Replacing Windows with FreeBSD (was: my brother is making me learn FreeBSD...)

Nejc Škoberne nejc at
Thu Mar 20 02:50:41 PDT 2008

Hey Patrick,

> AD is nothing more than a big database accessible over LDAP.
> You connect to the LDAP database, and when you are authenticated you get a
> kerberos token.
> Clients use SRV records to check for AD services. SRV Records are
> supported by BIND. It is possible to run AD and have your DNS/AD zones on
> a BIND DNS server. I believe you can even find whitepapers from Microsoft
> for this.
> Of course certain features are Microsoft specific.

So you are saying that merely setting up an OpenLDAP server with proper DNS
configuration and Kerberos authentication could replace Microsoft AD controller?
How about a group of controllers with all the failover features? Group policies?
Are you sure you could do that just with a "bit of tweaking"? If there are Microsoft
specific features, than FreeBSD can't do anything Windows server does and more. I
am really skeptic about joining a Vista into such a domain. I would really love to
see ONE guy who achieves that. To _completely_ replace Windows server with all its
features with FreeBSD Anyone?

> Xorg + openoffice? Why not? Of course the TCO will increase, training etc.
> It is simpler for the majority of us to stick to windows.

Sorry, but OpenOffice is more featureless than MS Office 2007. There are things
which you can do with MS Office so MUCH easily than with OpenOffice. For feature
comparison see:

Not to mention performance issues with OpenOffice:

And not to mention, that running Xorg prevents a company from running many other
software (specific to some environment, for example here in Slovenia we have many
small companies which develop various business software - from business directories
to phone books, dictionaries, ... practically none of them can run under Windows).
Being a company it is difficult to choose where you live. You could say "just don't
run that software" but I can't say that to users. Because they need that stuff.

> yes. I meant that. We are talking out of the box Windows 2008. What kind
> of functionality are you talking about?

The most important thing: we are talking about ordinary users not a bunch of
math professors who want to run every application from a shell. And those users
want to use things nicely. For example, let's look at the mail system. You could
put a Postfix+amavisd-new+spamassassin+Horde+postfixadmin+ ... bla bla stuff on
your FreeBSD server (I actually run this on many servers). But in that webmail,
you are not able to manage your spam quarantine for example - you have to logout
of Horde and login to Maia Mailguard (before you have to install that too), which
is complicated for users. The problem of "mail" is then cut to so many little
pieces that it may affect user efficiency. The problem with concatenating so many
opensource products is that it is hard to make them work together like a charm.
Microsoft usually (!) provides that (naturally, because it produces all those

How about group policies? How would you do that with FreeBSD server? Group policies
are "THE" thing you need when managing greater amount of workstations.

> At work I use windows a lot. Windows 2003 R2, SCCM, SQL 2005, SCOM,
> Exchange 2007 and all the other latest stuff from Microsoft. But for all
> these applications I can use also Freebsd and applications found in ports.

Probably you use it more than I do, I really run FreeBSD servers mostly. And I
have problems with providing nice-packaged, easy-to-use, all-in-one software to
users who are used to that. I use FreeBSD/OS mostly because it is free of charge
and because it is quite costumisable. If MS products would be free of charge, I
would probably switch to them in most cases. I would just keep the OS scene for
our math professors, because you just _can't_ use non-OS software at universities. :)

> Besides, the point was that the TS wanted to start using somethign else
> than windows to learn more about OS in general. PPl stick to Windows
> because they are afraid for change and a learning curve.

I totally agree here. And I agree that it's good to check other things too, even
if it is for learning only. Not only good, I think it is necessary for a good admin.

I just don't agree with the statement, that Windows servers are completely inferior
to FreeBSD and you could replace all of them with FreeBSD boxen. If that would be
possible, I would do it already.

I really am a FreeBSD guy, I run it for more than 6 years now and I like it a lot.
But I learned to be reasonable and not to say that it is in every way superior to
everything else in the world.

Still just talking, not fighting.


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