Overview of DragonflyBSD

DragonflyBSD is an operating system aimed at better performance than FreeBSD which it is derived. This is probably one of the more discreet next to FreeBSD, NetBSD, and OpenBSD, and I had never touched until this journal on linuxfr does give me envy.

Developers have left FreeBSD 4 and have opted for different technical choices in the management of multiple processors (SMP). They also launched a new offering more HAMMER file system flexibility and performance than eggs.

In this overview I myself the server aspect, which is for me the most interesting. I would add that this is not a return of experience, I have not put it in production (it will come perhaps), but just a first try.

It is difficult to more simple since it is a series of menus to partition the disk by choosing UFS or even HAMMER file system. No choice in sets of installation, everything goes to the essential. It is still possible to configure its keyboard, clock, network, root password.
Sources of the system and third-party software

DragonflyBSD, as other systems * BSD, is actually an operating system with several software integrated in the development branches that receive support and patches (SSH, sendmail…). If the user wants to install another software (e.g. Dovecot) it may retrieve it via pkgsrc. Software are not part of the system receives no patches from the development team, is in fact the ‘normal’ version (vanilla) with a set of scripts to the launch on the system.

The sources of the system are used for updates and compiling some tools or drivers. They are not provided on CD but can download them by simply entering the following command:

make src-create

For additional software, DragonflyBSD uses pkgsrc, NetBSD, unlike FreeBSD using ports from. In the end the principle remains all the same more or less identical. To retrieve pkgsrc, the command is as follows:

make pkgsrc-create

I like this principle which is fairly simple to retrieve the sources! Note, however, that the documentation recommends to pass by the precompiled packages or pkgin (a little more successful package manager).

Updates of the system are done by compiling, it is necessary first to retrieve the sources then launch a follow-up buildworld of following orders that go well, as for FreeBSD.

DragonflyBSD uses a rc.conf file which indicates the parameters of the system (host name, network…) as well as the services to start. Nothing new on this side, but it is so simple and effective.

To manage services, must be invoked the rc scripts. For example, to start the ssh daemon:

# /etc/rc.d/sshd start

We can automate sshd start by adding the following line in our rc.conf:

sshd_enabled = “yes”

We keep easy to understand, within the reach of all operation and administration. The regulars of systems * BSD will be not familiar.

I had great difficulty to get pkgsrc, because for some strange reason the system was running out of memory and swap. I however respectively 1 GB and 2GB, which seems to be sufficient for a system in text mode.

As I was doing my testing under VMware I went under VirtualBox but then again the problem is reproduced.

I went for a ride on the dragonflybsd IRC lounge to present my problem and they advised me to edit/usr/Makefile to there comment the lines containing the command:

git gc–aggressive

And the problem is solved.

The system overall is very close to FreeBSD but adds value on many components. It is simple to use and administer. An excellent choice for a server, I hope one day the opportunity to work with and to learn more.