a taste of FreeBSD

This weekend I installed FreeBSD 10.1 on a disk of my desktop. Beyond the fact that we are using that system at work, more and more, I was just curious about the setup for a desktop. I was pleasantly surprised and everything went very smoothly.

I’m quite familiar with Linux and that was enough for making the ride very easy. The general impression is that actually the system is simpler than on Linux, maybe more consistent. The pkg system, alternative to the traditional ports system, makes thing much more ‘out of the box’.

And for the rest, well, in one afternoon, and just by following the doc, I had my window manager up and running, and ready to begin playing with bhyve. I was surprised to see that bhyve kernel modules were included by default in recent releases. I heard there are still some bumps on the road for laptop about the sleep to disk mode, but I’m not concerned by that.

It feels like BSD is a shy actor that actually powers much more stuff that we can suspect. But it has a pretty active community and a very decent documentation. Well, give it a try if you like playing with various distributions of free and open operating systems. It’s much less scary that its reputation seems to convey.


About blogging

Well, since that whole blogging thing began, I never have been very active on it. Well, I have a blog on Tumblr because I wanted to know how they are doing it, I published various posts in the faria devtips, and after all, this rant could also count as a publication. So I think I will gather them all under one unique site. A Jekyll github-pages kind, easy and cheap.

After all, I’m not sure the devtips website will stay up any longer. There have been no post since the day I left. Too bad. It’s a demonstration that some collective actions can sometimes rely only on the energy of one person.

So, I made a new repo on github for it, and I will gather whatever stuff I can find that I wrote in there.

Lovely FreeBSD

At our Gandi office in Taipei I had to install a pfsense server, which is based on FreeBSD. It was quite a pleasant experience, actually. Last time I played a bit with BSD that was 12 years ago, and that was not very smooth. I’m happy to be given that occasion to see how it goes now.

For now I’m going to use it like if it was an OpenWRT with some extra OpenVPN abilities. And it will also be a file server for the LAN. Not sure yet how I will handle that.

Ruby package management

When I got in my new job, I discovered a new way to manage server management. They didn’t want to use rvm, or even ruby gems, or pip or anything that is not debian packages. It may sound quite harsh. Since I came in ruby in 2010, rvm has been my best friend, bundle the second one. But this approach is very developer-based. When you maintain large and stable systems, it’s more likely that you will not trust the bleeding edge stuff and prefer confirmed publication of packages before using them. This is an interesting slap on my face.

Of course there are the brightbox packages for Ubuntu, but that’s missing the point. A release has to be out for a certain time so it can be strengthened by security reviews and proper production usage. There is a part of the population for each language that is considering the instability of current releases a normal trade-off. but there is a huge lot of other companies that will wait patiently that things get stable enough for their taste.