So BSD... What version do I use?

So I got a pile of PowerMac G5’s from @Ramiel. One is a quad clocked at 2.5GHz, but the mobo is dead. So that’ll be some work, but in the mean time I have a dualie 2GHz unit with 2GB ram that is going to be my G5. Hoping to get it up to 4 or 8GB of ram in the future though.

Now then. Now that I have a machine that, to me at least, is a badass mofo, I want to run an equally awesome OS! I’d run linux if anything supported it anymore, so I have to run BSD. But what BSD do I use? And what version? I know very little about BSD itself aside from some basic stuff with OSX.

Do I use NetBSD, FreeBSD, or OpenBSD? And what version? I’m inclined to use FreeBSD because its the one I always hear about, and that I sorta know how to use. But do I use 11.1? 10.4?

Or should I roll out MorphOS? I’m all for amiga stuff but that 150 dollar license price is a bit, uh, much.

Scratch that, its 100 dollars for morph now. Still don’t wanna pay that. At least not right now, I think.


FreeBSD is the easiest to get along with. Start with 11.x whatever is the “stable” distribution.

FreeBSD is the closest to macOS in terms of userspace tools.


I mean I don’t really care if its OSX like, I just don’t know what one would be best to use is all.

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Install/run FreeBSD 11.1 which is the latest stable.

That’ll have all that you need in regards to production use, which entails all that would be needed for daily use in a production environment. And download the FreeBSD handbook whilst you’re at it. The documentation located within those documents contains all that you’ll need for common trouble shooting errors.

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Oh man,

You could still run Gentoo

Technically FreeBSD should also still be an option realistically despite the age of the G5’s hardware (X64 compatible if I’m not mistaken).

Performance degradation due to age of hardware is still going to be negligibly irrelevant regardless based upon age of said hardware.

Lets put it this way. Comparing a PowerPC, let alone any RISC / Big Endian chip, to a little endian Intel Chip is relatively impossible outside of MIPS performance ratings. A dualie 970FX at 2.5GHZ was equal to a 3770 in raw performance. The 970MP was a bit faster by itself, but 2 of them weren’t matched till… I wanna say X99? These things are stupid powerful for no reason other than IBM was bored.

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Long story short… Install FreeBSD 11.1 as initially suggested by the originating (too lazy to scroll up… Must never scroll up) Community Member.

If that happens to be unacceptable, then Gentoo still remains as a reserve option.

In either case, FreeBSD 11.1 should cover all potential needs required.

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lol That works.

And there you have it brother.

I do remember you posting elsewhere that you weren’t too familiar with Gentoo. Hence the keying in upon FreeBSD as suggested by @thro.

Its not that I’m unfamiliar, I’d just rather not touch it.

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I didn’t mean that FreeBSD is necessarily OS X like. It’s still a mostly command line based operating system. macOS still has a HUGE amount of stuff that differentiates it.

Desktop environments for FreeBSD exist of course, but you’re going to find them a little less integrated than you would with a Linux distribution.

What i meant by the user-space tools is that they’re derived from original BSD unix, and macOS basically copied across the command line tools that are common between unix and macOS directly from FreeBSD. Apple actually employed at least one high up FreeBSD developer for some time (Jordan Hubbard) whilst he was still contributing to FreeBSD.

macOS still has a lot of additional command line stuff, but non-mac specific CLI tools are essentially the exact versions from FreeBSD.

FreeBSD has the most commercial support behind it, in front of OpenBSD and NetBSD. As i understand it they’re all forked from the same original codebase.

You could also try and install Darwin, which is basically the basis for macOS, but i’m not sure how current that is.

looks like Darwin is still being updated:

Unfortunately, it looks like they dropped PPC support around the same time Apple did. So FreeBSD may be your best bet, unless you want to try an old darwin release on it.


Better off that he install FreeBSD as per your initial suggestion.

The simplest solution (your solution) was the logical course of action to follow from the start.

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Useless at this point based upon all the CrApple required for an initially working install.

Yeah, if you’re a linux user normally it would pay to have a go with FreeBSD anyway.

It’s definitely different and more traditional-unixy than anything in the Linux world.

You’ll learn all sorts of tricks that can be done with makefiles :smiley:

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Without reading to much into the hardware compatibility on my end, FreeBSD[master fork of below)/trueOS/GhostBSD has a lot going for it in terms of documentation, pay to read literature (Michael W Lucas), community size. All in reference to a support structure.

Read the manual/Handbook/manpages here, the completeness is pretty damn complete (not perfect). Most of the rudimentary utilities are the same linux/unix, but there are deltas. dd bs=m vs M for example.

in terms of FreeBSD/trueOS/Ghost there is a website called

with the aforementioned “ports” is another paradigm shift on how to aquire software. there is a package manager utility, pkg for FreeBSD in comparison to apt on Debian.

/usr/ports/ is a dir that contains a cd’able hierarchy where you can “make install clean”, which grabs the sourcefiles, asks interactive cues during compile time for option manipulation. clean - purges all the make muck for space conservation

ports are necessary due to the BSD license/hardware/software reqs. Some software wont be available as a pkg, requiring compiling. However the FreeBSD implementation will grab all dependencies (build if necessary) for software compilation (again offering build options if requiring compile).

PPC may require more intervention requiring building “world” and kernel, but again, its in the Handbook. This is an “out of my ass” addition. don’t know PPC compatibility, but i assume a portion of programs may not be available.

There is more work to do then a plug and play solution, but it is an awesome experience in terms of learning the FreeBSD ecosystem/computer hardware at hand.

I wouldn’t dicker around with zfs with those specs(if available), stick with ufs for the time being(less you read about some success and really want it)

With all the above, OpenBSD makes more sense (to me), but hardware compatibility/documentation is less verbose.

whatever direction you go with the BSDs, its fun, have fun.

If you want an out-of-the-box desktop solution, TrueOS would be the first thing I’d try.

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TrueOS is X86 based.

Oh bummer.

Support is out in a year. I’m going to play with it as its got snap, and maybe I can do enough work on it to maintain it and get an 18.04 release to it, but I think I’m just going to end up with morph on it anyways. Its actually built with the processors in mind, rather than just running the makefile and not using the processor features at all.

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