Best BSD alternative(s) to FreeBSD?

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Spartrekus

Spartrekus

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My cousin set up other servers with OpenBSD and FreeBSD in the past but has never used NetBSD. The SUN is his hardware so our order of testing was pretty much the one of lest surprise.
Maybe he still wanna try the NetBSD on it? Why not run a live netbsd.
 

aht0

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The question is though: in what scenario would one not be able to run FreeBSD? There might be exotic hardware platforms where FreeBSD isn't supported, but I doubt that OpenBSD would support them. NetBSD has a long tradition of running on a lot of older and more diverse hardware.
Probably NetBSD is better when you have laptop with Optimus hybrid GPU. From Linux I know that Nouveau driver is able to handle it, NetBSD has Nouveau port too, been waiting for it's ZFS port get properly squared away before installing it again on Optimus laptops. FreeBSD can only do LLVM-piped GL there.
 

hruodr

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I can recommend OpenBSD. I used it many years long as my only Desktop OS, and still use it, I like it very much. I began to use FreeBSD (again) only because of ZFS: (a) it corrects redundant stored files using checksums, (b) runs not in only
one OS, (c) it has the chance to live a lot of time. But ZFS is an exaggeration and bloated for my only archival use, a
waste of resources: it is a compromise, because I did not find a better alternative.

OpenBSD and FreeBSD are in some way very different. OpenBSD is more modern, transparent, clean, innovative, coherent:
it is not a surprise that it does not support ZFS. FreeBSD is more traditional, collects a lot of very different things that
developed in the time, perhaps less ideological and more pragmatical: FreeBSD is more BSD than OpenBSD.
 
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Spartrekus

Spartrekus

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I can recommend OpenBSD. I used it many years long as my only Desktop OS, and still use it, I like it very much. I began to use FreeBSD (again) only because of ZFS: (a) it corrects redundant stored files using checksums, (b) runs not in only
one OS, (c) it has the chance to live a lot of time. But ZFS is an exaggeration and bloated for my only archival use, a
waste of resources: it is a compromise, because I did not find a better alternative.

OpenBSD and FreeBSD are in some way very different. OpenBSD is more modern, transparent, clean, innovative, coherent:
it is not a surprise that it does not support ZFS. FreeBSD is more traditional, collects a lot of very different things that
developed in the time, perhaps less ideological and more pragmatical: FreeBSD is more BSD than OpenBSD.
Why you do need ZFS in particularly? Maybe bigger harddisks, then move all to other FS.

NetBSD isn't more BSD than Free/OpenBSD?
 

ralphbsz

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Why you do need ZFS in particularly? Maybe bigger harddisks, then move all to other FS.
ZFS is just a better file system. It has checksums (not quite end-to-end but close), CoW, built-in RAID, all these good things. For large systems (high capacity) this is vital, but even for small systems (one or two medium size disks), it is good.

NetBSD isn't more BSD than Free/OpenBSD?
The term "more BSD" is contentless.
 

hruodr

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With "more BSD" I though nearer to the original idea: (Berkeley) *Software Distribution*. OpenBSD ist not a Software
Distribution, but an Operating System with a clear idea. I wrote coherent: all its pieces tend to obey a specific standard and
so the whole. Just test it, or read the mailing list, and you will see what I mean.

I clearly wrote for what I need ZFS: not for the lot of wonderful cool features, but as a file system that (1) cares on data
integrity and corrects when it finds errors, that (2) do not make me dependent of only one operating system, (3)
that hopefully will be readable in 30 years.

I think, since long ago one should have invented a file system for only doing good archiving. The conditions for archiving are not the same as for a running system.
 
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Spartrekus

Spartrekus

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The big thing of OpenBSD is the installer.
The Openbsd installer is from antiquity. The Openbsd installer is not much user friendly. It is always cool to fire up another console with F2...F6 to check what is going on.
Furthermore, the mounted directories /usr... is a lot.
uname ? none.
a: b: c: ... is not much clear.

NetBSD for that matters goes better.
NetBSD is far more user friendly.
NetBSD i386 / x86 interests is actually reminding us today's Microsoft.
NetBSD has already good CPU machine availability.
The usb image installer has live shell directly.
/dev/sd0a ... until ... infinite shall be simplified.
The size of the image to install is terrific. About 1 GB ;)
CPU​
Machines​
Install media​
amd6464-bit x86-family machines with AMD and Intel CPUsDVD, USB image, UEFI USB image (see instructions)
armARM development boards like Raspberry Pi, Banana Pi, ODROID, moreARMv6, ARMv7
i38632-bit x86-family generic machines ("PC clones")CD, USB image
mipsMIPS development boards like EdgeRouter, Loongson, Malta,moremips64, mips32
sparc64Sun UltraSPARC (64-bit)CD
othersamiga, alpha, cats, dreamcast, M68k, PowerPC, sparc32, VAX,more
 
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Spartrekus

Spartrekus

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It's weird in netbsd that it uses rpcbind on the desktop which opens ports.
It is a bit weird indeed. There are few things about security about NetBSD.

There are not so much choices actually.

- FreeBSD : if you have luck that it works. There are not much fixing possibilities if there is an entropy or an important issue with the packages. 13. is not already working. 12. has the known entropy issue. Once there is a broken package, then, you need another BSD alt.
- NetBSD : if you manage to get it working. The kernel and hardware support quite better than FreeBSD, but it is not FreeBSD inside.

Finally, you run Linux with Gnome and Wayland ;)
 

kpedersen

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The big thing of OpenBSD is the installer.
The Openbsd installer is from antiquity. The Openbsd installer is not much user friendly.
I disagree, I wish all installers were like this. I can install OpenBSD with my eyes closed (I just hammer the enter key until I hear my computer restart).
I also had to install over a serial port recently (actually a SunFire V210) and I really did appreciate the simple effective installer.

Don't get me wrong, FreeBSD's installer is still pretty good but I actually think the TUI is a little unnecessary over a series of CLI prompts. Also, after all is said and done, I even think the OpenBSD one ends up doing more for you; such as setting up xenodm, aparture, ssh server, etc.

Both are better than Linux where you either have this useless X11 Bloatware one (Fedora) or you simply do not have an installer (Arch) so you have to waste your time entering commands manually (most users just copy the wiki anyway). These guys just haven't *quite* got it ;)
 

xtremae

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I don't know, I just prefer a plain shell install over any other method. In this case, both {Free,Open}BSD are exemplary to the point where I don't even have to look up the wiki or copy / paste any boilerplate. I also find the Anaconda installer, featured in most RedHat sponsored distros to be the most horrible among existing GUI installers. Not only is it slow and bloated but also unlike most, it follows a non linear process which can be quite confusing to a new user.
 
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Spartrekus

Spartrekus

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I disagree, I wish all installers were like this. I can install OpenBSD with my eyes closed (I just hammer the enter key until I hear my computer restart).
I also had to install over a serial port recently (actually a SunFire V210) and I really did appreciate the simple effective installer.

Don't get me wrong, FreeBSD's installer is still pretty good but I actually think the TUI is a little unnecessary over a series of CLI prompts. Also, after all is said and done, I even think the OpenBSD one ends up doing more for you; such as setting up xenodm, aparture, ssh server, etc.

Both are better than Linux where you either have this useless X11 Bloatware one (Fedora) or you simply do not have an installer (Arch) so you have to waste your time entering commands manually (most users just copy the wiki anyway). These guys just haven't *quite* got it ;)
thank you very much
I give a try to OpenBSD ...

I like the concept of FreeBSD, it is really old good thing with the bsdinstall :
Step 1) the keyboard - wow Linux cannot never imagine that it is the most important.
Step 2) the partition and just unpack the base and kernel - just this is enough
Step 3) enter root passwd.
Step 4) done. restart and configure by hand with rc.conf single file.

You just do not care about how to start it. Just chainloader +1 if necessary.
It works, it boots, it finds the network, you remove the usb wifi dongle, it can get back to the network, you can bring back and again devices, does not matter at all, and FreeBSD continues to work like nothing happens. Well, that's really awesome.

However, an entropy boot fix would be cool some day ;)

You do not have bsdinstall? no worries
You just install BSD anywhere with just 2 stuffs: gpart + tar
Done, installed.

In any case you do want to install from source. clang is there to make you dream come true. You can survive and recompile by hand.
clang by default is cool.

One can see that FreeBSD is really mature and very very high quality OS.

The base is more or less little and fast.

No bash, no perl, no python ;) lol
 

ucomp

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on OpenBSD installer I like the question :
ssh root access yes or no
 

Alain De Vos

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Some ideas to have some fun , i mean don't try it,
-Install openbsd on a disk with two openbsd partitions of partition type A6.
-Run the automatic fsck of freebsd on a openbsd slice
-Run the automatic fsck of openbsd on a freebsd slice
-Install openbsd on a gpt partition created in linux with gparted.
-Try to go back in the openbsd installer
 

ucomp

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yep, as far as I remember , it was quite easy escaping by command '!' from the installer to prompt ... do some operations and go back to the installer...
 

Alain De Vos

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I think a good installer should behave like a tree. Where you can go up and down forward and backward.
 

scottro

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OpenBSD's installer is pretty good, but I find the docs for partitioning are written for someone smarter than me. The old docs made it easy, so maybe I've just gotten dumber.

However, (this may be unique to OpenBSD, you can't do it with Free and I've not used Net or Dragonfly in a long time) if you're multibooting, like Linux, it can use a logical drive and doesn't require a primary partition. It works pretty well on a lot of thinkpads as its developers seem to use those a lot. I have a page on multibooting it--last time I looked the FAQ said it's complex and such, but I find it quite straightforward, at least on a Linux machine.

Going back into the reasoning--lots of times, folks just want a BSD on their laptop. There doesn't have to be a reason. I remember this great statement, which at present I can only paraphrase. It was when alpine, the mail client, was called pine and it was one of the many arguments about pine vs. mutt. The author said, People pull out all sorts of technical reasons to justify what is, in the end, an emotional decision. So if someone asks me why I want a BSD on my laptop, I feel justified saying because I want to. (Which makes me think I should put a link to the video that, I think, first got Billie Piper, Rose in Doctor Who, known in England. It was a song called Because we want to or something similar. With the confidence of youth it has lines like Why ya gotta play that song so loud, Because we want to.
 

Alain De Vos

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In openbsd I ended up using the autolayout, following removing all the slices, using a calculator to calculate start end size ...
An installer should not in any case expect an empty disk or leave you in the air, unless you are Windows.
Dragonfly has the same problem to my feeling.
Then Openbsd expect "b" partition as swap if its not there it will not boot.
 

ucomp

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In openbsd I ended up using the autolayout, following removing all the slices, using a calculator to calculate start end size ...
An installer should not in any case expect an empty disk or leave you in the air, unless you are Windows.
Dragonfly has the same problem to my feeling.
Then Openbsd expect "b" partition as swap if its not there it will not boot.
I deleted all autolayout-slices(except msdos(aarch64)) by typing 'd' as far as I remember ,
then created only a(root partition mount point /) and b(swap), didn't need a calculator..
 

kpedersen

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-Try to go back in the openbsd installer
I guess it lets you into the shell still where you can do a
Code:
# dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/rsd0c bs=1M
Then I can just blast all my worries away ;)

In openbsd I ended up using the autolayout, following removing all the slices, using a calculator to calculate start end size ...
Yep, I always start with the autolayout. I then realized that if I wanted a bigger /usr partition (usually the case because I put the ports tree there), then I just resize it with 'R' and very smartly it automatically reduces the size of the /home partition to make room for it. After this I was less frightened of this tool and now actually prefer it.

Either way, almost anything is better than FreeBSD's old sysinstall (https://docs.freebsd.org/doc/6.1-RELEASE/usr/share/doc/handbook/using-sysinstall.html)
But I do remember getting nervous when they replaced it with bsdinstall. Due to a bug my machine had with the early bsdinstall, I couldn't actually install FreeBSD any more ;)
 
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Spartrekus

Spartrekus

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OpenBSD's installer is pretty good, but I find the docs for partitioning are written for someone smarter than me. The old docs made it easy, so maybe I've just gotten dumber.

However, (this may be unique to OpenBSD, you can't do it with Free and I've not used Net or Dragonfly in a long time) if you're multibooting, like Linux, it can use a logical drive and doesn't require a primary partition. It works pretty well on a lot of thinkpads as its developers seem to use those a lot. I have a page on multibooting it--last time I looked the FAQ said it's complex and such, but I find it quite straightforward, at least on a Linux machine.

Going back into the reasoning--lots of times, folks just want a BSD on their laptop. There doesn't have to be a reason. I remember this great statement, which at present I can only paraphrase. It was when alpine, the mail client, was called pine and it was one of the many arguments about pine vs. mutt. The author said, People pull out all sorts of technical reasons to justify what is, in the end, an emotional decision. So if someone asks me why I want a BSD on my laptop, I feel justified saying because I want to. (Which makes me think I should put a link to the video that, I think, first got Billie Piper, Rose in Doctor Who, known in England. It was a song called Because we want to or something similar. With the confidence of youth it has lines like Why ya gotta play that song so loud, Because we want to.
I think that it is always good to have a workaround like with tar or alternative to unpack and go, and make settings by hands. This allows to install it if hardware fails during installation from media or tui menu failure.
 

ronaldlees

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I wonder which BSD distribution has the largest contributor pool (outside of FreeBSD, which of course is largest)? Likely NetBSD has the smallest development group? Typically I run NetBSD when using an unusual architecture that doesn't have a working FreeBSD port, because (as was said) - the devs there quickly jump aboard new architecture-porting projects. Given what I've read about their small (official) development group - it seems they do a herculean job. However; I suspect they simply don't have the time/resources to cover all the bases so much as would happen in the FreeBSD camp. The installation is easy, and pkgsrc surprisingly versatile once you get the hang of it.

Have never seriously used OpenBSD, so can't compare it to anything.
 

Remington

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I used to work with Solaris OS and I would pick Illumos for 2 reasons: Zones and ZFS. Solaris/Illumos have excellent virtual containers and generally much better than FreeBSD's Jail. The reason why I switched to FreeBSD is native ZFS support and ports are very often up to date. If it wasn't for FreeBSD then I would stay with Solaris or Illumos. I wouldn't touch Linux as it's a mess.
 

badbrain

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I disagree, I wish all installers were like this. I can install OpenBSD with my eyes closed (I just hammer the enter key until I hear my computer restart).
I also had to install over a serial port recently (actually a SunFire V210) and I really did appreciate the simple effective installer.

Don't get me wrong, FreeBSD's installer is still pretty good but I actually think the TUI is a little unnecessary over a series of CLI prompts. Also, after all is said and done, I even think the OpenBSD one ends up doing more for you; such as setting up xenodm, aparture, ssh server, etc.

Both are better than Linux where you either have this useless X11 Bloatware one (Fedora) or you simply do not have an installer (Arch) so you have to waste your time entering commands manually (most users just copy the wiki anyway). These guys just haven't *quite* got it ;)
I disagree. The OpenBSD installer treat me like I'm a noob (OK I'm indeed an amateur but know enough how to do thing and I can google). I hate interactive questions like this it requires me to read the questions and give appropriate answers even though most of the time just hit enter is enough. My eyes are very bad so I hate this so much. With the NetBSD installer I can really done it while I'm very tired/nearly felt asleep, the steps are predictive and after you've done it more than 3 times you could do it with light speed like an automated robot ;)

I disagree again. The modern FreeBSD installer give you more power to customize the installation than OpenBSD, for example choosing which services to start and hardening system.

I also disagree. Except exotic distro like Arch, Gentoo,... Linux graphical installers are superior to any of the BSDs, it even allows people that know nothing about LVM to setup a fully working LVM PV with LUKS encrypting. Before FreeBSD (to be clear PCBSD at this time) has an installer allow graphically automatic Root On ZFS we have enjoy Root On Btrfs on Ubuntu with @ subvol for / and @home subvol for /home a long time. And I don't think X11 is useless too, and I don't have the authority to judge it is bloatware or not. Linux Live desktop is very useful and time saving indeed. I only try to be minimal only when I want to setup a server that I will manage via ssh :p
 
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