Sonntag, 4 Mrz 2012

Why FreeBSD – My Personal view.


Just a review of myself since i’ve need it for my talk 🙂

I’ve started playing with Linux in 2000/1, and since then I have been switching between Linux and Windows from time to time. By the end of 2001, I switched completely to Linux because I had enough of windows blue screens problem. After some hardcore testings of other distributions like debian, slax, crux, fedora, suse and gentoo, I finally stayed with Gentoo for 1 ½ years. But after portage got more and more buggy, I started to look for a new challenge. I’ve met some BSD Guys in IRC, and after a while I setup FreeBSD in dual boot and started playing with it. I was really surprised on how fast and stable it runs, and also the community impressed me with their helpfulness. If you ask anything over the mailing list, you will always get helpful answers from the developers and users. My experience with Linux community is totally the opposite. It was common for me to get answers such as “RTFM” or “Try google”, which is not what I hoped for. I still remember today how many times I had to reinstall Linux just to fix up some mess. After a while with Linux I have the impression that Linux is going more and more towards mainstream, which is of course nice for the end users, but the fact that anyone can install Linux without knowing what happened in the background makes it even worse. Not to mention about the kernel size, which I have always seen some new stuff in, but the old codes were left unmaintained. This leads to a bigger kernel with more security holes, which leads to system instability. The kernel is now 63MB, which is so much bigger compared to FreeBSD kernel.

I believe that Linux now has a big user base where 70% of the users do not understand what is occurring in the background or if they even know what ‚terminal‘ is Thank you Ubuntu, Suse, Fedora. Well alright I think I stop here because you maybe start thinking that I’m bashing Linux, which I am not :-). I also have a lot of good experience with Linux 🙂 and of course I won’t forget which user base I was from :).

In November 2005, I moved completely to FreeBSD. After a while using FreeBSD, I was thinking on how to give something back to the community. I started submitting patches to the FreeBSD project, and in Jun 2006 I got my FreeBSD ports commit bit. Since then I am one of the most active member in the Project. At least, this is something that I could do in return of being able to enjoy a good and a stable system with a big choice of applications that is easy to handle using the package management system.

There are a lot of things that I love about FreeBSD, and I bet you know most of them already. FreeBSD has a clean structure that makes it so easy to understand. It is a rock solid system, very stable and easy to maintained. For applications, you have a choice between package system, if you want it fast, or the famous ports system, if you wish to compile applications yourselves with specific options. Another great thing about ports system is its easy framework, which provides flexibility to FreeBSD users to build their own stuff.

FreeBSD’s user base is probably not as big as Linux’s, but I can safely say that FreeBSD’s community support is one of the best in the open source world. As I have mentioned previously, I have not been in a more helpful community than FreeBSD’s. If you’re in the mailing list or a community member, you’ll know what I mean :).

FreeBSD has a lot to offer to new users. The deep learning curve is probably tough for a first timer, but all is worth it. And FreeBSD has the best gift to new users, the handbook. FreeBSD handbook is one of the best documented operating system, and this is another reason why I like FreeBSD so much.

Well there another 5000 reason…

So long miwi 🙂

10 Responses to “Why FreeBSD – My Personal view.”

  1. Richard Yao Says:

    Well, I am sorry to see that you left the Gentoo community, but if Gentoo had to lose a user to another OS, then I am glad that it was FreeBSD.

    With that said, feel free to say hello to people in #gentoo-bsd and #gentoo-prefix on freenode. You might enjoy learning about Gentoo is not limited to Linux. We have the Gentoo/FreeBSD and Gentoo Prefix projects, which are relevant to people using FreeBSD. 🙂

  2. Rod Elias Says:

    100% agree

  3. yazid idrus Says:

    in contrary as some feedback to me, getting help from FreeBSD community was a hell experienced 😀

  4. darislav Says:

    For the sake of fairness, Arch’s community is very friendly and helpful, also the documentation in wiki is almost perfect as well. And in general, Arch is very similar to FreeBSD.

    I agree that FreeBSD is much superior OS then Linux in the same way as MacOS compared to Windows accordingly, but FreeBSD has two major problems:

    1. it doesn’t have all that amazing GNU software;
    2. lack of daily-needed hardware drivers, like printers, which is not actually the FreeBSD’s problem but a consequence of the fact that Linux has tremendously larger user base.

    Therefore, for a person who choose an OS for the desktop, considering practical terms, it’s very hard to pick FreeBSD, even though it’s a great choice for servers.

    It’s a very interesting story of how Linux became a major open-source OS on the market, and i’m sure that many historians and philosophers in the future will talk about that 😀

    I think, it all happened because of Richard Stallman, without GNU, Linux couldn’t have been born. But if BSD would reconsider their views about their license in the middle 1980s, now we could have the best from both worlds: BSD and GNU…

  5. Ariel Voynes Says:

    I don’t think you make a valid point when you talk about the amount of people who use Linux without knowing how it works.

    If you were comparing the FreeBSD kernel against the Linux kernel, then I think Linux going mainstream and becoming bigger is actually an advantage. A bigger user base means that the software is being tested on a wider variety of hardware, and also with different, complex and sometimes weird configurations. Because the normal user doesn’t know what he’s doing most of the time, he’s likely to find ‚bugs‘ when performing tasks in what the developer would consider an ‚incorrect‘ way. Making the kernel ‚idiot proof‘, if you’d like to call it that way, will make it much more robust.

    If you were talking about the community involved, then that’s a different story, and you’re comparing Linux distributions with FreeBSD.
    Have you ever tried Arch Linux?, it seems like you want an operating system that ‚forces‘ you to learn how it works. Arch Linux may not have an organized handbook like FreeBSD does, but it does have an awesome and updated Wiki full of information. I’m not unfamiliar with what FreeBSD has to offer that many Linux distributions will probably ever lack, but when I’m a desktop user and I want to try new software, Arch is a great Linux option for me.

  6. James Lloyd Says:

    I tend to favor limux more, thou currently my debian installation is dual booted with a free(fine, you got me) pc-bsd install. Very nice but i tend to feel its more of a server os. The gnu software base is much larger.

    I think the most, ah, in correct thing on this acticul was the mac<windows<linux<bsd<unix. I find gentoo and slack more complacated then freebsd, and lets face it: bsd is unix. May not be UNIX, but its unix. It sorce code is decendent of the origanal at&t code and it comforms to unix design and phoilosiphy.

  7. tuah Says:

    Good point Miwi, i love Debian (desktop) & *BSD (server).

  8. ashkan Says:

    i’m almost agree with you. But there is some distro left for pro peoples, debian, centos and even archlinux

  9. Dapper Dab Says:

    I agree but I don’t agree.

    Seems like most of your beef with Linux is actually the size of the community, the sometimes shoddy „customer service“ and, well, the size of the kernel.

    Also, should one have to understand exactly whats going on in the background with everything they do? That’s like saying, „I’m going to stop playing video games because the users will never understand what’s going on in the background.“…

    Should people become engineers just to use computers?

    I’m not saying people shouldn’t be open to learning, switching operating systems is a learning experience when coming from something like Windows to GNU/Linux. I would bet that most of the users switching almost instantly go back to windows full time due to not wanting to learn.

    However, the ones that still stay and continue to learn may not know what’s going on in the background now but neither did you when you first started using GNU/Linux.

    I’m not disagreeing, your experiences are just that. Your experiences. I’m just throwing in my experiences and my thoughts on the situation. 😀

    In fact, I’m here because I’m looking for some comparisons of FreeBSD and Linux.

    Oh, I’d like to throw in that I really dislike Ubuntu. I used to praise them for wanting to make it easier but now I really dislike what they are doing to Linux(Hey Debian, I know we wouldn’t exist without you but you should switch your release cycles to ours…).

  10. Hawk Says:

    I was going to reply in more length but Dapper Dab pretty much summed it up.

    I too was looking for comparisons since I am considering switching back to FreeBSD for my tinkering. I would like to touch on a few points.

    In reality, a perfect OS would be one that is stable, secure and performs the required tasks efficiently with the minimal amount of administration (and one with the lowest learning curve). You can argue this isn’t true but for the average user, business or goverment it is a fact.

    I, as well as most people who use *BSD or linux probably like getting our hands dirty and there is nothing wrong with that. I can’t say I have a compelling reason to switch from Linux to FreeBSD for a home server but I want to learn and use something new. New being a relative term since I have used FreeBSD before but not to the extent of Linux.

    I basically run SAMBA, Apache and database services — both do a great job of that. I feel that FreeBSD is a bit more clean and since Linux (Kernel) is packaged by so many people so many ways and FreeBSD is managed as a whole I feel it has an edge on overall stability. The FreeBSD handbook is great. If you have never used either Linux or FreeBSD and want to learn a new OS from a technical standpiont I would highly recommend FreeBSD. The community is helpful (as long as you put an effort to self diagnose first).

    Linux on the other hand has come a long way for ease of installation and use. My flavor of choice is Debian but there are many flavors designed to do many tasks to choose from. Linux has the edge on hardware support.

    Unrelated note:
    I run both Linux and Windows servers at work. It still amazes me in this day and age how people mention blue screens of death. There are services that Windows offer that makes the administrators and end users life easier. I try and find the good in all things I guess 🙂

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