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FreeBSD turns 21 (freebsd.org)
412 points by tachion on Nov 2, 2014 | hide | past | web | favorite | 130 comments

For all those not familiar with it, FreeBSD[1] is a great Linux alternative, being rock solid, free and open operating system delivering some of the coolest new technologies out there, including out of the box support for ZFS filesystem, awesome debugging tool DTrace, hot new security layer in form of Capsicum, fresh and legacy free hypervisor Bhyve, one of the best documentation amongst any open source projects and much, much more!

And now it can get legally drunk in every country on the Earth, where drinking is legal ;)

Be nice and send it a birthday gift![2]

[1] https://www.FreeBSD.org/

[2] https://www.freebsdfoundation.org/donate/

That's the thing -- it's a testbed for a lot of experimental, some would even say unnecessary, technologies.

Just like Linux taught me to appreciate FreeBSD, FreeBSD taught me to appreciate OpenBSD. OpenBSD -- the world's simplest and most secure Unix-like OS. Creator of the world's most used SSH implementation OpenSSH, the world's most elegant firewall PF, the world's most elegant mail server OpenSMTPD, and the OpenSSL rewrite LibreSSL. OpenBSD -- the cleanest kernel, the cleanest userland and the cleanest configuration syntax.

Ref. http://marc.info/?l=openbsd-misc&m=139321387226212


I would like to second this sentiment.

As someone who has been using FreeBSD professionally since 1998, and built the first VPS provider on it[1] and then built all of rsync.net on it, I am a huge proponent of FreeBSD.

However I (and others) have been frustrated for years by the culture of new and shiny that has displaced a culture of stability and long term support.

Rather than rehash it all here, let me suggest that if you are interested, you may read this mailing list posting:


... which I wrote in January 2012. Much of it remains true today. That being said, when we reworked the rsync.net platform from the ground up in late 2012, we did indeed go forward with FreeBSD.

[1] JohnCompanies "Server Instances", based on FreeBSD jail, were made available in Fall of 2001. A year or so later the world settled on "Virtual Private Server" as the de facto descriptor.

it's a testbed for a lot of experimental, some would even say unnecessary, technologies.

Nope, that's DragonFly BSD. FreeBSD is far more conservative in comparison, occasionally integrating some more daring idea. In contrast, NetBSD used to silently innovate all the time (and I think still do, what with rump kernels) and even OpenBSD, despite being rather vanilla on the outside, is internally innovative in the area of security.

I think it varies. FreeBSD does have a lot of stuff, like netmap, capsicum, that is quite experimental in some sense, although capsicum is a great design. NetBSD has rump kernel, but thats not much code, it is just(!) portability done right, some build fixes and a little code.

You said a lot of nice and true things about OpenBSD, but you didn't back up your claim against FBSD: What unnecessary and experimental technologies are you referring to?

He's just an OpenBSD fan. He's entitled to his opinion, even if he's wrong.

I didn't read the part where his entitlement to his opinion was questioned. The question I read seemed pretty straight forward and reasonable.

Although it turns out he's not.

Can I write ls "é*" in an openBSD console at my first boot? Else, why is it unclean to have accent by default in a shell?

Testbed may be a strong world, but there's definitively a lot of features thrown into FreeBSD and maybe more than there should be. Configuration syntax for all the different pieces are all over the place, it clear that there's not really anyone in charge of FreeBSD. That might be a good thing, and the reason why FreeBSD has all these feature in the first place. It's just really confusing to new comers, it unclear which of these feature I need, and which are optional. Even configuring drives are a bit of a mess, do I need GEOM, softraid, is GEOM a prerequisite for softraid, should I go for ZFS, how much space do I need? I've installed FreeBSD only to find the keyboard to be weirdly mapped, OpenBSD was as you would expect.

For performance, FreeBSD beats OpenBSD in all cases. The thing is, many of us would do just fine on OpenBSD while finding configuration and installation easier and the whole experience of using the system more consistent.

For performance, FreeBSD beats OpenBSD in all cases. The thing is, many of us would do just fine on OpenBSD while finding configuration and installation easier and the whole experience of using the system more consistent.

I really liked and used OpenBSD in the 2000-2002 timeframe (then I returned to Slackware, later OS X). At some point, hardware support became an issue. How good is it these days?

About the same.

It wouldn't detect my SATA HDDs on a GA-945GCM-S2C board (no issues with that on Windows/OSX-Hackintosh/Debian/FreeBSD), had to use USB-HDD to install. Only option for my nVidia graphics was the nv driver, which is actually many times slower than the vesa driver somehow. And vesa lacked any widescreen modes, so video was practically unusable for me. Other than that, everything worked out of the box. LAN (Realtek), audio (HDA), etc.

Only thing I didn't like on the software side (but many people would prefer) was that it's really bleeding edge. I much prefer Xfce, but still rely on some Gnome apps. OpenBSD is much further along with Gnome 3, so a lot of apps like gedit, gnome-system-monitor, gcalctool, evince etc start to stand out like a sore thumb. That'll come to FreeBSD too, but at least I have a bit more time to find alternatives.

Hardware support is rather good. Nvidia graphics chips are an issue, other than that I wouldn't expect to many issues.

Laptops are harder than desktop, mostly due to ACPI and I still trying to get a multitouch trackpad to work (I'm missing a right button).

Linux and FreeBSD has better hardware support, but when stuff is supported in OpenBSD it just works. Only exception I ran into is wireless card in an old MacBook Pro which should work but doesn't.

> Only exception I ran into is wireless card in an old MacBook Pro which should work but doesn't.

If this was a bwi(4) card, the problem is probably fixed in 5.6: http://marc.info/?l=openbsd-cvs&m=140585757928895&w=2

Thanks, but it's an athn: http://www.openbsd.org/cgi-bin/man.cgi/OpenBSD-current/man4/...

I've seen others get the same error, funny enough the man page says: athn0: device timeout A frame dispatched to the hardware for transmission did not complete in time. The driver will reset the hardware. This should not happen.

Yes, that's known. Coincidentally, this came up today: http://marc.info/?l=openbsd-misc&m=141501277608157&w=2

The device timeout message might not necessarily be a fatal problem. If it doesn't have an impact on actual usage you can just ignore it. Otherwise, please file a quality bug report so we can learn more about it.

To chime in bit on FreeBSD, going Linux -> FreeBSD can be relatively painless, and FreeBSD will be a good place to stop if there is no further need of performance/purity/cleanness.

The was a time it was the only blessed BSD distribution for Java, unicode support has been pretty good for years, the ports management is easy and forgiving, documentation is generally clean and complete, help resources have a polite and professional feel.

In general there are stronger alternatives for a production server (OpenSBD definitively) but it's a very nice environment for a workstation or development server.

FreeBSD is an excellent production server, and I use it all the time. And for "non-hardened" and "protected" production servers, the performance numbers went solidly to FreeBSD for my use cases. Modifying the kernel from GENERIC to something specific to one's needs also helps.

That said, I'm also OpenBSD fan, using it as a "hardened" (Internet facing) production server, with minimal ports, for things like Postfix, DNS, etc. OpenBSD is also well used in network management/control as a router, firewall, etc.

Each has its use case, and does quite well in them.

Experimental ideas are almost always shot down by the developers

Not in some states of India, where drinking age can be as high as 30 in certain districts: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alcohol_laws_of_India

It pays to check validity of such claims before you announce them to the world... You (tachion) wouldn't want to be accused of being Americentric now would you? ;)

Of course not! :) To be perfectly honest, that joke was stolen from french FreeBSD committer, so I blame him for being incorrect ;)

Forever grateful to FreeBSD as it was my first non-windows/mac distro that had installed on one of my own machines. I snagged a copy of FreeBSD 4 that was bundled in a book that they sold at BestBuy. I spent all of Christmas installing it on a old Packard Bell Pentium 1, several times if I recall correctly (disk partitioning was rough for a newbie). That one day set my path for the next ~15 years

I was at Andrew Tanenbaum's goodbye Lecture where we once again were reminded of the stupid move by AT&T of suing BSD, which stalled the project for 3 years allowing Linux to flourish. Oh how different the landscape could have been.

On the bright side ... there's a very concerted effort in the Linux world to transform the OS into something completely different; simplified for casual users, designed more for tablets and desktops, less modular, and non-portable. systemd, Weston, ALSA, Pulse, Gnome 3, Unity, Mir, etc.

I'm quite relieved that these developers have Linux to focus on, and are sparing us their creations on the BSDs.

And I'm not saying there's no place for whatever it is Redhat et al are creating, but I'm very happy that we still have a true Unix-like OS, and I'm not sure we would if all of these developers were focused solely on BSD in a hypothetical world without Linux.

“I wouldn’t have to create Linux if there wasn’t any lawsuit against BSD in the early 90`s. It wouldn’t be necesary”

Page 52 http://free.blackpatchpanel.com/pme/linux/history.pdf

The lawsuit cut both ways. Back at the time when I was starting my ISP we used BSDi because they were being used by AT&T. However Linus, even back then, started to gain an edge over the BSD(s) despite having a less mature filesystem and TCP stack for these reason:

1) Almost since day one Linux was a better desktop OS (even back in 1992). 2) This might seem counter intuitive but Linus focused on source compatibility. It was much easier to take any source package and type 'make install' and off you went whereas in the BSDs, there was a 10% more chance of thing not working right. 3) Devices: Linux expanded device compatibility much faster than the BSDs.

Yep. Even today the Torvalds mantra is "do not break user space". If a patch of yours do, you will be at the receiving end of one of his infamous rants. At least if you happen to be high up in the patch chain and should know better.

just wish certain other Linux related projects would take that mantra to heart.

Btw, it is a similar mantra that has carried Microsoft all these years. Recently discovered that some software a relative of mine has been enjoying dated back to Windows 95. And it only broke now because the new computer was running 64-bit Windows 8.

I know those lawsuits made a difference to me. I recall back in '92 getting a 386sx 20Mhz PC with Windows 3.0 on it and being severely disappointed with its limited functionality. While looking for alternatives, I remember seeing that there were some "legal issues" with the BSDs, but Linux had none. So off I went, downloading a large stack of floppies which was a big commitment over a 1200 baud modem. 20+ years later, I've never looked back.

Still stuck with a 1200 baud modem in '92? That stinks. I think I was complaining about having to use my dad's hand-me-down 2400 at that point.

Actually it could have been a 2400 - It's hard to remember the timing of upgrading from 1200, to 2400, to 33.6K to a blazingly fast 56K where I recall stalling for years until broadband finally came into our neighborhood. But regardless of the speed, downloading an entire SLS Linux floppy set over a modem was a painful process.

FreeBSD won me over about 12 years ago when I was looking for a stable OS for a small dynamic DNS home server. OpenBSD kernel panicked on my AMD K6-2 machine, and I'd just been screwed by a Mandrake Linux upgrade that left my system unusable, so I installed FreeBSD 4.7 and slogged through a month of "help, this isn't Linux".

It's impressive how both the feature set and community have grown since then and hard to imagine the OS now giant-locked or without ULE, ZFS, DTrace, PF, and a host of other things both homegrown and imported. I'm particularly excited to see BHyVe mature so there is a native VM option besides VirtualBox when I need more than a Jail.

FreeBSD still struggles in some scenarios, especially desktop use and availability of BSD VPS hosting that would let people cheaply experiment with the OS like they can with Linux on Linode or DigitalOcean. I have a FreeBSD desktop and a VPS running in prgmr.com's Xen environment, but both took quite a bit of effort to set up:



Happy birthday, FreeBSD!

Most people don't seem to be aware that there is a well supported FreeBSD image supported for EC2 these days:


GCE can also run FreeBSD fine if you don't mind messing with KVM images yourself (a quick search should show some threads on how to get started). Many other providers would probably maintain support for this as well if more people spoke about their interests. It's not hard to support on KVM based systems so it's a matter of winning new customers not technical limitations.

Of course, it's worth pointing out that it's also easy (and cheap!) to rent hardware at places like Softlayer and Rackspace. Both of these provide support for FreeBSD on the metal. You could then run Jails (very mature and easy to use) or Bhyve (less mature but the guest support is growing at a reasonable pace) on top of this if you need to partition resources.


I should also note that I saw this company recently. It's a nice and cheap way to get a FreeBSD setup: https://www.vultr.com

I'm familiar with the AWS images but at the time I was looking for hosting Amazon charged more for running HVM than for PV images. I can't find anything about that now on their instance types page, so maybe it's no longer an issue.

Amazon charged more for running HVM than for PV images

The issue was that older instance types (now known as "Previous Generation instances") didn't support HVM for "unix" images, so FreeBSD had to pretend to be Windows -- which meant that you had to pay for a Windows license you weren't using.

All of the instance types introduced since 2010 have supported HVM "unix" instances, and as of a few months ago all of the older instance types have been officially deprecated.

It's no longer an extra charge (partly why I linked to that page which shows the costs).

http://bigv.io/ (bytemark) support FreeBSD no problems at all.

Edit: you just select "none" as the OS and point it at a FreeBSD 10 amd64 image URL as the CD image and it'll install fine and use virtio drivers for network/storage. Very reliable as well.

The only caveat with FreeBSD's implementation of PF is that it's now effectively been forked but hasn't been appropriately renamed. They're still using OpenBSD 4.6 and earlier configuration syntax, and have added some non-portable SMP functionality. FreeBSD PF and OpenBSD PF will be unlikely to share much if any code moving forward.

And so far as I am aware, Sony didn't gave any code back.

Why should they? If the FreeBSD project wanted code to be given back, they would have used the GPL. It's Sony's right as a corporate person to take BSD-licensed code and profit from it without any sort of "giving back."

I vaguely recall hearing they did contribute some code to llvm/clang though, which FreeBSD uses.

sony has contributed patches. They are also involved in some of the BSD conferences.

Let's not forget BSDs long-lasting influence. OS X uses a lot of code from Free/Net/OpenBSD. Many commercial operating systems initially based their TCP/IP stack on BSD.

Cheers FreeBSD! I happy remember buying the 2.1.5 CD set from Walnut Creek and tinkering for weeks.

Android has a fair amount of BSD code, as it has no GPL code in userspace, eg NetBSD is upstream for much of bionic libc.

Wow! I just realized FreeBSD is about as old as I am! FreeBSD is a great system, and going from Windows to Ubuntu to FreeBSD was a fun transition, one I recommend for anybody willing to learn more about computers.

Recently a new book came out too for FreeBSD, I'll see if I can post it here without some sort of referral link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/0321968972/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pd_nS_ttl...

I managed to get one of my professors to purchase the book as well, and it was a nice piece of material for Intro to Operating Systems.

I saw a promotion for Design and Implementation of the FreeBSD Operating System, 2nd. ed this morning, in case anyone is considering purchasing the book. If you buy it direct from the publisher[1], there is a coupon code [2] for 35% off -- bringing the price down to a very reasonable $36.

[1] http://www.informit.com/store/design-and-implementation-of-t...

[2] https://twitter.com/MeetBSDCA/status/528659641106837504

Used freebsd, netbsd and openbsd in the past. FreeBSD for desktop, netbsd for embedded and openbsd for firewall.

I'm happy to see more headlines on BSDs these days, and I can't stop thinking it has something to do with systemd.

Or because the BSDs have been making a lot of milestones lately?

That said, I'd honestly be very interested in any numbers confirming increased interest in the BSDs as a result of systemd integration into GNU/Linux. It's widely speculated, but is there anything concrete to suggest it?

I can't speak for everyone, but I switched my website and local PCs over to FreeBSD. In my case, after having suffered through years of broken audio from Lennart Poettering's previous grand experiment (and his attitude toward detractors ...), systemd wasn't the only reason -- it was just the bowling ball that broke the camel's back.

I haven't actually used systemd, and I'm sure it runs just fine for most desktop people who don't care how their system boots. But I disagree with nearly all of its design decisions. I strongly value software portability between Linux and BSDs regardless of which OS I am using, I don't believe in making desktop environments like Gnome 3 (and even desktop applications like Brasero) dependent upon a specific init system, I don't believe in monolithic design and prefer stronger decoupling, I prefer text log files to binary log files, I find the documentation on systemd and its APIs appalingly sparse, I am opposed to the heavy-handedness of consuming other libraries like udev, I am greatly opposed to the politics being played out to push its adoption on other distros, on and on.

I've actually found Systemd really great for servers. Writing unit files to start our web apps has been so much easier than the old scripts...

It's less about systemd and more about GPLv3 being rejected by companies -- startups included. The BSD ecosystem is much friendlier to businesses.

I'd argue the BSD ecosystem is friendlier in general. GPL has this odd hostile attitude to it that seems to have only gotten worse of late...a feeling of preparation for war. I'm recalling Sony's presentation on why they chose LLVM/Clang [1], where they rather hated that they had to work on so much in secret, because they couldn't collaborate with the community, even though they didn't have to. Compare that to the FSF's stunts like "Windows 7 Deadly Sins" and you see the rather blatant hostility that seems to run rampant in the GPL camp.

[1] http://llvm.org/devmtg/2013-11/slides/Robinson-PS4Toolchain....

Yes, so much that they haven't returned anything back to the community that helped them save development resources (money), or did they?

They do. Here's a pretty extensive test suite that was committed not too long ago http://reviews.llvm.org/rL214126

Thanks for the info.

> The BSD ecosystem is much friendlier to businesses.

That keep their changes private.

…friendlier to businesses… that rely on proprietary restrictions for their business.

Yes, so? Anyone else can take the code and add their own proprietary features too.

If they don't give back to the project it makes their life much harder.

I think the point was "not all businesses". "I run a business" and "I need to keep my code proprietary" are two different statements - neither implies the other (in any logical sense - there is manifestly some correlation).

I'm on Ubuntu 14.04 and had to stop to check if systemd is installed, it is. Ubuntu operates the same for me today as 12 did. I don't have any issues with it. I wrote a Java system service the other day and installed it with the usual update-rc.d command like I've done in 12 and it runs fine so for me systemd has nothing to do with my choice to stay with Linux, Ubuntu specifically. It certainly wouldn't drive me away, I wasn't aware it was even there. Like Ubuntu, and Linux overall...it just works (apparently).

If you run Ubuntu 14.04 you don't run systemd. You have a process called systemd-shim that is some kind of compatability glue for software that requires systemd.


If you want to try a real systemd system use a recent Fedora or Arch release.

Desktop users won't notice or care.

Those of us in the trenches doing sysadmin work will definitely notice.

Having a few high profile companies reliant on FreeBSD has definitely helped. (Thinking of WhatsApp, Netflix and Sony).

The BSDs show up in a lot of "appliances" as well. Up until a few years ago many load balancers were BSD based. IIRC Juniper is still a FreeBSD shop. Does yahoo still run with ybsd?

and to some extent, Apple.

Edit: FlightAware, as well.

FlightAware here. We use FreeBSD as much as possible. We do have some instances of Linux where necessary. We have several people who have been involved with The FreeBSD Project in the past.

I keep hoping Travis-CI will add support for FreeBSD, but it seems there's some blocking issue due their use of OpenVZ as a containerization layer: https://github.com/travis-ci/travis-ci/issues/1818

Does anyone know if there's been more progress on this? It'd really be a boon to FreeBSD (and BSDs in general) if travis-ci supported it, since it'd make it easier for devs to write portable code (between Mac/Linux/BSD) from the get-go.

Linux has had vastly more resources poured into it just for the kernel than all of FreeBSD (and the other BSDs as well).

Yet FreeBSD is still a nice operating system and kernel.

Legitimate question: where have all those resource gone into Linux? What have we gotten out of it that's not in BSD?

Hardware support in the form of many, many drivers.

Absolutely. I'm still looking for a BCM43142 driver :(

Happy birthday, FreeBSD! You were one of the many operating systems I experimented with back in my teenage years, along with countless Linux distributions. The popularity has waned [1] but good to know it is still active :)

[1] http://www.google.com/trends/explore#q=%2Fm%2F02ydx&cmpt=q

I'm not sure that's a good indicator. Linux shows a similar decline (try it yourself). I'd wager it's more a result of the rise of the general population coming online, including smartphones. Us geeks searches became miniscule in comparison. That's my theory, at least, and I'm sticking to it :)

FreeBSD is the OS I switched to after one Linux distro after another refused to run properly on my hardware. I don't boot it often, but if I want to do some good old fashioned Unix hacking, it's my first choice from here on out.

For those commentators deriding Linux attempting to make FreeBSD sound better; you're doing your chosen OS a disservice. Instead, you should highlight why you like your OS and not try to denigrate Linux.

> you should highlight why you like your OS

I'd be happy to! ZFS, DTrace, pf, Bhyve, Capsicum, Jails, GEOM/geli, the userland is part of the base system, and the core team is elected.

For the buzzwords: I like that my out-of-box install has AES-256 whole-disk encryption, software mirroring (that doesn't require identical disks) and snapshots; I really love pf for managing traffic and port remapping on my server; Jails are great added security for services exposed to the internet.

Through and through, I just like the design more in nearly all cases. rc.d works great for my needs, I like devd, I agree with FreeBSD's philosophy difference on the behavior of /dev/random, I like the more laid back licensing, etc.

And to flip things around ... I think Linux does a massively better job at out-of-the-box simplicity in setting up and running a desktop environment. The BSDs are server-oriented and that really shows.

I don't think that is so bad, use each one for their respective strengths.

Linux for the desktop, FreeBSD on the server.

Where are all these anti-Linux commentators here that you speak of?

In general, the opposite mentality (Linux users hating BSD) is far more common, particularly in places like /r/linux, Phoronix and even LWN. There's a certain brand of Linux user who just won't resist telling you that BSD is an irrelevant dinosaur-era operating system that keeps leeching off of Linux. BSD users tend to be much more humble and learned, in comparison. Largely because they don't live in a monoculture.

A decade ago, running FreeBSD on my main PC for a few years taught me half of what I now know about UNIX.

Over time, I grew tired of having my machine in a near-constant state of compiling code (updates are built from source rather than through APT or RPM repos). So I drifted away and ended up with Ubuntu, where I wouldn't have to tinker with the OS so much. However, I miss the amazing documentation that came with FreeBSD, and the things that it encouraged me to learn along the way.

I finally started experimenting with the pkgng stuff and it seems pretty good. I too have been annoyed by the constant compilation, so I've been pleased that I'm getting along with the occasional "pkg upgrade", which will update all my packages, even the ones built from the ports tree. If you have custom compile options in some of your packages, you can simply lock them and pkg will leave them alone; you can then use portmaster or whatever you prefer to re-compile them yourself.

One thing to note about FreeBSD is the new pkg-ng package management system is a big step forward in terms of usability vs the old pkg_ commands. It does not lose to Debian's apt in any way when it comes to binary packages, and FreeBSD's ports system are still second to none when it comes to source based packages. I had been avoiding making the switch, having been used to using portupgrade since 2001, but as soon as portupgrade began supporting pkg-ng I started using it, and have found it a pleasure to use. I now do a pkg upgrade first, to pull all available binary packages from the official repositories, before doing my own upgrades from ports using portupgrade.

something like ten years ago I did my very small part as a member of the FreeeBSD Italian Documentation Project, and translated parts of the handbook and other docs (the VM design thing[1] was super interesting!).

The FreeBSD Handbook[0] was the single best thing about the OS, IMO: a cohesive, up to date reference to about everything in the system.

Cheers, live long and prosper!

[0] https://www.freebsd.org/doc/handbook/ [1] https://www.freebsd.org/doc/en/articles/vm-design/article.ht...

I <3 FreeBSD! I run it on my HP Micro Server. Picked it for ZFS support and solid networking.

I like how they consider birth as "construction ready".

Oh and a side note. Being based off the original BSD its roots go back to 1977 and even earlier.


For someone looking to run a social network, and valuing rock solid reliability and efficiency, what would be the tradeoffs between, say:

CentOS Linux

Debian Linux


FreeBSD is or at least was capable of higher concurrent connections per server, which is presumably why Whatsapp uses it. FreeBSD also has a reputation for performing more consistently and being more responsive under duress. These might be important attributes for a social network.

When comparing between CentOS and Debian, I'd say Debian's apt system is superior to the RedHat family's rpm system, both in terms of usability and when building your own packages. If you plan to run commercial software however, most are made for use on RedHat although that's starting to change with Ubuntu also being a target nowadays. So in general, I'd say go CentOS for commercial software, or Debian for open source software.

> valuing rock solid reliability and efficiency

Get someone that knows one of these systems well. It really does not matter that much. You can do almost everything with every system.

The more important task is to design your website stack in a way that it works reliable.

Can someone who has used them both tell me what are the advantages of FreeBSD over something like OS X (desktop use)? I was turned off from linux after trying out several distress that kept melting down due to one issue or another. OS X has none of those issues and I get all the benefits of a unix system. How will FreeBSD be different if I try it out?


Happy Birthday, FreeBSD!

Damn I was running FreeBSD when Bill Clinton was getting over getting impeached. I feel /OLD/

FreeBSD has reached the legal drinking age! Cheers!

I just hope that they don't change their license model into just "free as in beer" :)

And I hope they one day implement all kernel functions that Linux supports, so that switching from Linux to FreeBSD becomes less painful.

Hey, it reached legal beer-drinking age 5 years ago! 3 years ago it became legal for it to drink higher percentages of alcohol and to smoke weed (well actually it's not legal, they will just ignore you with under 5 grams in your pocket). ...Greetings from the Netherlands.

There's already Linux compability layer in FreeBSD's kernel for years now, allowing you using linux binaries on FreeBSD. Anything in particular you'd be missing when migrating to FreeBSD?

For whatever it's worth, we in the illumos community have been working on a complete Linux compatibility layer -- including 64-bit.[1][2] Our Linux emulation is relatively closely intertwined with some illumos abstractions like zones, but it would be great if the FreeBSD folks could make use of it -- we have a long history of technology exchange with FreeBSD, and we think it's made both systems better. Happy birthday, FreeBSD -- from your illumos cousins!

[1] http://www.slideshare.net/bcantrill/illumos-lx

[2] https://twitter.com/sjorge/status/527937813568708608

Cool looks like its going really well.

What is the license on this code?

FreeBSD linux binary compat was very mature and very workable, circa FreeBSD 4.x - so much so that I ran a normal linux copy of vmware on FreeBSD and could run any OS guest I wanted to.

However no work was done to continue to provide the hacks and tweaks and basic documentation that was required to install vmware on FreeBSD (although if you have an old copy, and license, of vmware workstation 3.x, it should work).

This is a problem - if you're trying to run FreeBSD as a desktop system, it's a real boon have vmware available, if you should want it. We tried to fix this problem back in 2007:


... but there were no serious takers :(

It doesn't support 64bit and some newer features (yet!)

I think 64 bit support has had a lot of work recently.

NetBSD has 64 bit Linux emulation support.

See the FreeBSD lemul branch for 64bit support and newer features. Hoping to see it merged soon.

In my home country it could already drink since it was 16.

How coincidental ... working on a FreeNAS home server this morning!

How coincidental, there is a developer/vendor summit that starts tomorrow. (MeetBSD yesterday and today.)

One of the biggest disadvantages Linux has over Windows is the lack of driver support from hardware manufactures. Is the situation with FreeBSD comparable, or better, or worse?

Comparable, but slightly worse. A large portion of the drivers that exist for Linux are relatively easily ported to FreeBSD, especially the big ones like Nvidia. But not all of them, so the situation is a bit worse.

FreeBSD isn't as commonly used as a desktop/workstation though. People do it (I have one over in a corner), but support for every mouse and dongle under the sun isn't quite as high priority. Stuff like ethernet drivers that matter for servers have really good support in my experience.

The FreeBSD Nvidia driver is written specifically for FreeBSD, not really ported from Linux. I would imagine they do share a lot of code, though, both being POSIX and all.

I have zero issues with Linux drivers? If anything I've had a better experience with Linux drivers than Windows. I could go through a laundry list of devices I buy, plug in and they just work on Linux (Ubuntu). My experience wasn't that way back when I ran Windows more. I'd buy a new printer and couldn't use it until I'd ran the installation software. On Linux just plug and play. Same with my headsets, Bluetooth, phones, etc. etc.

On Linux just plug and play.

Really? Most common peripherals, like mice, keyboards, usb drives, etc, just plug and play (as they do in Windows). But I tried installing a (4 year old?) multi-function printer under Ubuntu 14.04 a few weeks ago and was never able to get the scanner to work, despite Brother providing Linux drivers. Some co-workers and I haven't had great experiences with webcams under Linux. Touchpad support is there, but whether gestures and multi-touch work is another matter. Overall, Linux drivers are a far cry from plug and play in my experience, and I really don't care if I have to run an installer once as long as it ends up working.

> Some co-workers and I haven't had great experiences with webcams under Linux.

Really? Because all USB webcams should support UVC, and therefore should work under every modern OS (Windows, OSX, Linux, BSDs, etc) without any additional drivers.

In fact, you can't even get a Windows Compatibility logo on your packaging if you don't support it. So the webcams you were trying to use must either have been ancient, or appallingly bad hardware?

My wife has to reconfigure the printer every time she tries to print something on whichever Windows she's got on her laptop. It Just Works from my Linux boxen (laptops and otherwise).

They also break. I have a USB sound dongle that works fine with the Debian lenny and wheezy kernels, but not squeeze (that's versions 5 and 7, but not 6, and I tried another chipset's as well). My Wacom tablet stopped working with wheezy.

I've read that driver breakage is for many the #1 problem with Linux, even for enterprise/server setups. I'm starting to view RHEL in a new light after running Debian for a long time.

I can provide plenty of anecdote for broken Windows drivers.

One example where moving from Windows Vista to Windows 7 will update Intel on board graphics card drivers, thus killing Minecraft. Fix is to upgrade graphics card; or to run old versions of Minecraft; or to install Linux and run latest version of Minecraft.


The problem I personally have had here is that Debian support cycles are way too short, 1 year past the bi-annual release of the new version. Even the squeeze LTS 1 year additional support experiment is too short. Hence my new appreciation of RHEL.

With Windows there's a very good chance you can continue using an old version for a long time. I'm still supporting my mother using XP through two sets of hardware (although that'll end soon). (In)Famously, many people skipped Vista and are now skipping Widows 8, and I gather not suffering all that much.

> On Linux just plug and play

Not on laptops

Depends on the laptop and peripheral. Usually, yes it is plug n play.

I honestly dont think there's any other operating system in the universe that will have the same level of hardware makes support as Windows does, especially when it comes to desktop targeted hardware.

You have to be aware that neither Linux nor FreeBSD were developed with desktop usage as a primary goal, so the drivers support focuses more on hardware related to professional usage.

However, you can still use FreeBSD on the desktop/laptop if you pay some attention to what you're buying, and there is great FreeBSD distro called PC-BSD[1] dedicated to desktop users as well!

Answering your question in one word: comparable.

[1] http://www.pcbsd.org/

If you care about security, note that OpenBSD lets you run Xorg as non-root:


X.org 1.16 running with systemd and most drivers allow non-root execution in Linux now, too. This is the default on Arch Linux unless the driver dies not support it.

If you care about security, you'll know that OpenBSD has some fairly transparent claims.

If you're merely in the OpenBSD camp, you'll think that security is the "focus" of OpenBSD.

From a server standpoint? I think FBSD is top-notch, from my observations. There's a weekly podcast BSDNow that is very informative. The hosts are a bit amateur with their fluidity through topics, but they know their stuff.

I am from Debian, looking to test Unix. The demands/needs

1. Should be Free as Linux 2. For use in Desktop 3. Needs UI 4. Mainly for Development

Which BSD is best fit for me?

PC-BSD is probably your best bet. Its a distro of FreeBSD with tools to make it easier to use as a desktop. If you don't mind wading through config files then any of the big 4 (FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD, DragonFlyBSD) should be good for you. I recommend FreeBSD or maybe OpenBSD. NetBSD will run everywhere but isn't the best for standard hardware. DragonFly is too experimental. FreeBSD is the easiest to setup and has the most hardware/package support. OpenBSD is nearly as good on this front but you may have more difficulty.

Has Netcraft confirmed it?


I first installed FreeBSD in 1997. You had to send away for the CDs. There was something so very cool about tinkering with the OS and then typing "make world" at a shell prompt and watching as the OS rebuilt itself. FreeBSD used Beastie[1] as their mascot, cuter than a penguin :)

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BSD_Daemon

Happy birthday. Where would FreeBSD be, if Linux didn't shown up in the scene...

Honest question -- is FreeBSD as easy to administer as Debian? I love apt-get.

FreeBSD has made great strides in the last couple of years with binary package management tools. While there are a few things still to be done, in general if you're familiar with Debian you'll be right at home.

Have a look at https://wiki.freebsd.org/PackageManagerRosettaStone

I'd say it's easier. You don't have to worry about backports to get packages of newer date or expired PGP keys when updating an old machine or anything like that.

Yes, Jordan Hubbard stood up to announce same yesterday at MeetBSD.

The worst thing about FreeBSD is the license.

What don't you like about the BSD license?

GPL proponents generally argue that since code must be contributed back if a program is distributed, it will cause the original source base to grow. On the other hand, from what I gather Apple has used a lot of code from FreeBSD and contributed a significant amount back to the project, which wouldn't have been possible without a BSD-style license. Native ZFS support wouldn't have been possible either, although Sun may have deliberately used a non-GPL compatible license in that case. In any event, it's possible for a BSD-licensed code base to grow as well.

The other pro-GPL argument is that it provides more freedom than a BSD license, but I wonder if part of that is just a desire to prevent commercial use of something others created and gave away for free. I'm not sure why that bothers some GPL proponents. What's your take on that?

Personally I'm more inclined to contribute to a BSD-licensed project because I can use parts of the code commercially. I don't see as many opportunities to work on GPL-licensed code outside of a very niche job working for someone else or doing it merely as a hobby.

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