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Old 25th August 2010
EverydayDiesel EverydayDiesel is offline
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Default Advantages of FreeBSD over OpenBSD [Desktop]

Im thinking about using OpenBSD or FreeBSD for my desktop. Can someone tell the advantages of FreeBSD over OpenBSD?

I have a little bit of experience with openbsd (mostly firewall/pf)
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Old 25th August 2010
klanger klanger is offline
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The most important from desktop user point of view is a list of apps available.

Since OBSD has a smaller number of them, simply have a look if most of apps that you use every day are available.

Have a spin with both - OBSD and FBSD. Also DragonFlyBSD & NetBSD are good for desktop (with pkgsrc).

Advantages of FreeBSD over any other BSD is a big "community" & number of ports.
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Old 25th August 2010
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OpenBSD lacks bigmem support, so if you have a desktop with more than about 3.5 GB of RAM, it'd be wasted on OpenBSD.

Edit - Sorry, "lacks" is incorrect. Support for bigmem is experimental and has to be enabled.
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Old 26th August 2010
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VESA framebuffer console.
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Old 26th August 2010
Alphalutra1 Alphalutra1 is offline
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Nvidia graphics driver for both i386 and amd64, zfs support, same ports tree for all branches, AHCI and NCQ support, and flash plugin support are the ones I can think of off the top of my head
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Old 26th August 2010
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OpenBSD supports AHCI and NCQ.
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Old 29th August 2010
Alphalutra1 Alphalutra1 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BSDfan666 View Post
OpenBSD supports AHCI and NCQ.
I didn't know that; Thank you. Seems they've had it since 4.2 for ahci
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Old 30th August 2010
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FreeBSD has ahci. Not sure about NCQ, but most desktop drives don't support it anyway.

I've used both as a desktop a fair amount, and both have their merits. In the end I prefer FreeBSD slightly because it runs Opera*. Otherwise I would probably go with OpenBSD.

I could write a long story about the merits of both, but trying each for a few months will be the only way for you to decide what you prefer.

* I know OpenBSD can run Opera in Linux compatibility mode, but SMP has to be off and it's not really as stable/fast as I would like. And yes, I tried firefox for months, it's shit.
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Old 30th August 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carpetsmoker View Post
FreeBSD has ahci. Not sure about NCQ, but most desktop drives don't support it anyway.

I've used both as a desktop a fair amount, and both have their merits. In the end I prefer FreeBSD slightly because it runs Opera*. Otherwise I would probably go with OpenBSD.

I could write a long story about the merits of both, but trying each for a few months will be the only way for you to decide what you prefer.

* I know OpenBSD can run Opera in Linux compatibility mode, but SMP has to be off and it's not really as stable/fast as I would like. And yes, I tried firefox for months, it's shit.
Yeah, Alphalutra1 indicated OpenBSD didn't, not sure how wide spread NCQ support is.. but they're out there.

With the rise of WebKit based browsers, it's worth looking at them for a replacement for Firefox and Opera in situations where neither are suitable.

Marco Peereboom has a vi-inspired browser based around WebKit, it's strictly a no frills experience though, others include midori and an old chromium port.

Comparing OpenBSD and FreeBSD for desktop usages is kind of difficult to do fairly, they both have arguably comparable feature sets.. but sometimes in different areas.

The websites of each project attempt to highlight these, and with further research you can dig up more information, but in the end I believe it's safe to say that most of the regulars here started out trying several different systems before settling on the one that came closest to matching all our needs, technical and philosophical.

Some end up deciding to use a wide variety of different OS's, in tandem, perhaps that just fits their requirements.

Anyway, it's all debatable in the end, listing out the reasons for choosing one or another doesn't really serve much of a purpose in the end.

Last edited by BSDfan666; 30th August 2010 at 04:19 PM.
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Old 31st August 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EverydayDiesel View Post
Im thinking about using OpenBSD or FreeBSD for my desktop. Can someone tell the advantages of FreeBSD over OpenBSD?

I have a little bit of experience with openbsd (mostly firewall/pf)
I can not think of the single serious advantage of FreeBSD over OpenBSD for a typical desktop user.
If I have to come up with one that would be existence of the native Opera web-Browser for FreeBSD.
That being said I made this post from Opera running on the top of OpenBSD 4.8 with bsd.mp kernel.

Last edited by Oko; 31st August 2010 at 05:20 AM.
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Old 31st August 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rocket357 View Post
OpenBSD lacks bigmem support, so if you have a desktop with more than about 3.5 GB of RAM, it'd be wasted on OpenBSD.
That is not true. Support for RAM is architecture dependent. OpenBSD would probably easily see 1TB of RAM on sparc64. If we are talking about i386 and amd64 the situation is of course different. i386 theoretically doesn't support more than 3GB of RAM. PAE kernel is a big joke.
amd64 hardware until recently was too buggy for more than 4GB of memory

http://quigon.bsws.de/papers/2010/bs.../mgp00002.html


OpenBSD will probably support more than 4GB of RAM on amd64 but I have a hard time to see how is that useful to a desktop user (see original question). Actually larger memory space can easily make applications more sluggish.

Last edited by Oko; 31st August 2010 at 05:12 AM.
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Old 31st August 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alphalutra1 View Post
Nvidia graphics driver for both i386 and amd64,
You mean binary blob driver? Good luck with it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alphalutra1 View Post
zfs support, same ports tree for all branches,
I fail to see how zfs would be useful for a typical desktop user. On another hand udf (blue ray, dvd) is for most desktop users very important. OpenBSD has second to none support for udf file system (it is better than Windows support). You can read cvs commits. Having a great audio server in the base is also a big + for OpenBSD.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alphalutra1 View Post
AHCI and NCQ support,
You are not very familiar with OpenBSD...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alphalutra1 View Post
and flash plugin support are the ones I can think of off the top of my head
I fail to see how FreeBSD supports Flash. Native Flash doesn't exist for FreeBSD. Linux emulation is most definitely better on FreeBSD if for no other reason for the fact that OpenBSD binary emulation is disappearing code. It is dead for all practical purposes. If he needs Flash Windows is the way to go.

Java barely works on FreeBSD on another hand the latest Icedtea is ported to NetBSD. Work is in progress on OpenBSD. Support for native SUN Java works far better on OpenBSD than on FreeBSD but that is beyond the point.

Last edited by Oko; 31st August 2010 at 05:57 AM.
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Old 31st August 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by klanger View Post
The most important from desktop user point of view is a list of apps available.
I agree.

Quote:
Originally Posted by klanger View Post
Since OBSD has a smaller number of them, simply have a look if most of apps that you use every day are available.
Exactly. It is important what you use on the daily base. I for instance use every day TeXLive. TeXLive is not ported to FreeBSD! Lots of my HPC friends use Portland compilers. Those do not exist neither for FreeBSD nor for OpenBSD. OpenBSD is not usable as HPC platform.


Quote:
Originally Posted by klanger View Post
Advantages of FreeBSD over any other BSD is a big "community" & number of ports.
Big doesn't necessary mean more knowledgeable although I have a very deep respect for some FreeBSD people (Examples include but not limited to Dr. Colin Percival and Dr. Robert Watson)

Number if ports is a fake argument. It really depends what you use. I will go as far as to claim that a typical desktop applications like MPlayer, Sane-backends, HPLIP are far more up to date on OpenBSD than on FreeBSD. FreeBSD supports far less network hardware and has no support (except for the cheap hack which uses Linux drivers) for video devices of any kind.

Last edited by Oko; 31st August 2010 at 05:17 AM.
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Old 31st August 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carpetsmoker View Post

* I know OpenBSD can run Opera in Linux compatibility mode, but SMP has to be off and it's not really as stable/fast as I would like.
Disable memory cache on Opera. In general OpenBSD Linux comp is dead so you are right that people who do love Opera should not have OpenBSD as their first choice.

I would actually like to bring one fact commonly left out when it comes to desktop use. What do developers use on their desktops? A typical FreeBSD developer uses MAC and runs OS X. A typical OpenBSD developer eats his own soup.

Last edited by Oko; 31st August 2010 at 05:22 AM.
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Old 31st August 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oko View Post
A typical OpenBSD developer eats his own soup.
Now this is a big +1 for OpenBSD.

What stops me from even trying OBSD/NetBSD is the lack of img file - I use BSD on my netbook since it has a "good hardware for BSD" but it has no cd-rom (as most netbooks).
Is there a way to install OBSD form an usb-stick?


OT: To be honest, I like DragonFlyBSD with HAMMER fs which works very well on even small ssd (20GB). I had (or dfbsd) a problem with packages and pkgsrc after an upgrade of some of it part & I'm waiting for new release which is scheduled on this september. Can't wait
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Old 31st August 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by klanger View Post
Now this is a big +1 for OpenBSD.

What stops me from even trying OBSD/NetBSD is the lack of img file - I use BSD on my netbook since it has a "good hardware for BSD" but it has no cd-rom (as most netbooks).
Is there a way to install OBSD form an usb-stick?
An image file isn't necessary, FAQ 14.17.3 shows an easy way to do it if you lack an existing installation of OpenBSD to work with.

If you own another system that has a floppy or CD-ROM drive, which also has a USB port, you can boot the floppy/CD-ROM and prepare the USB drive for booting on the netbook.. either manually or just by doing a full installation of OpenBSD right onto the USB drive.

Other options from FAQ 4.13.6 include PXE booting (..if BIOS/Ethernet support it) or simply obtaining a USB floppy/CD-ROM drive and use the regular installation media.

No need to make it complicated..
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Old 31st August 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oko View Post
I can not think of the single serious advantage of FreeBSD over OpenBSD for a typical desktop user.
Pro FreeBSD:
  • Programs in ports tend to be updated more frequently (in the majority of cases) than OpenBSD packages, in my experience. (I mean between OS releases)
  • Linux emulation is maintained, and a much higher priority than OpenBSDs.
  • A number of linux binaries avail for quick via ports, e.g. opera, flash, teamspeak2, etc. Useful when there isn't access to the apps source code.
  • For what use WINE is on BSD, it's probably the best on FreeBSD. Which ain't much use off Linux IMHO.
  • Official'ish nVidia drivers, FWIW.
  • Longer term of support for most releases than OpenBSD. (Security patches, errata, etc getting backported)
  • FreeBSD /bin/sh is better for testing portability of shell scripts than OpenBSDs (pd)ksh based implementation
  • More developers / eye balls

Pro OpenBSD:
  • Easier to update base system
  • Easier to update installed software
  • It doesn't get easier to install than OpenBSD (IMHO)
  • First to see improvements to PF
  • Steady and dependable support cycle.
  • Binary packages are much more reliable than FreeBSD, and generally preferred over ports! (FreeBSD is more of a source based distribution)
  • Awesome version of ksh, that removes the need to install something else (bash, zsh, etc).
  • The FAQ is golden. Read it, memorize it, redirect others to it.
  • The system tends to be more compact
  • Most interesting C library extensions and network drivers, tend to be ported from OpenBSD to FreeBSD/Linux; not so much the inverse.


If I keep going on OpenBSD, I'll hit the maximum size limits for posts, so I'll just say that I like that OS a lot .
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Old 31st August 2010
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Don't want to paint bikesheds, but FreeBSD can be upgraded binary quite easily using either freebsd-update or manually with the tarfiles if you really want to.
Using packages is also quite feasible, I've been using packages almost exclusively for the last year orso ...
It's certainly true that the emphasis is often on source builds, but binary builds/upgrades work quite well too.

The only thing I build from source nowadays is the kernel on my laptop, for the reason that not compiling in some drivers saves power so the battery will last longer.
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Old 31st August 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carpetsmoker View Post
FreeBSD has ahci. Not sure about NCQ, but most desktop drives don't support it anyway.

I've used both as a desktop a fair amount, and both have their merits. In the end I prefer FreeBSD slightly because it runs Opera*. Otherwise I would probably go with OpenBSD.

I could write a long story about the merits of both, but trying each for a few months will be the only way for you to decide what you prefer.

* I know OpenBSD can run Opera in Linux compatibility mode, but SMP has to be off and it's not really as stable/fast as I would like. And yes, I tried firefox for months, it's shit.

Sure? I have a lot of "desktop-drives", each one is capable of NCQ. Most of the time the FBSD driver is just PITA, has its caveats.
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Last edited by Oliver_H; 2nd September 2010 at 10:42 AM. Reason: silly typo
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Old 31st August 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oko View Post
amd64 hardware until recently was too buggy for more than 4GB of memory
I have wondered what the issue was with other OS's supporting > 4 GB on amd64...that link points it out and answers the question pretty concisely.
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