On Debian:

apt-get install 'package name' -> Fails.
add apt repository
add GPG key
apt-get update
apt-get install 'package name' -> Fails.
add testing, contrib and non-free
apt-get update
sudo apt-get install 'package name' -> Worked.

On FreeBSD
portsnap fetch
portsnap fetch extract update
cd /usr/ports/path_to_your_app
make clean install

Out of the two, I honestly can't see any reason why anybody would prefer the repository approach over ports.

Yes, using ports is slower, and you have to compile from sources but at least there's a single approach with FreeBSD, not dozens.

Unless you can be bothered using something like Gentoo or Slackware, I can't see any rational reason to use Linux over FreeBSD on a server platform, and I'd even seriously consider FreeBSD on a desktop if you know your graphics card is supported!

The Linux kernel is huge, the distros are overcomplicated, there are several package management tools, several documentation tools, dozens of forks of the various applications, you can never really remove any unused libraries as you might accidentally knock out another application which needs them.

I used to run Caldera many years ago - nice, slick system with very minimal bloat. The original KDE was lovely to work with (not pretty, but neither was Windows 95).

The same could be said for RedHat 5 - slick, fast, well documented and generally pretty damn nice to work with. The installer was good, if a little basic, but it worked.

Debian 4 was good too, it ran faultlessly for 5 years on a machine I used at uni, and it was really solid. It took several weeks to install and tune it properly, but it was slick.

In comparison, Ubuntu, Debian 7, CentOS (not as bad), Mint (utterly AWEFUL) are all bloated, mismatched and messy.
Then there was Mandrake, which I used to love, which then became Mandriva after a marge with Conectiva, then it turns into Mangela after a load of dev are laid off... it's just baffling!)

The ALSA/PuleAudio mess is basically cobbled together, driver support is largely oak so long as you never want to install a proprietary Nvidia driver, wifi is ok if your adapter is supported out of the box but if you need a specific firmware, you’re screwed.

If you happen to have a card for which the WPA supplicant isn’t correctly configured, you might as well ditch the card.
Every install of Linux I’ve tried in the past 5 years has had something broken on it. There’s a sliding scale of “working” from totally broken, to almost perfect.
No Linux install I’ve used has EVER hit the top end, but lately, it seems that they’re all sliding lower and lower.

Debian 6 ran beautifully on my wife’s laptop, until one day it decided to flip the screen through 90 degrees, and wouldn’t flip back. There’s no orientation sensor on it, but after an update, it decided that it was rotated and that was it.
This was a Xorg issue, as in the console it was fine.

On one of my desktops, the network device would periodically stop working - turns out a power saving mode was being activated, and I had no way to configure it other than to have another machine ping it every 5 minutes.

It’s all a mess of workarounds, with no solid fixes.
Considering that every Linux distro has essentially the same target in mind (free, powerful, well featured software), it staggers me that they’re all working toward the same goal but separately.

FreeBSD isn’t very automated, and it’s certainly not as slick an OS as many of the Linux distros, but I’ve got it set up with very few headaches, using one installation manual, and haven’t needed to google anything.

Not bashing Linux here, but it does make you think….

  • 4
    @fuck2code aur is basically ports tho.
    A simple build script that bootstraps a compile process.

    Personally, i find it to be quite annoying when you want a specific version of something.
    Then you have to edit the pkgbuild.

    - that's where i am really grateful for gentoo, easy-piecy to just mask the version (s) and use equery to toggle which version..
  • 2
    @fuck2code That looks pretty decent as an approach, but it's still another package manager, and a build platform, and there are still dozens of derivatives from Arch, which is pretty much my main issue with Linux.

    Granted, there are far fewer than are based on RedHat or Debian, but its still a fair few, and it still has essentially the same basic underpinning in each.

    Thats my main gripe - distros are forked because of disagreements or whims, or with a single goal.

    Eg, ArchBang uses OpenBox and emphasises speed.

    ArchLabs uses OpenBox and emphasises speed, but includes another repo.

    The infrastructure is likely identical, and Arch so far looks like the most rational way to set up a slick install, but the divergence of distros and the kernel bloat are still an issue which I just can't be bothered dealing with anymore.
  • 1
    @lotd Ports is ports. Fetch, compile, install, done.

    Added to that, the sound support in FreeBSD is pretty decent, and doesn't require the faff that configuring OSS/Alsa and PulseAudio entails.
  • 1
    @lotd I knew a guy who switched to Gentoo years ago, and absolutely loved it.

    So far as I know, he never changed to anything else.

    Isn't portage essentially just ports with a build environment integrated? If so, it's basically the same as FreeBSD, just a little more automated which is pretty much spot on!

    Still, kernel bloat though :)
  • 3
    Have you heard of our Lord and savior: "Manjaro"?
  • 2
    @theKarlisK So, arch with precompiled binaries, and their own repository management tool - yet another tool doing the same job as every other repository management tool.

    It actually looks pretty good, but it's another layer of stuff on top of a distro.

    Theres a Pacman tool for Xfce, and Octopi for kde. So if you want to use Xfce, but like using Octopi, you have to install all of the KDE libs etc...

    No, I think I'm going to stick with FreeBSD.
  • 0
    @oudalally yeah, indeed it is, personally, I really like it because it's a modular distro - you can actually remove bits of libraries more violently with the pacman package manager and the AUR (Arch User Repo) is just a collection of prepared build instructions (packages from AUR get built during install and offer you the option to customize the build instructions/options). More often you'll be able to remove or swap out critical system components without it breaking everything or complaining unless absolutely necessary.

    Personally, I know how you feel - that is, to a certain degree, how I've always felt about the majority of distros that come packaged with boatloads of stuff that I end up removing up until something else commits seppukku and the whole OS goes tits up after the next reboot.

    However, I'm not that well versed in inner workings of Linux just yet and find Manjaro to be the best balance between absolute "Linux from scratch" and Bloatbuntu for me.
  • 2
    @theKarlisK As an approach, it looks to be a great deal better than using a Debian base and throwing more and more packages at it.

    That said, I've just installed Xorg and Gnome3 on FreeBSD with the following:

    pkg install xorg-minimal

    pkg install xf86-video-ati

    pkg install gnome3

    I now have a pretty vanilla Gnome 3 desktop on my server for when I need to use it.

    The package management for FreeBSD is really straightforward - it updates itself, the repos are sensible and the source tree is easy to compile in ports if you need to.
  • 1
    @oudalally well, if anything, you've poked my curiosity - I might just check out for once. You make it sound as easy to manage as Centos with Yum but as flexible as Manjaro with AUR.
  • 2
    @theKarlisK It's somewhere between the two.

    It's not as straightforward as just installing a platform and having it work, but in terms of flexibility, it really is excellent!

    I've run into a bit of difficulty enabling a decent resolution on the terminal driver (I've removed Gnome and gone back to plain text with the option to launch X if need be), but I now have the terminal in 1920x1080, which is spot on for me.

    The plan is to have text mode only on the physical VT, but allow remote X forwarding to another machine. Ideally, I'd like a full X desktop to log into on a headless box, but not sure if I can do that yet.

    It's certainly worth a play though - I'd recommend using a VM until you know if you're happy with it.
  • 2
    @theKarlisK You can install from binary packages using 'pkg', or build from source using ports.

    There is also a very clear separation between the base system and the user land, the sound architecture is really well designed, and it's pretty good for hardware detection.

    A lot of drivers from Linux have been ported to FreeBSD, but it's not as well supported in terms of compatible hardware.

    That said, it's a very stable platform, and the documentation is leaps ahead of anything for linux.

    I've lost count of the amount of times I tried to find a guide for something on Debian and all I could find was guides for Ubuntu that were out of date.
  • 0
    @oudalally So far everything sounds really good - I've had multiple occasions where I had to put together a quickfix or a workaround that's based on partial or indirect fixes/solutions from Fedora, Centos, Ubuntu or Debian... usually, most of them graphics driver related.
  • 0
    @theKarlisK It's what drove me too try FreeBSD in the first place - the nouveau driver.

    I wanted to use the closed source Nvidia driver on an Ubuntu machine, and it just wouldn't let me.

    I wiped it, and went to Debian. Again, I couldn't get it to work, it just stubbornly loaded the nouveau driver again.

    Having used Debian 4 for several years in the past, and had no issues with the nvidia proprietary driver, I considered that to be a step backwards.

    FreeBSD has its drawbacks, but it doesn't bind your hands like most other distros do to a lesser or greater extent.

    Granted, had I stuck with RH derivatives, I might have had an easier time of things, but thats not the road I went down and it took a long time before I actually tried again from the start.

    I've run FreeBSD on a number of systems, and although I've had issues, I've been able to find the solutions to them where in many cases, with Linux, I've had to settle for what it allows me.
  • 0
    In the process of setting up my RAID array at the moment.

    Included with FreeBSD is a partitioning tool called Sade. It's text based, and really very nice to work with.
  • 0
    @oudalally If this runs libvirt nicely I might drop CentOS on my tiny home server in favor for this.
  • 0
    @fuck2code I've tried FreeBSD, Dragonfly BSD and OpenBSD in the past, and the only one I've persisted with is FreeBSD.

    It's a decent OS, the development is still active and although progress is slower than with Linux, it's consistent.

    I've just had a disk fail on my server (the hazard of using old disks), and annoyingly it's the OS disk, so I have to reinstall all over again.

    It's a maxtor disk tho, and considering that out of 9 maxtor disks I've had up to now, 8 have failed, I'm not surprised.

    Oh well, should have put the OS on the raid....

    Might be able to sort that out with a reinstall and rethink of the partitioning scheme....
  • 0
    Crisis averted - the PSU just couldn't drive that many disks. Thats at least positive.....
  • 0
    @oudalally what's your thoughts on TrueOs?
  • 0
    @lotd I used it a long time ago when it was still PC-BSD.

    My first thoughts were that the installation process was quite frankly beautiful.

    I'd been running Debian 3.0 for some time, and the installer for that was somewhat complex for a new user, but PC-BSD just blew me away with how easy it was to get running.

    The downside was that the package management for it was new, and there wasn't a huge selection of software available.

    Installing from ports was still an option, but it defeated the point of the distro, and you didn't have the nice install/uninstall features of it with ports builds.

    I've not tired it since (and tbh, I'm not sure I will any time soon as the FreeBSD installer is now really minimal), but for a new user to Unix, it's a nice way to go I think.

    I'm intrigued to try it, but it will be on a VM and probably not for a while yet.
  • 0
    FYI - just moved the OS to a new disk.

    1) Connect new disk (320Gb Seagate)

    2) Run installer (bsdinstall)

    3) Create partitions using guided mode to set up boot partition

    4) Quit installer and mount root partition (/dev/ada1p2) on new disk into a folder on /mnt/root

    5) Run cd / ; pax -p eme -X -rw . /mnt/root

    6) Shutdown, plug new disk into SATA port previously used for the older disk

    7) Reboot. The system came up with no issues at all.

    That same process using a Linux install with UUID for disk allocation would just fall over entirely.

    If you used block devices, it would be easier to work with, but how many distros bother with that?

    In addition, moving GRUB to the new device, sorting out the dozens of kernel args would be a nightmare (it always used to be, hence why I stuck with lilo for so long).

    This process has just reminded me how much I actually love Unix as a platform.
  • 0
    @oudalally cool. I'm in the same boat, having freebsd on my home Storage server, just never really tried it for desktop. Yet.

    The personaCrypt sounds awesome.
    I'm not sure about the SysAdm stuff.
    Not really *that* keen on the AppCafe stuff either.
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