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BSD Operating Systems

Data.com on FreeBSD 3.3 20

Posted by Hemos
from the nice-coverage dept.
Data.com has got an interesting article about FreeBSD. Very nice coverage of FreeBSD 3.3, essentially calling it a very robust and ready OS for Internet/Intranet deployment.
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Data.com on FreeBSD 3.3

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  • by jedinite (33877) <slashdot.com@jedin[ ].com ['ite' in gap]> on Monday December 27, 1999 @11:28AM (#1441117) Homepage
    First, I should warn you that this review is written by a Linux weenie that arrived at that particular brand of UNIX via NetWare and Windows NT.
    followed by this nugget of truth later on...
    There's no doubt that FreeBSD is rock-solid and fast. It has proven itself as a commercial-grade Internet server that's secure and exceedingly affordable. To make the most of it however, you'll need plenty of time to explore FreeBSD and come to grips with the convoluted system configuration process.
    Well, that about sums this article up. Great to see *BSD in the press, but a more informed article would be nice...

    ---------
    Question: How do I leverage the power of the internet?
  • The /. article before this asks the question - "Why is BSD not as popular as Linux?". I don't mean to offend any, but after reading the above post, the answer is pretty obvious. This kind of bigotry certainly doesn't help BSD, and makes the whole free *NIX movement look bad.

    First, I should warn you that this review is written by a Linux weenie that arrived at that particular brand of UNIX via NetWare and Windows NT.

    What exactly is a Linux weenie? I mean, come on - why are Linux users "the enemy"? It just makes you seem spiteful that more people use Linux than *BSD.

    I use both FreeBSD and Debian GNU/Linux. I am very satisfied with both OSs. As far as I am concerned, they are both sides of the same coin - I would love to see *BSD adopted by more people, because it really is a great OS. But that kind of attitude doesn't help things. Furthermore, BSD isn't the golden, perfect OS to which everyone should bow down in homage. It's good, yes. But it's not for everyone.

    >>To make the most of it however, you'll need plenty of time to explore FreeBSD and come to grips with the convoluted system configuration process.

    [..] a more informed article would be nice

    I hate to break it to you, but IMHO sysinstall is definately a handful for new users - I would know, I didn't think very kindly of it the first time I installed FreeBSD. Now that I have gotten used to it, I think it's very useful - but there is definately room for improvement. Simply because someone thinks that sysinstall isn't easy to use is not reason to slam them for being un-informed.

  • You must not have read the article, for the writer of the article called HIMSELF a Linux weenie. The comment made this clear by italizing the text.

    You are seeing bigotry where there is none.

  • Regardless..it was obvious.
  • 300 MB!! for root!?

    I've seen this when people use one large partition for everything but he shows a severe lack of experience here. What was he on?

    Root on my OpenBSD and FreeBSD machines are around 30 MB. This is big to allow for a couple core files.
    /var as needed (usually 60 meg is more than enough, large mail sites benefit from separating mail from logs anyhow.
    The rest (/usr, /usr/local, /tmp, /usr/X11R6, /home, whatever) depend on what you install.

    I thought Solaris was bad in that you needed 40MB root partitions, but this bozo uses 300MB.

    For the record, I have firewalls with 20MB root, 50MB /usr and 60MB /var where /var is the only thing writable (okay swap too). (Mounting / and /usr readonly limits bad things and helps avoid mistakes.) I've gotten SunOS down to 65MB, with a bunch of stuff on disks pinned readonly (break that!)

    So wouldn't it be neat if some of these OS reviews were by professionals rather than hobbyists? Someone who is fairly adept in 3 or more different Unixes who has some background to critisize in context?

    How do they get these jobs?
    Hey, I've had almost 12 months experience using a single operating system and I'd like to review some others.

    And they get hired!
    How about someone who has experience with some sysV derivitives (HP-UX, Solaris) some BSD things (bsd 4.2 stuff like SunOS, NeXTstep, perhaps another BSD4.4 take), and some of the odd stepchildren like Linux and AIX. I'd expect at least 3 of the above to be understood before a person was considered to be in a position of critic of the FreeBSD flavor.

  • >I hate to break it to you, but IMHO sysinstall is >definately a handful for new users - I would >know, I didn't think very kindly of it the first >time I installed FreeBSD. Now that I have gotten >used to it, I think it's very useful - but there >is definately room for improvement.

    I agree with you--sysinstall isn't the easiest interface around, but Debian's dselect is much more of a handful for new users.

  • The article states that nobody is building
    FreeBSD machines as VALinux does for Linux.

    Not So! We (U.C. Computers, Inc.) have been
    advertising FreeBSD machines since 1996, out the
    door with the various server services and X all
    preconfigured.

    Maybe if we'd spent a few $million advertising,
    we'd be better known, but we're known around
    the SF Bay Area. We're also an ISP (FreeBSD-based,
    of course) and we host Daemon News and BAFUG,
    and host the East Bay BAFUG meeting every 4th
    Thursday of the month at our Telegraph Avenue
    location (Berkeley, CA).

    So - rewrite those Post-It notes, there is a
    FreeBSD machine vendor, Dorothy!!

    http://www.transbay.net
    and
    http://www.uccomputers.com
    and
    yes, we should spiff up our web sites someday.

    -ecsd@transbay.nospamplease.net
    U.C. Computers, Inc. and
    UC Telecommunications Company
    510.649.6088
    510.540.5579 fax
  • It sounds like you are an advocate of disk partitioning. Do you mind if I ask why?

    Many, many years ago, I was an advocate of partitioning disks up (under DOS, CP/M, and many other small system OSs), with all kinds of reasons such as separating data for selective backups, organization, etc. HOWEVER, quite a few years ago, after learning lessons the hard way, I quit doing this in favor of simply using good directory structures. In other words, unless there is some overriding reason TO partition, I don't, for I know a lot of reasons NOT to partition.

    Now, I find in the Unix world, partitioning is accepted as standard. While I have heard a few very good reasons for partitioning "special purpose" systems (logs, transaction records, mail, etc...anything which COULD grow suddenly without control...why do so few OSs provide good protection from this? Your firewall idea sounds really good, too), for a general purpose, desktop machine, is there a good reason to partition? I'm assuming there is, I'd just love to hear an explaination from someone who knows!

    Nick.
  • There are quite a few VAR's that build machines
    for FreeBSD, however they don't do just FreeBSD, and they don't have their own particular distro of Linux.

    www.tesys.com is my favorite, they have *AWESOME* 1U rackmount boxes that run FreeBSD, Linux, NetBSD, OpenBSD and probably Winblows.
    www.ASAComputers.com in the SF-BA has decent stuff too.
    MSN-Linkexchange buys from "The Computer Store" in Mountain View, built to order with FreeBSD pre-installed. Not a big VAR, but big enough :)
  • There are forms of denial-of-service attacks that result from generating many log events and creating huge logfiles. These can be averted if the logging (at least) is on a separate partition. Sendmail, for example, reacts badly to full filesystems.
    Also for security's sake, you may wish to mount /etc & /usr read-only after initial configuration is performed.
  • First off, I should say that this person as a novice should have chosen the disk labeller's "Auto Defaults for All" feature. This would have created a disk layout well suited for most systems. The layout he chose was definately odd, I've never had a Linux machine with 300MB on the root partition.

    As for making the FreeBSD src in /usr/src, he did "make" followed by "make install" - I don't really know what these do, but I know that this method isn't the one he had originally intended. The correct procedure is to do a "make world" or a "make buildworld" followed by a "make installworld" then recompile a kernel. On a P2 300 running 3.4-STABLE (UW SCSI Disks) with SoftUpdates on /usr, it takes just shy of 1 hour and 20 minutes to build, 15 to install, and 10 for a fresh kernel.
  • Let's clarify a few things...

    First, FreeBSD upped it's default root partition size. It's 50Mb now, if I'm not mistaken. This was done so:

    1) /tmp, which is not separate by default, gets more space.
    2) GENERIC is getting bigger and bigger. This way we can keep a couple of kernel files around, Just In Case.

    Second, Solaris uses a big root because it requires shared libs during single user boot. This greatly increases the amount of space required.

    Third... "a couple core files"? First, core dumps are physical-memory sized. You ain't gonna have a couple of these on 30 Mb, unless you are using a computer with 8 Mb RAM. :-) Second, if you have ordinary programs core files in the root partition, you are doing something wrong. At the very least, / ought to be read only.
  • "Of course, a fat Internet pipe is a prerequisite: even with my 5Mbps ADSL line, the installation took the best part of the day"

    I'm guessing he must have used ftp.cdrom.com, because I install off the mit and virginia tech mirrors in about 30 minutes.

    "I'm accustomed to ..."

    He states his bias at least. It would, however, be better if he looked at the setup from a perspective accepting change.

    It also seems that he failed to look at the handbook or read the mailing list archives -- because his problems would have been easily avoided if he had done so.

    When I first used freebsd 2.1, I actually read the documentation and did not run into any major problems. I also had never used *nix, except basic commands on SunOS and hp/ux. In about a week, I knew everything I needed to know to run the system, and in two I was cvsupping and doing make world (though I did run into some compiling errors from time to time).

    He then goes on to mention the lack of journalling, but never mentions softupdates. He then mentions the lack of commercial support. This is true -- however, he fails to mention the wealth of information in the mailing list archives, handbook and better written man pages. I have never run into a problem that was not fixed by searching the mailing list archives, except when it was a problem with current -- which meant I had to ask on the current mailing lists.

    One valid point he does make, is the lack of documentation on /boot. Although, I do not see why he would want to screw with this given he didn't even want to do a custom install.

    "I was longing for a package management system along the lines of Red Hat's RPM that would have done the job in five minutes"

    I guess he never heard of sysinstall packages or upgrade. He could have gotten the latest binaries through this process without wasting his time compiling.

    The only thing that I see lacking is version control in pkg_add and pkg_delete. Even then, all you have to do is delete and then readd. pkg_delete usually does not delete the renamed files -- since it usually installs blah.conf.sample or whatever. It's up to you to figure out the differences and move the configs over. To me this is far more elegant than not knowing what exactly is being done. Though, the end user probably wouldn't agree.

    It's an ok article -- except for the fact that he is writing it from a biased perspective.

  • Hmmm, obviously this guy didn't pay the least bit attention to the screens when he installed his system.
    /stand/sysinstall can change pretty much any config file that he would need to, and has a nice interface to the package system. (which, I seem to recall, was around quite a while before Red Had 'invented' RPMs...)



    I think I _AM_ going to take the time to write up some FBSD articles, and try and get them published...
  • Great to see *BSD in the press, but a more informed article would be nice...


    Your problem was with the "convoluted system configuration process" comment or the "you'll need plenty of time to explore" comment? Something else?

    Certainly the wizzy graphical "put the CD in, click a few buttons, answer some ISP questions, start writing web content" steps that one goes through with one of the modern Linux distibutions (e.g. Red Hat) makes BSD's install process seem a little like brain surgery. Hell, it makes Windows' install look like brain surgery (which, occasionally it is). And, this guy did say he comes from a Linux background....

    Realistically, though, this is not why companies buy an OS. They buy it because of what it will do AFTER they get it up and running. I know that where I work, we'll gladly take a week to get something set up just so, if that will mean that it doesn't go bump in the night.

    BTW: Why does Slashdot have no BSD articles since the 27th?
  • ...configuration. It seems to me this reviewer defines how convoluted something is by how similar it is to what they're used to. I've been running Linux since pre-1.0 days and I *never* got a handle on the logic by which people assigned the location of configuration files. I knew within a few days just where the important files were when I installed FreeBSD.

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