FreeBSD vs Linux

Andrew L. Gould algould at
Tue Jan 17 13:12:56 PST 2006

A FreeBSD vs Linux anecdote:

I've read several articles over the years talking about how Linux can
breathe new life into old computers.  After the last couple of weeks, I
don't buy it.

After combining the hardware from 2 old computers (circa 1996 and
1998 -- anyone remember ISA cards, serial mice and AT cases?) I went
through the process of finding a good operating system for it.  The
computer has a Pentium II 333MHz chip and 384MB RAM; so it's definitely
worth keeping.  I was unable to successfully install Fedora Core 4,
SUSE Linux Professional 9.3, or Ubuntu 5.10.  I was given the advice to
try old versions of Linux; but how, then, does one deal with
security issues?

FreeBSD 6.0 and NetBSD 3.0 installed without any problems.  The onboard
sound chip was dead; so I swapped out the ISA modem for an ISA
sound card, which was supported by both *BSD's.  The onboard video is
supported by both XFree86 and xorg.  There are 3 PCI slots, so I added
a D-Link Atheros wireless card and a USB2 card to get around most of the
motherboard's limitations. For example, the hard drives connected via
IDE are limited to ~8GB partitions; however, the computer seems to deal
with a 60GB external, USB2 hard drive without problems.

The computer is currently without keyboard, mouse or monitor.  I am
adding applications to the computer via ssh while I work.  As soon as I
get openbox and tightvnc installed, I'll switch to tightvnc so I can
disconnect without disrupting jobs.  (Hmm, I wonder if I'll have to add
a mouse or keyboard at that point.)

Andrew Gould

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