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Date:      Sat, 24 Jan 2004 19:38:21 -0500 (EST)
From:      "Jason M. Leonard" <>
To:        Jesse Guardiani <>
Subject:   Re: Why BSD?
Message-ID:  <>
In-Reply-To: <buunut$43h$>
References:  <> <buunut$43h$>

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On Sat, 24 Jan 2004, Jesse Guardiani wrote:

> Jeff Elkins wrote:
> > This is not a troll.
> >
> > I've installed FreeBSD 5.2 on a spare SCSI drive and am compiling kernels,
> > updating ports, etc,etc. Thus far, other than some minor hassles, it's
> > equivilent to my Debian sid.
> >
> > I have to ask: Why FreeBSD rather than Linux?
> >
> > Honest question.
> For me, this question has been answered twice in different attempts to "give
> linux a try". I'm a Sys Admin, and we run FreeBSD almost exclusively at work.
> However, every new employee we hire walks into the building with an attitude
> that Linux is somehow better than FreeBSD because they're heard so much about
> it and haven't heard anything about FreeBSD. So, on two separate occasions, I
> decided to "give linux a try". Both ended miserably:
> Occasion 2.) Got sick of Win 98 SE on my wife's computer, so I decided to "give
>              Linux a second chance".
>  This time I WANTED to go with Red Hat, since it's arguably the most popular
>  Linux distro. However, one look at their new licensing made me change
>  my mind in favor of Gentoo - The most BSD-like Linux distro.
>  Maybe I was doing something wrong, but I couldn't find an automated
>  install process. I had to read a text file and copy and paste install
>  commands by HAND to get Gentoo installed. This was painful and tedious.
>  It took probably 4 hours to install. Their motto is "freedom of choice"
>  or something similar. Well where is my freedom to choose a quick install???
>  Pros: Very nice BSD-like portage system. Top notch.
>  Cons: Terrible install process. Took forever.

A couple of weeks ago I acquired a 4x50 slot Overland Neo tape library for
the purpose of backing up several 1T volumes that live on FreeBSD file
servers.  Unfortunately I could not find backup server software for
FreeBSD that would allow me to back up volumes that span multiple tapes.

I had had good luck with BRU back in my UUNET days, so I decided to give
their BRU-Pro software, which offers a FreeBSD client, a whirl.  The
server software only runs on Linux, but I really needed to get these
backups done and so I said to myself "one Linux box won't be so bad".

I, too, had heard of the "BSD-like" Gentoo and decided to start there.
After over three painful hours of installtion my machine just hung
following a reboot.  Joy.  It was about 5am.  I downloaded the next Linux
distro I could find ISOs for--Mandrake 9.2.

Much to my surprise the Mandrake install was quick and painless.  Woot!  I
thought I was home free.

But then I read this on the BRU-Pro site:

"Requirements: Linux system Running kernel 2.2.19 - 2.2.25 or 2.4.23"

Hmm, I was running 2.4.22.  Maybe that was close enough?

"If you choose to use a 2.4 kernel older than 2.4.23 or the updated RH
2.4.9-34, you're literally gambling with your data!"

"These are the ONLY kernel revisions we support."

I guess not.

And lo, I began to learn about upgrading the Linux kernel.  For about half
an hour, then I decided this was taking up way too much of my life and
decided to go the RPM route.  Except--DUN DUNH--there is no 2.4.23 RPM
kernel upgrade for Mandrake because apparently they are having some sort
of issue with it.


So then I read this:

"If you are having issues with BRU-Pro on your system, we recommend Red
Hat 6.2 with the 2.2.19 kernel, Mandrake 7.2 w/2.2.19, Mandrake 8.0, or
Caldera 2.4 as the best version of Linux."

Red Hat, 6.2, eh?  Yes, fine, at this point I'll try anything.  I
download.  I burn ISOs.  The installer crashes halfway through the
install, not surprising considering my box is a dual Xeon with 2G RAM.

Hours pass, I will spare the details, but after trying to match up several
different distros of Linux to this chart:

"Linux users running BRU-Pro 2.0 under a 2.4.x kernel need to be aware of
SCSI subsystem issues in the various 2.4.x kernels. We have run tests and
researched all 2.4.x kernels through 2.4.20 and have discovered the
following: (GREEN = good, RED = bad).

    * 2.4.2-2 Shipped with Red Hat 7.1 - Stable
    * 2.4.2 Stock - Issues with SCSI Generic under Adaptec and Symbios
    * 2.4.3 Stock - Stable
    * 2.4.4/5/6 Stock - __alloc errors on SCSI I/O
    * 2.4.6-2 Shipped in Red Hat 7.2 BETA - Stable
    * 2.4.7 Stock - Stable
    * 2.4.8/9/10/11 Stock - Issues with busfree and __alloc errors
    * 2.4.9-34 Red Hat - Stable (Most stable kernel for Red Hat 7.2)
    * 2.4.12/13/14 Stock - Stable, but ENOSPACE bug
    * 2.4.18-3 Red Hat - Stock kernel for 7.3 - UPGRADE THIS! Lots of SG
    * 2.4.18-10 Red Hat - Stable (Latest Kernel for 7.3), ENOSPACE bug and
problems with the 3c59x driver
    * 2.4.19 Stock - Bad, ENOSPACE bug and problems with the 3c59x driver
    * 2.4.20-19.9 - Bad, ENOSPACE bug back again.
    * 2.4.20 plus st patch - Stable, ENOSPACE bug fixed"

I finally wound up back with Mandrake 9.2 running a 2.4.24 "experimental"
kernel that seems to do the trick.  Sort of.  The whole thing is rather
cranky and buggy, but following a few fits and starts it does eventually
get my data on tape.

Needless to say, I will be implementing a better--and no doubt
Linuxless--backup solution as soon as possible.


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