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Comparison: Linux vs FreeBSD (Bsd) oses

If you would like to compare FreeBSD and Linux, then keep in mind following points:

* SMP support

* Portability

* Reliability/robust

* Performance

* Security

* Filesystem

* Support (community and vendor)

* Clean code and well documented API

* Amount of software/applications

* 3rd party apps support

SMP supportGood (v5.x/6.x+)Very Good (2.6+)
Reliability/robustVery GoodGood
PerformanceVery GoodGood
Security (out of box)Very goodGood
Oracle/ERP appsNot supportedVery good
Package managementExcellent (ports & binary)Depends on distribution (Debian - excellent, RPM based - ok (go for yum))
Dell/IBM/HP server supportN/A (FreeBSD works with these vendors systems; at least I have very good experience with HP boxes)Very good
Support (community and vendor)GoodGood

Based upon my personal experience I recommend FreeBSD for Internet server (webserver or mail servers). They are extremely stable. FreeBSD is known to handle heavy load efficiently.

However, if you are looking to run 4 or 8 way SMP server or Oracle database server, use Linux (go for RHEL or Suse enterprise Linux). Linux has excellent support from these vendors.

In addition, OpenBSD is my choice for firewall/NAT/DMZ. :D If anyone has more information, just comment it below.

Further reading:

HowTo: Monitor Linux / BSD System Over Time Without Scrolling Output

You can use the watch command to execute a program or shell script periodically, display its output on screen repeatedly. This allows you to watch the program output change over time. By default, the program is run every 2 seconds. This is useful to monitor memory utilization or disk space usage over time without having to look at scrolling output.
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Configure Ubuntu Linux GRUB to load FreeBSD

Recently my friend emailed me an interesting scenario. He installed FreeBSD 6.0 / 7.0 in the first primary partition (10G). One day he installed Ubuntu Linux. He can boot into Linux but not able to boot into FreeBSD. Now, my friend wanted to boot both FreeBSD and Ubuntu Linux via Grub boot loader.

It is not that hard to configure grub to boot FreeBSD. You just need to add following three lines to grub configuration file (/boot/grub/menu.lst). Boot into Ubuntu Linux and use text editor to edit the file /boot/grub/menu.lst ( Red hat and friends [ Fedora / CentOS ] try /etc/grub.conf file) :
$ gksudo gedit /boot/grub/menu.lst
$ gksudo vi /boot/grub/menu.lst
Append FreeBSD boot Configuration:

title  FreeBSD 7.0
root   (hd0,a)
kernel /boot/loader

Save and close the file. To see changes or to boot into FreeBSD reboot Ubuntu Linux box.

  • title FreeBSD 7.0 : Start a new boot entry. User always sees this title and hit enter key to boot os.
  • root (hd0,a) : Actual part is to select the correct root partition. The root option set the current root device to the device, then attempt to mount it to get the partition size. In above example - hd0 is your first hard disk i.e. hda in Linux. In grub hda is hd0. Likewise your first, second partition on the first hard disk – hda1, hda2, becomes hd0,0 hd0,1 in Grub. In short, you are asking to use first hard first partition (remember FreeBSD use a,b,c names to represent partition names). If you have installed FreeBSD on third partition then you need to use following root statement:
    root (hd0,2,a)
  • kernel /boot/loader : Use to load the primary boot image. FreeBSD use /boot/loader to load rest of kernel and os.

FreeBSD: Password expiry / aging policy

For security reason you must enable Password expiry policy on FreeBSD box. Linux comes with chage command, which changes the number of days between password changes and the date of the last password change.

FreeBSD pw command

Use pw command to setup password expiry date for existing user account. Syntax is as follows:
pw user mod USERNAME -p DD-MMM-YY


  • -p DD-MMM-YY: Set the account's password expiration date.

For example, expire user rocky’s password on 31-Mar-2006:
# pw user mod USERNAME -p 31-mar-06
Use pw command to setup password expiry while creating new user account.
pw user add USERNAME -p DATE -e DAYS:

  • -p DAYS: Set default account expiration period in days
  • -e DAYS: Set the account's expiration date.

For example create a user called didi and Set the default password expiration to 30 days.
# pw user add didi -p 30 -d /home/didi -m
# passwd didi

This is good if you have small number of users. For large installation base (such as University computers) you need to define user login class. With login class you can control the following :

  • Resource limits
  • Accounting limits
  • Authentication limits
  • Default user environment settings.

How to: Linux / UNIX Delete or Remove Files With Inode Number

An inode identifies the file and its attributes such as file size, owner, and so on. A unique inode number within the file system identifies each inode. But, why to delete file by an inode number? Sure, you can use rm command to delete file. Sometime accidentally you creates filename with control characters or characters which are unable to be input on a keyboard or special character such as ?, * ^ etc. Removing such special character filenames can be problem. Use following method to delete a file with strange characters in its name:

Please note that the procedure outlined below works with Solaris, FreeBSD, Linux, or any other Unixish oses out there:

Find out file inode

First find out file inode number with any one of the following command:

stat {file-name}


ls -il {file-name}

Use find command to remove file:

Use find command as follows to find and remove a file:

find . -inum [inode-number] -exec rm -i {} \;

When prompted for confirmation, press Y to confirm removal of the file.

Delete or remove files with inode number

Let us try to delete file using inode number.

(a) Create a hard to delete file name:
$ cd /tmp
$ touch "\+Xy \+\8"
$ ls

(b) Try to remove this file with rm command:
$ rm \+Xy \+\8

(c) Remove file by an inode number, but first find out the file inode number:
$ ls -ilOutput:

781956 drwx------  3 viv viv 4096 2006-01-27 15:05 gconfd-viv
781964 drwx------  2 viv viv 4096 2006-01-27 15:05 keyring-pKracm
782049 srwxr-xr-x  1 viv viv    0 2006-01-27 15:05 mapping-viv
781939 drwx------  2 viv viv 4096 2006-01-27 15:31 orbit-viv
781922 drwx------  2 viv viv 4096 2006-01-27 15:05 ssh-cnaOtj4013
781882 drwx------  2 viv viv 4096 2006-01-27 15:05 ssh-SsCkUW4013
782263 -rw-r--r--  1 viv viv    0 2006-01-27 15:49 \+Xy \+\8

Note: 782263 is inode number.

(d) Use find command to delete file by inode:
Find and remove file using find command, type the command as follows:
$ find . -inum 782263 -exec rm -i {} \;

Note you can also use add \ character before special character in filename to remove it directly so the command would be:
$ rm "\+Xy \+\8"

If you have file like name like name "2005/12/31" then no UNIX or Linux command can delete this file by name. Only method to delete such file is delete file by an inode number. Linux or UNIX never allows creating filename like 2005/12/31 but if you are using NFS from MAC OS or Windows then it is possible to create a such file.

See also:

How to: FreeBSD Setup Time / Clock Synchronization with NTP server and ntpdate command

FreeBSD use the Network Time Protocol (NTP) for synchronizing the clocks of computer systems over packet-switched, variable-latency data networks. NTP uses UDP port 123. If you have one computer or single server then you can easily synchronization time with other NTP servers. All you need is ntp client called ntpdate. It is use to set the date and time via NTP servers.

FreeBSD: Install NTP Client

Use any one of the following command to install NTP:

# pkg_add -rv  ntp


# cd /usr/ports/net/ntp
# make; make install

Pick appropriate NTP Servers

Visit public ntp timeserver list to pick up your NTP server.

Open UDP port 123 at firewall

If you are running FreeBSD ipfilter firewall, you need to open the UDP port 123. Just add following rule to your firewall script:

pass out quick on lnc0 proto udp from YOUR-SERVER to any port = 123
keep state


pass out quick on lnc0 proto udp from YOUR-SERVER to
TIME-SERVER-IP port = 123 keep state

For example, my FreeBSD workstation IP is and is IP of NTP server then my rule is in ipf.conf file as follows:

pass out quick on lnc0 proto udp from
to port = 123 keep state

FreeBSD test clock synchronization

Just run ntpdate command as follows to see you can set date and clock via NTP:
Set wrong date (Mon Dec 13 4:27 pm):

# date 0412131627

Now set correct date with ntp client:

# ntpdate -v -b in.pool.ntp.org

13 Dec 16:27:50 ntpdate[997]: ntpdate 4.2.0-a Thu Nov 3 07:34:22 UTC 2005 (1)
25 Jan 12:35:47 ntpdate[997]: step time server offset 35237275.965726 sec

You can verify that correct data is setup:

# date


Wed Jan 25 12:36:21 IST 2006

Enable date and time/ clock Synchronization at boot time

You need to set ntpdate via /etc/rc.local file.

# vi /etc/rc.conf

Append following line to it:

Save and close the file. Make sure you have correct ntpdate_hosts server entry.

See also:

Updated for accuracy.

FreeBSD keep ports collection up to date in two easy steps

The FreeBSD ports collection offers a simple way for users and administrators to install applications. The ports made FreeBSD quite popular. Keeping ports up to date is an essential task.

FreeBSD Install cvsup

If you never upgraded freebsd ports collection then first step is required; otherwise skip this step and goto step # 2

# pkg_add -r cvsup-without-gui
# mkdir /usr/ports

CVSup is a software package for distributing and updating collections of files (ports) across a network.

Update ports collection/tree

# cvsup -L 2 -h cvsup9.FreeBSD.org

Above step will take some to fetch files and it will update your ports collection.

Note if you got an error as follows:

Rejected by server: Access limit exceeded; try again later
Will retry at 01:36:41

Then replace cvsup9.FreeBSD.org with cvs8.freebsd.org, cvs7.freebsd.org etc. You are done. Install packages from updated tree, before that consider installing security auditing port to avoid vulnerabilities warning. Now you can install application via ports.

Running the cvsup command later agian will download and apply all the recent changes to your Ports Collection, except actually rebuilding the ports for your own system. Next time you will see howto use the portupgrade utility to upgrade installed ports.

portsnap command

You can use portsnap command. It is an alternative system for distributing the Ports Collection. It was first included in FreeBSD 6.0. Install portsnap as follows:

# mkdir /usr/ports
# pkg_add -r portsnap
# portsnap fetch
# portsnap extract
# portsnap update

See FreeBSD handbook topic Using Portsnap more information.