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Re: [News] Linux Sees FreeBSD Arriving at the Scene

__/ [ Michael B. Trausch ] on Monday 15 May 2006 03:24 \__

> Roy Schestowitz wrote in <3334203.1TK6lPLBb8@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> on Sat May 13
> 2006 23:03:
>> Opinion: Feature parity is one thing, but in order to appeal to the public
>> they  will  have to exceed the expectations or have some better  licensing
>> offers.  I have thought about trying BSD on one of my boxes before. I know
>> and  very well remember that you have one yourself. However, I am not  too
>> confident  when it comes to hardware support and I would possibly struggle
>> when  it  comes to software installations (say goodbye to  RedHat  Package
>> Management).
> Yes, RPM doesn't come out-of-the-box on FreeBSD, though you can install a
> Linux compatibility layer and, in theory, use RPM on a FreeBSD box.  I
> don't know why you'd want to do that, though; I've never been a fan of RPM,
> myself.
> That having been said, I think that FreeBSD is an *excellent* choice for
> server systems, right up there with Linux.  You can use the ports system to
> install an application on your system from source, while being able to
> configure what it interoperates with on the system, which is rather nice.
> If you don't like the ports system, they have pre-compiled binaries that
> you can use, as well, with their own package manager.

Netscraft run many of their servers (if not all) on BSD. I once read about
some theories surrounding uptime, the context being figures at Netcraft. I
think a mailing list message indicated that some of their machines had run
for about 4 years (non-stop). Others were no real exception. I suspect,
however, that some distributions have a mechanism for automatic reboot. I
may be wrong and I cannot recall what timescale we're talking about, either.

> The one thing that it has in its favor on a server is that the filesystem
> that is used by default in newer FreeBSD installations is UFS2, which
> supports filesystem snapshots at the FS level, and that's a wonderful thing
> to have when you want to dump(1) or tar(1) a filesystem that's running with
> users on it.  Create the snapshot and use your backup tool of choice on the
> snapshot, which makes life a lot easier -- you don't have to worry about
> files changing while the backup system is running, that's for sure.  :)
> That means that you get a consistent point-in-time backup, which is quite
> nice.

Intersting that you mention backup in this context. I shifted my backup
procedures from scp to rsync some days ago. I will now stick to a mixture of
the two, recurring at different intervals. I also use tar (tape archive) to
dump bi-weekly mirrors of my hard-drives to a large storage unit. But here
comes to point which refers to yours: I _had_ to stick to tar archives (or
equivalents) as the storage unit uses NTFS. It does not preserve
case-sensitivity, which to me is crucial.

> It would be rather nice to see Linux have that functionality on the
> filesystem level, though it doesn't appear to.  It looks as if you have to
> be using LVM on the system, with the filesystem in a logical volume, and
> with a VFS patch for LVM in the Linux kernel.  My desktop systems don't
> need the functionality, and neither do most of my (non-critical) servers.
> However, I've had a couple of servers that I've set up (in offices, etc.)
> where it is quite important to have the PIT backups without downtime, and
> so I've used FreeBSD on those systems and come to rather like it.

I will definitely keep this in mind if I ever take storage more seriously.
Vis-a-vis storage problem, have you heard about Google recently? There are
many speculations, as well as rants from Webmasters, me included.

>> FreeBSD may be fine for servers with rudimentary or limited functionality.
>> One  of my sites happily runs on FreeBSD, but it lacks  function/usability
>> traits. It has no front end such as cPanel and apart from barebone Apache,
>> all I have is Webalizer. Besides, I like Penguins more than I like devils!
> I've never been a fan of cPanel, but you can get webmin for it through the
> package system, as well as many addons for Apache (such as PHP) and
> extensions to PHP and the like.  The ports system enables you to use much
> of the portable software out there on it, since most of the software in
> today's world that is open source and runs on Linux really only needs a
> UNIX-like system to function.  Some of the software that you can run on
> both:
>         * Apache 1/2
>         * PHP 4/5
>         * PostgreSQL 7/8
>         * MySQL 4/5
>         * Perl
>         * Samba
>         * nmap
>         * Links, Lynx
>         * Firefox
>         * KDE/GNOME
>         * X11R7
> There's tons more -- the ports system is quite extensive.  And if there's
> something that you find that isn't there, but you download it, you can
> still usually install it with a quick './configure && make && make
> install', since configure knows about FreeBSD in most cases.
> Anyway, it's a good system with its uses.  :)  If you have the time to read
> through the FreeBSD Handbook, there are even more advantages that meet the
> eye -- such as the base system being released with the kernel, and so
> forth.  You don't have that kind of tight relationship with Linux variants,
> because distributions pick-and-choose their variants of init, the core
> utilities (though most use the GNU coreutils) and so forth.

Thanks a million for the detailed information. Too valuable to <snip>...

Best wishes,


Roy S. Schestowitz      | if ("if"=inv("fi")) print("foo/bar")
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