First Impressions On FreeBSD

2017-05-23 18:53:21

I've been up to quite a bit since my last post, so I have much to cover. I'll begin with probably the more interesting construct of my efforts. I SWITCHED MY HOME SERVER TO FREEBSD. Now, I interact with a pretty diverse range of computer science proffesionals at the University, and I was met with as many different opions. A good friend of mine (who is an avid OpenBSD user) toted nothing but praise and "tell me more!" on IRC. Yet another drove his eyes straight to the ground is disbelief. What's with all of the strongly opposed opinions?

Overview

I chose FreeBSD over the alternative BSD OS's because of the rock solid documentation provided in their handbook. As an avid Arch Linux user, I've grown accustom to some really good documentation (even if I'm guilty of skimping on my projects). Additionally, my favorite language, Mozilla's Rust, provides an unprecedented level of documentation for new users. FreeBSD obviously following suit.

Port And Packages

I will admit. It took a little while for me to understand the ports tree and interaction (or lack thereof) with the packages construct. Since, I've grown to love them both as they both provide unique functionality. As a novice BSD user I tnen to favor package, for their simplicity, but I've spent my fair share of time exploring ports as well.

My general understanding (please forgive my naivety) is that working with ports allows for much higher configuration levels. A user compiles programs from source, while being provided a simple check-box driven configuration interface. The level of configuation options is uncomparable to any other OS I've worked with.

For those less power hungry users (me included!) BSD systems provide the package infrastructure as well. Programs are pro-compiled into binaries, with a pretty standard configuration. These binaries are then installed on your machine along with dependencies. This option is more user-friendly, and definitely more familiar to a traditional linux user.

Current Setup

Right now my setup is not complex, which likely contributes to the ease of deployment. I'm running an emby-server instance as a home media server, this website runs off nginx with the obvious dependencies php-fpm, maraiadb and the like, and finally it's just a basic file store and backup for many machines. As I become more comfortable with the BSD style I plan on expanding uses into a home virtual assistant application I'm working on (yet to be made publicly avaiable) codenamed Olivia.

Ending Thoughts

It really is surprising how simple everything is on FreeBSD. Event little things like the dmesg output just seem to make sense. So far I haven't ran into any serious roadblocks, thus my impression is quite favorable. I have a feeling it's only a matter of time before I switch my daily laptop over! and I'm hoping to provide more posts as I learn more!

tag(s): freebsd