Posted on November 24, 2009 by

Describe an OS

I have a small company, where we decided to choose Freebsd as the server platform. We don’t have too much money to spend so the price was one of the main reasons. We needed a server platform which can host web services reliably. Although my partners and me also are IT experts, we wanted to spend the least possible time with the operating system. We wanted to concentrate on the web development instead. When we started the company, Windows wasn’t reliable at all. We hadn’t got enough time to support it – not mentioning the price of a Windows server with Microsoft or Oracle SQL server. LINUX was an obvious choice. After fighting with the problems in several LINUX distributions (SUSE, Slackware), one of my friends asked: Why don’t you try Freebsd? I never had any problems with it! Upon his suggestion we installed Freebsd on a server without any previous experience. We experienced that Freebsd completely fulfilled our needs, it adequately performs as a web server which needs no maintenance. We usually reinstall our servers when we need a full version upgrade, apart from it our Freebsd servers were running all time without interruption. These “servers” were desktop computers without any server features! On a workshop SamoaTel ISP wrote: “And, in case you missed this, FreeBSD is extremely stable, particularly under heavy load. ” (http://ws.edu.isoc.org/workshops/2006/ccTLD-Samoa/day1/freebsd/whyfreebsd.html, 2006) I think Freebsd have more advantages than disadvantages. Once it is set up properly – which is not always easy in case of exotic hardware devices – it runs till the end of the hardware’s life. Bob Bruce and Murray Stokely also thinks that Freebsd is a very realiable operating system with an uptime what can be measured in years (http://people.freebsd.org/~murray/bsd_flier.html,n.d). I also experienced, that Freebsd is a very secure operating system. We only had succesfull attacks from hackers because of our own misconfiguration. Almost all information sources tells you a lot about security in Freebsd because it’s one of the most important features of this operating system. It has a very thorough release engineering process to minimize the chance of the security leaks in the code. Freebsd issues a regular Security advisory newsletter to advise the administrators. Jail system ensures, that you can run any application in a “sandbox” wihout affecting the performance. It ships with three enterprise level firewall and strong security audit features! Another very important aspect is the Ports tree. This Ports three is a hierarchically organized software collection. The Ports tree itself only contains a small stub file with the location of the source code of the software. When you need a new application, you can simply navigate in the hierarchy to it – or you can also use a search function – and type in a make install command. Freebsd will download the source, compile it, configure it and the application is ready to use. I have to mention that it’s hard to find better references about freebsd, than Freebsd Handbook. The FreeBSD Documentation Project (2009) FreeBSD Handbook [Online]. Available from: http://www.freebsd.org/doc/en/books/handbook/ (Accessed: 11. October 2009). If I could modify just one element, I’d improve the support of Virtualization. Although Sun’s VirtualBox is available in Ports, Freebsd’s competitors usually offer more choices. Rogier Dittner,David Rule (2007) The best damn server virtualization book period. Burlington: Syngress Publishing Inc., pp 39-40 published a detailed comparison table about virtualization solutions and they only list Freebsd as a guest OS. This definitely needs to be improved. Reference list: Bob Bruce, Murray Stokely (n.d) FreeBSD vs. Linux vs. Windows 2000 [Online]. Available from: http://people.freebsd.org/~murray/bsd_flier.html (Accessed: 11. October 2009) Rogier Dittner,David Rule (2007) The best damn server virtualization book period. Burlington: Syngress Publishing Inc., pp 39-40 SamoaTel ISP (2006) Why Did We Choose FreeBSD? [Online] Available from: http://ws.edu.isoc.org/workshops/2006/ccTLD-Samoa/day1/freebsd/whyfreebsd.html (Accessed: 11. October 2009) The FreeBSD Documentation Project (2009) FreeBSD Handbook [Online]. Available from: http://www.freebsd.org/doc/en/books/handbook/ (Accessed: 11. October 2009)

 

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