DaemonForums  

Go Back   DaemonForums > Miscellaneous > Guides

Guides All Guides and HOWTO's.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1   (View Single Post)  
Old 1st April 2011
Mr-Biscuit Mr-Biscuit is offline
Banned
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 272
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Default Tips on choosing a BSD version

Tips on choosing a BSD version

Linux has been the latest word in alternative operating systems for a few years now; but, there are other options with a history that precedes both Linux and the GNU base. These systems are based on the Berkley Software Distribution, a direct descendant of AT&T's (Bell Labs) UNIX which was rewritten. There are four versions: FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, and Dragonfly; but, I will only be concentrating on the first three. Let us begin with a simple set of questions.

1) Is your interest security?
2) Are you using non-standard hardware?
3) Are you a developer?
4) Do you like a challenge or want an easy start?

Give yourself a moment to think these questions through.

I will introduce and describe the options you have, including both the positive and negative of each.

I) FreeBSD.
FreeBSD is the most used of the BSD systems and comes with more support including work from iXSystems and the PC-BSD project. Community support can be seen on the mailing lists, here , http://forums.freebsd.org, and at local groups in various parts of the world. Development is active as ports to the PS3 and the newer SPARC64 chips are improved. However, for a person without patience or willingness to learn something different, FreeBSD may present a few difficulties:
1) No graphical installer. The option available is to use PC-BSD for such; but, what is the option if one doesn't have this type of hardware? Sysinstall and the newer bsdinstall are ncurses based installation methods. A person would also need to read on how to use gpart and maybe even use a Linux distribution to setup a disk beforehand.
2) Less support for hardware than in Linux or Windows. Your new equipment may not work "out of the box" or may even require configuring by hand.
3) No native support for flash and limited support for Java. There are options such as gnash and the FreeBSD project has its own version of Java. Be noted that it is limited to i386 and amd64 only.

II) OpenBSD
OpenBSD is a security conscious operating system aimed at developers and those who want to follow a strict code base. Support covers more architectures than FreeBSD and the community is based on mailing lists with the only forum support being here. It is headed by a single person. OpenBSD is a great distribution but a few words of warning for the new user:
1) Follow the install documents exactly. There is no way around this.
2) Refer to the shared examples and manual pages on the system. This cannot be stressed enough.
3) Think before you ask a question and research the mailing lists archives. The different members of the OpenBSD core group, ports, packages, and side projects are developers deeply involved in their work.

III) NetBSD.
NetBSD is a more of a hobbyist operating system with support for more systems than most Linux distributions and the other two BSD systems. It is included as an option for single board and embedded computers. The community is loosely knit. Like OpenBSD, support only exists in mailing lists or here . There are a few challenges one needs to overcome:
1) Like OpenBSD, you must read the installation documents.
2) Support from the mailing list may not come directly due to the smaller community size.
3) Your hardware may not have current support; so, you may need to build a kernel and userland yourself.

Quote:
From http://netbsd.org/about/features.html#clean-design :

"NetBSD focuses on clean design and well architected solutions. Because of this NetBSD may support certain 'exciting' features later than other systems, but as time progresses the NetBSD codebase is getting even stronger and easier to manage, while other systems that value features over code quality are finding increasing problems with code management and conflicts."

You may ask, "Why would one want to use such a system when Linux is available?"

1) Both the kernel and the userland or "base" of each system is developed by the same team. Linux is a kernel only. The base is GNU,
2) A user has more control of the package installation in FreeBSD. Neither Debian nor Fedora nor the systems based on these two allow you such control.
3) All three BSD systems have lower requirements for the hardware that is supported.
4) The user is not included in the wheel group in FreeBSD. All three allow the root user the ability to include or exclude the user in any group.
5) Licensing. The BSD license is more permissive.
6) Stability. All systems follow strict rules. The permissions are set by the root account.

"Okay, but, it seems difficult already."
Such a statement is only true if one does not follow the above suggestions.

"How do I get this or that to work?"

There are a handful of tutorials and howto's around the web. Support is available at the listed forums and on the mailing lists.

"Some of my hardware doesn't work but it does on Windows and Linux. Why?"

This may be due to the company and their unwillingness to help the BSD distributions. You may want to ask your questions on the mailing lists.

"I don't feel like any of this is for me."

You have the right to choose whatever you want. These are only suggestions from me and my personal opinion based on my experience.

"You've mentioned that FreeBSD has an easier configuration than Linux. What about the advanced options for Debian or Fedora? There is also Arch and Slackware, have you thought of those?"

I am referring to the default building process with ports. I haven't worked with Arch or Slackware as of yet; therefore, please excuse my lack of knowledge on these two distributions.

"Is NetBSD used for anything besides hobbyist projects?"

Yes. Some people use it for a desktop system. Others use it for servers. NetBSD is a good choice for developers of both hardware and software because of the number of architectures it covers.


"How is the performance of a BSD system compared to that of a Linux distribution?"

Hmm. My experience has been that they run faster and smoother. This may be due to the base and kernel being developed as a single "group" in each project. There may be exceptions with Linux that I am not aware of.

"Are there any other forums available for support?"

There is limited support at http://www.linuxquestions.org and http://www.unix.com .


"You mentioned license as being more permissive. What does this mean and who does this help?"

It means that you can release a binary with or without source code if you want. Developers and companies can benefit from this.
The Linux kernel uses GPLv2 http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-2.0.html . Some newer applications use GPLv3 http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl.html .
Believe it or not, the license has actually determined the direction software will go. Being a person who uses both Linux and BSD systems, I can see the benefits and limitations of both sets of licenses. My advice to you is to remain open to both ideas.

"Is each BSD system only for what you mentioned?"

Not at all. What I mentioned are the commonly known uses for each. I've used all three as a regular setup on different machines. It's best to try each out and then decide which is for you.

Last edited by Mr-Biscuit; 5th April 2011 at 12:39 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #2   (View Single Post)  
Old 1st April 2011
thirdm thirdm is offline
Package Pilot
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 206
Thanked 3 Times in 3 Posts
Default

I don't think it's fair to say NetBSD is more of a hobbiest system than the others. I've landed on OpenBSD myself for various reasons, but it happens that right now I have an old laptop with a wi adapter that of those three only NetBSD can use. From a casual acquaintance, it looks like a system I could be quite happy with. I'm almost tempted to switch because many of their packages seem very up to date, but switching systems wastes so much time and it's not that different, at a user level, from OpenBSD.

My ISP uses it, not as hobbiests, but to provide all their services.
Reply With Quote
  #3   (View Single Post)  
Old 1st April 2011
shep shep is offline
ISO Quartermaster
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Dry and Dusty
Posts: 593
Thanked 9 Times in 9 Posts
Default

Quote:
2) A user has more control of the package installation in FreeBSD. Neither Debian nor Fedora nor the systems based on these two allow you such control
.

There are popular linux distributions that offer a similiar level of control as far as package installation. Have you tried Arch linux or looked at the advanced install options in Debian or Slackware?

This wiki describes a streamline Slackware install. A working slackware system needs the a/ and ap/ sets. http://slackwiki.org/Minimal_System
Reply With Quote
  #4   (View Single Post)  
Old 1st April 2011
Mr-Biscuit Mr-Biscuit is offline
Banned
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 272
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Default

Thirdm and shep, I will take any suggestions to correct this. I was tired of only seeing "How to choose a Linux distro" and very little on how to choose a BSD system. My intention is to introduce others to the BSD family of systems in such a way that it would get them curious about trying one of them out.
Reply With Quote
  #5   (View Single Post)  
Old 3rd April 2011
Mr-Biscuit Mr-Biscuit is offline
Banned
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 272
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Default

The option above is no longer available. The ones who posted would rather complain than give feedback that can be added to what was there.
Reply With Quote
  #6   (View Single Post)  
Old 3rd April 2011
shep shep is offline
ISO Quartermaster
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Dry and Dusty
Posts: 593
Thanked 9 Times in 9 Posts
Default

I am sorry you took my post as a criticism/complaint for it was not intended as such.

I view the forums as a place where several things occur. Experienced advice is given to newcomers and some of the best threads involved accomplishment. I recently received help here on setting up my printer using lpr and apsfilter in OpenBSD. The thead showed how my typo prevented the lpd daemon from starting, and the syntax for using an hpdirect port on a stand alone print server

Another thing that occurs are discussions, Certainly there is no best windowmanager but I can review a thread and get a sense of the strengths and weaknesses of fluxbox, openbox, blackbox, pkwm etc rather than trying each myself.

I felt your post was a good start for choosing a BSD but was trying to suggest that your statement was too broad. Certainly, picking the defaults on Debian or Fedora leads to the installation of software that may never be needed or used. I recently migrated from Arch Linux (Rolling Release), where I had very fine grain control of the install packages because of a rocky period where radeon video driver transitioned to KMS. I felt it more prudent to use something more stable for my work station My first Debian install was taking the defaults for an Xfce4 installation and I ended up with evolution for an email client, gdm and cups. I wanted the claws-mail, xdm and my newly learned lpd/apsfilter printer setup so I went back and did a minimal install and basically mimicked how I would accomplish the same thing in FreeBSD. I almost went with OpenBSD current but did not feel that it offered the stability I was looking for and liked the ease of security updates that Debian provides. An example is the recent certificate vulnerability in mozilla browsers will not be addressed in OpenBSD 4.8. I almost went with Slackware for the same reasons.

I tried to support my suggestion with a link but felt it would be up to you to assess the validity of what I was saying and to either refute or accept the suggestion and adjust/respond as you saw fit. Your original post was a good start and I only felt your statement on the lack of flexibility in Debian was too broad. I have not tried Fedora so I can't speak to that but do know that the Scientific Linux group provided Icewm as some of their older hardware would not run well with the default install.
Reply With Quote
  #7   (View Single Post)  
Old 4th April 2011
qmemo's Avatar
qmemo qmemo is offline
Shell Scout
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Egypt
Posts: 133
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Default

@shep

Fedora releases since 11 are unmatchable in the sense of being robust/stable and being up2date; just make you take your BSD dose every day and you 'll be fine with it
Reply With Quote
  #8   (View Single Post)  
Old 4th April 2011
J65nko J65nko is offline
Administrator
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Budel - the Netherlands
Posts: 3,154
Thanked 182 Times in 149 Posts
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr-Biscuit View Post
I've deleted this entire posting. The answers below were met with the option of giving suggestions to the original. it seems they would rather complain than take the offer.
Although I differed in opinion about some of the points you made, I thought your original posting was very nice. It is a pity you felt you had to delete it .....
__________________
You don't need to be a genius to debug a pf.conf firewall ruleset, you just need the guts to run tcpdump
Reply With Quote
  #9   (View Single Post)  
Old 4th April 2011
rocket357's Avatar
rocket357 rocket357 is offline
Real Name: Jonathon
Wannabe OpenBSD porter
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: 127.0.0.1
Posts: 330
Thanked 9 Times in 9 Posts
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by qmemo View Post
Fedora releases since 11 are unmatchable in the sense of being robust/stable and being up2date
Toss Fedora on a P133 with 64 MB of RAM and let it serve mail to 3500 users while getting pingbombed by 900 hosts. Then let's talk about how robust/stable it is.

And I agree with J65nko...I read the original post and liked it. It should come back.

Last edited by rocket357; 4th April 2011 at 02:53 AM.
Reply With Quote
Old 4th April 2011
qmemo's Avatar
qmemo qmemo is offline
Shell Scout
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Egypt
Posts: 133
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Default

@rocket357

was talking about the desktop & so was @Mr-Biscuit :P
Reply With Quote
Old 4th April 2011
Mr-Biscuit Mr-Biscuit is offline
Banned
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 272
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Default

I saved it.
Hold a sec.

Please read my next post after this one.
Reply With Quote
Old 4th April 2011
rocket357's Avatar
rocket357 rocket357 is offline
Real Name: Jonathon
Wannabe OpenBSD porter
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: 127.0.0.1
Posts: 330
Thanked 9 Times in 9 Posts
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by qmemo View Post
was talking about the desktop & so was @Mr-Biscuit :P
Funny, how can it be more stable than my OpenBSD desktop? I've had zero crashes since 2009 (when Fedora 11 came out). Has it had -1 crashes since it came out? That would be like me going to a Windows forum and making the claim that "Linux's hardware compatibility is unmatchable" It would quickly be pointed out that everyone and their grandmother who produces hardware writes drivers for Windows. Those who don't are the exception, not the rule.

As for more "up-to-date", bigger version numbers don't necessarily mean better software :P

Last edited by rocket357; 4th April 2011 at 03:34 AM.
Reply With Quote
Old 4th April 2011
Mr-Biscuit Mr-Biscuit is offline
Banned
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 272
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Default

Okay.
If anyone wants to suggest an addition to the quoted questions or sees a change that should be addressed in the first post please:

1) Let me know exactly what quoted question and the answer you want. I will copy it word for word to the section.

2) Corrections to the first section will be added as a box quote with reason as to why.
Reply With Quote
Old 4th April 2011
Mr-Biscuit Mr-Biscuit is offline
Banned
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 272
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Default

Okay, How is it now with the added corrections?
Reply With Quote
Old 4th April 2011
Mr-Biscuit Mr-Biscuit is offline
Banned
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 272
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Default

Maybe I should add a section about desktop performance, flash, and compatibility ?
Both qmemo and rocket357 have a point. Perhaps combining both viewpoints in such a section or quoted question will help.

Last edited by Mr-Biscuit; 4th April 2011 at 03:49 AM. Reason: Apologies, rocket357, I'm tired.
Reply With Quote
Old 4th April 2011
qmemo's Avatar
qmemo qmemo is offline
Shell Scout
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Egypt
Posts: 133
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by rocket357 View Post
Funny, how can it be more stable than my OpenBSD desktop? I've had zero crashes since 2009 (when Fedora 11 came out). Has it had -1 crashes since it came out? That would be like me going to a Windows forum and making the claim that "Linux's hardware compatibility is unmatchable" It would quickly be pointed out that everyone and their grandmother who produces hardware writes drivers for Windows. Those who don't are the exception, not the rule.

As for more "up-to-date", bigger version numbers don't necessarily mean better software :P
I was reading this



and kinda agree with it & I kinda agree with you about bigger version numbers do not mean better software, yes for those who know what they really want and how to get to it.

how ever the majority is not like this at all, people tend to try new shiny stuff all the time
Reply With Quote
Old 4th April 2011
rocket357's Avatar
rocket357 rocket357 is offline
Real Name: Jonathon
Wannabe OpenBSD porter
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: 127.0.0.1
Posts: 330
Thanked 9 Times in 9 Posts
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by qmemo View Post
the majority is not like this at all, people tend to try new shiny stuff all the time
This is definitely true, unfortunately...people tend to gravitate towards the shiny new even though it's not as thoroughly tested as the tried-n-true.

Very valid point.
Reply With Quote
Old 4th April 2011
qmemo's Avatar
qmemo qmemo is offline
Shell Scout
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Egypt
Posts: 133
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Default

@rocket357

and that's why I tried to collect data about OpenBSD's usage for other matters other than making it a firewall or a router.

I mean, why OpenBSD for the desktop while you do not have an old machine or a slow one, and you do know that OpenBSD's security do not imply on it's 3rd party apps either the binary ones or those via ports.

there must be something else out there, that's why I asked and I can tell you that it's either I did not ask in a proper way or my questions met a paranoiac profiling factor and that's why most of OpenBSD users rejected them, only a few answered.


cheers
Reply With Quote
Old 4th April 2011
rocket357's Avatar
rocket357 rocket357 is offline
Real Name: Jonathon
Wannabe OpenBSD porter
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: 127.0.0.1
Posts: 330
Thanked 9 Times in 9 Posts
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by qmemo View Post
why OpenBSD for the desktop while you do not have an old machine or a slow one, and you do know that OpenBSD's security do not imply on it's 3rd party apps either the binary ones or those via ports.
I use OpenBSD on the desktop primarily because it is rock solid stable and for everything I want to do on a desktop, OpenBSD has an answer. You don't know the kind of Zen that can be achieved as a Unix Administrator running cwm and tmux. (I suppose the same could be achieved with say, fluxbox and screen on Linux (I used to run fluxbox until recently when the weight of Administration in my company moved from Windows to Unix...it was just easier to run a script over our server spreadsheet that generated a fluxbox menu file of rdesktop commands), but to get things "just right" on Linux I end up running something like Gentoo or HLFS...and that just doesn't work in a corporate environment because I can't take 4 hours off just to build my desktop). I'm exceptionally picky, I suppose...

My biggest complaint is latency. When I run a program, I fully expect that program to WORK right this very INSTANT. I don't want to wait 5 seconds...or 2 seconds...or even 1/2 a second. I expect results now (this is why I run mostly command-line). Sure, you can make a command-line program take 5+ seconds to respond, but it's not as easy to achieve with CLI as with a GUI. Getting a gtk+ or qt program to lag is child's play. Doing the same with an ncurses or purely CLI program is much harder, especially if you have a decent machine.

I'm an impatient prick...that's why I use OpenBSD.
Reply With Quote
Old 4th April 2011
Mr-Biscuit Mr-Biscuit is offline
Banned
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 272
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Default

Anyone who wants is free to post these tips. You can edit your copy how you want. The only thing I ask is that you take time to introduce others to the choices of the BSD family of systems. This means that you do not need to credit me.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Misc. BSD/UNIX Choosing between portability and innovation Oliver_H News 8 11th March 2011 06:14 PM
Ports Version associated with FreeBSD version rtwingfield FreeBSD Ports and Packages 4 7th June 2010 11:00 PM
FreeBSD sshd_config tips from Matthew Dillon J65nko FreeBSD Security 6 3rd February 2010 09:08 PM
Choosing a modem for freebsd 7.0 Johnny2Bad General Hardware 3 6th May 2008 02:44 AM
Quick, simple tcsh tips for beginners anomie Guides 6 5th May 2008 08:07 PM


All times are GMT. The time now is 09:44 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Content copyright © 2007-2010, the authors
Daemon image copyright ©1988, Marshall Kirk McKusick