What's so compelling about FreeBSD?

Garrett Cooper youshi10 at u.washington.edu
Mon Oct 16 11:45:49 PDT 2006

Hash: SHA1

Jeff Palmer wrote:
> At 01:45 PM 10/16/2006, Simon Gao wrote:
>> I have a few FreeBSD machine from 4.x to 5.x. I have asked people how to
>> upgrade them to latest version 6.x cleanly. All I was told is that I
>> need to wipe them out and reinstall. However, this is not the case with
>> Gentoo Linux. With Gentoo, version release does not matter that much,
>> you can always keep your system up to date if you like. Of cause, you
>> can also choose staying at a certain version.
>> Linux supports more devices than FreeBSD, especially new devices.
> Whoever gave you the 'wipe and reinstall' advice for the 5.x to 6.x
> migration was insane.
> 4.x to 6.x is a pain, due to major changes in /dev (5.x and later use
> devfs, 4.x doesn't)   but can still be done.
> but the 5.6 to 6.x migration is fairly straight forward with a
> buildworld and a couple minor caveats as noticed in UPDATING.
> Jeff
> P.S.  while 4.x to 5.x is possible,  I'd still personally do a
> wipe/reinstall.    5.x to 6.x,  I'd build world.

No kidding. Only if you want to get rid of obsolete/unused files from
previous system / ports should you do this. This is more of a time
dependency though and not a version dependency, i.e. if I move from from
4.x (used for 1-2 years), I may consider wiping stuff clean and
reinstalling from scratch.

But if you've used PCs enough you should have known this from
experience. This is sort of a good rule of thumb with all OSes to some

My thoughts...

1. Better kernel and userland 'linking' (is 'cooperation' a better
term?), due to better overall dev and planning organization.
2. Better documentation; you can find more properly documented manpages
and the documentation-for the most part-is centralized on freebsd.org,
which helps a lot.

1. More bleeding edge hardware support.
2. In general, better software support due to more devs working on Linux
than FBSD (or *BSD in general).

Another sidecomment:
*BSD tends to be better organized in terms of networking and server
configs, but in general Linux tends to be better in the desktop arena,
depending on what you're trying to accomplish of course. Besides, all
good ideas in either camp eventually equilibrates out to the other camp
due to proper collaboration and open-source ideology. The main thing
that separates the Linux and *BSD group, apart from organization, is the
GNU license (more restrictive to devs and for resale of designed
product, perhaps, possibly too idealistic in design) vs the BSD license
(better for devs and business folks if they come up with an idea and
want to market it or maintain their copyright/idea properly with less
restrictions in a given respect). But, you should read the BSD and GNU
licenses and compare them for yourself to determine where and how they

Hopefully I won't get a lot of flak from the list about my comments :).

- -Garrett
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