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

Feature FreeBSD Linux
SMP support Good (v5.x/6.x+) Very Good (2.6+)
Reliability/robust Very Good Good
Performance Very Good Good
Security (out of box) Very good Good
Filesystem Good Good
Oracle/ERP apps Not supported Very good
Package management Excellent (ports & binary) Depends on distribution (Debian – excellent, RPM based – ok (go for yum))
Dell/IBM/HP server support N/A (FreeBSD works with these vendors systems; at least I have very good experience with HP boxes) Very good
Support (community and vendor) Good Good

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. 😀 If anyone has more information, just comment it below.

Further reading:

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54 comments… add one
  • Chris Sep 4, 2011 @ 0:05

    I have been until about 18 months ago a very freebsd specific user for servers. However it has become apparent from my own experience that freebsd is weak in certian areas. These areas I feel are, the filesystem, the firewall, and hardware compatibility. If you have a problem with hardware not working right and go to the freebsd message lists, the most likely response will be to go out and buy more expensive hardware, yet the kit you have may work fine on windows and linux. This alone turns a lot of people off freebsd, as easier and cheaper to change OS than hardware. Firewall, iptables I feel is superior to both PF and ipfw. Not to mention Freebsd is currently on a obselete version of PF even in the CURRENT branch. Filesystem , ufs is defenitly compared to ext3 and ntfs, yet the latter 2 have journaling protection as well so ufs is effectively ancient sort of like fat32. zfs had promise until I tried it on a production server and that server has issues like processes locking up in zfs state and poor i/o performance. Not to mention it has took freebsd many years to even get things like cubic congestion avoidance, and a disk scheduler albeit only round robin whilst linux has multiple ones. However I still use freebsd primarily as I love the ports system, it is generally more stable, and I feel I can tune/control it more than linux. But sadly for certian things I have to use linux as freebsd performs poorly in certian situations. The problem that I see with freebsd is they ar e sort of like firefox development, regular core os releases and concentrating on development usage scenarios (typically desktop), they seem to have lost some focus on the server side of the market as back in freebsd4 days, freebsd was miles ahead of linux.

  • chron Jul 16, 2011 @ 12:02

    I am a non-biased user of ( to name a few ) GNU/Linux, OpenBSD, and FreeBSD. There are strengths and weaknesses in all operating systems. None are perfect. Just take a look at the aforementioned CERT advisories. The BSDs come out on top because they are older, more mature and have been source code audited for about 30 years. To quote Bruce Schneier “Complexity is the enemy of security.” I began using Linux back in 1998. I also have used OpenBSD since around 2.1 and recently began using FreeBSD heavily for my workstations and desktop machines. I have used every imaginable Linux distro, starting with Slackware back in the day. Using Red Hat, and for years Debian was my choice OS. Then I discovered Gentoo, because of the mainstream’s poor support of 64bit multi-lib and I ended up loving the source based way of doing things. I ended up trying all of them Sorcerer, Source Mage, Lunar, Rock, Crux, and even LFS. I supposed it would be a good time to mention that I have worked as an occupation with Linux HPC supporting customers with clusters of over 5000 nodes. I have also worked in security and have a well rounded technical background, working for companies such as VA Linux Systems, LinuxNetworX, IBM, and Honeywell. Linux has become fat. Too many binary “blobs” have made it into the source tree. Too many things make it into the kernel these days. FreeBSD is a rock-solid, stable, heavily audited operating system. I prefer it from both a security, stability, and sound minded point-of-view. However, if you need bleeding edge hardware support, and in the HPC world this is critical … you are going to want Linux. Everything has its purpose … except for Microsoft products. ;o)

  • Meh Jun 22, 2011 @ 2:06

    At the end of the day BSD license wins 🙂

  • Penguin Dec 8, 2010 @ 14:51

    FreeBSD or OpenBSD securiy out of the box is not better than Linux or Windows!
    How do you find the is performance on FreeBSD better than Linux? Are you a FreeBSD user?
    Binary packages on FreeBSD are crap. Also how usable are ports is question too? Every to weeks building an OO is a boring job in the third millenium.
    Average Linux community support is VERY GOOD. For FreeBSD is so so. There are many questions about KDE problems which never get an answer for example.
    FreeBSD is not more stable than Debian for example. How do you find that is FreeBSD more stable?

  • ben Nov 3, 2010 @ 14:08

    Thank you for this good article. I’m using RedHat now, and is considering switch to CentOS or Ubuntu server, this article give me a very clear direction — FreeBSD!!
    After couple days of trial, I’ve found the port tree is really a convenient tool.

    Is there any quick guide for securing FreeBSD server?

  • aa Oct 24, 2010 @ 15:04

    FYI. Bill Joy is considered as one of the founding father of both *BSD and Solaris. Solaris supposed to be better (commercially) backed enterprises system (including all the red tapes), but community based *BSD have more giant developers/brains behind them.

  • GHead Oct 1, 2010 @ 10:26

    For performance and stability my vote to solaris 10 RISC

  • Anonymous Jul 12, 2010 @ 1:17

    “FreeBSD “got raped” by Ubuntu? What’re you smoking? FreeBSD will rock the shite out of even more established Linuxes such as Red Hat, let alone playful dribble like Ubuntu which is meant for home use. And btw the article you linked to is not working.”
    The link is working right now, and it shows FreeBSD ahead of Ubuntu on every benchmark.

    • kickass Sep 17, 2010 @ 23:10

      I agree that linux isn’t nearly as fast and robust as bsd in handling network loads. but, for a typical user, it has perfect amount of stability, security, and ease of use. many people aren’t very comfortable using bsd because there aren’t nearly as many bsd users to support them contrary to linux, which gives linux a major advantage.

  • Anonymous Jul 12, 2010 @ 1:16

    “FreeBSD “got raped” by Ubuntu? What’re you smoking? FreeBSD will rock the shite out of even more established Linuxes such as Red Hat, let alone playful dribble like Ubuntu which is meant for home use. And btw the article you linked to is not working.”
    The link’s working for me, and it shows FreeBSD ahead of Ubuntu in everything. 😉

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