Fond memories of FreeBSD

Story: Dru Lavigne made me do it: I killed Debian, installed an unbootable Ubuntu, now I'm running FreeBSD 8.0 with GNOMETotal Replies: 12
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Mar 24, 2010
7:39 AM EDT
I worked in a FreeBSD shop and had a FreeBSD server for several years.

Sounds like the goodness keeps getting better.

I've used Linux all these years because it was the first *x that I ran at home -- Debian 1.2, I think, and assorted releases of Debian, SuSE, and now Ubuntu since then.

The little FreeBSD box -- installed on a castoff desktop and used as a router and FreeBSD test server until I broke down and bought a wireless router -- just kept plugging along. I tended to forget it even existed -- high praise for a server.

Mar 24, 2010
8:15 AM EDT
There are worse reasons to switch to FreeBSD than Dru Lavigne. I had the pleasure of meeting her last year, and I told her how grateful I was for her sysadmin articles. She uses a good mix of "how" to do something and "why" it's that way. If I want to compare/contrast the Linux way and the BSD way to set something up, I'll specifically look for something she wrote on the matter.

Mar 24, 2010
8:59 AM EDT
I've never seriously used FreeBSD. When I've had it installed in the past, I've always run into problems updating applications. I found some posts explaining how to do it, involving ignoring a lot of error messages and not updating certain programs, but in the end didn't see any advantage to spending time on it.

Mar 24, 2010
9:50 AM EDT
FreeBSD used to dominate the top ten lists on Netcraft. It's still there, but Linux has taken over. It's a powerhouse, and makes a nice desktop system. But I am spoiled by the vast array of goodies available in Linux.

Mar 24, 2010
12:07 PM EDT

Have you seen the Ports list lately? It's huge.

Mar 24, 2010
3:53 PM EDT
I had trouble in FreeBSD 8.0 - there aren't as many packages as in 7.3. I guess 8.x will catch up eventually, but you get GNOME 2.26 in 8.0 and GNOME 2.28 in 7.3. Everything is more up to date. There's no OpenOffice in 8.0, although there are packages available elsewhere. 7.3 did have OpenOffice.

The AbiWord in FreeBSD is the best I've seen lately, and by "best" I mean the fonts look really good. The thing that I hate the most about Abiword in many implementations is blurry fonts. ...

My FreeBSD 8.0 installation was "easier" than 7.3, which I just finished doing. I'm going to need to do a little cleanup before I can tell how successful I've been.

Mar 24, 2010
4:09 PM EDT
Ports is nice, gus3, aptitude install foo is even easier :)

Mar 24, 2010
4:32 PM EDT
Ports, oh, the fond memories of compiling OOo from source. And ports halting midway after three hours to let me install Java manually, which required a login I believe, and after that I thought I was done but yet another five hours of compiling after which it didn't work... Yes, those were the days of me using FreeBSD!

Nowadays I do # emerge openoffice-bin and I'm done within half an hour, no compiling needed, jre included, and worse: It just works 'like advertized'. Now, where's the fun in that?

Mar 24, 2010
9:19 PM EDT
You think you're going to like building from source. Oh, the geekiness! But between the hoops you have to jump through, the time it takes (many hours to days) and then the inevitable failures of things to build ... it all made me run back to precompiled packages at record speed.

Mar 24, 2010
9:24 PM EDT
IIRC, most of the Ports packages are also available as pre-built binaries on x86 (but I can't say as to other platforms).

Mar 25, 2010
11:34 AM EDT
That is a big draw of the BSDs - Most things are available in packages, but if you want or need to build from a port, you can.

I need to build gThumb from ports because I need IPTC support, and the precompiled package has it turned off. If only GIMP had such a switch ...

I'm nowhere near close to figuring out how the many FreeBSD package-management tools work. I made sure to check the boxes for as many as I could during the install of 7.3 so I'll have a lot to choose from.

Time for me to get deeper into the FreeBSD handbook. The man pages have been very helpful - just like in OpenBSD.

Mar 25, 2010
4:16 PM EDT
@Steven: Both Gentoo and Debian can do the same thing. Hans Kwint latest article shows you how to do it in Gentoo. For Debian it's something like this:

// Download and configure package "foobar"
$ aptitude source foobar
$ cd foobar-1.0

// install everything you need to build it $ sudo aptitude build-dep foobar

// Build it. -b means only a binary package. // -us and -uc mean don't sign it with GPG $ dpkg-buildpackage -b -us -uc

// Install the package you just built $ cd .. $ sudo dpkg -i foobar_1.0_i386.deb

Mar 26, 2010
3:19 AM EDT
There's also pbuilder to do builds in a self-contained chroot, if you don't want to pollute your system with build dependencies.

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