Most reliable webhosts – February 2010

According to last months Netcraft webhost reliability report, two web hosts in the top 10 run FreeBSD as their operating system.

After an email conversation with one of the guys from RootBSD last month, I realised that these statistics are useless. He writes:

Netcraft is not an impartial source for measuring uptime.  The problems with Netcraft for picking a webhost:

  • Hosts where their data collectors are located are obviously favored due to best latency and reliability — not having to cross over Internet paths
  • Only hosts who pay them 1200 GBP / year are included.
  • They are only measuring the web host’s website, which may not even be hosted on the same infrastructure as customer sites.

You see, I wasn’t aware that only paying webhosters were included. So it’s mainly the big ‘boys’ with big marketing budgets that are willing to pay for this service.

As this is not giving a true picture of the reliability and the use of FreeBSD within the hosting community, I will not refer to the monthly Netcraft report going forward.

RootBSD prefers webhostingstuff.com to show their reliability and uptime.

About RootBSD:

RootBSD was established with one goal in mind: provide reliable, flexible, and supported BSD-based hosting services to professionals and businesses. Originally we were searching for a quality service provider to work with us on providing hosting. A lengthy search yielded many providers that only offer BSD as a haphazard option to their packages designed for Linux or providers who simply don’t meet the business requirements in reliability and stability for which we were looking.RootBSD gives you the power to innovate and scale on top of the BSD operating systems. Our services are rock solid; in fact, you might call us the BSD hosting solution.

Find out more about RootBSD’s FreeBSD VPS Hosting (virtual private server)

RootBSD was established with one goal in mind: provide reliable, flexible, and supported BSD-based hosting services to professionals and businesses. Originally we were searching for a quality service provider to work with us on providing hosting. A lengthy search yielded many providers that only offer BSD as a haphazard option to their packages designed for Linux or providers who simply don’t meet the business requirements in reliability and stability for which we were looking.

RootBSD gives you the power to innovate and scale on top of the BSD operating systems. Our services are rock solid; in fact, you might call us the BSD hosting solution.

FreeBSD and the GPL

Every so many months the never ending discussion about the BSD vs GPL license heats up. Supporters for either license have their thoughts and opinions to why one license is better than the other. Some say that these discussions are a waste of time. Whichever license you defend/promote, if you’re interested in reading (and joining in) the discussions, have a look at these two sites:

1 FreeBSD and the GPL (IT Pro – itpro.com)

Linus Torvalds has said Linux wouldn’t have happened if 386BSD had been around when he started up. We trace the history of FreeBSD and how it’s affected the open source world.

The first free Unix-like operating systemavailable on the IBM PC was 386BSD, of which Linus Torvalds said in 1993: “If 386BSD had been available when I started on Linux, Linux would probably never have happened.”

386BSD was a direct descendant of Bill Joy’s Berkeley Software Distribution, which was the core of SunOS and other proprietary Unix distributions. 386BSD and the patchkit for the port to the Intel chip formed the basis for FreeBSD, NetBSD and OpenBSD, which have carried the torch for BSD and open source Unix to this day.

Read the whole article (BSD history and BSD/GPL license)

2 osnews.com dissussion

Read the discussion

FreeBSD HAST project completed

Pawel Jakub Dawidek was awarded a grant by the FreeBSD Foundation last year to implement storage replication software that will enable users to use the FreeBSD operating system for highly available configurations where data has to be shared across the cluster nodes.

The HAST (High Availability Storage Project) is now completed. Pawel reports:

I’m very happy to report to FreeBSD users that the HAST project I was working on for the last three months is ready for testing and already committed to the HEAD branch.

I’ll describe what HAST does in few words. HAST allows for synchronous block-level replication of any storage media (called GEOM providers, using FreeBSD nomenclature) over a TCP/IP network for fast failure recovery. HAST provides storage using the GEOM infrastructure, meaning it is file system and application independent and can be combined with any existing GEOM class. In case of a primary node failure, the cluster will automatically switch to the secondary node, check and mount the UFS file system or import the ZFS pool, and continue to work without missing a single bit of data.

I must admit the project was quite challenging, not only from the technical point of view, but also because it was sponsored by the FreeBSD Foundation. The FreeBSD Foundation has a great reputation and is known to select the projects it funds very carefully. I felt strong pressure that should I fail, the FreeBSD Foundation’s reputation might be hurt. Of course, not a single dollar would be spent on a failed project, but the FreeBSD community’s expectations were very high and I really wanted to do a good job.

During the work a number of people contacted me privately offering help, explaining how important HAST is for FreeBSD and giving me the motivation to soldier on.

I hope that HAST will meet the community’s expectations and I myself am looking forward to using it

The final commit notice from Pawe? Jakub Dawidek briefly describes the project. A detailed discussion of the project is available form the FreeBSD Wiki.

This is a good example of how the wider FreeBSD community can financially support further development of FreeBSD, and it also shows the value that the FreeBSD Foundation brings to the community. To see more of these sort of projects started, funded and completed, why not support and donate to the Foundation so they can continue sponsoring more projects. (disclaimer: I am not affiliated with the FreeBSD Foundation)

FreeBSD 8.0 installation walk-through

Vincent Danen who works on the Red Hat Security Response Team has written a quick walk-through of the FreeBSD 8.0 installation procedure:

FreeBSD, and the other BSDs, are exceptionally stable and powerful operating systems, but they can be quite different from Linux. Although they share common principles and ideals, and a huge amount of software, when it comes down to it, FreeBSD and Linux are two different beasts. This doesn’t make FreeBSD better or worse, but it is something to be aware of. Perhaps the most challenging thing about FreeBSD is the initial installation. While PC-BSD, another BSD variant, has made a lot of headway in making BSD easy to use, FreeBSD is still king as far as the BSD’s go.

With the recent 8.0 release, it may be time to give FreeBSD a look. FreeBSD is favoured by many for service management and hosting, running Web servers and mail servers, etc. But it works as a fully functional desktop as well. This tip will take a quick walk through the installation. Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on whether or not you are familiar with installing FreeBSD, the installer has not changed significantly over the years. Yes, it is still text-based.”

… continues

FreeBSD 8.0 installation walk-through (techrepublic)

Health Check: FreeBSD – “The unknown giant”

A piece of FreeBSD history advocacy on H-Online:

“FreeBSD is the most accessible and popular of the BSDs, has code at the heart of Darwin and Apple’s OS X, and has powered some of the more successful sites on the Web, including Hotmail, Netcraft and Yahoo!, which before the rise of Google was the busiest site on the internet.

FreeBSD rose from the ashes of 386BSD, the original effort to port BSD to the Intel chip, and claims a code lineage that reaches back to Bill Joy’s Berkeley Software Distribution of the late seventies. The 386BSD port was begun in 1989 by Bill and Lynne Jolitz, and was destined to be the original free Unix-like operating system for the IBM PC. The first public release of 386BSD (Version 0.0) was on St. Patrick’s Day, 1991, accompanied by a series of articles in Dr Dobbs journal, which documented the process.

The first functional release of 386BSD was Version 0.1, which was released on Bastille Day, 1992.

FreeBSD emerged in 1993, after the self-imposed task of supporting 386BSD on their own had proved too much for Bill and Lynne Jolitz. The patchkit which had been the underpinning for the BSD port to the 386 was revived and became the basis for the first FreeBSD release.”

More on h-online: Health Check: FreeBSD – “The unknown giant”