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  1. #1
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    Mar 2005
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    CentOS / FreeBSD Opinions Please

    Hello =)

    Im about to get a new dedicated server, I normally use Windows but due to the budget reasons Ive had to make a cut back on this server and inorder to ensure I keep a good spec hardware wise im having to step into the relatively unknown (for me anyway) and use a free OS.

    Ive pretty much decided on using either of the ones mentioned above (CentOS or FreeBSD)

    - But what I need to know are opinions. I dont want a whole 'Vs' thing going on as these are pointless... just literally peoples experiences with the 2.

    The main points are -
    1. Ease of use, I know whichever I use will take some learning and thats fine. I plan on paying someone to setup the software and make sure everything is secure and upto date when its first setup but from there on in I would like to do the majority of it all myself in terms of the day-to-day aspect of things.

    2. Security, both of these OS's seem to have good track records on security but perhaps you guys know something I dont?

    Also can someone please enlighten me to any major differences between the versions/builds... Ive the option of CentOS 3.3, CentOS 3.4 or CentOS 4 - and likewise with FreeBSD 4.X or FreeBSD 5.X

    - Does the version/build I pick make much difference?

    ... I do plan on looking further into this myself anyway but find its better to get some interactive opinions on these matters than just 'Googling' things.

    Regards
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
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    I used to work for this webhosting company with its own NOC in Texas.

    Most of our servers there was running FreeBSD, we had hacked servers but not a single BSD box was cracked.

    FreeBSD 4.X = if you need more stability than compatibility.

    FreeBSD 5.X = stability + compatibility + ease of use
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  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Well you see, comparing them is like apples to oranges. If you are a linux user, you might like Centos, if you are a UNIX/BSD user, then FreeBSD.
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  4. #4
    i hate to promote windows, but if the reason you are looking at linux is to save money then forget it.
    most dedicated server providers will give you linux or windows at the same price anyway. (unless your talking about ultra budget systems)
    some charge more for windows 2003 or ask you to provide your own licences.

  5. #5
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    Mar 2005
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    VapoRub - I see what youre saying but that wouldnt stop someone being able to say why they like one more than the other. Someone will be a Linux user for a reason, someone will be a BSD user for a reason =)

    fmservers - This one, although while not particularly a budget system certainly isnt what I would call high end. But with Windows and a CP the costing is about 25% more. =(
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  6. #6

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2002
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    176
    Install both, learn to keep both updated and secure (this is the single most important thing an admin should learn), and then decide which one suits you best.

  8. #8
    As a guy who was first introduced to Unix 16 years ago, FreeBSD feels more like Unix should feel. It's stable, you can build from source in a very straightforward manner, the online documentation is wonderful, and if you want to really understand how the entire thing works, then one book like Absolute BSD will get you 95% of the way there. I think the 5.x Stable tree is the way to go, but then I tend to use multi-processor boxes.

    Linux has more attention in the market though, and RedHat seems to have the most brainshare. RHEL (and copies like CentOS and Whitebox Linux) work hard to deliver a stable, reliable platform that's easy to manage. The thinking is: they've got engineers whose sole job is to fix security problems and software bugs without breaking production systems; all you need to do is update the system occasionally.

    I like the power and flexibility of FreeBSD, but I like the mindlessness of CentOS. Now that I'm finally coloing multiple boxes, I'm going with CentOS (though I may have chosen Debian instead if my panel of choice had supported it).

    Neither is a bad choice. Both will work fine if you fo your part. But I have a hunch you'll find CentOS more forgiving...

  9. #9
    Oh - versions.

    In CentOS I'd choose 3.4 over 3.3. If your panel supports it I might go ahead and install CentOS 4, but mine doesn't. Once it does the upgrade should be fairly straightforward.

    On FreeBSD, the 4.x branch has the most history and is a proven stable platform. The 5.x branch is now deemed "stable" and seems to offer a number of improvements over 4. I chose 5.1 when looking for a stable system a while back; I'd choose 5-STABLE now that it's available.

  10. #10
    Are you planning on installing any control panels? To the best of my knowledge, all the popular panels work far better on CentOS than FreeBSD. I don't even know which ones support FreeBSD at all, to be honest.

    I love FreeBSD. Install each one on a machine at home, play around with them, see which one you like better. Ultimately you'll be limited only by the amount of learning you choose to do, not by the OS itself.

  11. #11
    Join Date
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    Heres an overview of the facts of both OS's:
    1. Ease of use
    CentOS (or general Linux) is easier to use than FreeBSD (ofcourse this is a generalization to you, as you haven't used either, obviously a FreeBSD admin would find *BSD easier than linux).
    2. Security
    FreeBSD is more secure than CentOS - however this isn't to say CentOS isn't secure. Many more businesses rely on the security of RHEL (CentOS) over those relying on the security of FreeBSD. Both are a helluva lot more secure than Windoze.
    Also can someone please enlighten me to any major differences between the versions/builds
    This was pretty much covered by dzeanah, but as alphared stated, if you use CPanel, use CentOS 3.4 instead of 4.0 - the reason being SElinux which was introduce in CentOS4, search the forums if you want more info on this.

    Also, you forgot to ask about speed and stability. FreeBSD would generally be the most stable, and the fastest.

    My personal decision? I'm a CentOS person myself

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
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    I've used both RHEL and FreeBSD 5.4. I will admit that FreeBSD does have a learning curve but once you start understanding what its doing you end up saying to yourself "oh that makes a ton of sense". I find myself saying that more and more each day.

    Things like the ports tree make it so very easy to install programs. I've also found that the command top performs much better in FreeBSD and gives more information. If its good enough for Yahoo its good enough for me.
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  13. #13
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    FreebSD is the best in my opinion. Secure and easy to use.
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  14. #14
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    May 2002
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    No OS is secure by itself. The admin makes it secure.

  15. #15
    So far so good CentOs doing great job for us.
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  16. #16
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    Aug 2003
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    First decide if you are using a control panel, then find out which is better supported by the control panel.

  17. #17
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    I'd pick FreeBSD over CentOS any day of the week.
    FreeBSD is built for speed and stability.
    CentOS is built on Linux, and its put together piecemeal.

    FreeBSD has a long history of security and stability, Linux's record isn't nearly as good. FreeBSD is simpler to performance tune and to run it out of the box its already pretty damn fast in comparason.

    Linux's QA in general is fairly poor, but that is part of the development model, FreeBSD is an entire "product" wheras Linux is a pile of parts.
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  18. #18
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    Linux has a messy and unorganised filesystem but is more widespread and compatible with 3rd party apps such as cpanel mainly because redhat is been more commercal now days. FreeBSD is by far easier to administrate is developed more for server used rather then desktop use and has a superior ports system. The ultimate answer is if you are used to linux go for centos otherwise go for FreeBSD.
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  19. #19
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    Mar 2005
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    The main reason to use CentOS (at least looking through the replies) would be
    1. If im used to Linux
    2. If I want to use a control panel

    - Well Im not used to Linux at all, and Ive found a number of control panels that are compatible with FreeBSD.

    FreeBSD it is, thanks for everyones opinions - They really are all appreciated.
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  20. #20
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    Jan 2005
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    Having used RHEL 3 (which is what CentOS is supposed to replicate) for about 1.5yrs now on a dedicated server, I would have to say its largest strength is sheer simplicity to be kept up to date. Freebsd can be a bit more difficult for some.

    On the other hand, people that talk about Freebsd as being stable and secure, this is true. Be aware that RHEL is a enterprise OS that comes out of the box pretty secure, and should not be regarded as less stable or less secure. As for personal experience on stability, the only downtime I've ever seen on any of my boxes running RHELin the past year and half has been due to a hard drive failure.

    Either or are great, for someone new to *nix, tho i would have to say Centos is probably the easier choice. We'll leave "better" up to the philosophers.

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