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I've been using Linux for a bit now and FreeBSD caught my attention a while ago, but has really drawn me in lately. Noticing the BSD's are based off Unix, ...
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  1. #1
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    Looking for general info about Free, Net and OpenBSD


    I've been using Linux for a bit now and FreeBSD caught my attention a while ago, but has really drawn me in lately. Noticing the BSD's are based off Unix, as is Linux, but were created by different means than Linux, I was wondering how easy the BSD OS's are to operate comparing to the Linux OS's out there? Are the BSD's easy for Linux newbies? Or should the person have atleast a certain level of skill before using the BSD's? Or are the BSD's morely for network/system admins? Or maybe they're meant more for server use? Maybe give me some names on which Linux distro's you think are closest to Open, Net and FreeBSD in comparison. Plus, what kind of applications are there for the BSD's? Do the programs that work for all the Linux distro's also work for the BSD's or are there completely different programs for the BSD's? Any information I can get about the BSD OS's would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
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    This question is asked a lot and you can find many balanced opinions even in this forum. A good starting point would be wikipedia: Berkeley Software Distribution - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia and that article has references to sources that will answer some of your other questions as well. I would also help to understand for yourself what you are planning to use it for: desktop, server, firewall, network server, email server, other?... and that will likely impact your decision.

  3. #3
    Just Joined! rollie's Avatar
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    BSD installation

    I have been using linux for about 2 years and love it, but like you got curious about BSD, I have 4 installation CDs and have tried 3 times to install BSD. I always get the `congratulations, you have successfully installed BSD on you system and now must reboot`message. However when I reboot I get nothing. All I can say is GOOD LUCK!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by rollie View Post
    I have been using linux for about 2 years and love it, but like you got curious about BSD, I have 4 installation CDs and have tried 3 times to install BSD. I always get the `congratulations, you have successfully installed BSD on you system and now must reboot`message. However when I reboot I get nothing. All I can say is GOOD LUCK!!
    If you're a newbie you should try PC-BSD perhaps.

    I started with Ubuntu, moved to Debian, then tried some other linux distros.

    I ended up on FreeBSD after using the pfsense router distro. It's amazingly stable and for anyone who has more than 2-3 computers on there network who is using something like a normal linksys router, i HIGHLY recommend it. ESPECIALLY if you're a gamer and still want to download torrents. Most of those commercial routers have 32MB ram and a 200-300Mhz processor, pfsense on a p3 or p4 (or if you're like me a core2duo) with 512 MB+ ram is a major difference, espeically with the altq traffic shaping.

    But i Digress...

    The BSD's tend to be written more by power users for power users. I learned more in the first 2 weeks of using FreeBSD than i did in 2 years of linux. Now that FreeBSD has ZFS it's ideal for home based NAS boxes (open solaris is fine but the hardware support is nowhere NEAR as good as FreeBSD, and FreeBSD has the added advantage of being able to use writecache on slices, with opensolaris you need the whole disk)

    My home NAS server is a Freebsd 7.2 AMD 64 box that boots of of a gmirrored pair of compact flash cards with 12 1TB hard drives running ZFS. I have them set up into 3 RAIDZ VDEVS This gives me 9 usable TB's and some amazing speed. Anyways, the forums at forums.freebsd.org are amazing when it comes to helping the novice freebsd user...

    A lot of stuff is different in BSD but a lot of stuff is the same....i think the biggest difference is the idea of a base system
    there is a clear division between what the base is and what are "add ons"
    After a couple days playing around it actually made things much easier for me...for example
    in /etc you'll only find configuration files for the base os, you'll never find an apache config file in /etc you'll find those in /usr/local/etc


    another thing that's majorly different is the ports system. Most linux distros have binary packages (like apt-get install apache or yum install kde) FreeBSD has this too, with pkg_add

    but they also have what's called the ports system. The ports system basically a skeleton directory tree broken down into categories with files telling the system where to download source files, how to patch them and install dependencies.

    you can, for example, cd into /usr/ports/www/firefox35 type make install clean and you'll see a easy to follow configuration screen with compile options for firefox3.5. It will handle downloading and installing all dependencies int he same way. This method takes CONSIDERABLY longer than the binary way but you end up with software built espeically for your system, when you add this to the /etc/make.conf file you can do some cool stuff.

    you can set your processor type in /etc/make.conf and all your software will be built with the proper march flags for your cpu. The same idea applies to the base system if you choose, you can download the sources for it and recompile it with the same /etc/make.conf file you use for your ports.

    I'm currently writing this on a system where i compiled FreeBSD 7.2 from source and all my ports (including kde4) from source as well. It took a consdierable amount more time than a typical binary install but *I* feel like i acomplished something and i can see the difference in some of the programs.

    If you just want to see how well FreeBSD can run and don't want to bother with stuff like that, download PC-BSD. If you want to get your hands a little dirty, go check out the freebsd handbook, i tried to post the link but i dont' have enough posts here, so just google freebsd handbook

    It's probably got the best online documentation of any system i've used.

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    Linux Engineer Segfault's Avatar
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    Agreed, wonslung.
    Tweaking your make.conf and building packages with features you need and excluding stuff you do not need is pure fun. I remember FreeBSD fully customized install utilizing 40 MB of RAM on my Thinkpad with XFCE up and running.

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    Just Joined! rollie's Avatar
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    Thanks guys, because I'm a newby I think I will order a PC-BSD and give it a try. I just googled OSDisc and there are 2 install discs for less than $6.00. I think this is a better way for me. At least I won't be wasting any more time if I don't like it.

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    Thank you for sharing things with all of us.

  9. #8
    Linux Engineer nujinini's Avatar
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    Hello!

    Can BSD be installed as another OS when one makes a multiboot?
    Or should it be installed on its own?

    Thanks!

  10. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by zeobray View Post
    Thank you for sharing things with all of us.
    Thanks guys, because I'm a newby I think I will order a PC-BSD and give it a try. I just googled OSDisc and there are 2 install discs for less than $6.00. I think this is a better way for me. At least I won't be wasting any more time if I don't like it.

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