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  1. #1

    OpenBSD 3.7 Released

    I know this is old news, as the new version was released on May 19. But I just wanted to let everyone know it is out, and I was also curious to see what everyone's impressions were.

    I'm quite impressed with the new release. There's a lot of new support for devices, particularly wireless NICs. Two new ports have been added to the ever-increasing list of supported architectures: sgi and zaurus (check out the picture). New functionality has been added to PF, the OpenBSD packet filter. They've also upgraded and bugfixed a lot of other software in the base, such as OpenSSH, X.Org, ntpd, spamd, added new features to the package management system, and much more. And of course, many of the 3rd party packages have been upgraded to newer versions and have been patched for security and/or bugfixes. And here's more info on OpenBSD 3.7.

    So far, I haven't encountered any problems with 3.7. The only complaint I have has to do with the package management system. Though the OpenBSD team is making an effort to add new features to it, it's still quite primitive compared to other package management systems out there. I like the new -r feature that's been added to pkg_add to painlessly upgrade packages, but it's still not completely mature and I'm surprised it's taken till the release of 3.7 for this feature to be implemented. I also don't like the fact that you have to specify the full package name when adding via ftp, such as foo-1.34.22p3_no-x11.tgz (I know most packages aren't this complex in their naming schemes, but you can see where it gets annoying). Perhaps OpenBSD should adopt a package adding strategy similar to FreeBSD's in which simply ``foo'' is a valid package name. But OpenBSD's package management system is still quite nice despite my complaints.

    Anyways, I'm quite satisfied with the new release and I'm already excited about the next release in 6 months. What are everyone's thoughts on 3.7?

  2. #2
    Linux Engineer
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    I never tryed openbsd, I'm just checking out freebsd right now... Are there any other big cons/pros if you compare openbsd to freebsd than the security?

  3. #3
    Just Joined!
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Yeah I noticed the ports tree is still pretty much screwed.

  4. $spacer_open
  5. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by jaboua
    I never tryed openbsd, I'm just checking out freebsd right now... Are there any other big cons/pros if you compare openbsd to freebsd than the security?
    Well, FreeBSD emphasizes performance while OpenBSD emphasizes security. That's a pretty big generalization, however, but it's hard to get into all the details without starting a flamewar and/or ending up with a 100 page book.

    If you are looking for a desktop system, you'll probably want to use FreeBSD since it has nVidia's non-free graphics drivers (which look much better), and a lot more software applications - OpenBSD has somewhere around 3,000 ports, and FreeBSD has about 12,000. FreeBSD also has addon applications that one would find on a desktop, such as Macromedia's Flashplayer for Mozilla, while OpenBSD does not (at least to my knowledge).

    On the other hand, OpenBSD has some better support for hardware, particularly wireless devices. OpenBSD is a fork of NetBSD, which runs on practically everything - so naturally OpenBSD has good hardware support. I would advise using OpenBSD on more obscure hardware architectures and laptops, while FreeBSD would be better on an x86 or amd64 desktop. For server applications, however, it's much more debatable which flavor would be better.

    But these are just generalizations I'm making, of course. I use OpenBSD as a desktop system and find that it suits my needs just fine for the time being, even with fewer ports/packages and less support for common desktop applications. I also favor OpenBSD's emphasis on it's prebuilt packages - I don't like waiting hours for software applications to compile on FreeBSD. FreeBSD has both ports and packages, but they don't put an emphasis on bugfixing those packages, and they haven't precompiled a number of popular applications. This is where OpenBSD shines, in my opinion - the binary package management system is superior, and for those who hate compiling, this is a plus.

    Sorry for the long post, but I've still just barely touched on the pros/cons of the two operating systems. The best way to find out the advantages and disadvantages is to try them out yourself, of course.

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