Returning User With Filesystem/Memory Tuning Questions

Roland Smith rsmith at
Wed Dec 3 12:21:58 PST 2008

On Wed, Dec 03, 2008 at 01:24:09PM -0600, Kevin Monceaux wrote:
> FreeBSD Fans,
> I think I've just about talked myself into coming back for another try. 
> First, to ZFS or not to ZFS, that is the question.  While I like some of 
> the features ZFS has to offer, I realize it may be overkill for my needs. 
> The main thing I'm looking for is the ability to combine all the space 
> available on both hard drives of my home desktop box.

Well, gconcat should do the trick. But it carries a risk in the sense
that if one of the drives dies, you loose your data. I can't comment on
ZFS since I haven't used it.

I have two identical disks in my desktop, one is used as a backup.

> If I remember correctly, the last time around I had some occasional memory 
> related application crashes.  For example I had pan crash a few times 
> trying to open a large newsgroups. 

I've never had problems with pan, but I don't use it much
anymore. Setting options with malloc.conf(5) can aid you with finding
memory bugs.

Application crashed can also be due to bad hardware, especially
memory. Make sure that you rule out hardware troubles before diving into
the software.

> I know FreeBSD doesn't blindly allocate memory like Linux does, 
> but I would like to tune things to take full advantage of my available 
> memory.

To the best of my knowledge, FreeBSD will use all the memory you have
within limits set by hardware and software (e.g. limits(1)). Obviously
the address space of i386 is becoming limited these days, and part of
the address space is reserved for the kernel (1 GB on i386, IIRC).

> Taking the above filesystem question into consideration, and wanting a 
> stable flash plugin, which FreeBSD version should I be going with? 

Go with the most recent. 7.1 is getting ready, but if you're comfortable
with following 7-STABLE that's OK as well. If you want the binary flash
plugin you'll have to stick to the i386 architecture. It won't work on
amd64. But that goes for most binary stuff.

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