FreeBSD & Linux distro

Chad Perrin perrin at
Thu Feb 21 06:58:48 UTC 2008

On Wed, Feb 20, 2008 at 07:24:01PM -0700, Predrag Punosevac wrote:
> Chad Perrin wrote:
> >
> >If anyone has suggestions for how to fix it up further, let me know.
> >
> >  
> Hi Chad,
> Here is my honest opinion. I hope it will help you improve the post :-)

I do too.

> I didn't like very much the tone of the article as well as some 
> pejorative conclusion. If you are going to post something even
> as a FreeBSD advocacy the tone of the article should be neutral and all 
> claims verifiable. Do not get me wrong. I
> do not like Linux and more over I have never used it in my life but I 
> would have hard time to swallow some of your claims.
> How would you feel if I tell you that I use mostly OpenBSD because it is 
> easier for work than FreeBSD and in my experience much more stable than 
> FreeBSD.  Those are my subjective feelings and probably have little to 
> do with the reality. If anything statement like that are irritating and 
> have no value to a person who is deciding between using OpenBSD or FreeBSD.

Frankly, I might be inclined to believe you with regard to stability,
based on what I know of OpenBSD.  I'd also be likely to think your
"easier for work" was either purely personal preference or based on a
specific set of working conditions that might favor OpenBSD in

> Try to find on the internet couple of advocacy articles by Greg Lehey.  
> They are  very  well-written. 
> Example: Statement of the type BSD appears more stable than Linux is 
> non-verifiable.
> Statement of the type FreeBSD is direct decedent of the BSD flavor of 
> Unix started in mid seventies at the University of California Berkley 
> while the Linux kernel is Unix clone started in 1993 based on the 
> mixture of System V and BSD Unix is
> verifiable. Or 80% of all servers with longest up time run FreeBSD is 
> something that can be verified.

Good point, re: uptime numbers.  On the other hand, because of the
limited uptime number problem with Linux, that doesn't really mean
anything.  There's no verifiable and useful uptime comparison I'm aware

> You should definitely address the following things
> 1. FreeBSD is longer in the development than Linux.
> 2.  Probably 80% of the servers with the longest  UP time run  FreeBSD.  
> Give a link. Easy to find.
> 3. FreeBSD is a COMPLETE operating system GNU/Linux is not.

That's not much of an argument.  A Linux distribution is a complete OS,
even if the Linux kernel isn't.  Saying something like "FreeBSD is a
complete OS, Linux isn't," would just sound like verbal trickery.  I
think I'll avoid that approach.

> 4. It has different development and engineering process than Linux.

I addressed some of that.

> 5. It has better quality control at least because Linux has no quality 
> control at all.

Untrue -- unless you have different definitions of "quality control" or
"no" than I have.

> 6. The Largest FTP sever on the world run FreeBSD (your beloved
> 7. FreeBSD has one of the best systems for the installation of the third 
> party software (ports and do not forget packages
> as some people will jump at you and make a claim that Debian has better 
> packaging system as it is more efficient than compiling things from ports)

I started discussing this in my original, and I intend to get into more
detail at some point with an update of the page.

> 8. Most extensive collection of third party software (over 18000 ) only 
> second to Debian.

Looking back at it, I'm surprised I didn't mention that.

> 9. One of the best documented systems

I'm pretty sure I mentioned that.

> 10. Mention the advantage of the BSD license  comparing to GPL for the 
> commercial use.

That's a matter that should be addressed separately, in a philosophical
sense.  On the other hand, it might be relevant for purposes of
discussing commercial use.  I'll have to consider whether that's
something I want to include on that page.

> 11. It is philosophically different than most Linux distros as all 
> services are turned of by default.

That's something that needs to be handled carefully -- but I think it's
worth mentioning.

> 12. Unlike Linux it doesn't claim that is the best and most suitable for 
> everything.  If you need security then Open is better choice. If you 
> need something for embedded devices probably Net is better choice.

I don't think Linux claims such, either.  Rather, some Linux advocates
claim that -- as do some FreeBSD advocates.  The fact that dramatically
fewer FreeBSD advocates make claims like that, however, is part of the
reason I referred to the fact that the FreeBSD community tends to be
"less crazy in its approach to OS advocacy, than the communities for most
Linux distributions."

> 13. More secure than Linux if for no other reason but for PF which is 
> ported from OpenBSD. Note that PF is not ported for Linux.

. . . yet.  I seem to recall reading about plans for such a thing, though
now I can't find any mention of it.

> 14. Kernel security level concept doesn't exist in Linux.
> Try to disperse common myth that BSD doesn't support hardware but do not 
> be shy to admit that lack support for things like
> video conferencing.
> Do not be shy to admit that virtualization is poor and maybe 
> intensionally as quite of few people do not believe that putting 
> somebody's else cra*p on the top of FreeBSD will not make that cra*p 
> working better or be more secure. If you need Window's application run 
> Windows.

As far as I'm concerned, this is just a net lose.  Virtualization is
handy when you want to be able to run two different OSes on only one box
at the same time, for instance.  That doesn't mean I won't mention it,
though, since the point of the page is more to mention differences
between FreeBSD and Linux -- not just to make FreeBSD sound good.

> Does it make a good Desktop system? Depends what do you mean by that. If 
> you need everything working out of box
> for your grandmother Mily probably not. If you need Flash and Java 
> plug-ins probably not. But if you need ROCK solid
> workstation for academic work, occasional multimedia and want to be 100% 
> in control of your computer like me it is the best desktop OS around.

All in all, I think your email has given me some ideas for things to add
to the page, possible ways to modify what's already there, and stuff to
think about in general.  Thanks.

CCD CopyWrite Chad Perrin [ ]
Phillip J. Haack: "Productivity is not about speed. It's about velocity.
You can be fast, but if you're going in the wrong direction, you're not
helping anyone."

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