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Demonology '08

By Trollaxor in Op-Ed
Fri Jan 11, 2008 at 06:15:07 PM EST
Tags: *BSD, BSD, Darwin, DragonFlyBSD, FreeBSD, Mac OS X, NetBSD, OpenBSD (all tags)

In the new year the Berkeley Software Distribution family of Unix-like operating systems is growing at a phenomenal rate and excitement over the possibilities for this operating system family is in the air. After unprecedented development and adoption as well as major shifts in the marketplace, it's time to take a look at what's new with this demonic family of operating systems. Don't fear, the word demon means Unix goodness at just the right price.


FreeBSD 5 was the darkest period in this operating system's history and morale and marketshare were at an all-time low. The problem originated from merging BSD/OS into FreeBSD; though the two systems shared a lot of code, the difference of just a couple years was staggering. FreeBSD's virtual memory and multi-processing code was immature, while BSD/OS's libraries were archaic. Mating the two was a mess that cost FreeBSD face and kept users on an older branch from the Nineties, 4.11.

After several years of struggle, Apple came to the rescue with Darwin -- its FreeBSD-based server operating system -- filling the holes where BSD/OS and FreeBSD didn't mesh. In just a few short months of code contribution, FreeBSD 6 began to take shape and even in development it looked miles ahead of the doomed 5 branch. Within months of release Hotmail and Yahoo! updated their mail servers and Apple developers began reincorporating the merged changes into Mac OS X Leopard. After years of tumult, Apple finally hit the switch that made FreeBSD "just work."

Now, with FreeBSD 7.0b on the horizon promising to wrap it all up, FreeBSD is once again taking the free Unix world by storm. It's a tight, efficient codebase leveraging the best of BSD/OS, Darwin, and FreeBSD that users have been clamoring for. FreeBSD users and sites now have a shining future ahead of them.


NetBSD is languishing. In supporting as many platforms as possible, development is a quagmire of obsolete hardware, spotty driver support, and developer infighting.

Where FreeBSD chooses to focus on a few platforms, NetBSD tinkers with obsolete hardware like z80, i386, 68k and C64 that draw away from putting new features into production. The drag is significant: NetBSD can't do many things that FreeBSD or Linux did years ago. It's gotten so bad, in fact, that the NetBSD Group voted to change version numbering to make it appear as if more was being done. There were eleven years between NetBSD 0.8 to 2.0; there have been just three years between NetBSD 2 and 4. You do the math.

That isn't to say that NetBSD is without its uses, however. Other operating systems often take code from NetBSD when they begin work on new drivers. There have also been occasions when developers borrowed or modeled NetBSD code to fix platform-specific bugs. But these are strictly developer applications, not end user, and GNOME and KDE won't run on NetBSD without liberal amounts of trouble. This is not something you pop on your PC when you get tired of Windows. In fact, NetBSD makes Vista look like utopia.

NetBSD's raison d'être is to crawl onto unsupported hardware, and for that we have them to thank for other operating systems' support for new platforms. But out of seventy-one supported platforms, NetBSD runs natively on just eight of them. Anything beyond development with NetBSD is a major investment of time and, if you're a company, money. Using NetBSD as a primary OS is neither a goal of the project nor practical. Caveat end user!


Picking up where FreeBSD and NetBSD do rather poorly, OpenBSD focuses on security no matter the cost. For example, when several bugs in Athlon 64 came to light, OpenBSD leader Theo de Raadt pulled all AMD support from the kernel before ever consulting his development team or announcing his intentions to the public. It was only after AMD CEO Héctor Ruiz pledged better support that de Raadt slowly began replacing AMD support into the kernel one microarchitecture at a time over the next several months.

If you think that's extreme, you must not be used to OpenBSD. In a line of work where one buffer overflow can mean your company's secret data, not to mention your job, every line of code counts. In OpenBSD, every line of code is passed around between developers and poked, probed, and teamed up on before it's even considered for inclusion. Theo de Raadt comes under fire for such harsh measures, but no other Unix comes close to OpenBSD's security.

The downside to this is that OpenBSD lags behind innovations that other operating systems implement, as it often ports them months or years after the developers have reengineered the code to OpenBSD's standards. This is another point of contention with the community, as the OpenBSD Foundation was forced to take code from FreeBSD to support Intel's cryptography module and had to rewrite NetBSD's firewall since it was so long in making its own. That's nothing, however, compared to the measures de Raadt himself takes.

In one highly publicized incident, a user who had questioned de Raadt's delay of porting CML2 was banned by de Raadt from the OpenBSD Foundation's mailing list. Later, he cracked the user's box and remapped their keyboard to prove that they hadn't configured their system properly, thus rendering their argument about CML2 support moot. Though rebuked by fellow developers and industry pundits, de Raadt never apologized and to this day has refused to include CML2.

If you plan on using OpenBSD, you'd better be prepared to deal with the consequences.


DragonFlyBSD aims to preserve the lightweight threading model of FreeBSD 4.8, of which it is a fork. Its developer, Matt Dillon, is a former Amiga and BeOS developer and began the project to keep the philosophy of those older operating systems alive. Users who favor or require FreeBSD 4, which is no longer supported, can use DragonFly.

Performance is also quite fast, but these benefits are at the cost of newer features and security. Dillon has begun syncing releases with subsequent FreeBSD 4 updates; DragonFlyBSD 1.10 was synced with FreeBSD 4.9 and DragonFly 1.14 will be synced with FreeBSD 4.11 in what Dillon has called "mirrored perfection."

Another gimmick of DragonFlyBSD is what Dillon calls netclustering, where users can anonymously cluster over the internet. DragonFly threads allow for just such clustering since they don't include security hooks and would facilitate fast multimedia crunching, all transparent to the user who would only see their work finish faster. In this way netclustering is akin to Apple's Xgrid but not quite as polished. Dillon has promised this for post-1.14 releases but, since he refuses to let others develop the project, that could be a while in coming.

While all of this sounds promising, nothing has been delivered yet. Installing DragonFly at the moment gives you a functioning FreeBSD 4 clone but not much more. Should Dillon deliver on his plans there might be compelling uses for this project, but that's a mighty big if for a guy coding a ten-year-old operating system alone in his parents' basement.


Darwin is the pinnacle of Unix, let alone Berkeley Software Distributions.

Since Apple bought Next, Darwin has changed the Unix paradigm. It is now the most widely-used Unix in the world bar none. Not even Linux comes close to the installed userbase of Darwin, which is at the core of every Mac OS X install. It runs in both 32- and 64-bit flavors on the Intel and Power architectures and it transparently subsumes the previously separate ideas of terminal, desktop, workstation, and server.

Darwin has all the positives and none of the negatives that the previous BSD distributions have, and Apple's proprietary APIs seal the deal. QuickTime, WebKit, CoreData, et al offer the premium services no other operating system does on top of the stable, modern Unix underpinnings of Darwin. It's the best way to ensure the secure, stable environment Mac OS X is. That's just how Apple plays.

And it's all in one version for just $129.99.


With all of these great improvements to the Berkeley operating system family in the last few years, BSD is clearly where it's at. Linux is a throwback to when Open Source was a hot buzzword and sharing code was a novel idea. Now, Apple and company use it as standard coding procedure to share and improve the tech they have and leverage their individual strengths.

Even when taking the few commercial Unices that still exist into account, like AIX and Solaris, BSD still owns the arena in its frantic steamroll to the top of the supercomputing mountain. Whether you want the general wholesomeness of FreeBSD, the KGB-like security of OpenBSD, the more experimental NetBSD or DragonFlyBSD, or the utter perfection of Mac OS X, BSD has your bases completely covered with room to grow in the future.

If you haven't converted, now's the time to become a demon worshipper.


Voxel dot net
o Managed Hosting
o VoxCAST Content Delivery
o Raw Infrastructure


My BSD of choice:
o Darwin 6%
o DragonFlyBSD 13%
o FreeBSD 13%
o Mac OS X 53%
o NetBSD 0%
o OpenBSD 13%

Votes: 15
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
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o Also by Trollaxor

Display: Sort:
Demonology '08 | 96 comments (80 topical, 16 editorial, 1 hidden)
wtf is this nerd shit (2.00 / 15) (#1)
by lonelyhobo on Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 08:38:12 PM EST

This is tech journalism. (3.00 / 8) (#17)
by Trollaxor on Fri Jan 11, 2008 at 12:05:03 PM EST

[ Parent ]
Technology and culture, from the trenches. (2.33 / 3) (#70)
by Corwin06 on Sat Jan 12, 2008 at 03:01:53 PM EST

"and you sir, in an argument in a thread with a troll in a story no one is reading in a backwater website, you're a fucking genius
[ Parent ]
"Trench" meaning Jobs' ass crack? /nt (2.33 / 3) (#77)
by mrogers on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 07:58:40 AM EST

[ Parent ]
I was not able to get Linux to work for me. (2.75 / 4) (#3)
by Brogdel on Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 08:46:41 PM EST

I could install it, but I could never find the all the drivers I needed, when I did find some I couldn't install them. Even simple things seemed to throw me. I installed that Ubuntu Linux OS, and the first thing I tried was just play an MP3. Wouldn't do it, needed a codec. When I did find one I didn't know how to install it. Maybe I'm trying to make it more complicated than it really is, I don't know.

This story makes it sound great, maybe I'll try again with the FreeBSD.

Ubuntu ... (2.00 / 3) (#15)
by some nerd on Fri Jan 11, 2008 at 12:04:07 PM EST

For mp3 / DVD etc support, see RestrictedFormats. It's annoying but legally it has to be that way.

Generally drivers should only be a problem if you have proprietary poorly-documented hardware that needs hacks like NDISwrapper, in which case you'll probably have just as many if not more problems on the BSDs. (Although I hear OpenBSD's wireless support is pretty good.)

Home Sweet Home

[ Parent ]

Thank you for your feedback. (3.00 / 2) (#21)
by Trollaxor on Fri Jan 11, 2008 at 12:20:15 PM EST

Linux is a wilderness. BSD is civilization.

[ Parent ]
shut the fuck up (1.00 / 6) (#38)
by Josh Smith II on Fri Jan 11, 2008 at 01:48:34 PM EST

It's dickheads like you that splinter the communities with your arrogant bullshit. "Project X is abyssmal and you'd be an idiot to not see it. Try Project Y"  Reverse with the next nerd you talk to. Pretty soon the common user is confused as fuck because they just wanted a fucking operating system and some programs, not a religion.

-- Josh Smith recommends you take a hulver hike.
[ Parent ]
how ironic (none / 1) (#44)
by rhiannon on Fri Jan 11, 2008 at 02:42:14 PM EST

or hypocritical, whatever....

I continued to rebuff the advances... so many advances... of so many attractive women. -MC
[ Parent ]
You could like elaborate you know. (none / 1) (#45)
by Josh Smith II on Fri Jan 11, 2008 at 02:57:20 PM EST

-- Josh Smith recommends you take a hulver hike.
[ Parent ]
STFU urself (3.00 / 6) (#46)
by MrHanky on Fri Jan 11, 2008 at 03:33:09 PM EST

I've used Linux since the late 90s, and even I want to see it dead.

"This was great, because it was a bunch of mature players who were able to express themselves and talk politics." Lettuce B-Free, on being a total fucking moron for Ron Paul.
[ Parent ]
How were you looking for drivers and shit? (none / 1) (#37)
by Josh Smith II on Fri Jan 11, 2008 at 01:46:10 PM EST

On the web? You don't download random files off the internet with Linux usually, you use apt-get or "Synaptic". Synaptic is like a huge file database that you can add sources to to get all sorts of software that's already been verified to be pretty well virus free.

-- Josh Smith recommends you take a hulver hike.
[ Parent ]
I think you're lying (none / 1) (#55)
by Peaker on Fri Jan 11, 2008 at 06:43:05 PM EST

When Ubuntu refuses to play an mp3, it offers to download and install the codec for you.

[ Parent ]
Thank you for your feedback. (3.00 / 2) (#56)
by Trollaxor on Fri Jan 11, 2008 at 06:44:12 PM EST

Not on my install. On my install it hangs at boot, then logs into my account in 8-bit mode.

[ Parent ]
Thanks for the clarification (2.00 / 3) (#58)
by Peaker on Fri Jan 11, 2008 at 06:49:51 PM EST

Up until now, I wasn't quite sure whether you were actually trolling or not.

You have now made that clear.

[ Parent ]

you're kinda fucking incredibly stupid (2.75 / 12) (#62)
by lonelyhobo on Fri Jan 11, 2008 at 11:11:25 PM EST

[ Parent ]
You're not an idiot (2.40 / 5) (#59)
by Rainy on Fri Jan 11, 2008 at 07:57:22 PM EST

I've used linux since about '97 and I did some programming since than, and system administration, and I recently started using Ubuntu. I started with 7.04 then upgraded to 7.10. Yeah, a lot of things are broken and don't work right. From what I hear Ubuntu is the best distribution right now so other ones, I assume, are worse.

Basically, in short, windows tries to make a good initial impression while linux makes a really terrible initial impression. What's worse is that linux advocates ignore the problems and you end up thinking it's either your incompetence or bad luck with incompatible hardware.

In some ways Linux is light years better than windows, though. For instance, quick multiple desktops, being able to use it for weeks or months without shutdown and without slowdown of the system, being able to apt-get install <program> where the program can be anything from gimp to an office suite.. Security is better, compiz looks much nicer than anything on windows.

What I really don't like about linux is that when there is a problem with X, people will tell you to use Y. When there's a problem with Y, they will tell you "of course, what kind of an asshole told you to use Y, use Z instead. Nobody uses Y, I don't know why it's even there!@". When there is a problem with Z, someone will tell you "It's well known that Z simply doesn't work.. it's a mess. Use A instead, works like a charm". You see where this is going, right?

Here are just a few problems I ran into (I ran into dozens so this is just a few picks):  KDE is very slow on a dual core amd system with 1gb of RAM. When a window is dragged, it seems to move slower than on an old pentium 100 with win95. After a couple of days of use it slowed down immensely, I spent 10 minutes closing down every window and trying to logout. Never seen a slow down like that even on windows. I did have a lot of programs open, though, about a dozen. Still, that's not really acceptable, and I did not file a bug because there's no specific error to report.

An animated progress bar option makes bar disappear in non-KDE programs. There was a number of such issues that are not terrible in themselves but are worse than what I'd see in WinXP normally. For instance if you right click on the launch area, there's no option to add a custom program. You have to add it first to the main menu and then you can add it to launch bar. There are a number of such small things that make very bad impression because they make it feel like a 0.9 release rather than 3.something release.

I've had a number of issues with Gnome as well, I don't remember right now but there are a lot of problems that make it feel half broken, even though it's faster than KDE; on first impression KDE feels far more polished.

Right now I'm using XFCe and it feels faster than both Gnome and KDE but there are a few things that are bad: pager is tiny - 4 pixels high, and there's no option to change its size. This may be because I have the bar vertically positioned. Default mixer does not allow to change volume because it focused on my TV card, it lists the sound card but does not let you change anything like volume on it. Another mixer did not work at all. The third mixer works but you have to click very close to the level of volume to drag it. It does not confirm visually whether you're close enough to it or not.

I'll spare you because in a couple of weeks of trying to do normal, standard things that 85% of users would want to do, I ran into dozens of bugs.. in foremost distro, latest version, year 2008.

The problem is that nobody wants to do proper, in-depth testing and nobody wants to write and maintain up to date docs. These are boring tasks that won't bring fame. At microsoft, they will simply pay 5,000 developers (or however much) to go through the boring tasks, every day for 8 hours.

Despite all of this I will continue to use Linux because once it's set up, it will not give you further problems. It's faster and lighter than windows if you stay away from gnome and kde.

I will recommend AGAINST trying linux for anyone who's not very technical OR has tons of free time. I think for at least a couple more years, but probably 5 more years, it will not be a serious contender for the desktop, unless someone like Google or IBM steps in with a load of cash.

If, however, you are techincal and have time and energy to get it straightened out for yourself, it's all peaches and cream, baby.

A good OS is half brilliant coding and half boring work. Linux does the first half better while Windows does the second half better. The second half is vastly more important for a desktop OS, that's why there's perhaps about 2-3% of people using Linux.

I think there should be some concentrated effort on boring parts of the work, i.e. testing and docs. Linux relies on users for testing and reporting of bugs, but users will not do that because too many things are broken. If you spot just one small thing, you'd go and spend some effort to report it, provide all relevant information, follow up, and then you'd feel like you improved a great product and made it even better. When you run into dozen of things at the same time, things that should have been caught in testing, you feel hopeless.

Again, I don't mean to be an asshole here.. Linux is volunteer work and is free, and in some ways much better than expensive Windows. And yet..
Rainy "Collect all zero" Day
[ Parent ]

I sincerely hope (none / 1) (#63)
by MrHanky on Sat Jan 12, 2008 at 05:01:26 AM EST

that was copypasta. No, I didn't read it.

"This was great, because it was a bunch of mature players who were able to express themselves and talk politics." Lettuce B-Free, on being a total fucking moron for Ron Paul.
[ Parent ]
Hmf. (1.25 / 4) (#64)
by BJH on Sat Jan 12, 2008 at 05:08:47 AM EST

Again, I don't mean to be an asshole here.

Too late. Whine whine whine whine whine. Go install gcc and fix it your fucking self.
Roses are red, violets are blue.
I'm schizophrenic, and so am I.
-- Oscar Levant

[ Parent ]

Linux is too YMMV (none / 0) (#79)
by Cro Magnon on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 03:52:53 PM EST

My most recent experiences with Ubuntu & Fedora have been pretty good. But I've also had nightmare experiences with both distros. I'd say that Windows has far more problems than Linux, but Linux's problems are more likely to be showstoppers than Windows.
Information wants to be beer.
[ Parent ]
I agree...sorta (none / 1) (#83)
by tannhaus on Fri Jan 18, 2008 at 10:13:06 AM EST

I ran linux for 10 years. I heard all the hype about Ubuntu and decided to give it a try (although by that point I had switched to OS X). I used Parallels and installed it.

In my opinion, SuSE is far ahead of Ubuntu.  Ubuntu did appear to have a lot of things that didn't work. It may be great for a minimalist install, but on a normal modern computer, I can't see how it can compare to SuSE OR Fedora.

[ Parent ]

Install vlc. (none / 0) (#66)
by fn0rd on Sat Jan 12, 2008 at 10:39:25 AM EST

Problem solved.

This fatwa brought to you by the Agnostic Jihad
[ Parent ]

The problem with MP3 is legality (none / 0) (#73)
by vadim on Sun Jan 13, 2008 at 12:17:06 PM EST

There's some licensing issue with including MP3 support. Since Ubuntu is free, they can't pay even a small amount for licensing for every download, that'd turn into a huge amount of cash very fast.
<@chani> I *cannot* remember names. but I did memorize 214 digits of pi once.
[ Parent ]
Well... (none / 0) (#78)
by Corwin06 on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 12:27:40 PM EST

... displace Ubuntu Corp outside of the U.S. of A. and royalties on patents that have been re-implemented a dozen times over since will not be an issue.
"and you sir, in an argument in a thread with a troll in a story no one is reading in a backwater website, you're a fucking genius
[ Parent ]
Last I checked (none / 0) (#95)
by davidduncanscott on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 12:30:57 PM EST

they're based on the Isle of Mann. It has more to do with philosophy and Debian than local laws.

[ Parent ]
NetBSD is not exactly languishing. (2.16 / 6) (#4)
by Morally Inflexible on Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 09:14:54 PM EST

OpenBSD is the latest fork of NetBSD, and there is a lot of shared code between the two.   Usually when the OpenBSD folks need a new feature, they start with NetBSD code.  the OpenBSD project is probably best known for OpenSSH;  nearly all versions of Linux and BSD use some version of OpenSSH.

NetBSD is the only *bsd with support for Xen  (FreeBSD and OpenBSD both have old patches for old versions of xen but they are unsupported and quite difficult to get working at all)  NetBSD doesn't currently support PAE, but  work is in progress on it, and NetBSD does support the x86_64 extensions.

Re: NetBSD is not exactly languishing. (3.00 / 3) (#18)
by Trollaxor on Fri Jan 11, 2008 at 12:08:35 PM EST

Regarding your comment about Net and OpenBSD sharing code, I think I addressed that fairly well in my story. Is there some aspect of it that needs a little more attention?

The second part of your comment is interesting - according to the model you outlined above and the one I present in my story, Xen support will eventually trickle to Open and FreeBSD either from NetBSD or Darwin/Mac OS X.

NetBSD supporting x64 is, of course, another matter altogether.

[ Parent ]

darwin doesn't support Xen (2.00 / 3) (#29)
by Morally Inflexible on Fri Jan 11, 2008 at 12:55:09 PM EST

and NetBSD isn't the 'parent branch' of FreeBSD like it is for OpenBSD, though they do share a common ancestor in 386bsd, but it's much harder to take code out of NetBSD and put it in FreeBSD than to take it out of NetBSD and put it in OpenBSD.

someone already ported the NetBSD xen stuff to OpenBSD, but Theo rejected the patch-  I don't agree entirely with his reasons, but it's consistent with the OpenBSD way.  

Kip Macy did a lot of work to port Xen 3 to FreeBSD 7-current, and it did work for a while, but the work has since been abandoned.  (I tried to continue it, but turns out I'm too dumb-  his patch set now is out of date both in terms of the current Xen3 and in terms of the FreeBSD 7 source tree)  

the part that I think might be missing from the story is that you talk about NetBSD having few drivers, etc, without pointing out that OpenBSD has fewer.   OpenBSD is a lot like 'audited NetBSD'  It has some security-specific unique features, but most of the base os is a subset of NetBSD that they have audited.  

I would also mention some of the awesome projects that have come from the OpenBSD people that get a lot more general use than the OS itself, I mentioned OpenSSH, but OpenBGPd is also pretty good, but doesn't have the sheer market penetration of OpenSSH.  

Uh, also as for your assessment that Net and FreeBSD have poor security, well, maybe compared to OpenBSD, but they are all far better than any linux distro.   holes at all in the base system are pretty rare, remote root holes extremely so, when you compare to any of the Linux distros.  

[ Parent ]

Thank you for your feedback. (none / 1) (#30)
by Trollaxor on Fri Jan 11, 2008 at 12:57:50 PM EST

I never said NetBSD was a parent to FreeBSD, only that FreeBSD et al borrow from NetBSD when starting new hardware support.

Thanks to the licensing of all members of the BSD family, anything one has can be ported to another without limit, so it's not unrealistic to think that Xen support in FreeBSD might begin with a port of NetBSD's work.

[ Parent ]

yeah, it's possible, likely even. (1.50 / 2) (#31)
by Morally Inflexible on Fri Jan 11, 2008 at 01:07:44 PM EST

I was just saying that taking code from netbsd to openbsd is easier than netbsd to freebsd.    But there is lots of sharing in all directions.  

[ Parent ]
Thank you for your feedback. (none / 0) (#32)
by Trollaxor on Fri Jan 11, 2008 at 01:10:33 PM EST

I thought there had been an effort some years back to standardize on some thing or another to make sharing code between any BSD (or at least the Big Three) much easier.

[ Parent ]
might want to reference the bsd family tree (2.00 / 3) (#33)
by Morally Inflexible on Fri Jan 11, 2008 at 01:15:04 PM EST

http://www.jp.freebsd.org/cgi/cvsweb.cgi/~checkout~/src/share/misc/bsd-family-tr ee?rev=1.117&content-type=text/plain

or similar.  

[ Parent ]

Thank you for your feedback. (none / 1) (#34)
by Trollaxor on Fri Jan 11, 2008 at 01:18:15 PM EST

That's useful, but is there a non-ASCII version, something in SVG perhaps? My googling didn't find any.

[ Parent ]
here is one that is slightly out of date- .gif (none / 0) (#47)
by Morally Inflexible on Fri Jan 11, 2008 at 05:11:48 PM EST


[ Parent ]
Where is Hilary and Obama? (2.72 / 11) (#5)
by United Fools on Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 09:20:46 PM EST

We are united, we are fools, and we are America!
They got a room? (none / 1) (#27)
by shm on Fri Jan 11, 2008 at 12:38:38 PM EST


[ Parent ]
You are a shitty troll and I hope you hang. (2.00 / 4) (#39)
by Josh Smith II on Fri Jan 11, 2008 at 01:49:35 PM EST

-- Josh Smith recommends you take a hulver hike.
[ Parent ]
I agree with most of what you write (2.83 / 6) (#6)
by mybostinks on Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 11:37:34 PM EST

FBSD woke up one day and became an awesome OS. It wasn't bad with 4.xx but 5.x was terrible. But with 6.x it became a usable system and impressive. I mainly use it in the datacenter but run a GUI version at home for kicks. The nicest thing is that it runs on new Dell boxes and HP servers and uses the hardware RAID.

NBSD I put on old hardware when nothing else will install. On occasion, I have had it crash on a server class box. Like you write, it is missing lots of drivers for the new stuff.

OBSD is ok but it lags behind and only works well with 1-2+ year old servers. I have yet to get hardware RAID working with it on brand new Dell servers. The only thing I really use from OBSD is OpenSSH and PF. IMHO de Raadt sucks, and there's plenty of proof on the 'net about his shenanigans.

I gave DFBSD a shot awhile back but why use it when even NBSD would be better.

I have never used Darwin.

Finally, I agree that had it not been for Apple my servers would still be running some Linux distro.


Thank you for your feedback. (3.00 / 2) (#20)
by Trollaxor on Fri Jan 11, 2008 at 12:19:45 PM EST

Me too.

[ Parent ]
+1SP (2.66 / 9) (#12)
by bodza on Fri Jan 11, 2008 at 07:34:43 AM EST

+1FP if you take your tongue out of Steve Jobs' asshole.

And BSD peaked with SunOS 4.1.3
"Civilization will not attain to its perfection until the last stone from the last church falls on the last priest." - Émile Zola

Yup (none / 0) (#69)
by kjs3 on Sat Jan 12, 2008 at 12:32:41 PM EST

> And BSD peaked with SunOS 4.1.3

Amen, brother.

[ Parent ]

NetBSD exaggerations. (2.40 / 5) (#13)
by NoMoreNicksLeft on Fri Jan 11, 2008 at 11:21:33 AM EST

They don't port it to z80 or the c64 (6502). 8bit systems have too many problems for a modern OS to be able to manage it... in many cases, straight 16bit systems are too weak. Too little memory, for one thing... 64k is the native limit, and even with exotic upgrades (which usually rely on bankswitching), this is just a killer. And it's only aggravated by lack of a hardware mmu... something that is required for any real OS (DOS doesn't count). An MMU can be emulated in software, at a cost. But that just means you need even more real memory, a reasonably fast hard disk sized in megs, and even more cpu cycles.

The chances of ever getting a NetBSD or a linux on my TRS-80/6000 is minimal, and that's a 68000 and 2 megs of ram. The C64 is ludicrous. I should call you a liar, but for the nagging doubt that if I were to check the NetBSD page that they'd list those as experimental ports...

Do not look directly into laser with remaining good eye.

NotBSD (3.00 / 8) (#14)
by raduga on Fri Jan 11, 2008 at 11:45:47 AM EST

but "real unix!!111!111 for z80!11!!1"

And yuor TRS-80 will run Xenix just fine, if'n you can get Microsoft to sell yuo a copy...

[ Parent ]

It has the 15 meg hard drive installed! (none / 1) (#28)
by NoMoreNicksLeft on Fri Jan 11, 2008 at 12:42:13 PM EST

And I think it has Xenix already on it.

The screen rolls though, and I've not bothered to try to fix the vertical on it yet. That seems fixable though.

And, I can't find the arcnet expansion card for it to save my life. So it'll never be networked beyond serial. Hell, I probably can't even get it to do tcp/ip. This is a big problem though, because it only has 8" floppies, so without a network connection getting any software to it at all will be a challenge.

Wonder if I'll have to root it, or if the inital prompt will come up passwordless.

Do not look directly into laser with remaining good eye.
[ Parent ]

Serial port + Kermit (none / 0) (#67)
by kjs3 on Sat Jan 12, 2008 at 12:24:20 PM EST

You should be able to get Kermit or Xmodem on it and move files to it over the serial port.  Slow at 9600 or 19.2k, but it works.  I did this to get enough software on my Genix box to get it talking over the network.

[ Parent ]
They're not (3.00 / 2) (#23)
by some nerd on Fri Jan 11, 2008 at 12:22:18 PM EST

Hint : "Trollaxor"

Home Sweet Home

[ Parent ]
Thank you for your feedback. (3.00 / 2) (#24)
by Trollaxor on Fri Jan 11, 2008 at 12:23:15 PM EST

And they do!

[ Parent ]
I see your problem... (none / 1) (#68)
by kjs3 on Sat Jan 12, 2008 at 12:27:20 PM EST

You meant to write "I don't know anything about operating systems other than XP and Linux".  Fixed that for you.

[ Parent ]
I don't appreciate your abusive comment. (3.00 / 9) (#16)
by Trollaxor on Fri Jan 11, 2008 at 12:04:45 PM EST

And I don't appreciate your lack of constructive critique. It doesn't benefit me, this story, or Kuro5hin.

I thought you had been banned like (1.60 / 5) (#40)
by sausalito on Fri Jan 11, 2008 at 01:53:09 PM EST

two years ago. Glad to see you back. Still, from every angle one looks at it, this article is lacking. I know I know, it's supposed to be a troll but

1. There's not one single link to prove your assertions.
2.FreeBSD: The 5 branch was indeed a low point for morale and technology, but... where did you find the market share figures? So it's Apple that made FreeBSD work ('Apple finally hit the switch that made FreeBSD "just work."'): possible, but I thought that Apple mainly developed its own flavour of the system (XNU kernel coming from NeXT, the Carbon API etc) and employed a few FreeBSD developers withoug having a say on the FreeBSD architecture.

  1. Dragonfly  is not the highest profile project out there, but it's hardly coded by "one guy in a basement" as demonstrated here. The explanation on the differences between FreeBSD and Dragonfly is quite horrible, too. I won't say more though. cause I'm no expert either. A few grammar and spelling mistakes in this section ("performance is fast", "synced")
  2. OpenBSD: FreeBSD does not do a "poor job" with security. A quick Scroogling sheds no light on the "highly-publicised incident". Link pls.
  3. Darwin: you compare a (mainly) desktop system with server-oriented systems. This makes no sense.

In a sentence: the article is shit from start to finish. Given the quality of the other section articles though, I voted it to section.


GBH - "The whole point is that the App Store acts as a firewall between busy soccer moms and goatse links"

Thank you for your feedback. (none / 0) (#41)
by Trollaxor on Fri Jan 11, 2008 at 01:54:22 PM EST

Why do you use Scroogle instead of Google?

[ Parent ]
because I don't like Google (none / 1) (#42)
by sausalito on Fri Jan 11, 2008 at 02:19:13 PM EST

I don't like to hit "Preview Comment" either, it seems.


GBH - "The whole point is that the App Store acts as a firewall between busy soccer moms and goatse links"
[ Parent ]

+1 ZFS (2.75 / 8) (#48)
by horny smurf on Fri Jan 11, 2008 at 05:20:27 PM EST

While linux fags treat ZFS like soap, OS X Leopard and FreeBSD support it. I prefer a file system designed by professionals, not a homicidal murderer that had to import a third world wife.

Thank you for your feedback. (none / 0) (#51)
by Trollaxor on Fri Jan 11, 2008 at 05:27:48 PM EST

[ Parent ]
homocidal murders are the best kind. (3.00 / 3) (#54)
by chlorus on Fri Jan 11, 2008 at 06:17:09 PM EST

the only kind?

Peahippo: Coked-up internet tough guy or creepy pedophile?
[ Parent ]

There are several kinds (3.00 / 5) (#57)
by MrHanky on Fri Jan 11, 2008 at 06:46:36 PM EST

Here at K5, we have a muricidal murderer, for instance. But, yes, homicide is best.

"This was great, because it was a bunch of mature players who were able to express themselves and talk politics." Lettuce B-Free, on being a total fucking moron for Ron Paul.
[ Parent ]
WHERE THE FUCK IS MY SLASH FIC? $ (none / 1) (#61)
by LilDebbie on Fri Jan 11, 2008 at 10:11:49 PM EST

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

Thank you for your feedback. (3.00 / 2) (#75)
by Trollaxor on Sun Jan 13, 2008 at 11:46:15 PM EST

Presenting slashfic to the queue for Kuro5hin users to vote on oddly causes anonymization of my account.

[ Parent ]
Ah...I see... (1.00 / 3) (#65)
by kjs3 on Sat Jan 12, 2008 at 09:38:11 AM EST

Okay...you're a Darwin fanboi.  NetBSD tries to support z80 and c64?  The only thing relevant about OpenBSD is Theo is a douchebag?  Dragonfly is gimmiky?

You are really even trying, are you.

nostalgia (3.00 / 3) (#71)
by Blarney on Sat Jan 12, 2008 at 06:20:07 PM EST

Oh man this brings tears to my eyes. Trollaxor, still alive, that's so excellent. Good times, good times. Remember Linux, when we were all installing it and compiling it, wasn't that grand? Oh, those wonderful good times with modules and XF86Config and KDE's circular dependencies, with corrupted RPM databases, with archaic BIOS that didn't keep up with hard drive sizes, oh, getting that mousewheel to work, patching XFree86 and SVGALib to do so, wasn't that a gas?

Remember Linux jokes? Oh that ruled.

Meanwhile the world has moved on, and for some odd reason, the hot new computer is the Apple Macintosh. Yes, there is no need for any other *NIX system on the desktop. Sad but true. Though you know, Windows 2000 wasn't that bad. And neither is XP. Vista is horsecrap, but I'm happy to wait it out while MSFT fixes it. And when I get money, I'm gonna buy me a really sweet Mac.

Excellent nostalgia, dude. I miss the OS wars.

IAWTP (3.00 / 2) (#81)
by horny smurf on Tue Jan 15, 2008 at 12:08:26 AM EST

[ Parent ]
Yes, but which one does Ron Pail support? (3.00 / 3) (#72)
by ubernostrum on Sun Jan 13, 2008 at 07:38:28 AM EST

I'm guessing OpenBSD, but I want to be sure.

You cooin' with my bird?
Thank you for your feedback. (none / 0) (#74)
by Trollaxor on Sun Jan 13, 2008 at 03:42:18 PM EST

Ron Paul doesn't care which BSD he uses so long as source to fossil drivers are included.

[ Parent ]
+1 FP, Tech. (none / 1) (#76)
by Soviet Russian on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 06:46:58 AM EST

Also, I'd like to read a Trollaxor report on SOA.

OHHH very clever (2.50 / 4) (#80)
by hughjampton on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 08:59:00 PM EST

So what might be a nerdly paean to BSD in all its delicious variety is actually a greasy chunk of Apple fanboyism...

Yeah, "all the positives"... (none / 0) (#84)
by hummassa on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 05:32:12 AM EST

And "none of the negatives"??
Darwin is not as secure as OpenBSD,
not nearly as portable as NetBSD,
and far slower than FreeBSD, DragonFlyBSD or Linux. Oh man.

[ Parent ]
I miss adequacy.org. (3.00 / 3) (#82)
by phraggle on Thu Jan 17, 2008 at 08:05:12 AM EST

QUESTION (none / 0) (#85)
by kbudha on Thu Jan 24, 2008 at 03:16:01 PM EST

I'm currently trying out Ubuntu since I couldn't find a workable crack for XP.

I need the following in order of most important:
user-friendly + resource frugality + security + compatibility.

I really hate the new program install process for Ubuntu. I'm probably a noob at computers but I like automated install processes like in Windows.

Resources and driver compatibility are important since I'm running a PC with 700 MHZ, 1 GB of PC-133 SDRAM, with a 64Mb video card.

What would you suggest?

Use synaptic (none / 0) (#87)
by cburke on Sat Jan 26, 2008 at 02:05:08 PM EST

Synaptic is a GUI package manager for Ubuntu, and all you do is click on the software you want to install, then click "apply" and it goes and downloads the software and installs it for you.

It's about as automatic as it gets.

[ Parent ]

Most widely used Unix my ass (3.00 / 2) (#86)
by cburke on Sat Jan 26, 2008 at 02:01:26 PM EST

Darwin's user base is a tiny drop in the ocean compared to Linux, and other forms of BSD and Unix for that matter.  Because the vast majority of all Unix installations are in servers and workstations, and the vast majority of Unix users are system administrators, webmasters, and engineering professionals.

Many kudos to Apple for putting a friendly face on Unix and exposing an unwitting populace to the power of free software and competent OS design.  Just don't delude yourself into thinking that  somehow makes it the dominant Unix.

Maybe if some day Mac OS grows up into a big-boy Unix and gets significant server share, or succeeds in breaking everyone of their Microsoft addiction -- and God bless 'em in that endeavor -- then we'll be able talk about it being the "most widely used".

You're not clear on a few points. (none / 0) (#89)
by Trollaxor on Tue Jan 29, 2008 at 10:01:05 AM EST

I understand that Unix mindshare is invested in other, older Unices like AIX, Solaris, etc. that run on servers, but the server market and install base were and are significantly smaller than that of the end user market. In fact, if you're realistic about it, there's not usually a 1:1 ratio of (admin) user:server as it is with end user systems, so you're woefully overestimating the number of Unix servers and users.

Also, Leopard is now officially Unix, so your "big-boy" macho terminology is also incorrect.

Thanks for commenting!

[ Parent ]

Mindshare? Try deployed boxes (none / 0) (#90)
by cburke on Tue Jan 29, 2008 at 11:34:00 AM EST

The server market is smaller than the home desktop market, but Mac OS only has a very small fraction of that end-user market.  OS X has only been around for a few years, and Apple has only enjoyed large unit growth in the past couple years, meaning that they are a long way from overtaking other Unix in terms of actually deployed boxes.

And yes, I'm fully aware of the less than 1:1 ratio between servers and admins.  Taking that into account the server market still outnumbers home Mac PCs, and there is in fact a 1:1 ratio between Unix workstations and end-users.  Sorry, but Darwin still has a long way to go before you could even plausibly suggest it is the "most widely used".

A "Big Boy" Unix is not anything that can be called UNIX(tm), it is one that someone would consider running on "Big Boy" hardware.  Sorry but Leopard is essentially non-existent on anything that doesn't come in single pretty plastic box.  But don't feel bad!  Linux had to grow up at some point, and maybe Darwin will one day too!

[ Parent ]

Bias. (none / 0) (#91)
by Trollaxor on Tue Jan 29, 2008 at 01:06:13 PM EST

As of the latest numbers, there are some 20-22 million Mac OS X systems in use. That trumps the more realistic Linux estimates as well as any one single Unix vendor. Added together I wouldn't be sure. But there are no more than 66,000 Digital Unix/Tru-64/Ultrix systems in use at any single time, for instance. That number declines as time goes on. Likewise Sun has about 2 million boxes deployed. Not matter how you cut it, there are more Macs in use no matter what market they're in.

[ Parent ]
Bias indeed (none / 0) (#92)
by cburke on Tue Jan 29, 2008 at 02:50:44 PM EST

Ooh, more systems than Ultrix?  Wow that sure is impressive, Darwin is teh mostest!

Picking on poor ol' Sun's is likewise unfair when your stated number of total deployments is about the same -- give or take a few hundred thousand -- as what companies like IBM and HP ship each and every year.

Thus I also conclude that Linux estimates you consider "more realistic" are the ones that paint Darwin in a positive light, unit-wise.  Unfortunately for that viewpoint, Linux's known shipped market share gives it a plurality of the server market and due to the duration of server installations -- a single server typically lasting longer than the entire existence of Mac OS X, and any re-burn of said server to Linux going uncounted -- means there's really no way Darwin is in the lead at this point.

Sorry.  You'll have to settle for having the most user-friendly Unix.  But most widely used?  Only in the minds of those who think end-users are the only users, and who mistake "new and shiny" with "what everyone has".  Hate to break it to you, but Darwin is not the iPod, because the UNIX market is not the mp3 player market.

[ Parent ]

#93 (none / 0) (#93)
by Trollaxor on Wed Jan 30, 2008 at 07:41:30 PM EST

What server operating system is HP shipping? OpenVMS? HP-UX? I think neither.

IBM is the only real Unix system vendor other than Apple nowadays and they're nowhere near the volume Apple does. Apple shipped 3.2 million Macs last quarter. That's against IBM's 756,000 Power-based AIX or Linux servers and 600,000 Intel-based Linux or Solaris servers.

Let's be real here, the numbers don't lie.

[ Parent ]

some help plz? (none / 1) (#88)
by kbudha on Sun Jan 27, 2008 at 01:23:18 PM EST

Where the fuck is the command line in Ubuntu?

I've got a 2nd hard drive that won't mount because "NTFS is marked to be in use"

Do I need to convert it over EXT3 first? Any utilities that allow that without data loss?

Should I just force mount it like the error message on my computer says?
If so WHERE THE FUCK IS THE COMMAND LINE IN UBUNTU???????????????????????/

Front page, wtf? (none / 1) (#94)
by itsbruce on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 05:57:04 AM EST

How did this get voted FP? There is nothing of value here; the guy wants everybody to know how much he loves Apple, great. As Op-ed, it's harmless but it isn't news and it is almost completely uninformative. There are very few salient points of information presented in the entire article and none at all in the Darwin section (certainly no citations to validate his vague and grandiose assertions.) So nobody reads or comments on his actual blog and he wanted to improve this by reposting here. OK. It doesn't make it worth reading and certainly not on the front page.


It is impolite to tell a man who is carrying you on his shoulders that his head smells.
It's easy to criticize. (none / 0) (#96)
by Trollaxor on Tue Feb 12, 2008 at 10:55:11 PM EST

So where's your article on the BSD family of operating systems?

[ Parent ]
Demonology '08 | 96 comments (80 topical, 16 editorial, 1 hidden)
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