BSD vs Linux - questions

Discussion in 'NZ Computing' started by Evil Bastard, Aug 9, 2003.

  1. Evil Bastard

    Evil Bastard Guest

    Hi,

    I've been running all-Linux boxen for going on 2 years now (after
    overcoming my Windows addiction), am happy with the setup, only ever
    restart servers when changing hardware or building new kernels etc etc.

    But I sometimes bump into people on the net who sing the praises of the
    various *BSD operating systems, and urge me to make the switch.

    Also, until such time as SCO's executives start their prison sentences,
    Linux users are potential targets for legal harassment and extortion
    attempts, while *BSD users are totally out of the picture.

    Are there any *BSD enthusiasts here?
    Or, preferably, people with some depth of experience with both Linux and
    *BSD?

    If so, can you tell me what you like about *BSD that would justify the
    learning curve and time taken to migrate?

    (I did the first stage of OpenBSD installation - rather bemused at having
    to type in cylinder/head/sector numbers into fdisk - hope it's not going
    to be a minefield of complexity - I'm totally settled into Debian
    Unstable).

    I guess what I'm asking is, assuming I go through the whole exercise, and
    days/weeks later I've got all my apps/daemons/dev-tools running on *BSD,
    and all my data moved across, what kind of things will make me glad I
    switched?

    And, which *BSD is best for:
    1) Servers and desktop usage
    2) Community support (one of the devs on #openbsd is a real sarcastic
    prick)
    3) Maintenance

    Thanks for your time

    Cheers
    EB
    Evil Bastard, Aug 9, 2003
    #1
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  2. Hi,

    I've been a FreeBSD newbie for a couple of years. I'm a fairly advanced
    newbie as I run my own servers etc., but I haven't yet become familiar
    enough with the OS to do things without looking at the manual.

    This is not to say it is a difficult OS to use, I just haven't moved to *BSD
    on the desktop yet (Still using Windows 2000) or forced myself to learn. The
    file system layout is simpler than that of Linux, and the ports collection
    makes installing many applications very simple. Personally I find FreeBSD to
    be much easier to use from the command line. Neither of my FreeBSD systems
    have XFree86 installed, nor do the *BSD and Linux systems at work.

    The general recommendation from the sensible people at
    comp.unix.freebsd.misc is to try *BSD and see if you like it.

    One thing about FreeBSD is the install is pretty minimal. Personally I think
    this is great, as most Linux distributions install far too much crap, but
    opinions may vary. It does make the setup of all your favourite applications
    a little harder.

    My recommendations -
    Servers - FreeBSD or OpenBSD
    Desktops - FreeBSD
    Community Support - FreeBSD
    Maintenance - FreeBSD is pretty good here, but I'm sure OpenBSD is also
    handles this well, particularly when security related issues arise.

    The Other Guy

    "Evil Bastard" <postmaster@127.0.0.1> wrote in message
    news:pan.2003.08.09.14.38.55.445376@127.0.0.1...
    > Hi,
    >
    > I've been running all-Linux boxen for going on 2 years now (after
    > overcoming my Windows addiction), am happy with the setup, only ever
    > restart servers when changing hardware or building new kernels etc etc.
    >
    > But I sometimes bump into people on the net who sing the praises of the
    > various *BSD operating systems, and urge me to make the switch.
    >
    > Also, until such time as SCO's executives start their prison sentences,
    > Linux users are potential targets for legal harassment and extortion
    > attempts, while *BSD users are totally out of the picture.
    >
    > Are there any *BSD enthusiasts here?
    > Or, preferably, people with some depth of experience with both Linux and
    > *BSD?
    >
    > If so, can you tell me what you like about *BSD that would justify the
    > learning curve and time taken to migrate?
    >
    > (I did the first stage of OpenBSD installation - rather bemused at having
    > to type in cylinder/head/sector numbers into fdisk - hope it's not going
    > to be a minefield of complexity - I'm totally settled into Debian
    > Unstable).
    >
    > I guess what I'm asking is, assuming I go through the whole exercise, and
    > days/weeks later I've got all my apps/daemons/dev-tools running on *BSD,
    > and all my data moved across, what kind of things will make me glad I
    > switched?
    >
    > And, which *BSD is best for:
    > 1) Servers and desktop usage
    > 2) Community support (one of the devs on #openbsd is a real sarcastic
    > prick)
    > 3) Maintenance
    >
    > Thanks for your time
    >
    > Cheers
    > EB
    >
    The Other Guy, Aug 9, 2003
    #2
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  3. In article <pan.2003.08.09.14.38.55.445376@127.0.0.1>, Evil Bastard <postmaster@127.0.0.1> wrote:
    *SNIP*
    >Are there any *BSD enthusiasts here?

    Certainly.

    >Or, preferably, people with some depth of experience with both Linux and
    >*BSD?
    >

    *raises hand*
    I've run ISP servers on FreeBSD and Linux (debian and RedHat).

    >If so, can you tell me what you like about *BSD that would justify the
    >learning curve and time taken to migrate?
    >

    Are we talking desktop or server? The parameters for each are
    different, and the BSDs (particularly Open, but Free and probably Net
    also) are not newbie desktop OSes.

    >(I did the first stage of OpenBSD installation - rather bemused at having
    >to type in cylinder/head/sector numbers into fdisk - hope it's not going
    >to be a minefield of complexity - I'm totally settled into Debian
    >Unstable).
    >

    Open is somewhat more difficult than Free. I have no experience with
    Net so can't comment, but since Open is a fork of Net I would assume
    it's similar.

    >I guess what I'm asking is, assuming I go through the whole exercise, and
    >days/weeks later I've got all my apps/daemons/dev-tools running on *BSD,
    >and all my data moved across, what kind of things will make me glad I
    >switched?
    >

    Quite honestly? Probably nothing. Unless you've come from RedHat or a
    related Linux distribution, there's nothing absolutely compelling about
    BSD on the desktop - If anything, it lags. It has less hardware
    support, and some mainstream software isn't shipped natively for the
    BSDs.
    The strongest point of the BSDs is consistency across the different
    OSes. The files go into the same place every time. You can move from
    one to another without really having to think "Where's that init file?"
    or "Will this go into /sbin or /usr/sbin?" - Unlike trying to go from,
    say, RedHat to SuSE to debian.
    There's also ports, but if you've come from debian you probably won't
    actually be totally blown away.

    >And, which *BSD is best for:
    >1) Servers and desktop usage

    Free for the desktop. I'm told Net is good, but it's something of a
    moot point since the binaries for one will work on another.
    For servers, take your pick. They have different strengths. Open is
    definitely the way to go if you want a firewall or a secure router.
    Free moves packets like you wouldn't believe. And Net, well, if you
    want to put your washing machine or toaster onto a network, there's
    probably a port of Net for it.

    >2) Community support (one of the devs on #openbsd is a real sarcastic
    >prick)

    Free is the largest, so has the biggest pool for support. I'm sure
    there are wankers in there, but I've never bumped into one.
    Open is run by Theo de Raadt, who is known for being slightly abrasive
    (just like 25-grade sandpaper is slighly abrasive).
    The reputation of the Net community is pretty good. They're almost
    certainly going to be able to help you with that obscure hardware
    problem, for example.

    >3) Maintenance
    >

    Open's release cycle is every six months. That's major release not just
    patch release. Free is roughly every quarter. Not sure about Net, but
    they also announce a new architecture (I'm sure they must have just
    about ported to every known microprocessing architecture there is) quite
    regularly.

    --
    Matthew Poole Auckland, New Zealand
    "Veni, vidi, velcro...
    I came, I saw, I stuck around"

    My real e-mail is mattATp00leDOTnet
    Matthew Poole, Aug 9, 2003
    #3
  4. Evil Bastard

    Enkidu Guest

    I've installed and played with BSD a bit. It's not a beginner's OS,
    IMO. The need to compile everything is a real negative as far as I'm
    concerned. Some people love it. But waiting an hour or more for a
    "make world" is too long for me. It does require a lot of knowledge
    about how it is put together.

    Have you tried Debian, which is part way between something like BSD
    and RedHat/Mandrake?

    Cheers,

    Cliff


    On Sun, 10 Aug 2003 02:38:55 +1200, Evil Bastard
    <postmaster@127.0.0.1> wrote:

    >Hi,
    >
    >I've been running all-Linux boxen for going on 2 years now (after
    >overcoming my Windows addiction), am happy with the setup, only ever
    >restart servers when changing hardware or building new kernels etc etc.
    >
    >But I sometimes bump into people on the net who sing the praises of the
    >various *BSD operating systems, and urge me to make the switch.
    >
    >Also, until such time as SCO's executives start their prison sentences,
    >Linux users are potential targets for legal harassment and extortion
    >attempts, while *BSD users are totally out of the picture.
    >
    >Are there any *BSD enthusiasts here?
    >Or, preferably, people with some depth of experience with both Linux and
    >*BSD?
    >
    >If so, can you tell me what you like about *BSD that would justify the
    >learning curve and time taken to migrate?
    >
    >(I did the first stage of OpenBSD installation - rather bemused at having
    >to type in cylinder/head/sector numbers into fdisk - hope it's not going
    >to be a minefield of complexity - I'm totally settled into Debian
    >Unstable).
    >
    >I guess what I'm asking is, assuming I go through the whole exercise, and
    >days/weeks later I've got all my apps/daemons/dev-tools running on *BSD,
    >and all my data moved across, what kind of things will make me glad I
    >switched?
    >
    >And, which *BSD is best for:
    >1) Servers and desktop usage
    >2) Community support (one of the devs on #openbsd is a real sarcastic
    >prick)
    >3) Maintenance
    >
    >Thanks for your time
    >
    >Cheers
    >EB


    --

    Signed and sealed with Great Seal of the Executive
    Council of the Internet, by The Master of The Net.
    Enkidu, Aug 10, 2003
    #4
  5. Evil Bastard

    Evil Bastard Guest

    On Sun, 10 Aug 2003 11:18:03 +1200, Enkidu wrote:

    > I've installed and played with BSD a bit. It's not a beginner's OS,
    > IMO. The need to compile everything is a real negative as far as I'm
    > concerned. Some people love it. But waiting an hour or more for a
    > "make world" is too long for me. It does require a lot of knowledge
    > about how it is put together.


    Been there, done that, a year ago when I played with Gentoo, Sourcemage
    and Lunar Linux. It felt a satisfying power trip to be compiling
    everything from the kernel and the C libs right up to the apps. But then
    there's the waiting, waiting, waiting - the source takes twice as long to
    download as binary, and when there's a lot of C++ in the mix (eg as with
    all the qt/KDE stuff), gcc shifts into extra-low gear and takes forever.

    What put me off the source-based linuces (probably doesn't apply to BSD)
    is that for a lot of packages, the automated build script doesn't
    quite make it ready to use - often leaving it broken and needing a lot of
    manual-reading and script-hacking. And even after compiling optimally for
    my Athlon box, the finished product ended up slower than Debian.

    > Have you tried Debian, which is part way between something like BSD
    > and RedHat/Mandrake?


    Are you kidding? Debian so totally rules it's not funny.
    Been using sid on the desktop, and a woody/sid blend on my servers, for
    over a year - love it!

    As for OpenBSD, something which infuriated me was how the kernel *has* to
    be within the first 8GB of the physical disk. Linux can boot comfortably
    regardless of where the kernel lives - LILO and GRUB take care of all
    that, why can't OpenBSD update their archaic code to do the same?

    Thx all for your feedback

    Cheers
    EB
    Evil Bastard, Aug 10, 2003
    #5
  6. Evil Bastard

    richard Guest

    Evil Bastard wrote:

    > I've been running all-Linux boxen for going on 2 years now (after
    > overcoming my Windows addiction), am happy with the setup, only ever
    > restart servers when changing hardware or building new kernels etc etc.
    >
    > But I sometimes bump into people on the net who sing the praises of the
    > various *BSD operating systems, and urge me to make the switch.


    The one thing that bugs me about FreeBSD is the crap you have to do when
    applying patches. Last week, there was a minor bug in libc, but you can't
    just patch libc, noooooo... you have to rebuild every single fscking thing
    on the system. Clumsy, IMHO. Haven't they discovered shared libraries
    yet?

    And the ports collection is, IMHO, a huge PITA.

    Yes, I've been cursed with a couple of these at work.

    Richard
    richard, Aug 11, 2003
    #6
  7. Evil Bastard

    Route Guest

    In article <pan.2003.08.09.14.38.55.445376@127.0.0.1>, postmaster@127.0.0.1
    says...
    >
    >Hi,
    >
    >I've been running all-Linux boxen for going on 2 years now (after
    >overcoming my Windows addiction), am happy with the setup, only ever
    >restart servers when changing hardware or building new kernels etc etc.
    >
    >But I sometimes bump into people on the net who sing the praises of the
    >various *BSD operating systems, and urge me to make the switch.


    That's because it's always been a superior operating system.

    >Also, until such time as SCO's executives start their prison sentences,
    >Linux users are potential targets for legal harassment and extortion
    >attempts, while *BSD users are totally out of the picture.


    True.

    >Are there any *BSD enthusiasts here?


    There are actually more BSD enthusiasts than Linux enthusiasts.
    Linux enthusiasts are however more vocal in newsgroups.

    >Or, preferably, people with some depth of experience with both Linux and
    >*BSD?


    Yes.

    >If so, can you tell me what you like about *BSD that would justify the
    >learning curve and time taken to migrate?


    I like it for the simple reason that it's the product of decades of
    operating system research. Older versions of BSD have been the basis
    for the most popular commercial Unix operating systems in the world.

    On the other hand, Linux is an operating system inspired by (but not
    derived from) Minix. Over the years it had been infamous for a lack of
    control over code submissions, distributions of the OS were chaotic at
    best, and it's new (compared to BSD).

    I'm certain that if you compare the security histories of both OS's,
    it'll be pretty plainly obvious which OS is more stable.

    >And, which *BSD is best


    You should run FreeBSD. Don't run NetBSD unless you're a developer and
    your goal is to extend the BSD kernel. OpenBSD is more reliable than
    NetBSD, slower than FreeBSD, and more secure than just about any OS
    available.

    > for:
    >1) Servers


    OpenBSD especialy if security is your goal, otherwise FreeBSD.

    >and desktop usage


    FreeBSD.

    >2) Community support (one of the devs on #openbsd is a real sarcastic
    >prick)


    FreeBSD

    >3) Maintenance


    FreeBSD


    -- Route
    Route, Aug 11, 2003
    #7
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