Rhyous

November 5, 2010

Installing Windows 7 into a virtual machine on FreeBSD using VirtualBox

Filed under: FreeBSD,VirtualBox,Virtualization,Windows 7 — J. Abram barneck @ 5:20 am
Tags: , , ,

My job at LANDesk requires that I write code in C# for an application that only runs on Windows Server.  I also have to test a lot of code on Windows 7. Like me, so many people are forced to run a version of Windows because they have special windows applications at work or because that is the platform we are developing for in our jobs.

If running windows is a must for you, as it is for me, then moving to FreeBSD exclusively is just not an option.  I want to run an FreeBSD, but running Windows 7 is a must too.

At first VMWare Workstation looked like it was going to solve this problem. But while its early versions worked on FreeBSD, they failed to port newer versions over.  Quemu just never could get to level of usability needed.  Well, along comes VirtualBox from Sun.  Sun, now Oracle, released an open source edition cleverly named VirtualBox Open Source Edition (OSE).  Like many of Sun’s code, it is duel licensed.

Prerequisites

  1. A FreeBSD desktop – Hopefully you are here because you already have this.  If you don’t have a FreeBSD desktop, you can follow my guide to build one.
    How to install and configure a FreeBSD 8 Desktop with Xorg and KDE?
    Or you can install and use PC-BSD which is a nice desktop version of FreeBSD.
  2. A Windows 7 DVD or ISO and a product key.  Please do not pirate!

Step 1 – Installing VirtualBox OSE on FreeBSD 8.1

Installing VirtualBox is not complex. It involves only a few steps.

  1. Go to the directory for virtualbox-ose in your ports tree.
    # cd /usr/ports/emulators/virtualbox-ose
  2. Configure your installation.
    # make config
  3. Select Guest Additions, as it is not selected by default.
    Note: The defaults are Qt4, DBUS, X11, NLS and they should remain checked.
  4. You may also want to select VNC.
  5. Install virtualbox-ose
    # make install

Step 2 – Configuring FreeBD for Virtual Box

There are few things we need to configure on the FreeBSD system to make VirtualBox work.

  1. Add users to the vboxusers.
  2. Configure CD/DVD drive access.
  3. Configure VirtualBox kernel modules to load.

Step 2.1 – Adding use to the vboxusers group

  1. To add users to the group, use this command:
    FBSD# pw groupmod vboxusers -m SomeUserName

Step 2.2 – Configure CD/DVD drive access

Note: This is a copy of what is in my document for building a FreeBSD Desktop.

FreeBSD is more secure by default, so something as simple as accessing a CD or DVD or USB drive is not actually allowed by default. You have enable this.

These steps assume that your user is a member of the operator group. Remember above during the installation, I mentioned to make your user a member of both the wheel and operator groups.

  1. Access a shell and su to root.
    Note: The easiest shell to access now that you are in KDE is Konsole. To access Konsole, click the K and go to Applications | System | Terminal. Also you can add the shell icon to your panel by right-clicking on the icon and choosing Add to Panel.
  2. Enable vfs.usermount.
    FBSD# sysctl -w vfs.usermount=1
  3. Configure vfs.usermount to be enabled on boot.
    FBSD# echo vfs.usermount=1 >> /etc/sysctl.conf

  4. Open the following file with an editor: /etc/devfs.conf
    FBSD# ee /etc/devfs.conf

  5. Add the following lines:
    # Allow all users to access CD’s
    perm /dev/acd0 0666
    perm /dev/acd1 0666
    perm /dev/cd0 0666
    perm /dev/cd1 0666# Allow all USB Devices to be mounted
    perm /dev/da0 0666
    perm /dev/da1 0666
    perm /dev/da2 0666
    perm /dev/da3 0666
    perm /dev/da4 0666# Misc other devices
    perm /dev/pass0 0666
    perm /dev/xpt0 0666
    perm /dev/agpart 0666
    perm /dev/uscanner0 0666

    Note: Yes, I copied these from a PC-BSD install’s version of this file.

    Note: Change to 0660 to only allow users in the operator group to mount drives.

  6. Edit the /etc/devfs.rules file.
    FBSD# /etc/devfs.rules

  7. Edit the following file: /usr/local/etc/PolicyKit/PolicyKit.conf
    FBSD# ee /usr/local/etc/PolicyKit/PolicyKit.conf

  8. Change the xml’s config section from this…
    <config version="0.1">
        <match user="root">
            <return result="yes"/>
        </match>
        <define_admin_auth group="wheel"/>
    </config>
    

    …to this:

    <config version="0.1">
            <define_admin_auth group="operator"/>
            <match action="org.freedesktop.hal.storage.mount-removable">
                    <return result="yes"/>
            </match>
            <match action="org.freedesktop.hal.storage.mount-fixed">
                    <return result="yes"/>
            </match>
            <match action="org.freedesktop.hal.storage.eject">
                    <return result="yes"/>
            </match>
    </config>
    
  9. Edit the following file with ee: ee /etc/fstab
    FBSD# ee /etc/fstab

  10. See if there is a line in the fstab for your CD/DVD-Rom. Comment out or remove the line for your /cdrom. I usually just comment it out by adding a # sign as shown:
    #/dev/acd0 /cdrom cd9660 ro,noauto 0 0
  11. Restart the computer.

You should now be able to mount CD, DVD, and USB drives. You also should be able to both read and write to them, burn disks, write and format USB drives, etc…

Step 2.3 – Configure VirtualBox kernel modules to load

  1. As root, edit the /boot/loader.conf file.
    # ee /boot/loader.conf
  2. Add the following text:
    # VirtualBox
    vboxdrv_load=”YES”
  3. Save and close the file.
  4. Edit the /etc/rc.conf file.
  5. Add the following text.
    # VirtualBox
    vboxnet_enable
  6. Save and close the file.

Step 3 – Creating your Windows 7 VirtualBox

  1. Launch Virtual Box.
    Note: VirtualBox registers itself with the KDE menu.  On my installation, it was in Lost & Found, but on PC-BSD it was under System.  Either way you can type VirtualBox in the KDE menu search and find it.  Also, VirtualBox is the command and it should in $PATH so you should be able to open any shell from your desktop environment and run VirtualBox and have it open.
  2. Click New. This brings up a Wizard.
  3. Follow the wizard.
    Ok, if you need help with the wizard, here are my steps.
  4. Read and click Next.
  5. Choose an easy name.  I used “W7″.
  6. Make sure the Operating System is set to Microsoft Windows.
  7. Change the Version to Windows 7 (64-bit) or if you are on 32 bit hardware still use just Windows 7.
  8. Click Next.
  9. Allow at least 1536 MB (1.5 GB) for the base memory size.  You can get away with less if you need to. You can do better with more if
  10. you want to.
  11. Click Next.
  12. The Virtual Hard Disk page is already configured correctly, Boot Hard Disk is checked and Create new hard disk is selected. So just click next.
  13. Read and click Next.
  14. For Hard Disk Storage Type, I left it set at Dynamically expanding storage.
    Comment: This means that even if you use a 100 GB drive, it will only physically use as much space as Windows 7 has used in the Virtual Drive. So if Windows 7 is using 10 GB, even if you have 100 GB drive, the physical size on disk is only 10 GB.  This is important information for the next screen.
  15. Click Next.
  16. I change the drive size to 50 or 100 GB.
    Comment: It doesn’t really matter, but it is best to not run out of space either virtually or physically. Read my comment in the previous step.
  17. Click Next.
  18. Read and click Finish.

You virtual Machine now shows in the list.

Lets move to the next step.

Step 4 – (Optional) Changing Settings on your Windows 7 VirtualBox

I make two changes to my Windows 7 virtual box. As noted above this is optional, but I like to do them.

  1. Click the settings.
  2. Click System.
  3. Change the boot order to be hard drive first.
    Note: I make this change because it annoys me it when I install and then reboot the machine after the install and it boots right back to the install media. So I make this change and the press F12 during boot to the CD once.
  4. Uncheck and get rid of the floppy. (Does anyone still use those?)

  5. Now click on Storage.
  6. Under the Storage Tree, select your optical drive.
  7. If you are using an ISO, change the CD/DVD Device to point to the ISO. If you are using a DVD, as I am, choose Host Drive.  My host drive says: Host Drive Optiarc DVD RW AD-7910A (cd0).  I assume everyone drive will show up slightly different, but should start with Host Drive.
  8. Click OK.

Your settings should be good to go.

Step 5 – Install Windows 7

Now it is time to install Windows 7.

Don’t pirate! Use a legal product key. Again, just because I like open source does not make me anti closed source. I am not a Microsoft hater and I would hope you aren’t either. Even if you are, that is no excuse for pirating.

  1. Insert the DVD into your DVD drive, unless you are using an ISO and have already connected it.
  2. Click the Start icon.
  3. A new installation window will popup.
    Important! You may get a lot of popups telling you about important tips for using VirtualBox. Take time to read them. If you don’t read them or don’t already know what they are telling you, you will wish you had read them.
  4. Click in the window and to have it take control of your mouse and keyboard.
  5. Press F12 to choose your boot option.
     

    Note: If you miss this, that is OK,  you can restart the VM and try to be quicker.

  6. Once you have pressed F12 in time, you will see the following screen. At this screen, press the letter next to DVD drive.
  7. Press a key when prompted to boot to the Windows 7 media.

Well, you are off to installing Windows 7.  Hopefully you can get Windows 7 installed on your own, cause I am not here to walk you through doing that. Don’t worry, the install media for Windows 7 should be easy enough for you to follow if this is your first time.

Once finished, you will be running Windows 7 on FreeBSD.

Step 6 – Install VirtualBox Guest Additions

Even though all the devices are virtual, drivers are still needed. VirtualBox guest additions installs most of these drivers as well as other features of VirtualBox.

  1. Log in to your Windows 7 install.
  2. Select Device | Install Guest additions.

    This will mount an ISO and start the installer for VirtualBox Guest Additions inside Windows 7.

  3. Click Run VBoxWindowsEditions.exe.
  4. Follow the wizard.
    Note: I use the default install location and I check the option to Use Direct 3D support.
  5. Reboot when prompted.

Step 7 – Install the sound card driver

The sound card driver must be installed. VirtualBox uses a virtual device representing the Realtek AC’97 sound card.

  1. Log back into Windows 7.
  2. Go to the following web site:
    http://download.cnet.com/Realtek-AC-97-Driver-Windows-Vista-Windows-7/3000-2120_4-10962344.html
  3. Download and install the Realtek AC’97 Driver.
  4. Reboot when prompted.

Your Finished

You now have Windows 7 running. Now you can have the great experience of using FreeBSD as your primary OS and load Windows 7 when you need something requires windows, like I do.

Sources:

http://wiki.freebsd.org/VirtualBox

http://forums.freebsd.org/showthread.php?t=18699

The virtualbox-ose port’s pkg-message

November 3, 2010

GUBUG: Let’s start meeting again

Filed under: FreeBSD,PC-BSD — J. Abram barneck @ 6:58 am
Tags: , , , , ,


I live in Utah. The BSD users group is called: The Greater Utah BSD Users Group (GUBUG).

Unfortunately, I haven’t really seen any activity with this group in years. Sometimes I feel like the only active BSD user Utah, though I know this is far from true. I met some great people at the Utah Open Source Conference.

So I am kicking GUBUG into gear! Lets have a restart of the GUBUG meetings!

Date: Nov 17, 2010
Time: 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
WHERE: LANDesk Building (see map)

I created a Facebook Group and added this as an event. Please join the group and RSVP if you can make it.

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=119773334748668

Topics:
1. Contacting past members
2. GUBUG web site
3. A BSD topic (To be determined)
4. New GUBUG goals.

It will just be a fun meeting, to get things started again.

GUBUG: Let's start meeting again

Filed under: FreeBSD,PC-BSD — J. Abram barneck @ 6:58 am
Tags: , , , , ,


I live in Utah. The BSD users group is called: The Greater Utah BSD Users Group (GUBUG).

Unfortunately, I haven’t really seen any activity with this group in years. Sometimes I feel like the only active BSD user Utah, though I know this is far from true. I met some great people at the Utah Open Source Conference.

So I am kicking GUBUG into gear! Lets have a restart of the GUBUG meetings!

Date: Nov 17, 2010
Time: 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
WHERE: LANDesk Building (see map)

I created a Facebook Group and added this as an event. Please join the group and RSVP if you can make it.

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=119773334748668

Topics:
1. Contacting past members
2. GUBUG web site
3. A BSD topic (To be determined)
4. New GUBUG goals.

It will just be a fun meeting, to get things started again.

April 27, 2010

PCBSD 8 on an IBM T40

Filed under: FreeBSD,PC-BSD — J. Abram barneck @ 2:00 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Hello all,

I thought I would share my experiences of using PCBSD 8 on an IBM T40.  I am going to put the information in separate headings, and I am going to document who is responsible for the feature I am talking about by prefacing each line with the responsible party.  If it is a positive experience, the responsible party will be in Green.  If it is a negative experience the responsible party will be in Red.

I am probably going to reinstall and do all this over again with the “snapshot” version and look for any improvements and try to submit any bugs/suggestions to Kris and his team.

IBM T40 Hardware Specs

Intel Pentium M
ATI Radeon Mobility M7 LQ (Mobility Radeon 7500 (fdds)
Intel PRO/Wireless 2200BG
Realtek AC97 Audio
Intel 82801DB PRO/100 VE Network Connection
UltraATA/100 EIDE Controller
34 GB 5400 RPM drive

Installation of PCBSD

9:20 AM started boot process
9:25 AM Finished configuring and clicked “Install”
9:37 AM 47% finished
Sorry, I was pulled away for an hour so I don’t know how long hte install took. I did find an install log, but unfortunately it had no date stamps. I rebooted before I realized that the log file itself might have had a timestamp.

PCBSD: So I don’t know how long the install took but it felt too long. I wonder if there are some tricks that can be done to speed this up.  For example, the install could use an image. It could lay down the image, then extend the last partition to fill the drive, and then modify the key files after the image is laid down, add any packages not included in the image.

Boot options

PCBSD: Adding the “Run X in Vesa mode” as item 6 is pretty cool.
PCBSD: Adding the “Run the Display setup wizard” is nice, so you can try to use a different video card post setup.
PCBSD: Single user mode and other boot options normal to FreeBSD still exist.
PCBSD: Splash screen works (this is an x86 box)
PCBSD: The bootup takes too long, there should be some ways to speed it up.

FreeBSD: I like to have a shorter delay when booting. 10 seconds is too long for me. So I added this to /boot/loader.conf

# Boot Options
autoboot_delay=”3″

Post-install Setup

Update: So I reinstalled because I tried a PC-BSD 8-stable snapshot, but ran into a FreeBSD bug, so I returned to PCBSD 8 release.  On Reinstall, the ATI-3D-Enabled drivers worked, so I am editing this to say so.  I am not sure why they didn’t appear to work the first time.  Maybe because I had tried the Radeon settings first, I don’t know.

PCBSD: On first boot, there was a great interface for configuring Xorg.

PCBSD: This has a Radeon card, but there was no option for Radeon, just ATI or Radeonhd and neither worked really.

  • Tried Radeonhd drivers – both normal and 3D failed to launch Xorg.
  • Tried ATI drivers – both worked but I used the one that enabled 3D features.

Note: I found another solution that added 3D features I wanted. See the Xorg and KDE4 Features section.

Networking

FreeBSD: Wired networking worked using DHCP without me having to do anything.
FreeBSD: Unplugging the wired network and plugging into a different subnet does not automatically cause dhclient to run again.  So in order to get new IP settings, I had to run /etc/netstart as root.  It didn’t work the first time either, I had to run it again.
PCBSD/KDE4: I couldn’t easily find a network tool to configure WIFI. I finally found it under System Settings.
PCBSD/KDE4: Once I did find the Newtork Configuration tool, it was easy to use and I connected to my WPA2 secured wireless network using a D-Link DIR-615 router.  It worked very well and I downloaded a lot with no hiccups.

Sleep/Resume

FreeBSD/ACPI: Put machine to sleep. Worked fine.
FreeBSD/ACPI/moused:
Woke machine up. No mouse. Had to use Ctrl + Alt + F1 to get a command prompt and fix this by restarting the moused daemon.

Note: Added this line before exit 0 in the /etc/rc.resume. This doesn’t resolve the bug, but restarts the mouse so it works, which is a workaround, but workable none-the-less.

/etc/rc.d/moused/restart

PCBSD/FreeBSD: Closing the lid does not put the machine to sleep.

Note: I fixed this by added this line to the /etc/sysctl.conf

hw.acpi.lid_switch_state=S3

After making the above settings, you can run this command to change it in the current booted system so you don’t have to reboot.  But the setting in /etc/sysctl.conf is what makes this persist on reboot.

sysctl -w hw.acpi.lid_switch_state=S3

Random Usability Notes

PCBSD: Ports Console is easily confused with a regular console as Icon Text is not always looked at, I recommend a different icon and naming it Ports Jail. I created this for myself.

KDE4/PCBSD: The fonts were a little off for the four default icons vs the background…but this only seems to be an issue with dark backgrounds.
Shutdown and Reboot works as a regular user by default.
KDE4: After selecting Reboot or Shutdown, there is a hesitation before the shutdown/reboot popup, so I sometimes double click. I don’t like how the shutdown/reboot popup just disappears if a second click occurs with the mouse anywhere but on the shutdown/reboot popup.

Web Usability

Firefox/Flash/FreeBSD: YouTube – Went online and clicked on one of the first videos and it played.

Xorg & KDE4 Features

Update: Do to a reinstall, I noticed that choosing ATI 3D actually worked an enabled 3D features.  I will check on the settings below to see whey they set.
Even though I had a Radeon, only the ATI or ATI 3D drivers worked. The RadeonHd drivers did not work.  Probably because it is an old Radeon and not a new RadeonHd.

Note: I got the Radeon driver to work myself by using the xorg.conf from the ati3d settting and changing the “Device” section to use the settings below. I didn’t make these up on my own, I found them here: http://userweb.cs.utexas.edu/~walter/geek/linux-t40.html#video

Section "Device"
	Identifier	"ATI Radeon"
	Driver	"radeon"
	Option	"DynamicClocks" "on"
	Option	"AGPMode" "4"
	Option	"RenderAccel" "on"
	Option	"EnablePageFlip" "on"
	Option	"BIOSHotkeys" "on"
	BusID	"PCI:1:0:0"
EndSection

After doing this, I got much better settings as described below:

Xorg/KDE4: Konsole supports transparency when using ATI 3D.
Xorg/KDE4/3D: Moving the cursor to the top of the screen will do a cool screen where it shows your configured screen in a line from left to right (four by default though I always change to 3).
Xorg/KDE4/3D: Moving the cursor to the top right corner of the screen will do a cool screen where it shows your configured screens in a 3D object (cube or pyramid).

Ctrl + Alt + Backspace is disabled

Ctrl + Alt + F1 does display the terminal sessions and then:

Alt + F2, F3, F4, …, F8 will all take you to one of the open console terminal sessions.
Alt + F9 returns you to your Xorg seesion

KDE4/PCBSD: Alt + F1 does NOT open the start bar. Right-clicking on the Fireball and choosing Application Launcher settings shows no shortcut, so you can configure it if desired. When I install KDE4 the default is Alt + F1, not None, so I assume this is something PCBSD changed.

KDE4: After selecting Reboot or Shutdown, I don’t like how the reboot option or shutdown option just disappears if I click with the mouse on the desktop.

Software Installation

PCBSD: PBIs make installing software fairly easy.
PCBSD: There are not enough PBIs.
PCBSD: The size of PBIs are HUGE, which is by design, they include every library they need to run, but by design or not, they are huge.
PCBSD: I installed Firefox and Open Office and Pidgin post install because there are updated version to those on disk anyway.

KDE4/Firefox: Firefox prompts every single time I open it to be the default browser. Saying yes appears to do nothing. I manually went to KDE4′s System Settings and change the default application for the web browser to be /Programs/bin/firefox3.sh and this issue stopped.

PCBSD: K3b installed perfected first try.

External Media

PCBSD: K3b burnt a DVD (the latest PC-BSD snapshot) without having to perform any tweak, and for those who know how many tweaks are required when using just FreeBSD and not PC-BSD, you know why this is awesome.

Weirdnesses

Every boot when loading KDE4, the following error displays: The profile “” has been selected but it does not exist.

I plan to update this from time to time with my experiences, so this post is in no way final.

April 26, 2010

PC-BSD’s Ports Console in a jail is cool, but I keep clicking when I want a normal console!

Filed under: FreeBSD,PC-BSD — J. Abram barneck @ 4:09 pm
Tags:

Hello all,

PC-BSD’s Ports Console in a jail is cool, but I keep clicking when I want a normal console!

So today, I got fed up and I drew a new Icon for it:

I then renamed it from Ports Console to Ports Jail.

I’ll never make this mistake again and I think I will suggest this idea on the PC-BSD forums.

Oops!

This didn’t exactly work as expected.  Sure, I never confuse the Icon on the desktop anymore, or in the KDE Menu, but now I have a different problem.  If I open the Jail first, then open the regular Konsole, the icon for the running Konsole and Jail apps in the task bar are both Jail icons. The same in reverse.  If I open Konsole, then open the Jail, the icons for the running Konsole and Jail apps in the task bar are both Konsole icons.

I can’t seem to make this work how I want.

PC-BSD's Ports Console in a jail is cool, but I keep clicking when I want a normal console!

Filed under: FreeBSD,PC-BSD — J. Abram barneck @ 4:09 pm
Tags:

Hello all,

PC-BSD’s Ports Console in a jail is cool, but I keep clicking when I want a normal console!

So today, I got fed up and I drew a new Icon for it:

I then renamed it from Ports Console to Ports Jail.

I’ll never make this mistake again and I think I will suggest this idea on the PC-BSD forums.

Oops!

This didn’t exactly work as expected.  Sure, I never confuse the Icon on the desktop anymore, or in the KDE Menu, but now I have a different problem.  If I open the Jail first, then open the regular Konsole, the icon for the running Konsole and Jail apps in the task bar are both Jail icons. The same in reverse.  If I open Konsole, then open the Jail, the icons for the running Konsole and Jail apps in the task bar are both Konsole icons.

I can’t seem to make this work how I want.

February 19, 2010

Using QlikView and DistroWatch to report on the most popular open source distributions (BSD, Linux, Unix)

Filed under: FreeBSD,Open Source,Operating Systems,QlikView,Red Hat — J. Abram barneck @ 11:30 pm
Tags: , , ,

Ok, so I am into FreeBSD and open source software, but I have recently had to do a QlikView implementation for my company LANDesk. QlikView has a feature where you can pull data from the web and report on it. So I needed to learn how to use the web-based reporting, so I decided to do a report from www.distrowatch.com.

Report Goals
There are few things that interests me from the data at DistroWatch:

  • Which base platforms are the most used?
  • Which platforms should software companies focus on supporting?
  • Where does BSD sit in the rankings.

How the report was made
So on the main DistroWatch page, there is a report that will give you the average hits per day (hpd) that a Distro’s web site gets. At the bottom there is a link to full popularity page of just these reports:
http://distrowatch.com/stats.php?section=popularity

So at first glance, you see Ubuntu is the best and Fedora is second and so on. I wanted to take the statistics a bit further. I wanted to know what main base distribution was the most used. What I mean by base distro is this: Ubuntu is #1. But Ubuntu is not a base distribution, instead it is based on Debian. Mint is #3 and is also based on Debian. Debian itself is #6 and it is a base distribution. Fedora is a base distribution.

QlikView can connect to this web page and consume this data. It was also able to loop through and click go to the link for each distribution where it was able to pull the “Based on” results. I did a few little tweaks to clean it up.

So I used QlikView to match each Distribution to its base distribution and built my report. I gathered the cumulative hits per day (hpd) of each base distro by summing the hpd from itself and its child distros. The results are staggering.

Result of the Report
I am going to show you a screen shot of the report, but I am only going to show the top 10 base distributions because otherwise it is to hard to view the report.

# 1 – Debian
Well, I have to say that I new that Debian (13818 hpd) was popular because of Ubuntu, but I didn’t know how far ahead it was compared to other base distributions. I expected Red Hat to be a lot closer but its just not. Lets look at the top ten Debian platforms by hits. In QlikView this is easy, I can simply click on the Debian pillar in the report.

So not only is Debian’s cumulative hits per day first, but it is first by a long ways. The cumulative hits per day of distros based on Debian is more than three times larger than any other base distribution’s cumulative hits. It is pulling away from the pack and nobody is going to catch up any time soon.

What I don’t know is are these new users or are other distributions losing members to Debian or Debian-based distros?

You might be grumbling to yourself and saying some incorrect statement like: Well, Ubuntu doesn’t have Enterprise support like Red Hat. But like I said, that is an incorrect statement. See their support page:
http://www.ubuntu.com/support

# 2 – Red Hat
Now, lets look at the top ten distros under Red Hat.

Ok, can I tell you that I was surprised at these results. I realize that Fedora was huge, I mean it is second on the distro list under Ubuntu, but I had missed the fact that CentOS was getting more than twice the hits Red Hat itself gets. The rest are hardly worth mentioning.

Historically mong Enterprise environments Red Hat is the most known distro, but when you look at these stats, you have to wonder if Ubuntu has taken over. The numbers for Fedora are fine, but for Red Hat they are not really that good. In fact, I keep hearing about companies using CentOS instead of Red Hat and as you can see, CentOS is getting a lot more exposure than Red Hat.

I will make this statement. Based on this data, if you are a software company considering whether to support Debian or Red Hat first, based on this data you have to choose Debian. If you were to make up some fuzzy logic for Red Hat (which due to its enterprise presence may or may not actually be valid) and weight the distributions based on other factors and somehow found a way to say Red Hat and its distro’s cumulative hits per day were worth three for every one, it would still be less than the cumulative hits per day Debian gets.

# 3 and #4 – Mandriva and Slackware
Ok, back to the report. Something that shocked me from the first chart and I had to analyze it further. Slackware? I had no idea that it was third. However, is it really third? It has a lot of very small distros based on it and Slackware itself gets 590 hpd and most the distros get less than 100 hpd. Mandriva is fourth but arguable could be third over Slackware. In fact, I have to call Mandriva third over Slackware. Sometimes you have to look at the data and make a judgment like this. Sorry Slackware, I am not trying to be biased (otherwise I would be talking up FreeBSD). I have no bias to any Linux distribution. I just say this based on the fact that Mandriva (1048 hpd) and the based-on-Mandriva version PCLinuxOS (773 hpd) both get more hits by a long way than Slackware’s top distros. The only reason Slackware got more hpd was because it has a lot of distros that were really small, while there were very few small distros based on Mandriva. The difference in the amount of small base distros is most likely due to the fact that Slackware is one of the oldest Linux distros, if not the oldest remaining distro, so naturally it has more distros based on it.

# 5 – Gentoo
Gentoo’s cumulative 1804 hpd was fourth. I have to apologize to Sabayon (760 hpd) as I had never heard of it until now. Gentoo itself only gets 428 hpd.

# 6 – BSD
What is next. Well, finally BSD shows up at number 6 with 1743 hpd. For those of you that are reading this and only know about Linux, BSD is NOT Linux. It does not run on the Linux kernel and is not likely to use many GNU tools. I hope I don’t drip with too much bias as FreeBSD is my favorite open source distribution.

Lets pull up the chart of BSD distros. There are 15 distributions listed under BSD, which is probably more than most people would believe since BSD often claims that it is not as broken up as Linux, but it has had its share of forks.

FreeBSD (553 hpd) is the main distribution. Of the Linux distributions, only Debian has more software packages available than FreeBSD.

PC-BSD (355 hpd) is to FreeBSD as Ubuntu is to Debian. For being such a new distribution PC-BSD is doing rather well. It is pretty comparable in ease of use to Ubuntu, Fedora, and OpenSUSE. Yes, PC-BSD is fully featured, running a nice windows environment with everything you could want, including a working Flash Player, the ability to configure your wireless card, and more. I recommend that if you are looking for a new desktop distribution, you at least install PC-BSD and give it a try. Ok, so my bias does show a little here.

# 7 – SUSE
So I was very surprised that SUSE wasn’t on this list until #7. Well, OpenSUSE is doing its part getting 1327 hpd. Remember, OpenSUSE is #4 if you just go by distro and not cumulative base distros. I think in time SUSE could be more popular. SUSE is newer than some of the other base distros and so it only has four distros listed. Novell’s SUSE Linux Enterprise (121 hpd) is the second most popular SUSE distro, however, it just not getting any were near the hits I expected it to be getting.

The others
And then there are the rest of the top ten: #8 Arch, #9 Puppy, and #10 Solaris (Or is that Oracle now?). Sorry if your distro was left out, this report is in the control of those who visit the distro’s web pages.

How accurate is this data?
On DistroWatch’s popularity page, it says:

The Page Hit Ranking statistics have attracted plenty of attention and feedback. Originally, each distribution-specific page was pure HTML with a third-party counter at the bottom to monitor interest of visitors. Later the pages were transformed into plain text files with PHP generating all the HTML code, but the original counter remained unchanged. In May 2004 the site switched from publicly viewable third-party counters to internal counters. This was prompted by a continuous abuse of the counters by a handful of undisciplined individuals who had confused DistroWatch with a voting station. The counters are no longer displayed on the individual distributions pages, but all visits (on the main site, as well as on mirrors) are logged. Only one hit per IP address per day is counted.

There are other factors to consider, such as the fact that some of the distributions are Live CD distros and not really platforms meant to be installed. It would be interesting to exclude them and only include installable distros but for lack of time, I didn’t.

I did nothing to verify the accuracy of the data at DistroWatch and any errors you see are not likely mine, as all the data was pulled from DistroWatch, please report any error to them and once they fix these errors, the QlikView report’s data can be reloaded.

Also, this data includes all hits from all areas: Consumer, Enterprise, Education, etc. Unfortunately there is no way I know of to tell where the hits came from. If there is a distribution that is 100% education hits, there would be no way to know that. Obviously if your target is Enterprise, you are left wondering which open source distros are really the most used in Enterprise environments. Unfortunately this report doesn’t answer that question. This is not a report of installed platforms, it is a report of cumulative hits per day. It is what it is.


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