My desktop comparison of FreeBSD and OpenBSD

byuu

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Thought this might interest some people here. I want to be as fair as possible here. I have been using FreeBSD 10, and wanted to try OpenBSD 5.5 with no bias to see what it does better, and what it does worse. This will not be a deep tutorial that analyzes deep design philosophy differences, just the general experience of a guy wanting to use BSD as a stable desktop that follows Unix designs.

...

I first noticed that OpenBSD fails to detect my SATA HDD on my Gigabyte GA-945GCM-S2C mainboard. I presume because this mainboard lacks true AHCI mode, and instead does some IDE simulation nonsense, with no BIOS options to change the behavior. Thankfully, it let me install in USB HDD mode, so I just had to put the drive into an external enclosure first.

I then appreciated how much quicker the OpenBSD installation media loads. You only do this once, but it was still nice. The installer was entirely text-prompt driven, as a series of questions. I don't like this any more or less than FreeBSD's text-mode UI installer, nor Debian's graphical-mode UI installer. They all get the job done and are easy to use.

I was disappointed to see that GPT is not supported. I found the whole-disk formatter to have dreadful defaults, and way too many separate partitions. I was also disappointed that the FS was 4.2BSD. I would have at least liked to see UFS for TRIM support and compatibility with FreeBSD. ZFS would have been even nicer so that I could do software mirroring. No geli, so no whole-disk encryption option available either.

Installation proceeds nicely and quickly, and I'm rebooted into the new system.

I notice that Xorg can be loaded from the installer, but not /usr/ports. This is curious to me. I added PKG_PATH to env so I could start loading software.

I found it easy to add software (pkg_add -v xfce), but I found it took substantially longer. Xfce took around 15-20 minutes on OpenBSD, compared to around 1-2 minutes on FreeBSD, despite being roughly the same number of meta-packages. I noticed that it kept prompting me about conflicts, which I found kind of annoying. Eg file-roller asks you whether you want gtar, or gtar-static. gnumeric asks whether you want ghostscript, ghostscript-a4, ghostscript-a4-gtk, or ghostscript-gtk. I don't know which is better, I would prefer it if the package manager chose to best option for me. I ended up receiving no less than a dozen of these prompts throughout software loading.

I found the available ports to be quite lacking. There was no clearlooks-phenix-theme (which is the only GTK+ theme other than the hideous Adwaita that can theme GTK+ 3 applications; otherwise they look like GTK+ 1.2 did.) There was no brasero or xfburn4, so I would have to find a new way to burn CDs. There was no ibus-mozc (Japanese IME), so I would not have the convenience of an offline IME pad for looking up unknown Japanese characters. But other than a few key misses, most of the essentials were there.

I did quite enjoy the way I did not have to ask for dbus or hald to run to get input on Xorg, and that I didn't have to tune kern.ipc.shm_allow_removed=1 to get Chromium to display pages. I didn't get into mounting drives, so I don't know if you still need devfs rules or not. I also enjoyed the way Firefox's fonts out-of-the-box were properly anti-aliased. I did not have to install MS web fonts nor create a fonts.conf override like I did with FreeBSD. Also very nice was that once my user was in sudoers, the Xfce restart/shutdown options were enabled without having to create an org.freedesktop.consolekit.pkla file. These are minor steps, but important for someone who's never used the system and wants to try it out quickly. So I have to give credit to OpenBSD for configuring their installed binaries more thoroughly upon installation.

Since there is no official nvidia binary (and like FreeBSD, no nouveau), Xorg defaults to nv. I don't know what the deal is with nv. It feels like instead of just software-rendering, it uploads my window graphics to the NASA Voyager satellite, waits for it to respond with the data, and then displays it on my screen. I moved a 600x400 settings window from the left to right of my monitor. My entire system deadlocked for the next 3-5 minutes as I watched, horrifyingly, as each and every step of the movement was rendered, watching each and every line rendering, from the bottom up, of each window movement. I had to go to VESA, and since I lack any video cards that offer 1920x1080 in VESA mode, that meant I was stuck at 1440x900, the best I had.

I was really, really surprised to see that glxgears ran in software mode (albeit at 177fps, compared to around 130,000fps with the nvidia driver.) Hopelessly slow OpenGL is better than no OpenGL, so I wish more systems would make Mesa setup transparent and out-of-the-box like that.

I noticed that OpenBSD lacks memcontrol, so the only way to configure MTRR to speed up VESA more would be by writing my own program to invoke the relevant ioctl's. That sucks. I skip it for now, as even stock Xorg vesa is about 100x faster than Xorg nv. It's also missing a logout command, so I have to use exit (what am I, a farmer?)

It comes with sudo in base, but it seems it verbally abuses you if you type your password wrong. I have a sense of humor, so I'm not offended, but it's still not very professional. We don't need to give reasons to PC PHB's not to use the BSDs. I wasn't immediately sure if "are you on drugs?" meant I wasn't in sudoers, or that I typed the wrong password.

I didn't notice my FreeBSD 10 bugs of libvte+/bin/sh causing random terminal crashes, nor Firefox deadlocking Xorg for up to 30-seconds on 8MP+ images without MOZ_DISABLE_IMAGE_OPTIMIZE exported, so that was also nice. Thunar is still screwy, and the refresh button doesn't actually refresh the folder, so you don't see file size/type changes until you navigate to a different path and back. I suspect this is a Thunar bug more than a BSD bug now.

Next, I noticed that OpenBSD lacks OSS, instead having sndio. I kind of wish I could have tried it (to test latency, mixing and non-blocking options), but OpenBSD does not support my Creative X-Fi Go USB audio card out of the box. But I'm still unhappy with it not being OSS, as I already have written audio drivers for OSS, ALSA, PulseAudio, PulseAudio-Simple, libao, OpenAL, SDL, DirectSound and XAudio2. And I still need to do WASAPI and JACK. I am kind of tired of writing audio drivers for my programs.

I can't fault OpenBSD 5.5 for having newer software than FreeBSD 10, but it seems to be much further along in having GTK+ 3 versions of various programs. gnome-system-monitor, file-roller, etc. Xfce needs some of these Gnome components to be fully functional, and it was very native and clean with Gnome 2 apps. But since I get GTK+ 3.10 instead of FreeBSD's 3.8, I also get fun like the Gnome devs deciding GTK+ apps should draw their own title bars, even though the window manager still draws its own title bar as well, so my gnome-system-monitor draws Inception title bars (a nested title bar inside of another title bar.) But, I know that FreeBSD 11 is going to have this same issue. Still, I like that I get one last year of respite from the Gnome devs before I have to find replacements for every GTK+ 3 application I use.

...

In conclusion, there's a lot to like, but a lot to dislike. I feel that while Debian Linux is incredibly bloated, FreeBSD seems to trim most of the fat. OpenBSD seems to trim all of the fat, and begins to cut into the muscle. It's so lean that I find myself wanting for things as basic as a way to burn CDs or make GTK+ 3 applications look nice.

It's a bit easier to get a desktop up and running out of the box with no experience (still nothing compared to Debian's ease in this regard), but the lack of binary nVidia drivers really cripples the system for most users. I liked that, despite its insistence on security, that I didn't find anything harder to set up or do. For some reason, I expected I would not be allowed to su to root with my user account out of the box, and other things like that. But it was all smooth sailing.

I like OpenBSD's extra security measures quite a lot. But I don't find it to be worth the dearth of ports, the missing hardware support (I couldn't use my GPU, my SATA HDD, nor my USB audio card; all of which FreeBSD happily used), or the lack of important technologies that I really enjoy: no ZFS (and thus, no software mirroring/striping/RAID, no volume management), no DTrace, no GPT, no powerd (CPU throttling), no memcontrol (MTRR configuration), etc.

It just feels too barebones. I feel I've already sacrificed a lot for FreeBSD (no Flash, no Java, no Steam; some of which I could get if I jumped through flaming hoops, I know), which already sacrified a lot from Windows (no Falcom PC games, no Photoshop, no scanner driver; again, hoops I don't want to jump through.) OpenBSD seems to go a bit too far, and I feel a lot like when I use (what I consider to be) purely hobbyist toy OSes like Haiku, Plan9, QNX Neutrino and Inferno. I would start to have difficulties getting real work done.

Given its immature SMP, I could only heartily recommend it for a low-traffic, low-maintenance server. If you want high-traffic scalability on a server, or a workable desktop, I'd recommend FreeBSD. It's totally worth the extra bits of setup you have to do, and hey, those teach you more about the system anyway, right?

But it's promising, though. If FreeBSD were to ever implode (like it did for a while with 5.x's necessary SMP transition), it could potentially be made a fallback with enough effort thrown at it.

My biggest take-away of what I want to see more of in FreeBSD is ports/packages creating/modifying the necessary configuration files for you. Maybe that scares system administrators that installing Xorg would enable dbus, or that installing Xfce would create a consolekit policy file for you, but I think that would be a step in the right direction overall.
 

Oko

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As somebody who was using FreeBSD for many years on the desktop and who using OpenBSD on the desktop for the past 7 years I find your post quite uninformed. It is just way to long that I could go pint to point and address your distrowatch low quality type of review. For the record I use both OS on my servers currently and I find them almost orthogonal in the goals. I use OpenBSD everything network and infrastructure related and I use FreeBSD on two of my big file servers. I also use DragonFly on one of my production server and I could easily see why would somebody want to run DragonFly BSD over OpenBSD on her/his desktop. Since this is FreeBSD forums I will state for the record that the biggest weakness of FreeBSD on the desktop is the fact that most FreeBSD developers use MAC :) unlike OpenBSD guys who eat their own soup. Arguably BSDs based desktops are not for everyone and most people will do themselves a favor sticking to the OS X or to PC-BSD if they feel adventurous.
 
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byuu

byuu

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Oko said:
It is just way to long that I could go pint to point and address your (ad hominems follow ...)
But you don't. And well, if you won't point out where I'm wrong on things, then we can't well have a discussion about it, can we?

If I've missed some things (maybe it does support TRIM, or software RAID?), I'd be happy to learn about them. I like having alternatives, so I genuinely do want to know how to do things like GPT, whole-disk encryption, memcontrol, nvidia binary drivers, get Brasero, etc.

If you just don't like the review, that's fine too. Can't please everyone. Like I said, I tried to be 100% unbiased. I pointed out all the areas I thought OpenBSD did better.

Oko said:
most FreeBSD developers use MAC
And? It runs on real hardware, so I don't care if they use Amigas, Irixes, or AS/400s.

I think if I were a kernel developer, I'd do most of my kernel development with the OS inside of a VM as well.

As to Macs specifically, I personally consider Apple hardware to be overpriced and poorly engineered (prioritizing aesthetics over functional design, low noise over proper heat dissipation, etc); but to each their own.
 

Oko

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I just waisted 1h actually writing a genuine answer to had forum software log me out and record my post as draft which can't be recovered.
 

Oko

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Messages: 1,620

byuu said:
I first noticed that OpenBSD fails to detect my SATA HDD on my Gigabyte GA-945GCM-S2C mainboard. I presume because this mainboard lacks true AHCI mode, and instead does some IDE simulation nonsense, with no BIOS options to change the behavior. Thankfully, it let me install in USB HDD mode, so I just had to put the drive into an external enclosure first.
OpenBSD has fine support for SATA HDD. You problems are due to low quality fake SATA HDD

byuu said:
I then appreciated how much quicker the OpenBSD installation media loads. You only do this once, but it was still nice. The installer was entirely text-prompt driven, as a series of questions. I don't like this any more or less than FreeBSD's text-mode UI installer, nor Debian's graphical-mode UI installer. They all get the job done and are easy to use.
OpenBSD installer shines when it comes to trick installations like installing of ramdisk kernel (embedded or even on the live USB), boot from RAID 1, full disk encryption. It also great for fully authomatic installation Red Hat kick-start type as well as custom installation scripts. Most users never notice this advanced features, hell most users never install their OS anyway.


byuu said:
I was disappointed to see that GPT is not supported. I found the whole-disk formatter to have dreadful defaults, and way too many separate partitions. I was also disappointed that the FS was 4.2BSD. I would have at least liked to see UFS for TRIM support and compatibility with FreeBSD. ZFS would have been even nicer so that I could do software mirroring. No geli, so no whole-disk encryption option available either.
OpenBSD uses softraid for full disk encryption. GPT is currently being worked on Google Summer Code. TRIM is coming. FFS with Soft Updates is adequate for basic partition FFS2 support large HDD over 3TB. However a lack of high performance file system is Achilles Tendon of OpenBSD. Use of solid state HDD really sucks on OpenBSD. Porting HAMMER2 from DragonFly after is finished would be really nice. ZFS has is a proprietary FS which will never be ported to OpenBSD. IMHO HAMMER is the best file system in existance for small to medium data shops. ZFS is intended for large enterprise deployment (Amazon, Ebay and similar). As someone who is using both at work I fail to see how a regular home user can benefit from ZFS but I see how I could benefit from HAMMER even on my latop. I would point out that NetBSD has some interesting FS for embedded deployment. Linux has nothing. The best thing in Linux is Silicon Grapshic XFS which I used circa mid 90s on my IRIX work stations. 9p file system is also very interested.


byuu said:
I notice that Xorg can be loaded from the installer, but not /usr/ports. This is curious to me. I added PKG_PATH to env so I could start loading software.
OpenBSD uses Xenocara which its own semi-fork of XOrg and the part of base installation.

byuu said:
I found it easy to add software (pkg_add -v xfce), but I found it took substantially longer. Xfce took around 15-20 minutes on OpenBSD, compared to around 1-2 minutes on FreeBSD, despite being roughly the same number of meta-packages. I noticed that it kept prompting me about conflicts, which I found kind of annoying. Eg file-roller asks you whether you want gtar, or gtar-static. gnumeric asks whether you want ghostscript, ghostscript-a4, ghostscript-a4-gtk, or ghostscript-gtk. I don't know which is better, I would prefer it if the package manager chose to best option for me. I ended up receiving no less than a dozen of these prompts throughout software loading.
OpenBSD and FreeBSD ports have almost orthogonal goals. OpenBSD is reproducibility and stability, FreeBSD is configurability and performance. Any further comparasion is pointless.


byuu said:
I found the available ports to be quite lacking. There was no clearlooks-phenix-theme (which is the only GTK+ theme other than the hideous Adwaita that can theme GTK+ 3 applications; otherwise they look like GTK+ 1.2 did.) There was no brasero or xfburn4, so I would have to find a new way to burn CDs. There was no ibus-mozc (Japanese IME), so I would not have the convenience of an offline IME pad for looking up unknown Japanese characters. But other than a few key misses, most of the essentials were there.
Which is kind surprising considering sizes of communities until you realize that FreeBSD developers use OS X on their desktops so why would they care about GTK versions anyway.

byuu said:
I did quite enjoy the way I did not have to ask for dbus or hald to run to get input on Xorg, and that I didn't have to tune kern.ipc.shm_allow_removed=1 to get Chromium to display pages. I didn't get into mounting drives, so I don't know if you still need devfs rules or not. I also enjoyed the way Firefox's fonts out-of-the-box were properly anti-aliased. I did not have to install MS web fonts nor create a fonts.conf override like I did with FreeBSD. Also very nice was that once my user was in sudoers, the Xfce restart/shutdown options were enabled without having to create an org.freedesktop.consolekit.pkla file. These are minor steps, but important for someone who's never used the system and wants to try it out quickly. So I have to give credit to OpenBSD for configuring their installed binaries more thoroughly upon installation.
Bla bla bla.


byuu said:
Since there is no official nvidia binary (and like FreeBSD, no nouveau), Xorg defaults to nv. I don't know what the deal is with nv. It feels like instead of just software-rendering, it uploads my window graphics to the NASA Voyager satellite, waits for it to respond with the data, and then displays it on my screen. I moved a 600x400 settings window from the left to right of my monitor. My entire system deadlocked for the next 3-5 minutes as I watched, horrifyingly, as each and every step of the movement was rendered, watching each and every line rendering, from the bottom up, of each window movement. I had to go to VESA, and since I lack any video cards that offer 1920x1080 in VESA mode, that meant I was stuck at 1440x900, the best I had.

I was really, really surprised to see that glxgears ran in software mode (albeit at 177fps, compared to around 130,000fps with the nvidia driver.) Hopelessly slow OpenGL is better than no OpenGL, so I wish more systems would make Mesa setup transparent and out-of-the-box like that.

I noticed that OpenBSD lacks memcontrol, so the only way to configure MTRR to speed up VESA more would be by writing my own program to invoke the relevant ioctl's. That sucks. I skip it for now, as even stock Xorg vesa is about 100x faster than Xorg nv. It's also missing a logout command, so I have to use exit (what am I, a farmer?)
nVidia is proprietary vendor who doesn't care for anything but Windows. OpenBSD is true open source project and would never allow binary blob drivers which can affect stability and security of the base system. That being said graphical designers and motion picture artists will definitelly benefit from switching to OS X form any BSDs ;)


byuu said:
It comes with sudo in base, but it seems it verbally abuses you if you type your password wrong. I have a sense of humor, so I'm not offended, but it's still not very professional. We don't need to give reasons to PC PHB's not to use the BSDs. I wasn't immediately sure if "are you on drugs?" meant I wasn't in sudoers, or that I typed the wrong password.
I find it professional enough to use everyday at work.

byuu said:
I didn't notice my FreeBSD 10 bugs of libvte+/bin/sh causing random terminal crashes, nor Firefox deadlocking Xorg for up to 30-seconds on 8MP+ images without MOZ_DISABLE_IMAGE_OPTIMIZE exported, so that was also nice. Thunar is still screwy, and the refresh button doesn't actually refresh the folder, so you don't see file size/type changes until you navigate to a different path and back. I suspect this is a Thunar bug more than a BSD bug now.
OpenBSD tends to be more stable and better QA than FreeBSD but that is based on my personal experience not on actaul study.

byuu said:
Next, I noticed that OpenBSD lacks OSS, instead having sndio. I kind of wish I could have tried it (to test latency, mixing and non-blocking options), but OpenBSD does not support my Creative X-Fi Go USB audio card out of the box. But I'm still unhappy with it not being OSS, as I already have written audio drivers for OSS, ALSA, PulseAudio, PulseAudio-Simple, libao, OpenAL, SDL, DirectSound and XAudio2. And I still need to do WASAPI and JACK. I am kind of tired of writing audio drivers for my programs.
sndio is OpenBSD audio server. Both FreeBSD and OpenBSD use OSS. For a while there was a proprietary version of OSS which worked on FreeBSD but was not available on OpenBSD. That version of OSS has been released under BSD license. Porting it to OpenBSD could potential benefit some users.
OpenBSD audio infrastructure is very sophisticated for network applience OS. That is due to the fact that there are quite a few professional musicians among OpenBSD developers. It is not completed though but probably second only to OS X obviosly by a long mile (Solaris had fantastic OSS stack as well). ALSA is not worth commenting. Do yourself a favor and learn bit about history of OSS and ALSA.

byuu said:
I can't fault OpenBSD 5.5 for having newer software than FreeBSD 10, but it seems to be much further along in having GTK+ 3 versions of various programs. gnome-system-monitor, file-roller, etc. Xfce needs some of these Gnome components to be fully functional, and it was very native and clean with Gnome 2 apps. But since I get GTK+ 3.10 instead of FreeBSD's 3.8, I also get fun like the Gnome devs deciding GTK+ apps should draw their own title bars, even though the window manager still draws its own title bar as well, so my gnome-system-monitor draws Inception title bars (a nested title bar inside of another title bar.) But, I know that FreeBSD 11 is going to have this same issue. Still, I like that I get one last year of respite from the Gnome devs before I have to find replacements for every GTK+ 3 application I use.
...


byuu said:
In conclusion, there's a lot to like, but a lot to dislike. I feel that while Debian Linux is incredibly bloated, FreeBSD seems to trim most of the fat. OpenBSD seems to trim all of the fat, and begins to cut into the muscle. It's so lean that I find myself wanting for things as basic as a way to burn CDs or make GTK+ 3 applications look nice.
You lost me here. You burn CDs on OpenBSD with the tools from the base
Code:
cdio -f cd0c tao your-favorite-os.iso

byuu said:
It's a bit easier to get a desktop up and running out of the box with no experience (still nothing compared to Debian's ease in this regard), but the lack of binary nVidia drivers really cripples the system for most users. I liked that, despite its insistence on security, that I didn't find anything harder to set up or do. For some reason, I expected I would not be allowed to su to root with my user account out of the box, and other things like that. But it was all smooth sailing.
bla bla
byuu said:
I like OpenBSD's extra security measures quite a lot. But I don't find it to be worth the dearth of ports, the missing hardware support (I couldn't use my GPU, my SATA HDD, nor my USB audio card; all of which FreeBSD happily used), or the lack of important technologies that I really enjoy: no ZFS (and thus, no software mirroring/striping/RAID, no volume management), no DTrace, no GPT, no powerd (CPU throttling), no memcontrol (MTRR configuration), etc.
How in the world is ZFS related to RAID? ZFS is very advanced file system which does RAID and volume manager in one. OpenBSD has enough software raid support for RAID 1 installation. I fail to see how desktop user will safer from the lack of software RAID 6 support on OpenBSD which is by the way non existing on FreeBSD as well. I still use lots of hardware and software RAID 6 in my Lab but many people will argue that RAID is already dead and ZFS is the next best thing.

byuu said:
It just feels too barebones. I feel I've already sacrificed a lot for FreeBSD (no Flash, no Java, no Steam; some of which I could get if I jumped through flaming hoops, I know), which already sacrified a lot from Windows (no Falcom PC games, no Photoshop, no scanner driver; again, hoops I don't want to jump through.)
Vendor support for FreeBSD is better than from OpenBSD but for practical purposes non-existing. The fact that Adobe doesn't release Flash from BSDs doesn't bother me but the fact that I can't use FreeBSD for scientific computing because MathWork doesn't release MATLAB in part due to the fact that Oracle doesn't release Java for FreeBSD is a big problem for me.

byuu said:
OpenBSD seems to go a bit too far, and I feel a lot like when I use (what I consider to be) purely hobbyist toy OSes like Haiku, Plan9, QNX Neutrino and Inferno. I would start to have difficulties getting real work done.
Without that "hobby" OS you would not have your Internet connection right now nor being able to do on-line banking. But hey it is far cooler to claim that top 487 out of 500 supper computers run Linux instead for the fact that over 30000 elevators in U.S. alone use OpenBSD :beer

byuu said:
Given its immature SMP, I could only heartily recommend it for a low-traffic, low-maintenance server. If you want high-traffic scalability on a server, or a workable desktop, I'd recommend FreeBSD. It's totally worth the extra bits of setup you have to do, and hey, those teach you more about the system anyway, right?
What make you think that you are qualifiy to give any kind a recommendation or even do this kind review?




byuu said:
My biggest take-away of what I want to see more of in FreeBSD is ports/packages creating/modifying the necessary configuration files for you. Maybe that scares system administrators that installing Xorg would enable dbus, or that installing Xfce would create a consolekit policy file for you, but I think that would be a step in the right direction overall.
Part of my job is managing close to 80 computing nodes/workstations and computing infrastructure for 60 people large research group. I could assure you that nothing scares me more than dealing with users like you who think that they actually know what they are talking about.
 
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byuu

byuu

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Oko said:
OpenBSD has fine support for SATA HDD. You problems are due to low quality fake SATA HDD
Agreed. It's a crappy motherboard. Still, it works on Windows XP+7, OS X 10.5+10.7, Debian, Ubuntu, and FreeBSD.

I'm really not picky about hardware. I think if you care about your OS, you will buy better hardware that works for it. It was just an observation.

Oko said:
OpenBSD installer shines when it comes to trick installations like installing of ramdisk kernel (embedded or even on the live USB), boot from RAID 1, full disk encryption.
Interesting. I stand corrected. Can you point me at a guide for that? I read ftp://ftp.openbsd.org/pub/OpenBSD/5.5/a ... TALL.amd64 which has no mention of RAID or encryption at all.

But in that case, FreeBSD has it prominently displayed: "Install using: Manual, Guided, Shell, ZFS". Pick ZFS. "Disk type: stripe, mirror, RAID. Encryption: Yes/No"

I'm glad OpenBSD can do it, but I'd like if it were more directly accessible. Don't take that as me saying "OpenBSD sucks" please, take it as me saying, "OpenBSD is great. Here's how to make it even better."

As it is now, new users like me are over-looking it. That's a problem regardless of how many times you shout RTFM.

Oko said:
IMHO HAMMER is the best file system in existance for small to medium data shops.
Not really interested in Dragonfly, but I'll give it a fair shake when it's out for OpenBSD. Right now, nothing I've used has given me a system where I could do whole-disk encryption, software mirror/stripe/RAID, health scans for data integrity errors, easy snapshots, volume management where all of my 'partitions' can use any of my remaining disk space, etc. So I really like ZFS. If HAMMER does all that, I am sure I will love HAMMER too. Especially if HAMMER can do it without eating 1GB+ of my RAM.

Oko said:
As someone who is using both at work I fail to see how a regular home user can benefit from ZFS but I see how I could benefit from HAMMER even on my latop.
I use it so I can have four software-mirrored HDDs. If one fails, I can replace it with another. And I don't have to have 100% matching drives, or an expensive external bulky NAS enclosure. I like it because it's the only FS that does this for me right now.

Oko said:
Linux has nothing.
Supposedly btrfs will be promising, but it seems like it's still in the experimental stages.

Oko said:
OpenBSD and FreeBSD ports have almost orthogonal goals. OpenBSD is reproducibility and stability, FreeBSD is configurability and performance. Any further comparasion is pointless.
I am comparing them for my use case: developing software and running small server apps on them. I agree they have very different underlying goals, some of which conflict with one another (hard to have both speed and security. To some extent, sure, but they are generally opposing goals.)

Oko said:
FreeBSD developers use OS X on their desktops
Again, I couldn't care less what they use on their desktops. I am not using OS X on my desktop. I have a Hackintosh I port my software to on, but that's it.

I get what you're trying to hint at, and if FreeBSD actually really suffered because the devs never used it, and this made it worse, then I wouldn't like using it as much and I'd be favoring OpenBSD for everything. But I don't judge software based on what OS the developers use, or on what music they listen to, or on what beer they drink.

Oko said:
Bla bla bla.
Great response.

Oko said:
nVidia is proprietary vendor who doesn't care for anything but Windows.
I hate it, too. I find their drivers buggy and they make my systems unstable. But if you want to write OpenGL 3D games, you use the binary driver or you don't write 3D games. I need the driver to develop pixel shaders that nouveau, nv, and vesa cannot do short of 1000x-slower software rendering. I won't let it anywhere near my main server.

Oko said:
OpenBSD is true open source project and would never allow binary blob drivers which can affect stability and security of the base system.
Perfection is the enemy of good. I prefer pragmatism to ideology. I am not forced to install the nvidia binary driver on FreeBSD, and I don't on my main system.

Oko said:
I find it professional enough to use everyday at work.
That didn't address what I said at all. Again, **I** don't care that it asked me if I was on drugs because I mistyped my password. But I also don't think it helped. It should have said either, "user is not in sudoers" or "sorry, password not recognized." If you have a technical justification for why OpenBSD's approach is a superior way to handle user error, I'd love to hear it.

Oko said:
OpenBSD tends to be more stable and better QA than FreeBSD but that is based on my personal experience not on actaul study.
In my limited testing, I would definitely agree with you on stability of the ports. They seem more serious about auditing their ports tree and making sure things work. When it comes to the base system, I've never had a single crash on either that wasn't caused by the nvidia driver.

Oko said:
sndio is OpenBSD audio server. Both FreeBSD and OpenBSD use OSS.
Fantastic! That's wonderful news, thanks for explaining that.

I know about the OSS author trying to go commercial with OSSv4, which led to ALSA on Linux. I loved the BSD pragmatism to make /dev/dsp virtualized to handle mixing. Such a pragmatic solution compared to writing a new, super complex, non-portable audio API. OSSv4 went back to full open source once that guy's ambitions blew up and he realized a Unix audio driver wasn't a path to riches.

Oko said:
Do yourself a favor and learn bit about history of OSS and ALSA.
I know about the history of OSS, ALSA, PulseAudio, DirectSound, XAudio2, etc. I had not heard the term sndio, I just saw it in the audacious audio driver list, where I see OSS on FreeBSD. So I made a wrong assumption that it wasn't OSS.

Oko said:
......

Oko said:
You burn CDs on OpenBSD with the tools from the base
And I can manipulate archives with tar. Sometimes I like a GUI to drag and drop files I want to burn on. Sometimes I like a command-line utility. I am sure OpenBSD has GUI CD-burners, just not the two I am familiar with. It probably has k3b or whatever from KDE that would work.

Oko said:
Blooh blooh blah blah bleh.

Oko said:
How in the world is ZFS related to RAID?
It provides software RAID support. I personally use 4x mirrored drives, but it has three RAID types. Not 6, as you say.

Oko said:
The fact that Adobe doesn't release Flash from BSDs doesn't bother me but the fact that I can't use FreeBSD for scientific computing because MathWork doesn't release MATLAB in part due to the fact that Oracle doesn't release Java for FreeBSD is a big problem for me.
Yeah, and I have a Windows XP hard disk that I switch to when I need to use Photoshop for digital preservation stuff I work on.

Oko said:
Without that "hobby" OS you would not have your Internet connection right now nor being able to do on-line banking
And without Xerox Alto, I wouldn't have a mouse. Yet I am not running Xerox Alto. I love OpenSSH, follow LibreSSL development, etc.

Oko said:
What make you think that you are qualifiy to give any kind a recommendation or even do this kind review?
The same that makes you think I don't.

Oko said:
I could assure you that nothing scares me more than dealing with users like you who think that they actually know what they are talking about.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem

I'm an engineer at a Fortune 500 company, and in my spare time, write software used by around a hundred thousand people. We all have nice resumes here, I am sure.

I am not at all an expert on FreeBSD (been using it for six months) or OpenBSD (used it one day), and I said as much at the start of my post. This is essentially "one guy's first impressions of installing and using two new OSes."

As a software developer, this is my favorite kind of feedback. I find that when I use something for too long, I am blinded to the parts that are difficult or sub-optimal for new users. When people try my software for the first time, I get the best possible feedback on how to improve it.

If you don't like the review, great. That's your right.

So far, you've pointed out that I was wrong on sndio, whole-disk encryption, and RAID support. I apologize for being wrong there.

My points on a ZFS/HAMMER-like FS, DTrace, GPT, TRIM, SecureBoot, nvidia, and less ports in software stand. Even if they are being worked on, they're not in there yet.

We agree on OpenBSD handling security and port stability better.
 

jrm@

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Oko said:
ZFS has is a proprietary FS which will never be ported to OpenBSD.
Read the first sentence here.

Oko said:
ZFS is intended for large enterprise deployment (Amazon, Ebay and similar). As someone who is using both at work I fail to see how a regular home user can benefit from ZFS...
I'm running it on the laptop I'm using to write this post with. It works fantastically for me. How about snapshots, boot environments, on-the-fly compression that actually improves performance?
 

Oko

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I just attached my private notes on crypting my laptop. It is written in txt2tags markup. BB didn't allow me to upload HTML version

Root on RAID 1 mirroring goes very similarly. K3b is ports for people who like to burn things in style. I appreciate civil tone of your respond to my post.
 

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Oko

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jrm said:
Oko said:
ZFS has is a proprietary FS which will never be ported to OpenBSD.
Read the first sentence here.

Oko said:
ZFS is intended for large enterprise deployment (Amazon, Ebay and similar). As someone who is using both at work I fail to see how a regular home user can benefit from ZFS...
I'm running it on the laptop I'm using to write this post with. It works fantastically for me. How about snapshots, boot environments, on-the-fly compression that actually improves performance.
I am not such a great optimist about OpenZFS. My feeling is that anything opensource related to Oracle product is dead. I stand firm with my second claim about the benefit of ZFS for a regular home users. Obviously you have not tried HAMMER and the latest DragonFly 3.8.1 ;) Let me know what you think after you try.
 

Oko

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Since I said banch of crap about FreeBSD I really need to say something that I really, really like about FreeBSD. I really, really like Jail infrastructure on FreeBSD. DTrace is really cool. I also like nice tolerant community which is not affraid of being chalanged by person like me.
 

Oko

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byuu said:
Right now, nothing I've used has given me a system where I could do whole-disk encryption, software mirror/stripe/RAID, health scans for data integrity errors, easy snapshots, volume management where all of my 'partitions' can use any of my remaining disk space, etc. So I really like ZFS. If HAMMER does all that, I am sure I will love HAMMER too. Especially if HAMMER can do it without eating 1GB+ of my RAM.
I can assure you that you are going to like HAMMER very much. It can do all what you want and probably with as little as 256 MB of RAM.
 
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byuu

byuu

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Neat tutorial guide, thanks! Now that I know the commands I can more easily look up the flags on the manual pages.

If you or anyone else were curious, my steps for encrypting a disk with FreeBSD/UFS via command-line are here: http://byuu.org/doc/freebsd-10.html
Look under the "Format Encrypted SSD" section.

Oko said:
I appreciate civil tone of your respond to my post.
Sure, and thank you for responding to my points one-by-one. I'll probably put together an openbsd-55 guide similar to the above, but incorporated with your crypto steps and extra info.

Oko said:
I am not such a great optimist about OpenZFS. My feeling is that anything opensource related to Oracle product is dead.
Java was never really wholly open, but it seems to be in real trouble, with Oracle trying to copyright header files.

LibreOffice seems to be doing okay, although now that OpenOffice was given to Apache, it feels like it's a tad fragmented. I'd like to see them merge together to be happy. Hudson forked to Jenkins. OpenSolaris forked to illumos. MySQL forked to MariaDB. ZFS forked to OpenZFS.

I'm not too worried yet. If all of our smartphones start running on FreeBSD+ZFS, then I might get concerned about Oracle's wrath.

But seriously, I can't possibly imagine a worse squandering of the Sun portfolio than Oracle managed. The only nice thing I can say about Oracle is that at least they're upfront and honest about how evil they are. I have deep-seated suspicions about the true motives of RedHat, but they certainly present themselves as champions of open source. Oracle removes all doubt.

Oko said:
Obviously you have not tried HAMMER and the latest DragonFly 3.8.1
I have mixed feelings about Matt Dillon's fork. I was around as a happy FreeBSD 4.8 - 4.10 user. I experienced the searing pain of the 5.x SMP transition, and it drove me away up until this year, when Lennart Poettering helped bring me back. Yes, it had some substantial growing pains with SMP, but it came out great in the end, at least in my book. Now given, I don't run web servers that get millions of hits a day, but other FreeBSD-based companies do. I think that ultimately FreeBSD's direction worked out fine.

I really dislike seeing BSD fragmented. It was sad that Theo couldn't get along with Net, lost commit access, and eventually forked Open. Just as it's sad that Matt couldn't get along with Free, lost commit access, and eventually forked Dragonfly. Open has given us OpenSSH, Dragonfly has given us HAMMER, so clearly good comes out of it. But it still seems like it hurts us more when these projects fragment over egos. One of the best parts about BSD is not having this kind of legacy.

But yeah I do need to try Dragonfly and Net, just so I can have a fair first-hand experience with all of them.

Oko said:
Since I said banch of crap about FreeBSD I really need to say something that I really, really like about FreeBSD.
Likewise me on OpenBSD. With your RAID guide, I'd definitely use it on a system with a native-resolution VESA driver. Maybe I'll write up a memcontrol-like script for OpenBSD.

Oko said:
I also like nice tolerant community which is not affraid of being chalanged by person like me.
I'm always up for a contrasting-views debate with anyone, so long as we keep it technical and not personal. That's the best way to learn. A lot of people on my own forum are quite opposed to my positions on things, but it's always civil and informative (although nobody auto-corrects your posts :p)
 

kpedersen

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byuu said:
But if you want to write OpenGL 3D games, you use the binary driver or you don't write 3D games. I need the driver to develop pixel shaders that nouveau, nv, and vesa cannot do short of 1000x-slower software rendering. I won't let it anywhere near my main server.
At work I actually replaced my FreeBSD system with OpenBSD because I found at the time, the Intel video driver on FreeBSD only supported OpenGL 2.0 whereas OpenBSD's supported OpenGL 2.1. This may have changed by now but I really needed FBO's and did not want to have to resort to Linux (or Windows).

Luckily I work for an "Indie" games company so my graphics card doesnt need to be top end. If you can get away without NVIDIA hardware (preferably move to Intel) then that will save you a lot of needless headaches (for any OS). The Radeon stuff is acceptable on both FreeBSD (which I use at home) and OpenBSD but I have come across a few cards that do not work.
 
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byuu

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I currently need OpenGL 3.2+, as I fully ditched the fixed-function pipeline and moved over to GLSL 1.50+. It was pretty much a complete rewrite of everything in my OpenGL renderer, but thanks to non-strict mode I could do it piecemeal. I don't even do 3D stuff, I just have a system where you can define multi-pass shaders to 2D surfaces for things like simulating CRT phosphors, NTSC composite artifacts, edge detection, scanlines, motion blur, color correction, etc. Most of those run on any old GPU, some of them need a really beefy GPU. This was also necessary, as OS X (at least for 10.7) gives you a choice between OpenGL 2.0 or 3.2, and that's it.

I would really love to use Intel graphics, as they now support 3.2 in their OSS drivers as of October 2013, but unfortunately can't. My Core i7 mainboard doesn't have a video output port for it, and Intel won't sell discrete graphics cards for some reason. I know they won't compete with $600 Titan-Zs, but they could at least compete with the $30 8400 GS cards.

I've kept trying Radeon over the years, but it always gives me trouble. Weird graphical glitches are all over, like I see garble when a popup menu first appears for a fraction of a second. Or the title bar edges get corrupted / cut off. And while I like that their OpenGL shader language compiler is more strict, it also fails to work with certain valid shaders quite often. I should try it again though, my last card was a 4xxx model.
 

hitest

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I like and use both FreeBSD and OpenBSD. I've been a FreeBSD user since 5.x and OpenBSD since 5.0. Both of these BSDs are amazing.
 

Oko

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gpatrick said:
OpenBSD hangs onto the
only two remote holes in a heck of a long time
to demonstrate their "security." However, as the OP noted, the system is quite bare, and once you begin adding other software there goes the baby out with the bath water, so to speak.
This is factually not true! I work in a robotics lab of a major research university lab where we use default OpenBSD install for pretty much our entire
network infrastructure with exception of our file servers. Just to set the record straight I will list explicitly services I am personally running of a default installation:

1. Firewall
2. VPN gateway(/etc/rc.d/npppd)
3. DHCP server (/etc/rc.d/dhcpd)
4. DNS (/etc/rc.d/unbound)
5. LDAP server (/etc/rc.d/ldapd)
6. Mail server (/etc/rc.d/smtpd)
7. NTP server (/etc/rc.d/ntpd)
8. Web server (/etc/rc.d/nginx)
9. sftp server with chrooted accounts
10. ssh gateway
11. Code repository (CVS)
12. My servers back up themselves using cron and altroot mechanism.
13. My servers monitor themselves with snmpd, sensorsd, and log files.
14. We use softraid to fully encrypted laptops.


I do not know if the above list looks impressive to you but for me it looks damn impressive. With small add on or with home brewed Perl script
you can easily poll SNMP daemons from other machines making your OpenBSD server monitor tool for entire lab. With a small add on I run
our bugtracker of essentially stock Nginx.

Now I could also run a NFS file server of a default OpenBSD installation but we use combination of FreeNAS (ZFS), RedHat (RAID 6 formated as XFS), and DragonFly HAMMER. My favorite is actually HAMMER but it is still missing some critical parts for enterprise deployment (for example no LDAP support). The default OpenBSD installation has everything for a C, C++, ADA, Fortran, Perl, or Lua developer.


Just for starters. Default FreeBSD installation doesn't contain DHCP and LDAP server for example. On the another hand I really like Jail infrastructure.
 

hitest

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gpatrick said:
The FreeBSD community is much nicer to work with than the OpenBSD community. If I wanted abuse then I'd go through basic training again so I could have my drill sergeant debase me, but for asking a question because I'm unsure and thought their (OpenBSD) "knowledgeable" users could help shouldn't bring about confrontation and offense. But then, that again comes from their idol Theo.
I've found that if you do your own leg work the OpenBSD community is more than willing to help you with technical issues. In this regard the FreeBSD community is not that different; it is expected that you will read manuals and attempt to do some of your own trouble shooting. Sure, you will come across someone who barks RTFM, but, generally that has not been my experience here or with the OpenBSD community.
 

jrm@

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I met some OpenBSD folks at BSDCan, e.g., Peter Hessler, Bob Beck, Henning Brauer, Peter Hansteen, Ingo Schwartz and a few others, and they were friendly. They rip into each other and others, but it comes across much less mean-spirited than on the mailing lists.
 

jb_fvwm2

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hitest said:
gpatrick said:
The FreeBSD community is much nicer to work with than the OpenBSD community. If I wanted abuse then I'd go through basic training again so I could have my drill sergeant debase me, but for asking a question because I'm unsure and thought their (OpenBSD) "knowledgeable" users could help shouldn't bring about confrontation and offense. But then, that again comes from their idol Theo.
I've found that if you do your own leg work the OpenBSD community is more than willing to help you with technical issues. In this regard the FreeBSD community is not that different; it is expected that you will read manuals and attempt to do some of your own trouble shooting. Sure, you will come across someone who barks RTFM, but, generally that has not been my experience here or with the OpenBSD community.

Reminds me, this week I learned: rtfm -i ...
And as an off-topic:
However, as of the posting of the command above, I did not yet think one could copy-paste the SYNOPSIS from a perl manpage into an editor for direct modification, test and usage...
 

swirling_vortex

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I've experimented with both. One of the things I like with OpenBSD is that they incorporated a working KMS framebuffer console, something that's still a work-in-progress in FreeBSD. However, I've found that from a desktop's perspective, OpenBSD runs a bit slow and on slower hardware (Intel Atom), running something like Firefox is next to impossible. I suspect it's due to its more conservative scheduler, but I know nothing of kernel internals.
Oko said:
Which is kind surprising considering sizes of communities until you realize that FreeBSD developers use OS X on their desktops so why would they care about GTK versions anyway.
Not saying I don't believe you, but do you have a source for this? FreeBSD supports quite a number of hardware devices that would be impossible to develop within a virtual environment.
 

wblock@

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Not all, but many FreeBSD developers do use Macs. Don't forget where the userland for OSX originated. There is no similar situation with OpenBSD, so it's hard to make a fair comparison.
 

jrm@

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I'm with @Oko on this one. I try to reserve judgement, but I feel a little sad that so many FreeBSD developers seem to have given up on FreeBSD on the desktop. I would guess about 25 to 40% of the developers I saw at BSDCan had Apple laptops. At least there are young committers like @Baptiste, @kmoore, @wblock@ and too many others to mention doing cool stuff for the project that eat their own dog food as the saying goes.
 
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tzoi516

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hitest said:
I've found that if you do your own leg work the OpenBSD community is more than willing to help you with technical issues.
To put it in an easier to understand way: know Unix thoroughly and only bother people when you know for certain that it is a non-user error.

But how can you know for certain unless you ask sometimes?

What I like about OpenBSD is most, if not all, of the configuration files are located in one directory.

What I like about FreeBSD? Ports, feels more organic, runs on most of the hardware I've tried it on - there's even some limited Haswell use, I don't feel limited, and is closer to newer technologies than other BSDs.

What I like about OpenZFS? Snapshots, snapshots, and snapshots.

What I dislike? I really don't care. If something annoys me enough then I'm going to try something else. A community of pompous arrogant self-righteous (I know, sounds like Facebook) people can, and have, turned me away from some things.
 

hitest

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tzoi516 said:
But how can you know for certain unless you ask sometimes?
I guess I've been lucky so far; I have received good treatment when asking questions about OpenBSD. Of course if a question is answered easily in the manual one should look there.
 

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swirling_vortex said:
I've experimented with both. One of the things I like with OpenBSD is that they incorporated a working KMS framebuffer console, something that's still a work-in-progress in FreeBSD. However, I've found that from a desktop's perspective, OpenBSD runs a bit slow and on slower hardware (Intel Atom), running something like Firefox is next to impossible. I suspect it's due to its more conservative scheduler, but I know nothing of kernel internals.
For such applications OpenBSD should run significantly slower than FreeBSD considering amount of crypto, security features, pitiful file system, slowness of rthreads, and big giant lock. On another hand PF is about 4 times faster on OpenBSD comparing to "improved multithreaded" version running on FreeBSD.


swirling_vortex said:
Not saying I don't believe you, but do you have a source for this? FreeBSD supports quite a number of hardware devices that would be impossible to develop within a virtual environment.
Just my personal experience attending BSD related conferences. It is not a scientific study :)
 
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