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Old 06-13-2002, 09:29 AM   #1
Registered: Jan 2002
Location: Denver CO
Distribution: Mandrake, DemoLinux
Posts: 82

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Free BSD

I just recently installed FreeBSD 4.5 on my laptop, and everything went well but X of course. But before I even get attached to FreeBSD I was wondering if its worth learning, and if theres much of a difference between it and Linux. Will it only confuse me, since im still trying to get good at linux?
Old 06-13-2002, 03:07 PM   #2
Registered: May 2002
Location: Toronto, ON, Canada
Distribution: Ubuntu, Debian, RedHat/CentOS
Posts: 624

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I haven't tried FreeBSD, I've only tried NetBSD. I heard that NetBSD is possibly the least user-friendly flavour of BSD, so keep that in mind when I spill my guts here...

Overall, I found BSD to be more limiting than Linux. No dynamic loadable module support, no runlevels... I prefer Linux. The closest distro to BSD is Slackware in my opinion. If you want a Linux distro that is as not-RedHatish and Mandrakish as possible, then try Slackware.
Old 07-09-2002, 06:40 PM   #3
Registered: Jul 2002
Location: san francisco
Distribution: freebsd
Posts: 102

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It is well worth learning. The ports subsystem is one of the
things that makes it preferable to GNU/Linux distributions which I have tried (redHat, slackware, suse). Actually, I think that it's the *open availability* of source that's more important than anything else --I don't want to start an internecine war here-- I just want to register my opinion.
Old 07-10-2002, 06:14 AM   #4
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Registered: Apr 2002
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Originally posted by sewer_monkey
...Overall, I found BSD to be more limiting than Linux. No dynamic loadable module support, no runlevels...
FreeBSD has kernel modules. man kld(4).

No BSD is going to have init runlevels. That's one of the primary differences between a SysV style unix (like Linux) and a BSD style unix (like FreeBSD). Not to go off on a rant here, but when do you really use any runlevels other than 1 and 5 (or 3 if you aren't using X)? BSD has single user mode and multi-user mode, and that's all you need. You don't need pain in the ass scripts for every service at every runlevel. For base system services, change a variable in /etc/rc.conf from "NO" to "YES" and it is started at multi-user boot. Want to stop a running service without rebooting? Use kill. Don't want it to start at the next boot? Change the variable in rc.conf back to "NO". That's it.

As for the original question regarding whether it is worth it to learn FreeBSD: learn unix. Don't "learn" linux, and don't "learn" BSD. Learn unix. That will get you a lot farther. Slackware is a good choice for that, as is any BSD. Slackware is an exception among linux distros in that it doesn't use init runlevels either, and it doesn't try to hold your hand in any way. Slackware will drag you kicking and screaming through learning the entire system to accomplish anything, and once you learn what you are doing you will appreciate the level of control it affords you. BSD will do more hand holding than Slackware, while still requiring that you know what you are about and without trying to limit you.
Old 07-17-2002, 09:09 PM   #5
Registered: Jul 2001
Location: Utah
Distribution: RedHat v7.3, OpenBSD 3.3, FreeBSD 5.0
Posts: 327

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Slack's great that way. It's like the last poster said, and like tim robbins in Shawshank Redemption - you crawl through all the S**T and when you come out the other end, you're far better off for having done so.

FreeBSD is well worth learning for several reasons. A lot of bigger companies use it - check out the Netcraft survey's top uptime report on webservers - almost all BSD systems, some of those FreeBSD. You might find yourself becoming very comfortable with it and sticking with it as your preferred *nix distro and happy you found it.
Old 07-18-2002, 12:16 PM   #6
Registered: Apr 2002
Location: The District
Distribution: FreeBSD, OBSD maybe Gentoo and Winblech XP
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As a note on loadable kernel modules:

They are great home/workstation use but when powering a server in the wild you are VERY encouraged to build a monolithic kernel for your box. As rootkits often go in via module...

Luckily *BSD comes with a monolithic kernel by default. But then *BSD is aimed more towards serving.
Old 07-21-2002, 05:06 AM   #7
LQ Newbie
Registered: Jul 2002
Distribution: Mandrake 8.0, FreeBSD 4.4, Win XP
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I agree. Even though it's definitely not a convenient distro at the beginning of the learning cycle, by the end, you'll be a much more well rounded person for learning it. And when you do run into problems you'll be better handled to manage and troubleshoot on your own.

They should get the daemon from FreeBSD as a smilie here, no?


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