Basic BSD problems that nobody talks about

Discussion in 'all things UNIX' started by Gullible Jones, Aug 25, 2016.

  1. Gullible Jones

    Gullible Jones Registered Member

    May 16, 2013
    This is closely related to Windows 7's update nightmares...

    System updates on NetBSD, and especially OpenBSD, are a mess. FreeBSD has recently fixed most of that, and I think it's maintaining some interest and advancing faster than the others in part because of that.

    If you look at different *nix OSes:

    Linux distros usually use one package manager for everything. No manual work, things almost never break in stable/LTS distros, it's a breeze.

    FreeBSD separates the core system and packages; but has a binary update manager (freebsd-update) for the system, which is very simple to use.

    NetBSD has a package ("sysupgrade" I think) that lets you update to new point releases. It doesn't handle security patches outside of the point releases. Tracking the stable branch seems to mean checking out hundreds of megabytes of sources, and compiling for hours and hours.

    OpenBSD... has nothing at all. You follow the stable branch on CVS and compile regularly; or you manually patch the release sources, using individual patch files with individual manual instructions (seriously?!). Oh, and there are currently 25 patches out for OpenBSD 5.9.

    It's hard to find usage stats on BSD operating systems; but what I can find mostly indicates FreeBSD being vastly more popular than the others, and with relative popularity vs. Net/OpenBSD much higher than back in e.g. 2005.

    I have to wonder what's with this. Binary system updates are a pretty basic feature in a modern OS; and would probably be simpler to provide than, for instance, continued support for Motorola 88000 processors that have not seen serious use since the early 1990s.
  2. NormanF

    NormanF Registered Member

    Feb 20, 2009
    You left out TrueOS - the new name for the well-known PC-BSD distro.
  3. grahamperrin

    grahamperrin Registered Member

    Aug 30, 2010
    Brighton and Hove, United Kingdom
    Now is neither found, nor in the Internet Archive Wayback Machine. @Gullible Jones please, do you have it in the cache of your browser? If not the content, then the title of the cached page might help to discover the content at a different URL.

    Vaguely comparable, but I wouldn't say related.

    Yep, and FWIW I view some aspects of the TrueOS approach to updating as ahead of the curve.
  4. Mrkvonic

    Mrkvonic Linux Systems Expert

    May 9, 2005
    Well, to be honest, it's not meant for home use. AT ALL.
  5. Gullible Jones

    Gullible Jones Registered Member

    May 16, 2013

    I think home use would make more sense at this point than server use. Having to build a new kernel and userland for your servers is stupid; even if you only have to do it on one machine, and make installation sets for the others. Heck, even if you automate the whole process. At best, it's needless duplication of effort.


    I wasn't aware that TrueOS was doing anything novel with updates and package management. Thanks (though I suspect TrueOS will go dormant in a few years, that seems to happen to all "friendly" BSD spinoffs).


    Err, try here:

    And yeah, maybe "related" is the wrong word. Similar though.

    (And in the interest of full disclosure, I'll note that my current firewall is an old Dell Optiplex running OpenBSD. It performs very well, and pf configuration is nicer for this purpose than iptables. OTOH I haven't had it running very long, so we'll have to see how things go with updates. At the moment I'm tracking the 5.9 stable branch, and not using any packages.)