projects to better support FreeBSD sysadmins

Hunter Satterwhite hsatterwhite at
Wed Jan 14 03:53:34 UTC 2015

Thanks for providing more detail Craig.

Fair enough, but these two items are minor at best and I don't feel like
they do much in the way of supporting your previous claim. While I do
wholeheartedly agree with the fact that freebsd-update should "just work"
it's still easy to work around.

To automate the installation of FreeBSD without the use of any other
3rd-party tools you would write your own shell script for bsdinstall. It's
pretty straight forward and easy to do. However, I'd argue that if you want
to operate at the scale you keep referring to and do it full life cycle,
then you're likely not going to be doing this. Instead you'll be using
tools, like Foreman and Puppet, which will make provisioning systems a

FWIW, I've had both inexperienced and experienced Linux system
administrators who want to employ the use of DevOps and have had both at
some point and time state, "You can't do that with FreeBSD" or "FreeBSD
makes it very difficult to do X". Each and every time they were incorrect
and it was, because FreeBSD is not their wheel house and unfortunately they
didn't take the time to do much research on their own. No one administrator
can be an expert in everything, but part of what we do requires us to be
inquisitive and investigative. Two traits that are fading fast in Linux

- Hunter

On Tue, Jan 13, 2015 at 10:30 PM, Craig Rodrigues <rodrigc at>

> On Tue, Jan 13, 2015 at 7:13 PM, Hunter Satterwhite <
> hsatterwhite at> wrote:
>> Craig,
>> Could you elaborate on these "problems"? Our data center is ~400 nodes
>> and 99% FreeBSD. We've used CFengine, we're implementing Puppet (and its
>> going great!), we use Ansible, and we also use languages such as Python,
>> Ruby, and Google's Go. Oh and not to mention we have a RESTful application
>> running on FreeBSD + node.js + MongoBD/MySQL.
>> I think the project's focus is fine. Year after year we're given a
>> complete, enterprise Unix operating system and it's only getting better.
> I can point to two problems which I found today:
> (1)  freebsd-update doesn't work so well in an automation environment
> without a real tty:
>       This was pointed out to me by a devops expert who is helping me with
> automation
>       for the
> (2)  documentation for doing "kickstart" installs of FreeBSD is not as
> easy to find as for Linux:
>      This was pointed out to me by another devops person I am working with
> who is familiar
>      with setting up kickstart installs for Linux, but couldn't easily
> figure out how to do it for FreeBSD.
> These are very basic things and can be solved on their own,
> but I would like to see more of a focus on this kind of stuff at a project
> level, so that
> these problems don't exist in the first place, and things *just work*.
> For many people, the perception is that Linux is easier for devops people
> to work
> with than FreeBSD, and they can install/maintain many nodes in large cloud
> and datacenter environments
> more easily.  I have seen in two companies where hundreds of FreeBSD nodes
> were migrated to Linux,
> because the IT/devops staff found Linux worked better at large scale than
> FreeBSD in the modern datacenter.
> I think the FreeBSD project is improving, but we can do better.
> --
> Craig

Hunter Satterwhite
Systems Engineer, Technical Operations (TechOps)

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