15 September 2006
Having looked at various hosting companies and a general dissatisfaction with Linux distributions, I decided to give BSD a try. Grabbed the FreeBSD 6.1 CD images and installed them onto a spare system. Time to wade in to the Holy War that is Linux vs. FreeBSD..

First impression is not good: When installing packages, dependencies are installed as-needed. The problem is that if a lot of packages (on CD 2) need uninstalled dependencies from the installation CD (CD 1) you end up swapping CDs. A lot. Why the installer cannot batch dependencies together so that each CD only needs to be inserted once (twice at most) is beyond me. Not a good start. A bit of headless-chicken messing around and then a proper clean run later (mostly trying out upgrade mechanisms), and I had my general impression..



Considering my preferred Linux distribution is Slackware (with slapt-get and a custom kernel), its not too surprising that in places I felt more at home with FreeBSD than some other Linux distributions. There are still some important questions I've not look at, such as decent ext3 support. However, if stability and the need for automated updating is a priority, it is already a replacement for my previous reluctant choice of Debian.

For fairness, a few days later I tried OpenBSD and NetBSD. Neither detected my SATA drive.