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 and Linux (RootBSD)

rootbsd_bsd_hostingThe guys over at RootBSD have updated their blog with a post on the differences between Linux and FreeBSD; partly seen from a hoster’s perspective.

We thought it would be a good idea to help educate our current RootBSD users, and potential users, as to some of the differences between FreeBSD and Linux. We have nothing against Linux at all, we actually like it, however there are very noticeable differences in the two. Without turning this into too much of a religious debate, here are a few points we consider

Let’s start off by looking at, what we believe is, the biggest difference in the two.

First off, Linux itself is a kernel, not an OS! Distributions (Red Hat, Debian, Suse and others) provide the installer and bundle lots of other open source software. There are easily well over 300 different Linux distributions. While this gives you a lot of choices, the existence of so many distributions also makes it difficult to use different distros since they are all a little bit different. Distributions don’t just differ in ease-of install and available programs; they also differ in directory layout, configuration practices, default software bundles, and most importantly the tools and prorcedures for software updates and patches.

FreeBSD is a complete operating system (kernel and userland) with a well-respected heritage grounded in the roots of Unix development. Since both the kernel and the provided utilities are under the control of the same release engineering team, there is less likelihood of library incompatibilities. Security vulnerabilities can also be addressed quickly by the security team. When new utilities or kernel features are added, the user simply needs to read one file, the Release Notes, which is publicly available on the main page of the FreeBSD website.

The post carries on with looking at performance, security and software: FreeBSD and Linux

About RootBSD

RootBSD was established with one goal in mind: provide reliable, flexible, and supported BSD-based hosting services to professionals and businesses.

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

Website: RootBSD

FreeBSD 8.0 benchmarked against Linux, OpenSolaris

Phoronix has done another benchmark test of FreeBSD against other *nix systems: Fedora and OpenSolaris.

“With the stable release of FreeBSD 8.0 arriving last week we finally were able to put it up on the test bench and give it a thorough look over with the Phoronix Test Suite. We compared the FreeBSD 8.0 performance between it and the earlier FreeBSD 7.2 release along with Fedora 12 and Ubuntu 9.10 on the Linux side and then the OpenSolaris 2010.02 b127 snapshot on the Sun OS side.

FreeBSD 8.0 introduced support for a TTY layer rewrite, network stack virtualization, improved support for the Sun ZFS file-system, the ULE kernel scheduler by default, a new USB stack, binary compatibility against Fedora 10, and improvements to its 64-bit kernel will allow a NVIDIA 64-bit FreeBSD driver by year’s end, among a plethora of other changes. With today’s benchmarking — compared to our initial Ubuntu 9.10 vs. FreeBSD 8.0 benchmarks from September — we are using the official build of FreeBSD 8.0 without any debugging options and we are also delivering a greater number of test results in this article, along with a greater number of operating systems being compared.

The hardware we are using for benchmarking this time was a Lenovo ThinkPad T61 notebook with an Intel Core 2 Duo T9300 processor, 2GB of system memory, a 100GB Hitachi HTS72201 7200RPM SATA HDD, and a NVIDIA Quadro NVS 140M graphics processor powering a 1680 x 1050 LVDS panel.”

Whatever you think of comparing and benchmarking FreeBSD vs Linux, here’s the comparison

FreeBSD 8.0 vs. Ubuntu 9.10 benchmarks

Some say comparing FreeBSD vs Linux benchmarks is unreliable and is as it were, comparing apples with pears.

For what it’s worth: the Phoronix team has done some FreeBSD 8.0 RC1 vs Ubuntu 9.10 Alpha 6 benchmarking:

Both FreeBSD 8.0 and Ubuntu 9.10 will be included in our upcoming big operating system comparison, but for now we are just focusing upon comparing Ubuntu 9.10 and FreeBSD 8.0, but have also added in FreeBSD 7.2 for reference and to see how the performance of this BSD operating system has changed. With FreeBSD 8.0 we were using the AMD64 DVD of the first release candidate using a stock installation. With Ubuntu 9.10 we were using the x86_64 server CD of the Alpha 6 build. With FreeBSD not shipping with a desktop environment by default, we used the Ubuntu server CD so that both could be tested just from the terminal in a similar environment. All of the FreeBSD and Ubuntu options were left at their defaults. One of the package versions worth noting is that GCC 4.2.1 is used in both FreeBSD 7.2 and FreeBSD 8.0 while Ubuntu 9.10 is using GCC 4.4.1. FreeBSD was also using the default UFS file-system while Ubuntu 9.10 is running with EXT4. Each operating system was tested with its default settings (including any debug options) and packages to test an “out of the box” experience. We will be back with more benchmarks once each of these operating systems have been officially released.

and concludes that,

… more times than not, Ubuntu 9.10 Alpha 6 came out on top compared to FreeBSD — both the 7.2 and 8.0-RC releases. Only in the 7-Zip, C-Ray, John The Ripper MD5, BYTE Unix Benchmark Dhrystone 2, and SQLite tests did FreeBSD outperform Ubuntu Linux. Between FreeBSD 7.2 and 8.0, the newer release generally did better but it had regressed with the 7-Zip, Gzip, MAFFT, and Threaded I/O Tester Read tests. That’s how the story pans out on a dual AMD Opteron quad-core workstation, but shortly we will be back around with our large operating system comparison on different hardware and with the final releases of these different operating systems to see how they compare.

Please note that 1) the inner workings of the two operating systems are different, and 2) neither of the systems are ready for release yet, so a lot of things will change and improve.

PC-BSD 7.1 vs. Kubuntu 9.04 Benchmarks

The well-know bench marking website Phoronix has carried out a benchmark run between Kubuntu 9.04 and PC-BSD 7.1 (20/04/2009)

Earlier this month PC-BSD 7.1 was released, which is based upon the FreeBSD 7.1 stable release, but of course with the extra packages and changes that make PC-BSD an easier to use BSD-based desktop operating system. PC-BSD 7.1 ships with X.Org 7.4 and KDE 4.2.2 installed along with many other packages when using the x86 or x64 DVD installations. Though with the Phoronix Test Suite now having enhanced support for PC-BSD, we decided to see how well PC-BSD 7.1 performs against Kubuntu 9.04.

Both systems perform almost equally (only seconds of difference), but Kubuntu scores more points in this test than PC-BSD.

I’d say that this test is not altogether “fair” as different versions of GCC and X.org have been used. This could easily have quite an impact on the results.

It would be interesting to see if Phoronix did this test again later on this year when FreeBSD 8.0 has come out.

Link
Details and graphs of the test

Great Bay Software moving to FreeBSD

Great Bay Software has announced (Press Release) that it has migrated their the OS of their appliances from Linux to FreeBSD.

The decision was motivated by FreeBSD’s license, stability and version control.

… In addition, the Great Bay has changed to FreeBSD® for all of its appliances, a move motivated by a quest for greater performance, more stability in terms of licensing, and better version control.

“For us, running on a generic Linux variant was no longer enough”, said Pettit.

“In our move to FreeBSD, we’ve seen dramatic improvements across the board. For example, in our most frequent database transactions we’ve actually tripled the performance of the system.”

Great Bay Software is the company behind Beacon Endpoint Profiler™ which is used for the deployment and management of 802.1X and Network Admission Control (NAC) systems. Their product is used in authentication-enabled networks, compliance initiatives, and incident response processes.

Links:

Announcement  |  Great Bay Software Website

Debian gets FreeBSD kernel support

The open-source Debian operating system (Linux) gained support for the FreeBSD kernel last weekend (unstable / experimental), allowing users to run the same operating system on two different software cores.

The project was announced in a message to the Debian developers’ announcement list.

More on zdnet.co.uk

Will it be useful? Time will tell – internetnews.com

The Debian kFreeBSD Team have listed their reasons for enabling the FreeBSD kernel.