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#1 2007-01-19 17:46:21

lucke
Member
From: Poland
Registered: 2004-11-30
Posts: 4,018

Arch vs FreeBSD

I kindly ask those of you, dear Archers, who are familiar with FreeBSD (or perhaps other BSDs), to name relative pros and cons of both solutions, perceived by you. Especially all the possible advantages of BSDs over Arch or Linux in general are of interest to me.

I have already found some quite old ML thread, mentioning some of Arch's advantages over FreeBSD.

Thanks.

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#2 2007-01-19 18:21:58

phrakture
Arch Overlord
From: behind you
Registered: 2003-10-29
Posts: 7,879
Website

Re: Arch vs FreeBSD

My biggest qualm is that, while FreeBSD has quite a few binaries, there are a large chunk of "uncommon" apps that require you to build from source.  In a way, it's like a user-less AUR.

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#3 2007-01-19 21:06:04

Stinky
Member
From: The Colony, TX
Registered: 2004-05-28
Posts: 187

Re: Arch vs FreeBSD

My biggest complaint with FreeBSD is the amount of time it takes to upgrade.

I run it as my ftp/smb/dhcp/named/router/firewall/proxy server and it works great!!  Stable, solid as a rock and fast!  You would never believe it is running on an AMD K6/2 350.  :-

When upgrade time comes though.....It takes about 8 hours or so to do a buildworld.  I only do that twice a year though so it doesn't bother me that much.  Which, incidentally is the only time it ever gets rebooted.  lol.

I hear it takes only a couple of hours to buildworld on a more modern machine.

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#4 2007-01-21 14:38:26

cycle
Member
From: Australia
Registered: 2007-01-21
Posts: 42

Re: Arch vs FreeBSD

True it can take a while on older machines, but you dont really need to be upgrading your server box (which is imho where it excels) every two days now do you ?  big_smile

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#5 2007-01-21 17:46:33

Acid7711
Member
From: Chicago, IL
Registered: 2006-08-18
Posts: 300
Website

Re: Arch vs FreeBSD

Personally, I've found FreeBSD to be very slow on my computer. (not to toot my own horn, but I build my boxes from the finest hardware) No, I'm not talking about compiling things, just generally slow.  I notice a HUGE difference between FreeBSD and say, Gentoo or Arch.   It was enough to make me try FreeBSD 3 times now and each time kick it to the curb within the first week. I like responsiveness. 

Maybe it's something I did wrong, but even bash seemed to be very slow to respond to my commands.  Imo, it needs a good overhauling to be brought into today's standards.

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#6 2007-01-21 18:35:12

mucknert
Member
From: Berlin // Germany
Registered: 2006-06-27
Posts: 510

Re: Arch vs FreeBSD

I am using NetBSD on my server at home. IMHO it is more work to set up than Arch but then again it is robust and even more basic than Arch, which I like in a server-system. And of course NetBSD runs on all possible devices, including some toasters. wink
Arch, for a difference, is just better suited for tinkering and Desktop-machines because of the bleeding-edge and rolling-release system. It is really a matter of taste and time.


Todays mistakes are tomorrows catastrophes.

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#7 2007-01-22 14:49:59

Stinky
Member
From: The Colony, TX
Registered: 2004-05-28
Posts: 187

Re: Arch vs FreeBSD

cycle wrote:

True it can take a while on older machines, but you dont really need to be upgrading your server box (which is imho where it excels) every two days now do you ?  big_smile

You're right...But like I said, I only update it twice a year.

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#8 2007-01-22 16:54:28

Bralkein
Member
Registered: 2004-10-26
Posts: 354

Re: Arch vs FreeBSD

FWIW, I've heard many glowing recommendations for FreeBSD and OpenBSD (never met anyone who uses NetBSD!) for server use. I've heard that they're both very robust and secure OSs, and that if you can set up Slackware or Arch Linux then you'd definitely be able to run BSD. However, I reckon as a desktop OS, Arch is hard to beat. You've got to remember that there are some things that are only available on Linux, and not BSD. A good example would be the Macromedia Flash Player, I don't think that there is a BSD version of this - you'd have to try your luck with GNASH instead,  I guess.

Also, and I'm heading off into the realm of speculation here, I'd imagine that most free software apps (especially GPL ones) are developed and run more on Linux, so maybe there will be support issues for some of the less popular apps, if you use any. But this is only a suspicion of mine.

The best thing to do is probably to install it on a spare partition/machine or put it on an emulator. Nothing beats first-hand experience!

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#9 2007-01-24 14:11:50

Oin
Member
Registered: 2005-09-02
Posts: 63

Re: Arch vs FreeBSD

Bralkein, there's really no problem with flash on freebsd and most other programs that run on linux run on freebsd also because of it's linux-binary-compatibility. FreeBSD has this tool that enables you to run most Linux programs on FreeBSD as if they were native to FreeBSD and there's no difference in performance.


In Linux there are no secrets!

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#10 2007-01-26 05:47:51

Filosofem
Member
Registered: 2006-03-01
Posts: 28

Re: Arch vs FreeBSD

Hum, "linux-binary-compatibility" has its limits.  Cedega won't run fine at all on FreeBSD, just like Vmware.  FreeBSD is good mainly for server purposes since it's very stable.  But in my opinion, it's just way too limited/complicated for nothing: oldish appearance (still sh and sendmail??); many commands doing the same thing, but some of them not being recommended which can screw a system (pkg_remove vs pkg_delete for instance); nothing user-friendly such as colors, by default; expect having to compile stuff, and to see those compilations failing pretty often, etc.  Thus, use it if you like trouble.  wink

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#11 2007-01-26 12:20:35

liem
Member
Registered: 2006-04-29
Posts: 71
Website

Re: Arch vs FreeBSD

I prefer OpenBSD to any linux. Why? Way better documentation, more KISS, secure by default, consistent, the focus of correctness, better firewall (pf), better philosophy.

It's lacking in 'desktop' area, no hardware acceleration as there is no BSD-licenced drivers and flash is hard to set up. I don't care much for these features but OpenBSD's lack of utf8 support is a minus for me (the complete lack of locale support don't bother me much).

Only reason I run Arch Linux on my primary laptop is that it needs ACPI to boot. OpenBSD probably get ACPI-support when 4.1 is released and I migrate then.


Sebastian  A. Liem

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#12 2007-01-26 22:04:49

elasticdog
Member
From: Washington, USA
Registered: 2005-05-02
Posts: 995
Website

Re: Arch vs FreeBSD

I like Arch for the desktop, and I've been messing around more with OpenBSD and have been very impressed.  When I learn more, I'd definitely feel comfortable relying on it for a server, but would't want to try and use if for an everyday personal desktop machine.  Each has it's own purpose and place...

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#13 2007-01-28 00:39:01

Crooksey
Member
From: UK ~
Registered: 2006-08-14
Posts: 415
Website

Re: Arch vs FreeBSD

What does Arch have over FreeBSD, in what respect?

For a Server or a Desktop ?


Arch Linux since 2006
Python Web Developer + Sys Admin (Gentoo/BSD)

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#14 2007-01-29 15:02:10

curana
Member
From: Switzerland
Registered: 2006-04-14
Posts: 97
Website

Re: Arch vs FreeBSD

I love my FreeBSD Server. The upgrade might take a while, but only the base system. All applications I am using can be updated with a few commands.
There is a great tool called "portaudit" which checks for the software which has known security issues. Then you can just upgrade one by one and you are done. For me there has never been a reason to upgrade my FreeBSD-Box. Its running, its working, its fast.

To be honest, if Arch wouldnt be similar (rc.conf etc) to FreeBSD, I maybe wouldnt use it.

FreeBSD is great for servers (I dont like Linux-Servers too much) and it does a great job. Its stable, up to date and very fast.

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#15 2007-01-29 20:22:55

F
Member
Registered: 2006-10-09
Posts: 322

Re: Arch vs FreeBSD

Just wanted to give my two cents.

I've got a FreeBSD server and I love it to death. Not planning on getting rid of it any time soon. However all my desktops run Archlinux. Every single one.

Maybe a combination of the two is healthy?

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#16 2007-01-29 20:38:33

Misfit138
Misfit Emeritus
From: USA
Registered: 2006-11-27
Posts: 4,170

Re: Arch vs FreeBSD

Interesting topic. I have never installed of the BSD's, other than PC-BSD, which does not like my hardware.
I understand that much of what makes Arch boot so fast is a philosophy based in part upon BSD boot scripts, though I do not know enough about either to comment further.
I have been intrigued by BSD for a while, but it seems a bit awkward on the desktop, from what little exposure I have had to it.
Arch is really tough to beat in my experience. It is so much faster and cutting edge than any other distro, with a rolling release cycle.

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#17 2007-01-29 23:50:13

Tatey
Member
From: Brisbane, Australia
Registered: 2006-04-02
Posts: 66
Website

Re: Arch vs FreeBSD

Stinky wrote:

My biggest complaint with FreeBSD is the amount of time it takes to upgrade.

As of FreeBSD 6.2, you can now do binary security and version upgrades using the freebsd-update tool provided you haven't compiled any applications using ports. Admittedly, I only started playing with FreeBSD about 2-3 weeks ago, and I'm quite impressed with it. From a server orientation, I would highly recommend FreeBSD. In contrast, I don't think it would ever replace Arch on my desktop.


Check out my website, http://tatey.com

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#18 2007-01-30 19:08:18

Stinky
Member
From: The Colony, TX
Registered: 2004-05-28
Posts: 187

Re: Arch vs FreeBSD

That's interesting!  I'll check into that.  I started using FreeBSD when 5.4 was released and have been upgrading ever since by changing the stable-supfile, getting all the new stuff with cvsup, then rebuilding world.  I'm on 6.1 now and have been since it's release.  Since 6.2 was released a couple of weeks ago, I'll be upgrading to that in a few weeks.

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#19 2007-01-30 19:31:27

lucke
Member
From: Poland
Registered: 2004-11-30
Posts: 4,018

Re: Arch vs FreeBSD

Arr, I've got this strange urge to fiddle with something (apparently boosted by the recent release of FreeBSD 6.2). Arch can get boring over time - when everything just works ;-)

Alas, FreeBSD's support for envy and xfs is still dubious, which effectively stops me from fiddling with it on my desktop. On the other hand, my server has been running Arch flawlessly for some time - as they say, "if something isn't broken, don't fix it". Playing with it in vmware or qemu just doesn't seem challenging/rewarding enough.

In this case it seems I'll have fight off my urge and wait either for FreeBSD 7 or for to my server to die ;-) It's hard to get anything better than Arch, anyway - at least for a bleeding edge desktop.

Stinky, check this out.

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#20 2007-01-31 06:18:21

Tatey
Member
From: Brisbane, Australia
Registered: 2006-04-02
Posts: 66
Website

Re: Arch vs FreeBSD

FreeBSD 7.X will include native support for Xen Virtualisation. Something I'm really looking forward to. I'm in the process of rolling out a production server using Xen, and it's unfortunate that FreeBSD doesn't currently support Dom0.


Check out my website, http://tatey.com

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#21 2007-02-02 09:08:12

Eliatamby
Member
Registered: 2005-05-06
Posts: 80

Re: Arch vs FreeBSD

I just spent a bit of time with FreeBSD 6.1

The BSD methodology is completely different to the linux one.  The greatest difference is that the their is a firm separation between kernel, base userland, and third party apps.   This probably contributes to the stability of the system

I also like the layout of freebsd alot better than most linuxes.  All third party configs go into /usr/local/etc.  In fact, the local subdirectory is used for anything not part of the base world packages.  I prefer this to the standard linux where everything you install dumps it's config in /etc and it's bin straight in /usr/bin.  I much prefer the separation of operation-neccessary apps and configs and the rest of the third party crap I install.

The ports systems is quite nifty technically, but I think it's a bit dated.  This is one area where FreeBSD can improve.  To be able to conveniently manage the update of many packages, you need to use portupgrade or something similar, which is technically third party software.  This also has a database separate to the standard package DB, which needs to be synced and checked on separately.  FreeBSD needs one standard, official, default, and convenient tool for updating and install packages.  Similarly, there is an application you can use to update world and kernel (GENERIC) using binaries, but it is third party as well.  Package updating can be pain as well.  There are binary updates, but as someone said, not for all apps, and often they are a version behind.  This sort of thing differs between BSDs though.  IIRC OpenBSD promotes the use of packages and often it's ports are behind packages.  Also, Linux source distros have this same problem, but updating in FreeBSD can be a pain compared to Arch (e.g. make gnome-desktop).

FreeBSD also lacks some linux functionality like udev etc, but it has it's own hotplugging system, and I actually learned alot writing scripts to deal with auto mounting of usb drives etc.

Overall, I had a lot of fun on the system.  It's good to see how this side of the world works.  I felt I could gather alot more reading man pages now than when I first started on linux.  Multimedia wise, it has an nvidia driver and sound worked fine for me, but it only has ext2 support so my media drive was not journalled.  My media players are all supported, so there I had no issues there.  I didn't try beryl, but it exists for FreeBSD so for some it can be a suitable desktop system.  There is something nifty about it that caught my attention during my distro hopping adventures.

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#22 2007-02-02 14:31:14

Tatey
Member
From: Brisbane, Australia
Registered: 2006-04-02
Posts: 66
Website

Re: Arch vs FreeBSD

Eliatamby wrote:

The BSD methodology is completely different to the linux one.  The greatest difference is that the their is a firm separation between kernel, base userland, and third party apps.   This probably contributes to the stability of the system

I'd like to add to this point. The other major difference between BSD and Linux is how the entire system is packaged together. Most BSD distributions have a CVS where all development takes place. The kernel and userland utilities are synced, and developed together. In contrast, the Linux kernel is developed independently of GNU userland utilises which is then packaged together by independent developers who create a distribution. Specifically with FreeBSD, there are three "branches". Unstable, Stable and Release. The Release branches are supported for a minimum of 12 months (By supported, I mean receive security and bug fixes).


Check out my website, http://tatey.com

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#23 2007-02-02 15:08:03

Mikos
Member
From: Prague, Czech Republic
Registered: 2005-05-03
Posts: 228
Website

Re: Arch vs FreeBSD

One gift for all OpenBSD lovers ;-)

Don't tell anyone they 0wned me!

PS: I have nothing against OpenBSD, but I found this really funny :-)

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#24 2007-02-02 16:10:45

lumiwa
Member
Registered: 2005-12-26
Posts: 712

Re: Arch vs FreeBSD

Mikos wrote:

One gift for all OpenBSD lovers ;-)

Don't tell anyone they 0wned me!

PS: I have nothing against OpenBSD, but I found this really funny :-)

Only one remote hole in the default install, in more than 10 years!!

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#25 2007-02-02 19:28:06

Acid7711
Member
From: Chicago, IL
Registered: 2006-08-18
Posts: 300
Website

Re: Arch vs FreeBSD

Mikos wrote:

One gift for all OpenBSD lovers ;-)

Don't tell anyone they 0wned me!

PS: I have nothing against OpenBSD, but I found this really funny :-)

hahaha nice...

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