What's so compelling about FreeBSD?

Damian Wiest dwiest at vailsys.com
Mon Oct 16 16:18:55 PDT 2006

On Mon, Oct 16, 2006 at 05:41:31PM -0400, Jim Stapleton 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.
> I'm gonna join the "whoever said this was on crack" club. Going
> between major versions can be a challange due to mergebastard and the
> various config file change, but Gentoo's setup is really no different
> in that respect.
> However, when you want to compile the Kernel, the FreeBSD system is
> much mroe useful than that of Gentoo. I failed my first kernel build
> on FreeBSD (custom kernel config) before it booted properly, and have
> since done several more without issue.
> With Gentoo, after about half a dozen attempts at optimizing my kernel
> for my notebook, I gave up and used Genkernel, which was not as
> efficient, but at least worked.
> >Linux supports more devices than FreeBSD, especially new devices.
> Spend an extra 5 minutes researching your hardware before buying, more
> often than not, this'll save you the issues.

I don't mean to bring the conversation from misc at openbsd over here, but
you should understand why Linux supports more devices as it's important
if you truly want to support open source principles.

Basically, the Linux distributions are okay with using and redistributing 
binary drivers supplied by vendors.  Rather than fighting for 
documentation (some vendors refuse to tell people how to use what they
just paid for), they just roll over and run the closed source binary; 
possibly also redistributing them illegally.  While this may allow you 
to use a particular piece of hardware in the short-term, in the 
long-term it's counterproductive since you're now dependent on the vendor 
supporting your device.  What happens if your O.S. is too small for the 
vendor to worry about?  What happens if the vendor goes out of business?  
What happens if the vendor drops support?  If you use binary blobs, 
you're fscked.  Don't do it.  Instead, support vendors that support 
open source software developers.


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