[PLUG] Anyone using / can advise on FreeBSD/NetBSD?

शंतनू shantanoo at gmail.com
Fri Jul 15 21:39:38 IST 2011

Don't know much about NetBSD. Regarding FreeBSD, please find reply inline.

On 15-Jul-2011, at 6:50 PM, Mayuresh wrote:

> On Fri, Jul 15, 2011 at 06:05:36PM +0530, Mayuresh wrote:
>> I happen to have tried out both FreeBSD and NetBSD in the meantime. I will
>> post my experiences in a separate mail.
> Following is a short summary of my little exposure to installing and using
> FreeBSD, NetBSD along side Fedora - which is (still) my default distro.
> This is not a very scientific comparison - merely some observations
> through some day-to-day use-cases. Also I am not familiar with
> tricks/quirks of either of them that could have improved certain aspects
> of them that otherwise look inferior in observations below.
> Download time:
> 	NetBSD << FreeBSD (full) << Fedora
>    NetBSD is just about 250MB and way too quicker to get going for the
> impatient.
> Installation time:
> 	Both BSDs were much faster to install than Fedora. I have considered a
> "minimal" install of Fedora here. NetBSD was a bit more painless I felt.
> Booting time:
> 	Both BSDs were faster than Fedora, though it of course depends on
> configuring things. Point is, the defaults on BSD are not bloated i.e. it
> starts virtually nothing by default unless you tell it to.
> Hardware support:
> 	My h/w is not very exotic so any good distro is expected to work.
> If at all, the difference was with respect to Intel wifi card which worked
> out of the box on Fedora and NetBSD (yes!) but not on FreeBSD (of course
> there must be a way to get it work).


> File system support:
> 	I wanted home directory to be same on all 3 distros. It was on ext3 to
> start with. Neither of the BSDs had an ext3 driver. ext2 driver worked
> fine on FreeBSD, though NetBSD showed very strange errors and could not
> identify some of the ext3 partitions. Incidentally, Someone from NetBSD
> mailing list advised against using ext2 driver for ext3 system as it may
> cause problems.
> Snappiness of X server operation (switch, scroll etc.):
> 	Both Fedora and FreeBSD were nearly same. NetBSD lacked slightly in
> this. I read somewhere, their X implementation is slightly tailored, while
> FreeBSD uses same xorg like most other Linux distros.
> File system performance (native FS of each):
> 	When unzipping large zips or deleting large directories, felt that
> ext3 was much much faster than either of the BSDs.
> Performance with own programs:
> 	The test programs were largely CPU bound. Fedora/Linux fared
> marginally better than both BSDs.
> i386 vs i686 and not sure how much it matters:
> 	Have entire Fedora system starting from kernel level tuned for i686,
> though BSDs were for i386. Just thought this could be a factor why
> Fedora/Linux was fairing better in above tests. Recompiled FULL FreeBSD
> grounds up using "native" option to produce it for i686, though the
> performance did not change much.
> Installation of s/w:
> 	I liked ports on FreeBSD, though that's way too time consuming and I
> felt the returns were not worth the time. On both BSDs binary
> installations were quick and smooth. Both BSDs seemed to lack a way to
> cache downloaded package just in case if required again - which I get on
> Fedora through yum.

Instead of using, 'make install clean' for installing, try 'make package'. Should give you binary package which you can re-use.


Also, you may like to have a look @ http://pointyhat.freebsd.org/errorlogs/

Check http://pointyhat.freebsd.org/errorlogs/i386-8-packages-latest/

'pkg_add -r' is useful.

> Adding s/w from CD that was not chosen during installation:
> 	Way too simple for Fedora. Some tweaks were needed for FreeBSD. On
> NetBSD, had to reboot using the CD and making any error when re-choosing
> package "sets" may wipe out your configuration options.

I tend to use 'pkg_add'.

> Compilation of 3rd party s/w from sources:
> 	Painless on Fedora and FreeBSD. NetBSD required its own set of quirks
> that suit its personality.. Part of the problems is the autoconf specs did
> take FreeBSD into a/c though not NetBSD.
> Administration:
> 	Some how feel /etc/rc.conf to be a good one stop shop on BSDs, though
> some Linux flavors may already have adopted this.
> Support:
> 	Did not need much on FreeBSD. On NetBSD, tried mailing lists for ext3
> issue. They are helpful, though did see some elitist smell. E.g. first
> question shot back to me was "what do you mean by logical partition", when
> in PC world we kind of take its meaning for granted.

cd /usr/ports && make search key=ext2 | grep ^P

http://www.freebsd.org/doc/handbook is worth reading.



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