projects to better support FreeBSD sysadmins

Craig Rodrigues rodrigc at
Wed Jan 14 17:28:10 UTC 2015

On Tue, Jan 13, 2015 at 7:53 PM, Hunter Satterwhite <
hsatterwhite at> wrote:

> 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.

kickstart and freebsd-update are just two examples, found very quickly
after trying to set this
stuff up.  freebsd-update has been around since 2006.  The problem
I mentioned and workarounds have been mentioned on the web since then.
To go back to Royce's original posting, I am seeing that there is a
definite disconnect between developers who work on the source tree, and
who are deploying FreeBSD in modern datacenter and cloud environments.

I'm actually not the only one who has run into these types of problems.
I've talked to a friend in a company making a product based on FreeBSD,
who has run into similar problems when trying to do kickstart and mass
deployment of FreeBSD nodes.  If you are willing to code your own stuff up,
it is doable, but things are definitely not as well documented and turnkey
as the Linux equivalet solutions.

> 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
> cinch.

For the cluster, I quickly came to the conclusion
that you have described.  I put out a Call for Help for some devops

and got one volunteer from Ahmed Kamal, a devops expert who works for
a company specializing in cloud/devops ( ):

Ahmed is new to FreeBSD, but he definitely knows his stuff with devops
and cloud, and has started providing code and scripts to help:

Any issues that Ahmed is finding in FreeBSD itself (whether it is src,
ports, or docs), I am trying to push fixes back into FreeBSD itself to
improve things
and smooth things over.

> 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
> administrators.
Well, like it or not, Linux (in its various distributions) has succeeded in
becoming the dominant Unix platform in the modern datacenter.  The
3rd party tools, documentation, and skillset of people who are available
for hire reflect this, and FreeBSD is an afterthought.

Anything that we can do in FreeBSD to change things in the base system,
ports, and documentation to make things easier for sysadmins, as Royce
pointed out, would be a great focus for the project and Foundation.

Having people like Ahmed, who are familiar with the Linux ways of doing
things, but are open to pointing out where FreeBSD lags behind and helping
improve things, is as good a place to start as any.


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