FreeBSD or Linus? This question can evoke heated debates, but according to Brandon Wirtz (FreeBSD vs Linux) they’re both great, but if your hardware is supported by FreeBSD, go for the latter. I presume he is talking about servers.[youtube n-Dd2LayNQ4]
This is an often asked question in newsgroups and forums. The reason for this, is that there is no easy answer. If a straight forward answer could be given, it could have been found on Wikipedia. The fact is, that it is not a yes-or-no-answer question.
Often you will see this ‘political’ answer “It depends”. It depends how you’re planning to use the operating system (desktop, server) and where (home, data center, server room, embedded etc).
Both Linux and FreeBSD have their strong and weak points, but overall, they can do almost anything you ask it to do, but when one wants an answer to the question “FreeBSD or (Debian) Linux?” one needs to find an answer to the following questions first to see which operating system suits one’s needs best:
1) Is your current hardware supported? If the purchase of new hardware is planned, is it supported by either/both?
2) Which operating system is supported by the third party commercial applications vendors that you use? If it is not supported, is there an acceptable equivalent available for the operating system your preference goes out to?
3) Are your current networking hardware (and appliances) supported by the O/S?
4) Are any new third party system management and monitoring tools required? If so, are they supported by the “new” OS?
5) Is your storage hardware and servers supported by your preferred O/S? think of Network Attached Storage, SAN’s RAID, Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE).
5) Is the IT department capable of maintaining (and further developing) the new system, or is there a need to hire new staff? Or, can you get consulting services and/or third party support for your operating system?
There are plenty more questions that can be asked before deciding whether it’s Linux or FreeBSD that fits your needs best.
Have you been in a (work / home) situation where you had to make the choice? It would be nice to find out about your experience. Please share via the comments.
Strictly, FreeBSD is not Linux, but on Linux New Media you can vote for your Linux distro. FreeBSD is one of them.
Let’s show the world what the “world’s most favourite operating system” is/was in 2010 ;-)
Debian’s GNU/kFreeBSD Installer will support ZFS
“While Debian GNU/kFreeBSD has supported the ZFS file-system with its FreeBSD-8 kernel, support for installing the Debian GNU/kFreeBSD distribution to a root ZFS file-system will now be possible with the Debian 6.0 “Squeeze” release.
For those unfamiliar with Debian GNU/kFreeBSD, it takes the GNU user-land but runs it atop the FreeBSD kernel rather than Debian GNU/Linux with the Linux kernel. You can still use apt-get and do most anything you would with the Linux-based Debian distribution (aside from different hardware compatibility and other support differences), but instead you’re running the FreeBSD kernel.
While the upstream FreeBSD project doesn’t have an easy root ZFS file-system installation option within FreeBSD 8.0/8.1, this isn’t particularly ground-breaking, as the FreeBSD-based PC-BSD already has ZFS installation support that is quite easy to work.”
Full post on Phoronix: Debian’s GNU/kFreeBSD Installer Will Support ZFS
Review of Running Bordeaux on PC-BSD
“The Bordeaux Technology Group is a company specializing in compatibility software. Specifically, they work at making it as easy as possible to run Windows programs on the UNIX family of operating systems. Their Bordeaux tool is built to run on Linux, FreeBSD, Solaris, OpenIndiana and Mac OS X. Bordeaux is, at its heart, a customized build of Wine. They take a recent version of Wine, add some special tools and test their build for compatibility against a group of popular Windows software. They then sell this bundle (along with support) for about US$20 – 25, much less than the typical cost of a Windows license. A few weeks ago I had a chance to chat with Tom, a member of the Bordeaux Technology Group, and he was kind enough to give me a copy of Bordeaux (PC-BSD edition) to test-drive.
The provided PBI package was about 44 MB and it installed without any problems. With the install completed, two icons were added to my desktop and application menu. These new icons were labelled “Bordeaux” and “Cellar Manager”. I launched Bordeaux first and was presented with a new window featuring three tabs along the top. These three tabs are called “Install Applications”, “Manage Wine” and “Unsupported Packages”. At the bottom of the window, regardless of which tab is selected, are two buttons called “Help” and “Install”. Clicking the Help button always opens a browser window to the Bordeaux documentation website. The Install button actually performs different functions depending on which tab is selected.”
Read on for the remainder of the story, and the conclusion: Test-driving Bordeaux 2.0.8
NB, Bordeaux Group has a 50% offer going: Bordeaux 50% off recession busting sale
New benchmarks of OpenSolaris, BSD & Linux
Phoronix has benchmarked the latest OpenSolaris-based distributions (OpenSolaris, OpenIndiana, and Augustiner-Schweinshaxe), compared to PC-BSD, Fedora, and Ubuntu. The Phoronix review concludes:
There you have it, the performance of the latest OpenSolaris distributions against PC-BSD/FreeBSD and two of the most popular Linux distributions. The Fedora and Ubuntu operating systems won most of the tests, but there were a few leads for PC-BSD while the OpenSolaris operating systems just one won test (Local Adaptive Thresholding via GraphicsMagick) at least for our benchmarking selection and workload. If you are using an OpenSolaris-based operating system hopefully you are not using it for a performance critical environment but rather to take advantage of its technical features like DTrace, ZFS (though that is becoming moot with its availability on PC-BSD/FreeBSD and even Linux), etc.
Check out the article for the graphs, benchmark details and hardware used: New benchmarks of Opensolaris, BSD and Linux
Build your own Router (pfSense)
Martin Diers set up pfSense for a new warehouse.
My company is expanding into a warehouse, and so for the first time, I have to setup a WAN. That’s a Wide Area Network, which basically means joining together two or more LANs so everyone can see each other, even if you are across the country.
At my company, I have our local internet router running pfSense on a traditional PC with two network cards. It works just like your home linksys or netgear router. It’s just faster and can handle a lot more traffic. It is also extremely stable. I never have to reboot the thing. You configure it just like your home router: through a web interface
He finishes the article by saying how easy setting up a wlan with pfsense (and cheap), compared to the 90’s:
pfSense has been the best router software I have ever used. It is as capable as anything put out by Cisco or HP, and it is open source. For the cost of the bare hardware, you can have a world-class router that supports many other services such as local DNS resolution, content filtering, bandwidth monitoring, Quality of Service controlls, the list goes on, and you can even have it in an little fanless package.
Read the whole post: Build your own router (trojanbadger.com)
“pfSense is a free, open source customized distribution of FreeBSD tailored for use as a firewall and router. In addition to being a powerful, flexible firewalling and routing platform, it includes a long list of related features and a package system allowing further expandability without adding bloat and potential security vulnerabilities to the base distribution.”
Some links and leftovers:
1. Update on DAHDI Project
DAHDI (Digium/Asterisk Hardware Device Interface) is the open source device interface technology used to control Digium and other legacy telephony interface cards.
2. FreeNAS vs OpenSolaris ZFS Benchmarks
Test results often lead to a lot of debate about the setup, hardware used, default settings etc. This test is no different: FreeNAS vs OpenSolaris ZFS benchmarks. Hopefully we will see a massive improvement in FreeNAS 0.8 which is currently available as alpha (new FreeNAS alpha).
We have received a lot of feedback from members of the IT community since we published our benchmarks comparing OpenSolaris and Nexenta with an off the shelf Promise VTrak M610i. One question we received from several people was about FreeNAS. Several people asked “How does FreeNAS compare to OpenSolaris on the same hardware?” That was an excellent question, and we decided to run some tests to answer that question.
3. Install FreeNAS in Hyper-V
To install FreeNAS in a Hyper-V virtual machine one needs to do some configuration of the virtual machine, just as one would with a physical machine. Allocating hardware resources is much easier in Hyper-V versus physical machines because you can do it remotely through screens instead of physically taking a box offline and installing hardware. This guide will show the basic Hyper-V virtual machine setup for installing FreeNAS, an open source NAS appliance based on FreeBSD
Step-by-step guide here: Install FreeNAS in Hyper-V
4. Debian GNU/kFreeBSD Benchmarks with its new Kernel
This is an interesting test: Debian GNU/kFreeBSD running the FreeBSD 8.1 kernel is performing faster in a number of tests than FreeBSD 8.1.
As was reported recently, the Debian GNU/kFreeBSD port now has limited support for handling ZFS file-systems and its stock kernel has been upgraded against that of FreeBSD 8.1. Due to the upgraded kernel we ran a quick set of benchmarks to see how the performance of Debian GNU/kFreeBSD to that of Debian Linux.
Using the Phoronix Test Suite we ran a variety of benchmarks to compare the Linux and FreeBSD kernel performance under Debian. These test profiles included 7-Zip compression, Gzip compression, LZMA compression, GnuPG, POV-Ray, C-Ray, dcraw, MAFFT, GraphicsMagick, BYTE, Sudokut, Himeno, SQLite, PostMark, and the Threaded I/O Tester.
All results and graphs here: Debian GNU/kFreeBSD Benchmarks with its new Kernel
I have some news links an leftovers for you from (the) last (few) week(s):
1. PC-BSD 8.1 [Review]
We always wonder why is it that Microsoft makes us pay to use its OS, so why not shift to Linux or UNIX which are open source and free to use. No doubt Microsoft has made it very easy for lay man to use a PC but we all know Linux is more secure than Windows. Also, off late Linux developers are concentrating on GUI to make Linux easy to use.
FreeBSD – a UNIX like operating system has evolved from AT&T UNIX via Berkely Software Distribution. FreeBSD has a text installer. PC-BSD was founded by FreeBSD professional named Kris Moore in 2005. Kris Moore’s goal was to make FreeBSD easy for everyone to install on desktop. PC-BSD is aimed at users like you and me who are accustomed to Windows but would like a free OS. It has a graphical installation program which uses KDE SC graphical user interface.
There’s an interview with John Hixon from iXsystems on pc-sysinstall (potentially on FreeBSD): bsdtalk199
3. Ten ways Linux and BSD differ
I hear it all the time: people lumping together Linux and any of the BSDs. On occasion, I’ve even done it myself. Of course, there are plenty of similarities. Both are based on Unix and have mostly been developed by non-commercial organisations. They also share a common goal — to create the most useful, reliable operating system available. But there are also significant differences that shouldn’t be ignored, and I thought it would be worth highlighting them here.Continues (zdnet.co.uk)
4. New FreeNAS 0.8 alpha
Dru Lavigne has joined the PC-BSD team this month. The first thing she did, was setting up another blog: the PC-BSD Blog. She already posts BSD related posts on it.toolbox.com: A year in the life of a BSD guru.
A new *BSD Planet Website
Edward launched AboutBSD recently as a new *BSD blogs agregating website. It won’t be a copy of blogs.freebsdish.org or news.bsdplanet.net, but it will also have some background info on the different BSD systems.
As for the goal for AboutBSD, I want to turn it into a planet website that aggregates how BSD system admins use BSD. So that new users or system admins can learn that BSD is flexible, powerful, and provides all the freedom one needs to deploy services on BSD.
FreeBSD/Linux Benchmarking (Phoronix)
PC-BSD Review: Strike that: now I’m a PC-BSD!
The review finishes with:
I would have no hesitation in recommending PC-BSD for desktop use. It has definitely been the best install experience for a desktop system I have had. It seems exactly tailored for someone like me, a developer in an office where we have tried to be operating-system-neutral as much as possible: most of our programmers do run PCs but we have weaned ourselves off any PC-only applications long ago (apart from specialist applications). As I mentioned in the previous blog, it is a smooth and pretty OS, and feels solid.
ZFS v15 imported into FreeBSD (head)
As announced before, ZFS v15 was successfuly imported into FreeBSD! For a time there was an option of importing just v15 or proceeding directly to v16 but the community has decided to first import the older version for reasons of stability and compatibility with Solaris 10 Update 8. (via)
Millions of home routers at risk.
According to new research delivered today here at the Black Hat security conference, millions of home routers may have a serious security flaw.
In his presentation at Black Hat, security researcher Craig Heffner detailed how an external attacker could gain full control of a user’s router and use that to gain access to the internal local area network (LAN). Though the implications are ominous, Heffner, also detailed a variety of steps users can take to protect themselves.
You should use pfSense instead:
Heffner also called on router vendors to build in DNS Rebinding mitigations into their routers directly.
“The only router software that I know of that does this now is pfSense
(Whole article here: Millions of home routers at risk)
Foremay ships world’s largest 2TB SSD
This 2TB SSD should work on FreeBSD:
Foremay has introduced a 1TB 2.5? SATA solid-state drive alongside the industry-leading 2TB 3.5? SATA SSD, as the company expects to see an increased demand in SSD products for the enterprise.
The EC188 M-series model-V includes 200 MB/s read/write speeds, and can be used in the enterprise and workstation PCs.
Ideally, enterprise users will be able to utilize the EC188 M-series model-V, as it includes support for Microsoft Windows, Mac, several versions of Linux, OpenSolaris, Solaris, FreeBSD, HP-UX, Unix, and other operating systems…. Continues
Stopping SSH Brute Force attacks with PF on FreeBSD
Most people know that port 22 is used for SSH communication and due to this common knowledge, you get people using scripts to test for weak passwords. If you look into your /var/log/auth.log and you see tons of fails/errors from users not on your system or from invalid passwords for root, it means you have people trying to break into your system. Truthfully, anyone that puts a system online with port 22 open will see this happen to them. It’s quite common and not direct attack against you, just scripts looking for IPs with port 22 open.
Now it goes without saying that you should make sure you have a strong password that take use of numbers, upper and low case letters and symbols. Doing this will go along way in preventing someone from breaking into your system. You should also ensure that people can’t remotely log in as root by making sure that you have ‘PermitRootLogin’ set to ‘no’ in your /etc/ssh/sshd_config file. This will ensure that no mater how many passwords they try for root they will never be able to log in.
Now you could just set your SSH server to run on a different port or have your firewall redirect a different port from the outside to the system, but what’s the fun in that when you can use a great tool like PF.
Read the whole howto: Stopping SSH Brute Force attacks with PF on FreeBSD
A Deadly Linux/UNIX Command in Action (Video)
The short and simple “rm -rf /” command is DISASTROUS.
Juraj Sipos, the founder of MaheshaBSD, has published an article listing the difference between Linux and BSD:
“This article is not about the history of Unix; however, Unix is such a complex issue that it deserves few words in this respect: BSD family of Unix systems is based upon the source code of real Unix developed in Bell Labs, which was later purchased by the University of California. Thus, the name of the family of Unix systems called BSD is derived from “Berkeley Software Distribution”. The contemporary BSD systems stand on the source code that was released in the beginning of 1990’s (Net/2 Lite and 386/BSD release).
No one person or any entity owns BSD. Enthusiastic developers create it and many of its components are open-sourced.
BSD is behind the philosophy of TCP/IP networking and the Internet thereof; it is a developed Unix system with advanced features. Except for proprietary BSD/OS, the development of which was discontinued, there are currently four BSD systems available: FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD and Mac OS X, which is derived from FreeBSD. There are also various forks of these, like PC-BSD – a FreeBSD clone, or MirOS, an OpenBSD clone. The intention of such forks is to include various characteristics missing in the above BSD systems, on which these (forks), no matter how well they are designed, only strongly depend. PC-BSD, for example, has more graphical features than FreeBSD, but there are no substantial differences between these two. PC-BSD cannot breathe without FreeBSD; FreeBSD or OpenBSD are independent of one another.”
Continues (linuxmagazines.com): Linux vs BSD with a little focus on OpenBSD
pfSense is a free, open source customized distribution of FreeBSD tailored for use as a firewall and router. In addition to being a powerful, flexible firewalling and routing platform, it includes a long list of related features and a package system allowing further expandability without adding bloat and potential security vulnerabilities to the base distribution.
Every so many months the never ending discussion about the BSD vs GPL license heats up. Supporters for either license have their thoughts and opinions to why one license is better than the other. Some say that these discussions are a waste of time. Whichever license you defend/promote, if you’re interested in reading (and joining in) the discussions, have a look at these two sites:
1 FreeBSD and the GPL (IT Pro – itpro.com)
Linus Torvalds has said Linux wouldn’t have happened if 386BSD had been around when he started up. We trace the history of FreeBSD and how it’s affected the open source world.
The first free Unix-like operating systemavailable on the IBM PC was 386BSD, of which Linus Torvalds said in 1993: “If 386BSD had been available when I started on Linux, Linux would probably never have happened.”
386BSD was a direct descendant of Bill Joy’s Berkeley Software Distribution, which was the core of SunOS and other proprietary Unix distributions. 386BSD and the patchkit for the port to the Intel chip formed the basis for FreeBSD, NetBSD and OpenBSD, which have carried the torch for BSD and open source Unix to this day.
Read the whole article (BSD history and BSD/GPL license)
2 osnews.com dissussion