First impressions of FreeBSD 10.0

freebsd project logo 100x100Jesse Smith has written a review of FreeBSD 10.0 in this week’s Distrowatch Weekly: First impressions of FreeBSD 10.0.

Overall it is a fair and balanced review with some points of critique. Jess is impressed with FreeBSD 10 and its many new features, but there are still some points that should be addressed in FreeBSD 10.1, especially around package management (pkgng). I guess this should be adressed later this year, when backwards compatibility with the old pkg_ tools is dropped and developers can focus on pkgng only.

What most of my problems with FreeBSD came down to was the repeating issue that software installed using pkg did not also install all required dependencies. Some immediate dependencies might be installed, but not all the items further down the dependency chain. The above example of installing Xfce without getting X was one instance, installing WordPress without getting a database or web server in the process was another example.

[...]

Largely due to the dependency gaps and troubles with getting third-party software up and running my impressions of FreeBSD came down to two main points. The first is that FreeBSD — the command line tools, the kernel, the ZFS file system and installer — is a great operating system. In both test environments FreeBSD was fast, stable and ran smoothly. I really like the work which has gone into the system installer for this release and I like that ZFS is so easy to enable and use. The documentation which comes with FreeBSD is detailed and helpful. The new package manager is fast and friendly when compared next to its predecessors. All of this means it is pretty easy to install FreeBSD, explore the system and, once it is up and running, an administrator is unlikely to encounter a broken system.

On the other hand, I got the impression that FreeBSD’s ports collection does not receive the same level of care as the base operating system. Some of the available ports obviously have not been tested against a clean installation of FreeBSD to make sure all dependencies have been met. The state of the X port is, in short, unfortunate. This gap between the quality of the base FreeBSD operating system and its available ports is made all the more evident now that a quality package manager like pkg is present. It is easier than ever before to search for and install new software, but too much effort is required to hunt down dependencies and tweak the configuration of key ports. What this results in is a wonderful base operating system that is plagued by trouble once we try to add third-party functionality to it.

Jesse also brings up an interesting point about a possible missed opportunity with jails as a deployment platform.

You can read the whole review here: First impressions of FreeBSD 10.0.

Thanks Jesse for reviewing FreeBSD 10.0

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