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Happy 20th Birthday, FreeBSD

timothy posted about 10 months ago | from the long-may-it-wave dept.

Operating Systems 220

mbadolato writes "FreeBSD celebrates its 20th birthday this week. On 19 June 1993, David Greenman, Jordan Hubbard and Rod Grimes announced the creation of their new fork of the BSD 4.3 operating system, and its new name: FreeBSD." And in the time since then, FreeBSD hasn't exactly stood still; it's spawned numerous other projects (like DragonFly BSD and PC-BSD), as well as served as the basis for much of Mac OS X; there's even a Raspberry Pi build.

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220 comments

Well... (5, Funny)

grub (11606) | about 10 months ago | (#44076123)


Given enough time, Netcraft will confirm...

Re:Well... (2, Informative)

Freshly Exhumed (105597) | about 10 months ago | (#44076247)

If it is not in `cat /usr/share/calendar/calendar.history` on a FreeBSD box then I refuse to believe it happened.

Re:Well... (2)

UltraZelda64 (2309504) | about 10 months ago | (#44076845)

You have to check that file on a Xenix/SCO UNIX system. It will probably have Netcraft credits at the bottom with the copyright.

Re:Well... (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | about 10 months ago | (#44076913)

NetBSD was found dead in his bathroom, adter overclocking himself once to often. Never able to keep up with his more famous brothers,netBSD freeBSD and BSD386, he locked himself in his mothers basement and hadn't been seen in years.

Re:Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44076955)

Honest question, who uses NetBSD?

+ FreeBSD is used in certain hardware appliances, and some ISPs use it for shared hosting etc.

+ OpenBSD seems to be the security nerd's choice when they're setting up a really, really secure router. Or so they say.

+ NetBSD? Ummmm. I guess you can install it on some 1990s RISC hardware and brag to slashdot about it? (Except you have to go back to your x86 to run a browser.)

Seriously, after 25 years in the business I've never seen or heard about anyone using NetBSD in production ever. Is this a real legit OS, or is Netcraft just being lazy?

Re:Well... (5, Interesting)

Plunky (929104) | about 10 months ago | (#44077043)

Honest question, who uses NetBSD?

Well I do, and moreover I personally have written ~30 thousand lines of code for NetBSD which has been used in other OS projects (the other BSDs, and OpenSolaris at least - see Bluetooth code) in varying amounts, and I am certainly not the only one to have had code re-used. The NetBSD libc is being used for Android now, I believe.

Also, many companies [netbsd.org] do use it, though they don't always advertise that fact.

Seriously, after 25 years in the business I've never seen or heard about anyone using NetBSD in production ever.

The licence is liberal, and companies are not obligated to mention their usage.

Re:Well... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44077465)

The licence is liberal, and companies are not obligated to mention their usage

*cough*, "steal" and modify - to make it no more compatible with open source.

Re:Well... (2)

kthreadd (1558445) | about 10 months ago | (#44077045)

Well it's a regular UNIX-like distribution so anyone can use it on their desktop or server if they want, and some do. It's also used in some embedded systems, Apple's networking equipment uses it for example.

Re:Well... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44077235)

Apple's networking equipment uses it for example.

Apple makes networking equipment? That runs NetBSD?

Re:Well... (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about 10 months ago | (#44077435)

They make the AirPort gear, but that's pretty much it. I haven't seen mention of BSD, but the AirPort Extreme is known to run VxWorks.

Re:Well... (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 10 months ago | (#44077189)

Seriously, after 25 years in the business I've never seen or heard about anyone using NetBSD in production ever.

Either you are in the wrong business or you aren't looking very hard. NetBSD runs on almost anything, and is widely used in embedded systems. It is likely that some little black gizmo in your own home or office is quietly humming away with NetBSD inside.

Re:Well... (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about 10 months ago | (#44077447)

Honest question, who uses NetBSD?

+ FreeBSD is used in certain hardware appliances, and some ISPs use it for shared hosting etc.

+ OpenBSD seems to be the security nerd's choice when they're setting up a really, really secure router. Or so they say.

+ NetBSD? Ummmm. I guess you can install it on some 1990s RISC hardware and brag to slashdot about it? (Except you have to go back to your x86 to run a browser.)

Seriously, after 25 years in the business I've never seen or heard about anyone using NetBSD in production ever. Is this a real legit OS, or is Netcraft just being lazy?

The most important area is probably providing the base for the Darwin kernel. It's good for other commercial products too as the BSD license doesn't require the source to be redistributed and thus you can better protect your intellectual property. But on the other hand, for many BSD setups, Linux would do the job just as fine. It's nice to have variety though.

It just works (5, Insightful)

approachingZero (1365381) | about 10 months ago | (#44076131)

I've been using it since about 1998 to serve web pages. Solid product, thanks for all the hard work people.

Re:It just works (2, Interesting)

eksith (2776419) | about 10 months ago | (#44076143)

This is exactly the reason I was using it for such a long time. I've used it along with Linux and OpenBSD, while these days, I use the latter for my home server. FreeBSD was my first honest attempt at building a home server.

Re:It just works (3, Insightful)

mlts (1038732) | about 10 months ago | (#44076187)

It works without issue. I've used a BSD on and off since the days of Jolitz's 386BSD which came with a compressed image with a number of utilities on a 1.44MB floppy disk. Before this, if a person wanted source code to look at, they would have to pay a good mint to BSDI or a company like that... and of course, if you wanted SVR4 source... good luck with that.

Ahh... memories.

Re:It just works (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44076797)

Back around 1990, we had a 486 system running "US Army BSD". (Whatever that really was.) Apparently our University paid AT&T enough money that this was free to use, at least on-campus.

I never tried 386BSD, but the general perception was that it was junk and there was this other *nix called Linux you should use instead.

Apparentlyt Net/Open spilt off as new projects (you know, Theo) and FreeBSD took over the old 386BSD project from Bill Jolitz.

Re:It just works (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44076827)

Back then, there were so many UNIX flavors, it was a totally different world. Even Dell had a SVR4 UNIX that installed from QIC tape.

Re:It just works (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44076983)

Yep, remember that. "Dell Unix" was just a brandname for UnixWare from AT&T/Univell/Novell/SCO.

Still, I've never found any google references to "US Army BSD". Someone DOD-related produced an x68 port, but apparently history has ignored them completely.

Re:It just works (2)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 10 months ago | (#44077067)

It works without issue.

Lets not wax TOO poetic about it. Wasnt there an issue in 8.1 which caused reboot loops if u had a USB keyboard plugged in?

Re:It just works (3, Interesting)

houstonbofh (602064) | about 10 months ago | (#44076237)

It is also the core of several appliances like m0n0wall, pfSense, FreeNAS, Nas4free, and Askozia. (even if Askizia ported to Linux later) Not bad for a little OS no one uses... ;)

Re:It just works (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44076943)

Don't forget Python. It also came from an obscure (now mostly dead) OS, Tanenbaum's Amoeba OS.

HAS THIS BEEN CONFIRMED BY NETCRAFT ?? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44076133)

Well has it !!

Re:HAS THIS BEEN CONFIRMED BY NETCRAFT ?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44076153)

In Soviet Russia, *BSD confirms Netcraft.

Re:HAS THIS BEEN CONFIRMED BY NETCRAFT ?? (1)

VanessaE (970834) | about 10 months ago | (#44076723)

Nonono, in Soviet Russia, *BSD confirms Nyetcraft. Jeez, get it right.

Re:HAS THIS BEEN CONFIRMED BY NETCRAFT ?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44077027)

*golf clap*

DEd (-1, Offtopic)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | about 10 months ago | (#44076135)

zIYT HFD fsdfs dystru7minuftn btujgfjgckcvnn fd d d x x dx x fxd gxfcgjhj,jk,jj,jj,,SaaaAsxdffxgfcchfc grr5545gfcbvbvvv jkhkljlho88 dr5ty5tf esed57777d FrtTYERE SAD fsrwt4r poo[pppoo poo poo poo poo poo poi yetrdhgfs4566ududu

Re:DEd (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44076173)

your sega cd is malfunctioning..

BSD confirms (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44076163)

Netcraft is dead!

Still dead after all these years (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44076245)

Kind of like Generalisimo Francisco Franco.

Don't forget OpenBSD (1, Troll)

twocows (1216842) | about 10 months ago | (#44076251)

OpenBSD was a fork made by the founder of FreeBSD and it's arguably better than FreeBSD in several major ways.

Re:Don't forget OpenBSD (2)

twocows (1216842) | about 10 months ago | (#44076257)

Sorry, my mistake. He was not the founder of FreeBSD. I don't know where I got that idea.

Re:Don't forget OpenBSD (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44076307)

OpenBSD is a fork of NetBSD, and historically was never really involved in FreeBSD. Of course, all 3 share code under the friendly license.

Re:Don't forget OpenBSD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44076337)

Probably dragonfly BSD. That founder was a fairly significant developer on FreeBSD, and he forked it. I believe it had to do with scheduler or SMP support or something.

Re:Don't forget OpenBSD (1)

hedwards (940851) | about 10 months ago | (#44076333)

It's arguably better in one very specific way, they find a bug in the base system about once every decade.

But, that's their focus. FreeBSD has a different focus and does quite well in its own area of focus.

Re:Don't forget OpenBSD (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44076413)

Theo de Raadt had his write privileges to the *NetBSD* CVS yanked because he was being an arrogant !@#$.

Nothing's changed over in the OpenBSD world. They still what is uselessly insecure software, taking credit for other people's work, and continue to ignore the basic security problems of the default use of passphrase free SSH keys and poor support for chroot cage SSH environments because "If you don't trust hte machine you're using, you shouldn't be using it!!!"

The result, much like their much vaunted firewall tools, is highly secure tools that cannot be used securely.

Re:Don't forget OpenBSD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44076531)

Sounds like YOU need to fork ClosedBSD.

Do it, you arrogant SOB.

Congrats FreeBSD (5, Insightful)

laffer1 (701823) | about 10 months ago | (#44076273)

FreeBSD is a great example of open source working. Not only has it been successful, but it has spawned a lot of other open source projects such as GhostBSD, PC-BSD, DesktopBSD, DragonFly, pfsense, freenas, nanobsd, and my own MidnightBSD.

There are a lot of people who have donated a lot of time to FreeBSD. This wouldn't have happened without all the committers and folks offering patches to the project. FreeBSD and all the other projects I mentioned wouldn't be here without the. Thanks!

Re:Congrats FreeBSD (2, Insightful)

adolf (21054) | about 10 months ago | (#44076329)

And a lot of closed-source things: FreeBSD != GPL, so one is free to bottle up a bunch of their compiled stuff and sell it without interference.

I, personally, am quite OK with this. (I once owned a TV that I strongly suspect ran FreeBSD; it worked well.)

Re:Congrats FreeBSD (0)

Daniel_Staal (609844) | about 10 months ago | (#44076343)

IIRC, Windows for a long time used a FreeBSD-derived networking stack for TCP/IP...

Re:Congrats FreeBSD (2)

ArchieBunker (132337) | about 10 months ago | (#44076543)

I think ftp.exe from NT 3.51 or even 4.0 was BSD based and that was about all. For something as mature and tested as a simple FTP client why bother re-inventing the wheel? It was legally licensed as well.

Re:Congrats FreeBSD (1, Insightful)

smash (1351) | about 10 months ago | (#44076719)

It was "BSD" derived, not FreeBSD. BSD is often the birth place of many reference implementations of new standards, due to the truly open nature of the license. Develop a "standard" under the GPL and it won't become standard at all, as no commercial OS will be able to use a starting reference implementation as a base.

Re:Congrats FreeBSD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44076899)

If most or all GNU distributions use it then it pretty much is a standard.

Re:Congrats FreeBSD (4, Insightful)

jbolden (176878) | about 10 months ago | (#44076967)

Develop a "standard" under the GPL and it won't become standard at all, as no commercial OS will be able to use a starting reference implementation as a base.

Absolutely. And you can see that by noting that:

gcc compatibility C++ source
gnu make's -o extension
Qt API's as a standard for mobility cross platform
Linux kernel API as a standard for emulation (mainframe, supercomputing, mini...)
Wordpress as a blogging standard
Sword standard for bibles
Guile as a standard Scheme
Blender API for 3D modeling
etc...

aren't standards. Oh wait.

Re:Congrats FreeBSD (2)

nmb3000 (741169) | about 10 months ago | (#44077055)

Absolutely. And you can see that by noting that:

List of completely unrelated things

aren't standards. Oh wait.

If you'd bother to think a second before posting, what the OP meant was that you won't see the code of a GPL project being used as a general implementation reference standard. It wasn't a slam against the GPL, simply pointing out that the BSD license allows anyone to read and use the ideas in the code without much in the way of limitation or requirements. For example, a Microsoft engineer could read over the code for the BSD TCP/IP stack and then implement one for Windows using those ideas as a reference. That would never happen with GPL'd code because the license is more restrictive (again, not necessarily a bad thing).

(PS: Wordpress is a "blogging standard"? WTF does that even mean? That blogging software is by definition a mess of security holes?)

Re:Congrats FreeBSD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44077081)

What does Microsoft has to do with anything? That's just one operating system. If a 1000 Linux distributions use the same GPL source code then that is by sheer numbers more of a standard that anything Microsoft has ever done. GPL by its nature enables software to become a standard, because it is more restrictive. BSD just adds to fragmentation.

Re:Congrats FreeBSD (1)

Arker (91948) | about 10 months ago | (#44077401)

"For example, a Microsoft engineer could read over the code for the BSD TCP/IP stack and then implement one for Windows using those ideas as a reference. That would never happen with GPL'd code because the license is more restrictive (again, not necessarily a bad thing)."

You are wrong. Anyone that wants to is free to read any GPL code they want and then implement those ideas themselves, using that code as reference. The GPL very explicitly limits itself to copyright law here (which does not prohibit anyone from reading, adapting and applying ideas using a document as a reference.) That is not restricted in any way.

What is restricted, for *proprietary* implementations (not as others have claimed 'commercial' implemenations) is simply copying the code outright. That is prohibited by copyright law when not allowed by license, and the GPL will only allow it if the resulting code is free. Unfree code must be written rather than simply copied. Either free or unfree code may be and is used commercially.

P.S. Agree with you on Wordpress. The interesting side of the BSDs for me is entirely technical. There were several forks in the road where the BSDs took the path I would prefer, and Linux did not. However licensing is not one of them. If you can be against the GPL without being simply wrong about what it does and requires, then fine, but you would be a first.

Re:Congrats FreeBSD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44077279)

gcc compatibility C++ source

gcc is not a standard and most c++ compilers are not GPL.

gnu make's -o extension

Never seen it, never used it, thought most gnu manpages tend to include warnings for incompatible flags -> this is most likely an exception to the rule.

Qt API's as a standard for mobility cross platform

Qt is dual licensed, everyone who wants can get a GPL free version of it.

Linux kernel API as a standard for emulation (mainframe, supercomputing, mini...)

You could not write a proprietary linux application if the API was GPL and the kernel internal stuff is unstable as hell.

etc...

Re:Congrats FreeBSD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44077313)

Pretty much all GNU/Linux distributions uses gcc. Last time I checked neither Windows or Mac OS X came with a compiler.

Re:Congrats FreeBSD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44077571)

gcc is not a standard

You might be surprised at how many "non-standard" GCC extensions for C & C++ make their way into the official standards.

Re:Congrats FreeBSD (4, Informative)

Arker (91948) | about 10 months ago | (#44077375)

There is a little bit of truth hiding behind your words but your statement is still very misleading.

GPL is much more 'truly open' precisely because no 'proprietary' implementation of a standard with a GPL reference implementation will be able to simply lift the code (legally.) *Proprietary* being the keyword here - you said commercial, and that is simply false. You can make a commercial implementation of a standard with a GPL reference implementation, and furthermore you can simply copy that reference implementation to do it!

Proprietary != commercial. Slackware, RedHat, Ubuntu, etc. are all commercial. GPL is perfectly fine with commercial. It's only proprietary that it objects to (and for good reason!)

Re:Congrats FreeBSD (1, Troll)

cold fjord (826450) | about 10 months ago | (#44076537)

I will second that. And beyond just the fact that FreeBSD is a great OS and has spawned a number of derivative systems is the fact that it participates in the *BSD ecosystem in which useful ideas and developments are shared among the many BSD based distributions. (FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD.....n) That makes for a lot of innovation and experimentation that benefits much of Unixland, and beyond.

Re:Congrats FreeBSD (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44076603)

In addition, it is the basis of many commercial products, including: TrueNAS, Netscaler, some F5 products, IronPort, Juniper Routers, NetFlix OpenConnect boxes, NetAPP OnTAP, Panasas and Isilon products, Playstation 3 and 4, Sophos's Email Appliance, and a bunch of TVs and other devices.

Re:Congrats FreeBSD (4, Insightful)

smash (1351) | about 10 months ago | (#44076713)

It is also the basis of JunOS, Netapps Data OnTap, and various other commercial products. FreeBSD is really under-rated and works very very well.

Re:Congrats FreeBSD (1)

jbolden (176878) | about 10 months ago | (#44076891)

Let's not forget OSX which got some of its code from FreeBSD as well.

Re:Congrats FreeBSD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44077111)

Let's not forget OSX which got some of its code from FreeBSD as well.

And let's not read the summary where it says exactly that...

Re:Congrats FreeBSD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44077451)

"some"... try almost ALL other than applications. Really it is ALL of which they then changed some of the code to truly fuck up everything. Now each successive version is a kludge of mangled code to fix shit they fucked up in the original OSX. Have you looked at their directory tree lately? It's like the Windows registry except in file form. Shit here, shit there, better make a few more copies of it all over the place just to be sure. OSX is FreeBSD's druggie son who can't control can't control his bowel movements anymore and just shits all over himself.

Waste of money (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44076325)

How much is it costing to keep FreeBSD on life support?

Re:Waste of money (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44076405)

Less than it is costing to keep Slashdot on life support.

FreeBSD managed to lose control of its own name (1)

jphamlore (1996436) | about 10 months ago | (#44076487)

There is an organization that is supposed to be enforcing the FreeBSD trademark: http://www.freebsdfoundation.org/documents/guidelines [freebsdfoundation.org] Supposedly. Except there is a project, http://www.debian.org/ports/kfreebsd-gnu/ [debian.org] that is only using parts of FreeBSD, that is nonetheless calling itself FreeBSD. Actually, for something like grub 2, FreeBSD no longer exists, it's kFreeBSD. Either you own the trademark or you don't. Which is it? And since when is it such a big deal to require someone to rename their project?

Re:FreeBSD managed to lose control of its own name (2)

Trepidity (597) | about 10 months ago | (#44076573)

Considering pretty much nobody uses Debian GNU/kFreeBSD, is it really a problem for FreeBSD's name recognition or brand confusion?

Re:FreeBSD managed to lose control of its own name (1)

smash (1351) | about 10 months ago | (#44076725)

Erm. GRUB is garbage. Nobody uses it on FreeBSD.

Re:FreeBSD managed to lose control of its own name (2)

grub (11606) | about 10 months ago | (#44076787)

I take offens... oh, you mean the bootloader!

Re:FreeBSD managed to lose control of its own name (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 10 months ago | (#44077297)

Debian/kFreeBSD users the kernel from FreeBSD. It is perfectly acceptable for it to use a word similar to the trademark.

Had AT&T not sued BSDi (3, Interesting)

stox (131684) | about 10 months ago | (#44076539)

We might be talking about FreeBSD as we do Linux these days.

FreeBSD's developers CHOSE to not be popular (5, Interesting)

jphamlore (1996436) | about 10 months ago | (#44076585)

Let's explode that myth. Here's what actually happened. Linux distributions such as Slackware back then supported booting from a floppy into the OS so that one could run the rest of the userland from a hard drive. That meant one could preserve Microsoft Windows booting yet run Linux at the same time with no risk. I cannot stress how important a feature that was back then to someone like me, back when PCs were very expensive and had to be shared among family members. The FreeBSD developers took a different tack. Their OS was for grown-ups, for servers. They openly mocked on their mailing lists the feature of being able to boot into the OS from a floppy drive. (Note this is different from being able to INSTALL from floppy, everyone back then could do that.) The FreeBSD developers CHOSE to not be popular.

Re:FreeBSD's developers CHOSE to not be popular (2)

jphamlore (1996436) | about 10 months ago | (#44076605)

And Linux back then supported booting the OS from an extended partition, a feature FreeBSD didn't have until many years later.

Re:FreeBSD's developers CHOSE to not be popular (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44077473)

And Linux back then supported booting the OS from an extended partition, a feature FreeBSD didn't have until many years later.

Yes. Because you didn't need the extended partitions as you could do slices in a primary one. The DOS partitioning scheme was and is awful and you really didn't need to do that.

Re:FreeBSD's developers CHOSE to not be popular (5, Funny)

camperdave (969942) | about 10 months ago | (#44076613)

They openly mocked on their mailing lists the feature of being able to boot into the OS from a floppy drive... The FreeBSD developers CHOSE to not be popular.

... and here it is umpteen years later and NOBODY boots from a floppy. Sounds to me like they were just ahead of their time.

Re:FreeBSD's developers CHOSE to not be popular (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44077417)

Yes I know, because now we all run BSD on our Deskto.. oh wait.

No what I mean to say was that BSD is now the most used OS for Serv.. oh wait..

Sorry.. what was your point again?

Re:FreeBSD's developers CHOSE to not be popular (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44077575)

Might die ahead of the rest too.

Re:FreeBSD's developers CHOSE to not be popular (4, Insightful)

stox (131684) | about 10 months ago | (#44076641)

I disagree, as far as real adoption goes. Yes, booting Linux from a floppy using a MSDOS filesystem did enable a lot of people to get exposed, but the race was lost before those people made a difference. Had BSD development not stalled for two years, many of the early commercial and big site adoptions would have gone to BSD instead. Many started with BSD and then jumped to Linux because that is where the momentum was. Red Hat's IPO sealed the deal.

BTW, I introduced Pat Volkerding to the Church of the SubGenius, and pioneered a lot of the early work with Linux at Fermilab. I know a little about these things.

Re:FreeBSD's developers CHOSE to not be popular (3, Interesting)

jbolden (176878) | about 10 months ago | (#44076927)

Red Hat's IPO was in 1999. The Linux :: BSD ratio was already massive by then.

I don't agree with you about 1994. I don't think it was losing time. I think the BSD community was hostile to people like me (Windows Power Users and Unix users -- non admins) who became the people who pushed Linux into corporate America during the 1990s and early 2000s.

Re:FreeBSD's developers CHOSE to not be popular (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44076857)

It wasn't just something specific like floppy boot, it was the entire attitude that Linux was for "Peecees" or "Windoze" users, while *BSD was for the Sun Workstation Master Race (who couldn't actually personally afford a sun workstation). Just as an example, *BSD thought "real workstations use SCSI (period)". While Linux had all sorts of workarounds for your buggy IDE chipset and support for your proprietary Soundblaster CD-ROM drive.

And while the Net/Open/Free factions were flaming each other on the maillists, there was this persistant attitude that Linux was vastly inferior thing, even after the "the battle was over", and Linux had clearly won. When the history is really written, the story of *BSD has little do with AT&T and is more about how arrogance and personal politics alienated a entire genration of users.

Re:FreeBSD's developers CHOSE to not be popular (2)

jbolden (176878) | about 10 months ago | (#44076931)

Honestly it was worse than that. Linux also had the "I wish I could buy a Sun workstation but can't afford one" crowd. BSDs were focused on Unix admin types they didn't want Unix user types with light admin knowledge.

Re:FreeBSD's developers CHOSE to not be popular (1)

jbolden (176878) | about 10 months ago | (#44076909)

Great example of what was different between the BSD and Linux culture of the mid 1990s.

Re:Had AT&T not sued BSDi (1)

jbolden (176878) | about 10 months ago | (#44076907)

The BSD people keep telling themselves that but no. The BSDs never made an attempt to appeal to Windows Power users and Unix users who didn't do administration. They focused on providing a classic Unix admin experience. They were harder to install, harder to configure, less tolerant of various hardware.... BSD failed because it never made an attempt to appeal to the group of end users that became the Linux desktop users of the 1990s and the Linux admins of the 2000s.

They lost a few months due to the lawsuit no question but that's not why they failed. There have been multiple markets that have opened since then where Linux has failed to be able to enter and the BSD haven't entered successfully. Were it nothing more than those few crucial months the BSDs could have exploited those holes.

May it rest in peace (as a desktop) (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 10 months ago | (#44076677)

Found memories back in the day. My favorite release was 4.12 right when 4.x was getting a little long in the tooth. Nothing seemed to work right on non server hardware after that.

users (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44076781)

I bet all 7 users are super excited.

pkgng (1)

jphamlore (1996436) | about 10 months ago | (#44076793)

There's new infrastructure that has been developed from FreeBSD, pkgng. It holds the promise of much better binary package management. There's just one problem: https://wiki.freebsd.org/pkgng [freebsd.org] "As a consequence of the security incident on 11th November 2012, for the time being pre-compiled packages for pkgng are not available from any official FreeBSD repository." The security incident happened in NOVEMBER 2012. Yet as of at least June 5, 2013, "Target dates for when service may be resumed have not been released."

Re:pkgng (1)

Arker (91948) | about 10 months ago | (#44077357)

A predictable problem I would have expected the *BSDs to avoid. Pre-compiled packages have never been ideal. We used to rely on them simply because our systems were so slow that compiling took so long. With a modern computer you should be able to compile an entire system in about 20 minutes so why on earth would you want to invite problems by using someone elses binaries?

Happy birthday, 20, FreeBSD. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44076831)

We are Tomahawk Desktop, a FreeBSD-based operating system. A very big sorry for all as that we had to switch our focus to another project (http://www.tomahawkworld.com/), which is now almost completed and about to be released in mid July, 2013.

After the TomahawkWorld is released we intend to start work on Tomahawk Desktop OS based on FreeBSD v.10, which we think more suitable for desktop/laptop environments.

What's the difference with Linux ? (1, Interesting)

dargaud (518470) | about 10 months ago | (#44076995)

I'm not trolling here, but as a Linux user I never took interest in BSD, I hardly know what it is. The impression I have is that it is solid but somewhat backwards compared to Linux. It's just strange to me that there are two similar OSes coming out the same year and they are still both here. So what are the differences besides the licensing scheme ?

Re:What's the difference with Linux ? (1)

kthreadd (1558445) | about 10 months ago | (#44077069)

As a regular user you don't see any difference. The same software works on both.

The main differences are in the kernel, and in the way the systems are developed. In Linux land the kernel and most other operating system components are developed in separate projects, and the distributions are responsible for packaging them so that they work together as one cohesive operating system. In FreeBSD everything is developed by essentially the same team as one big project. That's why we often don't speak about BSD distributions, because unlike Linux distributions the BSD kernel is developed in parallell by each distribution. Some prefer one way or the other, but overall both systems are fine.

Re:What's the difference with Linux ? (3, Informative)

real-modo (1460457) | about 10 months ago | (#44077161)

Hmmm.. last used for any length of time: FreeBSD 2.2.2 with FVWM95 (serial mouse!), back in '00 or thereabouts. (At the time, FreeBSD was reliable; Linux was not. Corel Linux--remember that, anyone? Urg. Red Hat? flaky, at the time. Mandrake Linux: slightly less flaky.)

But the culture hasn't changed much, from a recent scout-round. I'd say your impression is correct. Here are some random thoughts:-

  *BSDers will say *BSD is more like "real Un*x", but as far as I can tell the OS has been riddled with schisms since the '70s. The "real Un*x" is a nostalgic fantasy (or an artefact of Stockholm syndrome, take your pick).

*BSDers will say *BSD is reliable. That hasn't been a problem for Linux for a decade. (Except for Intel's video drivers...grrr.)

Differences...apart from being behind the times hardware-wise (which you can do with Centos 4, if you want), the main difference is: only one "distro". (Although there are a few derivatives of FreeBSD and NetBSD, only their creators use them, pretty much.) BDSM submissives enjoy OpenBSD; no-one'd dare fork it.

The FreeBSD man pages were better. Way better, as I recall. That's in part because they tried to avoid all that dubious GNU stuff. Can't say they were wrong about info(1), but I can say they were wrong about make(1).

Filesystems. Linux and *BSD have *FAT*, NTFS, and ZFS in common. That's about it. FreeBSD has had ZFS for a couple of years longer than Linux.

Culture. For a long time the *BSDs' attitude was "compile it from source, and fix the dependencies yourself". Like combining the bad parts of old-time Slackware and Gentoo. Might be better now; I've only tried Live CDs.

Startup: I like the rc.conf startup configuration approach. (Way better than System Five initscripts. "Fragile" hardly begins to describe that approach.) I used Arch Linux for a long time because it had the closest approximation to rc.conf, but it also had drivers for USB and stuff. You know, the hardware I had attached to my PC. Not much, back in the day; but I wanted to use it. Arch was a pretty good compromise.

Now, Arch Linux has moved away from an rc.conf-ish approach to using systemd. I've been getting progressively more annoyed with all the Sieved Poots appearing in linux, so I recently tried PC-BSD, which is supposed to be an end-user friendly porcelain on top of FreeBSD. Unfortunately, it's dire. Bug after glitch after missing object. On both my PCs, the typography is eyewatering. Worse than Windows 3.11.

You're better off with FreeBSD. I might be going back there soon. Probably, though, it won't have support for my USB wifi stick. If you never see me comment again, you'll know what's happened.

Re:What's the difference with Linux ? (1)

dargaud (518470) | about 10 months ago | (#44077377)

Filesystems. Linux and *BSD have *FAT*, NTFS, and ZFS in common. That's about it.

Strange, I expected a lot of common pieces between the two. The source for most things in /bin/ is the same, right ? Or are all options to, say, 'ls' different ?

Re:What's the difference with Linux ? (1)

kthreadd (1558445) | about 10 months ago | (#44077387)

They are similar but not the same. Most Linux distributions uses the GNU user land, where FreeBSD develops its own. Programs like ls will still fulfill the same task, but the options will be different and some features might be missing. You can still install the GNU user land on top of FreeBSD if you want it.

Re:What's the difference with Linux ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44077487)

BSD is designed, Linux is grown.

The license (1)

neurophys (13737) | about 10 months ago | (#44077397)

Is not a major part of the diffrence in success due to the license: In BSD you just take the code and use it, In most of the Linux-software it was GPL where you had to give back your development to the community?

More Memories (2)

normalbloke (1994834) | about 10 months ago | (#44077413)

I remember downloading 386BSD via ftpmail one floppy image at a time. And writing those images to soooo many floppies and again when some of them were corrupted. It took days to download and install 386BSD for the first time but eventually I got it up and running on an 386DX machine. The sense of awe and wonder I had when it finally booted was indescribable. Those were the days.

Why didn't 'Andriod' use BSD codebase? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44077431)

Probably a naive question here but If the BSD license is so 'nonrestrictive' why are our Smart Phones not all BSD based?

I realise that iOS has its roots in it, but was that purely for license issues?

I'd have thought with all the super security and broad sweeping license that our smart phones would all be BSD based not 'Linux'.

Re:Why didn't 'Andriod' use BSD codebase? (1)

kthreadd (1558445) | about 10 months ago | (#44077533)

Android is mostly Apache license, which is very similar to BSD in nature. The kernel is more or less the only thing they ship that is GPL.

i love u (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44077433)

oh freebsd i loved u. these days were a minimal install took 60MB and a pkg_info of a working xfree desktop withbrowser (netscape uah) did not require 'less' to fit on one screen. binary pkgs tf- we all red the src before we compiled the packages :] it was a pleasure to read and patch your kernel code.

ps. u remember the adaptec support story bro? >.

Where are the BSD/Linux Distros? (1)

nbritton (823086) | about 10 months ago | (#44077485)

I'm still waiting to see the BSD userland / toolchain environment spliced together with the Linux kernel. My headache with BSD was always hardware driver support. Linux, the kernel, has won that race, and rather then duplicate efforts I would like to see the best parts of *BSD merged on top of a Linux kernel. Instead of just GNU/Linux (SysV Style Linux), you could have an alternative BSD/Linux (BSD Style Linux) distribution. If you include Mac OS X, BSD style unix far an away out numbers SysV style machines.

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