PC-BSD® for Linux Users/9.2

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This page is a translated version of a page PC-BSD® for Linux Users/9.2 and the translation is 100% complete.

PC-BSD® is based on BSD Unix[1], meaning that it is not a Linux distribution. If you have used Linux before, you will find that some features that you are used to have different names on a BSD system and that some commands are different. This section covers some of these differences.



BSD and Linux use different filesystems during installation. Many Linux distros use EXT2, EXT3, EXT4, or ReiserFS, while PC-BSD® uses UFS or ZFS. This means that if you wish to dual-boot with Linux or access data on an external drive that has been formatted with another filesystem, you will want to do a bit of research first to see if the data will be accessible to both operating systems.

Table 1.4a summarizes the various filesystems commonly used by desktop systems. Most of the desktop managers available from PC-BSD® should automatically mount the following filesystems: FAT16, FAT32, EXT2, EXT3 (without journaling), EXT4 (read-only), NTFS5, NTFS6, and XFS. See the section on Files and File Sharing/9.2 for more information about available file manager utilities.

Table 1.41.4a: Filesystem Support on PC-BSD® [Tables 1]
Filesystem Native to Type of non-native support Usage notes
Btrfs Linux none
exFAT Windows r/w support loaded by default
EXT2 Linux r/w support loaded by default
EXT3 Linux r/w support loaded by default since EXT3 journaling is not supported, you will not be able to mount a filesystem requiring a journal replay unless you fsck it using an external utility such as e2fsprogs[2].
EXT4 Linux r/o support loaded by default EXT3 journaling, extended attributes, and inodes greater than 128-bytes are not supported; EXT3 filesystems converted to EXT4 may have better performance
FAT16 Windows r/w support loaded by default
FAT32 Windows r/w support loaded by default
HFS+ Mac OS X none older Mac versions might work with hfsexplorer[3].
JFS Linux none
NTFS5 Windows full r/w support loaded by default
NTFS6 Windows r/w support loaded by default
ReiserFS Linux r/o support is loaded by default
UFS2 PC‑BSD® check if your Linux distro provides ufsutils;
r/w support on Mac;
UFS Explorer[4] can be used on Windows
changed to r/o support in Mac Lion
XFS Linux r/o support is loaded by default
ZFSv5000 PC‑BSD®, FreeBSD

Device Names

Linux and BSD use different naming conventions for devices. For example:

  • in Linux, Ethernet interfaces begin with eth; in BSD, interface names indicate the name of the driver. For example, an Ethernet interface may be listed as re0, indicating that it uses the Realtek re driver. The advantage of this convention is that you can read the man 4 page for the driver (e.g. type man 4 re) to see which models and features are provided by that driver.
  • BSD disk names differ from Linux. IDE drives begin with ad and SCSI and USB drives begin with da.

Feature Names

Some of the features used by BSD have similar counterparts to Linux, but the name of the feature is different. Table 1.4b provides some common examples:

Table 1.41.4b: Names for BSD and Linux Features [Tables 2]
PC-BSD® Linux Description
PF iptables default firewall
/etc/rc.d/ for operating system and /usr/local/etc/rc.d/ for applications rc0.d/, rc1.d/, etc. in PC-BSD® the directories containing the startup scripts do not link to runlevels as there are no runlevels; system startup scripts are separated from third-party application scripts
/etc/ttys and /etc/rc.conf telinit and init.d/ terminals are configured in ttys and rc.conf indicates which services will start at boot time


If you are comfortable with the command line, you may find that some of the commands that you are used to have different names on BSD. Table 1.4c lists some common commands and what they are used for.

Table 1.41.4c: Common BSD and Linux Commands [Tables 3]
Command Used to:
dmesg discover what hardware was detected by the kernel
sysctl dev display configured devices
pciconf -l -cv show PCI devices
dmesg | grep usb show USB devices
kldstat list all modules loaded in the kernel
kldload <module> load a kernel module for the current session
pbi_add -r <pbiname> install software from the command line
sysctl hw.realmem display hardware memory
sysctl hw.model display CPU model
sysctl hw.machine_arch display CPU Architecture
sysctl hw.ncpu display number of CPUs
uname -vm get release version information
gpart show show device partition information
fuser list IDs of all processes that have one or more files open

Additional Resources

The following articles and videos provide additional information about some of the differences between BSD and Linux:


  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berkeley_Software_Distribution
  2. http://e2fsprogs.sourceforge.net/
  3. http://www.catacombae.org/hfsx.html
  4. http://www.ufsexplorer.com/download_stdr.php
  5. http://www.freebsd.org/doc/en/articles/explaining-bsd/comparing-bsd-and-linux.html
  6. http://www.freebsd.org/doc/en/articles/linux-comparison/article.html
  7. http://www.freebsd.org/doc/en/articles/linux-users/index.html
  8. http://www.over-yonder.net/~fullermd/rants/bsd4linux/01
  9. http://www.freebsd.org/advocacy/whyusefreebsd.html
  10. http://www.unixmen.com/bsd-for-human-beings-interview/
  11. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xk6ouxX51NI
  12. http://www.freebsd.org/doc/en/articles/bsdl-gpl/article.html
  13. http://bhami.com/rosetta.html
  14. http://www.leidinger.net/blog/2010/09/28/the-freebsd-linuxulator-explained-for-users/


  1. Table 1.41.4a: Filesystem Support on PC-BSD®
  2. Table 1.41.4b: Names for BSD and Linux Features
  3. Table 1.41.4c: Common BSD and Linux Commands
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