I'm Maurizio Giunti (@mgiunti) and I met freeBSD back in 2003. It was FreeBSD release 5!
At the time I was a Windows and web developer for a company here in Italy, but also spent a lot of my free time developing my own stuffs and having fun with system configuration.
In particular, I used to run my own server in my house basement: Internet was very young at the time and it was not unusual having people run in-house mail servers and web servers, just they usually did it for companies, while I did it for fun!
I used to run it on a Windows 2000 server first, and I migrated it to a Linux server later. I always had a crush for Unix-like systems since I met Aix and the beautiful Solaris workstations back at the Uni, but unfortunately at the time the company I worked for wasn’t very interested about making stuffs on Unix.
Anyway, when I decided to switch my home server from Windows to Linux, I had a go with several distros, but they looked to me way too cluttered: too many configuration files and no real standard about their names and contents. Than I remember that a couple of friends were great fans of FreeBSD, so I decided that I could try it too. I also decided to buy a book about it, and I was so lucky to get a printed copy of the first edition of “Absolute FreeBSD” by Michael W. Lucas. It was one of the best tech book I ever read: clear, accurate and even very fun to read. It made me understand and love FreeBSD.
I found FreeBSD was exactly the work environment I was searching
for: it was clean and consistent. User programs are separate from
base operating system files, for example os system config files are
/etc while user programs configuration files are in
I also loved the way the system could handle RAID in a easy way, with GMIRROR back then, and also with ZFS now, and how easy was keeping both system and programs up to date.
What I liked most was the fact that I could easily install a full featured net server without burden of a graphical interface: it was great not having to deal with hundreds of libraries and programs just to have a GUI which is nonsense on a headless server.
I loved everything about FreeBSD, so between 2003 and 2004 I switched my basement server system to it. At the time the services it run were Samba server (to share files to Windows PCs), Postfix mail server plus The Courier IMAP as IMAP/POP3 server, Apache, PHP and MySQL. Basically I had a top notch (for the time) server which run on non-expensive, mainly recycled, hardware.
Now fast forward up to 2018: many things changed from those sweet times, I even changed house, but in my basement there still is a FreeBSD server. It is version 11.1 now, with a couple of ZFS tanks. It no more runs a mail server, but it now works mainly as media server and backup station.
In the meanwhile I also changed work: I left the old company and funded my own software company, where I, with my colleagues, develop software and solutions for ecommerce and web marketing companies. And I use FreeBSD for business too: my company main server is FreeBSD powered, it runs ZFS and hosts a number of jails each one specialized on some task.
We have a Postfix, Dovecot, SpamAssassin mail system, and also MySQL server, Memcahed, Apache and HAProxy instances. One of our SaaS platforms, EZAlert, is fully run on FreeBSD servers.
We also moved some of our clients’ systems to FreeBSD: the last one, few months ago, is a famous sport-related, Italian e-commerce. We migrated from a all-in-one Linux server config, to a FreeBSD multi-jail/ZFS configuration that solved a number of problems they had to handle traffic spikes, and with ZFS we let them back up everything with no downtime.
Thanks FreeBSD, you really own the power to serve!
8 Aug 2018
Mischa Peters and
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