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Debian BSD Linux

FreeNAS Switching From FreeBSD To Debian Linux 206

Posted by Soulskill
from the changing-horses dept.
dnaumov writes "FreeNAS, a popular, free NAS solution, is moving away from using FreeBSD as its underlying core OS and switching to Debian Linux. Version 0.8 of FreeNAS as well as all further releases are going to be based on Linux, while the FreeBSD-based 0.7 branch of FreeNAS is going into maintenance-only mode, according to main developer Volker Theile. A discussion about the switch, including comments from the developers, can be found on the FreeNAS SourceForge discussion forum. Some users applaud the change, which promises improved hardware compatibility, while others voice concerns regarding the future of their existing setups and lack of ZFS support in Linux."
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FreeNAS Switching From FreeBSD To Debian Linux

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  • Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ToasterMonkey (467067) on Sunday December 06, 2009 @11:38AM (#30343748) Homepage

    Release 0.6x:
    - User authentication I must add at minimum LDAP authentication... For NIS and RADIUS I must check if it's possible (don't know if it's possible to use PAM for samba).

    Release 0.7x:
    - Migrate to FreeBSD 7.0 (with ZFS support)
    - Testing a new way for configuring/using share:
    'Adding a new disk' will automatically initialize it (format under UFS) and mount it (transparent process for the user).
    . 'Creating a share'(create a folder on a selected disk), with user/group/quota property on this share

    Release 0.8x:

    - Adding monitoring features (SNMP, email alerting, etc..) - Adding other features (I18n Web GUI, LCD, disk encryption, etc...)

    Release 0.9x:

    - Only Bug fixes, no more new features - This step will depend a lot's about the development of the "geom vinum tools". If this tools is not stable at this moment, I will replace it by 'geom mirror' for RAID 1 and by 'geom stripe' for RAID 0.

    Release 1.0:

    - The D day! - Lot's of documentation: User guide and developers guide.

    and...

    Date: 2009-09-17 17:23
    Sender: votdev
    --- cut ---
    Anyway, 0.7 seems to be the last version of FreeNAS as it is right at the moment. For the next version the whole system will be recoded (what i'm doing at the moment). There will be no more embedded installs anymore, also the OS will be Debian.

    Regards
    Volker

    By any other definition, this would be a fork. It's not even FreeNAS any more, it will be CoreNAS?
    Anyone have more insight into what's REALLY going on with this project?

  • New project (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nOw2 (1531357) on Sunday December 06, 2009 @11:38AM (#30343752)

    Isn't the real solution to start a new project for a Linux-based NAS solution and leave FreeNAS development to those who want to use FreeBSD?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 06, 2009 @11:42AM (#30343786)

    Not only that, but FreeBSD is a far more reliable and higher-quality core than even Debian could ever hope to be.

    The FreeBSD development process and team is far more integrated and centralized. This has resulted in a codebase that is much cleaner than what we see in the more distributed development model non-BSD open source software (including Linux).

    Changes and new features go through a strenuous review process before they're admitted to the FreeBSD codebase. If code makes it into a public release of FreeBSD, you can be damn sure that it is of an extremely high quality, and has been reviewed by some of the best minds in the field.

    This isn't as much the case with Linux and much of the userland software that Debian uses. The quality of the code is generally lower than that of FreeBSD's code, and bugs can creep in much easier.

    For something as critical as storage, FreeBSD is clearly the way to go.

  • Re:ugh (Score:2, Insightful)

    by grub (11606) * <slashdot@grub.net> on Sunday December 06, 2009 @11:47AM (#30343828) Homepage Journal
    Try ZFS [wikipedia.org], which isn't available on Linux due to licensing, and you'll see why it's a loss. I read there's a hack to use it with FUSE but I won't entrust all our data to some shoehorning of ZFS into Linux just to say "We can do it too!"
  • Re:Hmmm (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Enleth (947766) <enleth@enleth.com> on Sunday December 06, 2009 @11:51AM (#30343844) Homepage

    You are not inflammatory, you just give more meaning to the position of the first decimal point in the version number than it deserves.

    Would the software magically be better if the version was 8.0? 2009.12? 3.141592? 666.123.789? There are many post-1.0 applications that are hopeless, buggy crap, quite a bit of them even commercial, and just as much sub-1.0 software of high stability and overall quality.

    In this case, as with many FOSS projects, the sub-1.0 numbers probably mean "there are still features to be added before we consider our work complete". The keywords are "we", "consider" and "complete". "We" != "any other user with a different set of requirements", "consider" != "claim as absolute truth", "complete" != "stable". In other words, a 0.8 version might be perfectly stable, just not feature-complete from the author's point of view, and perfetly sufficient for a subset of potential users with less sophisticated needs.

    And why 0.8 and not 2.3.075? My best guess is "because they could and they liked it better."

    Case closed, have a good day.

  • Re:why no ZFS? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TerminaMorte (729622) on Sunday December 06, 2009 @11:55AM (#30343878) Homepage
    zfs-fuse has horrible performance; I compared Ubuntu 9.10 with zfs-fuse (0.5) and OpenSolaris... Ubuntu could hardly do 15MB/s read/write, while OpenSolaris could easily do 70MB/s.
  • openfiler (Score:4, Insightful)

    by headhot (137860) on Sunday December 06, 2009 @12:11PM (#30343980) Homepage

    i feel like the only think freenas had over openfiler was ZFS. i've been running openfiler for 2 years now and it has been rock solid.

    without zfs why not go for the more mature linux based NAS?

  • Re:ugh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Plunky (929104) on Sunday December 06, 2009 @12:12PM (#30343982)

    Native support for ZFS is a good reason to choose FreeBSD over Linux. You can make even your root partition ZFS. The reason ZFS is not in the Linux kernel is due to licensing, though.

    And yet, the Linux kernel supports MS-DOS filesystems does it not? The reason for that is that although the original implementation license was incompatible with the Linux kernel, a reimplementation was possible. Is it not possible for ZFS? I suggest that if the code is open enough to be included in FreeBSD, the data structures must be documented enough to have an alternative version written.

    I'm not saying its not a lot of work, just that it is possible if the desire is there..

  • Re:ugh (Score:2, Insightful)

    by EyelessFade (618151) on Sunday December 06, 2009 @12:22PM (#30344068) Homepage
    And if the linux-kernel had another licence ZFS would still be incompatible.
    The authors of ZFS chose this licence because it was incompatible with the linux kernel. CDDL [wikipedia.org]
    It says

    Mozilla was selected partially because it is GPL incompatible. That was part of the design when they released OpenSolaris. [...] the engineers who wrote Solaris [...] had some biases about how it should be released, and you have to respect that

  • by Virak (897071) on Sunday December 06, 2009 @12:33PM (#30344148) Homepage

    Well I'm glad you're here to finally save the day and free all those big businesses relying heavily on Linux on their servers with no problems from their OS that apparently drops data like a quadriplegic juggler. Thanks, anonymous FreeBSD fanboy, the world would be a worse place without you.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 06, 2009 @12:39PM (#30344198)

    Blah blah blah. If that actually was true, FreeBSD 5.x would never have been released. It wasn't nearly as robust as any release of Debian (granted, it was a remarkably poor release, especially for FreeBSD); and no release of FreeBSD, ever, is nearly as well tested as Debian. That's actual fact.

    Your comment is nothing but fanboy idiocy, and is as "insightful" as a Coca-Cola advert.

    Sure, FreeBSD is good, and in some ways better than any Linux distro. But generally better? No.

  • Re:Hmmm (Score:4, Insightful)

    by OrangeTide (124937) on Sunday December 06, 2009 @12:55PM (#30344304) Homepage Journal

    If a vendor isn't willing to go to 1.0 then why should a customer have confidence? 1.0 is a milestone. Certainly it has absolutely no technical meaning, but that does not mean it has no meaning at all.

  • It's not that GPL is the victim of incompatibilities. GPL had a hand in causing these. The philosophy of the BSD/MIT licenses is to give freely. The philosophy of GPL/CDDL is take freely, and give to your friends. Generosity vs. selfishness.

    I haven't taken the time to read the GPL, but I generally know what it is about. I have read the MIT and BSD licenses. In the same way, I don't care what the ingredients for some processed food product are or why they are there: there are too many.

  • by imp (7585) on Sunday December 06, 2009 @01:19PM (#30344528) Homepage

    It all depends on what FreeNAS' target market is going to be. Is it going to be old desktop machines that people recycle into NAS boxes, or will it be the large variety of NAS boxes that are found in the wild today. If the former, then the switch to Linux buys you nothing. Really, FreeBSD and Linux run the same on x86 hardware (sometimes one is faster, or the other, or there's an issue that keeps one or the other from running, but in general both just work damn well). If the target is the latter, then Linux might have a small edge, but only because the FreeBSD project hasn't focused on the proper packaging of FreeBSD for an embedded system that has the tight memory constraints that the non-intel NAS boxes have. Many companies have climbed this hill, but there's nothing that's been standardized enough to be ready to include in FreeBSD (although both NanoBSD and TinyBSD could be made to work). M0m0wall and FreeNAS innovated in other areas, and this area would be easy to innovate in as well, since the problem is well understood and most of the tools necessary to make it work are already extant in the tree.

    Forking FreeNAS may or may not be the right thing to do. It might be better to provide a FreeNAS 0.7 -> NewFreeNAS project that is rewritten from scratch for FreeBSD 8.0 that doesn't suffer from the php interface that replaces /etc/rc.d. That's the main barrier to porting from 7.x -> 8.x for FreeNAS (and m0m0wall). It would likely be faster and simpler to go that route and fix whatever issues come up. This would allow one to migrate to better http technology that puts less in the server and more on the client in javascript/ajaxish/etc things anyway. This would allow users to continue to use FreeBSD's solid ZFS base as well as have a solution that's here today rather than waiting for Linux to catch up with its reimplementation of zfs :)

    Warner

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 06, 2009 @01:28PM (#30344608)

    Linux changes go through a review process by some of the best minds of the field (also called "maintainers"), in fact most of them are paid to work full time in Linux, which improves the quality.

    One of the main problems that companies find today when contributing to Linux is that it's too difficult to contribute code to Linux because it requires too many effort to get the code merged. That's because Linux doesn't have a "unstable" development phase. All features merged into the main Linus tree (even the ones merged in the first week) must be "production" ready (except for new drivers, filesystems and subsystems that are an addition and can't cause a regression). FreeBSD, on the other hand, has a development phase where experimental stuff is allowed and production quality is not a priority - which means that .0 releases take too many to get stabilized and are more buggy compared with a Linux release, because FreeBSD tries to put too many unstable stuff at the same time. It's how Linux used to work in the past, and they had to stop doing it because Linux was way more contributors than freebsd and the whole thing became unmanageable with that model

  • by lambent (234167) on Sunday December 06, 2009 @02:27PM (#30345100)

    [citation needed] is not a substitute for meaningful discussion and rebuttal.

    "Linux is definitely faster and more feature-rich than FreeBSD." Keeping in the spirit of your post, would you care to post some benchmarks concerning the speed of linux vs. BSD in data storage, or for ZFS vs. btrfs?

    at any rate, isn't stability more important in terms of this type of storage? if you're using a NAS-type device, i can't see how speed would be your primary concern, since you're limited by the NAS-style architecture right out the gate.

  • by hedwards (940851) on Sunday December 06, 2009 @02:45PM (#30345234)
    That requires a citation. Of course Linux is feature rich, it uses a million 3rd party utilities and installs them whether or not you want them. Also, you're going to cite evidence of the statement that Linux is faster if you're going to demand a citation that FreeBSD is faster. Additionally, the BSD license is something that a lot of people view as an advantage, makes it far less of a pain in the ass for companies to help with than the GPL is.

    As for btrfs, just let it die, we already have ZFS, Linux has a large number of filesystems supported, but the vast majority of them are pretty mediocre and adding btrfs is pointless when pretty much everybody else seems to be hopping on the ZFS bandwagon. Sure at the moment Apple has pulled ZFS support from being included, but they'll add it eventually. Adding filesystems just to be GPL is an asinine waste of developer talent. Looking at wikipedia's comparison, I'm not seeing anything that btrfs can do which ZFS can't. Definitely nothing worth fragmenting the interoperability for.
  • Re:Hmmm (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DamnStupidElf (649844) <Fingolfin@linuxmail.org> on Sunday December 06, 2009 @02:51PM (#30345292)
    I'd rather have a project whose goal is "well tested and bug free" instead of "reaching milestones." There's always time to add some feature later, but no way to get your lost time back if things break.
  • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Sunday December 06, 2009 @04:10PM (#30345864) Journal
    The 5.x branch was never given the stable designation. The first stable release after the 4.x series was 6.0.
  • Re:Hmmm (Score:3, Insightful)

    by evilviper (135110) on Sunday December 06, 2009 @04:35PM (#30346026) Journal

    If a vendor isn't willing to go to 1.0 then why should a customer have confidence?

    Because they've done their testing of the software and found it to be highly reliable?
    Because they've been following development, reading release notes, etc., and know what is and isn't stable, forward compatible, and/or feature complete?
    Because they're not idiots who base their software decisions on intangible version numbers, rather than any actual knowledge of the product?

    1.0 is a milestone.

    0.7 is a milestone. 2.0.5 is a milestone. Any special significance 1.0 has TO YOU is just that, an invention of your own mind, irrelevant to the rest of the world, no more significant than rules such as avoiding odd-numbered Star Trek films, your favorite color, etc.

    Certainly it has absolutely no technical meaning, but that does not mean it has no meaning at all.

    Yes it does.

    One buggy piece of junk may be version 9.7.5, while another highly reliable and usable piece of software may be version 0.0.1.

    THERE IS NO PENALTY FOR NAMING YOUR BUGGY SOFTWARE VERSION-1.0, NOR ANY TANGIBLE BENEFIT TO INCREASING THE VERSION NUMBER ON STABLE SOFTWARE. THEREFORE, IT MEANS NOTHING AT ALL.

  • by evilviper (135110) on Sunday December 06, 2009 @04:43PM (#30346076) Journal

    Well I'm glad you're here to finally save the day and free all those big businesses relying heavily on Linux on their servers with no problems from their OS that apparently drops data like a quadriplegic juggler.

    I re-read his post, and yet still missed the part where he said anything about Linux dropping data.

    He simply said FreeBSD is higher quality, which is of course endlessly debatable, but may well be true. While your snarky response dismisses any question of software quality out-of-hand...

    The same approach could be used against Linux just as well:

    Well I'm glad you're here to finally save the day and free all those big businesses relying heavily on Windows on their servers with no problems from their OS that apparently drops data like a quadriplegic juggler. Thanks, anonymous Linux fanboy, the world would be a worse place without you.

  • by jonadab (583620) on Sunday December 06, 2009 @04:56PM (#30346228) Homepage Journal
    > Not only that, but FreeBSD is a far more reliable and
    > higher-quality core than even Debian could ever hope to be.

    If that's true, it's only because FreeBSD refuses to include anything in the core. Even extremely basic things like Perl and bash are ports-tree stuff and go in /usr/local. I'm sorry, but that's cheating.
  • Re:ugh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Eil (82413) on Sunday December 06, 2009 @05:21PM (#30346474) Homepage Journal

    I tried out ext4 when the developers announced it was stable and lost all my data.

    Hmm. You moved all of your data to a brand-new file system, with no backups, and were surprised at the results?

  • Re:Hmmm (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 06, 2009 @08:17PM (#30348000)

    Actually, from 95 on, those are product names, not version numbers. Windows 7, for example, is really NT 6.1. Windows 2000 was NT 5.0, and Windows XP was 5.1 (I think... something like that anyway)

    Much like Linux distributions have names (Ubuntu Karmic Koala, for example), but also version numbers (Karmic Koala is version 9.10).

    Product name != version number, even if the name does happen to have a number in it.

  • by LWATCDR (28044) on Sunday December 06, 2009 @09:05PM (#30348344) Homepage Journal

    I am a Linux user but for a NAS ZFS is a HUGE advantage and btrfs isn't here yet so that doesn't matter right now.
    Linux is faster? For NAS all you really need to worry about is IO. To be anywhere close to fair you would want to benchmark two FreeNAS and say OpenFiler.
    Feature rich? What features do you need outside of a filesystem and networking?
    Stability and security are all that matters for a NAS.
    The one benefit I see with going to Linux is that it will be easier to integrate into a Linux shop than BSD is.
    I see this as more of a marketing move than anything. FreeNAS will now perfectly integrate into an IT shop that is using Ubuntu server.

  • by mysidia (191772) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @01:32PM (#30368258)

    NTFS gets badly fragmented, as in 80% file fragmentation frequently under many types of load, and the fragmentation of NTFS effects performance substantially. And NTFS doesn't provide self-defragmentation. 40% fragmentation is "normal" for a NTFS filesystem.

    It can only be fixed by running a manual tool 'defrag', which is a dangerous procedure (although it _has_ become a bit safer over the years), it's still potentially troubling, degrades performance, and requires lots of free disk space to work properly.

    Linux ext3 or BSD FFS is considered severely fragmented if you get 15% of fragmentation. It can happen, but it's exceedingly rare, under almost all common load scenarios, fragmentation never becomes a real performance issue with FFS or ext3, even at such high levels. But that's a side-issue, really:

    Well, the main problem is with NTFS on Windows, due to Windows' security issues, and bloat. Windows includes complex libraries and software that are unnecessary for a NAS, and frequently present stability or security issues.

    For example: the (very bloated) console GUI, DirectX, Internet Explorer, Windows RPC services.

    Some services that may be useful for some types of NAS apps however: mainly file sharing with Windows desktop PCs, e.g. LOW-END NAS uses. However, Eg.: I don't think Windows Storage server is a good choice for a NAS that needs to be highly available (for example, to run virtual machines), and needs to serve NFS and iSCSI.

    Stable NTFS-3G is fairly young (~2 years), however, and, i'm not sure that it's as stable as the Windows implementation.

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