> >>> It has recently come to my attention that FreeBSD is "similar" to
> >>> Gentoo Linux.  I've been a Gentoo user for about 5 years and I love
> >>> the concept, but it feels like the project is slowing down.  I like to
> >>> learn/use/know one OS for server, media system, laptop, router, etc.
> >>> How would you compare the two OSes?
> >>>
> >>> - Grant
> >>>
> >> I only have the time to give you a very general impression.
> >> I use FreeBSD at home since at least 1995, I deployed Gentoo at my current
> >> employment because people were less afraid of it than of FreeBSD.
> >> For me, Gentoo is the next best thing to FreeBSD...
> >>
> >> I don't know, but I guess that Gentoo portage was heavily inspired by 
> >> FreeBSD
> >> ports, in that with one command you fetch the source, apply patches, 
> >> compile and install.
> >>
> >> Gentoo however, takes the concept much further in that everything you have 
> >> on
> >> your system is a port, so portage really controls everything. Even when you
> >> install a stage-3 tarball, all files are also registered with portage.
> >>
> >> On FreeBSD, the ports collection is only used for addons to the base 
> >> system; the
> >> base system could be compared to a stage-3 tarball except that it is much 
> >> more
> >> complete (cron, syslog, dhclient, bind9, openssh, tcsh, nvi, ncurses, 
> >> sendmail,
> >> pam, opie, telnet, ftp, traceroute, to name a few are installed in the 
> >> base system)
> >> so you really can have an operational base system.
> >> For instance, if you want to install a web server, perhaps the base system 
> >> +
> >> apache is enough, the same goes for database server.
> >> Typically, the base system plus what is required for your application.
> >> Not so with Gentoo.
> >>
> >> Because such fundamental services such as cron, syslog, etc are on the base
> >> system, most things also come much more configured than they do on Gentoo.
> >> It is a lot more work to get things going on Gentoo.
> >> Even so, FreeBSD is clean enough to fit in about 250MB.
> >>
> >> Now, for server or router: in my opinion, FreeBSD is much easier to setup 
> >> for
> >> any server setup (of course, I've been using it for much longer). For 
> >> router,
> >> you don't need to add anything to the base system.
> >> FreeBSD is much, much, much better documented than Gentoo, most common 
> >> server
> >> setups are covered in the handbook.
> >> Gentoo's documentation is very nice, but still covers only a few loose 
> >> topics.
> >> Most of the time you have to resort to disperse Linux documentation if 
> >> you're
> >> not a long time Linux geek.
> >>
> >> For media/desktop system: FreeBSD is probably worse. It's a pain to get
> >> google-earth working on FreeBSD, lots of Linux applications crash a lot. 
> >> Even
> >> FreeBSD natively compiled applications such as mplayer are hard to get 
> >> properly
> >> compiled.
> >>
> >> On Gentoo it's quite safe to put CFLAGS=-O3 in make.conf, not on FreeBSD. 
> >> The
> >> USE flags framework work surprisingly well, there's ufed, revdep-rebuild, 
> >> etc.
> >> Not so much on FreeBSD, the older ports system is evolving slowly. The 
> >> Gentoo
> >> designers benefited from designing from scratch.
> >> On the other hand, the ports collection on FreeBSD is much less likely to 
> >> break
> >> things than portage is. Try updating expat on Gentoo and everything will 
> >> stop
> >> working; on FreeBSD, the shared libraries are kept and everything keeps 
> >> working.
> >> Actually, the ports collection in itself seldom breaks anything. Portage 
> >> does.
> >>
> >> For laptop: I run FreeBSD amd64 on my laptop, everything works very well. 
> >> And it
> >> is a radeon card, 3D without hardware acceleration is surprisingly fast 
> >> these days.
> >> There's no hibernation. I don't know if you have that on Gentoo.
> >>
> >> AMD64: Runs lots of 386 binaries unless they require a lot of i386 ports, 
> >> which would
> >> require you to install a i386 ports tree side by side with amd64; this 
> >> isn't supported.
> >> You can't get linux_dri on AMD64, so that locks google-earth out for me.
> >>
> >>
> >> After two years using Gentoo, after the first very positive impression, 
> >> I'm a
> >> bit tired of breaking things due to updating one port.
> >> It's also too much of a pain reconfiguring and recompiling the Linux 
> >> kernel.
> >> Perhaps it's my lack of experience.
> >> On FreeBSD, you can compile the kernel every day with no trouble at all, 
> >> even
> >> the whole base system weekly, if you're so inclined. I can't be objective, 
> >> but I
> >> think in this respect FreeBSD is much, much, much better.
> >>
> >
> > I just had a search through the FreeBSD ports list and just about
> > everything I user is listed there.  gnucash, gimp, firefox, etc.  Does
> > that mean they are work perfectly on FreeBSD?
> >
> > - Grant
> I use FreeBSD almost exclusively (my main desktop is a Mac), and
> everything on FreeBSD works with as few bugs as their Mac OS X
> counterparts (where such counterparts exist, such as Firefox).  On my
> laptop, they also run about the same speed as they do on the Mac.  (Mac
> is 3GHz, laptop is 1.8GHz)
>
> -Jessica

That sounds great.

After some more research, I'm between Gentoo, *BSD, and possibly
Debian.  Can anyone who understands my mindset compare the *BSDs to
each other?  What about Debian?  Which is being most actively
developed?

Is there a good virtualization tool for FreeBSD that will run Windows
XP on my laptop?

- Grant
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