Chapter 20 Linux Binary Compatibility

Table of Contents
20.1 Synopsis
20.2 Installation
20.3 Installing Mathematica
20.4 Installing Maple
20.5 Installing Oracle
20.6 Installing SAP R/3 (4.6B - IDES)
20.7 Advanced Topics
Restructured and parts updated by Jim Mock. Originally contributed by Brian N. Handy and Rich Murphey.

20.1 Synopsis

FreeBSD provides binary compatibility with several other Unix-like operating systems, including Linux. At this point, you may be asking yourself why exactly, does FreeBSD need to be able to run Linux binaries? The answer to that question is quite simple. Many companies and developers develop only for Linux, since it is the latest ``hot thing'' in the computing world. That leaves the rest of us FreeBSD users bugging these same companies and developers to put out native FreeBSD versions of their applications. The problem is, that most of these companies do not really realize how many people would use their product if there were FreeBSD versions too, and most continue to only develop for Linux. So what is a FreeBSD user to do? This is where the Linux binary compatibility of FreeBSD comes into play.

In a nutshell, the compatibility allows FreeBSD users to run about 90% of all Linux applications without modification. This includes applications such as Star Office, the Linux version of Netscape, Adobe Acrobat, RealPlayer 5 and 7, VMWare, Oracle, WordPerfect, Doom, Quake, and more. It is also reported that in some situations, Linux binaries perform better on FreeBSD than they do under Linux.

There are, however, some Linux-specific operating system features that are not supported under FreeBSD. Linux binaries will not work on FreeBSD if they overly use the Linux /proc filesystem (which is different from FreeBSD's /proc filesystem), or i386-specific calls, such as enabling virtual 8086 mode.

After reading this chapter, you will know:

Before reading this chapter, you should:

This, and other documents, can be downloaded from ftp://ftp.FreeBSD.org/pub/FreeBSD/doc/.

For questions about FreeBSD, read the documentation before contacting <questions@FreeBSD.org>.
For questions about this documentation, e-mail <doc@FreeBSD.org>.