> From: Grant <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
> > 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.
> I really like the Gentoo concept here.
> > 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.
> Having a thoroughly working base system does sound really nice.

Yes. Both approaches have their advantages. Gentoo is neat, but there's less
problems on FreeBSD.

> That doesn't sound very good.  I've got to be able to use Linux apps.
> That's for sure.

Apps compiled for Linux run. Huge apps like MATLAB or Mathematica run out
of the box with a few tweaks. There's doom and the like on the ports collection.
Currently it seems that FreeBSD emulates a 2.6.16 kernel. Typically there's
only problems with dependencies. Apps that come on CD usually only depend on
the most basic components such as glibc, so they usually run.
I happen to have trouble with google-earth.

> Configuring the kernel with menuconfig is a pain.  How is it handled
> differently with FreeBSD?

You may find it old fashioned, but it's a plain text file.
There are a lot less options than on Linux, there's no support for lots of
archane hardware as there is on Linux.
Once you have your kernel config file done you rarely have to change it.
Updating is a matter of running make update and then make kernel.

On Gentoo it is a lot more trouble. Updating installs a new package, every
new version of the kernel is a new package. Then you have to manually copy
your old config file to the new kernel tree and go through menuconfig to see
that everything is ok.

> > 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.
> Can you tell me more about what you mean here?  How is it much better?
>  Easier kernel management?

Updating the base system does not require a config file... You just run
make update, make buildworld, then mergemaster and make installworld.
You'd have to see in the manual. Mergemaster takes care of merging the new
configuration files from the source tree taking care not to erase your own
changes to the configuration files.
Once again, Gentoo is more trouble. It does not erase your configuration files
but you have to manually check all the ._cfg* files that are created to see
if there's anything new that is important.

I apologize Julian Stacey for insisting on this (maybe) off-topic thread but
this is such a low volume list...

Here's a bit of advocacy (you may disagree):

One of the biggest pluses of FreeBSD is the file system. UFS2 supports
softupdates and file system snapshots.
These days I never thought I could go wrong in choosing ext3 for servers at
work. The fact is that in two years only I had lots of file system related
problems which I never ever did have on FreeBSD.

Snapshots: you can create a snapshot of a live mounted file system, so that
you can fsck or backup a coherent view of the file system while users are
still using it. This means that you don't have to schedule backups to the
weekend (in the hope that noone will be using the system).
This also means that fscks at boot don't stop the system from running, they
will be done in the background.
With ext3, I had big trouble one day someone turned one server on in the
morning and then it didn't work (because of fsck) and turned it off and on
again (during fsck). One ext3 file system suffered severe damage.
Even with interrupt-level crashes on FreeBSD, I never had file system damage.

Snapshots again: why perform on-site backups? If your hard disks are new or
you're using RAID, doing weekly or daily file system snapshots will protect
you from accidental file deletion. Repair is easier than from huge tar
archives: just mount the snapshot somewhere and copy the
user-or-program-destroyed file to the live filesystem.
With weekly snapshots, there's only need for RAID and off-site backups.

Another big plus of FreeBSD: the mailing-lists work, ocasionally your
message may be disregarded among others, but still, it works much better
than anything on Gentoo and people usually are more technically skilled.
Sign to questions@ for general user (admin counts as user) questions and
to stable@ if you're tracking RELENG_7 regularly (updating your system via
cvsup regularly).

That's all I can say. Sorry Julian Stacey, but sometimes it's faster just
to answer the questions.

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