back to article PlayStation 4 is FreeBSD inside

As Sony's PlayStation 4 pre-orders take off (perhaps at the expense of the already-unloved Xbox One), speculation has emerged that the console's underlying operating system is based on the FreeBSD operating system. The apparent identification of the OS comes not from anything so exotic as a leaked console, but from someone …

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  1. Jamie Jones Silver badge
    Happy

    *looks at Eadon and laughs*

    They've chosen open source (as Eadon keeps banging on about) yet it's not his beloved Linux.

    Sigh - how will he react?

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. M. B.
        Trollface

        Re: *looks at Eadon and laughs*

        Who even cares? BSD is way better anyways.

        1. Angry clown

          @M.B - Re: *looks at Eadon and laughs*

          Unfortunately the more liberal license is the reason we're all bickering here about Linux almost forgetting the BDSs. Could it be a reason why Microsoft was always frightened about GPL but never worried about BSDL ?

          1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

            Re: @M.B - *looks at Eadon and laughs*

            Unfortunately the more liberal license is the reason we're all bickering here about Linux almost forgetting the BDSs

            No, the licence had nothing to with it. AT&T took UC Berkeley to court at the same time as Torvalds was cloning Minix. Until the court case finished, and this being America it took a few years, BSD was considered tainted so there was an incentive to use something else, Linux was around and the rest is history.

        2. MacroRodent Silver badge
          Windows

          Re: *looks at Eadon and laughs*

          > Who even cares? BSD is way better anyways.

          Depends on what you do with it. I (a Linux and - sadly - also a Windows user, hence the icon) occasionally take a look at some new BSD release and always find it like a time-machine trip 20 years in the past with respect to user interface and - what is worse - device support. And that was compared to modern Linux! But it certainly is a stable solution for servers (provided you can arrange compatible hardware), and for embedded systems for the GPL-phobics.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: *looks at Eadon and laughs*

            But then if you booted up some commercial Unix it would be similar? it's sort of like that when starting up Solaris.

            It wasn't that long ago that on SCO Unix you needed to build a new kernel to change the IP address?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: *looks at Eadon and laughs*

              "It wasn't that long ago that on SCO Unix you needed to build a new kernel to change the IP address?"

              yes they have a patent on that apparently

              1. h3

                Re: *looks at Eadon and laughs*

                Building the kernel to match the machine it is running on is not really a bad thing.

                It is more time consuming than it should be to build a decent one on Linux (Disabling modules).

                It is easy to do the same thing on at least Netbsd and Freebsd.

            2. the spectacularly refined chap

              Re: *looks at Eadon and laughs*

              It wasn't that long ago that on SCO Unix you needed to build a new kernel to change the IP address?

              You never needed to do that. You could well need to do a kernel relink after adding a new interface but the IP itself could be freely changed while still multiuser. Even the relink process wasn't a big issue although obviously it meant a reboot since the entire process was automated - in practice even the relinking tended to be invoked automatically rather than you needing to trigger it manually. In that respect SCO of twenty years ago was actually more advanced than a Linux system is now, although the motivation for that has largely fallen away: shaving a couple of megabytes off the kernel isn't as big an issue as it was when 16MB was a shed load of RAM.

              1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

                Re: *looks at Eadon and laughs*

                Rebuild to change the IP address?

                I think you're getting confused with the nightmares of Windows NT4 service packs. Arrrrgghhh! They're sending shivers back just thinking about the farcical things we had to do to NT4 just to make some otherwise what should have been simple changes.

                As for Linux vs BSD - they share a lot of code and features and there's a lot of movement going both ways. This makes a lot of sense and saves reinventing the wheel code wise.

                1. the spectacularly refined chap

                  Re: *looks at Eadon and laughs*

                  As for Linux vs BSD - they share a lot of code and features and there's a lot of movement going both ways. This makes a lot of sense and saves reinventing the wheel code wise.

                  Between BSD and Linux itself (i.e. the kernel) traffic is comparatively rare these days and is only ever one way, BSD→Linux. The BSDs try to avoid GPL'ed code wherever practical even in the userland but this is absolute within the kernels themselves - if it's GPL it won't be accepted into the kernels. There aren't the same kind of issues using two- or three-clause BSD stuff in GPL code.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: *looks at Eadon and laughs*

            I occasionally take a look at some new BSD release and always find it like a time-machine trip 20 years in the past with respect to user interface and - what is worse - device support.

            Seeing as the BSD's run the same interfaces as Linux (GNOME, KDE, Xfce, etc.) that comes as a surprise. As for device drivers, in fifteen years of running a mix of Linux, FreeBSD and NetBSD the only thing device I've owned that wasn't supported by the BSD's was an obscure USB FM radio receiver.

            1. MacroRodent Silver badge

              Re: *looks at Eadon and laughs*

              > Seeing as the BSD's run the same interfaces as Linux (GNOME, KDE, Xfce, etc.) that comes as a surprise. [...

              I was thinking of installation and administration tools. You can set up a mainstream Linux distribution without touching the command line or editing text files, but not BSD, last time I looked. I emphasize that is perfectly fine for many users, but makes it rather specialized these days, Also, does hot-plugging USB devices work in any BSD yet? I mean like putting in a USB memory stick or disk drive and getting it automatically mounted without further incantations.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Eadon is dead!

                Just went looking for him via an old thread I remember him enjoying and found all traces of him have been expunged from the fossil record. Seems his little tantrum at TP yesterday finally got him dispatched to the great server room in the sky.

                Poor Eadon. ????-2013

                RIP

                1. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
                  Childcatcher

                  Re: Eadon is dead!

                  Your Google Fu is weak, but your surmise seems to be correct:

                  Eadon - 3 August, 2009 - 24 June, 2013

                2. Wize

                  Re: Eadon is dead!

                  Tantrum? I missed all the fun

                  1. The Original Steve
                    Go

                    Re: Eadon is dead!

                    Indeed.... Must say my mouse wheel is thankful for not having to skip over so many MS FAIL posts but would have been nice to keep the existing comments going.... in particular the referenced "tantrum".

                    El Reg - any chance of an article of recognition. Quite a change that's happened with him gone!

                    1. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      Re: Eadon is dead!

                      ...would have been nice to keep the existing comments going...

                      My thoughts too.

                  2. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: Eadon is dead!

                    The tantrum wasn't all that epic unfortunately. A few of the of the usual ranting posts amounting to Trevor being an "MS SUCK-UP WINDOWS SNAKE OIL SALESMAN FAIL" and the like. I have most of it handy if you're really that interested. Nearly re-posted it here, then thought better of it. ;-)

                    Finally, may I add that Eadon was not a good commentard. His incessant impetuous rantings made many of us want to scratch out eyes out and wish him dead. Well now he is.

                    EPIC EULOGY FAIL

                  3. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: Eadon is dead!

                    Daaaaamn, I was travelling and lost all the fun! What happened? Guys? Guys?

              2. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip

                Re: *looks at Eadon and laughs*

                yep, hotplug does work on *BSD although in some cases it's not out of the box.

                BSD tends to be a lot more predictable and better documented than Linux, and the install programs are pretty solid (I've had a lot of grief with Linux distros trying to be too clever then failing badly when installing on something vaguely unusual)

                driver support in Linux is better especially for brand new graphics cards. application support depends on the BSD variety - NetBSD is very portable but IIRC you're restricted to older versions of Skype and Firefox rather than Chromium. OpenBSD focuses on openness and security, so you won't be seeing ZFS any time soon.

                For a Linux user FreeBSD is probably more familiar and friendlier than the other BSDs - you might find NetBSD shockingly bare bones. On the other hand if you look closer OpenBSD is remarkably coherent and well thought through.

                for all occasional hassle I've had with *BSD there are equivalent issues with Debian, Arch, Ubuntu etc especially when you want to tell them to stop being 'clever' and do exactly what you want (insisting on the use of the network notification stuff, for instance, rather than 'here is my nic, here is my bridge, do not mess with them - that's the user's job')

              3. MJI Silver badge

                Re: Hot plugging

                It does on the CellOS variant, for keyboard and PS Eye

              4. Charlie Clark Silver badge

                Re: *looks at Eadon and laughs*

                @MacroRodent

                You might want to take a look at PC-BSD. Comes with all the creature comforts of many modern Linux distros, it's just FreeBSD underneath.

        3. TheVogon Silver badge
          Mushroom

          Re: *looks at Eadon and laughs*

          Free BSD - so with built in NSA spying libraries then.....

          http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/12/15/openbsd_backdoor_claim/

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: *looks at Eadon and laughs*

            "Free BSD - so with built in NSA spying libraries then.....

            http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/12/15/openbsd_backdoor_claim/

            House Rules "

            open!=free !

            also "Perry's allegations are being taken seriously even though they don't come alongside anything substantial by way of evidence"

      2. sisk

        Re: *looks at Eadon and laughs*

        It's Sony so in the eyes of many who post on here (no idea if this includes Eadon but probably) it's automatically the Devil's very work.

        Given that Sony killed OtherOS I would have to say you're almost certainly right about Eadon. And to be fair though Sony has earned its lumps in that regard. They still build the best consoles on the market in my opinion, but some of us have gotten tired of them assuming that all their customers are thieves and being treated as such.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: *looks at Eadon and laughs*

      Sigh - how will he react?

      A fiver on "EPIC SONY FAIL" please

      1. FrankAlphaXII
        Thumb Up

        Re: *looks at Eadon and laughs*

        AC 0410, Thats a sucker bet and you know it.

        Especially as he's repeatedly demonstrated that he doesn't really know a damn thing about Operating Systems, as evidenced by the glaringly obvious fact that he has no idea that Linux is a kernel and has nothing to do with the GNU userland that "Linux" depends on, his insistence that there is no such thing as *nix malware and that you don't need AV on any Linux system, even those touching a Windows or Mac environment, his accusation against Trevor Pott claiming that he's an MS schill, etc.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: *looks at Eadon and laughs*

          I had an epiphany regarding Eadon a couple of days ago. I suspect he is actually The Evil one himself (or a senior shill), only posing as a Linux lover.

          Think about it: he is so extreme that all sane people want to distance themselves from him as far as possible. What better way to promote Windows/MS as the OS of choice, than to come over as such an obnoxious person and spouting such patent nonsense so that even Linux fanbois will rethink their stance? I mean, if THAT is how Linux users/devs/whatever are like that, how horrible is the OS then?

          And yes, his ignorance surfaces from time to time during his more rabid postings.

          It is quite a revelation how one (if he is only one) person has managed to generate such strong negative feelings against himself in such a short period.

          On the other hand, maybe the real Eadon's account has been hijacked, as his earlier posts were quite, shall I say, sane?

          EPIC BALLMER^H^H^H^H^H EADON FAIL!!!!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: *looks at Eadon and laughs*

      Haha. I bet he will struggle to be critical of FreeBSD. After all, it is proper Unix not Lunix.

      1. Salts

        Re: *looks at Eadon and laughs*

        Nope, to be pedantic FreeBSD is Unix like and Unix compliant, the same is true of Linux.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Single_UNIX_Specification

        1. h3

          Re: *looks at Eadon and laughs*

          It is not UNIX compliant because the only way is by getting the trademark from the open group. There is other things that it doesn't do for legacy reasons that would have to be done to get it the certification.

          Linux isn't UNIX compliant for that reason. (It is not even POSIX compliant or certified doesn't support POSIX AIO - At one point Linux FT was going to be certified by POSIX and paid for but I don't think it ever was). It mixes too many things up as well. If you make any reasonably complicated application on Linux primarily and try and just do a simple make on other real UNIX systems chances are it will be a fair amount of effort to sort it out. (The other way is easier.). Funny Linux is copying the embrace extend extinguish thing from MS.

        2. Oninoshiko

          Re: *looks at Eadon and laughs*

          At the vary least the GNU userspace is known to be non-compliant with POSIX/SUS. It is not considered to be a bug, but a design-choice.

          Of course most people who bring POSIX up, don't know the specification well enough to know the difference.

          1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

            Re: *looks at Eadon and laughs*

            It's interesting that there's a link about the alleged NSA back-door into Free BSD (didn't actually read it yet though) - because it is also the underlying operating system of all those Israeli Checkpoint Firewalls out there.

      2. h3

        Re: *looks at Eadon and laughs*

        It sort of is. Mac OS X is proper "UNIX" so was BSD/OS. None of the rest are certified. The fact Mac OS X is a UNIX and doesn't even have focus follows mouse means the definition is not one worth worrying about.

        Maybe this will mean AMD's Linux drivers actually get decent. (Or someone works out how to hack these ones to work with Freebsd that would be ideal for me I think if that was possible.)

    4. Richard Wharram

      Re: *looks at Eadon and laughs*

      I thought he'd got banned tbh.

    5. Stuart Castle Silver badge

      Re: *looks at Eadon and laughs*

      I'd be curious to find out how he'd react if Sony or Microsoft released hardware that used Linux as the OS...

    6. John 62
      Megaphone

      Re: *looks at Eadon and laughs*

      Many jurisdictions along with punishing the vermin also punish the people who feed the vermin. Useful comment on this story has been drowned out by the troll-feeding, even though the troll has not even commented. This saddens me.

  2. Blain Hamon
    Joke

    Devil? No, no, his name is Beastie, and he's a *Daemon*.

    1. phuzz Silver badge

      El Reg have been known to stretch things a lot further than that just for a good headline pun...

  3. Jolyon Smith
    Boffin

    FFS - It's a development kit, not a prototype or manufacturing sample

    Does nobody these days have even the most basic grasp of how these things work ?

    HINT: It was some time before there was any development environment for creating Windows applications that actually ran ON Windows. I can sit here today with a Microsoft Windows based Development Kit that produces code that runs on OS X or even Android or iOS.

    To really bake your noodle, I can use a Windows guest OS in a VM running on an OS X host, using a Windows based development kit to produce Android / iOS / Windows / OS X software.

    For the dense of skull, just because the Development Kit is running a FreeBSD variant/derivative, that is no proof that the code produced from the back-end compilers in that SDK are targeting the same - or even similar - OS.

    It isn't to say that it isn't either. But you might just as well speculate that the PS4 will be based on .. oh, I dunno... just make something up.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: FFS - It's a development kit, not a prototype or manufacturing sample

      Yeah, but it could have run Windows. Even if it is nothing but a development kit, why not go with the best ? Why lower to something as mundane as FreeBSD ? Does Sony have no style ?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: FFS - It's a development kit, not a prototype or manufacturing sample

        Where do you live RICHTO? AU/NZ?

        1. TheVogon Silver badge
          Mushroom

          Re: FFS - It's a development kit, not a prototype or manufacturing sample

          UK.

          nb - if they are using BSD, then this should negate some of the perceived performance advantage of the PS4 hardware. Current Windows kernels plus Direct-X are significantly faster than Open BSD 9 + Open GL on the same hardware....

          1. MJI Silver badge

            Re: FFS - It's a development kit, not a prototype or manufacturing sample

            They won't use Open GL they will use their own faster libs

            1. TheVogon Silver badge
              Mushroom

              Re: FFS - It's a development kit, not a prototype or manufacturing sample

              "They won't use Open GL they will use their own faster libs"

              So Sony will manage to develop from scratch in a few months graphics libraries that are faster than and as functional as Open GL despite the many years of development that have gone into Open GL?

              And Sony will expect developers to re-write from scratch all their existing models - versus just using an existing library?

              lol - I don't think so.....

              1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

                Re: FFS - It's a development kit, not a prototype or manufacturing sample

                Yes, The years of development going into openGL were mostly comittees trying to balance the needs of CAD makers on existing Unix workstations with games makers.

                It's quite easy to produce libs that are faster for a typical 2d shooter on your own custom hardware than a general purpose graphics library.

                Most games engines will spit out whatever you want on the back end anyway.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  re: FFS - It's a development kit, not a prototype or manufacturing sample

                  "Yes"

                  It seems likely not. All the rumours say the PS4 is native OpenGL.

                  "Most games engines will spit out whatever you want on the back end anyway."

                  Erm - no - not without a tremendous amount of work porting them to a different API.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: FFS - It's a development kit, not a prototype or manufacturing sample

                So it wasn't you posting at 4am?

                1. TheVogon Silver badge
                  Mushroom

                  Re: FFS - It's a development kit, not a prototype or manufacturing sample

                  "So it wasn't you posting at 4am?"

                  No.

              3. MJI Silver badge

                Re: FFS - It's a development kit, not a prototype or manufacturing sample

                Actually they do write their own PSGL is based on OpenGL but most programmers go lower than that either LibGCM or direct to chip.

    2. M Gale

      Re: FFS - It's a development kit, not a prototype or manufacturing sample

      Given that a PS3 devkit is a PS3 with "TOOL" on the side and some flags in the firmware unlocked, it wouldn't be surprising if the PS4 is similar.

      Now PS2 devkits, they were quite the chunky beast. Imagine a PC-tower-sized PS2 and you're about right on the money.

      1. Jolyon Smith
        FAIL

        Re: FFS - It's a development kit, not a prototype or manufacturing sample

        Wrong. The PS3 dev kit you are referring to was a cut-price kit ($2k) introduced after the console itself was already on the market, in an attempt to kick-start the home-brew/budget games community.

        The original PS3 dev kit ($10k) - the one that is comparable to any current PS4 dev kit - was a hulking great box that looked more like a 1st gen betamax player than a PS3. And - GASP - it ran a different OS that the console itself. Who wouldathunk it possible !!?!

    3. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: FFS - It's a development kit, not a prototype or manufacturing sample

      Proof - no. Fits the picture - yes. Sony research has a very long history of building things on FreeBSD and contributing code to it. In fact PS3 was a bit of an oddball chosing linux. Overall - nothing particularly surprising here.

    4. austerusz
      Thumb Down

      Re: FFS - It's a development kit, not a prototype or manufacturing sample

      Yes, you're right. It's common practice to make Mac OS desktop app in a Windows environment running inside a VM on a Mac, rather than use the development tools in the native environment.

      There's really no developer I've known in my career that prefers to develop apps in an environment as close as possible to the deployment environment. Who in their right mind would want to natively run the development environment instead of the test environment?

  4. andro

    why no, the ps3 dev kits ran on linux and windows, apple ios is bsd, the license is right for sony. the question is, does it run games, or just compile them? dev environment, or dev console....?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's worth remembering that FreeBSD runs Linux binaries faster than Linux runs its own binaries.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      In much the same way that Windows binaries used to run much faster on WINE. More to do with missing functionality than anything interesting. Hint: If your machine is only running 10% of the code, there's a chance it might appear to be running "faster". Why is that "worth remembering"?

      1. bazza Silver badge

        "More to do with missing functionality than anything interesting."

        Or just less bloated...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The anti-Linux FUD seems a bit unlikely considering FreeBSD can't even run *native* binaries as efficiently as Linux. Care to provide a supporting link?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Ah yes, phoronix.... revered for its OS equality.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        No need to deal with GPL zealots!

        Hence BSD.

        My take anyway.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "It's worth remembering that FreeBSD runs Linux binaries faster than Linux runs its own binaries"

      Not exactly hard. Windows runs Open GL faster than Linux too.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
        Facepalm

        I hope to $DEITY all of the posts above are SAMEFAG!

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Windows

    I pity..

    I pity the fools who read this news and pick it up as a confirmation that one operating system is better than the other.

    1. Jamie Jones Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: I pity..

      "I pity the fools who read this news and pick it up as a confirmation that one operating system is better than the other."

      That's how many of the Linux people react in similar circumstances!

  7. Androgynous Crackwhore
    FAIL

    "..there aren't any suitable open source CatalystRadeon drivers in the BSD world, suggesting a fair degree of cooperation between Sony and RadeonAMD."

    EPIC PLAGIARISM FAIL

  8. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Devil

    Wouldn't it be better to have a REAL-TIME OS?

    Finally a good use for "process must finish before now + 5 ms"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      RTOS? it's not like games are that timing critical, if something is delayed a little then it's no big deal.

    2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Much better to use an imaginary-time OS. Expanding the time dimension to the entire complex plane gives the game much more latitude to complete complicated processing before the user gets bored.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The righteous

    @Jolyon Smith - wow - it must be such a burden knowing so much and living in the world of us Luddites.

    Perhaps 4chan is a better place for your ranting.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: The righteous

      Is this a /b/ raid in action?

      1. Anonymous Coward 15

        Re: The righteous

        Rules 1 & 2!

    2. Jolyon Smith
      Pint

      Re: The righteous

      Only the luddites who don't know how to use a "Reply" facility. But yep, when it comes to them it's a burden alright. Or would be if I gave an air-borne copulatory experience. ;)

      Cheers.

  10. MJI Silver badge

    BSD

    Well the Vita PS3 and PS4 all use BSD.

    So do Apple for their OSs.

    Not well known but a lot of other systems use it.

    1. phuzz Silver badge
      Boffin

      For instance...

      NetApp's OS is based on BSD.

    2. WylieCoyoteUK
      Holmes

      Re: BSD

      BSD is one of the most widely used OSes for embedded devices.

      Ricoh MFDs for example, have been using NetBSD for the last 10 years or so. As do Sharp MFDs more recently..

      Some manufacturers run Linux, notably Toshiba MFDs, Sony use Linux for some of their Blu-ray players and Video cameras,

      There actually a handful (mainly wide format or separate RIP units) that run XP embedded.

      The only ones I've seen are pretty dire to support.

  11. plrndl

    Free OS

    Clustered Linux Playstations were the super computer of choice for the sort of regimes and organistations that cannot readily obtain more conventional hardware. Since Sony sells the hardware at a loss, they are unlikely to repeat this commercial error.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hardly surprising, the ps vita's copyright notice screen is full of freebsd license

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Some people need a life

    Gaming is awesome and a great industry yet I am reading comments fighting over which is the best OS? Seriously girls put away your hand bags and guys put away your wet fish. The OS is a means to an end and it is good to have variety, it causes competition.

    I dont bother much with consoles because I prefer my PC but there is nothing wrong with consoles. I am looking forward to seeing what valve come out with as I hated steam with a passion until they started doing linux ports. I have a windows machine for gaming and linux for my workstuff (personal preference) and didnt see the point of some auto starting DRM monster like steam until they offered something useful (the porting).

    It was fantastic news that steam games were running much faster on linux than windows. The first thing MS did was improve their drivers. I have not got into BSD at all and I dont have a practical use for it which means any playing I do with it is not motivated by needing it for a particular job. As a result I tried it in some VM's and gave up. But if the OS is good enough for sony then good for them. I am sure it wont take away from the game experience.

    If anyone is a BSD buff I would be interested in hearing which you find best and why. Personally I like a gui because while I do like doing command line stuff it is a pain when you cant remember the command. I am just interested to try it out in a vm and want to see what I can do with it.

    1. Rich 2 Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Some people need a life

      "If anyone is a BSD buff I would be interested in hearing which you find best and why."

      I am an openBSD buff, I suppose. I much prefer it over Linux (and no, I'm not knocking Linux, it's just the obvious alternative). I'm very much a s/w dev so my criteria is not the same as my granny's, but, I like BSD over linux because...

      - "/etc" is MUCH simpler. There are about 1/10 the files in /etc/ on a BSD box than in Linux. Of course, Linux is based on Sys V in this respect. But the BSD way of doing this is much simpler and straightforward. In fact simplicity is common throughout the system.

      - It's generally quite bare-bones at installation (I think FreeBSD is probably slightly less so), which I like

      - Stuff doesn't change every 5 minutes! How many sound APIs has Linux had over the years? Hang on - taking my shoes and socks off as I type... Stuff that ran on a BSD box 10 years ago stands a VERY good chance of running on a BSD box today (after a recompile, granted). But the APIs don't change. The libs don't change. You know where you are. As a s/w dev, this is very attractive.

      - It's INCREDIBLY stable. It will run for literally years and years and years without rebooting and with no issues to suggest it needs it.

      - There tends to be an attitude by the devs to get stuff working better. Rather than "improving" broken stuff by adding a "skin" or some other pointless attribute, which itself is likely to be buggy.

      - It's not GNU. I say this not to provoke an argument, but as a genuine advantage. I find quite a few of the GNU tools horribly complex and unnecessary and non-portable - "feature test macros" anyone? Or that utter abortion called autoconf? (whoever thought using a million-line script to build something was a good idea?) Hideous!!! And yes, the BSDs DO use some GNU tools, but they are actively trying to replace them.

      1. Richard Crossley
        Linux

        Re: Some people need a life

        Thanks for the brief intro. I've never really taken a look at FreeBSD. I sort of know it exists and is "similar" to Linux in that's its a Unix based OS with a different licence.

      2. Roo
        Thumb Up

        Re: Some people need a life

        I've been running OpenBSD since 2.1, I was forced into it because Linux & 'Windows were getting wiped out within seconds of booting by a ping of death exploit (thanks ISP). I intended to boot it up, work out what was going wrong, fix stuff then wipe it out. As it turns out it has stayed with me ever since, it's a cracking little OS.

        That said I use Linux on the Desktop for the mundane day-to-day chores, but ssh into my OpenBSD box for doing real work. The consistency, stability and simplicity of OpenBSD are a huge win. As a consequence it has been very rare that I've had to update my local site config or apps on OpenBSD boxes for a new release, which has saved me a hell of a lot of time and heartache through the years.

        By contrast with I find that Windows & Linux distros have a nasty habit of forcing me to re-do my local site config every damn release and learn a new way of configuring stuff each time. It's a huge waste of time that I could be spending doing productive stuff instead.

        That said I am quite fond of Ubuntu Lucid, it's a pity that eventually I'll have to move onto something else which will require me to relearn the UI, config etc...

      3. Down not across

        Re: Some people need a life

        "- "/etc" is MUCH simpler. There are about 1/10 the files in /etc/ on a BSD box than in Linux. Of course, Linux is based on Sys V in this respect. But the BSD way of doing this is much simpler and straightforward. In fact simplicity is common throughout the system."

        Agreed. A while back it was very annoying when with many Linux distros each decided to have their config stuff in slightly different places.

        "- It's generally quite bare-bones at installation (I think FreeBSD is probably slightly less so), which I like"

        And the simple text based lightweight installer just works. Was going to test something and hence tried to install CentOS on some old piece of kit. Nah, it wanted something stupid like 6-700MB of memory (so wasn't playing ball on the old box with 512MB) to run the installer.

        "- Stuff doesn't change every 5 minutes! How many sound APIs has Linux had over the years? Hang on - taking my shoes and socks off as I type... Stuff that ran on a BSD box 10 years ago stands a VERY good chance of running on a BSD box today (after a recompile, granted). But the APIs don't change. The libs don't change. You know where you are. As a s/w dev, this is very attractive."

        That has traditionally been one my pet peeves with Linux. Whilst it is nice that it has very active development community, it can be somewhat frustrating when trying to install something you end up in endless cycle of dependencies on various bleeding edge dev libraries. Yes, I do know that lot of distros now handle that automagically. That was not always the case. I'm pretty sure on many occasions that was down to lazyness of a developer rather than actual requirement for a particular bleeding edge library (iirc after bit of fiddling it compiled fine with older library and worked fine without any ill effects).

        "- It's INCREDIBLY stable. It will run for literally years and years and years without rebooting and with no issues to suggest it needs it."

        Hear hear. Have few OpenBSD boxen (some still 3.x, might even have 2.x somewhere) that only reboot when there is a power cut.

      4. Tom 38 Silver badge

        Re: Some people need a life

        Stuff that ran on a BSD box 10 years ago stands a VERY good chance of running on a BSD box today (after a recompile, granted)

        In fact, most FreeBSD 1.0 static binaries will still run on FreeBSD 10-CURRENT, as long as you flick some sysctls to allow slightly old behaviour!

        One of the main distinctions I like is that all the BSDs consist of an operating system plus third party packages, where as all Linux distros I've come across consist of a set of packages. So, why the hell does that matter?

        In BSD, the OS lives in / and /usr, and your third party software all lives in /usr/local. To configure the OS, you change text files in /etc, to configure 3rd party software, it's text files in /usr/local/etc. All the source code for the OS lives in /usr/src, and you can update and rebuild the entire OS with three commands.

        Another massive benefit is the kernel. The Linux kernel has literally thousands of options. In fact, even picking a linux kernel has masses of options, what with all the different patchsets. Unless making a very particular kernel, like ARM or a memory restricted platform, with BSD you usually just run stock GENERIC.

        Next up, how BSD does development - I'm concentrating on FreeBSD here, as I know that development cycle best. BSD has an in-development branch called CURRENT. New features and bug fixes go into CURRENT, and once they've bedded down in CURRENT, the bug fixes and some of the features are merged back to release engineering branches of the previous releases, which eventually become the next point release. Therefore you can track the RELENG branch, and get all the bug fixes and newly supported hardware.

        I used to run Linux on a few boxes, since BSD lacked support for most TV tuners. Then a clever Danish chappy spent a weekend writing a driver that allows BSD to run Linux usb device drivers in userspace on FreeBSD, using FreeBSD's excellent Linux syscall mapping. This in fact works even better than on Linux, where when a driver or device crashed, there was a good chance you need to reboot the machine. With BSD running the driver in an unprivileged userspace process, resetting the device just requires restarting the process.

      5. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Some people need a life

        The OpenBSD dev team was also one of the first *IX dev teams to really get on the software-security bandwagon. Theo de Raadt and company were very active in forums like BUGTRAQ and did a ton of work trawling through kernel and user-mode code looking for common vulnerabilities - buffer and integer overflows and the like.

        For some of us, any of the BSD derivatives have nostalgia on their side, bringing back fond memories of the years when the BSD distributions were simply much friendlier for developers than AT&T UNIX was. AT&T made big strides with SVR3 and particularly SVR4, of course, and there was a lot of subsequent convergence starting with SVR4, but between 1981 (4.1BSD) and 1988 (SVR4), if you were a programmer, BSD was the better choice.

        Then when 386BSD came out, for free, in '92 it really looked like the *IX OS of choice for PCs. But Linux got tons of press (in no small part because of various controversies, such as the Torvalds/Tannenbaum fight) and became the much better known alternative. But 386BSD spawned FreeBSD and NetBSD, and NetBSD spawned OpenBSD, and those are all still around.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Some people need a life

      Task / BSD / Linux

      set ip / ifconfig / ifconfig or now "ip" which is extremely confusing

      wifi / ifconfig / iwconfig

      speed / ifconfig / miitool or ethtool

      duplex / ifconfig / miitool or ethtool

      vlan / ifconfig / vlan

      wol / ifconfig / miitool or ethtool

      bridge / ifconfig / brctl

      link aggregation / ifconfig / flags while loading module OR use distro

      network config scripts and restart *all* networking or reboot server!!!

      Zero guidelines or direction in their projects. It's even more painful

      when you install a distro and need to set vlan or duplex and you can't

      because the utility needs to be installed from the repository. Not sure if

      that's still commonplace but I was bit by it several times with debian

      installs.

      BSD has its own problems, but code quality and the thought put into design

      seems to be taken into serious consideration before something is committed

      to HEAD.

      1. An0n C0w4rd

        Re: Some people need a life

        My irritation with Linux starts with the boot messages. In FreeBSD (and I think in all BSDs, but haven't checked) the initial probe messages come from the bus that the device lives on, so the probe messages are uniform

        e.g.

        xhci0: <Intel Panther Point USB 3.0 controller> mem 0xf3500000-0xf350ffff irq 16 at device 20.0 on pci0

        ehci0: <Intel Panther Point USB 2.0 controller> mem 0xf3518000-0xf35183ff irq 16 at device 26.0 on pci0

        hdac1: <Intel Panther Point HDA Controller> mem 0xf3510000-0xf3513fff irq 22 at device 27.0 on pci0

        siis0: <SiI3132 SATA controller> port 0xd000-0xd07f mem 0xf3484000-0xf348407f,0xf3480000-0xf3483fff irq 16 at device 0.0 on pci4

        This makes it very easy to look through the boot messages and see what is there and what isn't.

        The Linux kernel probe messages are done in the individual driver, a number of them include copyright messages, and there is no apparent commonality between any of them. To me that makes the kernel boot messages less than helpful.

        It may not sound like a huge deal, but when you're trying to figure out why something isn't working as expected, it makes a difference.

        There are definitely things that work better in Linux, such as package updating (the old pkg system in FreeBSD wasn't the best at that), but FreeBSD makes a lot more sense to me. Linux shows it's heritage too much - it's a lot of different bits by different authors that are glued together to form "distributions".

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm sure this has been mentioned, but didn't teh PS2 / PS1 run off of BSD also?

    Honestly it doesn't surprise me that they'd build upon something like BSD, Pretty much bloat free, cheap for them to use, and they have the power to get custom drivers put onto it for their own use. Although I doubt very much that the final product is pure BSD, or even 50%.

    More likely a stripped down BSD core, with a lot of Sony stuff tacked on top of it for the added sexurity / other bits they need for a console. I mean it could be worse, they could be running atop a stripped down piece of bloatware like windows 8.

    1. Antoinette Lacroix

      Not a dev kit

      According to the mailing lists, the PS4 will run a FreeBSD derivate. This is not really big news. The PS3s CellOS and XMB were also based on FreeBSD. Sony has a long history of using BSD code and has commited back several patches.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Antoinette Lacroix - Re: Not a dev kit

        Sony contributing ? Since when ? With the exception of their famous rootkit, what was their other contribution ? That's the whole point of using BSD, they don't have to give back to the community.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @Antoinette Lacroix - Not a dev kit

          Sony contribute loads to the FOSS, more than most other closed source companies combined. You need to stop reading fanboy baiting news.

  15. MACWINLINO
    FAIL

    Eadon are you people in love?

    Apologies as this is off topic, all I see is how many people commenting about Eadon. Does this person have their own fanclub? It is something to witness, almost a celebrity. All that from continuously bad mouthing MS.

    *I want to get off this planet*

    1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

      Re: Eadon are you people in love?

      "Apologies as this is off topic, all I see is how many people commenting about Eadon. Does this person have their own fanclub? It is something to witness, almost a celebrity. All that from continuously bad mouthing MS."

      Indeed. And now he's gone, we're gonna have to start worshipping you!

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Eadon are you people in love?

        And now he's gone, we're gonna have to start worshipping you!

        Nah. He lacks Eadon's magnificence.

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