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Intel Operating Systems BSD

Intel using FreeBSD 218

Posted by Nik
from the Capital-F-damnit dept.
From Wes Peters, via DaemonNews. Intel's InBusiness Storage Station is a network file server in-a-box. Intel, despite their investment in Linux companies, is using FreeBSD as their OS of choice, as they are now stating. Of particular interest is their Mean Time Between Failure, 77,244 hours, or a shade under 9 years. That's probably a little on the low side, but quite respectable nonetheless.
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Intel using FreeBSD

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  • by Mr Donkey (83304)
    "The Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF) is 77,244 hrs."

    How did they come up with that morsel of stability,.That's about 9 years. So ... this thing has been tested for 9 years. Definitely not!!!
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Time for a BSD song.


    It's cleaner. It's nicer. It's BSD!
    It's thoughtful. It's laid out. It's BSD!


    INTEL YAHOO INTEL YAHOO INTEL YAHOO CDROM.COM!


    Better license. Better coding. It's BSD!
    Better behaved. Better security. It's BSD!


    INTEL YAHOO INTEL YAHOO INTEL YAHOO CDROM.COM!



    It's BSD! It's Open Source! It's Logical!
    It's FREE! It's YOURS! Get it today!


  • I find it hard to believe that they have some 286en sitting around running commodity hard drives, and that they haven't had the cord kicked, or a drive fail, or a fan overheat in nine years.

    Don't get me wrong; I use FreeBSD at home, and I love it. I just think this might be a bit exaggerated.

  • by RodStewart (13476)
    any computer you have to upgrade the hardware before you have to reboot is cool. how is freebsd's perfomance compared to linux? oh , and, can i run gnome or kde on it?

    thanks a bunch
  • Sorry guys, but this should be strange to no one - despite their investment in Linux, BSD has the widely acknowleged claim as the most secure OS out of the box. Jeez, if I were building server boxes you aren't intended to have to bring down for years, BSD is *the* obvious choice.
  • I've used both Linux and FreeBSD on all kinds of machines, and I'm still wondering what the compelling reason to use either operating system is. Both are lighning fast, rock solid, easy to upgrade and maintain, and both are free.
  • by howardjp (5458)
    Performace is faster, I have noticed many improvements in both stability and speed since switching. Also, nearly any UNIX application will run without problems under FreeBSD.
  • MTBF does not mean how long can it go for without crashing - it means that in a population of 77,244
    one will fail every hour.
  • Linux and BSD will both continue to have their place in the time to come; it is NOT, in my opinion, constructive to highlight the use of one OS over the other as an issue.
    The only thing that interests me in that story is the fact that they chose a FREE OS over a commercial one.
    This should be told as yet another solid victory for Open Source!
  • by BitPoet (40070) on Monday December 20, 1999 @10:22AM (#1458312) Homepage
    A year has approximately 9000 hours in it
    To get mean uptimes of ~77,000, simply run, for example, 9 computers for a year. One should crash once.

    There are a lot more than 9 computers in the world running -BSD, so you could take a sample on the number of computers running -BSD, and the number of times those computers had to reboot in, say a month. In 31 days, there are 744 hours. To get a total uptime of ~77,000 hours, simply run 1000 computers all month.

    Given, you'd need more than just this to get an average mean uptime, but you get the idea.

    Of course, I could be wrong.

    BitPoet
  • I don't find this very surprising. What I've seen of the various BSD flavours has been very positive for me. They are still lacking kernel drivers that I would like to see, but I would like to use BSD more.
  • FreeBSD is an exceptionally stable server platform. It generally demands a lot more from the admin than Linux, but in the hands of a competent admin it's solid as a rock. I'm not surprised they're using it. Also worth nothing that the BSD license allows them to take it proprietary, whereas with Linux it would have to stay opensource.

    I'd like to see more integration between the FreeBSD and Linux developers. FreeBSD has a purity and focus not found in Linux; whereas Linux has much better documentation and support, and as a result is much easier to use.

    It's important to make sure the Unix market doesn't get fragmented. Linux and *BSD developers should co-operate to ensure that they implement common features in a standard way. For example, the high grade NFS stuff (caching, etc.) should be compatible between Linux and *BSD so that you can run a Linux client with a BSD server, or the other way around.

    Competition between the different free Unixes is good, so long as it doesn't give MSFT or someone else a wedge to drive between the communities. When two Unixes become incompatible, each loses access to all the developers in the other camp.
  • by atdot (44919)
    Asking how the performance is as compared to Linux (pick one, there is only 75) is going to make people go crazy...... but personally, ........ BSD is almost as fast as Linux (again, pick one) but 10 times more stable. And yes, you can run Xfree86 (including Gnome, KDE, E, whatever else you want, on it.

    heh... It's free give it a shot, if you like Unix, you may end up liking it more than Linux.

    just a thought....


    @.
  • by cpeterso (19082) on Monday December 20, 1999 @10:25AM (#1458317) Homepage
    Intel, despite their investment in Linux companies, is using FreeBSD as their OS of choice, as they are now stating.

    They do not have an "OS of choice". Intel wants is OS agnostic. They don't care which OS you run, as long as it runs on Intel hardware. Intel probably used FreeBSD for this "file server applicance" because of the BSD license, which is favorable to companies that would like to borrow BSD code for closed, commercial products.

    their Mean Time Between Failure, 77,244 hours, or a shade under 9 years.

    When Intel quotes a MTBF of 9 years, they are talking about the hardware, most likely the hard disks. They are not talking about FreeBSD.



  • by cybaea (79975)

    You don't need to test for nine (or whatever) years: you just have to test enough of them over a shorter period of time.

    An example: if you test 1,000 devices for a day and three of them crash, then the MTBF is probably around 1,000/3 days i.e. a year.

    Note: This example is a gross over-simplification! Please have a look at any decent statistics textbook for the correct details. I hope you get the idea anyhow.

  • Most of these MTBF numbers are based on the failure rate in the middle part of the reliability curve, in between "infant mortality" and "wearout". A 9 year MTBF does not mean that the device will last 9 years, it means if you had 108 (9*12) devices, you would average 1 failure per month.
  • by poopie (35416) on Monday December 20, 1999 @10:28AM (#1458321) Journal
    /me picks up dead horse
    /me beats hose

    Why would INTEL choose FreeBSD when Linux has all of the (deserved or not) hype, momentum, and business interest?

    To answer that question, get a room full of lawyers for computer company legal departments together and have them read the GPL.

    .. ask them if they'd like their company's product to be involved with the GPL license.

    I understand the GPL. You understand the GPL. Maybe 95+% of slashdot readers understand the GPL, but do you think that corporate lawyers for tech companies who make their money from intellectual property protection are eager to get involved with anything that might require disclosure of their intellectual property?

    I'm betting that many companies have official policies (enforced or not) against opensource software due in part to fear of the GPL.

    so... the decision comes down to linux+gpl_potential_legal_worries or *BSD+100%_FREE_No_strings_attached .

    And the legal department chooses which one??

    __
    Despite how we try to ignore them, facts take their toll.
  • by twit (60210) on Monday December 20, 1999 @10:28AM (#1458322) Homepage
    You figure it by running a large sample for a short period of time, and then extrapolating the mean time according to a standard distribution.

    Translation from statistician: you expect failures to follow a normal distribution, or bell curve. Let's say you run a thousand machines for a month or two as part of your testing. Even with a very long MTBF, you'll have a couple of failures.

    You can also use component failure data to figure this out (what's the MTBF of the motherboard, of the processor and other critical components) but aggregating these numbers increases your errors somewhat.

    --
  • Why would INTEL choose FreeBSD when Linux has all of the (deserved or not) hype, momentum, and business interest?

    To answer that question, get a room full of lawyers for computer company legal departments together and have them read the GPL.

    .. ask them if they'd like their company's product to be involved with the GPL license.

    I understand the GPL. You understand the GPL. Maybe 95+% of slashdot readers understand the GPL, but do you think that corporate lawyers for tech companies who make their money from intellectual property protection are eager to get involved with anything that might require disclosure of their intellectual property?

    I'm betting that many companies have official policies (enforced or not) against opensource software due in part to fear of the GPL.

    so... the decision comes down to linux+gpl_potential_legal_worries or *BSD+100%_FREE_No_strings_attached .

    And the legal department chooses which one??

    __
    Despite how we try to ignore them, facts take their toll.
  • Nice idea, but before we get "integration" across the Freenix world, shouldn't we please get a bit of integration across *Linux first? Right now, there's a whole long ways to go.
  • How did they come up with that morsel of stability,.That's about 9 years. So ... this thing has been tested for 9 years. Definitely not!!!

    It's pretty simple, they've made a mistake on the web page. It should be "The Total Mean Time Between Failure (TMTBF) which is explained as such:
    They have 15 machines which have been up for an average of 5149.6 hours (214.56 days), and when the 15th machine goes down, all of the hours are added up to achieve 77244.

  • In my personal experience i have had more luck using linux as a workstation while using *bsd as a server platform. As far as the MTBF goes I am guessing that this is a little bit of a fudge and a bit misleading. Chances are that they are using the death of hardware as the failure. Very rarely have a i seen an os (non MS) just stop working.
  • I guess they let 100 machines run for a couple of weeks, recorded the number of times they crashed, and statistically infered with certainty 95% that the uptime is somewhere between 8.5 and 9.5 years. That would presume that uptime has an exponential distribution, meaning that whether a crash occurs or not would have nothing to do with how long the machine has been up already. Therefore such a method would not account for hard disk or other component failure due to age.
  • FYI. That Dameonnews link doesn't work. Also, i looked on their site, and i couldn't find an article related to the topic.
  • Well, you can calculate stuff like this...
  • How is it that *BSD demands more from an admin that *Linux does? I run both, and I really don't see that kind of dramatic distinction.
  • by Merk (25521) on Monday December 20, 1999 @10:33AM (#1458332) Homepage

    If that's true then:

    A list of things likely to fail before FreeBSD

    • Windows
    • OS/2
    • Linux
    • Most calculators
    • Most moving parts in a car
    • Your average toothbrush
    • Stout leather shoes
    • Poorly built houses

    The strange thing is that I bet any 9 year old computers running FreeBSD have Y2K BIOS issues and will fail in what now, less than 2 weeks?

    Good thing most of us won't be around to see it, as the Korean, Indian and Pakistani nukes simultaneously launch at 12:00:00 on Jan 1st and wipe us out, turning the survivors into horrible mutant-zombies.

    Completely off-topic but (and maybe this would make a good Ask Slashdot) does anybody have any good suggestions for post-apocalyptic type movies to watch over the next couple of weeks? How about video games? For that one I know only of the "Fallout" series.

  • by Cloud K (125581)
    Microsoft looking for FreeBSD experts and Intel using FreeBSD. Smells fishy to me! Thinking: Windows 2005 - Based on FreeBSD technology, and teamed up with Intel to help dominate the PC market and stomp out Linux...
  • I've been stomping around being mildly irritated because NetBSD doesn't seem to support SMP and software RAID. Or rather; it might, at least software RAID. But apparently you need some special package for it. I'm probably being suitably lame about it, but with the Linux kernel, I compiled in multiple disk support and had the system running in half an hour.

    Still, that NetBSD can run on my old VAX computers are golden. It's nothing as interesting as having a VAXstation 3100 serving as Windows NT PDC.

  • by cybaea (79975)

    how is freebsd's perfomance

    Probably not very good (!!) since the article mentions (my emphasis) that

    The underlying operating system is a customized version of freeBSD that has been optimized specifically for file serving.

    The implication seems to be that FreeBSD is not optimal for servers. My guess is that they choose it for its (allegedly) superior security model.

    Is there any chance that this discussion will not turn into a holy war? No? Thought not... :-(

  • To find out what Mean Time Between Failure really means, try this Adaptec Whitepaper [adaptec.com] for an informative look as to how an MTBF can be calculated.
    Joseph Elwell.
  • Fails once every 9 years, hardware only I suspect.

    That I could believe, except I am a cynic today. If Intel starts to make boxes that last 9 or 10 years without fail, 4 or 5 years from now they will go broke due to lack of sales. This makes me suggest a decimal place error, maybe 770 hours or about 1 month....

    It's like washing machines, when my folks got married they brought a washing machine, it lasted 20 years, they have had 2 more since then... The company that makes them (over here in New Zealand) is many many times more profitable than it was, yet it's product is arguably a worse product despite being cheaper to run and having fancy automatic features.

  • by eel (91514)
    2 out of the three privious replys to you question have oviously never used any BSD. It is true that freeBSD is not the most secure os on the planet, acording the the guys at the Cult of the Dead Cow that distinction belongs to openBSD. and as for preformance freeBSD tends to run linux apps faster than read hat, which admitedly is no large feet. But yes freeBSD comes with Xfree86 and will run any window maniger that linux will. It is also far more sable and like I said earlyer faster. But don't trust me check out the hardware that WCCDrom uses to searve with freeBSD and I think that you will be impressed with the sheer power of santa himself.
  • by The Dev (19322) on Monday December 20, 1999 @10:53AM (#1458347)
    MTBF is indeed misleading because one of the
    factors that goes into it is "design life".

    For example, if you have a hard drive with
    a MTBF of 150,000 hrs (== 17yrs) that does
    not mean that it will fail in 17 years, or
    that 150,000 of them would produce one failiure
    every hour.

    It means that if you replace each drive before
    the end of it's design life (5yrs) you will
    have a failiure on average every 150,000 hrs.

    If you use a device beyond it's design life it
    will almost certainly fail.

  • by mr (88570) on Monday December 20, 1999 @10:54AM (#1458348)
    Having spent 3 days in NYC answering questions...

    "Can BSD run this or that?"
    The BSDs have support for GNU/Linux binaries. If the program doesn't require a special version of GNU/Linux, or exists as source, it can be made to run on BSD. FreeBSD has some 2,500 different applications. Goto ftp.freebsd.org and look in the packages/INDEX or ports/INDEX and see if your favorite app is listed. If not, port it! (If its hard to port, as the authors to write portable UNIX code, not code for Linux boxes. A foot to the groin, or sticks to the head may help the developers realize that OpenSource is about more than Linux)

    "Does BSD preform better than Linux?"
    BSD can run Linux binaries. Various studies done via various methods show BSD having a 20% better preformance under high load. If you arn't using your machine alot, you won't notice a difference. If you really care, benchmark it and pick what works for you. Most people have spare CPU cycles, so speed ratings are rather silly.

    "Why should I use BSD over Linux?"
    If you are in the business of producing software, or producing embedded 'things' (set-top boxes, routers, cameras, controllers, etc la) the BSD licence is simple and easy to understand. The GPL is written to help foster the goal of source code release. If you have no desire to release your code, a BSD licenced base does not have the GPL source code release issues. As a user, BSD can run BSD *AND* Linux shrink-wrapped binaries, whereas Linux can not run BSD. Therefore BSD has a wider base of possible software that can run on it.

    As for a 100 year up-time..
    As your tempature rises (every 10 degrees increases the reaction rate 2x times), and we approach .1 micron widths, (18 atoms wide!) you have faster migration of the chip chemistry out of where you want, to where you don't want. Even with old TTL, the projected life is 50 years. The newer chips will have less life. (I don't remember the projected life of the newest .18 micron chips)
  • by poopie (35416) on Monday December 20, 1999 @10:55AM (#1458350) Journal
    typo for horse

    was an irc reference. to days gone by when IRC was the most interesting thing on the internet.


    ... family forum?
    You mean to tell me that whole families are reading slashdot?

    son:"Gee mom, what did you think about the KRASH release of KDE?"
    mom:"I still haven't forgotten the old qt licenseing. Have you done your homework?"
    dad:"Yes, son, before you check your packet capture programs for our neighbor's ftp passwords, make sure you take the garbage out, or I'll revoke your root access!"
    mom:"and help your sister build abiword with a gnome front end so she can write her termpaper. If you do that... we'll increase your anonymous ftp quota by 500megs...!"
    dad:"Honey, I've been thinking... maybe we should be contributing more code to the mozilla project."
  • by fsck (120820)
    want to know what is based on freebsd technology?
    the micros~1 tcp/ip shit is, right from the start. being able to modify and hide the changes has helped micros~1 get where it is today. Windows 2xxx kill linux? not in my lifetime.
  • If you have been using the same box for 9 years I have got to tell you about some wonderfull advances that have been made in both hardware nad operating systems latly. the first one is some crazy guy with a pengan fetish has written from scratch a UNIX kernal and get this he is GIVING it away. the second thing is that you are no longer limited to 33Mz some newer prosseser are cabeble of running at clock speeds greater than 100Mz.
  • The whole basis behind my hypothesis is that Intel's web page is incorrect, however, I do offer alternate means to achieve that number. If you read what my post said before the numbers part, you would have known that.

  • When this was posted in the FreeBSD mailing lists a month or so ago it was pointed out that the appliance was a product of a company that Intel bought.

    (Free|Net|Open)BSD all the stability of BSD and all the software of Linux.
  • It matters, or at least would be nice to know if they
    1. used BSD so they didn't have to GPL their code or
    2. used BSD because they measured it as more reliable or
    3. worst case, for me, both.
  • They do not have an "OS of choice". Intel wants is OS agnostic. They don't care which OS you run, as long as it runs on Intel hardware.

    Here, here. They used FreeBSD, because FreeBSD is the best solution for a fileserver. It has been demonstrably slower at some general tasks and demonstrably quicker at some others.

    Have Intel invested in a development effort for FreeBSD on Merced? I don't think so... but if FreeBSD were to be more popular I'm sure they would. Hardly grounds to say "FreeBSD is the OS of choice".

    Funny, the FreeBSD crowd always seem to point the finger at the Linux crowd for being sensationalist. But then, I guess the /. crew are partly (wholly?) to blame; when will the blantantly inaccurate and unresearched headlines/summaries stop?

  • The strange thing is that I bet any 9 year old computers running FreeBSD have Y2K BIOS issues and will fail in what now, less than 2 weeks?

    Gosh, it's a good thing that Linux doesn't allow my servers to suffer from that problem. All kernel versions after circa 1994 will be fine [tux.org] with known non-Y2K compliant RTC hardware.

  • by bugg (65930)
    I believe that their customized version is
    getting a license from McKusick for softupdates (http://www.mckusick.com/ follow link) for commerical use. If you want softupdates for home usage, go right ahead it is free.
    McKusick works for BSDi so Softupdates is not
    very free.. but free for home users nonetheless.
    I highly doubt that they changed anything else.
    ...Softupdates is free for personal use
    and i recommend you all add options "SOFTUPDATES" to your kernel and tunefs -n now!

    Softupdates takes the place of a journaling
    filesystem and has the same benefits: two solutions to the same problem.


    /dev/ad0s2f on /usr (ufs, local, soft-updates, writes: sync 53 async 836, reads: sync 2197 async 283)
    (I know you like it)
    And if you are wondering about the ad instead of wd, i'm using the new ATA driver on -CURRENT just
    added a couple days back.
  • Not quite right. In a population of 1000, you will have approximately 500 of them die before they're nine years old, approximately 500 of them die sometime after nine years, and the rest dying dead on the nine year mark.

    So in a population of 154,488 machines, you'll have one dying every hour for the next 18 years (for the original population of 77,244 that works out to one dying every two hours for the next 18 years).

    If you believe in statistics, you'll find the figure is more like 80,000 of them dying in the period between 7 years and 11 years, if we're looking at a "bell" curve.
  • Just a quick note here... OpenBSD claims to be the most (or close to) secure OS out of the Box. {Free,Net,Open}BSD are not the same OS at all. There is a much bigger distinction between them than say two different distros of Linux.
  • ...whereas Linux has much better documentation and support...

    I've actually found FreeBSD to have better documentation than Linux in the form of the FreeBSD Handbook, though that may be because there is only one FreeBSD and many Linux distributions with different configuration tools. The LDP is still and excellent resource.

    http://www.freebsd.org/handbook [freebsd.org]
  • >It's important to make sure the Unix market doesn't get fragmented. Linux and *BSD developers should co-operate to ensure that they implement common features in a standard way.

    At the N(BSD BOF)YC (thats BSD birds of a feather at the bazaar in NYC) GNOME was singled out as an example of code that is written with Linux in mind, and not code portability. GNOME is (alledgedly, *I* don't know personally) riddled with Linux-specific assumptions. Even though the code SHOULD be able to work on any X/Unix box, the authors have chosen to make moving the code off of Linux painful.

    Add to this, people who push GNU/Linux say LINUX when they should be saying OpenSource or OpenSource OSes only help fuel the belief there is a rift, as opposed to the offending party being just clueless/un-educated. Cluelessness/lack of education is cureable, OS zelotry is not cureable with modern medical technology. This story [linuxtoday.com] on Linuxtoday shows a reporter corrected in a case of using the term Linux when the term OpenSource was a better fit.

    It boils down to, do you want a rising tide to float ALL boats, or are you only giving a damn about your linux or BSD digny?

  • What software can you run on linux but not freebsd?
    I bet you you can't name 5 programs very fast, unless you have been training for this.
    Between the compatiblity and just being able to compile it natively, I don't think that is an issue.
    I'm using linux-netscape, linux-realplayer, and even a _linux X server_ (XFCom_Rage128)
    VMWare works now too.
    As for device compatiblity, that is more of a rumor that is becoming less and less true every day. What kind of support for USB does Linux have?
    (snippet from LINT, the list of kernel options)
    # General USB code (mandatory for USB)
    controller usb0
    #
    # Generic USB device driver
    device ugen0
    # Human Interface Device (anything with buttons and dials)
    device uhid0
    # USB keyboard
    device ukbd0
    # USB printer
    device ulpt0
    # USB Iomega Zip 100 Drive
    controller umass0
    # USB mouse
    device ums0

    That's a good amount of support.. and most of it has been there for awhile.
    Even MCA is supported in -CURRENT now, and I don't know anyone who uses MCA equipment still. (Well, I lie, I know one)
  • http://daily.daemonnews.org has been having ISP problems today.

    Please hang up and try your call again later.
  • For my money, you can't beat "Wizards" for post-apocolyptic movie enjoyment. It's a bit obscure, but where else can you see elves, wizards, Nazis, handguns, and mutants all in the same frame?
  • Ah, that's informative. Bit of a con, that. Moderate that post up!

  • ...does anybody have any good suggestions for post-apocalyptic type movies to watch over the next couple of weeks?

    "A Boy and His Dog", but just don't take it too seriously.
  • theoretically, BSD will never fail. the hardware running the system eventually will causing the system to die, but the software never will.

    well, windows would.

    -----
  • Obviously you havent been hanging around on bugtraq seeing the massive slew of security holes emerging from the current version of freebsd. FreeBSD is as full of holes as linux and probably more since less people use it - the secure claim indisputably goes to openbsd NOT freebsd. BSD performance is faster on single cpu machines but sucks rocks on multicpu machines due to large grained locks in the kernels (dont believe me - look at the code yerself). Heck OpenBSD cant even do SMP *YET*.
  • There's a classic post-apocalyptic computer RPG called Wasteland. In fact, I believe it was done by the same guys who did Fallout, so you can think of Fallout as being the spiritual successor to Wasteland. It was an awesome game, the first non-fantasy RPG I remember playing on my computer. I don't know where you'd find it these days.

    Copy protection consisted of numbered paragraphs in an accompanying manual. So, at certain points in the game, it would say "See paragraph x", and you'd have to read paragraph x to see what has happening. Of course, they had to put fake, unused paragraphs in the book too, or else you could just read it and get valuable game hints. Gosh, that system was a bad idea!
    ---
  • #1 I am a little concerned about too. #2 I'm not. BSD definitely behaves better in certain aspects than linux does, and vice-versa. That's one of the huge points in the open source movement: freedom of choice. Certainly it would be difficult for one OS to fulfill every need on the planet efficiently and effectively, thus having the choice is extremely important. In my particular opinion, freedom of choice of lisence is also important.

    As for your first point. That is a concern, but not a very big one. Like I said already, I believe freedom to lisence in any way you want is important too. I guess in this case I just have to say it's their right. I would definitely prefer if they used a GP[L|V] OS so I could get a peak at some intel code, but it would be their choice to make, not mine, or anyone elses.

    Here's to hoping this doesn't get me flamed...

    Man's unique agony as a species consists in his perpetual conflict between the desire to stand out and the need to blend in.

  • After reading the hoopla about how other people money are making money on free software, I doubt 95% of Slashdot readers fully understand the GPL.

    I would say it is closer 45%, and that is being optimistic.
  • Well, since Sparc's were originally sold with ONLY the option of BSD, this is not surprising.

    SunOS 4 was a BSD derivative.

    I think, more specifically, you mean that you are running NetBSD or some other "free" BSD.


    -Jordan Henderson

  • BitPoet said: There are a lot more than 9 computers in the world running -BSD, so you could take a sample on the number of computers running -BSD, and the number of times those computers had to reboot in, say a month.

    That would give you the MTBF for BSD, but that's only one part of the product. Storage Station also has a board and one or two hard drives. The MTBF for the complete product is mostly based on MTBF for the moving parts, i.e. the hard drives.
  • Also worth nothing that the BSD license allows them to take it proprietary, whereas with Linux it would have to stay opensource.

    Since this is in fact a proprietary product it is obvious why BSD was selected. It was all about the license.

    Personally I don't like the idea of a company taking code I write, and then selling it without me getting a piece of the action.


    By the way, does anyone have mirror of the article? Daemon News is slashdotted.

  • Congratulations, your OS got endorsed by Intel's OEM. They'll go on to make lots of cash without thanking you or giving anything back to FreeBSD. Meanwhile, Intel will go on supporting Linux.

    Is this really good news? Or is it an argument in favour of the GPL?
  • Ya know how FreeBSD pages most idle processes out of real core and in to swap? Does OpenBSD do this also? This really makes a big diffrence on older PCs with small amounts of ram.

  • we should be able to moderate /. articles out of the main page
  • by Tom Christiansen (54829) <tchrist@perl.com> on Monday December 20, 1999 @12:25PM (#1458405) Homepage
    Linux has much better documentation
    Are you really serious? Have you truly looked? Linux documentation is abominable! Even the worst BSD distribution is at least an order of magnitude better at documentation than the best Linux distribution. I'm not kidding in the least. It abominable.

    Take Redhat/Linux, for example (please :-). Most of what Redhat ships is undocumented, and that which exists is severely underpowered compared with BSD.

    For example, let's suppose you'd like to learn about the interface to the system's terminal drivers. That's in tty(4).

    redhat% man 4 tty | wc -l
    66

    redhat% find /usr/man/man4 '*.*' -type f -name -print | wc -l
    62

    openbsd% man 4 tty | wc -l
    299

    openbsd% find /usr/share/man/cat4 '*.*' -type f -name -print | wc -l
    371

    That's a huge difference. As you can plainly see, the amount of info on just one device in BSD is much better than on Linux. And if you look at the overall device coverage, the same theme carries through.

    And that's just part of it. Here's a bug list [redhat.com] on Redhat docs that I've submitted, along with programs to automatically detect these problems. You should really read those over to start to get a feel for how bad it is.

    I'd like to make clear that redhat has done a very great job at fielding these bugs and trying to do something about them. I am completely happy with their customer service. I'm not trying to knock that.

    Some of the tools [perl.com] I used for this are:

    • cfman [perl.com] - make sure manpages have accurate SEE ALSOs
    • no3man [perl.com] - identify which library calls aren't mannable
    • noman [perl.com] - identify which commands are installed without manpages
    • scatman [perl.com] - find turds in mantrees
    So not only is the documentation exceptionally scarce in Linux, it's very, very buggy. You wouldn't believe how nasty the situation truly is. Run those on your own systems and you'll see what I mean. And yes, I checked this on Debian/Linux and SuSE/Linux as well as Redhat/Linux. It was all nasty. I also checked on OpenBSD, FreeBSD, and Solaris. You'll see that there's a world of difference here. Find yourself a Redhat system and an OpenBSD system, for example, and start poking around. You'll see.

    My point of view is that it isn't fair to the user of your system for you to ever include something that isn't documented. When I have been part of releases, either the old Unix releases from years ago or even the new Perl releases today, the rule was simple: if it isn't documented, it isn't shipped. No excuses.

    I strongly believe that the Linuces should do the same. Let no program or library be shipped which is undocumented. It's the very least a systems integrator can do. That's just part of what we mean when we say that BSD distributions are more "solid" than Linux distributions. The commercial Unices and the free BSDs take this kind of thing seriously. The Linuces, so far, do not. I have hope that this will change, and Redhat has a truly positive attitude about all this, but right now, you just can't compare them.

  • Pehaps the issue has been fixed. I have no idea, I don't track GNOME, I only am reporting what was mentioned, and others agreed.

    GNOME isn't the only example...there exists software that is licensed for no cost ONLY on Linux. Its now working state doesn't change that it WAS written as a Linux only App, nor does it change the linux only software licences. The point *I* was making is some people work to licence software/make software for Linux only. And that policy helps OpenSource exactly HOW?

    (Oh, and GNOME runs on 3.3 BSD...exists as a pre-compiled package GNOME 1.0.0.)
  • Have Intel invested in a development effort for FreeBSD on Merced? I don't think so...

    "Invested", perhaps not, but I seem to remember reading, in a USENET post from Jordan Hubbard a while back, that Intel would provide them with machines, at least (I infer, perhaps incorrectly, that this means "machines before we publish the entire IA-64 spec and start selling them").

  • Why bother? Unlike most (all?) Linux distributions, installing FreeBSD is an exercise in simplicity.

    • Download the boot floppies and rawrite/dd them.
    • Boot them up
    • Answer enough questions for the system to find your network card or modem (ie: IP addresses or PPP phone#/username/password)
    • Choose your installation packages
    • Wait, time dependant on internet connection

    That's it -- you're done. Reboot, and you're up and running!

    As a side note, IMO FreeBSD is more open-source-friendly than most current Linux distributions in one very important way: you can download the source (one of the packages) to the entire OS (not just the kernel) and rebuild it.

    We tried making a source-only distribution of Linux a while back. What I found out surprised me. Many of the system utilities had source that was hard to find -- the distribution packages often wouldn't build under those same distributions. We never were able to get a complete system that could rebuild itself from source -- it ended up quite flaky. FreeBSD gives you this for free -- a real developers system.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    poopie said: And the legal department chooses which one??

    It wasn't the legal department, it was the company that built the product for Intel. Said company has now been bought by Maxtor, so you can probably guess which company's hard drives will be appearing in the next release of this product.

    If Intel had designed and built this product themselves, the OS inside would probably be VxWorks. That's what goes into other "appliances" from the same internal group.
  • I would think that if he said Linux, he meant linux. Redhat is not linux, it is a compilation of linux software and the Linux kernel. AKA a "distribution". Related items: Debian, Slackware, Mandrake, Caldera, Corel, Stampede, etc.
  • Microsoft looking for FreeBSD experts

    ...to manage the FreeBSD systems used by Hotmail (who were, I suspect, using FreeBSD and Solaris before being bought by Microsoft).

    and Intel using FreeBSD

    ...on a machine that, according to some posts here, comes from another company.

    Neither of those are sufficient evidence (except to the excessively suggestible) that this is in any way part of some Grand Plan by Microsoft and Intel to implement a future version of Windows atop FreeBSD (Windows NT, at least, *already* contains "BSD technology" - the FTP client is based on the BSD one - although I've seen no supporting evidence for the claim that NT's Internet protocol stack is based on the BSD one).

  • No, they would have to bring along ALL the technology to make the technology to keep the chip running....in your example, their own chip-making methods.
  • by Guy Harris (3803) <guy@alum.mit.edu> on Monday December 20, 1999 @12:40PM (#1458416)
    The implication seems to be that FreeBSD is not optimal for servers.

    The implication seems to be that FreeBSD, out of the box, isn't "optimized specifically for file serving"; neither are, as far as I know, Linux, Solaris, HP-UX, Digital UNIX, Windows NT, .... This doesn't ipso facto mean that their performance is "not very good(!!)", it just means that they're at least intended to be reasonably good, out of the box, at a variety of functions, even if this might be at the expense of performance for any particular application.

  • Ever heard of Debian GNU/Linux [debian.org]?
    Don't judge Linux is if it was all made by redhat.
  • wasteland!!!!

    Wasteland is the supreme game. Wasteland is your
    god.

  • This is funny, I am in college and _most_ labs here use Solaris but the newer installations tend to be Linux (because of cheaper hardware).
  • I still have the paragraphs book, the "rangers survival guide" and two 5.25 inch floppys that say "WASTELAND" on them. WHEEEE! I wish i had a 5.25 drive. God, I must have played that game all the way through like 30 times. The best part was that you could start over with you expirenced charictes after you won. After like 3 games of this you could win in an hour WHEEEE!

  • For example, the high grade NFS stuff (caching, etc.) should be compatible between Linux and *BSD so that you can run a Linux client with a BSD server, or the other way around.

    The NFS stuff should be written as implementations of the NFS v2 and v3 protocols, so that you can run an XXX client with a YYY server, or the other way around. If the Linux server can't work with non-Linux clients, or the Linux client can't work with non-Linux servers, or a BSD server can't work with clients not running that BSD, or a BSD client can't work with servers not running that BSD, that's a bug, and should be fixed. Some day, that client or server may find itself talking to Solaris, or HP-UX, or IRIX, or Digital UNIX, or AIX, or....

    If there is some interoperatiblity problem with Linux and other systems, or some BSD and other systems, please let the developers know, so that they can fix it. (Is there, in fact, some interoperability problem to which you're alluding? Or, by the "caching, etc." stuff, are you referring to protocols such as NQNFS, which, as the name suggests, is Not Quite NFS, but is, instead, an NFS-derived protocol with additions above and beyond what's in NFS?)

    • GNOME was singled out as an example of code that is written with Linux in mind, and not code portability.

    I don't know about any difficulties in porting GNOME, but it wouldn't surprise me a bit if GNOME was Linux specific.

    The GNOME builders are pretty much GPL advocates. Note the similarity between the names GNU and GNOME?

    • It boils down to, do you want a rising tide to float ALL boats, or are you only giving a damn about your linux or BSD digny?

    I find it interesting that someone who appears to support a software license that allows the closing off of modifications to "OpenSource" software seems to have an issue with others not writing their software in a form that is optimally available to them.

    The whole point of the GPL is that all "boats" that ride on the tide created by it will rise evenly, or at least you can choose how much of the tide you wish to take advantage of. With BSD style licenses, some of the boats can suddenly become sea planes. These craft can benefit from the rising tide, if they chose, but can travel apart from the tide. GPL advocates feel that someone who benefits from their tide should contribute back innovations that allow new technological advances. Seems fair to me.

    The GPL is about fairness, not freedom in the sense of "free beer". It's more like you can come enjoy the "free beer", but you're required to share any beer you brew.

    The GPL recognizes the reality that left on it's own, software tends to become closed and militates agains this trend.

    GPL advocates definitely are generally against having the rising tide floating ALL boats. For example, most GPL advocates are not in favor of floating Microsoft's boat.

    Sheesh, to reestablish my reputation as a recovering Karma Junkie, I'll probably have to make several offtopic or "first posts" now. *SIGH*


    -Jordan Henderson

  • by mavorama (46171) on Monday December 20, 1999 @12:56PM (#1458429)
    I was confused by MTBF. There are several simplified explanations in the responses to this article, but I found them to be incomplete and, I think, contradictory. I was intrigued. How does MTBF really work? So, I wen to Google and found these pages which appear to be consistent and authoratative (good checks for the reliability of information):

    http://www.faqs.org/faqs/arch-storage/part2/sectio n-151.html [faqs.org] (Very thorough and careful)

    http://www.westerndigital.com/products/drives/driv ers-ed/mtbf.html [westerndigital.com](What Western Digital has to say about MTBF)

    http://www.storage.ibm.com/storage/oem/tech/mtbf.h tm [ibm.com] (What IBM has to say about MTBF)

    --------------------

    As an aside, this is an interesting example of the breakdown of moderation on Slashdot. Several people are posting fairly coherent and, at least, pseudo-technical explanations about the calculation of MTBF, but I wasn't able to resolve who was right. The moderation points did not help me either, because they are being assigned by random people I can't trust. I thought, "It is unlikely that very many people on Slashdot actually know how how MTBF is done," and, "It is unlikely that those who actually do know MTBF have the moderation points."

  • > It's a bit obscure, but where else can you see elves, wizards, Nazis, handguns, and mutants all in the same frame?

    Slashdot.
  • > The GPL recognizes the reality that left on it's own, software tends to become closed and militates agains this trend.


    Right, just look at what happened to BSD, Apache, and X11. Can't get the source for any of those any more. Thank god for that GPL, eh?
  • Gee, according to your GPL, other people aren't allowed to sell your stuff at all anyway. Of course, they could sell "copies" instead, launch an IPO, and make billions, but you still don't get your beloved "cut".

    Freedom is not fairness. If more "fair" the FSF tries to make the GPL, the less free it becomes. After all, if all you want is a "cut" of the profits, stick with a proprietary license that demands it.
  • I think its all a matter of tuning. out of the box, pretty much all kernels have "shitty" performance. The other thing to keep in mind is that SMP on FreeBSd is still young, remember , Linux SMP pretty much sucked until they got all the bugs worked out (and its still not like the SYSV SMP stuff). FreeBSD is a long way behind that. Just because an implemetation is young, doesn't mean its gonna suck forever. and yes, even by the Linux people's admission (at least people I've talked to , BSD has a more stable networking implementation, but again, compared to BSD, Linux is *young* -P
  • Oh yes! And a new software package called ispell!!


    ..sorry. Couldn't resist.

    Moderate accordingly.
  • "I would say it is closer 45%, and that is being optimistic."

    I would say you are being extremely generous. Here are some of my favorite GNUisms:

    1) [insert favorite distro here] is distributed under the GPL.

    2) People shouldn't own software, so I put mine under the GPL.

    3) The GPL means you can't make money off of it.

    4) The GPL is the most free because there are restrictions against [insert pet peeve here].

    5) The GPL doesn't allow the author to...

    6) It's Open Source so it's under the GPL...
  • This kind of ruins the joke, but if you look at ispell's history, you'll see that it pre-dates the entire PC industry. From the README:

    Who Wrote Ispell?

    • Ispell is a very old program. The original was written in PDP-10 assembly in 1971, by R. E. Gorin. The C version was written by Pace Willisson of MIT. Walt Buehring of Texas Instruments added the emacs interface and posted it to the net. Geoff Kuenning added the international support and created the current release. Many, many other people contributed to the current version; a complete list (with a much more detailed history) can be found in the file "Contributors".


    --
  • Not to slam OpenBSD, but it hasn't been very stable from a configuration point of view. Last month I installed OpenBSD 2.5 from CD, onto a machine that was supposed to be a firewall. It has two network cards (Intel EEPro 100 PCI). These devices are fxp0 (1.1.1.1) and fxp1 (2.2.2.2).

    Adding a host route like the following is allowed (although not very useful; this was a typo on my part):

    route add 1.1.1.1 1.1.1.1

    No problem, I thought, I would simply delete this route like:

    route delete 1.1.1.1

    But then I got a kernel panic and a kernel debugger prompt. I put FreeBSD 3.2 STABLE on there instead, but it fails to correctly keep state on IP Filter'ed ports every 6 or 7 days, and requires a reboot.

    I've never had Linux (1) give me a kernel panic from any network operation or (2) just stop doing network filtering correctly. If Linux had the IP Filter package (so I could do stateful packet inspection) that firewall would be running Linux.

    --
  • I am in the process of switching my freenix machines over to NetBSD (one Slackware box left out of the bunch.) Not because Linux has become too popular. Because the Linux code base is turning into a swamp I don't want to linger in.
    I empathize with you. Good luck.

    I would like to clarify one point, and then ask one question. The clarification is that "Freenix" isn't just an alternate spelling of "FreeBSD", but rather more of a contraction for "Free Unix". The term "Freenix" has come to comprise all free Unix-ish operating systems, including all the free BSDs, all the free Linuces, and anything else Unixy enough that's reasonably free that has in the past or shall in the future come along.

    Now, the question is: what motivated you to select NetBSD over OpenBSD?

    I'm completely agnostic here, and am just trying to learn. Any BSD makes me feel happy and comfortable and at home, probably because it was the first operating system I learned that was fun to play with. My priors of EXEC8, RT/11, MVS, and RSX didn't count, and the jury is still out on RSTS/E. :-) My own experiences are with just about any BSD except for NetBSD, starting from 2BSD on PDP-11s and then 4BSD on Vaxen, and working up through the various commercial BSDs like SunOS, Ultrix, and ConvexOS, as well as the more recent BSD/OS (marginal), MacOS X (marginal), OpenBSD (a fair bit), and FreeBSD (somewhat).

    But not NetBSD. So I'm just curious: What made you make that choice?

  • "Personally I don't like the idea of a company taking code I write, and then selling it without me getting a piece of the action."

    The solution is simple, don't make it free! Otherwise you'll get into the situation I was in last month.

    You see, Mrs. McGillicuddy told me I was free to pick apples out of her apple tree. This was very generous, I though prematurely. So I picked a quarter bushel of apples and made a bunch of pies. One of these pies I took to the church bake sale. The court date is next week.
  • I'm interested in this for various reasons.

    I've seen one on Apache/Perl/Mod_Perl on BSD and Linux, and the performance on each. I'd love to see more.

  • by Arandir (19206) on Monday December 20, 1999 @04:17PM (#1458485) Homepage Journal
    Every other Unix uses man pages. To ignore them in favor of their own "proprietary" format is wrong. Considering that groff is used to create info pages to begin with, why not use groff to create the identical man pages as well? No extra work, but now you have documentation that everyone can use.

    Or convert ALL of the documentation to info pages. It's absolutely boneheaded to have to guess which format your help is in.

    Besides which, man is much easier (and quicker) than info. Maybe all you GNUites memorize every gcc option, but the rest of us don't. If I need to look one up, I want to find it fast! I don't want to wade through pages of hyperlinks to find it. I want to do "man gcc" and have it before my eyes.

    I'm not saying throw out info, I'm just saying use the *standard* as well.
  • Last night I tried to recompile Enlightenment, only to find that someone had come into my home and stolen it off of my hard drive. Lousy bastards!

    p.s. Anyone else wonder why Gnome started dumping all of Rasterman's stuff the second he quit Redhat?
  • The OpenBSD GNATS DB already has a case open on my problem. I cannot comprehend a "serious firewall" operating system that would completely fall over when given a perfectly valid route to remove from its table. "Experienced security professionals" type "route" an awful lot, and if wishes to remove one, cycling the power on the box should not be the last step of that process.

    I'd like to know why you wouldn't consider anything but OpenBSD for a "serious firewall." A "serious firewall" sits in a physically secure location, runs no network services (and firewalls these ports to itself), allows no remote logins, and logs everything to a local device (serial connection to log host, line printer, etc.). Linux can do this perfectly well, just as FreeBSD and OpenBSD can. When it came down to it, I needed routing capabilities Linux did not have, so I chose from the other two. To my knowledge, NetBSD does not support IP Filter.

    --
  • Well, since Gnome claims it works on all X11 boxes, it up to Gnome to back it up. After all, GTK/Gnome works on more platforms than Qt/KDE...wait...it doesn't?...aaargh...they lied to me... again!
  • Some people would give life-saving medicine only to "the good guys" [read: their own team]. This is a selfish, destructive, and thus inherently EVIL way to live. Deny no man who thirsts the water he so earnestly desires, be he friend or be he foe. If we must pass judgment, then let us judge the goodness of a man, of a state, of any enterprise--not by how they treat their favorites, but by how they treat their downtrodden, their dissenters, their outcasts, the most despised segments of their communities.

    That is why we should be happy that Microsoft had made good use from BSD code.

    Merry Christmas.

  • the page at intel says to use samba and dave for mac or unix.

    AFAIK, linux is the only "unix" that can actually mount an smb share. otherwise its smbclient, which is similar to ftp. not nearly as nice as just mounting a share.

    DAVE is a commercial product. this may be a concern to some potential users.

    the cobalt cube also does appletalk and nfs. of course, so can freebsd but for some reason intel chose not to enable either.

    in the case of appletalk i dont blame them. it has to be the most inefficent file sharing ive ever seen. (stupid packets the just get sent along for no reason (keepalive?) bogging down the rest of that subnet)

    anyway, i dont know the price/performance etc of these devices let alone how they compare, but for a small department, the cube seems like a much better buy.

    i dont work for cobalt or even use thier product, just making an observation. i did just set up a freebsd file server / gateway / firewall (and then converted it to openbsd because freebsd is still using the broken rsaref and i need to ssh in.) so i found the article interesting.

  • Personally I can understand the idea of somebody not wanting to float code that Microsoft will end up with in their products. Like BSD did.
    In ESR's writings on how hacker culture is really a gift culture, it works out that the more someone gives away, the more prestige, honor, and respect they accrue. By giving everything away to any and all--yes, even to Microsoft--the BSD team's honor (hacker karma?) has soared.
  • > But, the best forks tend to be closed off.

    Am I the only one that doesn't see inherent evil in this? Let's see, if I work 80-hour weeks dedicating myself to a project, eat, sleep, and breathe the project so it can be the best... You're damn straight I'm going to maximize the return from it. Your sense of what's The Right Thing To Do with the software simply isn't a factor if you didn't create it. Your future contributions to the software simply don't substitute as an adequate exchange for my efforts -- at some point I want to cash in and enjoy some other part of life unrelated to the software. I work hard on something, I expect payment. I don't work for love alone.

    That said, I would have to recognize that this fork was a value-add and not a wholly original work, and give credit where it's due -- the BSD license still requires that, though no longer in every bit of advertising. But the same applies even more to wholly original works.

    The GPL is a perfectly valid choice of the creator to require that value-adds are available under the same free terms. The BSD license is a perfectly valid choice of the creator to enable those creating value adds to dictate the terms of what is an acceptable exchange for their additions. If I care about the program more than the future exchange value for its contributors, I'll choose GPL.
    • Am I the only one that doesn't see inherent evil in this?

    I never said anything about evil, never.

    What I did say was that it was odd that someone who favors a license that allows forks to become closed off is complaining that developers who clearly had a GPL bent (the GNOME developers) were not going out of their way to support a non-GPL'd operating system.

    I then went on to point out the differences between GPL and other licenses and why people of a GPL bent may not be interested in "floating all boats". My argument is not with mr, it's with the guy who said that Linux and *BSD should make sure to have better integration.

    Now, maybe I'm picking a fight here. The way this thread has gone is someone suggested that we "should make sure that we *BSD and Linux compatibility" and mr said "hey, I'm willing, it's these Linux guys". I pointed out that there are people who develop under the GPL with a purpose, and that purpose does not include floating other boats.

    I do personally believe that the GPL will, as intended, eventually develop such a large code base that it will be more economical in most cases to use (and extend) GPL'd code than it will be to use other licenses.

    Software reuse has always been something of a chimera. The GPL breaks down one of the great barriers to software reuse.

    So, I guess you can count me as someone who thinks the GPL does very positive things, in general. That's not to say that I think closing software is "inherently evil". I write closed software when under the employ of various entities and I don't find it "evil".


    -Jordan Henderson

"And do you think (fop that I am) that I could be the Scarlet Pumpernickel?" -- Looney Tunes, The Scarlet Pumpernickel (1950, Chuck Jones)

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