Introduce yourself, tell us who you are and why you chose FreeBSD

mhj

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Hi all,

I'm a huge FreeBSD fan. I run one of my sites on it, and am planning on running another of mine on it too. Currently for my main computer I use Linux(The Guix distribution, a stateless one with boot environments and BTRFS), and on the Pinebook Pro I run Manjaro, but I am looking to convert what I can to FreeBSD.

I have been a *nix fan since before 2015, but didn't start seriously using it until then. I await progress for things like GhostBSD and whatnot.

Answering the top questions though, I am student, probably going into cyber security in the fall, and as for why I choose FreeBSD and/or it's derivatives, it's because of it's unrivaled documentation, stability and slow evolution.
 

lloyd

New Member

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Hey everyone, new here to the forum and wanted to say hi on this mega thread.

I chose FreeBSD because it doesn't use silly names like "Xenial Xerus" or "Ice Cream Sandwich" or "Wheezy" for version releases. Projects that use version names instead of numbers drive me absolutely bonkers.

But seriously, I'm a big computer nerd and OS geek. Have been almost my entire life. There's a place in my heart for all different OS's, so I can't say that "I chose FreeBSD" with any sort of exclusivity. I think there's a time and place for all different types of OS's, just like how someone might have a few different cars (or bicycles) based on the trip they want to take.

I run Debian for production work personally and professionally, and I ran my personal desktop PC with various Linux flavors (landing on Arch for the longest stretch) for years. I am fond of the vanilla upstream approach of Arch, and their wiki is easy to work with and contribute to. Debian has been a solid home for me for years -- until the sudden init system change to systemd, or until they changed to the nftables firewall that had almost no publicly available documentation, or until...

Despite my very opinionated nature I'm not an outright Linux or GPL or systemd hater or something like that... Just lately I have been finding comfort in the stability and reliability of the FreeBSD universe. The FreeBSD architecture appears to be largely independent and well-defended from trendy outside influences that may have dubious value. I've tinkered with FreeBSD off and on for years and have been running a XigmaNAS box in my homelab that is a workhorse and that has given me zero troubles in many, many years.

There's quite a lot of FUD on the interwebs about FreeBSD. Here's some of the stuff I've read lately:
  • Linux is more supported than FreeBSD.
  • FreeBSD is harder to learn than Linux.
  • It's easier to find help on Stack Overflow for Linux than FreeBSD.
  • FreeBSD used to be king, but Linux caught up.
  • No one runs production workloads on FreeBSD anymore.
That sorta stuff. Plus, there's simply more people out there talking about Linux than FreeBSD. I can see how someone might get the impression that Linux is "the right choice" over FreeBSD just because of conversational volumes. But just because lots of people are talking about something doesn't mean that it's the best option.

The only way for me to know is to get my hands dirty and see for myself. I think the outlook for FreeBSD in my life is good. I'm currently working on moving over little things to FreeBSD on an AWS Lightsail box, starting with personal stuff. Baby steps. (And the fact that AWS natively supports FreeBSD says something in itself, eh?)

Who knows? Maybe one day in the future I'll post here again and say with confidence, "Yes, I have chosen FreeBSD."
 

Jose

Daemon

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Messages: 1,174

  • Linux is more supported than FreeBSD.
This is unfortunately true, at least where it comes to hardware support.
  • FreeBSD is harder to learn than Linux.
This is meaningless since there's no such thing as Linux. Gentoo is significantly harder to learn than Freebsd. Ubuntu is somewhat easier.
  • It's easier to find help on Stack Overflow for Linux than FreeBSD.
This might be true. I don't spend as much time on SO as I used to, so I don't know.
  • FreeBSD used to be king, but Linux caught up.
This is nonsense. They might've been neck-and-neck in terms of popularity back in the early '90s when only a handful of people used freeware Unix work-alikes.
  • No one runs production workloads on FreeBSD anymore.
This is not just wrong, it's lazy. Simple Internet search will debunk this in seconds.
 

hunter0one

Member

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Messages: 38

Howdy,

I was an avid Devuan user until I came to realize the disaster that is GNU/Linux. The GPL, the file disorganization, and my constant distro hopping made me seek an alternative. I first tried FreeBSD 12 in February of this year but I was turned away because I had microstuttering and screen tearing, so I switched back to Devuan. I started to think that maybe my ignorance was the issue so on May 1st I gave FreeBSD another try (this time with the new 13 release). I still had little bugs here and there but one by one I fixed them thanks to the help of this forum and the FreeBSD Handbook (although I had to scour the internet for an obscure sysctl command to fix my microstuttering problem). The documentation really is something extraordinary.

I've been using this operating system on my main computer since May 1st and I have no plans to switch to anything else since I'm getting used to the way it works. Currently I'm trying to debug memory issues (for some reason, it seems if I compile a port my memory stays almost full).

I've learned that it's more than possible to use FreeBSD as a daily driver. Yes, you will run into hitches, but there's always a solution somewhere and on the bright side you learn more about it by problem solving. I think it's complete bull to say its unusable because of an out of the box issue, just like my first experience where I ran away from it.

I, for one, am proud to say that I use FreeBSD.
 

Trihexagonal

Son of Beastie

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I first tried FreeBSD 12 in February of this year but I was turned away because I had microstuttering and screen tearing
Are you sure you had the right video driver?

I've learned that it's more than possible to use FreeBSD as a daily driver.
It's the the most usr friendly desktop oriented OS I have ever taught myself to use and what I use for general desktop purposes on a daily basis.

Yes, you will run into hitches, but there's always a solution somewhere and on the bright side you learn more about it by problem solving. I think it's complete bull to say its unusable because of an out of the box issue, just like my first experience where I ran away from it.
That's what we like to hear.

I, for one, am proud to say that I use FreeBSD.
And we're glad to have you.
 

hunter0one

Member

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Messages: 38

Are you sure you had the right video driver?

I was using the generic drivers at first but I switched to xf86-video-amdgpu and had the same problem. But the first time I got frustrated and just quit there. It turns out the solution was simple, I just needed to enable FreeSync / tear-free (I prefer FreeSync) in an xorg config. That fixed the screen tearing. The microstuttering was fixed with the kernel value kern.sched.steal_thresh=1. I still need to study what this does exactly but together that solved my initial problems.

I didn't mention that I also initially had no sound because my default sound device was something besides my headphones, but again I figured it out in DSBMixer and all is good now.

That's what we like to hear.

And we're glad to have you.
Thanks!
 

tgl

Member

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Messages: 22

Hi all,

this is my first post here!

I am tgl a short way to say (the) Gnuserland, this the nickname I selected for my online journey.

I am here because I got tired about the all non-sense around Linux, and I started to explore FreeBSD! It is ended up that FreeBSD is actually pretty cool!

My first project was to open my Gemini capsule, which is online and running on FreeBSD 12.x. I am planning to move to FreeBSD 13 and jailing everything but this requires time and study, I hope to get this done as soon as possible.

I am not a coder, or a programmer, neither a sysad but I have always been attracted by the the informatics science (my firsts computers were a Vic20 and a C64), mine is more like a passion and thus it must be fun, lately I noticed that FreeBSD is still fun as Linux was ten years ago...

You can (or cannot) check my capsule at gemini://gnuser.land

Thanks for reading!

tgl

p.s. this forum doesn't have support for the capsules yet... ;)
 

hardworkingnewbie

Active Member

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Messages: 162

Hello,

time to introduce myself here, since already the friendly and patient community here solved all of my various questions about Pf.

I am hardworkingnewbie, and well that's just a nick name I choose for this forum, because it is true. I am still quite the newbie to FreeBSD, but not to Linux. I started my journey there back then 1994 with Slackware and kernel version 0.99.pl14, later used SuSE for some time and then kind of stuck mostly with Gentoo most of the time. I also got some Arch Linux running on my Raspberry Pi, and used Debian here and there whenever I wanted a stagnating cough cough stable platform with often quirky package maintainer decisions in terms of enabled features of some programs.

Gentoo itself borrowed quite some ideas from FreeBSD. The portage system there was modeled after FreeBSD, it also still uses an init system which is easily understandable named openrc. I never bothered to install systemd on my Gentoo boxes there, all the different stuff which systemd tries to do now and then, like re-inventing DNS resolvers, NTP clients, blocking port 53 "just in case" and many more always gave me a big headache I really can better live without.

Although Gentoo still runs nicely, in my opinion and experience the quality of its portage tree really deteriorated over the last view years. I am there always on the stable branch. Every time there's some update for KDE or Python, emerge just always pukes out a bunch of blocked packages I then have to figure out how to resolve the problem. This is something I can really live without, it just gives me a headache when doing an upgrade I always have to figure this stuff out on how to remove this first by hand before the process can run. Really, really annoying.

As a pet project I've got a Zotac C329 nano mini box which I do use as my internet gateway and router, it has builtin two real Gbit ethernet ports. This box for a long time was running Gentoo with Arno's Iptables Firewall, which is just a bunch of shell scripts then configuring Linux' netfilter engine in the kernel via iptables calls. This was running without problems, but in the long term I was not really happy about having to have a compiler on my router, update times and also used file system size due to a lot of stuff lying around. Also I really, really hate iptables with a vengeance. As long as you are using stuff like AIF that's no big problem, but when you really want to understand what's going on the syntax is messy and overcomplicated.

So I first tried to give OpenBSD a chance, because I wanted Pf as my packet filter. I got it up and running, but turns out that OpenBSD uses a way of NAT where I whould have to punch many holes in the firewall in order to get some of my games running. Which is something I really didn't want to do.

So next thing was switching over to FreeBSD, and trying Pf here. And it works so far. ipfilter seemed to be to old to me, and ipfw reminds me too much of iptables that I really would enjoy learning it. Aside that I wanted to have Pf, because I like its syntax and here I am right now.

I also like obviously that FreeBSD has no systemd, and fast binary updates which really work well and normally don't break stuff, like I experienced sometimes in Debian.

For me FreeBSD is one of the unsung heroes of the internet. It doesn't get so much publicity compared to Linux, but is just often there and used, like Netflix, Whatsapp and many others. Cheers mates!
 

complexnumber

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Messages: 5

FreeBSD was my first foray into UNIX-Like Operating systems. I was studying UNIX at university and I started to research UNIX and came across BSD. I found Linux later on in the piece but I was obsessed with FreeBSD. I read as much as I could about the history and development. I have gone over the handbook multiple times when stuck as well as reading Absolute FreeBSD from No-starch press. I even have a copy of the Design and Implementation of the FreeBSD Operating System. While my C is not that great I am working on it. I like that the source is all included and I also like the governance model of FreeBSD compared the the benevolent dictator model that is Linux. Linux is great, don't get me wrong. But FreeBSD is, in my opinion superiour. I'm reading the source code so I can understand at a deep level how it differs from Linux Kernel. I'm working on my C and am reading and writing code. So that's me. I want to be able to contribute to the project,. I suppose I need to find something that needs to be done and get stuck into it. I'm still a coding neophyte but am getting better and I think helping with bug reports would be a good place to start. Anyway that is me. Greetings from Melbourne, Australia!
 

dacrackerx64

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Messages: 24

I've been using Debian and Windows at work for more than a decade now. My previous laptop (Macbook Pro, 2009) ran MacOS
and I've been a happy user for many years. The one thing that made me look for options was that Apple decided to deprecate
my laptop by not releasing new versions of MacOS for it, which I find annoying since the laptop works just fine. This event made
it a priority to find a new OS which would let me decide when its time to give up on my hardware.

I first considered using Debian since I know it well and am quite pleased with it (maybe with the exception of SystemD). Etiher
way I figured it would be fun to try FreeBSD again since I hadn't tried it for a few years. This time I really decided to give it some
time and FreeBSD 12.2 runs beutifly on my newish Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon 7th gen. I am really impressed with ZFS, clang,
jails, bhyve etc. I now have a nice setup based on Openbox that suits me really well as a platform for my various code projects.

I do wish that FreeBSD focused more on some security mitigations. Other then that I am very happy with my little laptop and
see no reason to change OS anytime soon. In fact, I am considering applying to become a commiter since I want to learn more
about the FreeBSD kernel and wish to help the FreeBSD project.
 

astyle

Daemon

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Messages: 1,077

I've been using Debian and Windows at work for more than a decade now. My previous laptop (Macbook Pro, 2009) ran MacOS
and I've been a happy user for many years. The one thing that made me look for options was that Apple decided to deprecate
my laptop by not releasing new versions of MacOS for it, which I find annoying since the laptop works just fine. This event made
it a priority to find a new OS which would let me decide when its time to give up on my hardware.

I first considered using Debian since I know it well and am quite pleased with it (maybe with the exception of SystemD). Etiher
way I figured it would be fun to try FreeBSD again since I hadn't tried it for a few years. This time I really decided to give it some
time and FreeBSD 12.2 runs beutifly on my newish Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon 7th gen. I am really impressed with ZFS, clang,
jails, bhyve etc. I now have a nice setup based on Openbox that suits me really well as a platform for my various code projects.

I do wish that FreeBSD focused more on some security mitigations. Other then that I am very happy with my little laptop and
see no reason to change OS anytime soon. In fact, I am considering applying to become a commiter since I want to learn more
about the FreeBSD kernel and wish to help the FreeBSD project.
Same thing happening with M$ releasing win11 last week... I checked my 3-year-old laptop (Lenovo IdeaPad 720s ARR), and it's not compatible - but it looks like M$ is backtracking a bit on that.

As for applying to be a committer - I'd suggest that you figure out a port to maintain first, just to get a handle on the process. A couple examples of ports without maintainers: audio/lash and multimedia/aegisub.
 

dacrackerx64

Member

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Messages: 24

Same thing happening with M$ releasing win11 last week... I checked my 3-year-old laptop (Lenovo IdeaPad 720s ARR), and it's not compatible - but it looks like M$ is backtracking a bit on that.

As for applying to be a committer - I'd suggest that you figure out a port to maintain first, just to get a handle on the process. A couple examples of ports without maintainers: audio/lash and multimedia/aegisub.

I appreciate the suggestion, though as a fairly experienced C/C++ programmer I think I could do a lot more good for the
project commiting actual code. But I shall keep your suggestion in mind if I feel I have the time to contribute to the
FreeBSD project. Thank you!
 

Braveheart_BSD

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Messages: 2

I have used FreeBSD on and off since FreeBSD 4.3 (2 floppies) and always come back to it. Currently have 13.0 installed onto an Alienware R17, and a pc in the garage has Freebsd 12.2 install. Both use Fluxbox, which is something else I've used forever. Other pc's have Windows 10 (main desktop and another Alienware lappie). I'm also using a Raspberry Pi 4 8gb, and have recently acquired an old server (Dell T610 - rescued from landfill) that's running OpenMediaVault. (I know, I know, I tried Truenas but the Perc H700 raid card is not compatible with zfs)

My background is Transportation and Logistics, nothing to do with computer work.
Everything I've learned was self taught, lots of reading, lots of tinkering then more reading. Now that I'm semi-retired, I have more time to pursue this, I'm not letting my age slow me down.

I'm on IRC more often now too, may see some of you in there.
 

Trihexagonal

Son of Beastie

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Everything I've learned was self taught...
I'm completely self-taught, too. Texas Instruments had just came out with the pocket calculator when I quit 10th grade. There was no such thing as computer classes.

But I had a Nintendo Entertainment System, NES, in the early 90's. My familiarity with video game menus was instrumental in learning to use an AppleII over my first weekend at work. Worthless to me when it came to running Windows98SE.
 

rustbucket

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How goes, I'm rustbucket,

I've been into computers most of my life, started using Linux when I was around 12 or 13 (9-10 years ago). Found FreeBSD when I was 13 or 14. Up until recently I used FreeBSD for home servers, various projects and some other things. Through a combination of Linuxulator, Linux Jails, WINE, and a boatload of configurations/tweaks I have been able to get it to run smoothly on my desktop with most of the programs I normally use.

I'm really into operating systems in general. I like to see how they work. Reading documentation, browsing source code, running the OS, making tweaks I like it all. There was a period of time where I would just try every OS I could find. If it's free and open source, there's a good chance I used it at some point. That's how I found FreeBSD actually. These days I run FreeBSD, NetBSD, and Alpine Linux on my computers. I do run some more experimental and obscure stuff in VMs though.

Anyway, I plan on sticking with FreeBSD on my main computer for the foreseeable future and will try to help out where I can. I've noticed a few unmaintained ports that I happen to use. So I'll see about helping out with those first at some point.
 
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johngrauvard

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Messages: 22

Hello, I'm johngrauvard, though you can call me nobody if you please.

I got tired of using the _NSAKEY operating system and linux users annoy me (not prior [reformed] linux users who are now [refined] aristocrats running freebsd, of course), so I chose freebsd. I was playing around with it in VirtualBox on _NSAKEY for a couple of days and decided it was good enough. My hdd was encrypted with CipherShed so "I" (the program really) spent a day decrypting it to prepare for my new OS installation. It prompted me for a reboot when I woke up the next morning and I hit the OK button, which, contrary to what I believed, made things not OK because I was locked out of my hdd and stuck in the ciphershed bootloader. I foolishly thought that decrypting the hdd would be enough for ciphershed to remove both the loader and the password requirement at boot because I was a dumb _NSAKEY user who didn't know any better back then (now 1 and a half/2 months ago). I booted into the freebsd installer and tried to install over it all but I was told I didn't have the permission to do that (probably by CipherShed). Fortunately I was inspired by a demon the day prior and the thought was sent to my mind to flash a gentoo image to USB and burn linux mint to a CD just in case freebsd didn't work on my hardware. I booted into the gentoo installer, deleted the partitions on my hdd (I still don't know how gentoo had permission but freebsd didn't), and made it halfway through a gentoo install before I realized (and remembered) that I didn't like linux and therefore didn't need to install it completely, and that deleting the partitions was probably enough. I deleted them again and booted back into the freebsd installer, then I installed freebsd. I spent the next 3 days trying to get the sound to work, and I did, and used freebsd happily for about a week until I borked the install, reinstalled, and then borked another 4 installations. I'm on my 6th now, using ZFS because it installs quicker than UFS, for me anyway. I know nothing about ZFS. I've been watching the forum for about a month now for solutions to all the problems I caused, and read about how systemd is bad. I don't understand how or why it's bad but the posts here made me paranoid about it anyway and my gut feeling now is that it's wrong, especially to force it on people.

Thank you for reading my post
 

Trihexagonal

Son of Beastie

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I'm on my 6th now, using ZFS because it installs quicker than UFS, for me anyway. I know nothing about ZFS.
UFS what I prefer for use on a desktop. Knowing nothing about something not a reason to use it, beyond learning about it.

If you're counting seconds of boot time saved as having gained anything, it matters very little when you're uptime is counted in weeks or months.

I've been watching the forum for about a month now for solutions to all the problems I caused, and read about how systemd is bad. I don't understand how or why it's bad but the posts here made me paranoid about it anyway and my gut feeling now is that it's wrong, especially to force it on people.
I don't know why either. If you find out, please tell me, but don't be offended if I don't believe everything I hear.
 

Alain De Vos

Daemon

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Messages: 2,161

Systemd is not bad. It is good. It can give shorter booting times. But it comes at price. And that is complexity.
It is far more easier to modify a sh shell script in /etc/rc.d in freebsd then to poke around with systemd.
 

johngrauvard

Member

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Messages: 22

UFS what I prefer for use on a desktop. Knowing nothing about something not a reason to use it, beyond learning about it.

If you're counting seconds of boot time saved as having gained anything, it matters very little when you're uptime is counted in weeks or months.


I don't know why either. If you find out, please tell me, but don't be offended if I don't believe everything I hear.
None taken, I don't want you to believe anything. I'm hoping to learn more about ZFS the more I use it, but me "using" it on real hardware probably means I'm going to break everything, which is fine by my book. These days I feel like I can't afford to ignore everything about my computer past what hardware is in it so I dove in, though I'm likely far too late, and up against someone or something that's been at it far longer than I have.
 

vigole

Daemon

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johngrauvard : I'm a UFS/MBR/RC guy, but that's my personal preference. On systemd: I have it on Kali, and it works. But for Linux stuff,I personally prefer Artix/runit. I know nothing about systemd, and I [always] have to STFW to find commands. One argument is that it's now more than 1 million LOC. That may be an argument against it, or not. That's a problem, which its developers have to deal with. Who cares, whatever! The main points is: welcome to the board.
 

joplass

Active Member

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Messages: 249

I was a huge fan of Debian until systemd arrives. Of course I did not care about the program itself, I just wanted my boxes to work when I needed them to work. Here is my only bad experience with systemd. Clueless as I was, maybe still am, I noticed my boxes at start or shutdown will display a message like "system is updating wait...." and I will wait for the computer to do its business. I got tired of the message I started reading about the new changes implemented by Debian and infighting among the developers. From there I moved to Devuan but I knew that issues will follow me so I moved to FreeBSD.

Maybe systemd is better now but I am not going back.
 
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