While I was researching which OS to put onto my Opteron box, I tried FreeBSD and *really* liked it....that is until I found I couldn't get it to recognise the second CPU, I hunted around and spotted some strange things in the header files (i.e. lots of things missing). Then I found this on the FreeBSD website (for release 5.1)-Status:
Currently FreeBSD/amd64 runs in 64-bit multiuser mode. Multiprocessor hardware is supported, but currently only running in uniprocessor mode.
i.e. it'll work on multiprocessor machines, but only recognise one CPU. This might satisfy your requirements but it didn't for me. I'll take another look at FreeBSD once they sort that out (I'm not saying its a straightforward task for them!
Just out of interest, I tried lots of different Linux/BSD distro's when trying to decide what to use. FreeBSD seemed to be about the most advanced of the BSD ports, with the obvious exception of the SMP stuff, it (FreeBSD) was also the *only* distro that recognised my onboard Promise PDC SATA controller, meaning that I didn't have to use a standard ATA drive to install on (but that's another story!
I tried the RedHat distro (both by trying the Taroon/Gingin distro and a standard 32-bit distro then upgrading the rpms with ones from Rawhide). I found this a *complete* nightmare while I did get a working system in the end, I entered what can only be described as "rpm dependency nightmare". I had to write a few scripts which recursively found the dependencies for RPM's and applied them in order (yes I know rpm should be able to handle this...but it didn't!
. Part way through, something broke and I ended up having to complete the "upgrade" by using a boot CD....not exactly a straightforward upgrade! I also wasn't happy at the end of it all that all the libraries etc were 100% correct, I didn't like the thought of 32-bit libraries lurking in places I didn't know about just waiting to make something fall over.
I tried Debian, it refuses to recognise my hardware...gave up after a few hours (it was a long day).
Then by chance I spotted Mandrake had released an AMD64 Beta (yes I know its a BETA, but with AMD64 we're all early adopters as far as OS's go at the moment!
. I have to say I was very impressed. The install was clean, no problems whatsoever and everything works like a dream...just the way it should be. I'll definitely by buying the full release when it arrives.
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