Thanks for the answer, that was an interesting reading. I've some
remarks though (maybe some things changed since the last time you tried
Gentoo).

To put it more on topic, could you describe briefly how you can
integrate gems in the package management system on *BSD? With me being
very familiar with Gentoo, the ease of integration of gems into Gentoo
was probably the biggest reasons why I switched all my servers to Gentoo...
Does it build on gems like Gentoo or do you have to write messy
Makefiles like I suspect most other Linux distributions do?


Chad Perrin wrote the following on 10.09.2007 21:12 :
>
> FreeBSD, among other things, tends to provide far greater system
> stability than Gentoo.

?!? To be more stable would probably mean repairing the hardware for me!

Currently I have 3 desktops including my parents' one (and trust me, I
don't want to travel to fix their computer...) and 7 servers running
Gentoo (my business is only 4 months old, this will grow...). I started
using it 3 years ago and never had any software stability problems (of
course I don't blindly update gcc or Apache 1.3 to Apache 2.0 without
reading the upgrading documentation beforehand, actually read the
installation notices/warnings and use a staging server for critical
stuff...).
I've some experience administering Linux (I've done it for more than 10
years now), so as you said: your mileage may vary :-) Of course I stay
away from unstable ebuilds as much as I can and test them thoroughly if
I really have to use them on production servers.

>   As with a comparison with any Linux distribution,
> FreeBSD also presents a far greater sense of the system as an integrated
> whole than Gentoo

I'm not sure if I understand this correctly. Let me rephrase to be sure:
the FreeBSD administration is more consistant across software packages,
the base system configuration is simpler.

If I understood correctly, it may be a good thing, yes. And it probably
isn't Gentoo specific: most general purpose Linux distributions come
with roughly the same software and the same heterogeneous configuration
files too. On a positive note, I like the /etc/conf.d system in Gentoo:
it brings some consistency to this (even if it can't address all problems).

However I suppose there is some inconsistency in *BSD configuration too:
the first thing that comes to my mind is Apache configuration (which
configuration complexity could arguably be compared to the one of a
whole OS...).

> , as well -- while not sacrificing significant
> customization options (which should be fairly obvious considering it's at
> heart still a source-based system).  Its source-based software management
> is at least as easily managed as Gentoo's, and even provides more options
> for how you may choose to manage it (portupgrade, portmaster, et cetera),
>   

There are alternatives to emerge (paludis for example) in Gentoo (I
suppose there's always a problem to fix for someone...).

> but succeeds at this while still sticking closer to its "roots" in source
> code compilation, as all software management within the standard Ports
> system can be very simply and easily handled via make, rather than
> layering the idiosyncratic emerge system over everything to achieve ease
> of management.
>   

That's a matter of taste: make without emerge is a definitive no-no on
my servers and a real headache on any system that I don't plan to
reinstall from scratch. In fact I don't do reinstalls anymore since I
switched to Gentoo. I went further and don't even do installs anymore
too as I keep base system images ready to detar on a partition. I found
it to be more reliable and quicker than distro-based installation
methods (of course the usual Gentoo install is painfully slow, which is
what motivated me in the first place).

> Additionally, FreeBSD provides more extensive software archives,

I'm surprised to hear this, Gentoo software coverage is huge and truly
amazing if you consider the unstable part of the Portage tree.

>  and the
> software in those archives (in the Ports tree, specifically) is generally
> more thoroughly tested (in other words, no "KDE is broken this week"
> jokes).

KDE broken? My parents would be on the phone in an instant (and I try
not to let their system lag too much behind the tree so they probably
used all Gentoo stable KDE versions for 18 months now).

>   Most system and software management is more straightforward,

That I can believe easily, there's always room to improve there.

>  and
> while Gentoo has some of the best online documentation in the Linux
> world, FreeBSD documentation is the best I've ever seen -- not only
> because it covers pretty much every damned thing you can think of, but
> also because it is so incredibly well organized.

The lack of organization is indeed a defect. Not big (it's not a huge
pile where you spend hours looking for something) but it definitely
could be improved.

>   The FreeBSD community
> may not be as extensive as what you're used to with Linux, but it is also
> less scattered and fractious, which means you'll probably never notice
> the difference in how extensive it is unless you're specifically looking
> for a local community.  Even having been ever-more heavily involved in
> the more expert-oriented Linux communities in recent years, I find that
> short of something like the Linux kernel hackers' community or something
> along those lines, the average knowledge level of the FreeBSD community
> is greater than that of the Linux communities, too.
>   

That's the problem when some technology becomes popular (don't advertize
too much if you are an elitist :-) ).

Thanks again,

Lionel