September 20, 2007

Fred is one mean looking insect

Filed under: bsd,thetao — SiKing @ 3:22 pm

The next one that gets a shot at it is DragonFly BSD, version 1.10.1. This distro has been making waves, especially in the BSD world, with its intent “to develop a radically different approach to concurrency, SMP, and most other kernel subsystems.”

First impressions: spunky mascot, they have documentation, branched (forked?) from FreeBSD 4, heavily modified kernel, several mirrors, no bittorrents.

The installer

“DragonFly CDs are ‘live’, meaning these CDs will boot your system and let you log in as root.” Unfortunately, there is no graphical desktop for this liveCD. “To activate the installer, boot the CD and login as ‘installer’.” What you get is a menu-driven Microsoftesque installer (asks for info as it needs it, rather than asking all the questions up front). It has a predefined disk layout, if you are willing to dedicate the entire disk to the distro. If you want anything else, you need to do it manually, using a 3rd-party distro. The installer could be improved by filtering out certain nonsense; for example: it searches for all disks, and then builds a menu that lets you chose which you want to install on. This offers nonsense like the floppy disk or the CD itself to install onto…

After installing the base system, comes the configuration. Bunch of questions, bunch of guesses, until I froze the system on configuring the ethernet for DHCP (command '/sbin/dhclient -1 lo0' if you want to know). Trying to fix it from the command line totally hosed the system.

Second install. Let see how much this thing can do without any connectivity? Apparently not much. Installing whatever packages come on the CD all failed, but the last message declared: “Packages were successfully installed!” Obviously I did not get to try any of them, but I did not see anything relating to X or any other graphical system. Another system, where you have to really know what you’re doing in order to get it to work. Sorry, I don’t have that much time on my hands.

Final thoughts: I am sure the kernel modification are very kick ass, in an ubergeek sorta way, I just don’t get why a whole new distro? Why not just make it a kernel patch set for one of the existing distros … or maybe I just don’t get the whole thing.


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