On Tue, Sep 11, 2007 at 02:40:04AM +0900, Trans wrote:
> On Sep 10, 9:46 am, Chad Perrin <per... / apotheon.com> wrote:
> > On Mon, Sep 10, 2007 at 12:07:42PM +0900, Trans wrote:
> > > On Sep 9, 6:54 pm, "M. Edward (Ed) Borasky" <zn... / cesmail.net> wrote:
> >
> > > > The bridge you have to cross (eventually) is whether you ever want to do
> > > > kernel builds or recompile packages from source. RHEL and its rebuilds
> > > > actively *discourage* rebuilding the kernel. It's too easy to trash your
> > > > system that way. But rebuilding packages from source is easy on all the
> > > > major distros.
> >
> > > > Or you could use Gentoo, where you *have* to recompile everything from
> > > > source. :)
> >
> > > Ah, come on! SourceMage or Lunar is where the real source code action
> > > is at ;)
> >
> > No . . . the "real source code action" would be in a BSD Unix (FreeBSD,
> > NetBSD, OpenBSD), not any Linux distribution.  You can also get good
> > package-based software management, at least with FreeBSD and NetBSD (I'm
> > not familiar enough with OpenBSD to comment on it in this respect), if
> > you want that too.  Back when I was a Debianista, my response to any
> > recommendation to give Gentoo a try was "If I wanted to use Gentoo, I'd
> > use FreeBSD instead."  Now, I use FreeBSD.
> 
> I never quite understood the BSD fanfare. Is it really that much
> different from Linux? My attempts at installation left me
> disappointed. Obviously that has nothing to do with the core OS, but
> nonetheless, from an end-user perspective I just didn't see any
> offsetting benefit. To me you can pretty much lump them all together
> as "unix".

There are distinct differences between BSD Unix and Linux based OSes, not
only under the hood but in the way the system is put together from a
sysadmin's perspective.  This is sorta the canonical "here are the
differences" essay:

  http://www.over-yonder.net/~fullermd/rants/bsd4linux/bsd4linux1.php

. . . in a manner similar to the way this is the canonical "here are the
differences" essay for people coming to Linux from MS Windows:

  http://linux.oneandoneis2.org/LNW.htm

While I do not 100% agree with everything in either of those essays, they
raise some excellent points and are in general very worth the read.

Much has been made of the "integration" difference between Linux-based
OSes and BSD Unix-based OSes over the years.  Back when I was a dedicated
Debianista, I tended to mostly ignore such comments, thinking "How much
difference could that really make, anyway?"  I justified my laziness
about giving a BSD Unix OS a more thorough chance than I already had in
part by reasoning that integration as discussed by BSD Unix advocates is
obviously not all it's cracked up to be -- judging by the results of
greater "integration" in the MS Windows and Apple MacOS X worlds, and
even with what closed source, proprietary UNIX systems I'd encountered.

Since starting to use FreeBSD more, however, I began to get a more
complete feel for what was meant by that "integration".  It means things
work together more predictably and reliably.  It means the same skills I
develop in one task area more easily transfer to other task areas.  It
means that there isn't the huge gulf in configuration interfaces between
wired and wireless networking I'd come to expect when working with Linux.
It means that custom kernel configuration is much easier to learn and
manage.  It means that there's more complete, cohesive, and clear
documentation, because the documentation reflects the design of the
system.  It means a whole lot more than that, too, and I could probably
go on for hours.

I'm not saying a BSD Unix system is necessarily better than a Linux
distribution in all cases.  There are instances where I would choose a
Linux system over a BSD Unix system for purposes of technical
capabilities (such as clustered computing -- though it appears some BSD
Unix projects are catching up).

Obviously, the difference between BSD Unix and Linux distributions is
generally not as great as that between Linux distributions and MS
Windows.  They're much more alike than different, as measured against the
Microsoft backdrop.  There are differences, however, that to the
experienced unix-like system administrator are like night and day.  It is
in large part those differences that make me prefer FreeBSD (the BSD Unix
operating system I've used the most) over Debian (the Linux-based
operating system that is, by far, my favorite Linux distribution).


> 
> > As for whether SourceMage or Lunar is a better source-based Linux
> > distribution than Gentoo -- well, I'm highly skeptical of such a claim,
> > but I don't have the experience with them to argue one way or the other.
> 
> Well, I was just being funny. As for which source-based distro is
> better, they are all very much alike really (after all you're
> compiling form source), but Gentoo has much better docs and a bigger
> community, so it mostly "wins" for that reason alone.

It sounds like the reality is probably pretty close to what I would have
guessed (but, as indicated, would not by any stretch have claimed to
*know* with any certainty).  Gentoo definitely has some nice advantages
to it, among Linux distributions.


> 
> Of course, real source code action would be LFS --which is an
> interesting exercise (I've done it), but a hell of a lot of work.

No kidding.  If you're interested in a more Debian-ish philosophy on
system construction, you might also want to give DFS (Debian From
Scratch) a try.  It, too, is an "interesting" exercise all its own.

-- 
CCD CopyWrite Chad Perrin [ http://ccd.apotheon.org ]
Baltasar Gracian: "A wise man gets more from his enemies than a fool from
his friends."