I recently stumbled upon FreeBSD and wondered if using the same hardware configuration will yield better (faster and lighter use) performance than
Linux Debian sarge.

For me one of the main reasons of using FreeBSD is the ease of installation and keeping the system including ports up to date. Building from ports can help a lot with dynamic library hell prevalent on some other OS's. Of course building some ports can take very serious amounts of time with your hardware, most notably OpenOffice or Gnome/KDE+Xorg.

If you are not considering using Gnome or KDE (both bloated monstrosities IMHO, but YMMV) I think FreeBSD will perform very nicely - especially it tends to be very responsible and usable even under relatively high load.

Benchmarks aren't usually that reliable or should be read with a grain of salt in any case, but I ran the postgres benchmark on my "development" sytem after some guy posted his benchmarks and the parameters from his linux box - And in my case the development machine which is 1 Ghz Dual PIII, 1 Gb ram etc. yielded almost equal performance to Debian on Dual 3Ghz Xeon with 2 Gb of ram (1600 queries/sec vs 1900 queries/sec for what it's worth).

And considering security - ftp.debian.org was once compromised for half a year with full root access to the box and all they did say to comment the break-in was like "We believe nothing serious has happened" - BSD developers and users in general tend to take security a bit more seriously.

I suggest though that you try FreeBSD and see how it suits you and performs in your case. Read the handbook first and then do a test install on a HD you can spare or into a spare partition and play around a bit with it, installing the same software you're using at linux side. I did that about 6 years ago and never looked back in any other *NIX or clone unless I have to.

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