I have a few questions to do with BSD


I have a few questions to do with BSD.

  • Which OS requires less minimal system resources, BSD or GNU/Linux?
  • In terms of performance and security, what is the best BSD based OS out there?
  • Which OS performs better and has better security, BSD or GNU/Linux?
  • Is there a way to natively run GNU/Linux applications on BSD?


You can’t be serious to expect to get all answers on such broad topics in a single post, and being completely unbiased? :slight_smile:



  1. BSDs have a tendency to consume less resources OOB. At the same time, if one has their hands growing from the right place, one can tweak the both systems to be pretty slim.

  2. In very very short, the common understanding out there is:
    OpenBSD is all about security and sometimes it’s willing to sacrifice convenience, speed and diversity of available applications for that.
    DragonFly is all about speed and parallel execution.
    NetBSD just wants to run everywhere on all available hardware.
    FreeBSD is probably a well-rounder, somewhere in the middle. It’s mostly about convenience.
    Well TOS being FreeBSD offspring we are yet to see.

  3. There is no strict simple answer. It all depends on a type of a load, use and your expectations. Besides, putting “performs better” and “has better security” on a same comparison scale? Even among BSDs there is no one leader across the board. Mix in here a gazillion of Linux distros with their on release cycles and different base systems? Almost impossible to compare. But BSD is better for sure :wink:

  4. Yes, to some extent. At least FreeBSD maintains a Linux compatibility layer allowing to run “most” Linux binaries. But it’s not all that simple. For example, currently there is no way to run Chrome browser for various reasons.
    See https://www.freebsd.org/doc/handbook/linuxemu.html


If we are comparing it to Ubuntu. DragonFlyBSD requires less OOB

Performance and security are at different ends, the more you have of one the less you have of the other. With that said, compared to Ubuntu. OpenBSD has the best security

This is a rephrased version of question no. 2. See Number 2 for answer.

No. Just like there is no Way of running BSD applications natively on Linux or Windows, Or running Windows applications natively on Linux or BSD etc… By definition, a Linux program is not native to BSD so running a foreign program natively doesn’t make much sense. You need either a compatibility layer that tricks Linux programs into thinking they are on a Linux system giving you the illusion of running natively or an emulator that emulates it such as QEMU or WINE for windows programs.


“BSD” is not a single thing. Period. Spend a little time with google:

Security? Hands down, first pick OpenBSD. You may give up performance and latest gen hardware compatibility, but by default, it’s secure. HardenedBSD is FreeBSD plus security modifications.
Run on just about anything? NetBSD. That’s their charter.

I’m going to disagree a little with @Groot on the “running linux applications natively on BSD”. FreeBSD has the “Linuxulator” which is a syscall mapping functionality that with the appropriate ports installed for Linux libraries, will actually run Linux applications natively on FreeBSD. It’s not perfect, not all applications will work, but when it does, it’s magic.
Performance on PC hardware? FreeBSD, but DragonflyBSD is a strong contender.

As @Groot says Performance and Security are two different things. Some say contradicting, others say “give up a little on one to get more of the other”.
We could point you at papers and tests comparing schedulers of BSD (ULE) and Linux (CFS) and their performance, but it always boils down to:
What is your exact workload.

Your questions simply beg more questions: desktop, server, numerical computations, large data set analysis? Answers to your current set of questions are going to be mostly opinion, and leave you unsatisfied.


Oh lol, I really want to pick the best distro for me.

I take it that this is a fairly new OS, right?

What does OOB stand for?


What if we compared Ubuntu and TrueOS?

What about TrueOS, does it have good security as well? Is it possible to make TrueOS as secure as OpenBSD by installing the right packages etc?

But @vit said that you can run GNU/Linux applications to some extent?


Thanks for your response,

Aren’t people giving me facts over opinions?


one person’s fact(s), are another person(s) opinion.


TrueOS can have as good security as you make it. You can make it more secure with a ton of tweaks but in the end the biggest security flaw in any OS is the user.

Vit was referring to the Linux compatibility layer when he said that. It’s not really native but it allows the use of many Linux programs without the need to install a full Linux distro through virtual box or dual booting.


Y, I think so. It started as PC-BSD with the idea of being more novice friendly FreeBSD and having more admin GUI tools. Now it’s diverging from vanilla FreeBSD quite a bit. You’ll find more info on this if dig this forum a bit.


Technically, it’s called Linux “emulator” for a reason. However, it’s not a typical one, as syscalls are implemented on system level as pointed by @mer and Linux applications won’t suffer a performance penalty compared to when run in conventional emulators as VirtualBox for example. Some even say they might execute even faster than on Linux due to the syscalls being implemented better by BSD devs :slight_smile:


Oh nice, there is a bigger reason to use BSD than GNU/Linux.

I did a test on virtualbox to see how much RAM does TrueOS requires in order to run and unfortunately when I went all the way down to 256 MB of RAM the OS would not run properly, it would constantly restart itself, sometimes I was lucky enough to get into the login screen but after that it would crash etc. ArchLabs on the other hand (not to be confused with ArchLinux), was able to run at 256 MB. Its a little disappointing to see that.


Correct, however I do want a secure OS which is very hard to hack into while having good speed. Is it possible to customize TrueOS or DragonFlyBSD to become as secure as OpenBSD via installing packages?


fact vs opinion. @RodMyers is on target; your questions, as open ended and lacking detail for your specifics, my “fact” is going to be someone else’s opinion. You’ve asked about performance and I’ve tried to tell you “best” is based on workload. Something tuned to serve millions of bytes across a network (NetFlix) may perform like crap for desktop video editing. That’s why I’ve tried to tell you enough so you can do more research and understand what you find.

RAM/Memory. TrueOS by default installs to ZFS filesystems. ZFS likes to have memory available. 256MB of RAM for an OS is really unrealistic, how much memory does your phone have? A Linksys WRT54G? Plenty of information available will tell you that ZFS wants at least 2G RAM, 4G is a more realistic minimum. Unless you are talking about doing a real embedded system, please, use realistic memory amounts for VMs or run it on real hardware. I’m not trying to be a jerk about this, but the minimum RAM requirements exist for a reason.

Hardening a system. It’s more often what you do not do as what you do. OpenBSD, in it’s default install is designed to be as secure at it can be. Base and default install packages have undergone multiple security audits, finding and fixing potential holes. Find yourself a copy of “Master FreeBSD and OpenBSD Security” by Yanek Korff, Paco Hope and Bruce Potter. It’s a bit dated (my copy is from 2005) but the basics are still sound.

The better question to ask on TrueOS/DragonflyBSD and security is:
Are there steps I can take to improve the security of a TrueOS/DragonflyBSD system after install? (Technically, you should be asking this question about any OS, including Windows)
The short answer to that is Yes. The longer answer is “Yes, but…” which all depends exactly what you want to do with the system and what packages you installed. Again, we’re back to “you need to give specifics”.


Yes I already understood.

I know that BSD is supposed to be good for old crappy hardware, but how is it that Windows XP requires far less RAM compared to BSD if BSD can run on older computers?

I can ask that question on any OS compared to Windows as Windows is designed to be a very locked down OS with very shitty restrictions. But ok thanks for your suggestion on needting ot be more specific as honestly I have no idea how OpenBSD even works.


“Windows is designed to be a very locked down OS”. Hmm, Windows is one of the all time least locked down OS’s. Granted W10 is better and I’ve not taken much of a look at W8-10 security as I’ve lost interest, so it’s possible that pigs fly and all that. (Just saying I’m out of touch, but would be utterly amazed.)

In other words I have a hard time thinking that W10 can be more secure than any BSD. Microsoft once received a (government rated) security rating by not having any network or external device on it. It was the only way to get it as any connection would allow remote access to an OS that simply could not be locked down sufficiently to prevent remote access and control.

Unix was developed by AT&T who wanted to be able to run their phone system reliably. All the BSDs and Linux are developed on the same principles and are inherently more secure and easier to secure. As an example an OS has rings of security where the core is running in ring 0. Nothing external should be allowed access to ring 0 as that would open the door to full control. Windows however had drivers running in ring 0 causing a huge hole that could not be plugged by any effort. Users were running with admin access by default where the Unix based had that separated from the get go.

“… XP requires far less RAM compared to BSD if BSD can run on older computers?”

W95 was bridging 16-bit and 32-bit technology and based on DOS which is such an old technology that only the most fringe developers even support today. I used to have a computer that ran on 4K of RAM, which preceeds all other single board computers. But it would be silly to bring in (either) as a comparison with modern OS’s unless you are not looking at a desktop solution, which you are yet to indicate.

If you have an old IBM PC, or similar, that you want to run a modern OS on you are going to have a hard time finding much luck. This thread really needs some specificity about your intended use. (To be honest I even considered this to be a troll, but simply not having much understanding can lead to the same impression and I like giving people the benefit of doubt.)

You could always get hold of OS version of the day (1995 era) and run those. I had a Linux server which had 8 MB RAM and ran a number of things at the same time, but I would never consider going back to that now.

How OpenBSD or any other works is not very relevant, from a user perspective. You install the OS of choice and use it via the desktop environment it provides. With Unix based OS’s you can install very different desktop environments that has different features and look and feel.

Get a different hard drive and install it in place of the old one, to keep what you have safe. Then install different OS’s and see what you like. As noted above TrueOS is aiming to give a nice user experience of FreeBSD, a very old and stable OS.


Honestly I don’t have much understanding, why would I want to come over here to troll?

I just want a desktop solution.

What are the pros and cons of TrueOS compared to DragonBSD in terms of easy of use, speed and security?


@joe232 you need to read the full context around memory. I specifically said ZFS wants more memory, TrueOS is by default install on ZFS root.

All the BSDs have evolved over time, so comparing FreeBSD 12-Current (base of TrueOS) to Windows XP is not even apples to oranges, it’s apples to potatos. FreeBSD of around 3.3 vintage would be closer to Windows XP.
Try comparing TrueOS to Windows 7 or 10.

Are you actually intending to run a desktop on crappy old hardware? If not, then this statement makes absolutely zero sense.

DragonflyBSD HAMMER2 filesystem is similar to ZFS (not compatible, but similar in concepts) so it too does better with more memory.

For a desktop solution anything will work fine. That means even starting with vanilla FreeBSD 11.2 and installing all the desktop environments you want to use. TrueOS will likely be easier to get to a useable desktop on newer hardware than vanilla FreeBSD. DragonflyBSD is a relatively easy install, you have to do about the same amount of work as vanilla FreeBSD to get a desktop, it’s performance is good (lots of good stuff going on in the networking space), fairly good newish machine support.

TrueOS and DragonflyBSD are both 64bit cpu only. If you want to run on 32bit cpu (definition of crappy old hardware I guess) then your only options are vanilla FreeBSD with UFS filesystems (ZFS is 64bit), OpenBSD and NetBSD.

All BSDs can be made fairly secure. If you want a secure system, even Windows, you must start at the following:
Default Deny.
Firewall? Nothing in or out unless explicitly permitted.
Services? All off unless explicitly turned on.
OpenBSD uses that as it’s default position.
Other BSDs are a little more friendly out of the box.


People do that and it’s been done before. Your questions are from a set which easility could spark “holy war” kind of conversations.

There is no single BSD. There are many “forks” intended to address different needs and even then each install provides you with default settings which you can tweak to fine-tune your system. Speaking of min req:

I can build freebsd-based desktop which will run on crappy hardware and consume less resources than winxp. Is TOS such a system? No. ZFS is said to be a main resource hog, but replace it with less hungry UFS and you’ll lose a bigger half of what TOS has to offer.

No, otherwise OpenBSD wouldn’t have existed. However you could try to get as close as possible. What HardenedBSD is doing could serve as a target example, but it’ll require a lot of work, recompiling a kernel and packages etc. I’m not sure you want to go down that road just yet. If you’re asking about a specific quide? Sure, there are many on the internet:

If you’re new to BSD and just don’t know where to start, I’d recommend to get vanilla FreeBSD or TOS/Ghost/Trident depending on your hardware or desktop preference. FBSD is well-rounded OS which will give you a bit of everything.


Actually yes and no, I have an old PC and a semi old PC and a new PC and I intend to run on all.

But thanks for your suggestion.


Oh never knew that.

I see mate.

Sure mate I might stick to TOS though mate but thanks for the suggestion again.