[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: Why Linux, Why Debian

Op vr 13-02-2004, om 00:09 schreef Manoj Srivastava:
> Hi,
>         I have been asked to give a talk at my local LUG with that
>  topic. The audience is  fairly technical, and there is going to be a
>  companion talk "Why FreeBSD" later in the year.
> 	I know why _I_ have decided to go with Linux, and Debian, but
>  I want to deliver a talk with from a broader perspective than that,
>  so I want to solicit opinions towards that.
>  2) Is the userland in openBSD too inconvenient to work with? Is the
>     userland for FreeBSD too inconvenient  (as compared to Linux
>     userland)? 

The userland is just different. If you're used to a GNU environment,
then the BSD userland is inconvenient, and vice versa.

>  3) Do you think that BSD kernels have better quality than Linux
>     kernels? Do Linux kernels have more features?  Are these features
>     important for you?

I do have the feeling that my FreeBSD installation is more stable and
solid than the (more bleeding-edge) Debian-installation on my system;
but that could have a number of reasons, including the fact that I'm
doing more bleeding-edge stuff on my Debian installation.

[...haven't done much comparison of network performance...]
>  5) Are upgrades easy for the BSD OS's?

They're both not really difficult, but they're certainly not as
convenient. On Debian, it's just a matter of "apt{-get,itude} update &&
apt{-get,itude} upgrade", which takes a few minutes; whereas the
recommended way to do an upgrade on a BSD OS involves recompiling the
entire system (at least, the "world"). That tends to take a long time (a
matter of hours at least, even on recent systems).

>  6) Are security fixes available in a timely fashion for the BSD's?
>     For Linux in general? For Debian?

I personally don't see much difference there, but that could just be me.

>  7) are security patch mechanisms convenient for the BSD's?
>     For Linux in general? For Debian?

Here, there is a difference. Again, doing an update of a BSD system
tends to take a while, whereas all you need to do on Debian is install a
new precompiled binary.

>  8) Is the hardware support for the BSD's as good that of Linux? 

No; Linux tends to support more of the esoteric hardware than BSD does.
whether that is a problem, remains to be answered.

>     Does
>     NetBSD support more architectures than Linux does? Which of these
>     architectures is important for you?

NetBSD does clearly support more architectures than Debian does (dunno
about Linux in general); but the ones that are important to most people
are supported by both.

>  9) Does the gentoo configurability deliver significantly better
>     performance? Is the added step of compilation too much of an
>     inconvenience? 

I know it is to me. Compilations take time for software that is usually
compiled exactly the same way by most people. The argument that is
usually given in favour of source-based distributions is that it allows
you to build software optimized for your purposes, with no libraries you
will not use, which will save you time (because the system runs faster,
having no bloat) and diskspace (because you don't install libraries you
don't use just because some package has been built with the support for
that library in case you /would/ want to use it); however, I'd like to
point out that
      * Source-based distributions cannot have -dev versions of a
        library, since then nothing could be compiled against the
        library anymore; and include files and static libraries tend to
        consume a considerable amount of time as well
      * I've heard of people running doing their daily update in the
        background while doing other things in the foreground. If
        source-based distributions do improve your performance, whatever
        you win by doing that will be lost to the resources you need to
        give to those background compilations.
      * Also, the initial installation of a source-based system takes up
        a lot more time than a binary installation, so you'll need to
        consider that as well.

[...I haven't looked closely at gentoo, and haven't even heard of
sorcerer, so skipped that one...]

>  11) Is it easy for you to discover new software when not using
>      Debian? When using gentoo? When using one of the BSD's?

I usually do not discover new software in the package management system,
but rather by reference of other people, or on google. If I do, "make
search" is just as easy to use as "apt-cache search".

> 	Feel free to reply to me offline, I'll summarize on list; but
>  I think that a lively dialogue shall elicit more material for an
>  evangelizing document ;-)

There's one final point you didn't ask about, but which is fairly
important IMO: the difference between what's part of a release in Debian
and the BSD's.

When you're running a -STABLE FreeBSD system, all that is -STABLE is
everything in your 'make world', i.e. the base system, a compiler, and a
number of tools, including (at least parts of) bind but, e.g., no
webserver, X, or window manager; For the latter, you'll need to install
them from binary releases either on CD-ROM (which will never be updated
for obvious reasons) or downloaded from the 'Net (which will be updated
along with the ports tree), or to compile them from the ports tree.

There is, however, only one version of the ports tree. Whereas in
Debian, you have multiple versions of, e.g., apache, KDE, and X11 -one
for every suite with security updates for the stable suite- there is no
such thing on FreeBSD. Although, of course, the port makefile will be
updated if a vulnerability has been found in a given package, the only
way to plug the hole on your system in such a situation is to install
the new version of the package, with all possible problems that may
cause. Compare to Debian, where you have the ability to install the same
version of the software, with the security fix backported. Also, if
you're working with a ports-installed version of the vulnerable package,
you'll stay vulnerable for as long as the compilation runs, which may or
may not be a considerable amount of time.

This has benefits in other areas too, of course, although it is much
cited as one of the problems of stable; but the benefits of this system
should be pointed out too, I think.

Wouter Verhelst
Debian GNU/Linux -- http://www.debian.org
Nederlandstalige Linux-documentatie -- http://nl.linux.org
Most people have two reasons for doing anything -- a good reason, and
the real reason

Attachment: signature.asc
Description: Dit berichtdeel is digitaal ondertekend

Reply to: