FreeBSD Ports vs. Gentoo Portage (a matter of concept)

Björn König bkoenig at
Tue Feb 7 03:56:56 PST 2006

FreeBSD Prospect schrieb:
> [...] Now I am wondering, how this is even possible considering the 
> following:
>  - Portage divides all software into three states: hardmasked, masked 
> unstable/testing (~arch) and stable (arch). 
>  - In ports there is no such difference, which means the lastest software is 
> just available using the usual port management features, without the need to 
> fiddle around with unmasking something, to be able to install it. In most 
> cases (even the usual desktop stuff, like Gnome & KDE) software in ports is 
> more up-to-date than in portage. 
> That means, to be able to compare Gentoo Linux with FreeBSD, you would have to 
> run a pure unstable (~arch) Gentoo system, which is generally not 
> recommended, and especially not for a production system. 
> So how is it possible, that FreeBSD is considered to be more suited as a 
> production environment, if it runs the latest software-versions, which are 
> considered unstable/testing in Gentoo?
> [...]

I think this has something to do with the responsibility of the 
operating system. Typical Linux-based systems, including Gentoo, attach 
importance to the package manager and the software that they provide. 
FreeBSD is mainly a kernel and a set of well maintained userland tools 
and services. Everything beyond this is more a kind of meeting the 
system administrator halfway. This requires from the administrator that 
he know what he is doing, that he visit websites routinely and read news 
and security bulletins regularyly instead of blindly updating software. 
I don't want to say that I disfavour the way of Gentoo, because it can 
support the administrator significantly. I just want to say, that the 
FreeBSD ports are much older and therefore they don't take those aspects 
in account. If you ask why it's not there then the answer would be that 
nobody implemented it. The answer to the question why it is considered 
as suitable for production environment depends on the kind of this 
environment. Look at Debian; why is this distribution a good choice for 
production environments although they provide software that you can find 
in a museum? Because most production environments requires stability for 
the purpose of changelessness. You don't want the latest and "best" 
software, but rather thoughtfulness. The way of Debian is to let the 
package maintainers think about the available software; the way of 
FreeBSD is to let the administrator think about it.


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