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Date:      Sat, 20 Aug 2011 13:00:08 -0600
From:      Chad Perrin <>
Subject:   Re: A quality operating system
Message-ID:  <20110820190008.GA21367@guilt.hydra>
In-Reply-To: <>
References:  <> <>

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On Sat, Aug 20, 2011 at 12:12:00PM -0500, Dave Pooser wrote:
> 1) I really don't see the Handbook as all that great. It's great that a
> volunteer team put it together, but when I compare it to
> <>; or
> <>, I don't think
> the FreeBSD handbook compares well.

I disagree.

> 2) Lack of geek-on-the-street support. If I'm looking for an experienced
> Linux administrator, I'll get thousands of applications; for a Solaris
> administrator, I'll get hundreds. For a BSD admin? Maybe half a dozen?

Try hiring a Linux guy with at least a little FreeBSD familiarity
instead, and get him to self-educate.  Too often, people try to hire
people with thirty years of experience in ten year old technologies, and
what they end up with is a bunch of barely competent liars on their
staffs.  Get someone with technical talent who is at least marginally
familiar and expect the person to *learn*.  Anyone you hire is going to
need to learn about your particular business needs anyway, so that the
majority of past experience will not be directly applicable.  Trying to
pretend otherwise just results in getting mediocre choices where you
could have had someone that would be truly excellent when given half a

People who want to learn, and are good at learning, are far more valuable
than people think.  Having a resume with all the "right" bullet points is
almost worthless by comparison, when what you really want is an effective

> 3) Updates are a mess. It's cool that I *can* compile a new kernel, but
> that I *have* to is ridiculous. Updating a server should not be more
> difficult than "yum update" -- full stop.

Define "have to".

> 4) Poor support from running FreeBSD under virtualization. When I start to
> think about deploying a new server, I'll generally spin up a new VM on my
> workstation or on an ESXi host. If I have trouble with that VM, my first
> response is not going to be to try again with the same OS, it's going to
> be to fall back to a configuration I know works.

There is, unfortunately, not as much support for running FreeBSD in
virtualization environments (ignoring jails for the moment) as for other
OSes.  That's not really a problem with FreeBSD, though.  I can see it
being a reason to choose a different OS for cases where you need a
particular set of veritualization requirements met, but I do not see it
being a reason to tell everyone that FreeBSD sucks.

> There are some things I liked a lot about FreeBSD -- its support for
> DTrace and ZFS was the reason I looked into it in the first place. But
> from where I sit, technologies like that are just duct-taped on to the
> base system rather than integrated. (For example, why isn't there
> something like the [Open]Solaris beadm, where the system creates a ZFS
> snapshot automatically before any major updates to let you revert to not
> just an earlier kernel but an earlier world?)

Maybe that has something to do with the fact that ZFS was designed for
OpenSolaris, while FreeBSD developers are working hard at integrating it
for users without (much?) help from the ZFS developers at Oracle (who
would really rather that nobody used FreeBSD anyway, for the most part).
Of course, FreeBSD is leagues ahead of both MS Windows and any Linux
distribution in the ZFS support department.

I don't know much about DTrace, but I suspect there are similar factors
involved there.

> Cat-Herder-in-Chief,

Funny -- that's a Mac site.  It seems like you shouldn't be considering
MS Windows, Linux-based systems, Solaris, or FreeBSD anyway.  You should
take the "eat your own dogfood" approach, and use Mac servers and
desktops.  I guess you really *are* just trolling.

Chad Perrin [ original content licensed OWL: ]

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