back to article Debian to harness FreeBSD with kernel port

The Debian Project is planning a FreeBSD kernel of its disto that'll help fine tune its Linux for web sites and critical network-based deployments. Project members said Wednesday the next version of Debian, called Squeeze, will see a port to the FreeBSD kernel - the first time Debian has been put on FreeBSD. The port, called …


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  1. ElReg!comments!Pierre


    Is it really new? I'm pretty sure there's been a freeBSD port of Debian for a few years now. Actually, the wayback machine brings this up:

    On which you can read: "The base system is self-hosting and mostly functional. [...] Last Modified: Sat, Sep 4 17:40:25 UTC 2004"

    While the port was not perfect at the time and some progress has presumably been made, it's hardly as new a move as what you are saying. "The Debian Project is planning a FreeBSD kernel [port, I s'poze] of its disto"? No shit, Sherlock! Also, I heard Microsoft is planning to release an OS. Word of the street is, Dell might consider selling computers. <smug grin>

  2. LaeMi Qian

    What's in a name

    Being pedantic, but you can't "put BSD on [a] Linux" any more than you can put a BMW engine in a Honda engine.

    The OS is called 'Debian', with the kernel name (and toolchain name) tacked on. And not just to keep RMS happy - Debian has been compiling for (though not main-line supporting) two non-Linux kernels for a loooong time.

  3. Grease Monkey Silver badge


    I've long been a fan of FreeBSD and in a server environment I consider it better than Linux. So it's nice to see people so heavily involved in Linux admit that.

  4. David Kelly 2

    What value does Debian bring to FreeBSD?

    I keep forgetting, "Why would I want Debian on FreeBSD when I can have FreeBSD on FreeBSD?" Just what does Debian think they can add to FreeBSD?

  5. Giles Jones Gold badge


    Putting FreeBSD kernel into Debian?

    Surely it is easier to put APT and their installer into FreeBSD?

  6. Steen Hive

    Fine tune its WHAT?

    Is this really an IT rag or..?

    If you put in a FreeBSD kernel, it isn't fekkin' Linux at all, is it? Good grief.

  7. Tim99 Silver badge


    Oh Joy. Now we can all use C# and Mono - Just in case we wanted to avoid the Microsoft Trap.

  8. ElReg!comments!Pierre

    @ LaeMi Qian

    "Being pedantic, but you can't "put BSD on [a] Linux" any more than you can put a BMW engine in a Honda engine."

    Well, as you probably knows, Debian is not a kernel, it's a (mighty) front-end with a very wide ecosystem. It can run on top of a linux kernel, on to of a *BSD kernel, on top of a microkernel system (hurd), no prob (as long as you can compile some C). I know that, you most probably know that., I'm just trying to prevent lay persons viewing this comment section from getting wrong ideas.

  9. ElReg!comments!Pierre

    @ various commentards: Equip flail

    If it's BSD it'ts not Linux, Debain is Linux and not BSD, all the like:

    Linux is a kernel. Debian is an operating system (in the widest possible acceptation of the term). Debian is in no way dependant on the underlying kernel. I would hazard to say that the APT system defines Debian more accurately than any kernel consideration. Sure, the stable Debian releaseses are Linux-based. For now. But Linux is not mandatory to run Debian. I have been running a FreeBSD Debian server on an alpha machine under Tru64 for some time now (nothing production-worthy, if you ask) and it works smoothly.

  10. Nate Amsden

    as a long time debian user..

    I've been using Debian since hamm, I think 2.0 back in 1998. I'm happy to see this announcement for one. I think the FreeBSD kernel offers some interesting features, mainly for firewalls(love that pf). Perhaps I will be able to replace my OpenBSD firewalls with this, depending on how good pf is under a freebsd kernel(never felt the need to try).

    I absolutely detest the *BSD userland stuff myself. Never liked it. I hate ports, I hate the installer, I hate the whole "make world" stuff, just hate it. So for those out in the world like me that see some value in the underlying technology but just can't stand how it's implemented in current *BSD distros this may be a great thing.

    I hate the linux firewalling stuff as much as I hate the *BSD userland. So I use OpenBSD on my firewalls (preferably bridging mode) and linux everywhere else. I've played with ipfwadm, ipchains, iptables, ipf(on freebsd, openbsd and solaris), and pf, don't plan to use anything other than pf going forward. Wasn't pf created because of some licensing dispute with the ipf author? I forgot...

    Anyways, good news that it's going to be officially supported, nice to have more choices out there, especially from an umbrella that stretches as far as Debian does with regards to *supported* platforms.

  11. Ole Juul

    This article needs clarity

    It's really quite simple. From the Debian site:

    "Debian GNU/kFreeBSD is a port of the Debian operating system that consists of the GNU userland, GNU C library, Debian package management and system tools, on top of the FreeBSD kernel. Think Debian GNU/Linux, with FreeBSD's kernel in place of Linux. All the benefits of your typical Debian system, along with a modern, robust FreeBSD kernel."

  12. foo_bar_baz

    @Grease Monkey & others

    The nasty stallmanites have come to steeeaall your mojo (since you already gave away your code) and they will give Nothing! They'll bin your ports and replace your man pages with GNU info! *maniacal cackles* Seriously though, the beauty of OSS is that good ideas live and develop while obsolete ideas die - as opposed to the so called free market where other factors like patents and marketing matter more. So stop being afraid, protective or sceptical. You cannot lose, you can only gain. BTW nice as it was, I gave up Frisbee for now. Horses etc.

  13. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Well, it's a start

    The FreeBSD kernel is supposedly considerably better an SMP than Linux. At least when 7 was released they were prepared to release comparitive benchmarks. And 8 promises considerable improvements in networking performance.

    While they're not perfect I'm quite happy with ports on both BSD and Darwin. Building packages on top isn't difficult as the various initiatives show. I'd really like to see Apple more involved in this as I'm sure they'd come up with a nice GUI.

    Now all we to do is convince Debian to drop the GPL and join the real world of open source. ;-)

  14. spodula

    Just what does Debian think they can add to FreeBSD

    The rather large package repository and APT to access it.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: What value does Debian bring to FreeBSD?

    (Subject sounds like something a consultant on a government contract would ask in a three hour PowerPoint-heavy "stakeholder" meeting.)

    "Just what does Debian think they can add to FreeBSD?"

    For inspiration, ask the Solaris types who put Debian on top of the OpenSolaris kernel, or even the Sun people who've done a lot to bundle the GNU userland, finally realising that almost everyone hated the standard Solaris tools. No one system has all the best stuff.

    @Charlie Clark: Why would they join the world of "open source"? It's all about Free Software, you know. Contrary to the protests from the BSD camps, whining about people "stealing" their work and yet insisting that permissive licences are the best, the GPL and friends are what keeps Debian in one piece. I doubt that they'd want to throw that away just to satisfy the People's Popular Front of BSD and their many splinter groups, public (open) and private (proprietary).

    And as others have said, Debian GNU/kFreeBSD has been around for a while. I guess they're just bumping it up to full citizenship.

  16. /dev/null

    @Nate Amsden

    Hate "make world"? Erm, what's to hate about being able to build an entire OS with a single command?

  17. evilerik

    NetBSD port predates the predated FreeBSD port

    2004 port of Debian to FreeBSD? how about a 2002 (and prior) port of Debian to a NetBSD kernel? (With a link described as having been updated on 14 January 2002.)

  18. phoenix

    Windows Port Anyone

    That 's is what we need to port windows over to the BSD kernel. I might work then.

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