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

Gelsema, P (Patrick) gelsemap at
Thu Mar 20 10:02:27 PDT 2008

On Fri, March 21, 2008 00:39, Chad Perrin wrote:
> On Thu, Mar 20, 2008 at 10:50:34AM +0100, Nejc Å koberne 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.

WINS is required mostly for Browsing networks, Master browser selection
and Netbios connections (the infamous 13x ports). However Microsoft is
really trying to get rid of Netbios connections and only have made it
available for backwards compatibility. If I aint mistaken port used for
file connections is somewhere in the 400 range.

It is definitely not required for a full Windows Domain and for file-sharing.

> 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.


>> 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
> application.
> 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.

I find it really hard to change, finetune settings on windows. Changing
default ports eg. The standard tools provided are limited and there is no
default. THink about netsh and net commands.

Also security wise. You need to give more permissions to an account to do
something than you should on Freebsd. Chrooted applications for instance.
>> 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.

Agree completely.

>> 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.

My point exactly.

>> Still just talking, not fighting.
> I'm just offering a perspective and asking a couple of questions.

Thanks for your insight. I have been spending a bit more time on this
topic than I normally would on a topic. It is really that I dont have the
time otherwise I would have tried to work out to replace all the
functionalities provided by MS with Freebsd ones.


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