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

Chad Perrin perrin at
Thu Mar 20 09:39:55 PDT 2008

On Thu, Mar 20, 2008 at 10:50:34AM +0100, Nejc Škoberne wrote:
> 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?

Full AD parity is expected with the release of Samba 4:

WINS capability is already available in ports with the samba4wins port,
by the way.

In addition to that, as I pointed out in another email, FreeBSD can
*easily* provide all the same functionality -- though MS Windows clients
may not support all the necessary protocols and client applications
needed to take full advantage of that functionality in some cases.  In
fact, FreeBSD supports software that does a far better job of being a
server or client in an MS Windows network than MS Windows does of being a
server or client in a BSD Unix network.

> 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:

1. George Ou is a notorious MS Windows bigot, and I've had run-ins with
him before (we both write professionally for the same corporate family of
websites, though each under differing circumstances from the other).  You
can pretty much take anything he says with a grain of salt and still have
room to be amazed at some of the nonsense he spouts.

2. I, among many others, have given George Ou's poor benchmarking
methodologies a pretty thorough reaming on several occasions in the past.
Just looking at some of the charts he presents should make his biases and
lack of ability to isolate variables pretty obvious (like the fact that,
when comparing Linux and MS Windows performance, he runs different
software on them for the benchmarks rather than using the same software
on both when there are both MS Windows and Linux ports of the software).

3. His numbers tend to differ significantly from those of anyone else who
has roughly duplicated his tests.

You should look to better sources for something to back your arguments.

> Not to mention performance issues with OpenOffice:

The first chart is inaccurate.  Last I checked, OO.o comes with Impress,
for instance -- so the "presentation player" line is mis-marked, unless
"presentation player" has some meaning with which I'm not familiar.
Perhaps it means that OO.o doesn't come with a crippled form of Impress
while MS Office comes with a crippled form of PowerPoint.  The rest of
that 28 page PDF pretty much looks like a tie in terms of features.

Then, there are matters like hardware requirements (far more stringent
for MS Windows), cost (obvious), standards compliance (clear win for
OO.o), the ability to integrate with third-party applications (a less
clear win for OO.o), and license restrictions.

I don't know why you linked to that PDF for "performance issues", though.
There's nothing in there that speaks directly of performance, and the
only indirect mention is the more high-performance minimum hardware
requirements for MS Windows.

Of course, I'm not saying everyone can just automatically do without MS
Office without making some sacrifices -- but most people can do so, and
are in fact making sacrifices if they *don't* live without it.

> 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
> pieces).

You don't have to run everything from a shell with FreeBSD.  What do you
think this is -- 1994?  Even manpages can be accessed with a GUI

Microsoft does *not* provide everything people need.  When someone uses a
piece of software that isn't produced by Microsoft, chances are good that
any MS software will have been designed specifically to make it difficult
to interoperate.  Meanwhile, a lot of open source software interoperates
very well.  Sure, if you limit yourself to nothing but MS software, you
might get really good integration -- but that's at the cost of reduced
security (thanks to lack of privilege separation and the ubiquitous use
of IE's rendering engine for pretty much every single application
Microsoft produces) and refusing to use a lot of software that Microsoft
doesn't offer.

> 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.

I'd provide such functionality using Unix tools rather than Microsoft
tools.  Problem solved.

> 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 don't think anyone said that MS Windows servers are "completely
inferior to FreeBSD" -- and while you *could* replace all of them with
FreeBSD boxen, it's probably a good idea to make that a gradual migration
in many cases.

> 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.

When did anyone say that FreeBSD was "in every way superior to everything
else in the world"?  You must be reading a different discussion than the
one I've been reading.

> Still just talking, not fighting.

I'm just offering a perspective and asking a couple of questions.

CCD CopyWrite Chad Perrin [ ]
print substr("Just another Perl hacker", 0, -2);

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