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Operating Systems Unix OS X BSD

Happy 20th Birthday, FreeBSD 220

Posted by timothy
from the long-may-it-wave dept.
mbadolato writes "FreeBSD celebrates its 20th birthday this week. On 19 June 1993, David Greenman, Jordan Hubbard and Rod Grimes announced the creation of their new fork of the BSD 4.3 operating system, and its new name: FreeBSD." And in the time since then, FreeBSD hasn't exactly stood still; it's spawned numerous other projects (like DragonFly BSD and PC-BSD), as well as served as the basis for much of Mac OS X; there's even a Raspberry Pi build.
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Happy 20th Birthday, FreeBSD

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  • Re:Well... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Freshly Exhumed (105597) on Friday June 21, 2013 @10:51PM (#44076247) Homepage

    If it is not in `cat /usr/share/calendar/calendar.history` on a FreeBSD box then I refuse to believe it happened.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 21, 2013 @11:04PM (#44076307)

    OpenBSD is a fork of NetBSD, and historically was never really involved in FreeBSD. Of course, all 3 share code under the friendly license.

  • by real-modo (1460457) on Saturday June 22, 2013 @03:55AM (#44077161)

    Hmmm.. last used for any length of time: FreeBSD 2.2.2 with FVWM95 (serial mouse!), back in '00 or thereabouts. (At the time, FreeBSD was reliable; Linux was not. Corel Linux--remember that, anyone? Urg. Red Hat? flaky, at the time. Mandrake Linux: slightly less flaky.)

    But the culture hasn't changed much, from a recent scout-round. I'd say your impression is correct. Here are some random thoughts:-

      *BSDers will say *BSD is more like "real Un*x", but as far as I can tell the OS has been riddled with schisms since the '70s. The "real Un*x" is a nostalgic fantasy (or an artefact of Stockholm syndrome, take your pick).

    *BSDers will say *BSD is reliable. That hasn't been a problem for Linux for a decade. (Except for Intel's video drivers...grrr.)

    Differences...apart from being behind the times hardware-wise (which you can do with Centos 4, if you want), the main difference is: only one "distro". (Although there are a few derivatives of FreeBSD and NetBSD, only their creators use them, pretty much.) BDSM submissives enjoy OpenBSD; no-one'd dare fork it.

    The FreeBSD man pages were better. Way better, as I recall. That's in part because they tried to avoid all that dubious GNU stuff. Can't say they were wrong about info(1), but I can say they were wrong about make(1).

    Filesystems. Linux and *BSD have *FAT*, NTFS, and ZFS in common. That's about it. FreeBSD has had ZFS for a couple of years longer than Linux.

    Culture. For a long time the *BSDs' attitude was "compile it from source, and fix the dependencies yourself". Like combining the bad parts of old-time Slackware and Gentoo. Might be better now; I've only tried Live CDs.

    Startup: I like the rc.conf startup configuration approach. (Way better than System Five initscripts. "Fragile" hardly begins to describe that approach.) I used Arch Linux for a long time because it had the closest approximation to rc.conf, but it also had drivers for USB and stuff. You know, the hardware I had attached to my PC. Not much, back in the day; but I wanted to use it. Arch was a pretty good compromise.

    Now, Arch Linux has moved away from an rc.conf-ish approach to using systemd. I've been getting progressively more annoyed with all the Sieved Poots appearing in linux, so I recently tried PC-BSD, which is supposed to be an end-user friendly porcelain on top of FreeBSD. Unfortunately, it's dire. Bug after glitch after missing object. On both my PCs, the typography is eyewatering. Worse than Windows 3.11.

    You're better off with FreeBSD. I might be going back there soon. Probably, though, it won't have support for my USB wifi stick. If you never see me comment again, you'll know what's happened.

  • Re:Congrats FreeBSD (Score:5, Informative)

    by Arker (91948) on Saturday June 22, 2013 @05:10AM (#44077375) Homepage

    There is a little bit of truth hiding behind your words but your statement is still very misleading.

    GPL is much more 'truly open' precisely because no 'proprietary' implementation of a standard with a GPL reference implementation will be able to simply lift the code (legally.) *Proprietary* being the keyword here - you said commercial, and that is simply false. You can make a commercial implementation of a standard with a GPL reference implementation, and furthermore you can simply copy that reference implementation to do it!

    Proprietary != commercial. Slackware, RedHat, Ubuntu, etc. are all commercial. GPL is perfectly fine with commercial. It's only proprietary that it objects to (and for good reason!)

  • Re:It just works (Score:4, Informative)

    by steg0 (882875) on Saturday June 22, 2013 @08:27AM (#44077807) Homepage

    I recall frequent kernel panics while booting that were related to the Intel Ethernet chipset on a SuperMicro H8SGL-F board (not exactly the least common hardware) in a released version (I think it was 8.2 or 8.3), which was probably this [freebsd.org]. Rather annoying.

    There have been other problems, too (off the top of my head), like

    • the mediocre PAE support,
    • and the in my eyes rather ungracefully handled transition to Xorg 7.2 in the 6.x releases, which for me didn't work at all like the documentation [freebsd.org] said, although this was not a problem of the base system, but the ports collection.
    • Then there's stuff like some guys arbitrarily deciding to reimplement the system installer and on top of that, to remove the old one in the time window between 9.0 RC 3 and 9.0-RELEASE, see (along with some elitist Linux bashing going on:) here [gmane.org] and here [gmane.org]
    • or the transition to Clang at a time when it wasn't even ready for the non-x86 architectures!

    So sometimes I ask myself whether this OS is really ready for prime time

    But enough of the rant. I've been sticking to it since 2000 and for most of the time it just runs and does its job. It's got some nice coherent documentation too.

Our business in life is not to succeed but to continue to fail in high spirits. -- Robert Louis Stevenson

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