Who dual-boots Debian & FreeBSD (or other BSD) & why?

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Who dual-boots Debian & FreeBSD (or other BSD) & why?

Postby kedaha » 2019-07-21 06:37

So...I had a spare SATA disk lying around so I inserted it into my main desktop computer which boots Debian Buster and Windows 7. The two disks show up in the system as /dev/sda and /dev/sdb.
I wondered what to do with it so I thought to myself: why not install FreeBSD on the second drive? :mrgreen:
So I did.
I then edited the file /etc/grub.d/40_custom like this:
Code: Select all
#!/bin/sh
exec tail -n +3 $0
# This file provides an easy way to add custom menu entries.  Simply type the
# menu entries you want to add after this comment.  Be careful not to change
# the 'exec tail' line above.
menuentry "FreeBSD 12.0" {
set root='(hd1,1)'
kfreebsd /boot/loader
}

And now, after updating grub, I'm able to boot Debian, Windows (almost never) & FreeBSD (mate session), with no alsa, pulseaudio or systemd.

Why? I've always been interested in the BSDs but my interest is primarily because I consider the sound system provided by FreeBSD or by OSS4, which I've written about in another topic, superior to Alsa plus PulseAudio with the sound cards I use. I hope I am mistaken but it seems to me that in Debian, development of the alternative has ground to a halt, specially after the time Debian's kfreebsd project was discontinued, and it wouldn't surprise me at all if OSS4 disappeared from all Debian repositories entirely. Choice is still possible but my own attempt to build OSS4 in Buster has been tortuous. Some packages are so intertwined with other packages as to make using mega packages very complicated; try simulate removing, for instance libasound2, the shared library for ALSA applications, and it is well-nigh impossible.
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Re: Who dual-boots Debian & FreeBSD (or other BSD) & why?

Postby Head_on_a_Stick » 2019-07-21 10:02

I dual boot with OpenBSD on my ThinkPad X201 and I will be adding it to my E485 once -current supports the Vega 8 graphics chip.

I like OpenBSD because it is so simple and elegant with a unified set of userspace tools all developed by the same team, the audio stack (controlled with mixerctl(1)) is a great example of this and it is so much better than the confused mess of options in GNU/Linux that it isn't even funny.

And that's before considering the security advantages of W^X, KARL, pledge(2) & unveil(2) (both of which are used for www/chromium by default) and the general privilege separation and chrooted daemons (X in particular) provided by the stock system. OpenBSD rocks!
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Re: Who dual-boots Debian & FreeBSD (or other BSD) & why?

Postby kedaha » 2019-07-21 18:00

Thanks for the recommendation. I'll definitely install OpenBSD 6.5.
A funny thing happened after installing FreeBSD; it was just a coincidence but later I suddenly had no internet connection and I even phoned the company and they said it must be the network card no longer worked. I didn't believe it but I inserted a spare pci network card and it sprang back to life but a few hours later it looked like the mainboard gave up the ghost. I had noticed a few premonitory quirks during the last month but maybe it overheated while installing Debian and then FreeBSD. It is annoying because it was the only computer I had with Windows, which I unfortunately needed for some work I've been doing. It was an old desktop tower which I had bought second-hand so it has served quite well for the last few years. I salvaged all the bits and pieces from the machine including the second disk with FreeBSD but for some reason it won't boot in the replacement machine.
Head_on_a_Stick wrote:I like OpenBSD because it is so simple and elegant with a unified set of userspace tools all developed by the same team, the audio stack (controlled with mixerctl(1)) is a great example of this and it is so much better than the confused mess of options in GNU/Linux that it isn't even funny.

Quite so. While I was able to try FreeBSD, even though the machine was on its last legs, I thought that sound quality was really good so it will be interesting to compare it with OpenBSD.
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Re: Who dual-boots Debian & FreeBSD (or other BSD) & why?

Postby Head_on_a_Stick » 2019-07-21 19:38

kedaha wrote:I'll definitely install OpenBSD 6.5

A few quick tips:

The FAQ contains all the information you need, it is superb.

There are three versions you can run: -release, -stable & -current. I would actually recommend using -current because that's the only version for which pre-compiled ports are available and I have always found it to be extraordinarily reliable. Upgrade the base system by typing bsd.rd at the boot prompt and then use pkg_add -u after rebooting to synchronise the ports with the base system. It may be necessary to download a fresh bsd.rd (ramdisk kernel) from the mirrors when a new release is approaching, use pkg_add -Dsnap -u to upgrade the ports while this is happening.

For any queries that can't be answered by the FAQ or the man pages (which are also superb) then start a thread over at daemonforums.org, the community there is very helpful indeed.
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Re: Who dual-boots Debian & FreeBSD (or other BSD) & why?

Postby Funkygoby » 2019-07-21 19:46

I don't dual-boot anymore. I use separate hard-drives.

My machine, a thinkpad X230, runs OpenBSD. On the side, I have spare drives (2 for backups, 1 for Debian10 and a last one for pirate Win7). I use an old external drive case in which I plug the needed drive, then reboot on it.

Why?
With Jessie and systemD, I started looking for alternatives. I was not comfortable with non-battle-tested tech being set as default in Debian. While this is great that Fedora jumps on everything new, I used to believe that Debian was the opposite. To each its own, everybody could pick what suited him the best, not anymore. I am not even talking about the quality of the software here, just that Debian is shape-shifting too fast for my taste.

I tried FreeBSD, the "standard" BSD. Could not suspend my thinkpad. Then OpenBSD which was running perfectly (as everybody knows OBSD+years old thinkpad is perfect combo).
The documentation is actually helpful. With Linux, you google stuff: "so ifconfig is gone, how do I f***ing connect to internet nowadays?!". With BSDs, google migth fail you but not the manpage or the FAQ.
The direct result was that I built up confidence in understanding and configuring my OS.
The project is also really focused. They won't follow trends blindly. Instead, it seems like they will integrate or implement there own solution when ready (ressources, time, real need). The quality of in-house solutions happens to be good (doas, pf, vmm) and somehow I prefer there appraoch to security: keep it simple, only run trusted/treated code (pledge, unveil) instead of piling up containers, VM, sandboxes for untrusted code.

Regarding sound quality, I never made a real comparison but I would say that I prefer OpenBSD sound.
One thing that happens sometime (don't know if it happened with Debian): I tend to transcribe music using VLC and small backward jumps, sometimes the pitch will slowly slides and the playback will then readjust the pitch. This messes up transcribe efforts and gives a strange momentary old vinyl effect.
I realize that my workflow is particular but still ...

There is a new version of sndio btw. I hope to see it integrated in 6.6
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Re: Who dual-boots Debian & FreeBSD (or other BSD) & why?

Postby kedaha » 2019-07-22 12:05

Thanks Head_on_a_Stick for the tips, which will be put to good use :wink: :
I installed OpenBSD with the mate session desktop last night. I noticed that the driver for my old Caicos Radeon video card got installed out of the box, something which I had to do manually in FreeBSD. However—potential new users or distro-hoppers beware!—the system needs quite a lot of configuration but I got everything up and running OK.
I note the following, quoted from comparing-bsd-and-linux:
Linux is available under the GNU General Public License (GPL), which is designed to eliminate closed source software. In particular, any derivative work of a product released under the GPL must also be supplied with source code if requested. By contrast, the BSD license is less restrictive: binary-only distributions are allowed. This is particularly attractive for embedded applications.

Of course, in the BSDs one can choose to avoid binary-only software just as in Debian, contrib and nonfree repositories can be avoided but the purpose of the GPL is clear.
As a side note: I installed OpenBSD 6.5 on the second disk of my replacement desktop computer, which shows up as:
Code: Select all
root@debian:~# lsblk
NAME    MAJ:MIN RM   SIZE RO TYPE MOUNTPOINT
sda       8:0    0 465.8G  0 disk
├─sda1    8:1    0 462.8G  0 part /
├─sda2    8:2    0     1K  0 part
└─sda5    8:5    0     3G  0 part [SWAP]
sdb       8:16   0 232.9G  0 disk
├─sdb4    8:20   0 232.9G  0 part
├─sdb5    8:21   0     1G  0 part
├─sdb6    8:22   0   4.2G  0 part
├─sdb7    8:23   0     4G  0 part
├─sdb8    8:24   0    12G  0 part
├─sdb9    8:25   0     2G  0 part
├─sdb10   8:26   0     1G  0 part
├─sdb11   8:27   0    20G  0 part
├─sdb12   8:28   0     2G  0 part
├─sdb13   8:29   0     6G  0 part
└─sdb14   8:30   0 180.7G  0 part
sr0      11:0    1  1024M  0 rom

To boot OpenBSD with Debian's grub menu, I've edited /etc/grub.d/40_custom accordingly:
Code: Select all
#!/bin/sh
exec tail -n +3 $0
# This file provides an easy way to add custom menu entries.  Simply type the
# menu entries you want to add after this comment.  Be careful not to change
# the 'exec tail' line above.
menuentry "OpenBSD 6.5" {
set root='(hd1,4)'
chainloader +4
}

Thanks Funkygoby for your comments; I've yet to try recording in OpenBSD with VLC and Audacity but I'll give it a go some time soon.
Funkygoby wrote:I don't dual-boot anymore. I use separate hard-drives.

I thought it would be a good idea to use a separate hard drive too; I suppose they'll last longer too.
Funkygoby wrote:Why?
With Jessie and systemD, I started looking for alternatives. I was not comfortable with non-battle-tested tech being set as default in Debian. While this is great that Fedora jumps on everything new, I used to believe that Debian was the opposite. To each its own, everybody could pick what suited him the best, not anymore. I am not even talking about the quality of the software here, just that Debian is shape-shifting too fast for my taste.

As a pragmatist, I can live with systemd but my main reason is, apart from being old school, I much prefer the sound quality of OSS4. The sound system in the BSDs is just as good as OSS4 so, as HOAS sums it up:
Head_on_a_Stick wrote:OpenBSD rocks!

I have to concur. :D
I've been able to enable OSS4 on my Debian Buster mate-desktop system as described in a recent forum topic, but not satisfactorily. Also the lack of updated source in sid and other snags involving mega-packages and dependencies all make it an uphill battle whereas my sound system of choice works pretty much out-of-the box in both FreeBSD and OpenBSD.
My intention in trying the BSDs is not to replace Debian as my main system, which I've been using for years, but rather to compare them. A few years ago I welcomed the Debian kfreeBSD project but this was—alas!—discontinued. However, while I think I would never contemplate using anything other than Debian as a web and email server, I certainly think I might abandon the Debian desktop ship in favour of a BSD system on account of my sound preference if development of OSS4 in sid is also discontinued.
Funkygoby wrote:There is a new version of sndio btw. I hope to see it integrated in 6.6

Am looking forward to it.
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Re: Who dual-boots Debian & FreeBSD (or other BSD) & why?

Postby neuraleskimo » 2019-07-22 16:59

My first UNIX experiences (in the early 90's) were on various BSD's. I have always had a love for BSD. However, having run FreeBSD on my systems, succumbed to Linux peer-pressure in the late 90's. You folks have inspired me to circle back and see what I have been missing. Count me in. ;-)
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Re: Who dual-boots Debian & FreeBSD (or other BSD) & why?

Postby Head_on_a_Stick » 2019-07-22 17:15

Quick correction:
Head_on_a_Stick wrote:I would actually recommend using -current because that's the only version for which pre-compiled ports are available

Pre-compiled ports are available for -release but they are not updated.

kedeha wrote:in the BSDs one can choose to avoid binary-only software

The only blobs available for OpenBSD are firmware.

And yes, the licence is unfortunate...
Theo de Raadt wrote:We prefer "free, do as you like, incorporate it into a baby mulching machine if that turns your crank."
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Re: Who dual-boots Debian & FreeBSD (or other BSD) & why?

Postby kedaha » 2019-07-24 13:28

neuraleskimo wrote:My first UNIX experiences (in the early 90's) were on various BSD's. I have always had a love for BSD. However, having run FreeBSD on my systems, succumbed to Linux peer-pressure in the late 90's. You folks have inspired me to circle back and see what I have been missing. Count me in. ;-)

Thanks for your interest; It'll be interesting to read your comments.
Something I came across about Creative Labs SBLive!, PCI 512, and Audigy audio devices OpenBSD, which I hadn't read in Debian, was this caveat:
CAVEATS
ATTENTION!


The hardware interface of this card contains registers not used for normal operation, but potentially dangerous and not possible to disable. Potential damage ranges from frying the card to frying motherboard or external equipment connected to its outputs.

I hope the failure of my own motherboard mentioned above has nothing to do with having used such a device but one never knows...I'll certainly think twice when I buy a new sound card. For the time being I have gone back to using the onboard audio device.
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Re: Who dual-boots Debian & FreeBSD (or other BSD) & why?

Postby ruffwoof » 2019-07-25 13:00

OpenBSD doesn't support my laptop wireless that I otherwise use to connect. Isn't as secure as my Linux setup either and the overheads of it attempting to be secure weigh heavily upon performance.

I no longer multi-boot, just live usb boot and run in ram (usb disconnected after bootup). Exact same initial 'factory fresh' OS and browser at each bootup.
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Re: Who dual-boots Debian & FreeBSD (or other BSD) & why?

Postby n_hologram » 2019-07-25 16:57

ruffwoof wrote:Isn't as secure as my Linux setup...

Explain.
bester69 wrote:There is nothing to install in linux, from time to time i go to google searching for something fresh to install in linux, but, there is nothing

the crunkbong project: scripts, operating system, the list goes on...
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Re: Who dual-boots Debian & FreeBSD (or other BSD) & why?

Postby theblueplll » 2019-07-27 05:32

ruffwoof wrote:my laptop wireless that I otherwise use to connect.



Really?

You can't start with connecting wirelessly and then finish up with speaking of security.

Wireless is insecure and always will be.
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Re: Who dual-boots Debian & FreeBSD (or other BSD) & why?

Postby sickpig » 2019-07-27 10:42

theblueplll wrote:
ruffwoof wrote:my laptop wireless that I otherwise use to connect.



Really?

You can't start with connecting wirelessly and then finish up with speaking of security.

Wireless is insecure and always will be.


i suppose u r dont use mobile phones then :)
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Re: Who dual-boots Debian & FreeBSD (or other BSD) & why?

Postby theblueplll » 2019-07-27 16:42

sickpig wrote:
i suppose u r dont use mobile phones then :)



I never said my phone was secure infact I will admit it isn't.

And for the record no connection is bullet proof.
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Re: Who dual-boots Debian & FreeBSD (or other BSD) & why?

Postby ruffwoof » 2019-07-27 20:10

theblueplll wrote:
ruffwoof wrote:my laptop wireless that I otherwise use to connect.

Really?

You can't start with connecting wirelessly and then finish up with speaking of security.

Wireless is insecure and always will be.

So potentially is any hop/link (wired or wireless). But that does not alter that you can still communicate point to point securely even though travelling through potentially insecure hops. ssh with keys for instance (excepting that is if you accept the big flashy warning that the 'server keys have changed').
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