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  1. #1

    Linux vs FreeBSD

    pros and cons of both OS. Lately I switch from Gentoo to FreeBSD and now I'am very happy

  2. #2
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    I'm a long-time fan of FreeBSD for server applications and also run it on desktops in my office. Its a solid OS and coming from a big box unix background I appreciated its centralized approach to development which, I've since noted, hasn't slowed it down too much in terms of competing with Linux for features and capabilities. And FreeBSD ports system with portupgrade is a real treat. Almost 15,000 packages in CURRENT.

    That being said, committing to FreeBSD means you have fewer choices in hosting industry staples such as control panels and such. Some only support FreeBSD part of the way - for example H-Sphere I believe will support the OS on every box but its central "control server".

    There lots of FreeBSD boxes out there, including at some big name hosters like http://www.pair.com/ (190,000 sites these days), and runs FreeBSD exclusively.

    My primary grumble about the OS has been resolved. SMP support on 4.x wasn't terrific, 5.x better, and now as of 6.x SMP appears to be working very nicely indeed.
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  3. #3
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    One thing that I don't like about FreeBSD is that lots of dedicated server providers don't offer it as an option.

  4. #4
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    I wouldn't use anything other than FreeBSD now and I've been using it for years.

    It's true though, you are more limited in choice of host.

  5. #5
    very good comparison between FreeBSD, Linux and Windows 2000 can be found here:
    http://people.freebsd.org/~murray/bsd_flier.html

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrDee
    very good comparison between FreeBSD, Linux and Windows 2000 can be found here:
    http://people.freebsd.org/~murray/bsd_flier.html
    This comparison looks a few years out of date. For example, it says that Linux uses the ext2 file system (no journaling support), but ext3 (has journaling support) has been out for years.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by pmak0
    One thing that I don't like about FreeBSD is that lots of dedicated server providers don't offer it as an option.
    Yeah that's really annoying.
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  8. #8
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    I swapped from Redhat about 3 years ago and love it. Ports make life especially easy.

    Recently I got a VPS machine running Debian to try out apt-get and set up mailserver. Unbelievable pain. Partly being a noob to apt-get but mostly it brings back the old memories of mismatched libs, weird pathing.

    In FreeBSD I can set up a server from scratch in less than a day. It's taken me 7 in Linux.

    Best quote troubleshooting courier with vpopmail? Glad you asked.

    "idn't know why, but the apt deb package in the sarge distro doesn't work with the authvchkpw module..."

    That might have been good to know up front. Like somewhere official.

    Go with FreeBSD. You won't be disappointed and hose the control panel if you don't need it.

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  9. #9
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    I would definatly reccomend FreeBSD to anyone getting a dedicated server or for any use as an OS at all. I have bee using it for a few years now, and much as everyone else has said, I will never go anywhere else for an OS. Its simple, fast, secure, and rock solid. Never once have I had a problem, if I didnt cause it!
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  10. #10
    Well seems like most of you are very positive about freebsd. I wonder if there are any negative comments about it

  11. #11
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    Neither. I personally like Sun Solaris which is quite simillar to FreeBSD. So if it had to be one between Linux or FreeBSD, go with FreeBSD. Also, Gentoo isn't that bad either once you have it configured the way you like it.

  12. #12
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    As a user on servers and my primary home machine, the only major negative is that Adobe has revoked permission to use their Flash player on *BSD. I haven't seen any expanation for this. It's possible they just didn't realize what *BSD is when they made their list of what OSes it can be used on, but perhaps Colin Percival knows if there's more to the story.

    Apache, Lighttpd, thttpd, PostgreSQL, MySQL, Perl, PHP all work fine on it.
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  13. #13
    I use Darwin which is the apple freebsd flavor - it's very nice and has some nice bundled software that I am running on it. Free is always the plus when working with nix

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by sailorFred
    As a user on servers and my primary home machine, the only major negative is that Adobe has revoked permission to use their Flash player on *BSD.
    Can you run the Linux version, since *BSD is binary compatible with Linux (I think)?

  15. #15
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    I went from red hat 9 to freebsd and all I can say is RPMs suck. Ports are excellent and some of my machines have over 400 day uptimes without any slowness or problems. I've also had freebsd machines that had over 100 load average (thank apache for that one) and I could still ssh to the machine and issue commands. Show me a linux server that can do that. Whenver I go back to work on a linux machine it feels somewhat flimsy in comparison.
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by pmak0
    Can you run the Linux version, since *BSD is binary compatible with Linux (I think)?
    This is how it used to be done, but the port was removed, due to the license language change. They now specifically specify which OSes it can be run on, with various versions of Windows, Linux, MacOS, and Solaris being listed, but no BSDs.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by pmak0
    This comparison looks a few years out of date. For example, it says that Linux uses the ext2 file system (no journaling support), but ext3 (has journaling support) has been out for years.
    How does ext3 compare with the filesystems offered by FreeBSD (UFS/UFS2), stability/reliability wise?

  18. #18
    FreeBSD is awesome with lighttpd and fast-CGI. Scrap Apache.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheVoice
    I went from red hat 9 to freebsd and all I can say is RPMs suck. Ports are excellent and some of my machines have over 400 day uptimes without any slowness or problems.
    Yes, all that stability is a real problem. In reality we shouldn't be running machines that long I've had one server (running since 2002) which had two 500+ day stretches and no doubt there were some security advisories that I failed to heed on that box.

    I've always found with FreeBSD that external factors, not the box/OS itself, are what drive me to bring a machine down and up again.

    Can't say enough good things about ports.
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  20. #20
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    My personal expereince with FreeBSD is rather awful. Overall, I like Linux - especially Redhat + Derivatives and Debian. FreeBSD is something that a lot of clients who know what they are doing prefer, and from my talks with them it's entirely about how they feel the systems are more secure and stable - especially under very heavy load.
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  21. #21
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    I was a long time linux user before I switched to FreeBSD for hosting a couple of years ago.

    I will never go back to linux for anything.

    I'm not convinced FreeBSD performs as well as Linux and I'm fairly certain the hardware support isn't as good. But the general integration, consistency and maintainability of the operating system and it's applications (assuming installed from ports) is incredible.

    The major problem with Linux is its fragmentation. Too many different distros. Too many different kernel versions and kernel branches. Too many different places to look for config files. Too many package management programs. Too many significant changes in attitude between distribution releases. Too many distributions here one day gone the next.

    I don't have any of those issues with FreeBSD. The release process is clearly documented and stuck to, upgrades are well documented and (in my experience) relatively trivial to perform. Package management has never failed me and is sensibly completely isolated from the core os (seperate etc/ folder for installed ports so you're not sharing configuration space with the core OS config files).

    I was mildly concerned about the problems with 5.x and the seemingly swift transition away from 5 to 6. But it all seems to be for the better and I'm much happier with 6.

    Added onto that the amount of stuff built into the freebsd kernel by default (sysctl! jails!) that is clearly documented and simple to use...heaven.

    My machines have gone from 5.1 all the way to 6 with 'in-situ' remote upgrades without a flaw. There is no noticable cruft or broken packages. There were no 'surprise' changes that weren't in the documentation. Package installations and upgrades have never failed me to the point where I'm happy running and upgrading 'core' services from ports (postfix, apache etc). The whole thing has a very professional feel to it. Whereas Linux always feels like something thats been cobbled together / lacks focus.

    The only thing better in my eyes would be Solaris 10 when the package management comes of age. ZFS and Zones (essentially a much more advanced form of FreeBSD jails) are killer applications in my mind.

    Of course, if ZFS comes to FreeBSD then that will make me a happy bunny

    It's a bit of a flamebait argument. Best tool for the job / go with what you know etc. What I have found is that when people start to have to maintain a significant number of linux machines they run into issues keeping track of everything. Especially if they're inheriting other peoples pre configured machines.

    With a well maintained, by the book, FreeBSD system you can just drop in and go.

    Kev

  22. #22
    This is cool. As little as 3 months ago, when people were asking "which OS?," there would be four pages advocating CentOS. If FreeBSD was mentioned, someone would babble on about how CentOS was way better. I'm sure in general linux is more popular than FreeBSD, but it's nice to see that perhaps more dedicated users are warming up to FreeBSD.

  23. #23
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    I think it has to do with whos answering. People who run a lot of machines vs. shared hosting on a machine or two will have different experiences. Since CentOS has been proclaimed as the be all end all of shared hosting OSes especially where Cpanel is concerned, its hard to get a good cross section of responses on WHT.

    Its nice to see that people who have used both linux and freebsd on a daily basis tend to migrate to Freebsd. I always felt that if it was good enough for Yahoo then its good enough for me
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  24. #24
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    FreeBSD is ridiculously stable. We're running it on all of the important servers now, and plan to continue to do so.

  25. #25
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    I cant understand why people choose FreeBSD over Linux. In Linux everything is so easy (I mainly use CentOS, RHEL), FreeBSD everything is a hassle. Currently for every 10 servers I maintain, 9 is FreeBSD. SO I DO KNOW.

    And I cant wait to have it migrate to Linux. My biggest issues with FreeBSD is the bad quality of some packages in the ports system, some packages just doesnt get updated, or sometimes the quality of the updates are just not high enough.

    Another thing is, if you want to purchase corporate software (for example; disaster recovery software), you will only find Linux (RHEL) support and nothing for FreeBSD.

    Updating using the ports is always scary for me, I am afraid things will break. With the RPM package system, I am never afraid.

    I do believe FreeBSD is a better choice in some scenario's, but if you want to keep things easy and invest less time, then go for Linux.

  26. #26
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    I have the exact opposite feeling re rpm/apt-get vs ports.

    For example I just went to remove mySQL 5 from Debian using apt-get and it complained at me that it needed to install djbdns-installer, ucspi and another unrelated package.

    Why? Well, who knows? All the others are compiled from source. These are the kind of issues that leave me cold with linux and any of it's package handlers. Issues, conflicts, all the time it takes to resolve said conflicts.

    FreeBSD, for the most part, just works. As advertised.

    You've got a valid point on the corporate software though. I believe Real stopped making a version of their software for FreeBSD as well. Luckily, I don't care.

    So, if you need some software that only runs on some version of Linux that will pretty well make up your mind. If not, FreeBSD simplifies my life and that's about as high a recommendation as I can give.

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  27. #27
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    I cannot agree with this at all. With FreeBSD I can have a box up and running, with a control panel, such as Plesk, and *secure* within an hour. Also, the FreeBSD will almost look after itself, there is very little that needs done on a day to day basis.

  28. #28
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    How is SMP performance on FreeBSD6? Is it worth it to upgrade to a Dual Core AMD X2 3800 CPU?

  29. #29
    It all depends on the purposes, but I prefer FreeBSD. There're some general reasons to keep in mind when choosing between FreeBSD and Linux:

    Hardware support. In general Linux supports more different devices than FreeBSD. If you plan to use it some windowsized hardware, Linux will probably be your choice (e.g. setting up on a notebook with winmodems, other CPU-based hardware). FreeBSD tends to support most of server software that Linux supports, but often this support comes late. That's why there're so many questions about SMP under FreeBSD: the stable SMP support came to FreeBSD more than a year later than to Linux.

    Software compatibility. A lot of software, esp. commercial, is distributed as binaries and supported only for Linux (it was already noted). Though FreeBSD has a way to run Linux binaries, it often less efficient and involves setting up and maintining a lot of junk (linux compat libs, RPM system etc). On the other hand there's FreeBSD software or software which is more efficient under FreeBSD. For example, there's a lot of kqueue-enabled software which has not been ported to Linux analogues. Even if ported, epoll support is often less stable than kqueue support, according to my experience.

    Ease of maintanence. It's more about the admin, than about the server and OS. If you're experienced with Linux and not experienced with FreeBSD, expect that Linux will be more efficient under your command. Once, I ordered 30 Gentoo servers and after some time had to depinguinate them over SSH to FreeBSD, because their maintenance was too labour-intensive. Btw, the main reason why I chose Gentoo, was the point above, Linux-oriented software I had to run on them.

    Term of use. If you plan to use your server for more than a year, you'll probably choose FreeBSD. You can seamlessly upgrade the whole OS over SSH with five shell commands. The only exception is FreeBSD 4 to 5+ upgrade, which is trickier. On Linux you have a similiar option under some distros, but they are not as reliable.

  30. #30
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    FreeBSD is a great OS in terms of stability, but it's never going to be the cutting edge OS. It's not unheard of to attempt to a FreeBSD install only to find there's not support for a piece of hardware. Be it a NIC, Gfx Card, or Raid Adapter. If you happen to be a be running Java/JSP applications FreeBSD has had a long frustrating history of spotty Java support. However, once you have FreeBSD running, it's an extremely stable system. Used in production at some very large internet providers. (Qwest Internet Services was a huge FreeBSD user at one point).

    Personally, I'm a fan of Suse 10.x. The free OSS edition is very stable, and very easy to manage remotely via SSH using the Yast utility (no need to install X Window).

  31. #31
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    When i used FreeBSD on cPanel, it never worked. 5 days of trying. I hired server admins, and asked LT to try and fix it. No one could.

    In the end, i had to switch to CentOS.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlindBasher
    When i used FreeBSD on cPanel, it never worked. 5 days of trying. I hired server admins, and asked LT to try and fix it. No one could.

    In the end, i had to switch to CentOS.
    That's more of a cPanel issue than a problem with FreeBSD. cPanel's always had poor support for FreeBSD. Just a matter of priorities

    Iggy

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlindBasher
    When i used FreeBSD on cPanel, it never worked. 5 days of trying. I hired server admins, and asked LT to try and fix it. No one could.

    In the end, i had to switch to CentOS.
    You can blame that one on cPanel. cPanel just happens to have more support on Linux, since it has a larger Linux userbase.

    If you're the type of person that appreciates the things that make FreeBSD a nicer operating system, you probably don't want to contaminate your server with something like cPanel in the first place
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  34. #34
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    FreeBSD 5.x dual core support?

    How about FreeBSD 5.x SMP? Can it take advantage of Intel Dual Core?

  35. #35
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    Certainly. I has to be enabled by recompiling the kernel, though. It won't be running by default. 6.1 has it enabled by default.
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  36. #36

    freebsd vs Linux

    OP - switching from Gentoo to FreeBSD - I would agree with you - freebsd is easier to manage/maintain.

    For small/medium size systems - it is almost the same - to use freebsd or linux - more of personal choice for the tools like sysinstall or merge or yum or yast. Before yum (and the latest stuf from Fedora) sysinstall and ports were the most convinient tools for maintaining the OS - freebsd in this case. After yum showed up - I do prefer linux - at least for me it is easier to manage the server(s). Yast is pritty close but I preferyum.

    Now about large systems - SMP - freebsd is getting better, if nothing else - in a number of supported cpus. Not too many users will hit 8 - 16 cpu limitations on the number of cpus. The second - file system which briefly was mentioned before - freebsd doesn;t have any equivalent of ReiserFS and XFS (also JFS) file systems. Maximumnumber of subdirectories - maximum size of the partition - it all becomes imprtant when you start talking about multiterabyte partitions but freebsd does't support that.

    The best way - try to lern both systems - the reason is why is that for smaller system freebsd can be more effective, faster and/or convinient to use.

  37. #37
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    Put in another vote for FreeBSD. If I had the cash to pay for a dedicated personal server (since this is the "dedicated server" forum), that's what I'd use without question.

    When I can get away with it, that's the server OS I have used for data rooms I run. Unfortunately, in this increasingly-corporate world, how often I can "get away with it" is becoming rarer and rarer. I don't get to call the shots like I used to.

    I only wish more shared-hosting companies offered FreeBSD hosting (and without a 3X premium). PowWeb did, but not since the buyout/migration. Now they're Linux.
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  38. #38
    Quote Originally Posted by mwatkins
    I'm a long-time fan of FreeBSD for server applications and also run it on desktops in my office. Its a solid OS and coming from a big box unix background I appreciated its centralized approach to development which, I've since noted, hasn't slowed it down too much in terms of competing with Linux for features and capabilities. And FreeBSD ports system with portupgrade is a real treat. Almost 15,000 packages in CURRENT.

    That being said, committing to FreeBSD means you have fewer choices in hosting industry staples such as control panels and such. Some only support FreeBSD part of the way - for example H-Sphere I believe will support the OS on every box but its central "control server".

    There lots of FreeBSD boxes out there, including at some big name hosters like http://www.pair.com/ (190,000 sites these days), and runs FreeBSD exclusively.

    My primary grumble about the OS has been resolved. SMP support on 4.x wasn't terrific, 5.x better, and now as of 6.x SMP appears to be working very nicely indeed.
    I was going to have a long post on this topic, but I don't belive I can say it better then mwatkins.

  39. #39
    After getting fed up with Windows, and giving up on Linux because of fluffy crap and crappy docs, I tried FreeBSD and instantly fell in love with the simple, clean base install and layout. Then I discovered www . freebsd . org / handbook and it's been nothing but hot steamy server action since then. The ports and package management system generally works great, and the performance of 4.x and 6.x has been solid for me (had some issues with 5.x). The hardware support isn't as cutting-edge as Loonix, but that's not usually a problem on servers. Jails are great for keeping things safe and seperate, and OpenBSD's packetfilter (pf) is the greatest firewall on the planet. In closing, I love FreeBSD.


  40. #40
    I've been thinking a lot about switching from Linux to BSD, but I'm wrestling with some configuration questions.

    Can anybody suggest an equivalent to DRBD and HA-Linux for mirroring and failover across two servers?

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