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Debian BSD Linux

FreeNAS Switching From FreeBSD To Debian Linux 206

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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  • by Anonymous Coward

    From the last page of comments, it looks like one company is already forking it to keep it on FreeBSD.

    Half of the comments are users who picked FreeNAS for it's ZFS functionality worrying that they were stuck on FreeNAS 0.7.

    Greater hardware compatibility? Sure, for some desktop computer hardware, but FreeBSD is fine for everything a NAS needs.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 06, 2009 @12:42PM (#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.

      • I would imagine anything that makes it into Debian stable is pretty comparable, given the two years or so between Debian releases. Now if they're using Debian testing as a base, I would concede that its quite feasible that the code could be less stable than a FreeBSD based distro.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jonadab ( 583620 )
        > 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.
      • by deek ( 22697 )

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

        Experience tells me otherwise. I'm in the position where I administer both Debian and FreeBSD systems. This is roughly over the last five years. The Debian systems haven't skipped a beat during that time. The FreeBSD boxes are generally fine as well, although I did have one crash on me once. Luckily it wasn't a busy system.

        Five years of running, and not one single kernel or base OS problem.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by imp ( 7585 )

      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 L

  • Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ToasterMonkey ( 467067 ) on Sunday December 06, 2009 @12:38PM (#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.


    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.


    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?

    • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Fez ( 468752 ) on Sunday December 06, 2009 @12:46PM (#30343820)

      This story is not the "whole" story.

      Basically the author of FreeNAS is going to start over doing it on Linux, but some other group is taking over the FreeBSD portion of FreeNAS:

      http://www.freebsdnews.net/2009/12/05/freenas-ready-step/ [freebsdnews.net]

      • Basically the author of FreeNAS is going to start over doing it on Linux, but some other group is taking over the FreeBSD portion of FreeNAS

        I was just looking at FreeNAS the other week. It would be absolutely fantastic if FreeNAS started supporting OpenAFS. A lot of sites using NAS are actually distributed around a single city or several cities. A distributed, networked file system would be an advantage for a lot of activities.

        Anonymous FTP for download is fine, it's like HTTP. But dropping FTP for upload should be a priority.

        Re-doing FreeNAS is exciting news.

      • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 06, 2009 @04:41PM (#30345672)

        I propose forking to create a POSIX version. We can call it PNAS. Hopefully that will satisfy at least half the population. I hope nobody forks PNAS, since that would hurt.

  • New project (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nOw2 ( 1531357 ) on Sunday December 06, 2009 @12:38PM (#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 frieko ( 855745 )
      Isn't that a lot of wasted effort compared to a fork?
    • That's effectively what's happening, it's just that the project name is following the developer rather than the code base. Apparently a fork from 0.7 that will keep FreeBSD is already announced. It will have a new name. The other branch will keep the name and switch to Debian for the next release.

  • ugh (Score:5, Funny)

    by nomadic ( 141991 ) <nomadicworld@gmai l . c om> on Sunday December 06, 2009 @12:40PM (#30343772) Homepage
    Why downgrade?

    Aww I'm just messing with you all. Anyone who had a genuine emotional reaction to the above needs to go outside right now and recommune with nature.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by grub ( 11606 ) *
      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!"
      • Try ZFS, which isn't available on Linux due to licensing

        ZFS is available for Linux. [zfs-fuse.net]

  • openfiler (Score:4, Insightful)

    by headhot ( 137860 ) on Sunday December 06, 2009 @01:11PM (#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?

    • by norton_I ( 64015 )

      Openfiler's web gui is buggy as hell, its local LDAP server option is poorly documented and provides terrible diagnostic messages when improperly configured, and it has no official support for installing/booting from flash. Never trust a product that wants to charge money for the admin guide.

      I only tried FreeNAS briefly, and did end up using openfiler, but I would love to see anything beat openfiler.

  • no it stays FreeBSD (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 06, 2009 @01:13PM (#30343992)


    "FreeNAS needs some big modification for removing its present limitation (one of the biggest is the non support of easly users add-ons).
    We think that a full-rewriting of the FreeNAS base is needed. From this idea, we will take 2 differents paths:
    - Volker will create a new project called "'OpenMediaVault" based on a GNU/Linux using all its experience acquired with all its nights and week-ends spent to improve FreeNAS during the last 2 years. He still continue to work on FreeNAS (and try to share its time with this 2 projects).
    - And, a great surprise: iXsystems, a company specialized in professional FreeBSD offers to take FreeNAS under their wings as an open source community driven project. This mean that they will involve their professionals FreeBSD developers to FreeNAS! Their manpower will permit to do a full-rewriting of FreeNAS.
    Personally, I come back to actively work in FreeNAS and begin to upgrade it to FreeBSD 8.0 (that is "production ready" for ZFS)."

  • ZFS has just come out with built-in on line deduplication. Isnt this what you would call a killer feature for a NAS distro like this? FreeNAS is moving away from a killer feature like this?

    In my experience, debian(linux) isnt going to offer significantly better hardware support to justify this switch. No graphics cards or exotic hardware are typically used for a small NAS server and thats where linux has better driver support.

    I really like FreeNAS because it is so lightweight, runs from a flash key, does

  • kFreeBSD? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Sounds like a perfect opportunity for Debian kFreeBSD.

  • ZFS works quite well in Linux. [zfs-fuse.net] I've been using it for over a year with no problems.

    • by abigor ( 540274 )

      It's also roughly five times slower, based on what I've read. A non-starter for serious applications.

      • It could be slower. I haven't used ZFS outside of Linux for very long and haven't performed any speed tests. But it works for me. I get about 25MB/s with it. I'm using an older version (0.5.0) and a new stable version was released today that is supposed to be much faster. In any case, since FreeNAS is moving to Linux, then if FreeNAS users want to continue using it their choice becomes a matter of ZFS with slower performance or no ZFS at all.

  • If we have a *drastic* fork like this, its only fair that the linux side of the fork should be renamed. With luck the FreeBSD branch wont get absorbed and become commercial, now that its being 'continued' by a for profit company. But if so, then so be it and ill just roll my own.

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