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FreeBSD 5.1 Review and BSD Roundup 385

securitas writes "Both eWEEK's review of FreeBSD 5.1 and ExtremeTech's BSD overview and roundup (single page) will be of interest to BSDers and anyone else who wants to explore their open source OS options. The review of FreeBSD 5.1 says it lacks the stability of v4.8 but adds features that some may find useful (for example, more processor architectures are supported) so it shouldn't be considered for critical deployments yet. And the BSD round-up speaks for itself."
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FreeBSD 5.1 Review and BSD Roundup

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  • by _narf_ ( 21764 ) on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @03:01PM (#6402090)
    A lot more polish than the 5.0 release.

    Also a lot more of the new stuff on by default.
  • One might well be justified in calling BSD the "Mr. Chips" of operating systems. In the final scene of the classic movie "Goodbye, Mr. Chips", a doctor remarks that it is a shame that the title character -- a masterful schoolteacher now on his death bed -- has never had children. Referring to the many youngsters whose lives he had helped to shape, Mr. Chips replies that he has indeed had children... thousands of them.

    I'm not sure I get the analogy, but I *think* he just said *BSD is dying. ;)

    • I'm not sure I get the analogy, but I *think* he just said *BSD is dying. ;)

      Don't swallow everything you read. If it doesn't come from Netcraft, I'm not believing it. What? Oh.

      BSD is dead! Long live BSD...

    • by vandel405 ( 609163 ) on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @03:10PM (#6402174) Homepage Journal
      And that a bunch of other OS's use it's code, that's what's meant by the children part.
  • by Jack Wagner ( 444727 ) on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @03:03PM (#6402111) Homepage Journal
    As a long time IT professional I recommend FreeBSD all the time. I'll go into meetings where people are just crying for me to help them gain synergy by decreasing their TCO while at the same time increasing their ROI, yet these people look like a deer caught in the headlights when I flat out tell them that the only way to do that is by looking at taking the next step to the next level by integrating their asset management supply side relationships into leveraged content delivery paradigms, with an eye towards aligning their collaborative relationship initiatives towards common goals and the first step in that direction is to move to an OS that has Olog(n)performance, namely FreeBSD.

    I've been able to do this in the past with a a few Fortune 500 companies by implementing a strict B2C affinity marketing plan which relies heavily on E-mediation performance metrics, something that not everyone is willing to go through.

    In short, don't even come to me with questions about your Value chain collaborative commerce unless you're willing to pay the piper and upgrade to FreeBSD because this is not your daddy's economy and you'll get nowhere by running legacy operating systems. Times have changed and unless you're willing to change with them you'll be left behind wondering what the hell happened to all your profits.

    Warmest regards,


    • Thanks for the hearty guffaw. And don't pay any attention to the negative posts by kiddies who've obviously not actually been employed in the 'real world'.

      The scary part is, I once worked for a guy who sounded exactly like this! Except that he was serious and had no idea what an idiot he sounded like.

    • Try this out [] ! I know that there are several versions out there, one of them specific to I.T. but I don't remember the link off-hand... Someone feeds this post through the B*S Bingo for some fun !
  • by goldspider ( 445116 ) <> on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @03:04PM (#6402120) Homepage
    "The review of FreeBSD 5.1 says it lacks the stability of v4.8 but adds features that some may find useful so it shouldn't be considered for critical deployments yet."

    Isn't this what has been said about Windows for quite some time?

  • by swb ( 14022 ) on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @03:04PM (#6402121)
    Give me a break. Somebody gets paid for doing that kind of work, and a title like "Senior Analyst"?
  • Well duh.... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Alan Hicks ( 660661 ) on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @03:04PM (#6402122) Homepage

    The review of FreeBSD 5.1 says it lacks the stability of v4.8

    That's why it's 5.1-CURRENT and not 5.1-STABLE. That's like saying version 2.5.60 of the linux kernel lacks the stability of version 2.4.21.

  • by mnmn ( 145599 ) on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @03:05PM (#6402135) Homepage

    Part of the reason why Linux is in a better market position than FreeBSD is the range of hardware supported by Linux. For instance FreeBSD supports only two ATM cards and no Tokenring cards, while people have done fancy things using Linux with both networks.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Are you kidding? FreeBSD supported both PCMCIA and USB _literally_ years before Linux.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Tokenring?!? Please tell me you are joking. Even the most decrepit IT manager knows that tech has long been dead.

      Also, FreeBSD supports more then two ATM cards:

      Efficient Networks, Inc. ENI-155p ATM PCI Adapters (hea driver)

      FORE Systems, Inc. PCA-200E ATM PCI Adapters (hfa driver)

      IDT 77201/211 NICStAR ATM Adapters (idt driver)

      FORE Systems, Inc. LE155 ATM Adapter (idt driver)

      • You obviously haven't been visiting a IBM facility lately. Call me troll or flamebait, but I was on assignment there for a couple of weeks and I was told to make sure to bring a PCMCIA token-ring card for my laptop, to get any sort of connectivity (which of course I did).

        The funny thing there was that the token-ring network was so slow that the 56K modem integrated to my laptop was actually faster for accessing my email..... However the several hundreds employees still working there didn't have much of a

        • You obviously haven't been visiting a IBM facility lately.

          Which one? I thought they had all switched to ethernet.
        • It's been about five years since I've worked at IBM, but I recall at IBM Canada, they were heavily standardized on Token Ring, OS/2 and using their own brand of PC's. The IT people had the job of putting in a 4/16 Token Ring card in every new PC that came into the building. Many of the PC's didn't even have Ethernet cards (they were mostly useless in the building).

          If they're still on Token Ring now though, somebody should shoot them. I remember, it used to be fun whenever somebody kicked out their Token
        • I was told to make sure to bring a PCMCIA token-ring card for my laptop ... the token-ring network was so slow ...

          Apparently you should've brought your own token, too.

          (Wishing I knew how to find a link to that Dilbert strip where PHB is searching his office for the token.)
      • You can get 16 speed pci tr cards for $2, and their 24-port switches for $14. Now do you see all the 'student' linux users with cheap homelans and throwaway 486 computers using tokenring?

        TokenRing is far from dead. Its only not talked much about. Heck I even use Arcnet and am proud of it. :)
        • Uh. But why when I can get a NEW 10/100 Mbps ethernet card for the equivalent of USD6.50? New with warranty etc.

          And a new 5 port switch goes for USD20 to 25. 8 port switch for not much more.

          If you want old ethernet stuff you can get it for less than half the price of new stuff. We recently got some old 10/100Mbps NICs for about USD2.50 each.
    • Too few? How about one too many!

      One day when I get commit access I'm gonna remove if_rl.c and solve a lot of problems.
    • Those two people out there still using Tokenring will just have to stick with Linux then...
    • Is that why most, if not all of the Linux WiFi drivers originally started off being pinched from FreeBSD?
    • Tell me that this is the only reason you can't/won't use *BSD... if it is, it's pretty weak.

      ATM just sucks. Yes. Yes it does. I worked on ATM, I worked on various ATM deployments. It sucks. I have the scars to proove it.

      TokenRing, which is a neat graduate network course topic, is largely irrelevant, even it's cheap.

      Can't you think of a better reason to **not** use BSD?
  • Flash 'n' Trash (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SavoWood ( 650474 ) on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @03:06PM (#6402140) Homepage

    I started reading the article, and found the summation of why I prefer BSD.

    ...the BSDs have always been the choice of system administrators who cared more about integrity, security, and reliability, than sizzle and flash.
    • While I recently abandoned RedHat for OpenBSD, I am uncomfortable in the knowledge that Microsoft could continue to incorporate BSD code into their Windows variants, and that I am helping this process by purchasing OpenBSD CDs. While I love the reduction in traffic on the OpenBSD errata channel (vs. RedHat), I do not wish to see the Microsoft monopoly continue, and the only thing that will stop it is the GPL.

      While I realize that I could simply attach the GPL to every piece of source code in the BSD CVS tr

      • Troll. You obviously don't understand the concept of free software: software that anyone can use, including Microsoft. I'm sure the BSD community is just tickled pink knowing that they write software that even MS thinks is great. Now, if only we could get rid of all the viral (your term, not mine) GNU software from FreeBSD. That there is my dream. If only I had the time to write a compiler...
      • In light of your comments the original quotation should be updated:

        ...the BSDs have always been the choice of system administrators who cared more about integrity, security, and reliability, than sizzle and flash or politics .
  • the article is way too pro-BSD to be said, and is comparing apple (linux, kernel sense) with oranges (BSD, distribution-sense).

    Though being a BSD-user (OpenBSD server & MacOSX desktop), I feel uneasy to read all those, esp. the 'linux-copy-bsd' phrase.
  • by Dthoma ( 593797 ) on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @03:14PM (#6402217) Journal
    "The review of FreeBSD 5.1 says it lacks the stability of v4.8"

    A BSD lacking stability? *universe explodes*
  • SMP & MT Progress (Score:5, Informative)

    by rapiere ( 235287 ) on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @03:15PM (#6402228) Homepage
    Good objective articles despite extremetech's review is more than 8 months old now. Interested slashdot readers can look at the progress of fine grained SMP [] and advanced multi-threading system (KSE) [], two features which made me try this great operating system.

    5.1 is not in the stable branch yet, but 5.2/3 show great promises.
  • by spray_john ( 466650 ) on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @03:22PM (#6402267)
    When code is licensed under the GNU General Public License or GPL (as is Linux), the license effectively eliminates any financial rewards anyone -- whether an individual or a corporation -- might hope to gain from improving upon it.

    Oops! It looks like IBM and Redhat were just charities after all...

    But seriously, does this stink of someone that's lapped up the FUD to anyone else?

    • When code is licensed under the GNU General Public License or GPL (as is Linux), the license effectively eliminates any financial rewards anyone -- whether an individual or a corporation -- might hope to gain from improving upon it.

      Oops! It looks like IBM and Redhat were just charities after all...

      Actually you are somewhat correct. IBM hardware sales and RedHat support contracts subsidize their Linux improvements.

      Apologies for the accidental AC post.
  • Who Owns UNIX? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jooon ( 518881 )
    Those were the days. In the chapter "Who Owns UNIX?" they never once mention SCO.
  • The article that's linked to over at extremetech is an extremely good read, but its dated Sept 26, 2002. Does it take Slashdot that long to pick up on BSD-related news?
  • by gatesh8r ( 182908 ) on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @03:33PM (#6402354)
    When code is licensed under the GNU General Public License or GPL (as is Linux), the license effectively eliminates any financial rewards anyone -- whether an individual or a corporation -- might hope to gain from improving upon it. It does this by compelling an author who uses any part of the code to give up the right to charge a license fee for the finished product.

    There is nothing in the GPL that prevents you from selling GPL'ed software. In fact, the FSF says to go right ahead and do so if you want. [] What the GPL of course DOES guarantee is that the software can't become proprietary at any point, whereas the BSDs can be.

    • Has anyone actually sold GPLed software, ever?

      Just because you COULD do it doesn't mean it's viable.
      • by gatesh8r ( 182908 ) on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @03:53PM (#6402482)
        Has GPLed software been sold? Yes. Haven't you purchased a Linux distro before? The FSF even sells their GPLed software! (Order link) []

        Is it viable??? Ask a company like Red Hat; they're in the black because of GPLed software and related services (one could argue that they are two completely different ways of getting revenue, but service contracts and software go hand and hand in the corperate world). GPLed software in the mainstream is just starting to become established; it's too early to say if it's a dead-end or not. Companies are gun-shy to change any of their methods in a conservative move to their stockholders.
    • He's been harping on the "you can't sell GPL software" point for years even though it's not true. Linux people may also take issue with the quote that it was based on Minix. He's about as much of a pro-BSD, anti-Linux, anti-GPL person as you can get. Notice while he said that many systems are dependent on BSD code, he neglects also note that BSD relies on some GNU code as well.

  • Huh? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jandrese ( 485 ) * <> on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @03:49PM (#6402459) Homepage Journal
    In the Extremetech review:
    Around the same time, Linux surfaced. Based on the Minix kernel written by computer science professor Andrew Tannenbaum, and unencumbered by the spectre of a lawsuit, Linux began to gain momentum and became the best known freely redistributable UNIX-like operating system.
    That's news to me.
    • Would it not be more accurate to say "inspired by Minix" instead?
      • Depends on how you read it. My original reading was that Linux used the Minix kernel "Based on Minix". Everybody else seems to have read that Linus was inspired by Minix, but that doesn't make a whole lot of sense either because Minix has a completely different architecture. Unless Minix inspired Linus to stay away from Microkernels of course...
  • News? (Score:5, Informative)

    by panda ( 10044 ) on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @03:59PM (#6402544) Homepage Journal
    It's amazing what passes for "news" around here!

    I use FreeBSD, and upgraded to 5.1 from 4.7 about a week after 5.1 was released. Though I did have some issues with X and DRI, I got it working with not much effort. (About 20 minutes of searching the web turned up some instructions that directed me to set ForcePCIMode on in my drivers section of XF86Config.)

    Though 5.1 is a new technology release and so not as stable or as fast as 4.8, it is still quite stable and quite fast at most everything I do. I've had no problems with doing my usual work, and some "weird" behavior in or two apps actually went away when recompiled on 5.1 versus 4.7.

    That said, I haven't gotten YMessenger to work, and I've been too lazy to try fixing it myself. (It just appears to need to be relinked against a certain lib, and I haven't bothered to find out which one that is.)

    Generally, I've not had any trouble running Linux apps under emulation, either.

    All my Java 1.4 stuff works, too.

    I know that anecdotal evidence proves nothing, but I just thought I'd weigh in with a mostly positive experience of someone who has been a FreeBSD user for quite some time.

    Yes, I also use GNU/Linux, too. In fact, I have two machines running GNU/Linux at home, only 1 running FreeBSD, and one other running OpenBSD. Though I may switch one of the GNU/Linux machines to FreeBSD in the near future (maybe after 5-STABLE is branched).
    • Re:News? (Score:4, Informative)

      by phoenix_rizzen ( 256998 ) on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @06:08PM (#6403580)
      Unless you need a specific feature of Yahoo! Messenger, consider trying GAim, Kopete, or one of the other multi-protocol clients. They are slimmer than the YMessenger client, provide 90% or more of the same functionality, and let you connect to multiple IM servers with just one client.

      Oh, and just to be pedantic, it's not Linux emulation, it's Linux compatibility. There is a difference, although few people really care to know what it is. :)
    • Install the ymessenger port -- it handles the library issues with a binary patch. Funky, but it works.
  • by koinu ( 472851 ) on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @04:10PM (#6402649)
    I am using FreeBSD stable since over a year now on my Intel-PC. I noticed I have everything I need here.

    The best is, my PC is a regular desktop PC. I can watch DVDs and TV, listen to Oggs, burn CDs, chat and now I am writing this comment. :)

    I have uninstalled Debian. I don't need it, because FreeBSD has got the best Linux emulation in the world. I can even play regular 3D-accelerated games with top frame rates.

    I don't understand why people are bitching about FreeBSD. It is easy and even trivial to use. You can install it in many different ways. Experts mostly use minimal installs or even the floppy install.

    You can choose between packages or ports, whatever you wish. There are 9000 software ports and they compile without problems. A simple 'make install' in the proper directory is enough to fetch dependencies and install the package. Most of them are pre-configured in a a way which is appropriate for many users. Before and after installation you will get further hints what to do and how to use a port.

    The manpages are good. You get examples and a centralized configuration file. I don't need to mention the possibilities if you want to use FreeBSD as a firewall. And the VM is top quality! Heavy load is no problem. You can still listen to your MP3 or watch an AVI while dd'ing a harddisk.

    FreeBSD is my favorite OS.
    • I used Mandrake for years, multibooting with win98. Then I upgraded to XP and there was no way I could get the latest Mandrake to work with XP. I switched to FreeBsd and it worked with no sweat. Weeks of screwing around and lost data, I never looked back at Linux. Another thing, I had the cable guy over to install internet, he screwed around for about an hour or more with XP to get it working, actualy he pulled the plug on my Linksys router, so he actualy didn't. After he left I plugged the router back in
    • by Zeio ( 325157 ) on Monday July 14, 2003 @12:39AM (#6431930)
      One might like to point out also that FreeBSD is the basis for the best routing OS there is: JunOS. FreeBSD is very ripe for being a commercial product because of the no-nonsense base install, the wonderful kernel which is exceedingly stable and despite the rants of others, is fairly close to being on par with Linux. Linux tends to change rapidly. FreeBSD changes in a more deterministic way. I also must say that bundling the c library and compiler along with a coherent well documented userland is something that Linux systems may want to take a long had look at. I also really like building the kernel, libraries, compiler and userland easily and reliably from a very easy to follow procedure, mine is:
      - cvsup the base system to latest CVS stable release
      - configure /etc/make.conf; CPUTYPE?=p3; CFLAGS= -O2 -pipe -march=pentium3 ; CXXFLAGS+= -fmemoize-lookups -fsave-memoized -O2 -march=pentium3 ; [-march I do repetitively to make sure i get my probably not needed CPU optimizations ;p] ; COPTFLAGS= -O2 -pipe -march=pentium3 ; NOPROFILE= true ; WANT_EXT2FS_MODULE=yes ; MAKE_IDEA= YES ; COMPAT4X= yes ; configure cvsup in /etc/make.conf ; various other tweaks
      - reconfigure kernel config file to include SMP [options SMP; options APIC_IO], and a shorter timeout period for the SCSI driver [options SCSI_DELAY=4000], and I add a few things to support IDE-CD burning [device atapicam], etc.
      - backup /etc
      - clean out /usr/obj
      - in ./usr/src, build system
      make clean && make cleandepend && make cleandir && make clean && make cleandepend && make cleandir [anal retentive cleansing]
      make buildworld ; make buildkernel KERNCONF=SMP
      make installkernel KERNCONF=SMP
      single user mode
      fsck -p ; mount -u / ; mount -a -t ufs ; swapon -a ; adjkerntz -i ;
      mergemaster -p ; make installworld ; mergemaster ; reboot

      Now my whole system is custom made for my CPU and hardware. It lets me see the care taken in building the whole system and shows off a very clean build process.

      The ports system has many meta-ports that make making an instant workstation quite easy to construct. If you don't want to build your ports with massive optimizations, a large cache of packages are available.

      I would like to point out that I have never had an unbuildable world. I've heard of it on -CURRENT, but have never experienced it, but -STABLE is wonderfully - stable!

      Ports could use a rollback feature such as the one found in Gentoo. Not that I long for Gentoo [I've used this system and deprecate it for a multitude of reasons, maybe later], I have supervised many systems and find that FreeBSD is the best in terms of stability and longevity. Of course uptime is more of a game, who can build a better mousetrap, but its certainly not a meaningless metric.

      The biggest hole in FreeBSD at the moment is Sun's fault. Native Java 1.4 support is available with a bizarre license. Interestingly, IBM and Sun's Linux products actually run very well under the Linux emulation support.

      I have never understood the hatred people have for FreeBSD. It bizarre and unfounded. Its a non-RedHat systems to Winux [Windows weenie Linux wannabees] admins, so they have a conniption that real UNIX is complex and detail oriented, and that reading mans, howtos and docs are par for the course - no admin wizards to "save the day." No, you must actually understand and configure something properly.

      The documentation on FreeBSD is superior. There are many, many docs that cover basic to esoteric administration, with a lot of attention paid to performance enhancing things one can do.

      Add Vinum and UFS2 to the stack of features, and you have yourself some fairly serious filesystem support. While I would like to see XFS in FreeBSD as well, it is a pipe dream, as it is still in "stable" Linux - the best file
  • In a recent eWeek analysis/opinion piece, ZDNet's Technical Director Jim Rapoza argues the case for BSD []. He talks about some of the history of BSD, and says that "FreeBSD is probably the most Linux-like of the three, with good third-party application packages and user utilities."

    By the same token he also says that the greatest weakness of the BSDs "for those seeking an everyday operating system, is the lack of good desktop applications." Then he turns around and says that "if you really want a BSD-based s

If all else fails, immortality can always be assured by spectacular error. -- John Kenneth Galbraith