Current Gentoo user
root at varusonline.com
Thu Dec 13 20:31:38 PST 2007
>>> 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?
>>> - Grant
>> I only have the time to give you a very general impression.
>> I use FreeBSD at home since at least 1995, I deployed Gentoo at my current
>> employment because people were less afraid of it than of FreeBSD.
>> For me, Gentoo is the next best thing to FreeBSD...
>> I don't know, but I guess that Gentoo portage was heavily inspired by FreeBSD
>> ports, in that with one command you fetch the source, apply patches, compile and install.
>> Gentoo however, takes the concept much further in that everything you have on
>> your system is a port, so portage really controls everything. Even when you
>> install a stage-3 tarball, all files are also registered with portage.
>> On FreeBSD, the ports collection is only used for addons to the base system; the
>> base system could be compared to a stage-3 tarball except that it is much more
>> complete (cron, syslog, dhclient, bind9, openssh, tcsh, nvi, ncurses, sendmail,
>> pam, opie, telnet, ftp, traceroute, to name a few are installed in the base system)
>> so you really can have an operational base system.
>> For instance, if you want to install a web server, perhaps the base system +
>> apache is enough, the same goes for database server.
>> Typically, the base system plus what is required for your application.
>> Not so with Gentoo.
>> Because such fundamental services such as cron, syslog, etc are on the base
>> system, most things also come much more configured than they do on Gentoo.
>> It is a lot more work to get things going on Gentoo.
>> Even so, FreeBSD is clean enough to fit in about 250MB.
>> Now, for server or router: in my opinion, FreeBSD is much easier to setup for
>> any server setup (of course, I've been using it for much longer). For router,
>> you don't need to add anything to the base system.
>> FreeBSD is much, much, much better documented than Gentoo, most common server
>> setups are covered in the handbook.
>> Gentoo's documentation is very nice, but still covers only a few loose topics.
>> Most of the time you have to resort to disperse Linux documentation if you're
>> not a long time Linux geek.
>> For media/desktop system: FreeBSD is probably worse. It's a pain to get
>> google-earth working on FreeBSD, lots of Linux applications crash a lot. Even
>> FreeBSD natively compiled applications such as mplayer are hard to get properly
>> On Gentoo it's quite safe to put CFLAGS=-O3 in make.conf, not on FreeBSD. The
>> USE flags framework work surprisingly well, there's ufed, revdep-rebuild, etc.
>> Not so much on FreeBSD, the older ports system is evolving slowly. The Gentoo
>> designers benefited from designing from scratch.
>> On the other hand, the ports collection on FreeBSD is much less likely to break
>> things than portage is. Try updating expat on Gentoo and everything will stop
>> working; on FreeBSD, the shared libraries are kept and everything keeps working.
>> Actually, the ports collection in itself seldom breaks anything. Portage does.
>> For laptop: I run FreeBSD amd64 on my laptop, everything works very well. And it
>> is a radeon card, 3D without hardware acceleration is surprisingly fast these days.
>> There's no hibernation. I don't know if you have that on Gentoo.
>> AMD64: Runs lots of 386 binaries unless they require a lot of i386 ports, which would
>> require you to install a i386 ports tree side by side with amd64; this isn't supported.
>> You can't get linux_dri on AMD64, so that locks google-earth out for me.
>> After two years using Gentoo, after the first very positive impression, I'm a
>> bit tired of breaking things due to updating one port.
>> It's also too much of a pain reconfiguring and recompiling the Linux kernel.
>> Perhaps it's my lack of experience.
>> On FreeBSD, you can compile the kernel every day with no trouble at all, even
>> the whole base system weekly, if you're so inclined. I can't be objective, but I
>> think in this respect FreeBSD is much, much, much better.
> I just had a search through the FreeBSD ports list and just about
> everything I user is listed there. gnucash, gimp, firefox, etc. Does
> that mean they are work perfectly on FreeBSD?
> - Grant
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I use FreeBSD almost exclusively (my main desktop is a Mac), and
everything on FreeBSD works with as few bugs as their Mac OS X
counterparts (where such counterparts exist, such as Firefox). On my
laptop, they also run about the same speed as they do on the Mac. (Mac
is 3GHz, laptop is 1.8GHz)
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