FreeBSD talks

Paul Robinson paul at
Wed Nov 28 13:14:05 GMT 2001

On Tuesday 27 November 2001  9:10 pm, Tom Hukins wrote:

> The only link I can think of off the top of my head is to take a look
> at FreeBSD's home page, and mention some of the key points covered on
> the Web site.

It might be a good idea to ask some of the people on -advocacy who would be 
more than happy to give you enough material to fill up a good few hours of 
talks. :-)

> I'm pretty sure you could fill up 5 minutes talking about how great
> FreeBSD is by mentioning:
> - The Ports system.  Installs over 6000 third-party software packages,
>   including dependencies.  You can use the "portupgrade" port to
>   update your system.

Also, although it stil has some raw edges, pkg_add (espeically with the -r 
flag) is incredibly useful for quickly getting a box up with common utils 
like lynx, screen, etc. In fact, the whole package management thing is about 
to get very interesting in the BSD world. Other OSes aren't making any 
headway past RPM.

> - FreeBSD's code is directly descended from the original Unix code
>   (see /usr/share/misc/bsd-family-tree).  Thus, it has the stability
>   of a 30-year-old OS but with modern performance enhancements.

I'd disagree with this one, but yeah, the history is semi-interesting. I'd 
have to say though, that I can't see much similarity between -CURRENT and 
some of the older releases, so I'd be intrigued to see how much of the 
original 386BSD code is in -CURRENT.... ;-)

> - The BSD license.  Code is available to do whatever you want with.
>   Compare this with commercial software licenses or the GPL.

... but don't do this if you're trying to convert Linux guys. They might not 
like RMS, but they don't hate FBSD yet - turning around half way through your 
talk and going into how evil the GPL is, will generally get people to stop 
listening and start blocking everything else you have to say.

> - Great server OS.  Can be used for file sharing (NFS, SMB or AFS) to
>   all major OSes, mail serving, news serving, Web serving (Yahoo use
>   FreeBSD on their Web site) and almost anything else you might want
>   to do on a server.

There are various recent benchmarks and tests lying around to dig up on 
comparisons between FBSD and Linux and other OSes. Big figures always seem to 
sit well in talks like this - "FBSD has been shown to be over 3845793457% 
faster and better than Linux at everything" might be going too far though.

> - Not bad as a desktop OS.  Can run KDE, Gnome and most other Unix
>   desktop environments.  Arguably not as advanced as Linux, although
>   FreeBSD's Linux emulation is pretty good.

As always, FBSD's downfall in this arena is the installer - compare an 
install of FBSD 4.4-RELEASE with Mandrake 8.1 - which doesn't help with the 
setup of X a great deal. This is being addressed with libh though, and slowly 
but surely people are starting to make that push over to getting FBSD good 
for the desktop. I use it on my laptop, and love it. Although I don't run 
-CURRENT on my laptop, which I'm assured is the done thing amongst the 
BSD-elitists. I like my machine to boot in the morning. :-)

> Those are just a few ideas.  If you were to expand on each point for a
> minute you'd have 5 minutes already.  You could also mention the
> differences between -current and -stable, the open source development
> model, how the source tree is managed by committers and developers
> sending PRs, security and the similarities/differences between FreeBSD
> and other BSDs.

Other ideas:

- Mac OS X is the Mach micorkernel with the userland 'stolen' from FBSD and 
NBSD - Jordan Hubbard who was key to the bootstrapping of FBSD now works for 
Apple on the Mac OS X team, and continues to assist the smashing and grabbing 
of our tools... :-)

- Centralised development model helps to ensure the quality of distribution 
releases rather than quantity (a la Linux), and means that the community is a 
little more close knit in general.

- Some of the most advanced and interesting OS projects are finding their way 
into -CURRENT now. We have one of the best VM architectures already, and 
SMPng and KSE are paving the way for lots of very interesting functionality 
in the future. This is not about somebody coming up with a kernel patch which 
you can try and convince Linus to whack in there - this is about the 
underlying architecture being worked into the main kernel by some of the most 
experienced programmers you will ever encounter. Blows my mind at times 

- We drink more beer than any other OS community. Probably. Actually, if 
Brighton was anything to go by, me and Paul Richards drink more beer than 
anybody else in the OS community. Perhaps it's just us. :-)

Paul Robinson

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