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FreeBSD 6.1 Released 227

nbritton writes "FreeBSD 6.1 has been released! This release is the next step in the development of the 6.X branch, delivering several performance improvements, many bugfixes, and a few new features. Of note are the major improvements to the filesystem and SATA code, possibly making FreeBSD the number one choice for SATA RAID implementations. For a complete list of new features and known problems, please see the release notes, errata list, Bittorrent Downloads, Mirrors, Hardware Notes, and Installation Guide."
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FreeBSD 6.1 Released

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  • by HotBBQ ( 714130 ) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @09:50AM (#15292668)
    I use Gentoo at home, but I like to play around with other distros. Any notable reasons to try FreeBSD?
  • NCQ? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ruiner13 ( 527499 ) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @09:53AM (#15292690) Homepage
    I don't see it listed in the release notes, but does it finally support SATA NCQ?
  • Desktop worthy... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by shrapnull ( 780217 ) * on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @10:02AM (#15292771)
    FreeBSD has always been great with RAID in my experience. I frequently load it up on servers and don't need additional drivers for my RAID cards (which is more then I can say for W2K3 on the same boxes). Since switching to FreeBSD on my desktop I haven't swapped OS's out (something I tend to do at least once every couple of months). It's been roughly a year now, so I think it's safe to call it "home." If you're into linux and want to try a BSD, now's the time. At least now that VMWare Server Beta is free you can install an instance of this and dust the file with no harm if you don't like it. Although a lot of my linux peeps are quick to criticize, not one of them has complained after actually trying BSD of some sort, and while they're not all converts they grow to understand why someone would choose BSD over linux. Yes there are differences, and no you probably won't notice them in a desktop environment.
  • by Colonel Package ( 973718 ) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @10:07AM (#15292797)
    I tried in vain to setup FreeBSD 6.0 as a SATA software raid machine. I was using a more recent motherboard with graphics, network and SATA integrated on-board. I think they are all VIA chipsets. I eventually hit the eject on FreeBSD as I couldn't even get X up and running. I then tried Debian. All-in-all it was another less than positive experience. Both the 2.4 and 2.6 kernel versions of Sarge had problems with my hardware. I decided to explore Gentoo. Its working great with SATA and EVMS. It did require some source level tweaks but part of the coolness I found with Gentoo is the very active user/support community and the tons of HowTos and guides. Unless they've made a quantum leap in improvements, FreeBSD would NOT be my choice for a SATA raid server.
  • by kyofunikushimi ( 769712 ) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @10:19AM (#15292878) Homepage
    I tried out FreeBSD last year and loved it. Until I couldn't manage to get an oracle client installed on it, which pretty much killed its usability within my company. Supposedly I could have done it with some hard work and diligence and the Linux Compatibility port, but I just wasn't up for the challenge.

    That's the only problem I ran into though.
  • Jackass! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by pandrijeczko ( 588093 ) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @10:43AM (#15293067)
    But if my experience with Gentoo and Portage is any guide, then you've probably also been bitten by Portage -- Masked ebuilds, ~arch, whatever: the build you want is masked, and unmasking and building creates an amazing cascade of broken packages, right?

    No, I wasn't being rude to you either.

    The Jackass Project [] on Gentoo fixes a lot of the ebuild and portage problems.

  • by AlasdairCake ( 670654 ) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @11:04AM (#15293236)

    FreeBSD may be an excellent operating system, but it's lack of a good journaling file system is a major barrier to adoption. I don't think they can claim to be an excellent choice for SATA RAID arrays until this is addressed.

    Although UFS2's background FSCK is a welcome improvement, it's not a solution.

    It's good to see that there are projects to bring XFS [] and JFS [] support into FreeBSD, I suspect it will be a long time before they're production ready and you'll be able to boot FreeBSD on them.

  • by misleb ( 129952 ) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @11:11AM (#15293283)
    I've been a Linux user for the last 10 years or so... Debian for the latter half. I recently took a new job where they used FreeBSD servers rather than Linux. Instead of using my position to push a migration to Linux, I decided to just learn to use FreeBSD.

    I can't say that I am particularly impressed with FreeBSD. There's nothing WRONG with it, per se, but there is also nothing amazing either. The only redeeming value I can think of off hand is having bleeding edge software available all the time through ports. Where with Debian I would get "stuck" with package versions dated from whenever the last stable release was and mixing unstable packages was not a good idea. Coming from Gentoo, I know you have something like ports and you are used to compiling every darn package you want to run (I hate it). You should probably give FreeBSD a try. You might like it.


  • by ThePhilips ( 752041 ) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @11:23AM (#15293377) Homepage Journal
    > FreeBSD may be an excellent operating system,
    > but it's lack of a good journaling file system
    > is a major barrier to adoption.

    I'm not sure about journaling file systems. I was helping people in data centres and they have described me way they use FreeBSD there.

    First of all, they have specially customized distro packed into single file for network boot. Then, every time something happen they just (re)plug new/replacement board, BSD is loaded with net boot over network, unpacked and booted. OS formats harddrive and run special software to attach local hard drive to networked RAID array. That software does mirroring/etc/whatever is configured.

    In other words (and that's pretty logical) you do not need journaling with RAID. You need journaling when you do not have UPS. But if you have money to throw at RAID - then you definitely need an UPS - to protect your investments in RAID.

    What journaling does for single hard drive operation is replaced by mirroring in RAID configurations. But that's my limited knowledge of how it works. Had RAID only once - but it was way too noisy. So I replaced RAID config with simple daily backup to the second hard drive.

    Thou additional security provided by journaling can definitely help ;-)
    Probably people with experience of Linux in data centres can elaborate on the details. From all what I have seen it is precisely advantage of journaled file systems that you can get quite short recovery time w/o more expensive RAID.
  • by neshort ( 733207 ) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @11:39AM (#15293515)

    Some of what you say I find interesting - implying that the Gentoo community is more active than the FBSD group. I know you didn't actually say that; and maybe you didn't even imply as much; so you diserve the benefit of the doubt.

    Anyway, I have never seen documentation as thorough (although still somewhat incomplete) as: andbook/index.html []

    The mailing lists are really helpful: []

    And there is usually very good help to be found at usenet: sd.misc?hl=en []

    There is not a free OS that "just works" with everything I want to do. There are many things that need a little customizing. If you are willing to source-level tweak Gentoo you should be able to get what you want done accomplished with FreeBSD.

    I used Gentoo for a while - a year ago - for a couple months. Here's what I liked:

    • The Linux Alsa audio system is pretty nice and works with more audio equipment than you'll find working on FreeBSD.
    • Portage is almost as nice and the FreeBSD ports system.
    • More ported applications.
    • More current ports.
    Here's what I didn't like:
    • The ports that attracted me to Linux (because they are not ported to FreeBSD) are often unstable. For example: I was attracted to the music composer applications Brahms and Rosegarden-4. Both programs constantly core-dumped on me. I couldn't get anything accomplished. So far, a nice music composing application doesn't seem to exist for 'nix. I'd be willing to pay for a good one that doesn't require winD'OH!s.
    • Console-land isn't nearly as elegant as is on FreeBSD.
    • I never could get the hang of runlevels... but that's just me (grin).
  • by Ekarderif ( 941116 ) <benjamin.feng@ g m a i l . com> on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @11:54AM (#15293649)
    The one thing I love about FreeBSD is the tight base integration. The problem with Linux is largely a separation of developers: GNU and Linux kernel. And whichever distribution you use tends to tack on another layer of complexity. FreeBSD doesn't have that. Well, the ports are very much a separate entity, but the base system is very clean.

    I attempted to use Gentoo about a year ago, and there really is no comparison. The installation process was incredibly painless (the same cannot be said for Gentoo). The packaging system is also far more responsive (the actual programs I mean, the port update is a bit slower from what I remember).

    In fact, Gentoo scared me away from Linux for a good while. I used Redhat (bleh!) and Slackware before then. It wasn't until two months ago that I picked up another distibution: Arch Linux. And I do love both current systems. But I'd have to go with FreeBSD if forced to choose. After all, Arch Linux took up 350 MB in a fresh (no extra packages) installation whereas FreeBSD is currently taking up 300 MB (excluding user files and ports tree).

  • by afternoon_nap ( 640340 ) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @12:08PM (#15293799)
    Not to denigrate any particular version of linux, but I stopped using linux back when FreeBSD 4.1 was released. I was still tinkering around with all kinds of distributions at the time and had a lot of fun. I toyed with ipfwadmin and ipchains back in the day.

    Then I went to comdex in Atlanta around that time. FreeBSD 4.1.1 CDs were handed out there and I talked to several FreeBSD reps there. With a little eye candy and some good facts I was determined to try it.

    Since then I've been an avid user of FreeBSD. I've used ipfw and wrote a script for ipfw and queing a few years ago (see I've used ipfilter a good bit.

    PF did come from the OpenBSD group (to which we owe many thanks) as a replacement to ipfilter in a license dispute. I toyed with an OpenBSD bridge at the time at work and found pf was very workable. Since then I've waited for pf to get ported into FreeBSD.

    Then that day arrived. When pf hit the -STABLE branch I was hooked. With altq I was able to take advantage of tcp ack-pri and prioritize my voip services. Piece of cake.

    I'm very satisfied with FreeBSD as a server, firewall, and desktop. There's enough in FreeBSD to keep everyone busy trying out all kinds of stuff. That's why I've used it since 4.1.1.

    I'd really like to see OpenBSD's ipsecctl ported to FreeBSD soon, too.
  • by Colonel Package ( 973718 ) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @12:26PM (#15294013)

    Is it just me or does the insecurity of the FreeBSD community shine through here in blinding fashion?

    I'm giving you a first-timer user experience with both FreeBSD and Gentoo. Say what you want about the "top notch" FreeBSD support forms but I found them to be limited, out of date and more often than not no help. In my opinion there appears to be a whole lot more work put into installation and setup guides of Gentoo in comparison with FreeBSD.

    As far as the X setup goes:
    # Xorg -configure
    # cp /etc/X11/xorg.conf

    Yeah, when all goes well this works perfectly. If you honestly think that 1) I didn't try this and 2) that this will work perfectly all the time than you are one naive mofo.

    I'd love to sit here and re-live the week of my life I wasted trying to get FreeBSD and Debian up and running on this hardware but honestly I am trying to get past it.

    Let me just sum up with this. My goal was to get Software RAID-5 on four SATA drives on a A8V-MX motherboard running some form of unix/linux including X-Windows. I gave FreeBSD more than a fair shake. In the end, what got the job done was Gentoo. The only snag was the VT8251 chipset support with AHCI. I found a Gentoo forum where some guys had worked this issue out. Their fix was not in the kernel source tree yet but the patch applied, compiled and enabled my SATA drives.

    I am not trying to hurt anybody's feelings. This was just my experience. YMMV.

  • Re:FreeBSD 6 + pf (Score:4, Interesting)

    by LurkerXXX ( 667952 ) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @01:52PM (#15294824)
    For one thing, pf is a lot easier on the eyes than iptables. Look through some iptables config files you find on the net. Then go look at some pf.conf files. I think you'll see it's much easier to look at the pf files and instantly see what's going on.

    For another, please point me to the linux equivalent of CARP [] ( an incredibly easy to set up redundant firewall ). If you are in charge of running a firewall for a company, redundant hardware at the firewall is nice.

Exceptions prove the rule, and wreck the budget. -- Miller