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Why FreeBSD Is My Favorite *nix OS

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Installation

FreeBSD provides a very easy installation process; it uses Sysinstall as an automated installation package to do it for you. All you have to do is answer some questions to create users and tell it which software to install and you are on your way to being up and running in a matter of minutes. The full installation takes longer that a few minutes to complete, but using Sysinstall to set the installation parameters is very quick. This installer takes care of everything needed to have FreeBSD installed and functioning correctly on your system, including user creation, software/application installations, network and peripheral setup, and much more.

Security

FreeBSD is one of the most secure operating systems available. There are a number of security features built into the system that deal with user and file system security. There are also a number of applications compatible with FreeBSD that offer added security beyond the default features. Besides the basic user permissions modified through CHMOD, FreeBSD offers the ability to use ACL and MAC. These options allow user permissions on a more specific level than the basic Unix permissions. You can also use a firewall to secure your system. FreeBSD has two options built in, altq and dummynet, as well as a number of applications available for install like IPFILTER (IPF), IPFIREWALL (IPF), and PacketFilter (PF). Another way to secure your system is change the default password hash from md5 to blowfish in login.conf.

Another great security feature that comes with FreeBSD is the ability to jail a process. This allows for separate environments for processes that are completely locked off from others. These jails function as almost a separate installation of FreeBSD allowing for its own user processes, user accounts, and files. Using a jail helps for testing software and often used by web hosts to give their users control over a virtual server.

Compatibility

There are numerous hardware compatibilities listed on the hardware notice for each release of FreeBSD. It is compatible with all the major processors the most popular being Intel and AMD. There are also thousands of applications available for installation on a FreeBSD system. As well as having all of those application ports available, you can run Linux applications on FreeBSD with the Linux Binary Compatibility system. This allows you "to run about 90% of all Linux applications without modification" (Linux Binary Compatibility).

Ports

The port system is a collection of software that is packaged and ready for installation on a FreeBSD system. You can download the source and install them very quickly and easily. Ports are available from the installation disc, online at the ports collection, or at FreshPorts. Once you have chosen a port to install and have followed the installation procedures, you can stay up to date with the ability to download and compile the updates easily from within the ports system. There are currently over 19,000 ports within 63 categories available for download and use (FreshPorts Stats).

Documentation

FreeBSD has many different options for documentation. They offer eight different kinds of documentation on their website including FAQ, Manual Pages, and the FreeBSD Handbook. There is also a web resources section, a for newbies section, and books and articles. The handbook is in my opinion the the best resource available and can be viewed online in multiple formats and downloaded as a local copy. There are a number of books dedicated to FreeBSD as well; a search on Amazon.com will demonstrate this. You won't have to browse the web for basic command questions; you can use the man pages on your installation of FreeBSD so you can have general command help locally whenever needed.



14 thoughts on “Why FreeBSD Is My Favorite *nix OS”

  1. Dan Langille says:

    Yeah baby. FreshPorts rules.

  2. Scott Spear says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more. Well done Dan!

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  11. Greg says:

    Why I dont use FreeBSD.
    I recently got a laptop. At first i wanted to install a BSD flavour on it. My first choice was OpenBSD. I started reading stuff, everything seemed fine. Then i browsed the ports available for it. Numerous applications i use daily werent there.
    My choice was obviously FreeBSD. FreeBSD has a much wider collection of ports. But from what i read it still doesnt support my wireless Intel 4965A in versions other then -CURRENT. So i installed linux.

  12. Scott Spear says:

    Greg,
    Thanks for the comment. I’ve never used FreeBSD on a machine that used wireless. I’ve used it mostly for servers. What I would say though is ask the community. There are tons of people to help and the FreeBSD community as a whole is willing to help. If you request support for your wireless there is a good chance it will be supported.

  13. Pablo Mora says:

    Scott, I completely agree with you. Greg should get support of FreeBSD-RULES-community.

    Best regards,

  14. factotum218 says:

    I agree. Problem for me is that I do front end design work full time. Once in a while I have to take my work home with me. Although I would rather run FreeBSD than Linux any day at home, I am stuck with Linux because there is no way for me to run a virtual platform for some applications that I need at work.
    Besides that I could not get a FreeBSD 7 disk to even boot on my computer without it giving a kernel panic. It has yet to be installed on this system.
    When I did have it running for a short time back in the FreeBSD 5 release I was amazed. Best thing I ever experienced. If a virtualbox port ever gets written for BSD I am there for life. If I had any interest in all in the coding process I would jump on it fast because there is talk about it, but it seems like no on one knows what to do because of the BSD kernel its self.
    Bummer.

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  19. Eric says:

    i agree with you, ha.
    i like freebsd too.

  20. John says:

    IMO FreeBSD is not more secure than Linux but Linux works better and faster, more applications, new applications…
    FreeBS has ports old 15 years which nobody use them anymore.

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