FreeBSD vs Linux

Vulpes Velox v.velox at
Wed Jan 18 21:29:23 PST 2006

On Wed, 18 Jan 2006 21:15:15 +0000
Tim Greening-Jackson <tim.greeningjackson at> wrote:

> On Tue, 2006-01-17 at 18:15 +0100, poczta at wrote:
> > What is the essential difference
> > between FreeBSD and Linux (Fedora for instance)?
> I have been following this thread (and similar ones over the past
> few weeks) and would like to offer my perspective on the "FreeBSD
> versus Linux" discussion. FWIW, this isn't a troll, so my apologies
> if it upsets some of the more precious people on this list (and
> having read the list for the past couple of months you are
> definitely out there).
> To explain some background, I used/administered/programmed under
> Unix throughout the 1980s and 1990s (SysVR3, BSD4.2, Ultrix...),
> and I have been using Linux (RedHat/Fedora) for the past couple of
> years. I have recently been using/evaluating FreeBSD. I have no
> particular axe to grind in favour of either system.

Nearly entirely FreeBSD since I started using unix a 5 years ago. I
work with Redhat and Fedora a nice bit at work though.

> It's reasonable to assume that the sorts of people asking a question
> like "what's the difference..." or "which is better..." aren't
> designing brand-new top-end data centres. They are a lot more likely
> to be contemplating a move from MS Windows or perhaps have dabbled
> with Linux and are curious. I would also suggest that a better
> question than "what's better" is "what is more appropriate".
> So, that preamble out of the way, my $0.02 is this. The distinction
> "Linux is a kernel; FreeBSD is an O/S" is - frankly - the sort of
> jesuitical sophistry that gets UseNet a bad name. The important
> things are:
> Linux is a much, much easier system to install and configure. No
> contest. Stick the disks in, it'll pretty much recognise any
> sound-card and video interface and will work out of the box without
> pissing about configuring X-windows or recompiling the kernel. I'm
> sure if you persevere for long enough with FreeBSD it's possible to
> get a quite usable desktop, with most of the applications that come
> bundled with a release of Linux. The FreeBSD installation process is
> like some sort of time-warp back to the 1980s.
> The argument that "most FreeBSD installations are server, so don't
> require mice etc." is a circular/self-fulfilling one. People -
> frankly
> - aren't going to be bothered messing around getting FreeBSD
> working. Get used to it.

Any time you need to start a X server to run the install, you have
something drastically wrong with the installer.

Nothing happens during the install that requires graphics... does not
make a difference if it is FreeBSD or Fedora.

Any one who is serious about using unix as a desktop, really needs to
be able to configure X for them selves.

BTW FreeBSD recognizes the sound card on all my hardware upon a fresh

> The Linux community is much larger than the FreeBSD one. I have
> noted certain comments in this mailing list about wanting to stay
> "select", like some sort of digital Albania. To be honest, it's
> highly likely that your wish will come true.

Not been paying to close of attention, but I missed this part...
other than the ranting of one or two idiots back there.

> Fortunately there is this mailing list. And a couple of books,
> although when I went to my local bookstores (large ones, with big
> sections on computing) each had an entire shelf of Linux books, but
> none on FreeBSD. Thank goodness for Amazon, so I could get Lehey -
> which is excellent.
> The relative size of the communities means two things: there's much
> more support for Linux and also more applications are ready for
> Linux. Just like if I compare Linux with Windows. This list relies
> on a small number of dedicated experts who are generous enough with
> their time to answer a lot of questions over and over again.
> However, the FreeBSD community resembles some sort of religious
> cult at times. If FreeBSD wants to be anything other than a small
> footnote in the history of computing then it needs to engage a bit
> more with the 99.99% of the world who neither know - nor care -
> what it is; and who regard re-compiling a kernel as less of a
> God-given right and more of a tedious chore.

BAH! If one does not bother to be bloody selective one will find
brain dead cult like mentality around all OSes.

Yeah, that is what kernel modules are for...

Crap like this pisses me off... why the hell should FreeBSD be the OS
the does it all for you... what do you get when you want something to
do that? crap...

If enough FreeBSD users feel the need for this or want it, they will
fix it. Hence open source.

It is designed to provide a base system to build upon. This is what
most people forget when they start demanding it do everything for
them. That is not it's job, that would properly be the job of either
a port or a seperate distribution that uses FreeBSD as the base.

> I'd have to say that the hardware support in FreeBSD is probably
> better than that in Linux. Certainly it is on the hardware I've
> tested. But, for most people it's still a pain.
> All the tests I have done, and all I have read suggests that FreeBSD
> is superb for server applications. Once I have convinced myself of
> its support for SMB and a couple of other things, then it is highly
> likely I will be migrating my own servers over to FreeBSD: that's
> the best recommendation you can get.
> I love FreeBSD's pkg_add etc. and the ports collection is quite
> cool. But, pretty much all the stuff I want to port or add is there
> in most Linux distros. Lots of stuff also just doesn't work out of
> the box like it should. I have to force pkg_add to do strange stuff
> or there are other strange dependencies.
> If you're prepared to work on it, then you can get most applications
> running on FreeBSD, but it's still easier on Linux.

What do you mean it does not work out of the box like it should? How
the hell is the install suppose to know what the user wants to do
with a installed program?

> IF you are prepared to work on it, FreeBSD looks like a great server
> operating system. If you're just an ordinary joe who wants a
> Unix-style OS then Linux is much easier to install, configure etc.,
> has more desktop type applications which work first time etc.
> If you are building a data-centre which requires highly available
> servers then FreeBSD is better than Linux. But if you are in that
> sort of market you already know that, and are probably intending to
> wait a couple of months until Solaris goes open-source.

If one are a ordinary joe that does not wish to look into what OS one
is running, one is screwed. This does not matter if it is Windows,
<insert favorite distro here> Linux, FreeBSD, and ect.

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