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

Hi, well I'm a Systems Engineer, and I work, with FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, most of the time, I work in the development of embedded systems. I started on FreeBSD, very young I think I was 15 or 16 years old. and I was impressed, with its ability before going to Linux I already had the necessary knowledge, but today Linux is a commercial product, I'm not here to judge, systemd, or whatever else I don't like. when i want to use linux i use Slackware which is similar to BSD.
 
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Hello, I'm 22 and from the US. Previously used linux for 5-6 years or so. Honestly just chose FreeBSD because I wanted to use a system that provides a clean base to learn and work on that doesn't feel like its some frankenstein monster, lol. Overall I have been very impressed with the system and appreciate what you guys have done here. Once I feel comfortable and have the time I hope to give back to the community.
 
That's [Avoiding monoculture] a good reason, not often mentioned, but significant to me too.
About 20 years ago I was looking after Unix systems for a service provider. It was large enough that there were separate teams for multiple Unix variants. And there were some very significant services being managed.

All the professional administrators chose their own desktops, and mostly used Linux. I chose FreeBSD. Nobody chose Windows. We all ran our corporate desktop services (mail, calendar, ...) through a network resident server for Windows applications. So were hooked into the major corporate services.

We got a new business manager, and he decided that all the admins were spending all day playing on their desktops instead of actually working. We weren't, but maybe, honestly, there was probably 10% truth there.

I had to front the Chief Information Officer regarding the edict that Microsoft Windows would be installed on ALL desktops IMMEDIATELY.

Happily, the Anna Kournikova worm was current. The only question I had to ask was how they intended to manage critical services (literally life and death) from a 100% infection of the Kournikova worm if every admin had a dead Windows desktop.

He thought for a while, and decided that our desktops didn't need to be changed...
 
Hello,

My name is Christophe. I have started to use FreeBSD a few months ago.
- I have been working in informatics since 1985 on a Comodore 64 (Basic).
- I worked on an apple II Europlus in Basic and assembler while reading informatic books from the Groningen university and learning by myself.
- Once I had enough money I bought an Atari st: best machine ever. I learned GFA Bsic, MC68K, macro assembler (C-like), Mark Williams C and Turbo C. My development were to implement windows in the GEM AES environment, programming the FDC/HDC and the DMA chip, implementing in assembler my own bit-blitter,... discovering.
- At University of Liege I started to work on PC: C-cross compiler, my own version of a portable AES/VDI using SDL and started developing Microsoft Windows.
Once in the industry, all my work was under windows (even when cross-compiling for the RTOS of a lottery terminal).
- I discovered the Linux world (mainly Debian 2.0, Centos, Mandrake, Red Hat and Suse, ... rebuilding my own kernel) - the Linux world appeared quite unfinished and chaotic and was already at the time driven by keyboard fanatics whose main goals were to try to hack the neighbor; very disappointing! (C/C++) Software in the open community was extremely poorly implemented, not designed at all, hardly documented and unreliable because tested only when used. This is the main reason why I stayed with MS-Windows which was more stable and tested - also this was the world I worked in.
- The financial banking industry is divided into a category of fanatics trying to impose Linux simply because they cannot understand or move freely under MS-Windows and another category pragmatic who are developing under MS-Windows, simply because the traders are using MS-Windows and we can easily implement a application (C++/C#) to meets the trader's needs. While the first category deploy untested and unreliable software very slowly, the second test/confirm the functionality and a stable software is produced/upgraded quite swiftly. This is slowly changing now and being groomed by 'managers' buying software and having the bridge between 3rd party software developed by cheap external consultants: you can imagine the chaos.
- From my experience, I wanted to design and implement a framework: stable and practical in ANSI-C. The purpose is to provide fast, reliable and documented functionalities that based on my experience were missing. MS-Windows has become a spy political platform, Linux remained chaotic and has its security controlled by the NSA, Mac is simply too expensive and Atari does not exist anymore (LOL).
-So I searched and after a while I discovered FreeBSD: secure, apolitical, stable, documented, structured and supported by a community of experienced developers. I am using Xfce desktop manager (I like it because it is small compact and I do not need to waste time and energy trying to configure all the functionalities I will hardly use.) Thunderbird is doing a great job and the development environment is Code::Block (crashing from time to time, but easy to use and meets the needs) with gcc and gdb compiler in C language with the documentation in Open Office.

Do I know FreeBSD OS? no! I am simply using it and enjoying a stable/safe development environment.
Do I need help to set up things like SMB? Yes of course, I am a developer and am not interested in administrating/managing OS.

What am I developing? I started implementing the framework of what I labelled as the Shangri-La Network. The purpose is to offer a framework allowing safe, secure, anonymous communication/data exchange for personal data storage, document exchange, safe browsing, communication posting and broadcasting and real-time conversation. Motivation: I got fed up having the Industry lying, using and abusing your data for $$$, so I do something about it.
 
Hello everyone,

I started using Linux around 2002 when a friend of mine gave me a copy of Mandrake Linux 8.2. Eventually, I moved on to Debian and it became my daily driver. A general interest in Unix history led to me install FreeBSD to see how it was, and man... I haven't looked back since. I like the consistency of FreeBSD; there is usually 'one' way to do things, and the documentation is very good. It may not be as user-friendly as certain Linux distros (e.g Ubuntu), but hey, it's a price I'm willing to pay to get a consistent system. Slackware would be the closest thing in the Linux world to FreeBSD in my opinion.
 
Hello,

My name is Brian and work as a software developer. I installed FreeBSD on a spare laptop a month ago to toy with it. I got it to a working KDE system, with almost enough of the basics that I already have. I know there is more to get through (tweaking kernel settings and through sysctl) but I was a little surprised that on a spare hard drive (not SSD!) FreeBSD + KDE is very snappy and responsive, with Firefox and a few other programs running.

My own history with FreeBSD goes back to 2005-2007 when I wanted to try FreeBSD for my desktop computer and ended up settling on it during college. I remember being quite productive in i3 on it (tiling WMs are not something I can get back to). The only frustrating issue I had was trying to play from more than one sound source. But, I had no problems with it. I wanted to be convinced, but never fully understood the reasoning around why a full UNIX OS with both kernel and userland built together was a good thing.

I was thinking recently of standardizing all my computers (work, personal) on one OS with a consistent configuration on all of them. The idea of switching all to Debian was an idea. After 10 years of Ubuntu, I wanted something simpler and without all the excessive changes in Ubuntu. I have also been diving back into things that I wish I gave myself more time to do when I was younger, like reading and tinkering in C, POSIX, etc. I want to answer my own question: what do newer softwares really do that can't be done with what was done in the past? Like, for example, systemd is a big thing and I did experience issues with it. Comparatively, what is it really solving for me as a small sysadmin and desktop user? I don't want to be biased (yet), but a first read-through in the Handbook about rc at least made me feel I can stick some model of it in my head. So, at least, so far so good!

For server use, this will probably be a no-brainer. I have one home server that I want to eventually move it over. For desktop, I like a consistent, free, Unix system whose developers don't randomly swap out core systems every few years. I get worried about this because I am preferring the stability of consistent OSs, consistent UIs and will only change if I have a reason to. So, coming back to FreeBSD is motivated by this. I hope to be convinced! (Again, so far so good :) )
 
I started programming in 1982, I was 17. My first programming language was PL/1. My first machine was EC1022 (USSR's copy of IBM System/360). In 1990-1995 I wrote in Turbo-Pascal 5.5 - 7.0, Turbo Professional 5.11, Object Professional 1.22, TechnoJock Object Toolkit 1.0.
I began write in C in 1995, in C++ - in 1999. And in Perl (my favorite language after PL/1) - in 2007.
Now, my work is creating tools for programmers who develop operating systems on microcontrollers.
For example, I write profilers for dynamic and static call stack, special C preprocessors...
Once I wrote WDM driver for virtual card and card reader simulator (on Windows XP).
But my ordinary work is writing C/C++ libraries (cryptographic (using openSSL), tcp/ip, "PCSC/APDU related") which are used to access to "smart cards with our OS inside" from the Upper Level Applications (industrial systems).
Also I am writing "industrial system mock-ups" - in order to demonstrate how upper level applications must use our libraries noted above.
My first meeting with FreeBSD and Linux (Slackware and Red Hat) was in 1999. Then (according to work needs) I have switched to Sun Solaris 2.6...10. I am back to Linux in 2011 (Debian was my choice), and back to FreeBSD - in 2022.
And I like both.
 
I started with Linux in 1997 when Slackware 3.4 first came out. (love all those security holes in the default install). That's the only time I got hacked, because people didn't use VPNs on IRC back then. I wish I knew about FreeBSD back in those times. I decided to try FreeBSD because I wanted to get away from Linux because nowadays all distros seem the same more or less, and I wanted a legit BSD system that I could directly apply some of the books I've been reading like TCP/IP Illustrated Volume 2, UNIX network programming Volume 1: Second Edition, and Advanced Programming in the UNIX environment. And also because I wanted a system I could fine tune and control completely without any bloatware.
 
I, although I'm Russian, have a fondness for something traditional like Unix Philosophy.
Personally I don't see this as a contradiction, but instead in line with the tradition of industrial Russian design history. Most Russians I do know have a no nosense and minimalistic design approach - they just want to get the job done without having anything bling bling in the way which looks nice but serves no purpose. UNIX just does that.
 
This is one reason out of many that makes me appreciate how awesome FreeBSD is. Linux distros such as Slackware, Gentoo, Void, and Crux only took parts they liked most about FreeBSD (although Void is closer to NetBSD), but they never truly got down the whole "package" of FreeBSD in their own implementations. They all had "missing pieces to the puzzle" that would have made them more coherently a "BSD" in my opinion.
 
I'm Andrey from Russia, 34 y.o., currently practicing in Linux and FreeBSD. Even though I started studying their properties in 2018, I can already state that, as a server OS, FreeBSD is slightly more efficient than any Linux distro. Also FreeBSD is versatile and prone to customization, and if one wants to set up a gateway server easily, (s)he may prefer FreeBSD, for it has built-in ipnat. Enable it via rc.conf, map the nets, reboot and don't give a damn.
 
Hello )

The main reason for my complete switch to FreeBSD is to use LLVM as base toolchain. Being aware of the modern development of great libraries such as MLIR and dialects, Clang frontend (including Clangd LSP and other tools), Flang frontend, LLDB, LLD, Polly, etc. I realized that LLVM compiler infrastructure is a fundamental choice for compiler development. Not all of the components listed are used in the FreeBSD compilation, but what a scope! These libraries are developed by the true geniuses of our time. Even without going into details, it is clear that Clang's static analysis, Clang AST and Clangd LSP server capabilities should make FreeBSD code better. In connection with these breakthroughs, it began to strain me that in Linux LLVM is not a default compiler infrastructure, but is installed as something of a minor nature. More than a strange injustice.

I've seen long-standing (10 years ago) presentations from the FreeBSD developers where the transition to LLVM was only discussed. And in 2021, I saw that they successfully brought everything to the end. What a great strategic planning!

When compiling LLVM on Linux at first, I didn't even fully understand what standard library I was using when linking, even explicitly using LLVM_ENABLE_LIBCXX. In addition, I had to explicitly set the use of lld through the CMake variables DLLVM_USE_LINKER=lld and LLVM_PARALLEL_LINK_JOBS. Naturally, on FreeBSD I have no confusion with toolchains. I still use GCC to compile native Emacs code (libgccjit).

Then everything fell into place for me. I saw sets of pairs, of which the first component satisfied me, and the second seemed only something similar, for example:
  • LLVM/Clang and GCC
  • ZFS and BTRFS
  • Bhyve and KVM
  • Ports and Portage
  • Poudriere and Gentoo binhosts
  • FreeBSD Handbook and Gentoo Handbook
  • Jails and LXC.
By that time I had a lot of Gentoo machines (workstations, binary hosts, computing nodes). Porting most of these systems from Gentoo to FreeBSD took from April 2021 to February 2022.
What I couldn't port was the GPU workstation.

What did I gain by moving to FreeBSD?
  • I build LLVM always with Clang and LLD without specifically specifying CMAKE_C_COMPILER/CMAKE_CXX_COMPILER/LLVM_USE_LINKER="lld". Also using Clang to build LLVM is important for using the LLVM_PROFDATA_FILE cmake variable.
  • I always use LLVM's libc++ without -DLLVM_ENABLE_LIBCXX=ON.
  • I'm comfortable debugging Clang with LLDB.
  • I have a development jail. Now I can update the system at any time without breaking the libraries I built manually.
  • If something goes wrong with a long build like PGO, I can always do a zfs rollback of that jail. No need to rebuild.
  • Poudriere has never broken a build process yet.
  • Bhyve vms installed in zvol are extremely fast.
 
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