Max Laier max at
Mon Nov 12 23:44:50 PST 2007

First off - freebsd-arch@ is not the right mailing list to ask these kind 
of basic questions.  Plus, I'm hoping this is not a course work for you 
CS class!

On Tuesday 13 November 2007, Albert Meyburgh wrote:
> I read that freebsd is monolithic.  Is that still true?

Yes in that it is not based on a "micro kernel" and that the kernel and 
all it's services and drivers are running in one address space.

> If I wanted to add functionality like device drivers, or maybe my own
> tcp/ip stack, (or maybe add the facility to allow modules) do I have
> to download the entire source and add it in there?

That depends on the type of thing you want to do.  FreeBSD offers a lot of 
entry points to hook in your code as needed.  Device drivers can 
absolutely be standalone modules (there are a few in the ports tree (e.g. 
the nvidia one)).  Your own TCP/IP stack is more tricky, but you could 
use the netgraph(3) framework to hook that at runtime, too.

> nothing available like a kernel module in linux? (which afaik you can
> attach at runtime)

Yes, kernel modules are available and can be attached at runtime 
(depending on what they are doing).  This doesn't make the kernel 
non-monolithic, though.

> also when I add packages using the ports system, then remove them, are
> they completely gone or are there still random conf files / misc..
> laying around slowly bloating the hdd

We try to make sure this does not happen.  During the package build the 
buildcluster checks for files that are not accounted for and issues a 
warning to the maintainer.  The strict rule of putting all 3rd party 
programs under either /usr/local or /compat also helps to keep the mess 
to a minimum.

> also is there a way to scan for unused packages somehow and list them

There is a tool called pkg_cutleaves in the ports tree that will show you 
all ports that are not used by any other ports and lets you decide if you 
want to keep them or not.  There might be other solutions, too.

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