Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
DragonFly BSD 4.6 Released (dragonflybsd.org)
129 points by cgag on Aug 3, 2016 | hide | past | favorite | 25 comments

I run Postgres, MonetDB, Redis, and Disque on DragonFlyBSD for various hobby projects. It's been extremely stable, easy to administer¹, and fast².

Two of my favorite things:

1. HAMMER, and the upcoming HAMMER2, are very nice filesystems. HAMMER isn't a CoW fs like ZFS and btrfs; HAMMER2 is however. Also, somehow HAMMER2 is more stable than btrfs despite having about 3 developers.

2. Like Solaris, DragonFly isn't afraid to deviate from and advance traditional *nix design. vkernels, lightweight threads, a super cool message-passing API, NT-esque architecture of a decoupled microkernel-ish design running in one address space, etc.

It also has neat cluster features not unlike VMS and Plan9, but I haven't used them.


¹ I use FreeBSD as a desktop OS so my opinion here could be a bit skewed. But I think, like most BSDs, it's a very well-thought-out system.

² Disque³ on my DragonFly VPS is a bit faster than on my similar Arch Linux VPS; otherwise my workloads are too small to make a good comparison.

³ https://github.com/antirez/disque

> despite having about 3 developers

If one of those developers is Matt Dillon low numbers are rarely a hinderance. He turns out an awful lot of superb quality code, ever since the days of DICE on the Amiga. That ended up generating faster code than either of the "professional" offerings, including Lattice. Lattice C on MSDOS later became the first two versions of Microsoft C.

One of the people I respect most in this industry.

Yeah, Matt Dillon is up there with John Carmack for me in terms of programming masters. He pumps out a lot of high-quality code.

I think the same about Poul Henning Kamp. I feel I read his name in every module in FreeBSD. Jails, GEOM and so on. And Varnish is a fantastic well though product from him.

The architectural difference of how data is stored between Redis and Varnish is very interesting to read about. And I think it tells us why that Redis performs better on Linux and Varnish performs better on FreeBSD.

> NT-esque architecture of a decoupled microkernel-ish design running in one address space

Given Mr Dillon's background I'd have called it Amiga-ish, but perhaps that's just nme.

I'm more familiar with NT's internals than Amiga's, but I'm sure Amiga is what influenced the design.

Though Amiga was more of a true microkernel but without memory protection; NT and DragonFly have memory protection but the kernel is a single executable composed of multiple message-passing modules.

I'm fairly sure, around the time of the original fork, Matt announced the intention for DragonFly to take inspiration from the Amiga for some aspects of the new OS and kernel. Messaging was one of them. I forget the others.

Can someone smarter than me compare FreeBSD to DragonflyBSD given the fork has now been 11 years.

How do the two compare based on features, stability and performance?

DragonflyBSD network stack seems of particular interest given that it's lock less.

And on overall OS performance, last benchmark I saw was very dated


Curious to know how 4.x stacks up

Matt's reply to that is a great (& amusing) example of a well-reasoned reply to a very bizarre comment.


Huh it looks like they took DragonFlyBSD as some kind of invasive fork. Well done DragonFlies :)

I really like their HAMMER features like 'no fsck' and instant crash recovery. I hope to contribute this project :-) https://www.dragonflybsd.org/hammer/

EDIT: I think it would be nice to compare hammer & btrfs.Any kernel/file-system expert here has any idea/thoughts on the same?

The only thing I currently use BSD for (specifically FreeBSD) is a local Minecraft server. It seems to run much better than vanilla Ubuntu. I hadn't heard of DragonFly before this but seeing as they boast about performance I wanted to give it a shot against FreeBSD. Unfortunately, my server is 32-bit and it looks like they just dropped support for it :/

They dropped support for 32-bit hardware ages ago (3.8 was the last release with 32-bit support). That message is just in the release notes every time.

This is a very interesting discussion of the pros and cons of HAMMER and ZFS: https://forums.freebsd.org/threads/49789/

I've been considering using DragonFlyBSD for a home NAS because of the seemingly smaller system requirements for HAMMER.

I'd like to note that this release contains some virtio driver fixes that mean you should be able to run DragonflyBSD safely on a VPS that allows you to upload custom ISOs (vultr seems to be the most popular). Previously there would be rare hard lock ups, but that should be fixed now.

> The i915 driver has been updated to match the version found with the Linux 4.4 kernel.

> The radeon driver has been updated to match Linux 3.18 ...

Are they borrowing code from Linux? How do the licenses work out?

>Everything at the GPUOpen portal will be open source and licensed under the highly permissive MIT license, allowing developers to not only see the code behind RTG’s tools and libraries, but to integrate that code into open and closed source projects as they see fit.


While the i915 driver nowadays lives in the Linux source tree, it is still released under a permissive license. Same goes for a lot of drm stuff. I'd assume similar for radeon.

Most of DRM is MIT licensed, including these two drivers.

The drivers for desktop GPUs are MIT licenced, most of the others seem to be GPL.

There is a note on "SMP Performance", is anyone here knows about whether and how *BSD's support the 72-core/64-core Intel Knights Landing chip? I couldn't find any relevant information via google.

PS. I asked this question in an earlier post, but since this one is more popular, allow me to ask again.

PPS. Google gives me mentions of Linux and Windows server support, but nothing BSD.

I don't know about "72-core/64-core" but I found older references to 24 and 48-core:

http://dmesgd.nycbug.org/index.cgi?do=view&id=2778 http://dmesgd.nycbug.org/index.cgi?do=view&id=2725


We detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12221466 and marked it off-topic.

I'm quite excited for this release, too.

Guidelines | FAQ | Lists | API | Security | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact