Comparison: Gentoo Vs FreeBSD, Tweak Tweak Little Star

Updated Nov 3, 2016Comparisons

Gentoo Vs FreeBSD – Available Packages, Community & Other Resources

Other considerations you might want to take into account when comparing one OS to another (especially when they are Unix-like) may often include the amount of packages available to install – after all, what will you do with an OS that isn’t compatible with the software you need.

You might also be interested to know how big or how newbie-friendly does its community is – in case you’ll need their support.

And lastly, what resources are available to you as a user of that specific distro.


According to Gentoo’s website, the distribution currently has more than 37,118 packages available to install from source (ebuilds), that is, compared to OpenSuse’s 54,595 which has the largest packages repository as of current.

The number of available pre-compiled packages is, however, considerably smaller and stands at about 17,929 packages.

With regards to its community, Gentoo’s community has a reputation of being one of the most patient and user-friendly communities that Linux ecosystem has.

In terms of numbers, it’s hard to tell, however their forums are currently counting over 143,834 registered users.

But this number doesn’t probably reflects the current community size, rather, it’s the running total of all Gentoo’s forum members over the years.

In the case you encounter any issue upon using Gentoo, the forums are also one of the best places to look for support, though since Gentoo is part of the greater Linux community, sometimes your questions may be answered by another Linux community and all you need is to google for them.

Other resources to look for answers includes the website wiki as well.

  • Advantages: Pleasant community, solutions may overlap with other Linux distros, larger number of packages available to install from source
  • Disadvantages: Small number of pre-compiled packages
  • Community Size: large

gentoo how many packages


According to FreeBSD official website, the number of available ports under FreeBSD currently stands for 24,064 ports.

The pre-compiled available packages number is slightly smaller and stands at 23,715 packages.

Once again, the size of the community can only be speculated, however it’s perceived to be the largest of all BSD distributions. Its forums are counting 27,226 currently registered users.

Although the size of FreeBSD’s community is not as big as those you may find with certain Linux distributions, it might be not the quantity but the quality which should matter to you the most.

FreeBSD has a reputation of having a highly knowledgeable community, people which are very devoted to their cause.

Looking for assistance may be done either by asking on the forums or using the website wiki.

  • Advantages: Very knowledgeable community, large number of pre-compiled packages available for installation
  • Disadvantages: Smaller number of source packages
  • Community Size: Largest of all BSDs, yet smaller than popular Linux distros

freebsd how many packages

Are You Red or Purple?

Ultimately, both Gentoo and FreeBSD are great OSs on their own right, each has its strengths and weaknesses and better yet each is highly geared towards tweaking and extorting the most you can out of your hardware.

However, preferring one over another is, for the most part, a subjective matter.

In case you have made a choice or have any experience with one of them, don’t be shy sharing your thoughts and feelings with the rest of the world via the comment section below.

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EmeraldBot Jan '15
This was a very insightful read! I'm a longtime FreeBSD user who's recently been looking to try out Gentoo. What they've done (with Portage and all) seemed completely backwards and alien to me at first, but this article does a very good job of bridging the terminology and the different ways of accomplishing the same thing (in particular, what exactly USE flags are is nice).
Manolis Kiagias Jan '15
Interesting. I have never used Gentoo, but I can share some info on the FreeBSD installation: - You don't really have to use bsdinstall (the text based installer). Using the live CD functionality you can actually partition/format the disk, install the boot blocks and either uncompress the installation files manually, or restore a dump of a ready system. You can of course script this process to your liking. Bsdinstall is much easier for a beginner to use than the older sysinstall utility but it does (still) have some rough edges. - When compiling from ports you can avoid any configuration dialogs by using make install clean -DBATCH. Use this when either you don't care setting anything but the defaults or to make sure you don't get any more dialogs after performing a make config-recursive step. - The latest pkg tools (commonly known as pkgng) are actually quite usable at this point and they get updated very frequently. The official package repository has been expanded and is updated regularly. It is now completely viable to create a desktop system without compiling a single port. For servers you may still wish to use the ports system to specify other-than-defaults options for some services. Pkgng is shaping up very well.

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