FreeBSD you can press ^T while cp is copying some huge file, and this will send SIGINFO to cp, causing it to print a progress report to STDERR. Handy.

        I've looked up SIGINFO (which doesn't exist as such on Linux), and I'm not sure why this would require several components to work together. I imagine it works just like SIGINT does. You know

      • by Sancho (17056)

        I haven't noticed many stability differences between FreeBSD and Linux. What I have noticed is ABI stability--which is much better on FreeBSD.

        5 years ago, I probably would have been really gung-ho about Debian FreeBSD. Back then, managing FreeBSD ports was difficult, and there wasn't a binary update mechanism for kernel or world. Now we have freebsd-update (which rocks), portsnap (for syncing your ports tree) and the port management tools are more fleshed out and stable. You still have to compile for po

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      As a UNIX/Linux veteran, I have to admit that I've almost no experience with FreeBSD. Could someone summarize why one might prefer it over Linux?

      FreeBSD is unix-like http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FreeBSD [wikipedia.org].

      You might prefer it over Linuxes for some of the same reasons you might prefer Apple's Mac OS X http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OS_X#History [wikipedia.org].

      Other than that, perhaps rock-solid stability, ZFS, or it's package management system (admittedly I don't use much Linux, but the pkg_add utility and the ports tree in fbsd are excellent). Oh and did I mention Linux binary compatibility?

    • Re:Linux vs. FreeBSD (Score:5, Interesting)

      by blind biker (1066130) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @03:38PM (#29674213) Journal

      One thing I noticed: a working and consistent sound system.

      • One thing I noticed: a working and consistent sound system.

        QFT.

        Every time I've tried Linux on my desktop, one of the major things that's always driven me back to FreeBSD is the utter mess that is the Linux sound system.

      • Re:Linux vs. FreeBSD (Score:5, Informative)

        by TheRaven64 (641858) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @05:36PM (#29675517) Journal

        I would say mod parent up, but you're already at +5. This was what made me switch from Linux around 2002: Sound Works. I had a cheapy AC97 CODEC in my computer at the time. It didn't do hardware mixing. I installed Linux. There were two drivers, an OSS one and an ALSA one. Neither one let the majority of my programs play sound at the same time. For example, I couldn't have xmms playing music while I played BZFlag. Both KDE and GNOME came with their own sound daemon, which meant that either KDE programs could make sounds or GNOME programs could make sounds. Oh, and I think if I used the ALSA drivers then two programs that had had their sound output rewritten to use ALSA could play sounds at once... sometimes. Then I tried FreeBSD.

        In FreeBSD, there was one driver for the sound device. This was back in the 4.x days, so sound devices needed a little bit of extra configuration. I had to set the number of virtual channels and then tell each device to talk to a different one. I set up 4, one for GNOME, one for KDE, one for xmms and left the default one for whatever apps just wrote to /dev/dsp. I could have music playing, BZFlag sound effects in the game, and notification beeps when I got an email or IM. Then came FreeBSD 5 and all of that manual configuration went away. To play sound, a program opens /dev/dsp and writes audio data to it. That's it. No libraries to link against; it's all done via standard UNIX system calls (open(), read(), write(), and ioctl()). It's trivial to program for and it just works. With FreeBSD 8, you now get per-channel volume controls and a rewritten high-performance mixing algorithm, as well as support for all of the new OSS 4 APIs (backwards - binary - compatible with the old OSS 3 ones) if care about those things (i.e. if you are a programmer).

        A few other things that I like about FreeBSD:

        1. Documentation. The man pages and the handbook are written by people who seem to understand both English and the subject that they are writing about. They've also been translated into other languages, but I've only read the English ones.
        2. Sane and simple init system. RCng isn't as all-singing, all-dancing as something like Launchd, but it is sufficiently powerful and easy to understand.
        3. Interfaces don't change. Once you learn how to do something on FreeBSD, you know how to do it. Tools don't get arbitrarily replaced with ones that are in some way better but have completely different interfaces.
        4. Clear separation between FreeBSD and Other Stuff. Ports go in /usr/local/, everything else goes above that.
        5. Jails. If you want to isolate something, or you want a simple testing environment, jails are great. They are almost the same as chroot, except each jail has its own set of users. Root in a jail is not root outside the jail and so can create arbitrary other users inside the jail but can't escape. With FreeBSD 8, jails have virtualised network stacks and now work recursively, so root in a jail can create a new jail. They work especially well when combined with ZFS, because you can make an O(1) ZFS clone of a clean install of the base system to create new jails.
        6. ZFS. RAID without the write hole, per block checksums, top-to-bottom transaction support, O(1) snapshots and clones - what's not to like?
        7. Ports / packages. Not really anything special anymore, but nice and clean. Ports build from source and can have custom build options easily set. Packages are built from ports. Use them interchangeably.

        There are probably some things I've forgotten. I was going to say that the only thing I miss on FreeBSD was valgrind, but it turns out that Valgrind 3.5 has been in ports for a little while now and I just wasn't paying attention (so, obviously, I don't miss it that much).

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Grishnakh (216268)

          So what's keeping the Linux folks from just merging the OSS4 drivers anyway?

          I believe there's a Linux kernel fork that does just that, but obviously it hasn't been accepted into the mainline.

    • Re:Linux vs. FreeBSD (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ducomputergeek (595742) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @03:49PM (#29674371)

      As someone who has had a lot of experience with both, I switched to BSD in 1999. Back then the main reason was Ports. Needed to install MySQL: /usr/bin/ports/databases/mysql/ make && install. Then go grab a cup of coffee come back and it would fetch everything it needed, compile, and run. Or you could fetch a pre-compiled binary via pkg_add -r mysql. Hell, the first few version of PostgreSQL I used, the only way I could get the damn thing to work was to use BSD ports. The best you had with Linux was RPM and that was dependancy hell at times.

      Also, back in the day it had a better tcp/ip stack and was generally more stable as a server platform and decent SMP support. And frankly it was far easier to support than "linux" was back in the day because there was a single FreeBSD, not umpteen different flavors.

      Today it has ZFS and Dtrace from solaris ported over. I know ZFS hasn't made it into Linux as of yet, not sure about DTrace. But both are handy tools.

      Currently we're deployed 100% on FreeBSD for our web, mail, and database servers running PostgreSQL. But that has more to do with using Pair Networks than any other single factor. They've been 100% FreeBSD and consistently in the top 10 in terms of uptime according to netcraft.

      For the past 10 years, I've found FreeBSD to be a stable, secure server operating system that doesn't take a lot of system resources to run. It seems like Linux takes about 256MB of ram these days in most default configs to run a web server whereas our BSD machines were using closer to 150MB for the core OS. And was both systems running Apache 2.

  • by SafeMode (11547) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @03:10PM (#29673877) Homepage

    It's nigh time that we look at the sheer scrumtrulesence of Debian and realize that it's reign of End All Be All of OS's must be curtailed and possibly even put an end to. No single OS should be this awesome. And we can no longer ignore the fact that it is.

  • Awesome! But... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @03:10PM (#29673879)

    This is a really cool thing, except that I wonder how much this is going to be used? I'm sure there's a group of people who will be interested in this, and it might be a great stepping stone for those that want to move to/from FreeBSD to/from Linux, but a lot of the FreeBSD community is heavily focused on the fact that FreeBSD is developed as a complete OS. The userland and the kernel are developed by the same people and integrated. So while this is exciting, I'm not sure how much interest you're going to get from the FreeBSD community. Similarly, a lot of the Linux people who use Debian don't think of using Debian but think of using Linux, Debian just happens to be the distribution they choose.

    Now, what may be interesting that'll come out of this is packages with better FreeBSD compatibility. That is something I look forward to.

    • I have been using Debian for years. I have seen comparisons that indicate that I would get better performance on my mail server with FreeBSD, but I am not going to make that leap. However, if I get some or all of the performance advantage using Debian/kFreeBSD, I will try it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by at_slashdot (674436)

      While packages with better FreeBSD compatibility are nice, I wonder if getting more critical release bugs won't slow down Debian releases even more. If it's all positive development then is nice, but I'd like to know the downside of things too in order to tell if it's a good or a bad decision.

      • by vlm (69642)

        I wonder if getting more critical release bugs won't slow down Debian releases even more.

        Unlikely, since the Debian method of handling RC bugs is to remove the package from the release if its got RC bugs. And that process seems brutally fast...

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by petermgreen (876956)

          One thing about so called "rc" bugs in debian is that they divide into a few categories.

          * Those that while technically qualifying for severity serious aren't actually bad enough for the release team to take any action.
          * Those in packages that the release team considers unimportant enough to kick out.
          * The real rc bugs, those that can't be allowed in the release but aren't in packages that can reasonably be kicked out either. These are a small minority of the so-called "rc" bugs but they are the ones that re

    • The users I see are those who want stuff that the freebsd kernel has but don't want to learn a completely new userland and package management system*

      Now, what may be interesting that'll come out of this is packages with better FreeBSD compatibility.
      I doubt there will be much of that. It's only the freebsd kernel that Debian are using. The C library and toolchain are still GNU.

      *personally my only experiance with the freebsd "ports tree" has been bad. It seems that once a system had been installed for a whil

  • by nurb432 (527695) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @03:18PM (#29673953) Homepage Journal

    if you want FreeBSD, use it.. If you want Linux, use it instead.

    What real advantage is there in mixing things like this? And no im not trolling, i really don't understand the point here.

    • About the only thing that I can think of is that a Debian admin good with the few debian-only tools like APT feels more at home. I really don't get why Debian would do this though because of the fact that it will take away from its primary user base (Linux users) to help fill a possible niche of users (KFreeBSD users) that are small in number.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by nurb432 (527695)

        So just take stock freebsd, rename pkg_add to apt-get and you are done :)

        Ok, im joking of course but you see the point im sure.

      • by vlm (69642) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @04:17PM (#29674733)

        I really don't get why Debian would do this though because of the fact that it will take away from its primary user base (Linux users) to help fill a possible niche of users (KFreeBSD users) that are small in number.

        That type of question makes sense when asked about Microsoft, but doesn't even make sense when discussing Debian. "Why would Debian do this" is like a zen koan, until you're enlightened it makes no sense, or when it makes sense it means you're enlightened.

        Debian developers do what they want to do, within the legal framework and societal tolerance. If the guys doing the port, feel like doing the port, they do the port, and we get a "testing" quality port, and if its good enough, TPtB declare it a release-quality architecture and we eventually get a "stable" quality release. There is no "Debian" borg style hive mind, or if one does exist, instead of "the three laws of robotics" or "the ferengi laws of acquisition", the hive mind has the social contract and the DFSG. There is no top down militaristic business command structure. Very few people in Debian with positions of power have the "wikipedia" attitude of "I'm not personally interested in your work, so I shall gleefully destroy it while laughing, ha ha ha".

        In summary, they felt like doing it, they did it, some folks in positions of power acknowledge it. Its the same deal for all Debian packages, this port is not getting "special" treatment.

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      Debian is in effect raising BSD from the dead. IMO it's a good thing, the more OSes there are, the better.

    • by bzzfzz (1542813)
      Well, the whole point behind a distro is that everything -- the kernel, a bunch of loadable kernel modules, the libraries, the userland, any X Window system you might choose to run, and various other stuff -- is assembled and tested by others, and some sort of effort is made to evaluate interdependencies and resolve them in a sensible way. It isn't a trivial job.

      Sure, you could take an older Debian distro or one of the other distros, remove Linux, add FreeBSD, and you might get it to work. But I can gua

      • by nurb432 (527695)

        Well, the whole point behind a distro is that everything -- the kernel, a bunch of loadable kernel modules, the libraries, the userland, any X Window system you might choose to run, and various other stuff -- is assembled and tested by others, and some sort of effort is made to evaluate interdependencies and resolve them in a sensible way. It isn't a trivial job.

        And this happens now on BOTH sides of the fence, so mixing this improves the situation how? I see it making it worse if anything.

    • The point is that Debian is not supposed to be dependent on a specific kernel, but essentially it has been until now because HURD was such a failure.
    • by PCM2 (4486) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @03:35PM (#29674173) Homepage

      if you want FreeBSD, use it.. If you want Linux, use it instead.

      Yeah, that's what Debian said.

    • One good one is to test your assumptions: Making sure software ports cleanly over a couple of different (although very similar) underpinnings means you are likely to find bugs that you might otherwise overlook. But which would likely bite you later.

      Ok, so that's a reason for Debian to do it, not necessarily for you to use it, but it's a valid reason non the less.

      Also, the Linux kernel and the FreeBSD kernel are tuned differently. It's quite possible that one would be better under some loads than the other

  • by Anonymous Coward

    How long before he tries to shoe "GNU" into the FreeBSD name?

    • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @05:47PM (#29675605) Journal
      It's part of the name, and it makes sense. This is a GNU userland (importantly, a GNU libc) with a FreeBSD kernel. You probably can't run FreeBSD binaries on it, because they will expect different libraries. You can run any GNU programs that don't make system calls directly and you can run most GNU/Linux binaries with the Linux kernel ABI module loaded.
  • by MobyDisk (75490) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @03:35PM (#29674171) Homepage

    Is this a stepping stone to Debian moving from Linux to BSD permanently? I'm trying to figure out if the FreeBSD licenses are more compatible with the Debian philosphy, or less.

    • by IgnoramusMaximus (692000) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @03:43PM (#29674265)

      Is this a stepping stone to Debian moving from Linux to BSD permanently?

      Unless the elected leaders of Debian all go insane at the same time, not very likely.

      I'm trying to figure out if the FreeBSD licenses are more compatible with the Debian philosphy, or less.

      Far less. If Debian were to ever go BSD as its primary license (see point one), somewhere in the vicinity of 90% of its contributors would leave, probably to start a new GPL-ed distribution.

      Inclusion of the BSD kernel is not the same as an adoption of the BSD philosophy, as the kernel is an interchangeable component of the whole, very much like the much maligned Hurd is, of which there is also a Debian-based experimental distro.

    • by vlm (69642)

      Is this a stepping stone to Debian moving from Linux to BSD permanently? I'm trying to figure out if the FreeBSD licenses are more compatible with the Debian philosphy, or less.

      Essentially boils down to, is GPL or BSD closer to the DFSG and the Debian Social Contract. BSD allows closing the source off, thus it permits (but certainly does not require) behavior that is pretty much the opposite of social contract #1, #2, and #4, and DFSG #1, #2, #3. The BSD license does not by any means require a third party to participate in anti-social behavior.

      GPL is kind of like a nerf gun, you can't really hurt the community with it as long as you follow GPL rules, but BSD is more like a real

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by cbhacking (979169)

      Permanently seems unlikely, especially since Linux still has more users and developers (AFAIK) than FreeBSD. That said, if they maintain FreeBSD as a supported kernel, then more of the software packages that are normally run on Linux will be tested and supported on FreeBSD. This is a good thing. One problem that *BSD has faced historically is that a lot of software isn't actually written for a UNIX-like OS (i.e. written to the POSIX API) but is instead written for Linux specifically. Not only does that make

  • ...before some vocal peanut-gallery subset of Debian developers decide this is a horrible, undemocratic idea and must be put to a vote of everyone who has ever contributed a toenail to the distribution?

  • by cracauer (6353) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @05:18PM (#29675375) Homepage

    This sounds insane to people who approach this from the usual angle. Linux has a lot more support for all the junk and semi-junk hardware out there, but some of the GNU core Unix userland is of questionable quality. All of us cursed GNU creeping featurism in the commandline utilities and GNU libc problems at some time or another. You would think people want the Linux kernel and the FreeBSD Unix userland. So why go the other way round?

    There are very specific needs being addressed by using the FreeBSD kernel inside a Debian.

    FreeBSD's ports system for third-party applications only has a devhead, and that has caused an increasing number of problems. FreeBSD has stable branches and releases for kernel, for "core Unix" userland including binutils and gcc/g++, but not for third-party applications. At the time that this was created it was great, because what we wanted at the time was a stable base system to do "server stuff" with, and the ports/applications were just for accessing the things, a light desktop that didn't do much except run xterm and emacs.

    Today, I see two main problems with what worked a few years back:

    1) those "server style" third-party applications aren't sitting flat on a Unix anymore. They are stacks of dependencies of considerable depths. It's not an apache with mod_cgi and the base perl system anymore.

    2) some third-party applications became very aggressive lately and can be unusable in their newest releases. Many people bash GNOME and/or KDE, myself my favorite target is Xorg. The Xorg server has caused the most headaches across all my Linux and FreeBSD machines in the last years.

    So, here's the trick. FreeBSD only has one branch in ports, so even if you use an older -STABLE release branch of the FreeBSD core system you still get the newest releases of third-party applications via ports. That's why my *most* stable OS (FreeBSD) had caused me the most headaches lately, because it upgrades me to the newest Xorg *first*, not last like it should.

    I don't want to distract too much from the point of this posting by giving reasons why people want the FreeBSD kernel, let's just say there are enough of us. But no matter how much you want the FreeBSD kernel, many see increasing problems with ports/applications for the reasons I gave.

    Debian provides stable branches for all applications, and that makes some people who don't generally like Linux still go "PLING!".

    In addition to all that, Debian's packaging system, and the way that it is kept working (few package screwups upgrading), the way that it integrated /etc/* file management are simply first class and blow other Linuxes out of the water, too. Debian's packaging is the best out there, I haven't seen anyone challenge that notion in a long time.

    So, very suddenly you have a demand for the FreeBSD kernel in a Debian application provision system and here we are.

    %%

    (BTW, what blows my mind for real is that FreeBSD is now partially sold based on driver availability. Because they kept their NDIS windoze driver integration system alive and maintained when Linux didn't. That is ... something, I have to think about it)

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by evilviper (135110)

      So, here's the trick. FreeBSD only has one branch in ports, so even if you use an older -STABLE release branch of the FreeBSD core system you still get the newest releases of third-party applications via ports. That's why my *most* stable OS (FreeBSD) had caused me the most headaches lately, because it upgrades me to the newest Xorg *first*, not last like it should.

      Ummm. WHAT?

      Why are you installing all your software from the latest CVS snapshot of FreeBSD ports?

      You're supposed to use the RELEASE-tagged por

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