Current Gentoo user
m.seaman at infracaninophile.co.uk
Thu Dec 13 01:32:27 PST 2007
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> It has recently come to my attention that FreeBSD is "similar" to
> Gentoo Linux. I've been a Gentoo user for about 5 years and I love
> the concept, but it feels like the project is slowing down. I like to
> learn/use/know one OS for server, media system, laptop, router, etc.
> How would you compare the two OSes?
We use mainly a mixture of FreeBSD and Gentoo at work. Virtually all
of the application software you would want to use will work on either
system -- the exceptions being certain proprietary bits such as the very
latest Flash or management applications for particular RAID controllers.
The Unix environment is pretty much the same, although /bin/sh on FreeBSD
is not bash -- that you'ld have to install from ports. There are various
odd differences in commands but those tend to be the more obscure bits
as both systems comply with POSIX.2
Things you'll find different:
* Although portage was certainly inspired by ports, it is a very
different beast. They fulfil much the same function, but don't
get frustrated when you start thinking in the portage way and
find that doesn't map onto ports very well. Ports is, to
paraphrase Terry Pratchett, intuitively obvious once you've spent
enough time learning how it works.
* You'll find that the base FreeBSD system being separated from the
rest of the installed software seems odd at first. Especially
when you start looking under /etc for configuration files that
FreeBSD puts under /usr/local/etc. You will quickly come to
appreciate that it makes a huge difference in the ease and
manageability of maintaining the system.
* I tend to find that FreeBSD comes with much better diagnostic and
monitoring capabilities built in -- programs like systat and gstat
have no direct equivalents, and things like vmstat often seem to
be missing from Gentoo boxes, although that is probably just an
oversight by the person building the system.
* Although either OS will work in either role, Gentoo-ers seem
to me principally interested in developing the desktops,
whereas FreeBSD-ers think "network server" first of all.
Dr Matthew J Seaman MA, D.Phil. Flat 3
7 Priory Courtyard
PGP: http://www.infracaninophile.co.uk/pgpkey Ramsgate
Kent, CT11 9PW, UK
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