Originally Published: Monday, 1 November 1999 Author: Matt Michie
Published to: featured_articles/Featured Articles Page: 1/1 - [Printable]

Buddying up to BSD: Part One

I've been meaning to delve into the free BSDs for awhile now. After the very first Linux article I wrote, I received a couple of e-mails from BSD pundits. They were very polite and offered to help me get started using BSD. One even offered to mail me a FreeBSD CD-ROM at no charge!...

   Page 1 of 1  

I've been meaning to delve into the free BSDs for awhile now. After the very first Linux article I wrote, I received a couple of e-mails from BSD pundits. They were very polite and offered to help me get started using BSD. One even offered to mail me a FreeBSD CD-ROM at no charge!

Obviously these guys knew how to advocate! I am a very vocal Linux supporter, yet these folks put the idea into my head that I should at least give BSD a shot. They already taught me a couple new ways to advocate Linux, why not see what else I could learn?

"BSD on Linux.com?" you might say. Sure, we have a lot in common and it's time to start bridging some of the gaps between our communities. We share most of the same user applications. Programs written for BSD are sure to be eventually ported to Linux and vice versa. In fact, the BSD community advocates that companies port their commercial software to Linux instead of BSD! The BSDs can already run Linux binaries unchanged, and since Linux has a bigger user base, it makes more sense to have commercial software running first on Linux.

I also would like to evaluate some of the technical differences between the two. What does BSD do that Linux doesn't but should do? How does having a centralized design process affect the operating system? How easy is it for a long time Linux user to transition over to BSD? Is there any unique software that Linux isn't using yet?

I've got a spare Pentium 133 sitting in the office. I'm going to attempt to install one or several of the BSDs over an FTP connection. I've done this with both Debian and Red Hat with no problems. All of the hardware in my little 586 is supported under the Linux kernel and auto-detected by Red Hat. How will BSD compare?

Hopefully, after getting the operating system installed I will be able to get X with KDE or GNOME running on top. Several people I've talked to have complained that these two projects are too Linux-specific. It is supposedly difficult to compile on a non-Linux Un*x.

I'll also try to evaluate how easily the Internet daemons are to get running compared to Linux. Until recently, many people by default assumed BSD was a better server environment than Linux. I suspect that many of these attitudes were formed based on opinions of much earlier kernels. However, yahoo.com and ftp.cdrom.com run on FreeBSD and not Linux. It wasn't until recently bigger sites such as Slashdot.org, Dejanews.com, and of course Linux.com have proven that you can run large database-driven Web sites with Linux. I'll give BSD a shot as a little corporate web/ftp/samba/intranet box and see how well it stacks up to my Red Hat machines. Is the BSD bias unfounded or is there something that Linux should be doing differently in a server environment?

I'll try not to be too biased, but obviously Linux is my favorite environment. I have a hunch that both communities can learn something from each other. Tune in next week for Part Two of Buddying up to BSD.

Think you can give me a hand? Shoot me an e-mail at mmichie@linux.com. I also maintain a small web site at web.nmsu.edu/~mmichie.




   Page 1 of 1