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Arch GNU/Linux Ported To Run On the FreeBSD Kernel 79

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from the joining-wheezy-on-the-other-side dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The Arch Linux distribution has been modified to run off the FreeBSD 9.0 kernel as an alternative to using Linux. The developer of Arch BSD explained his reasoning as enjoying FreeBSD while also liking the Arch Linux philosophy of a 'fast, lightweight, optimized distro,' so he sought to combine the two operating systems to have FreeBSD at its core while being encircled by Arch. The Arch BSD initiative is similar to Debian GNU/kFreeBSD."
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Arch GNU/Linux Ported To Run On the FreeBSD Kernel

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  • WTF GNU (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @11:55AM (#42669903)

    The name of the distro is "Arch Linux," not GNU/Linux. You can rename a GPL package whatever you want when you distribute it.

  • by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot@@@hackish...org> on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @11:56AM (#42669915)

    I probably wouldn't actually use a Linux-distro-now-with-BSD-kernel for regular usage, but the porting efforts tend to do a good job uncovering not-quite-portable parts of supposedly portable code, which makes everything more robust. So I like that they exist, because the fact that they work at all gives me some more confidence that portable code is working like it's supposed to.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @11:58AM (#42669933)

    Every time shitty Linux news is posted to this site.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @11:59AM (#42669957)

    As a longtime FreeBSD user, I am wondering why bother? I can run Linux binaries through the built-in compatibility layer since at least 7.x

    How is using the FreeBSD kernel with the GNU userland any better than running the GNU binaries directly on a full FreeBSD system? If this is to improve "desktop" usability, how does this compare to something like the PC-BSD distribution of FreeBSD?

    • by vlm (69642) on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @12:07PM (#42670051)

      I would imagine various privilege escalation attacks are microscopically more complicated, at least for skript kiddies and automated systems, on a mixed system. Security via obscurity should never be your only line of defense, but it is "a" line of defense.

    • by aliquis (678370) <dospam@gmail.com> on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @12:11PM (#42670097) Homepage

      Maybe they like the GNU userland better but most likely it's about getting some features from the FreeBSD kernel to Arch.

      I assume there's still plenty of GNU stuff in FreeBSD to? Or? I know the various BSDs has argued and switched to BSD licensed compilers previously.

      Personally I would like to have what I'm used to and have it work like I'm used to regardless of OS.

      OpenSolaris didn't had the GNU utilities and wasn't build the OS wasn't built for things like open sound system and things wasn't made to build on Solaris instead so it was a pain (imho, ymmv) to use for that purpose.

      Maybe Pacman work better than portupgrade to.

      • by devman (1163205) on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @12:19PM (#42670203)
        I'm liking the idea of using ZFS on an Arch BSD system, also I agree, pacman is awesome.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @12:23PM (#42670239)

        I used arch and I am still using FreeBSD. Pacman can yield some nasty surprise if you have a seldom powered up computer. Arch really needs a tight update schedule or you might have missed a step that breaks upgrading. If you want a BSD kernel and gnu tools, just install them from ports.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @02:23PM (#42671789)

        Linux is a monolithic kernel
        FreeBSD is a monolithic kernel

        Do you know what monolithic kernel is?

        Monolithic kernel is the original architecture for software what later started to be called as "operating system".
        Before we called specific software as "operating system", we called them as "kernel". And it had other nicknames too like "core", "nucleus", "master program", "supervisor", "controller" and so on.
        The term "operating system" became widely used when monolithic operating system architecture got a competitor. That was "server-client" architecture.

        The idea on "server-client" was that one giant monolithic operating system were sliced to multiple independent parts. A tiny microkernel what only had most critical parts of kernel, and rest of the kernel were sliced to multiple parts all doing specific task. Example every filesystem was own server. Every network protocol (kernel level like TCP, IP, UDP etc), printer interfaces, input services, output services, sound interfaces etc. All those were made as own program aka server what were directly controlled by microkernel. Together microkernel + servers build up the software what a kernel did alone.

        At that time kernels were monolithic not just by architecture but as binary level as well. Meaning you got only a single file what was the whole kernel (whole operating system).
        Then we got server-client architecture what was on binary and architecture level bunch of binaries, meaning you got multiple files (together whole operating system).
        The term "kernel" did not anymore apply to both of them. Neither did any of other nicknames for kernel. So the new term gone widely accepted and it was "operating system". As it could be applied to both, a monolithic and server-client architectures. Both were systems what operated the hardware and software.

        Then someone got idea on marketing department on Microsoft that all software should be called as "operating system" because it has nice technical and mystical echo on it. Later on, after decades of abusing that term, we have ended up to situation where most people don't know that Linux kernel and Linux operating system are exactly the same thing. And that FreeBSD is a monolithic kernel what means it is the whole operating system as well.

        And we have even improved the monolithic architecture in such manner that it can be sliced to multiple binaries (modules etc) but still we can not reject the monolithic architecture, meaning that even we have multiple binaries, when they gets loaded by kernel, they are integrated in manner like they would never have been separated in binary level.

        There are lies how NT is kernel, as it isn't a kernel. It is a operating system. NT follows server-client architecture. The idea to call NT as kernel is that because kernel is synonym for operating system and NT is operating system, it can be called as well as kernel. But it can not be. NT is operating system, a bunch of servers ran by microkernel.

        XNU is operating system, not a kernel. XNU is operating system what Apple use in OS X and iOS. XNU is a server-client by architecture and it has as well a microkernel called Mach. Many say that XNU is based to FreeBSD, but it is not. As Apple only borrowed filesystem and network protocol stack from FreeBSD and leaved everything else. It is like your liver and heart is replaced by organs taken from other person, you are still you but you have other organs, still you are "based" to your parents (unless your DNA change so dramatically that you can not be found to be as).

        GNU/Linux is propaganda of RMS. As RMS doesn't like the idea that Linus Torvalds managed to write a operating system what GNU project needed and couldn't manage to get working.

        GNU has nothing to do with Linux operating system (nor FreeBSD operating system). GNU is bunch of system libraries and system programs. Even the GNU bootloader GRUB isn't part of operating system. It is just a bootloader what gets executed by motherboard firmware and then its task is to read correct O

        • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @06:56PM (#42674757)

          Ignore troll. He doesn't understand how memory management works and how programs are executed so he's making all the wrong distinctions. Most specifically regarding protected memory and what it meant for the kernel design when the x86 came to have it. Just the fact that Plan 9 is conveniently omitted from his rant is a big tell... But unlike him I'm not going to bother explaining the tech stuff to non-programmers. More importantly it's not really important:

          It's called GNU\Linux to show respect to the spirit of the GNU project and the license it's released with.

          Regardless, Linus Torvalds himself stated on film he feels calling it GNU\Linux is the right thing to do. And there you have it from God's lips himself ;)

        • by aliquis (678370) <dospam@gmail.com> on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @07:26PM (#42675153) Homepage

          Cool story. FreeBSD is an operating system.

          TL;DR. At least you had my attention until "operating system." You're welcome.

    • by the_humeister (922869) on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @12:29PM (#42670335)

      64-bit Linux binaries don't run under the compatibility layer.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @01:04PM (#42670719)

      Actually, I'd be interested in the opposite. A Linux kernel (wider hardware support) with BSD userland & BSD init.

    • by smash (1351) on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @09:53PM (#42676515) Homepage Journal
      Why bother indeed, when the BSD userland is more unix-defacto-standards compliant, and often faster. Like sed, for example which runs >2x faster than the GNU version. ref: http://lists.freebsd.org/pipermail/freebsd-stable/2011-January/061084.html [slashdot.org]
      • by squiggleslash (241428) on Monday January 28, 2013 @11:39AM (#42715451) Homepage Journal

        when the BSD userland is more unix-defacto-standards compliant

        I'm not sure it is anymore. The prevalance of the GNU userland via GNU/Linux has effectly made it the standard. I gave up using ksh a decade ago because of the number of scripts etc that required bash's features, even when supposedly written for generic Bourne.

        Now, of course, it'd be easy to argue that more Unixes implement something closer to BSD than GNU, but the counter argument to that is that GNU/Linux seems to be, by the far, the most commonly implemented. Mac OS X comes close, but developers tend to actually ignore the Unix side of Mac OS X for the most part anyway - given a package that includes scripts, it's far more likely to have been provided primarily for a GNU user than a BSD user.

  • by ArsonSmith (13997) on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @12:00PM (#42669963) Journal

    I'm not quite dead yet. Think I'll go for a walk. I'm so happy, SO HAPP....<thud>

  • by yourlord (473099) on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @12:10PM (#42670083) Homepage

    Technological masturbation what these GNU "Linux" userlands with FreeBSD kernel projects boil down to. FreeBSD already comes with a tightly integrated and very secure userland. Use the best tool for the job.. The Linux kernel is great.. The FreeBSD kernel is great.. If you need GNU/Linux userland functionality either use GNU/Linux or simply use a native FreeBSD version of those tools on a native FreeBSD system. If you need FreeBSD functionality use a userland designed and optimized specifically for it instead of trying to hammer a foreign kludge on top of it..

    Wasted effort that would have been better spent on something useful.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @12:33PM (#42670381)

      Like tearing down the efforts of others in forum posts!

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @12:35PM (#42670399)

      Wasted effort that would have been better spent on something useful.

      That time is not yours to spend.

      Some people spend their time playing golf, others spend it arguing on the interwebs. None of them are useful but it is also unlikely that those who do so will be willing to do something else unless you pay them to.
      This dude spent his time doing something way more useful than most other people but you call it wasted time.
      As long as people participates in sports, watch TV or go to the cinema I find it a bit odd to call this a waste of time.

      • by yourlord (473099) on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @01:29PM (#42671051) Homepage

        You're right, it's not my time and I'm not going to claim to desire to dictate how they spend theirs.

        I just don't see the value proposition in spending time on this versus spending the time perfecting Arch Linux. I'm not an Arch user, though I'm interested in it. Right now I tend to mainly use Debian, Mint, and FreeBSD. What I'm sure of is that there are bugs and usability issues in Arch that this effort could have been used to address.

        I can appreciate their efforts from a technical standpoint, but in the end they used that time to create a technical novelty that in reality will not see a long term use nor large scale adoption. A sharper and more polished Arch experience would have a tremendously larger impact compared to this.

        • by thoth (7907) on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @01:42PM (#42671245) Journal

          I just don't see the value proposition in spending time on this versus spending the time perfecting Arch Linux. I'm not an Arch user, though I'm interested in it. Right now I tend to mainly use Debian, Mint, and FreeBSD. What I'm sure of is that there are bugs and usability issues in Arch that this effort could have been used to address.

          I didn't read the article (yet... yeah I know) but I can already come up with an answer - maybe this guy's expertise/interest is in low level kernel details that would crop up swapping kernels, instead of in bugs/usability issues which sound UI or user-mode related to me. It's like asking a compiler internals person to fix GNOME 3. Come on, not every developer and their particular skillset is 100% interchangeable with the area that you think needs attention.

        • by neurojab (15737) on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @02:03PM (#42671543)

          >I can appreciate their efforts from a technical standpoint, but in the end they used that time to create a technical novelty that in reality will not see a long term use nor large scale adoption. A sharper and more polished Arch experience would have a tremendously larger impact compared to this.

          Personally, I don't see the point to having a Linux userland with a FreeBSD kernel or vice versa. I'd much rather have a stable system with wide adoption (either Linux or FreeBSD, not some unholy hybrid), but I like the fact that this exists anyway. In the free and open source software world, anyone with interest and time on their hands can do what they want to do. This is in opposition to the closed model where a few decision makers are trying to maximize profit given their resources.

          FOSS works a lot like darwinian evolution. A lot of random mutations occur and most do not survive. A few, however, do survive and become widespread and we are better off for it. Don't think of it as wasted effort, think of it as part of the process.

    • It's something the developers can put on their resume. And that is the real value.

    • by MightyYar (622222) on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @12:52PM (#42670587)

      I could see some use in this. I happen to like FreeBSD and ports - but if you were a Arch Linux expert, now you have a way to get really stable ZFS up quickly without learning a whole new environment.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @12:15PM (#42670141)

    The author of this suggests that ArchBSD helps with not having to build from source, which may in fact draw the masses of people that don't realize FreeBSD uses PKG_ADD and building from source is optional in most cases. PC-BSD has its own package system as well which makes creating a whole new one pretty unnecessary. Freshports is more than adequate most times even still. With all that's lacking where ARM is concerned why is there still a focus on this and why is it headline worthy?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @12:22PM (#42670229)

    I always used Arch primarily for setting up servers ... the FreeBSD kernel is an interesting addition.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @12:38PM (#42670433)

    I'm wondering how they'll go about the init system now that Arch has decided to move to systemd and drop support for initscripts. Last I heard systemd uses a lot of Linux specific features and cannot easily be ported to a *BSD.

    Too bad the site is down at the moment.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @12:48PM (#42670541)

      The only init package that appears in the repo is openrc, so I'm assuming they're not using systemd.

      http://www.archbsd.net/packages/core/x86_64/openrc/

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @02:27PM (#42671827)

      Wonder no more. This is my current escape route from something Netcraft never accounted for - systemd.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @02:34PM (#42671893)

      I'm wondering about this as well. I wish there was a more cross platform way to keep log files and start programs. If only we could use text files.

      • Re:Init system (Score:3, Interesting)

        by bzipitidoo (647217) <bzipitidoo@yahoo.com> on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @06:37PM (#42674487) Journal

        LOL. I use Arch Linux, but forcing everyone to switch to systemd has me looking at other distros. Thinking Lubuntu might be the way to go. Read that Ubuntu is going to a rolling release starting in version 14.

        The Arch people get pretty nasty if you question their decisions. I asked why they made this move to systemd, and got "you're an ignoramus if you don't understand" kind of responses. Maybe they don't have a good reason? And maybe that's because there isn't a good reason to switch to systemd? The only good thing I've heard about systemd is that it boots faster.

        • by spike hay (534165) <blu_ice@v i o l a t e . m e.uk> on Thursday January 24, 2013 @11:48AM (#42680505) Homepage

          This [archlinux.org] explains it pretty well:

          Systemd has plenty of advantages. People just hate change and having to type systemctl instead of rc.d. It does suck that BSD is getting increasingly left out in the cold with this and udev, though.

          • by bzipitidoo (647217) <bzipitidoo@yahoo.com> on Thursday January 24, 2013 @04:12PM (#42683247) Journal

            That's more explanation than I managed to turn up poking around on the Arch website and asking in the forums. Thanks. Yet I don't buy it. Also, that the discussion isn't more prominent shows another problem: documentation. Would've been nice to provide a list of common initscripts way of doing things with systemd equivalents, to ease the transition.

            For instance, took a bit of time to realize that /var/log/messages was no longer used to hold logs, then hunt around to find out what systemd does instead, which is "journalctl". journalctl appears to compress the logs, which may or may not be a good idea, depends on what uses are made of them. I know of logrotate and how to configure it to use compression or not, but how is this done in systemd? One bad thing about compressing them is that if you want to see more of the most recent messages than journalctl stores in the clear, you're in for a wait. Try "journalctl", go to the end with 'G', and you'll be waiting a few minutes. I think what must be going on is that journalctl is uncompressing all the logs, but I don't know. Maybe journalctl is better, but I'd like some more information so I can judge for myself. What I've seen so far doesn't look better.

            I am not convinced that systemd is following the UNIX principle of lots of small, simple utilities that each do one thing and do it well. Despite their claims of modularity, systemd seems to be making system initialization into a monolithic process. What compelling reason do they have for this approach? None that I've heard. The reason we stick with the Linux kernel is that it's mature, supports a lot of hardware, and contains a lot of good work and good algorithms for the core function of an OS, process and resource management. We don't stick with it because it's monolithic, more like in spite of that, and because there isn't any decent microkernel alternative. So we're stuck with monolithic kernels. Why would we want to throw away modular initialization systems for a monolithic one?

            BTW, that thread also shows the nastiness I was talking about. Consider this gem:

            My two cents about Arch moving to systemd: Arch devs knows what they're doing, period. Stop whining about KISS/Arch way because many of you obviously don't get it.

            Yeah, I like being talked down to like that. Not.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @12:47PM (#42670527)

    why? why so much dedication on to things that have no point vs things that will make Linux better in terms of usability and to take over the desktop. Such a waste.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @01:06PM (#42670755)

    Headline makes it sound like Linux has been ported to BSD. Ten years ago I would have said "That doesn't make any sense," but then User Mode Linux came along (where other operating systems, rather than just hardware, become the port platform target). If you RTFA, though, this does not involve User Mode Linux. It doesn't involve any Linux at all, so it should be left out of the name; it should be called Arch GNU/BSD.

    To put it another way, when you run a certain multimedia player on your NOT-AN-XBOX hardware, you might call that app XBMC. You don't (ever) call it X Box Multimedia Consoleorwhateverthelastwordis, because there's no XBox involved.

    Another analogy (because this is Slashdot where we love such things). I once heard a funny story about an English man who had dark skin, being called an "African-American" by some PC-non-thinker. The dunce would call him African-American, and the English dude would say, "No, I'm not American. I wasn't born in American, I don't live in America, I've never been there. Don't call me American," and the PC guy would think "but you're black, except I'm not allowed to label a person 'black' because the pc police say I have to blindly search-and-replace 'black' with 'African American' so..." and then he'd repeat the mistake.

    That is what you're doing when you call this project "Linux." You sound just as dumb as the "You're African-American" dolt. It's not Linux, just as the black Englishman is not an African-American.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @01:58PM (#42671473)

    So the technical truth is: "Arch Linux has a version where Linux operating system has been swapped to FreeBSD operating system."

    Yes, that is the truth. There is no "GNU/Linux" and even that both, Linux and FreeBSD are monolithic kernels (== monolithic operating system) they are not "just kernels" like microkernels are.

    GNU/Linux would be true only if Linux would be a microkernel but then it would be HURD/Linux as HURD is the operating system, what use a microkernel. HURD is microkernel + servers == server-client OS architecture != monolithic OS architecture.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @02:38PM (#42671955)

      Linux is not an operating system.

      It does not come with bash, or ls, or a shell, or libraries, or anything.

      It's just a kernel.

      Sorry, you may want to review what you think "Linux" is, sounds like you're talking about a distro.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @02:13PM (#42671679)

    I'm sure this is an interesting project, though I can't imagine many people will want an OS which takes for ever to install and won't run on a lot of consumer hardware. As others have said, the benefit here will probably be patching upstream projects which were not entirely portable.

  • by Lawrence_Bird (67278) on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @02:42PM (#42671987) Homepage

    In December I had the opportunity to try Arch out while attempting to get Xen working on a newly built pc. The Xen experiment failed but I did find myself liking the way Arch did things enough to install it on a SD card for my laptop just a week ago, replacing a FreeBSD 8 install. I really keep it there mostly for emergencies so perhaps I'll wipe and reinstall with this new BSD variant. But I'll still be keeping 9.1 on my desktop, at least for now.

  • by WizADSL (839896) on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @02:46PM (#42672037)
    "The Arch Linux distribution has been modified to run off the FreeBSD 9.0 kernel as an alternative to using Linux. The developer of Arch BSD explained his reasoning as enjoying FreeBSD while also liking the Arch Linux philosophy of a 'fast, lightweight, optimized distro,' so he sought to combine the two operating systems to have FreeBSD at its core while being encircled by Arch. The Arch BSD initiative is similar to Debian GNU/kFreeBSD."

    Well, if you want it "encircled" you're gonna need another Arch. Or maybe some cowbell?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @04:18PM (#42673021)

    All 3 users are excited.

  • by jones_supa (887896) on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @05:58PM (#42673981)
    When googling for some Linux answers there often comes up rather insightful posts from the Arch Linux bulletin board. I don't use the distro myself, but I see the smart people in their community as a positive thing.
  • by DarwinSurvivor (1752106) on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @10:35PM (#42676803)
    Does this maen it will now be possible to run Arch in a FreeBSD jail like we can currently do with Debian?
  • by unixisc (2429386) on Thursday January 24, 2013 @08:42AM (#42679195)
    And why don't they take FBSD userland, put it on top of the HURD kernel, and try it out?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 27, 2013 @02:05PM (#42708531)

    Their IRC channel says:

    Note: It's BSD userland ignore the sources that say it's GNU userland

    They should have made this clear on the homepage.
    It's not even hidden in a FAQ, as far as I can tell.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 02, 2013 @02:11AM (#42769453)

    You all are a bunch of dumb-fuck, think-you-know-it-alls who really do not possess a smidgeon of actual experience or true knowledge. Talk about wasting time? I am my wasting time berating you fuck-asses for calling this project a waste of time. What you do at work is a waste of time regardless of your worthless jobs. Try posting something meaningful, if even counter-supportive of the article, but for fuck-sake, don't waste every readers' time with pointless...opinionated...intelligence-lacking posts. Good day.

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