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My first FreeBSD install - ugh...
reddragdiva From: reddragdiva Date: November 27th, 2002 03:53 am (UTC) (Direct Link)
I didn't find the installer notably more painful than Leegnux.

What I do vastly prefer is the process of administering the thing once it is installed. Too much attention to the installer itself. And the ports system.
reddragdiva From: reddragdiva Date: November 27th, 2002 04:08 am (UTC) (Direct Link)
That is to say, I like the administering itself, and the ports system. I am surprised how much attention is paid to installers in the Linux world, and how little to the thousand little pains of running the thing. Quite a lot of which FreeBSD alleviates with /etc/rc.conf .
blarglefiend From: blarglefiend Date: November 27th, 2002 04:39 am (UTC) (Direct Link)
Different goals: many Linux distros seek to be a Windows replacement. FreeBSD (and Net/OpenBSD, for that matter) do not.

In a sysadmin context, the target market for Redhat seems to be NT admins. The target market for FreeBSD is UNIX admins. Both are perfectly valid targets to aim for. This (to my mind) explains the pretty installer and GUI config tools on Redhat, and the relative simplicity of administration on the BSDs.

Oh, and Zoner? The reason GNOME on FreeBSD isn't as pretty as it is on Redhat is because what you get on FreeBSD is the stock GNOME setup. On Redhat what you're getting is a heavily customised setup. Even more so on 7.3 than earlier releases. Stock GNOME just plain isn't very impressive, and you'd see the same thing on, say, a Gentoo box.
zonereyrie From: zonereyrie Date: November 27th, 2002 08:14 am (UTC) (Direct Link)

Re: Eh?

Even taking away the prettiness, functionally the RH installer did a better job of auto-detecting the HW and configuring the OS for it. It grokked the video card and the monitor without any help - FreeBSD didn't really try either. And simply selecting the graphical X installer during the process hung me up, since it switched to a graphics mode my monitor didn't support. Later I found Ctrl-Alt-Backspace would probably have dumped me back, but it was still annoying.

That makes sense about GNOME, I've only ever really seen it on Linux distros like RH and SuSE.
blarglefiend From: blarglefiend Date: November 27th, 2002 05:01 pm (UTC) (Direct Link)

Re: Eh?

The other bit I forgot to mention is that *BSD isn't really aiming at being a desktop OS at all. Most *BSD boxes run without a local display, so getting X11 running isn't really critical. The *BSD kernels are generally pretty good at autodetecting hardware -- I can remember a time when it was much easier to get sound working on FreeBSD than Linux, for example.

You can turn any of them into a fine desktop if that's your goal, but it isn't what they target so you wind up having to do some of the legwork for yourself.

(The downside of this, of course, is that it becomes much harder to "sell" *BSD into Windows shops, where the "admins" generally can't cope without GUI configuration tools. I can understand why RH and friends have done things the way they have when looked at from that perspective.)

This is why I typically use a Mac running OS X -- or Debian if I'm stuck with a PC -- for my desktop and *BSD for the headless server jobs.
zonereyrie From: zonereyrie Date: November 27th, 2002 05:10 pm (UTC) (Direct Link)
I admit that I like the GUI tools. I started out doing everything on the command line, and I still do a lot that way, but some of the tools just make life so easy. If I need to edit whats on for certain run levels, the GNOME and/or KDE tools make it easy. Nothing to edit, etc. X configuration, network, etc, the GUI just makes life easier.

I'm sure there are admins who can't manage without the GUI, and that's not good if you have to do anything remotely. But I know I have to watch myself when I don't have anything remote to need to cope with for a while, I start to forget the 'manual' way to do things if I always have the desktop in front of me.
blarglefiend From: blarglefiend Date: November 27th, 2002 07:29 pm (UTC) (Direct Link)
Yes, needs vary. Most of the machines I admin are not my desktop, and they are usually at least a few rooms away if not on the other side of the planet. Having to use a GUI to make sense out of things (and RH's configs are sufficiently different to everything else -- and last I checked, largely undocumented -- that sometimes the GUI is the only way to get something done quickly) is bad enough when you just have to remote-display across the campus WAN, and *really* sucks when you have to do it with a host in Vancouver. From Melbourne.

This almost certainly colours my views.

That said, the server management stuff Jobs demoed when Apple released the Xserve looked pretty cool, and I'd love to get my hands on a rack of those things to try it out. The new gig involves vast hordes of honking great servers, so I may even be able to con Apple into giving me one or two for "evaluation"...
zonereyrie From: zonereyrie Date: November 27th, 2002 08:02 am (UTC) (Direct Link)

Re: Eh?

Being my first experience with actually adminning FreeBSD, I haven't seen this first hand yet. I have some friends who like to praise FreeBSD's management.

One thing I'd like to know - does FreeBSD have anything like Red Hat's 'Red Hat Network', Ximian's 'Red Carpet', or Debian's apt-get? I find these very convenient for keeping the system up to date, grabbing patches, installing new software, etc. Actually being alerted when there is a bugfix, etc, does make life easier. I read the CERT advisories, but that doesn't cover everything. And I'm not a full-time admin, basically I'm running these boxes to use for development and testing. I don't have the cycles to keep up with everything as it stands.

I know FreeBSD has pkg_add, and the ports, but it is more of a manual process of finding the package you want to install and downloading it... Hmm... I see 'pkg_add -r', that is probably useful. I've read a bit on ports - I picked up "The FreeBSD Handbook, 2nd Edition" along with the CDs - and it does seem like a nifty system.

From: kentarokurahone Date: November 27th, 2002 08:43 am (UTC) (Direct Link)

Re: Eh?

cvsup /etc/cvsupfile. That combined with portupgrade, make, sh, and cron will keep a system up to date. Security advisories are available from the freebsd web page. :D

'course having an automated system running around replacing binaries does have it's pitfalls, and drawbacks. YMMV.
zonereyrie From: zonereyrie Date: November 27th, 2002 09:07 am (UTC) (Direct Link)
Well, I wouldn't full automate it. I don't do that on Linux either. I run RHN as a monitor and let it tell me when there are patches, then I review what they are and decide to have it install or not. No way would I let something auto-update my systems like that. TiVo gets away with it, but not my machines. ;-) I don't let Windows do it either.
reddragdiva From: reddragdiva Date: November 27th, 2002 08:46 am (UTC) (Direct Link)
Er, the ports (or packages) system serves the same purpose as apt-get. I liked apt-get about equally myself.

For security, http://www.freebsd.org/security/security.html and mailing-list freebsd-security-notifications.

The full handbook is also in /usr/share/doc , by the way, or should be.