FreeBSD vs Linux

Garrett Cooper youshi10 at
Tue Jan 17 16:00:40 PST 2006

Andrew L. Gould wrote:
> 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
    You probably didn't get past the GUI end of Linux distros. Most 
distros are tailored to end users nowadays so you have to grind your way 
through the mucky X junk they require to be installed in order to get to 
the guts of the distro.
    Depending on what you are trying to accomplish though, you should 
use whatever tools best fit the job at hand. Me? I hate FreeBSD desktop 
use (tried it for 1.5-2 years, but didn't like the means of updating), 
so I'm sticking with Gentoo for that purpose.
    My server however? It's a lower end Celeron with FreeBSD on it, and 
I like it that way because it has just enough tools to share my files 
between my 2 PCs via NFS and Samba, as well as it's fairly secure and 
doesn't demand a lot of CPU cycles for compiling stuff necessarily like 
Gentoo does (even though I schedule it for portupgrade via cron every 
once in a while).
    For everything else? My iBook serves as my portable link because 
Apple makes pretty solid hardware and software, given other hardware 
vendors and software makers on the market. It's the perfect mix between 
proprietary and non-proprietary/open-source software (available via Fink 
and other Cocoa/Carbon developer's sites).
    So, is there really one perfect solution? No... if there was then 
everyone would use the same thing. Are there good solutions for 
particular applications? Yes, and that is why you need to define your 
goals and expectations before asking others about what you want to 

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