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Operating Systems Software BSD

FreeBSD 5.2 Released 507

James writes "Freebsd 5.2 is released. FTP mirrors. Release notes This is another step towards 5-STABLE. Many improvements in this release, including ATA and networking enhancements." Patrick Jensen also points out that this is the first stable release with AMD64 support. You can also see the official announcement if you so desire.
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FreeBSD 5.2 Released

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  • FreeBSD on Opterons (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 12, 2004 @09:46AM (#7951595)
    FreeBSD was the only *nix distribution that installed cleanly on my dual Opteron with AIC7902W dual SCSI.

    Gentoo, Mandrake and RedHat crashed. Couldn't test SuSE because you can't download their 64-bit Linux.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      I've actually had a slightly similar situation although with a different outcome.

      I recently built a dual opteron workstation using the MSI K8T800-based dual board. I am using a serial ATA hard drive connected to the onboard Via 8237 controller. I was able to intall Gentoo Linux and FreeBSD 5.2-RC2 (both i386 and amd64 'modes') cleanly.

      At this time, the 'best' experience I had was with i386 FreeBSD. Except for a problem with the onboard broadcom 5705 not being initialized correctly and a weird issue with m
    • FreeBSD owns my MSI-based K8T Athlon 64. Every driver worked out of the box (including on-board sound, gigabit ethernet and power management)! Never have I had such luck with a BSD or Linux install. I asked Hemos to update the headline that Athlon 64/Opteron support is now in a release.


  • by linuxbaby ( 124641 ) * on Monday January 12, 2004 @09:46AM (#7951598)
    Although they advise against using the FreeBSD 5 line in production servers, our company went ahead & did it anyway because we needed a gigabit ethernet driver that was only in FreeBSD 5 not 4.

    Our site gets a million hits a day on a completely db-driven website. Both the Apache webserver and the two replicated MySQL servers on the backend are all running FreeBSD 5, and have been for months now.

    No problems at all. Rock-solid. Good ol' FreeBSD.
    • by zulux ( 112259 ) on Monday January 12, 2004 @10:14AM (#7951778) Homepage Journal
      our company went ahead & did it anyway because we needed a gigabit ethernet driver that was only in FreeBSD 5 not 4.

      The Broadcom Gigabit ethernet drivers that were needed were merged back into 4.8 and 4.9 - but 5.1 is so stable that we're not going to change anything.

      (Did you buy some IBM eServer's too?)
      • Well, I have had problems installing FreeBSD 5.1 on a few Fujitsu Laptops. I get kernel panics every time I try to use the function button to switch to an external display for instance.
        That made me go back to FreeBSD 5.0 that ran without any problems since day one. It seems, however, that the source tree for 5.0 has been removed from the FTP mirrors so unless 5.2 works better than 5.1 there is no way for me to update the applications on any of the 5.0 machines. I am keeping my fingers crossed for 5.2.....
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 12, 2004 @10:28AM (#7951875)
      If 5.x is suitable for production or not depends a lot on your environment really. For running some web based services, esp. when building that based on standard tools (mysql, apache etc) will work very well, and in some cases works better then on 4.x

      I run all my machines on 5.x now, but am strongly considering to move one machien back to 4.x, why?

      Because I need stuff like mjpegtools, mplayer and the like to compile and work without trouble. Currently they give waaay too much trouble on 5.x to be usable for me.

      Stability? 4.x has crashed on me a few times in the last couple of months, 5.x hasn't so far (at least not without there being obvious reasons like cpu/memory failure due to overclocking)

      In a server setup, neither has crashed on me ever, and I run quite a variety of servers on 5.x now, and used to run those on 4.x (and 3.x before that)

      Matter of fact is that 4.x simply gives me fewer surprises, and as such is more usable in a production environment, 5.x provides interesting new technology and as such is more interestign as logn as I have the time to deal with the startup issues.

      • 4.x has crashed on me a few times in the last couple of months, 5.x hasn't so far (at least not without there being obvious reasons like cpu/memory failure due to overclocking)

        Wish I could say the same. While 4.x has been rock solid, I've had some rather serious problems [] with 5-CURRENT. Specifically, if I enable DMA on my drive, my average uptime is 12 hours (it always crashes during the daily Amanda backups). I've been running in PIO for a few weeks, but the entire system is draggy and less responsive

    • If only the ports worked at all on my workstation. :-(

      4.9 works happpily here but I have had no luck building my system with any 5.x version so far.
    • Care to post a link to your site ? he he
    • Indeederoony, FreeBSD 5 is perfectly stable for production systems here, too. We use versions based on the Mach Microkernel, for Intel and for PPC. They're available here [] :-).

      Seriously, as far as FreeBSD-derivatives go, Darwin is very nice, if only for the Mach task scheduling, IOKit, SystemStarter, NetInfo, Apple/NeXT dynamic loader, fat binary support.... Show me another system on which you can build a single version of XFree86 that works with both PowerPC and Intel systems and doesn't even need an XF

    • "Me, too"

      I use FreeBSD on my workstation, and now 2 production servers here in this school district. They function rock solid as dns servers, and recently, a small DHCP server for roaming laptops. It took a complete failure of a motherboard to bring it down. Sure they only have 100 zones loaded, but they also are the recursive servers for the district.

      Swapped out the hard drive into another computer, loaded kernel.GENERIC, and the computer boot up. Reinstalled world because I switched from Cyrix to Pentiu
  • Question (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Imperator ( 17614 ) <slashdot2.omershenker@net> on Monday January 12, 2004 @09:51AM (#7951629)
    I'm happy with my Linux system right now. It supports all my hardware and gives me a nice desktop. Why, beyond standard geek curiosity, should I switch to *BSD? I've used OpenBSD a bit and the ports system seemed kinda cool, though not as simple or powerful as my distribution's package manager. Where's the big advantage for me? Performance? Philosophy? In my very limited and anecdotal experience, Linux has seemed much faster than OpenBSD. I'd ideally like to try one of the free BSDs, but I'm having trouble convincing myself that there's really a point. (This is not intended as a troll. Really, I just want to know.)
    • Re:Question (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Bluesman ( 104513 ) on Monday January 12, 2004 @10:00AM (#7951688) Homepage
      One of the biggest selling points for me is the ease of administration with ports. The ports system is kept up to date VERY well, so it's rare to come across a port that's broken or that won't build. Also, it's really nice to be able to set compilation options so you never are searching for the "right" binary. Ports does it all for you.

      Also, the documentation is fantastic. The FreeBSD handbook has everything you could possibly want to know about system administration, and all the man pages are well maintained and actually there.

      As far as performance goes, I'm sure there's not much of a difference. The reason you'd want to switch is that you'd want a mature, complete system, rather than a hodgepodge of libraries and binaries. It makes it a lot easier and more enjoyable to get stuff done.
      • Currently running slackware 9, would love to switch to FreeBSD. But I absolutely need vmware. I know version 3 has been ported, but vmware GSX has not and I'm not sure how well vmware version 3 runs.
      • Re:Question (Score:2, Interesting)

        by toggaM ( 189118 )
        The most noticeable difference between Linux (Slackware/Mandrake) and FreeBSD for me was speed. Booting/Shutdown and application running was visually noticeable. I was so impressed I bought the company! oh wait, sorry wrong product. I didn't buy the company, I just upgraded my 3 computers to FreeBSD ;-) I just bought a Mandrake Membership prior to switching over but I have no issue contributing to any *nix company for their efforts.
    • Re: Mandrake (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Quantum-Sci ( 732727 )

      Time is an important factor. I think the BSDs are great for internet servers, though I don't see how they're any more secure than a properly set up Mandrake system. Yes, I use Mandrake, not because I'm a n00b, but because Suse cost me at least a month of downtime over the past year. I need my systems, to get actual work done.

      Though I'm glad the BSDs are there, for my purposes Linux just works.

      • Re: Mandrake (Score:5, Informative)

        by Bluesman ( 104513 ) on Monday January 12, 2004 @11:47AM (#7952529) Homepage
        >I think the BSDs are great for internet servers, though I don't see how they're any more secure than a properly set up Mandrake system.

        You couldn't be more right. The difference, at least to me, is that FreeBSD is much easier to configure properly because the documentation and ports system are so good.

        With regard to OpenBSD however, there are many security enhancements that put its security far ahead of the rest. But it is rather paranoid for simple applications, and probably not worth the performance/ease of use hit.
    • Re:Question (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Well ... don't. If you are happy with what you have, stay where you are.

      I'm happily running FreeBSD on all my boxen. You are happily running Linux. Heck, there are even people happily running Windows.
    • Re:Question (Score:5, Interesting)

      by karot ( 26201 ) on Monday January 12, 2004 @10:02AM (#7951706)
      I used all 3 of these OS'es a while back in a datacentre. In those days (about 3 years ago) there was a concensus among many people that I worked with that:

      OpenBSD (2.7) = More secure due to better code reviews - Good for firewalls and gateways
      FreeBSD (4.8) = Better more efficient network stack - Good for webservers etc.
      Linux (RH 6.2) = Good alrounder - Good choice for desktop and for a much wider choice of prebuilt applications. Also OS du jour at the time.

      I would be very interested to see a good modern comparison of these OS'es, perhaps even with commercial *nix thrown into the analysis - HP/UX, AIX, Solaris and SCO for example.

      I bet they still all have their strengths and weaknesses now, just like they did then.
    • Re:Question (Score:5, Interesting)

      by kaiwainz ( 739019 ) on Monday January 12, 2004 @10:06AM (#7951728)
      Well, since you asked nicely, I will reply nicely.

      Well, I like it from the point of the view that is is developed in the tradional way. There is good QA process, good community atmosphere which concerntrates on support users rather than giving a lecter on why their particular operating system "rocks their box".

      I also like the ports system and the fact that you can sync things so easily and compile everything in a nice clean mannor. Depencies are resolved via ports, updating the core is really easy and the speed, it is great. There aren't 100s of services running when using Linux and 90% of the time I am as confused as a baby in a topless bar over which to disable, enable or what ever.

      Also, the cool thing is, it isn't a cool thing. You don't have Red Hat screaming, 4 month using *NIX wantabees asking stupid questions. Sure, I used Linux for 5 years but now unfortunately, with the rise and perceived ease of use, we now have a whole new group of zealots and half witts.

      Oh well, back to my quiet yet stable life of MacOS 10.3.2 and FreeBSD.
      • Re:Question (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Eil ( 82413 ) on Monday January 12, 2004 @01:45PM (#7953875) Homepage Journal

        You don't have Red Hat screaming, 4 month using *NIX wantabees asking stupid questions.

        I can tell you've never subscribed to

        Sorry, but the only reason you don't see at much n00bieism around FreeBSD is only because it's not nearly as much in the public eye as Linux is.

        Sure, I used Linux for 5 years but now unfortunately, with the rise and perceived ease of use, we now have a whole new group of zealots and half witts.

        I can remember the days when a person who owned a modem and dialed around to various bulletin boards was considered cool, mature, and intellectually superior to your garden variety computer geeks. But of course when the Internet started becoming more prevalent, bulletin boards started getting cast as low-tech and amateurish. Mid-90's: anything Linux was in, everything specifically non-Unix was out. Now it's the early 2000's and FreeBSD is the new geek fashion statement. Those who are just now jumping on the FreeBSD bandwagon are thumbing their noses down at Linux users and calling them names such as "zealots" and "half witts." (While we're here, I want the gentle reader to take a moment to ask who here is the real zealot?) New FreeBSD users are citing mostly the exact same reasons for using FreeBSD over Linux that Linux users cited for choosing Linux over Windows years ago, although they are now more subtle:
        • More reliable
        • More consistent
        • Better performance
        • Better development process
        • Freer license
        • Smarter developers
        • Smarter users
        • etc

        Trust me, it will take only a few years before the Next Big Geek Trend comes along and FreeBSD will not be the playground of the elite-wannabes. Instead, it will be relegated as a hunk of code that showed definite signs of promise but was ultimately hampered by too many "n00bs" joining the FreeBSD community thereby spoiling it for everyone. Or perhaps by an archaic, inflexible, development system or crochety old too-conservative developers. The particular excuse doesn't matter, only the fact that it will have gone out of style. The next new thing will be there to take FreeBSD's place.

        Don't think for a second that I don't love FreeBSD. I use it on my computers at home and have several patches on my todo list that I'd like to work on and submit to the FreeBSD developers when time permits. But I also use Linux and Windows on a regular basis as well. And I'm not going to sit here and lie to myself and others by saying that I wasn't totally infatuated with Linux and other geek trends in the past. That, I think, is the primary difference between an advocate and a zealot.
    • Re:Question (Score:5, Interesting)

      by linuxbaby ( 124641 ) * on Monday January 12, 2004 @10:07AM (#7951741)
      You're right that OpenBSD can be a little pokey and not the greatest Desktop. I went with OpenBSD first and was not thrilled - then I tried FreeBSD.

      On FreeBSD the ports are kept up-to-date faster. There are SO many more ports [] ready-to-go. Really a surprising amount. Like anything you ever needed, just go to /usr/ports and there it is, ready to install.

      No RPM hell. Just cd /usr/ports/multimedia/xmms ; make install clean. It downloads and compiles any dependencies from source. And a simple command can automatically upgrade ALL of your installs ports every night!

      I find FreeBSD faster and simpler than any Linux distro I tried.

      I still think OpenBSD is wonderful for making a bulletproof network-connected server or firewall, but if you haven't tried FreeBSD yet, I think it'll make a much better desktop.

    • If your happy with what you got, why switch?

      IMHO one should find a distribution they like, and stick with it. The FLOSS situation is such that any new feature is implemented by the others pretty quickly. And one should support the folks that make the distribution.

      FreeBSD has been geared more to the server market, not that it really makes a difference.
    • Re:Question (Score:5, Informative)

      by bluGill ( 862 ) on Monday January 12, 2004 @10:27AM (#7951867)

      It "feels" right. I grew up on BSD systems (okay, sunOS 4 wasn't exactly BSD, but it was closer to that than system V), so BSD feels right. I like the way it works.

      The differences are subtile though. I can use either linux or BSD systems without problem, and if I don't do anything to find out which I'm using it can take a long time before I find a difference.

      Traditionaly linux has supported more hardware, but sometimes that hardware wasn't so good. FreeBSD traditionally has better (faster) networking, and better support for server class hardware. (Years ago this ment if you went with SCSI you used FreeBSD, IDE you used Linux, but that was years ago) In these modern times both have good support for most hardware you are likely to find in the real world, or neither has support.

      OpenBSD and NetBSD are not the same as FreeBSD. FreeBSD is faster and better suited to the desktop, though if the desktop is your goal, a lot of what you want on the desktop gets into linux first. OpenBSD is more secure, at least in their (extreemly limited) default install, I wouldn't run a firewall with anything else. Otherwise I'm not sure I'd bother with openBSD. NetBSD runs everything you are likely to care about, and it is supported. Linux may have had prots to more systems, but half those ports are broken is seems. So if you want to run that Vax in the corner, or some other strange macine netBSD is your only reasonable option. Once you run it one place it may be easier to run it everywhere. (Yes there are good reasons to run old hardware even though a typical desktop today is faster. Those who have good reason know who they are)

      In summery: FreeBSD and Linux are mostly an issue of Ford vs Chevy. Some people prefer one over the other, but in reality the differences are not significant. NetBSD and OpenBSD are for specialized uses, but still worth useing for a lot of people.

      • Re:Question (Score:4, Insightful)

        by JDizzy ( 85499 ) on Monday January 12, 2004 @01:46PM (#7953889) Homepage Journal
        Actually, your incorrect in your assertion about the most secure one of the *BSD's. It is easy to belive what you read regarding what each of the BSD's does, and is. In reality NetBSD is by fare the *most* secure of all the BSD's, bar none. FreeBSD is the Linux of the BSD, with aqll its packages/ports, and support for peripherial hardware. OpenBSD is is secure, and has code audits, and produces other nice things that find their way into everything else, but is not the most secure by default BSD.

        I like to ask people like yourself, no offence intended, why OpenBSd is the most secure? Is it something you have read some place, or something you were told, or discovered yourself?

        In NetBSD, the default is nothing but a small bare minimal system, with nothing turned on. Nothing is more secure than this. OpenBSD on the other hand, has lots of things turned on by default, and has turned out to be the cause of most of their problems. Contrairy to what the OpenBSD website says, they have had about 7 or 8 default bugs in their installs in the past 3 years. They like to claim *one* root eplain since inception, or whatever... they are not all that!

        In reality it goes like this:
        FreeBSD is the most powerfull, and linux like of the BSD's.
        NetBSD is the most portable, and most secure by default.
        OpenBSD wrote OpenSSH, and has the best t-shirts, and posters.
        OSx is the prettiest, and the most widely deployed desktop unix.
      • I must say I agree with this. I used linux for awhile, and one day stumbled onto a FreeBSD system. I had been using it for a month or so and found myself liking it better, so I decided to see what it was running, uname said FreeBSD 4.something and that was that. I still use Linux to this day, but sometimes I find things not where I would like them, etc. New installs get FreeBSD unless there is a pressing reason to use Linux. Everyone says crash this and uptime that, I dunno, all our Unix machines seem to st
    • It's all about the question of the right tool for the right job.

      On my network, I use Linux for the servers, but OpenBSD for the outer perimeter security. Why OpenBSD? 'pf' makes a very good firewall system, and it has some very useful features. The documentation is excellent - I could get started and understand 'pf' using only the manual pages - I didn't have to search for HOWTOs finding them often out of date. It was easy to set up a bridging firewall (I have a very small IP block allocation, and don't wa
    • If Linux is working for you, then don't switch. There noe reason [for you] to do so.

      I personally went with FreeBSd instead of Linux because the Ports system made installing things a breeze.

      I've Linux have a Ports-like system, I'd use Linux too.

      P.S. Yes, I know, apt-get, but the Debian installer was a nightmare at the time of learning a *nix compared to FreeBSD.
    • I switched my servers to FreeBSD and I find it really simple to manage, update, upgrade. I'm not going into cvsup and ports tree details. It just works, it hasn't crashed once and I've had no problems with it. I also tried OpenBSD but I didn't like it as much.

      Anyway, I've heard success sotries about FreeBSD on the desktop as well, but I'm currently running Linux (Slackware 9.1) on my desktop. Mostly bewcause I don't want to lose contact with Linux, not because FreeBSD wouldn't make a good desktop.
    • Re:Question (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Florian ( 2471 ) <> on Monday January 12, 2004 @11:20AM (#7952259) Homepage
      > I'm happy with my Linux system right now. It supports all my hardware
      > and gives me a nice desktop.

      Then there's no reason for you to switch. If you would instead not be
      happy with your system and find that FreeBSD runs better on your
      hardware, than this would be a reason to go through the hassle of
      switching your OS.

      After all, the differences between a GNU/Linux and a *BSD system are
      practically user-invisible on the level of the desktop interface. Both
      are, as a matter of fact, state-of-the-art Unix, but may not be called
      so because of trademarks and expensive certifications (which, contrary
      to popular make-belief, are not owned by SCO, but by the Open Group,
      formerly X/Open).

      The differences mainly concern the kernel (partitioning schemes and
      filesystems, hardware drivers, module handling, packet filters, sound
      and multimedia subsystems). Userspace differences in the init system,
      package management and base OS/distribution tools are not bigger than
      those between two GNU/Linux distributions. Slackware or Gentoo users
      might even find Free/Net/OpenBSD more familiar than RedHat or SuSE.
      There are subtle, but sometimes crucial differences in the commandline
      userland between GNU/Linux and *BSD though, unless one installs the GNU
      file and text utilities on *BSD and uses them as default (which is easy
      and supported by the package management of all three free BSDs). The
      KDE/Gnome/XFCE desktops act in a completely transparent manner, with no
      visible differences, on top of GNU/Linux and *BSD.

      Generally, the Linux kernel is best suited for a desktop system because
      of its more advanced sound (ALSA) and video (video4linux) subsystems,
      support for a wide range of desktop hardware gadgets (Webcams, graphic
      tablets and the like), filesystems (including everything from Amiga to
      Acorn...) and hardware-accelerated video card drivers (DRI/DRM, although
      I read similar features are on the roadmap of FreeBSD and NetBSD), and,
      since kernel 2.6, kernel preemption and low-latency functions. However,
      FreeBSD should come close to Linux as it is optimized for the x86-PC
      architecture and is a very good performer. NetBSD is, from my own
      experience of running it as a secondary OS, not as fast, but still
      surprisingly good for an OS that is developed with portability (and
      hence abstraction/clean interfaces vs. optimization) as its prime
      objective. IMHO, it is (very) roughly comparable with Linux kernel v2.0
      in terms of performance and desktop computing friendliness. Installation
      of NetBSD is a bit difficult (more so than even Debian), and the
      necessity of creating classical BSD disklabels for every storage media
      to be mounted can be highly annoying on a desktop system (for example,
      if one wants to quickly mount someone else's USB stick). OpenBSD is,
      IMHO, a bad choice for a desktop system unless security and crypto
      features are the main requirements. It is not a good performer at all
      (and not being developed with performance as a main goal).

      Kernel-wise, FreeBSD's chief advantage over Linux used to be better
      responsiveness under high system load and better virtual memory
      management (which both gave/give FreeBSD an edge over Linux on servers
      rather than on desktops). This advantage has gradually decreased through
      substantial low-level improvements in Linux 2.0, 2.4 and now 2.6, which
      AFAIK has lifted quite a bit from FreeBSD's advanced VM management.
      Maybe Linux 2.6 is now on par, but still I wouldn't be surprised if
      FreeBSD (and also NetBSD) would be more mature in this field. (For
      example, I never succeeded in bringing down my two NetBSD boxes with a
      fork bomb.)

    • Re:Question (Score:5, Interesting)

      by sremick ( 91371 ) on Monday January 12, 2004 @02:51PM (#7954560)
      Disclaimer: I am not anti-Linux. However, here is why I like FreeBSD..

      1) PORTS. FreeBSD could win on this point alone. The ports system is AWESOME. I have never used Linux, but I hear a lot of people bitch about RPMs and "dependency hell". FreeBSD has dependencies but the ports system tracks all that. Every file, every version, every port is noted. I can just go to a directory and type "make clean install" and everything will be downloaded, built to my tastes, along with all dependencies and their dependencies and built in the proper order, then registered in the database. Daily I sync my ports tree and see what's new. If I want it, I can upgrade it (along with dependencies) safely with one command. It just doesn't get better than this. Recently, FreeBSD pass the 10,000 ports mark []. There's also a nice overview of the ports system at Arstechnica [].

      2) Stability. FreeBSD is notoriously stable. You can pick any Netcraft report (such as here [], here [], here [], here [], or here []. ) for evidence of this.

      3) Consolidation. There is only one "FreeBSD". If I have 5.2 and you have 5.2, we have the same OS. There is no one "Linux". In reality, Linux is a kernel, and when you add a userland then you have a distribution. FreeBSD is kernel + userland.

      4) File organization. Linux seems to lay out its file hierarchy somewhat randomly, with no consistancy of where an installed executable binary might be placed or separation of base/user. FreeBSD has polished this and adheres rigidly to a formal structure. For example, I know my base system is under /usr/bin. When I install an app, I know it'll be beneath /usr/local/bin for console apps or /usr/X11R6/bin for X apps. Base config files are in /etc, while config files for stuff installed via ports is in /usr/local/etc.

      5) Community. I find the FreeBSD community to be less fanatical and instead more disciplined and polite. I feel like I'm getting help from someone wearing a suit & tie (though I doubt they really are..:) ) instead of a "LINUX RULEZ!!!" kid.

      6) Documentation. FreeBSD has EXTENSIVE DOCUMENTATION [], which is helped by Reason #3. There are also a number of excellent books on FreeBSD [], all of which in this list I own. Sure, there are a bazillion books on Linux, but FreeBSD doesn't need so many because there's just one FreeBSD, and once you get beyond the OS, the rest is specific to the application/server and is not OS-specific.

      7) Performance. FreeBSD is notorious for performing well. In fact, sometimes applications under Linux-emulation (see #8) run better than on a native Linux box. FreeBSD's TCP/IP implementation is also well-known for being very fast.

      8) Linux-emulation. Most stuff for Linux is available as open-source and can be compiled natively for FreeBSD (and is probably in the ports tree), but for the few binary-only things that aren't, FreeBSD can still run them. Some of the Linux stuff I run myself include RealPlayer, Acrobat Reader (although gpdf works well too), the Flash plugin (running in a native Firebird, btw), and maybe some other things I ca
    • Re:Question (Score:3, Informative)

      by Brandybuck ( 704397 )
      Several reasons. First, FreeBSD is a unified system. Linux, on the other hand, is a kernel, distro supplied scripts, shells, libraries, and utilities. Not everything in the core FreeBSD is native (gcc, tar, etc), but most of it is. This has a few disadvantages, but overall it's a benefit. It even feels unified.

      Second, the documentation is superb. Linux is notorious for having imcomplete documentation. Part of this is the fault of GNU, which actively discourages the writing of man pages. A while ago I was t
  • Wow (Score:3, Informative)

    by Bluesman ( 104513 ) on Monday January 12, 2004 @09:54AM (#7951648) Homepage
    This news hasn't even hit the freebsd site or bsdforums yet. I checked this morning.

    I'm overdue for an upgrade, I've got 5.0 running on my main desktop machine. I just love how easy it is to administer and how well documented everything is compared to Linux.

    I haven't tried the Linux 2.6 kernel yet, mostly because there's no reason for me to not use FreeBSD. X, Fvwm, and Gnome apps run flawlessly, and the ports system is fantastic.
    • by agshekeloh ( 67349 ) on Monday January 12, 2004 @10:07AM (#7951735) Homepage

      The mirrors are still updating. While 5.X is imminent, /. has once again jumped the gun.

      In the past, we of the FreeBSD Project have started distributing an image to our mirrors and then recalled it when a last-minute bug is discovered. IIRC, at least once /. has pre-announced the release and people got bad code.

      Please do not grab this image thinking that it's FreeBSD 5.2! It won't be out until Scott Long says that it ready and available, and he has the right to nix this image up until the time he makes that announcement.

      mwlucas at the obvious domain name
  • Not quite. (Score:5, Informative)

    by dinivin ( 444905 ) on Monday January 12, 2004 @09:55AM (#7951653)
    As of 8:53 AM EST, the annoucement page [] does not have it listed and the []
    freebsd-announce mailing list has not mentioned it.

    This means that it is not yet released.

  • by linuxbaby ( 124641 ) * on Monday January 12, 2004 @10:00AM (#7951687)
    A little FreeBSD evangelism FWIW:

    My company uses FreeBSD 5 on half of our desktop machines in the office. All the PCs for customer service and general-purpose use are all running:

    The fonts are anti-aliased and beautiful. I find it easier on the eyes than Windows or OS X.

    It only takes us about an hour to set up a whole new ready-to-go office desktop PC for the office, using FreeBSD ports. And we LOVE that all boxes' apps are kept automatically updated every night using the portupgrade scripts.

    If you're thinking of dabbling with FreeBSD as a desktop I can highly recommend it.

    In fact I'm typing this on my Gateway laptop with FreeBSD 4.9 right now. Here are some FreeBSD laptop compatibility lists [] if you want to see if yours will work.

    • I've been considering trying BSD but I have to wonder how well does it support *older* SMP machines? I have a dual Pentium Pro box just sitting here with ISA slots. BTW the ports system looks cool, from the examples in the comments.
      • I've been considering trying BSD but I have to wonder how well does it support *older* SMP machines? I have a dual Pentium Pro box just sitting here with ISA slots.

        It supports them quite well. I got a dual pentium pro, installed FreeBSD 5.1 and it's been running like a beast ever since.

    • If you're thinking of dabbling with FreeBSD as a desktop I can highly recommend it .. yeah but it depends on what you need. I mean, I use Linux as my primary OS so you would think it might be easy for me to go FreeBSD.

      Overall I really like FreeBSD's simple install and the ports system is pretty good although I'm not a believer in compiling everything. And the system feels very stable and nice.

      However, can I run VMware 4.x (I absolutely must have this)? How are the nVidia drivers? Does the nvidia-sett
    • I've never used FreeBSD, so I'm a little confused by this post. I currently use Gentoo, and KDE alone takes about 8 hours to compile on my machine. Are you installing all this from binary or something?
  • Curious (Score:3, Interesting)

    by CaptainAlbert ( 162776 ) on Monday January 12, 2004 @10:00AM (#7951691) Homepage
    I just had a sudden realisation that although I consider myself a free software enthusiast, I am ashamed to say that I know *nothing* about FreeBSD at all! Well, I remember reading about where the codebase came from, once upon a time, but that's about it. Perhaps someone could give me an executive summary to stem this clueless feeling...

    Who uses it? How exactly is it licensed? How is it maintained and managed? Are there different distros as for Linux? Do any companies provide FreeBSD-based solutions, or is it just for hobbyists? What can it run on? Should *I* consider running it, and why?

    I appreciate that I *could* go looking for all this information and piece the story together myself, but hell, it's easier this way. :) Zealots, do your worst!
    • I'm not a *BSD expert (I use Linux), but anyway...

      1) People who want to use it I guess; I've seen quite a few Web servers running it.
      2) BSD licence. Basically do what you want with it, sell it in binary form, whatever, as long as you don't try and misrepresent the original author(s).
      3) Not sure...
      4) There are different BSDs, yes, e.g. FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD etc.
      5) Not sure, again. Although Hotmail used to run on *BSD, FWIW
      6) With NetBSD, most platforms.
      7) No idea what your circumstances are...
    • Re:Curious (Score:5, Informative)

      by doon ( 23278 ) on Monday January 12, 2004 @10:45AM (#7952048) Homepage
      Who uses it? Lots of People (Like Yahoo!).

      How exactly is it licensed It is licensed under a BSD license [].

      Should I consider Running it? Short answer: Yes (but I am biased)

      Long Answer: It depends on your applications. FreeBSD is a rock solid Operating System, also it is distributed as an entire operating system, as opposed to GNU/Linux where you have the Linux Kernel and then what ever utils/programs $VENDOR has built around it. We run it on 20+ servers here and have been really happy with it. I run it on Multiple boxes at home also. Then again the 2 of us here are kinda FreeBSD bigots. Here is my leg to prove it [] so my opinion might be biased.

      Depending on your application, you really should run the best Operating System for the Job. I haven't found the one perfect OS yet. For instance if you are running Java app servers you might want to look at Linux for that as it's java implementation seems to be better( but FreeBSD's is getting there quickly). The nice part is it free and you can just grab The ISO's and try it out on a spare machine.

      • Re:Curious (Score:3, Funny)

        by mccalli ( 323026 )
        Then again the 2 of us here are kinda FreeBSD bigots. Here is my leg to prove it

        Now there's a sentence you don't read every day.


      • But my mom told me never to take operating system advice from strange tatooed people... :)

        > is distributed as an entire operating
        > system, as opposed to GNU/Linux where you have
        > the Linux Kernel and then what ever
        > utils/programs $VENDOR has built around it.

        I think that's the answer to something I was meaning to ask. I always got that impression whenever I read some *BSD discussions, but it's reassuring to hear someone come out and say it. It's also a compelling feature in its favour, s
        • But my mom told me never to take operating system advice from strange tatooed people... :) Probably good advice ...

          On a more serious note, what about all the GNU utilities (such as make) - does FreeBSD have its own alternatives, or do they get bundled into the distribution, or do you perhaps have to go download them yourself (surely not?)?

          BSD comes with a full development enviroment, so most of the utilities you need are there, and if you need the GNU versions (some software requires GnuMake/AutoCo

  • In a recent consulting gig, I've been tasked with looking after a few offices full of Mac OS X systems at a design company. As many of you would know, Mac OS X is based upon a FreeBSD Unix foundation, so it's capable of being useful to 'hard core' users such as ourselves, as well as presenting a typically user friendly MacOS face to designers and the like.

    One thing I really like about Mac OS X is the increasing number of Unix-derived packages that are available through projects such as fink. Fink uses th

    • Finks has no association with Apple. There is a ports in the works. Its called DarwinPorts [].
      Doesn't have nearly as many packages as Fink does however.
    • As a developer, I use FreeBSD at work, and OSX at home. On OSX I now use darwinports, rather than Fink, after having a kernel panic caused by Fink. I don't particularly blame Fink, as it's still in beta, but as that was my first (and last so far) kernel panic in OSX, I thought that I'd give something else a try until it was more stable.

      Personally, I think that darwinports is slightly easier to use than Fink, but there's not a lot of difference. The downside is that there are a lot more packages available i
      • You're just using the wrong tools. :)

        Installing a pre-compiled binary package on FreeBSD is as easy as "pkg_add -r "

        Using the portupgrade suite of tools, it's as easy as "portinstall -P "

        To install an app via the ports tree is as simple as "portinstall "
    • Look, I'm only familiar with RPM.

      However, it would seem to me that what is needed is a packaging system that accomodates both binary distributions and source in a way that resolves dependencies.

      There should be a hard line drawn between the source and binary environments.

      The packaging system must encompass the entire Base Operating System (granted that most UNIX distributions transfer a "mini-system" at some point in the install). For example, patching the Base Operating System on OpenBSD is entirely d

    • It should also be noted that early betas of Panther bundled DarwinPorts. That faded away in later builds, but most things that Apple has hinted at shows up eventually.

      Personally, I find fink (and the wonderful FinkCommander) to be extremely easy to use, but the inclusion of any simple access to ports/apt-get/etc would be a boon to OS X users.
  • PowerPC (Score:2, Interesting)

    by smeeze ( 67566 )
    anyone know how well PowerPC is supported?
  • Look here [] to see what other work needs to be done.

    They claim 5.3 will be the stable version but I will not upgrade. I am sticking with 4.9 for now.

  • PCMCIA support (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Kazymyr ( 190114 )
    Does anyone know if they have fixed PCMCIA support during the install? It used to work fine in the 4.x series, then it got broken in the 5.x series. I have tried it a month ago, and it was still broken.

    Basically, if you need PCMCIA support during the install, you're SOL. For instance if you want to do a network install over a PCMCIA NIC. Like I said, since 5.x the installer doesn't even try to detect PCMCIA devices anymore.
  • FTP2 traffic (Score:2, Interesting)

    by gtrubetskoy ( 734033 ) *
    As always, it's fun to watch the traffic on the server when a new release comes out:

    here []

  • Live CD (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Trejus ( 87937 ) on Monday January 12, 2004 @12:12PM (#7952841) Homepage

    Since I haven't seen this mentioned yet...

    What's the possibilty of having a FreeBSD LiveCD? As far as I can tell, there is no technical restriction, since if I remember correctly, a lot of floppy-based routers use netBSD.

    FreeBSD gets lots of praise from it's users, but my only real experience with it is that a couple of my friends tried it (about 3 years ago) and found it impossible to install. However, it seems like an it would be worth a try, but I don't really want to sacrifice my Linux partition. Plus, I'm not all that interested in going through another lengthy install process since I'm pretty happy with Slackware.

    Of course, since supporters mostly seem to admire the ports system, there maybe little difference for the end-user between Linux and FreeBSD LiveCD's.

    And please, no jokes about a "dead" operating system being distributed on a live CD.

    • Re:Live CD (Score:3, Informative)

      CD2 as distributed by the FreeBSD project is a bootable, live filesystem CD-ROM. Granted, it only gets you to a shell prompt, but it includes everything that comes with a standard install of FreeBSD, and makes a great rescue tool.

      There are a couple of third-party LiveCD projects underway, although the only one I can recall the name of is Freesbie.
  • 1. Unlike most of the Linux distros, you can upgrade the system from the source. You can get the latest source code via CVS and completely update the whole system to the latest version or use it in order to fix bug fixes. It works really well if you want to stay updated on crucial bugs.

    2. Unlike most of the Linux distros, it has a good software management system, ports. You can update them via CVS as a part of your cron job, thus you can get the latest version of software anytime you want to install somet

  • by idfubar ( 668691 ) * <> on Monday January 12, 2004 @02:45PM (#7954490) Homepage
    As a UCB EECS graduate, I can truly appreciate FreeBSD.

    As a hardware nerd, though, I was a little disappointed at the empirical results the OS turned in for my disk array (RAID5, 4x200GB, 16kB block size, 8:16:32:256K stripe size) - burst and sustained transfer is much faster under Windows. Have a look at the results: IDE Hardware Raid On FreeBSD []
  • I actually just recently tried out FreeBSD (5.1-RELEASE, to be exact), because I wanted to do something with my Sun ultrasparc 5 besides having it sit there and look sexy. OpenBSD was not an option, as I cannot boot the ultra5 from floppy (even says so in the README somewhere), and I was way too lazy to build a boot CD ala NetBSD's instructions, so FreeBSD it was - I wanted to use the box and see something new besides Linux and Win2k (and OS X in my dreams on the 12" PB).

    In hindsight, I have to say it's gr
  • by scosol ( 127202 ) on Monday January 12, 2004 @03:23PM (#7954891) Homepage
    I've used and liked FreeBSD since back in the 2.1.5 days. (~1994 IIRC)

    Of all the reasons listed, it is the simplicity and order and coherency of everything that works for me. It's very standardized, and things just seem to be done in a way that "makes sense".

    So- why not use it?
    There really is only one reason: bleeding-edge hardware support.

    For server systems this is not an issue, but for desktops (particularly laptops) it raises its ugly head.

    I will say that the 5.x series makes a lot of improvements in the "general laptop functionality" area, but even still- hardware support *does* lag behind Linux.

    It is for that reason (and *only* that reason) that for my FOB P2040, FreeBSD (4.x at the time) just was not an option. Stuff like sound/tvout/suspend/spindown and IIRC even the particular USB controller wasn't supported. It's been a long time now but I remember installing it and just finding it unworkable at all on a machine that new at the time.

    Anyway- food for thought.

Where there's a will, there's an Inheritance Tax.