Status of 6.0 for production systems

Ted Mittelstaedt tedm at
Tue Nov 15 04:23:59 GMT 2005

>-----Original Message-----
>From: owner-freebsd-questions at
>[mailto:owner-freebsd-questions at]On Behalf Of Michael Vince
>Sent: Friday, November 11, 2005 7:48 PM
>To: Peter Clutton
>Cc: freebsd-questions at; Ted Mittelstaedt
>Subject: Re: Status of 6.0 for production systems
>>>I prefer the idea of the FreeBSD team aiming at only the latest
>>>hardware, all I use is brand new server equipment.
>>>I don't like the idea that FreeBSD features and performance
>>>could be hampered by the core guys trying to make stuff work on old
>>>hardware, in fact if it was a fact that a lot more performance and
>>>features could be in 6.x if they dropped support for everything below
>>>1ghz for x86 I would be happy
>>Supporting older hardware is not some bad decision made by core, it is
>>a general design and philosophy point of not only FreeBSD, but unix
>>and the community in general. That is a very selfish statement, and
>>rather rediculous actually, that the tens of thousands of people
>>running older hardware (example: Yahoo! - pentium of about half that
>>speed serving hundreds of thousands of http requests per day)  should
>>upgrade to 1ghz machines because that's what you use. Even Windows
>>runs on less than that.
>> But you are always welcome to make your own version that
>supports only that.
>I said it in terms of an over the top example to maximize a trigger of
>thoughts in this area of topic, such as an example of movement as those
>more in the realms of what MS do with what their standard is in
>support for modern operating systems, luckily I am just 'some guy' on
>the mailing list and have little what so ever say to what happens on
>I don't believe its a very selfish statement at all. When I say get rid
>of old hardware the one of the largest flow of thoughts that go through
>my mind is the support future world energy needs. Most scientists tell
>you that there will be a world energy crisis sometime in the future and
>people should be prepared to pay money money for the energy they use.
>Its energy crisis web sites are all over the Internet. While
>some people
>fear a nuclear attack from terrorists or nuclear war in general if you
>want to fear a day of doom some people will tell you there is something
>even more terrifying and just as destructive coming our way, that is
>running out of cheap energy, hard to understand? I recommend to any one
>using a PC for the single use of a home gateway or using power in ways
>that aren't ideal but simply because energy is cheap simply
>because they
>can get away with it the get the DVD  'The End of Suburbia'. It will
>tell you that as the world hits its energy peak the cost of fuel will
>always go up in the world market every time there is any kind of issue
>and barely go back down (as it has lately). They claim the cost of
>moving around in suburbia will get so expensive that the value of the
>suburban house will fall through the floor and ruin a lot of
>lives since
>most people put their life savings investing in their home assuming it
>will increase in value over time.
>While most people aren't using a pentium 1 to run a water sprinkler
>system, there are a countless amount of people using machines
>for things
>that aren't ideally power efficient. A lot of people using old PCs and
>Internet gateways in their home network and nothing else. This is a 24
>hour PC running just to provide Internet where a basic Netgear home
>router 500ma device can do it just as well, (5volts * 0.5amp =
>2.5watts), a lot of people use FreeBSD as a server in some way on a
>network and need to keep it somewhat up to date for security reasons
>this also means 24 hour running.

Hmm - let's see now, where does this extra "wasted" power go?  It
is turned into heat.  Which heats your house.  Which means you do
not have to run the furnace so much, thus saving energy there.

So you spend more energy to run inefficient PC's and save energy
in not running your furnace.  Seems to me to be a wash, here.

I should also point out that in many areas power is generated by
wind.  Here in the Pacific NW you can pay a bit extra on your
power bill to have all your electricity come from wind if you want.

If anyone on the list does not feel this way please feel free to
send me your old PCs.  Specifically, your old rack mounted servers
with large SCSI arrays.  I will take servers that are as old
as Pentium II 500Mhz devices with 40GB or greater RAID 5 arrays.
and other name brands preferred.

>A lot of people on the FreeBSD mailing
>lists like the idea of getting rid of their clunky old PC routers and
>still using a good firewall like Packet Filter by using the MIPS based
>linksys WRT54G router that could run FreeBSD, while there is no
>port for
>this on FreeBSD the closest front for this would be NetBSD.

At the ISP I work at we USED to recommend Linksys routers.  Then
we found that without exception they fail after about a year to two
of continuous use.  Therefore the person goes and buys another router.
Talk about wasted energy of manufacture and increased use of landfill

>Its really a case of the dark side of the force is clouds your vision.
>Most people who have a properly functioning conscious mind who setup a
>PC as nothing more then a gateway for a small band of traffic
>feel a bit
>of guilt when they do it while others are just ignorant or work under
>the theme of what they can get away with is OK.

I don't see why they should.  PC's used for this are older devices
that have already seen service life.  Using them for routers does
not increase the world demand for PCs one iota because the people
that have finished using the PC's have already decided to throw them
away.  All it does is keep them out of landfills for a few years
and decrease sales of some of the smaller DSL/Cable routers.  If you
factor in the cost of landfill space and the cost of manufacture and
landfilling of the smaller Cable/DSL routers as compared to the
additional energy a PC uses over this time period I think you will
find it's a wash.

>Lets just continue this
>line of thought, how about the rich and powerful nations go dropping
>barrels of nuclear waste out of airplanes on poor nations, this is
>something they could probably 'get away with' but its not right
>thing to do.

You mean like the French do when they dispose of nuclear waste
at sea?

>A lot of people wondered how Steve Jobs could dare change over to Intel
>In Steve Jobs keynote speech announcing the big move Intel chips was
>just about entirely stated as because of the 'performance per watt
>ratio' of Intel CPUs. Check out the picture of the key note speech and
>look at the bottom of the picture with Intel and IBM's PowerPC

This is a bunch of whitewashing as anyone in the tech industry knows.
Jobs changed over to Intel for two reasons.  First, because Intel gave
him a better price on the CPU's.  Second because doing this instantly
obsoletes the older power PC macs thus pushing all the Mac users to
fork over money for new software and hardware.

Do you administer a network of Macs?  I do as well as a network of
boxen.  On my net the Mac hardware is
all 5 year old as well as the software.  It's all OSX Panther.  The users
have little to no interest in upgrading, except to get a bigger display,
because the old software just works.  The new software (tiger) and apps
specific for it do not look or act any different than the old stuff.
There is no constant virus threat that is forever tearing apart machines
like on the Windows side of things.  I have often wondered how in the
world Apple expected to make any money.

>Big tech industry is trying to take some responsibility for people and
>Intel and AMD are already making it easier to build desktop systems
>using their mobile chips, check out more on Anandtech for that.

When they price those chips as low as the desktop chips I will
believe that.

>If Yahoo are using countless thousands of old Pentiums as
>stated earlier
>then they should take a chunk of the countless millions of dollars they
>have made over the years using FreeBSD and invest it back into FreeBSD
>so they can enjoy a better 'performance per watt ratio' as Steve Jobs
>calls it and condense the amount of systems they have. Apple should be
>doing the same thing and giving back to FreeBSD if its taken so much of
>its work, unfortunately big business thinks exactly the same way as a
>guy who runs a PC as purely a low bandwidth home gateway and thats what
>I can 'get away with' is OK. The only thing that often works in these
>situations is discussion and public pressure. There is selfishness in
>every direction but I believe my points of view aren't selfish at all.
>I am not trying to particularly push anything but I do enjoying
>providing some thoughts for those who fail to think.

You need to rethink your views on energy.  The problem in the world
today is not electrical energy.  We can generate all the electric
power we could ever need using wind energy, for very little more
than burning fossil fuel - and in many places, at a lower cost than
fossil-fuel generation if you subtract the initial investment costs.
(most fossil fuel generating plants have long since paid off their
initial investments)

The problem today is in vehicle power sources, ie: mobile energy.
The electric car as it stands today is frustratingly close to being
there, but it is not there.  General Motor's EV-1 program proved that
while it's possible for a Big 3 automaker to manufacture an electric
car that could be used by the general public, it isn't possible for
that same automaker to make a profit on such a vehicle.  As such
none of the major automakers will do electric cars.  They are happy
enough with hybrids because the hybrid doesen't really have to work -
that is, if the vehicle driving conditions are such that the hybrid
power does not help (ie: lots of highway driving) the vehicle falls
back to being a gas-burner.  But they won't do electric cars.

The hydrogen car is also a non-starter.  Besides the fact that you
would have to create a distribution network out of thin air, it
carries terrible safety implications.  You do not want to be anywhere
near a high speed collision on a highway that ruptures a pressurized
hydrogen tank, the resulting explosion will incinerate everything
anywhere nearby.  Very unlike a ruptured gasoline tank which may
cause a fire but will not explode like dynamite.  Nor do you want
hydrogen fueling stations in your neighborhood.  If Billy Bob gets
drunk and drives his 1/2 ton Chevy pickup off the road and into
the hydrogen storage tank at the hydrogen station, rupturing it,
he will take a city block with him. (or larger)  And burying such
a tank is hideously expensive and nobody is going to put one in
unless they are guarenteed 10 years of profits to pay the investment
back on one.  That is why so many gas stations have gone out of business
when the EPA detected leaking tanks and required them to pull them.

If you can figure out an answer a lot of people would like to hear
it.  But it ain't going to involve people buying newer PC hardware
because that saves electricity.  And don't forget how your going to
power jet planes while your doing it.


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