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

skhal

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I was a Linux user for many years, until I worked with several colleagues with BSD background several years ago. It was amazing, how deep their understanding of the system, utilities, networking, and many other topics was, including really good practices to write Shell, Makefiles, C code, documentation, etc.

In the meantime, I was confused with Linux distributions FS hierarchy, such as location of configs and utilities, init systems, packaging, documentation. It always feels a little bit of Chaos in all aspects (and I didn't even start the info vs man discussion yet).

So, I decided to give FreeBSD a try 2 years ago, when I bought an Intel NUC for the home server. At that time, the question was to either go with Linux or FreeBSD. I chose the second one, even though it was unknown territory.

To be honest, it was not an easy path at the very beginning, but after reading tons of documentation online and FreeBSD books by Michael Lucas (this guy is awesome -- please, write a book on bhyve and jail, covering integration with ZFS), I am finally able to setup the server to meet my needs, based on ZFS and act as a NAS and Development machine, running my own applications and services written in different languages.

I enjoy the clear separation between the core and user land, how documentation is consistent, configurations. The shell scripts are amazingly clear, easy to read, and teach so many best practices that I apply in my daily work these days (sh(1) is awesome).

I even started to read some C-code including libc, zfs and it is really nice, clear, easy to follow, and teach how to write clean code.

So, to wrap up, IMHO it was a right choice and I don't want to go back to Linux. There are certain things that do not work on FreeBSD that are kind of main-stream in IT industry these days, such as Docker, Oracle Java (for some projects), etc. But most of the things do work, and work great.
 

ralphbsz

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TUBS? TU Braunschweig?
RWTH here.

Started using computers in the late 70s (Commodore 2001, Wang minis, Phillips data entry systems, Univacs, IBM mainframes). Built my own cp/m machine (there are several wire-wrapped machines in storage in my basement; they even had Fortran and C compilers, and multiple floppy drives). Sent my first e-mail in the fall of 1982. While I had heard about "Unix machines" in the early 80s, it wasn't until the late 80s that I actually got to use some (Sun 3's and NeXT). Somewhere in the process moved from Northern Europe to the Western US. Started using Linux in about 93 or 94 (on a 386 with 1MB of memory). Contributed one line of code back than to Linux kernel version 0.99.13. Tried to buy a BSDi license about that time, but that didn't work out (they had no working X version yet, and Linux did, and I needed graphics to do data analysis). Went to drink beer with Linus for the first time in about 1995 or 1996 (before he was married or even had a steady girlfriend); he was visiting UC Santa Cruz, and we took him to a local place called "99 bottles" (which was to his liking). Switched my home computing infrastructure from Linux to OpenBSD in about 2005 (plus or minus a few). Loved it, so much cleaner and more organized than Linux. But alas, OpenBSD failed me on two things: wireless drivers (I was using my server as an AP), and file system. Switched to FreeBSD in about 2010. During the same time, worked in the computer industry, as a storage / file system person.
 

xavi

Active Member

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Better title now? 'Introduce yourself, tell us who you are and why you choose FreeBSD'
I might be being a little pedantic, but I think it might read more idiomatically if 'chose' is used instead of 'choose'.
'Chose' implies past tense, as in already chosen, whereas 'choose' implies currently choosing.
However, ignore me if this was your original intention.
 

SirDice

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I might be being a little pedantic, but I think it might read more idiomatically if 'chose' is used instead of 'choose'.
'Chose' implies past tense, as in already chosen, whereas 'choose' implies currently choosing.
However, ignore me if this was your original intention.
No, not intended. I'm Dutch, and although my English is typically better than a lot of native English speakers it's certainly not perfect. I appreciate the correction!
 
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ikbendeman

ikbendeman

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SirDice I find it strange the number of Dutch on here. Ik ben amerikaner, echter ik een betje Nederlands spreken kann.
 

sidetone

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Many Dutch computer users seem to be security oriented.
I noticed that the Dutch do the most for exposing foreign hacking for being a small country. On the other hand, a lot of hacking attempts come from the Netherlands, by others.
 

sidetone

Daemon

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I learned about FreeBSD from an Asterisk PBX book. Ironically, as much as I read and understood about Asterisk, I still never successfully used it. I also saw securing such a system for production use like a never ending task, when I haven't been an expert in computer security to start with. I used to try to install Asterisk on Linux on an older computer, and it took hours, that I would leave and come back, and it was still compiling. Only a few years ago, by using FreeBSD, I learned that those over 10 hours of compiling was just for GCC, and unneeded Linux bloat, unrelated to Asterisk or anything for that matter. The compile should have taken from 15 minutes to 3 hours, looking back, instead of 16 hours. I wanted a standard system, and the options that had to be chosen every time, which I didn't understand what they were for, were too much, and little did I know then, are irrelevant. On FreeBSD, a PBX would be better in a jail, which all drivers weren't known to work from it, or there were extensive adjustments required. I tried FreeBSD because it was different, and it may not have been relevant to non-programmers, but I thought if I made adjustments to configurations or to the OS (which was likely a misconception, but it would be on the safe side for the unforeseeable), I would have to give it all up to competition.

I went and bought a book on FreeBSD before installing and using it. I switched between FreeBSD and Linux, because Linux was easier to set up. FreeBSD has the variety of programs that I want to use, that some Linux distributions have but aren't practical. I didn't have XDM set up correctly when I used it, so I logged in from the command line or slim. When I needed a printer or required a specific font, I ended up sending important papers in with the wrong fonts. Sometimes I got the printer or scanner to work, but usually I had to go to the print store with a USB, because I knew enough to use FreeBSD, but didn't learn it well enough to use its features with ease. I even once struggled setting up the desktop, then having to look up that they changed the default to an allow empty input setting in xorg.conf.

Also, for some reason, the desktop resolution on FreeBSD, not counting playing video needing a more advanced driver at the time, is a lot better. I can't point out what it is about the video display, but on FreeBSD, it looks like the desktop is the first layer of graphics, while on Linux, the desktop looks like it's tackily pasted on top of another or a few graphics layers. It's like comparing an etched in display to a sheet of paper tacked on top of a monitor.
 

Crivens

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ralphbsz jep, thats the one :)

One of the students activity groups (AKA Film) still has a working PDP8, I learned about signal processing from a guy who signed the PAL standard. First started as electrical engineering, switched to CS and started a PhD which was defunded after 2 years. But that was also a lesson in politics and power plays. Ahh, the good times.
 

blackhaz

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blackhaz Not that I'd necessarily endorse switching back, and am personally much more comfortable with FreeBSD, did you ever try using pkgsrc on your OSX?
I've mostly used MacPorts and homebrew. MacOS is an easy and pleasing operating system to run indeed.
 

Sevendogsbsd

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I am such an oddball: I find Apple's OS's: OSX and iOS very unintuitive and difficult to use. OSX much less so than iOS, which I find utterly incomprehensible. I know that flies in the face of common user experiences, but like I said, I am an oddball :cool:
 
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ikbendeman

ikbendeman

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I found I always customized OSX to be more like BSD, so the only benefit was the ability to run a few applications that aren't available/sometimes having better driver access.
 

Trihexagonal

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I got a job initially as a weekend houseparent at a group home for Developmentally Disabled individuals in 1993 where they had an AppleII. They gave me my own floppy disk and turned me loose with it like I knew what I was doing. I had never touched a computer before but would rather have died on the spot than let them know it, high and mighty as they thought themselves. I had looked at a Tandy and almost bought it, but didn't know what I'd do with it at the time.

I was, however, an avid video gamer. My familiarity with menus was instrumental in figuring out how to run it, which didn't take long. And according to many hours of playing Shadowrun the next thing I should do was to access all the files on their floppy disks.

When they upgraded to a new one I picked it up, set it up and had to show them all how to boot it up, as you had to flip-the-floppy over during the boot cycle on this one, unlike the old one. They obviously didn't think I had it in me from their overstated reaction.

I used Puppy when it fit on a 100MB Zip Disk, my tower had one then. I used Mandrake, Tao Linux, tried a lot of Live CD's and hated everything about Ubuntu the moment I laid eyes upon it. I didn't care much for Linux, looked at BeOS and everything else that was available at the time. I have a Mandrake screenshot from 2002 at dslreports.com as Spamzilla so I used it anyway.

In 2005 I moved to a FreeBSD variant that shall remain nameless. That got me to the desktop, which was what I had needed all along. I took it from there to learn about the base system, what was under the default DE, how to use ports to install 3rd party software, become familiar with the terminal, install x11-wm/fluxbox, etc., and was once asked why.

My persona was more recently erased from recorded history along with anything to hint at my heretical habitude or heterodoxy, seemingly by the Mandela Effect, for the next 7 years. Almost no written record of me during that period exists today to upset the facts as presented. I moved up in the world in 2012 to the Daemon Horde proper, where independent thinking, self-expression and self-initiative in moderation are encouraged IMO.

I must not have thought the Handbook was applicable to it or nobody told me to RTFM, because don't remember reading it. I remember I had to figure out ports on my own and learned everything the hard way, but it's the hard lessons I remember best.

I have a screenshot I took maybe last year of an unanswered post I made back then. I was asking about not finding portsnap in /usr/ports/ports-mgmt/portsnap. Nobody bothered to enlighten me it was a command, an established pattern looking back on it. It was too embarrassing ignorant of me not to share here with others who might find humor in it, but I figured it out eventually and why I love to use ports.

I still remember the thrill I got the first time I successfully set up a vanilla FreeBSD desktop and prefer FreeBSD to all others as a desktop OS, though I do have 2 OpenBSD boxen. I used a tutorial I found here someone else wrote to do it. I would have made the move in '98 but the installation process intimidated me and looked beyond my skillset when I tried it on my own. That's the target audience of mine.

It was beyond me back then. I would have been stuck at the login terminal, but I have rarely ever asked a question about how to do something here. What looked so hard then at first glance seems so easy and intuitive now... Don't forget to read the Handbook or that there is a forum search button. It can make life easier. :sssh:
 

hitest

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I started with Linux in 2002. My first version of FreeBSD was 5.x, I don't remember the version. I do remember compiling KDE from ports on an IBM 300PL with 256 MB RAM. I started running OpenBSD at 5.0. The adventure continues. I became a member on this forum in 2008.
 

olli@

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Well … At the university's computing center they had those cool Sun workstations running SunOS 4.1, a variant of BSD UNIX. I liked it a lot, it was much better than that MicroSoft stuff on my PC at home. When I heard about Linux and people saying “this is like UNIX”, I wanted to give it a try. So I downloaded something called “SlackWare” (funny name, isn't it?) that contained Linux kernel 0.99something. Took a while to download the 24 floppies. When I played with it, well … it was somewhat similar to the BSD UNIX I knew from university, but it really was not the same “feeling”. Things didn't fit together well, the documentation was pathetic. But I kept it because it was better than nothing.

A few months later a fellow student mentioned a new project called “FreeBSD”. I was excited when I just heard the name. I logged into the FTP server (there was no web site at that time), fetched the readme, got more excited, went home to grab a box of floppies, went back to the computing center, downloaded the whole release, went home again and ditched SlackWare.

That was 1993–1994. At the beginning, my machine was an 80386/387 with 4 MB RAM and 120 MB hard disk.

Today I have a Ryzen 2700 with 32 GB RAM, 1 TB NVMe SSD and 12 TB hard disk. For me, FreeBSD is still the best thing to make use of my hardware, almost 25 years later.
 

Zirias

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Well then -- long time Debian user here, I switched because I disliked some recent development in the Linux world (systemd being one of the obvious symtpoms). The things I immediately loved about FreeBSD were
  • Clean and logical structure
  • Great documentation
  • Features like ZFS and jails
About myself, I'm a software architect for a financial company, working with C# on .NET (going .NET core now) -- I have a diploma degree of the University of Karlsruhe (now KIT). My interest in computers started with the Commodore 64, and I'm still programming it :) Now, some of my time is spent creating things I still miss on FreeBSD, like recently, a driver for parallel-port cables to talk to C64 floppy drives from the PC.
 

Swifty

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Heyo! I was always curious about FreeBSD. I was using Linux as my primary driver for a while. That was several years back. I had to go back to windows for some stupid piece of software or another.

I had heard of FreeBSD. I had friends who used it. I then heard on a random podcast, a FreeBSD Kernel developer talk about the kernel.


I got it day before yesterday. I'll make a post about my experience installing it later. As someone else pointed out, and it's something I love about it already. A Linux Distro felt like a collection of tools tossed together. FreeBSD feels like it has no more than what you need. More over, it isn't lacking anything that you couldn't live with out. Even though I have no clue what I'm doing, I'm enjoying the heck out of FreeBSD.
 

Rastko

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Old FreeBSD hobbyist here.

My thoughts about what makes FreeBSD different (question which I revisit a lot, amidst all the hypocrisy that slowly erodes the free software world) actually brought me to an interesting observation:

Whenever I need to fix something on the system, I open up the Handbook.

So, if someone were to ask me "why FreeBSD?", my answer would be simple.
It's very well documented.

The only better documentation I could think of is that of Solaris OS.

It's not just about the information, but the way it is structured and presented.
If I compare, say Debian Handbook and FreeBSD Handbook, it is pretty much clear which takes the win.

Given that it's available as HTML package, I sometimes feel as though the "articles" and "books" should be combined into one document. They are all written with great quality, and feel like a "whole". I only guess that the quality of the docs is a remnant of the fact that BSD was the only non-commercial version of UNIX back in the day.
 

aht0

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First met FreeBSD through gaming, I liked Soldier of Fortune II at the time (early 2000's), got into "clan". At one point months later our leader wanted particular mod installed and I piped in that I could probably figure out how to do it, so I ended up with a ssh-access to our rented server. I was already somewhat familiar with Linux but then found out that game server (Linux binary) was actually running on something called FreeBSD.

I kept distro-hopping Linux over the coming years, time-to-time installing FreeBSD too but finding lack of GUI's off-putting. Until lack of nice graphical doo-dads no longer bothered me and around 2010 or so I started using FreeBSD more - Linux became too chaotic and ossified for me.. Nowadays I very rarely install Linux (mostly for parents), it's usually FreeBSD and Windows (gaming).

I am also increasingly dabbling in OpenBSD and especially, DragonFly, I wish both were supported by Nvidia.
 

Sevendogsbsd

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Until lack of nice graphical doo-dads no longer bothered me and around 2010 or so I started using FreeBSD more - Linux became too chaotic and ossified for me.
Couldn't have said it better myself!
 

Beastie7

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I needed a BSD server to accompany my Mac, cause you know - BSD. Looked into PureDarwin - realized how useless it is as a server. Upon digging into the XNU kernel (caused I liked macOS a lot), found out a good portion of it was borrowed from FreeBSD. Research FreeBSD, tried it, loved it - the rest was history. After reading about it's history, innovation and development philosophy - I feel more in love with it.

The place to B.. SD.
 

kpedersen

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Until lack of nice graphical doo-dads no longer bothered me
Yes, this for me was absolutely liberating!
I remember being tied to GUIs and how much I ended up putting up with such sloppy mess. Looking back, I am a little bit annoyed that so much time was wasted!

What I love is that I can pretty much run MS-DOS/PC-DOS, Cygwin, Linux, UNIX and feel at home in all of them just with simple things like 'ls', 'mkdir', etc. I even don't mind cli tools with different names such as "type" vs "cat".

I try to pass the same "wisdom" onto my students who are still stuck under the incorrect idea that GUI is modern, CLI is obslete but it is hardcoded into them from quite a young age now. A bit of a failure of secondary education and industry to be perfectly frank.
 
D

Deleted member 56079

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Linux became too chaotic and ossified for me
Would you mind explaining a bit the chaotic and ossified part? The kernel dev seems to be fine and most parts of Linux are separated so while documentation could prove better in some areas (or distros) in general I found nothing that I would classify as chaotic or ossified, then again, I stick with the distros that tend to keep it stable and if available, light on resources (aka, not Ubuntu or basically anything that uses GNOME3)

Anyway, I was curious about FreeBSD for awhile and decided to read upon it, I actually am very interested in the history of Unix and the BSDs as a whole as that seems to be the earliest example of open-source development before the term even existed, and even though BSDs during its beginnings wasn't exactly open source as we know it today, it provided it along with the files and all, very interesting story. Open Source: Voices of the Revolution was enlightening to me and from there I found Absolute FreeBSD (3rd edition, Michael W Lucas) and it was a blast to read.

I may not have much use for an OS that presents a stronger bias towards server related purposes, nonetheless, more info and learning is always fun and reading about it is also refreshingly interesting.
 
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