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Which BSD?

Cliff posted about 15 years ago | from the choices-choices-choices dept.

BSD 368

Poodle Fang asks: "After using Linux for a few years, I am now interested in trying out the free x86 BSDs. I have been reading that OpenBSD is focused on security and FreeBSD on performance, but is there really much of a difference in security and performance among the BSDs? Do any of the BSDs have any features that sets it apart from the others (for example, does one work better on laptops than the others?) How well do the Linux emulation libraries work? I am more concerned in the performance, stability and security than packaging or an easy install process. Any insights would be appreciated! "

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New? (3)

Signal 11 (7608) | about 15 years ago | (#1582311)

If you're new to the *BSDs, the usual recommendation is FreeBSD due to it's broad hardware support, user support, and ease of installation.

Each BSD has it's own goals - OpenBSD for example aims to be the "secure" BSD, and is designed package by package to make sure the l335 h4x0rs out there would rather pull their fingernails out than try to bypass the security safeguards on your box.

Sooooo... maybe it might be better if you told us what you're looking for- you've asked a really open-ended question!


FreeBSD has incredibly good docs! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1582312)

My biggest complaint against OpenBSD is that there seems to be no community behind it. I was able to learn about Linux, and Unix in general, because of both the local User's Groups and the Linux Documentation Project. While not as far along as Linux, it appears to me that FreeBSD has the best support, both in an active user base and a growing documentation project. - Jay Beale

BSD's (2)

snopes (27370) | about 15 years ago | (#1582313)

I'm not an expert on BSD, but here's your basic breakdown:
386BSD - was the original 'PC' unix
from that grew:
FreeBSD - continue a focus on i386
NetBSD - main focus being platform proliferation (they support everything, though I don't know about laptops)
OpenBSD - a fairly recent splinter form /Free|Net/BSD. Very significant security features, though I'm not sure how they affect usability.

As a general rule you'll find the BSD's more server focused than Linux (big generalization, but it holds up some). Drivers are always there weak point, but check the Slashdot BSD section for sites that help you locate what you need.

Whatever you do.. don't go commercial (2)

MrPlab (79403) | about 15 years ago | (#1582314)

If I could give any advice, it would not to go with the commercial BSD, BSDi. It's a royal pain in the ass on whatever you want to compile, and even worse to setup with a network - if you don't know what your doing.

However, this can be argued for any distro, but still.. I believe BSDi to be the worst in that category - it's simply nasty.

Stick with FreeBSD, it's stable, nice, and don't forget free.


Linux "emulation" (5)

Trepidity (597) | about 15 years ago | (#1582315)

Well, it's not really emulation. It works perfectly, and pretty much runs Linux binaries as native binaries. It runs them about as fast as (or in some cases faster than) a Linux system.

As for the differences, FreeBSD supports more x86 hardware generally, while NetBSD supports more architectures. OpenBSD has better out-of-the-box security, but all the BSDs are quite good in security with a bit of tweaking and configuring. It mostly seems to be a matter of personal preference, though most home desktop users tend to pick FreeBSD.

Confession. (2)

j a w a d (66763) | about 15 years ago | (#1582316)

I have a confession to make.

I run Windows98.

I know, I know. But I feel this is the appropriate time to come out of the closet.

So, I ask: Is *BSD as easy/hard to learn as Linux? Can I/ Should I start with FreeBSD?

This isn't meant to start a flamewar, of course. I'm just curious.

p.s. If you'd like to help in the "Drive to get jawad off of Windows": EMail me at or Thank you.

Re:Some thoughts on FreeBSD... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1582317)

I don't know whether to moderate this as "funny" or "flamebait"!

I suppose s/FreeBSD/Microsoft and it becones funny.

The BSD Family (3)

FauxPasIII (75900) | about 15 years ago | (#1582318)

Here's how I understand it.

OpenBSD has undergone a line-by-line professional security audit. It is focused entirely on security.
FreeBSD is the most mature of the BSDs on the i386 platform. It focuses mostly on that platform, although I believe that there is a sparc port as well now.
NetBSD's hook is that it is ported to everything including the kitchen sink. It ran well on the Vaxen and the Apollos that I came across not so long ago. ;-)

Based on user testimonial, the linux Binary emulation is extremely good for anything that isn't specifically tied to the kernel. i.e. you can't load kernel modules. I've seen somebody run StarOffice 5.0 on OpenBSD using the emulation.

I'm installing OpenBSD on a 486 tonite, so maybe I'll follow up with some more first-hand info soon. ;-)

As a matter of fact... (1)

pastaman (52095) | about 15 years ago | (#1582319)

I have been using Linux (on and off) for a couple of years now and have been wondering the same thing. I decided to dive in and ordered FreeBSD from CheapBytes. I have to say that I was fairly impressed, but the fun wasn't over yet. After getting FreeBSD going on my desktop, and getting most of my Hardware going (haven't got my ppp up yet) i decided to check out openbsd and put on the Dell Inspiron 7000 that i'm using now. I downloaded OpenBSD yesterday and burnt a CD of it this afternoon. I was installing it up into a minute ago when I got lost on using openbsd's fdisk implementation. Well, I'm off to track down some OpenBSD install tips. Later, and Happy BSDing

Re:Some thoughts on FreeBSD... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1582320)

Duh, that's s/FreeBSD/Microsoft/ of course.

Re:Fp? (0)

dej05093 (7707) | about 15 years ago | (#1582321)

I'm still looking for a "first post" which is
worth a point 5 rating ...
Any references?

Automatic complaint generator at work here... (0)

Barbarian (9467) | about 15 years ago | (#1582322)


Re:Some thoughts on FreeBSD... (1)

ColinG (86915) | about 15 years ago | (#1582323)

....this sounds like someone compiled a guided flamer program on their OpenBSD system. :) If you replace FreeBSP in the above message with the name of your favourite politician, it's almost exactly the same as you'd find in your generic alt.rec.flamewars. Whoever moderated this up as informative should have read it first. Thanks, Rob. I'm liking M^2 more and more.

Re:Some thoughts on FreeBSD... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1582324)

And how does this relate to the question???? FreeBSD - The Power to Serve -

Oh that's an easy one (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1582325)

FreeBSD provides greater stability, reliability, and it doesn't scale like shit as linux does. Need more?

Re:Confession. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1582326)

Well they are all harder than Linux to learn (at least in my experience), but out of the BSD's, I'd say FreeBSD has the easiest installation and has some other nice easy to use features that the others lack (at least by default that is). NetBSD and OpenBSD I'd say are about similiar in difficulty. Of course all this is drawn from my experience and without any sort of proof, but its just my opinion.

Re:Confession. (1)

HBK-4G (2475) | about 15 years ago | (#1582327) correct me if i'm wrong, but isn't that Renslaer(sp?) Polytechnic Institute? You should be able to get a local Unix guru to help you out.

Hacked the Postmodern Drivvle Generator. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1582328)

What a load!

Re:Confession. (1)

johnhebert (53732) | about 15 years ago | (#1582329)

Nope on *BSD for your first time, unless you like it really *rough*. :)

I'd recommend RedHat, Mandrake or Caldera for your first open source OS. Multi-boot with these are much easier to setup than the *BSD releases.

But why not try em all? Check out Cheapbytes [] and order the CDs. Probably about $30 for the ones I mentioned.

Oh. Backup your data. Win98 doesn't like to share partition tables with other operating systems.

The BSDs (2)

mr (88570) | about 15 years ago | (#1582330)

FreeBSD - optimized for X86 op-code processors
OpenBSD - The line by line security audit gives it a claim to security. Security, however is what one makes of it on thier box.
NetBSD - likes running on as many different platforms as possible. From x86 to toasters to dreamcasts. And, the NetBSD developers have been cast by others as as giving a damn about hacking an OS, not trying to peddle one.

FreeBSD is prob. the best bet for x86. Only because that was the original focus.

Linux emulation on FreeBSD has worked on every program I have tried...but that is hardly useful praise.

For stability, FreeBSD gets the nod, only because you can point to Yahoo and and go, yup, yup, lotsa uptime, lotsa traffic. (for most purposes almost any modern Unix-like OS will be stable enough for most people) I'm sure the defenders of the Net and OpenBSD will submit big net/open BSD sites. (just like if one said RedHat was used on the biggest, a swarm of SUSE would point out big SUSE sites)

Re:Some thoughts on FreeBSD... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1582331)

Wow. Have you ever seen anyone use so many words to say absolutely nothing?

[OT] Is this a parody? (1)

Bill Currie (487) | about 15 years ago | (#1582332)

This sounds very much like some politician's speach slamming something, though I have no idea what. There's lots of big words in there but no real content. You don't explain your point of view, just pour forth a lot of emotional rhetoric.

The more I think about it (and go over your posting), the more it looks like to took somebodies speach and did a search and replace on it. If so, I guess you're trying to show that the speach can be applied to anything producing the same value (ie, none).

Re:Confession. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1582333)

I don't recommend you start with *BSD right away. It's better to take the Linux route, then when you're good with Linux approach FreeBSD, OpenBSD etc.

Re:New? (2)

Signal 11 (7608) | about 15 years ago | (#1582334)

Okay, assuming you aren't familiar with the BSD-style of doing things (if you're a programmer - buy stock in Tylenol now).. there's alot of minor things that can get you shooting yourself in the foot in no time. Some things are just plain unintuitive - to use a somewhat related-yet-unrelated example, have you ever run "killall" on a solaris box thinking it acted the same way it did under linux? Well, unlike the linux version, solaris will happily kill everything just like you told it to!. The sysadmin was none-too-pleased after his carefully tuned box suddently coredumped a half-dozen programs and warm-booted. :\

BSD is kinda the same thing - for example your wonderful GNU-enhanced utilities no longer have those extensions... which can make life difficult for awhile until you figure out why a perfectly good command doesn't work anymore... there's other stuff too... best advice I can offer - if you're taking the plunge for the first time, be sure to RTFM, or you'll be bald by next tuesday.

On the plus side, the BSD stuff has alot of cool features you just can't find under linux - especially the filesystem stuff. The immutable flag is a very good way of tripping up crackers, and the bsd-style kind of file creation is to make the file creator's group match what the directories group is set to. Very nice, b/c I hate doing the find/grep/chown dance twenty times a day *muttering* ....

If I haven't scared you off, take the plunge, but maintain a rigorous backup policy for the good of thy karma. You DO have backups, right? >:) ~ The BOFH


Well, a guy I know says... (2)

Temporal (96070) | about 15 years ago | (#1582335)

I know this guy. He's the type of person who likes to make himself seem much smarter than he really is. He will write twice as much as he needs to on assignments (I'm in college), and he will say things in class with a very thoughtful voice, and no depth of thought.

So, one day I was talking with a friend about BSD, and how I wanted to try it out. This person I know just happenned to be sitting nearby and jumped in. He said that FreeBSD was the most secure and that OpenBSD was the most compatible. I asked him to elaborate on this compatibility thing, and he said "Well... I think... OpenBSD can run C++ programs." Instantly I lost all respect for him. I inquired further, and he said "yes, it can run Microsoft C++ programs, and the other BSD's can't."

Moral of the story: If you don't know, shut up already! :) (not refering to anyone who has posted here)


Unix is Unix is Unix (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1582336)

Linux, BSD, Aix, Irix, Solaris, HPUX, SCO are all unix. They're all the same in terms of learnability.

Re:Fp? (0)

liNA-seven-nine (96581) | about 15 years ago | (#1582337)


Re:Fp? (0)

Kean de Lacy (92857) | about 15 years ago | (#1582338)

I saw one once, but I can't point you there. Sorry!

I had the opportunity on this thread, but I don't know anything about *BSD -pout-


Feed the troll! WAS Re:Don't Forget the Obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1582339)

Feeding the troll some bitter fruit:

Lets see, your 5 years as a computer professional and your natural desire to play with shiny things qualifys you to talk about BSD or Linux?

Grow up to be a big troll and come back

Re:Some thoughts on FreeBSD... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1582340)

Whoa, man. What did get high on? Dont you know crack can be dangerous to your health? Why dont you just sit down for a while while you calm down?

BSDs (1)

JeffI (87909) | about 15 years ago | (#1582341)

Not to long ago I was in much the same position as yourself. There has been quite a bit said already, personally I am using FBSD for my servers and OBSD for the firewall/router. I would use NetBSD if I had some (more) obscure hardware other than x86. Well nevertheless, here is a url that I have found to have good links, and some up to the minute BSD news. Daemon News [] . Now all will be great if slashdot keeps up with the BSD news as much as the Linux stuff.

Re:Whatever you do.. don't go commercial (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1582342)

BSDi, may be a little old but it is rock stable much more in a server environment in my opinion than Solaris, IRIX, Digital UNIX/OSF/True 64 and Linux. There support is great, however driver support is lacking like the other BSD's.

Re:Confession. (1)

jamesbently (70199) | about 15 years ago | (#1582343)

You should start with linux; the sheer number of new users it is gaining means that information geared to the new user level is abundant. This isn't saying anything bad about the *BSDs available ... its just that linux is easier to start with. And what you learn will help you figure out a *BSD when you eventually do decide to try one. I'm currently trying to figure out how to mount volumes with openBSD; I know, I know, 'man mount' but whatever I try doesn't work! Linux is easy to start with compared to the *BSDs. I recommend the Red Hat distribution to begin with if you are pretty new to computers - it easily installs. If you've been playing with these beasties since 1983 (like me) then go for Slackware as it installs less junk on your hdd. STAY AWAY from Debian if you are a new user, unless you live in a country where it is dark and snows for 8 months of the year and you can lock yourself in your room. I haven't tried Caldera, Turbo linux etc. etc., but you really can't go far wrong as a new linux user if you pick Red Hat. It takes a while to get into linux if you switch straight from windows and you've never had any dos experience; and if you have any subtly broken hardware (like I did when I first installed linux) then you'll find out about it when linux crashes! Linux uses hardware more intensively than windows, but you shouldn't have much to worry about. Good luck!

For a user... (1)

Rendus (2430) | about 15 years ago | (#1582344)

Since you're looking for this to be a desktop OS, I'd put my vote on FreeBSD. It's ports system is very cool, it's rather easy to configure, and it's probably just as secure as OpenBSD once you turn everything off (have you ever seen a Linux box running no services and no extra kernel features get cracked? Same goes for any decent OS that doesn't put a HTTP server into it's kernel)

I've used FreeBSD (not too much though), and unfortunatley I couldn't get a DHCP client to work, and if it weren't for that I may be running it right now instead of Linux.

Re:Linux "emulation" (1)

Signal 11 (7608) | about 15 years ago | (#1582345)

Don't try to do anything too exotic though... the "emulation" isn't flawless... and some things may break in strange ways .. I wouldn't want to try to run something like "fbcon" or anything that does direct I/O..

Any kernel dev people here (I know you're out there, step forward and be counted!) care to comment on the current state of the art right now on this front?


Re:Don't Forget the Obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1582346)

Linux is free, so why would I want to bother with *BSD, which is nothing more than the dowdy remnants of faded glory?

Your statement doesn't have a logical point. "Linux is free, so why would I want to bother..." implies the alternative is not free because you're using Linux's monetary cost as a point of contrast.

And why do people ask us to tell them what they think? I don't know, why would you use it?

Also, if you want credibility, be specific. You're as vague as the blabbermouth that posted a full page above.

Re:Confession. (3)

Malcontent (40834) | about 15 years ago | (#1582347)

FreeBSD is most definately not for beginners. If you are a win98 user go get yourself a copy of caldera 2.3. Pop the CD into your drive and less then a half hour later you will have a nice, slick linux system that you can play around with. Keep your win98 partition for running your current apps and try the apps in Linux. After using both of them for a while you may prefer linux. If you don't prefer it just wipe it out and all you are out is $30.00. I would recommend against getting a cheap bytes version unless you also buy some application CDs too. The commercial Caldera box comes with both Star office and Applixware and you can try them out to see if you like them.Most people use a computer mainly for word processing, spreadsheets, email and web browsing. You will find Linux very good at these functions.
If you have a fairly fast internet connection you can also download some images and do an over the internet install of RH6.1. Then go visit Anywhere office [] from applix and you can use their java based office suite for free. I think you will find it more then adequate for most of your needs.
Whereever you are there is probably a Linux users group, go to one of the meetings and you will find lots of friendly knowledgable people who are just dying to help you out. Good luck and welcome to the adventure.

Re:Unix is Unix is Unix (1)

jamesbently (70199) | about 15 years ago | (#1582348)

No, I disagree! Some are easier than others due to the style of documentation available and the community behind it.

What are you using it for? (2)

THB (61664) | about 15 years ago | (#1582349)

The BSDs are great for servers, their perfromance is excellent, and they have alright high end hardware support.

However, if you are using this computer as your personal workstation i would highly recomend staying with Linux. Its overall environment seem better polished and more usable. It is not difficult to get around the problems of the BSD's, however they are annoying. The ports collection is invalualuable to almost anyone on all three of them.

Between the three BSD's, I have found openBSD to be the best. It not only is super secure, but it gets around many of the newsences of freeBSD. It's hardware support is excellent, i have found drivers for many devices that would not work under freeBSD or Linux. I also found the installation of openBSD was much nicer, however i have done many i386 unix installation, so i knew what i was doing.

In my network which is mixed commercial unix(mostly solaris), Win 95/NT, *BSD, linux, i use freebsd on intranet servers (excellent NFS), openBSD on the internet servers, and Linux on the rest.

If you have never used unix, i would highly recomend Linux, Redhat, SuSE, or any commercial package will work great.

Re:Oh that's an easy one (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1582350)

Yes, how about proof? And don't say "".

But we all know proof is too much to ask for from BullShitDers

My FreeBSD perspective. (5)

Above (100351) | about 15 years ago | (#1582351)

Everyone will have a different opinion, and they are all right. I'm going to offer my FreeBSD-slanted opinion as one view.


Coke, original formula. Hard to argue with that. NetBSD has a long and noble history. The NetBSD team does a great job of covering the hardware world. No, not the WinTel hardware world, that's Linux. They cover platforms. By running on so many platforms it is a great platform if you have a lot of different (and/or old :-) sorts of hardware. Unfortunately, it is this platform compatability that slows their progress.

I have nothing bad to say about NetBSD. unfortunately, I have nothing good (feature wise) to say about it when it comes to getting real work done. Anything you buy these days has "better" choices that run on it. I will continue to be a big NetBSD supporter though, as it's the only choices for some of my older machines that still deserve a real operating system.


I'd tell you about it, but then I would have to kill you. :-) Actually, it's not that bad. OpenBSD is security focused, and so they do go a few extra steps in that direction. About 60% of what they do can be done on NetBSD simply by intelligently securing the box. The other 40% is good security add on work.

Most of the good stuff the OpenBSD folks come up with make it into the other BSD's and Linux shortly afterwards, although not all. I'm not sure on security alone OpenBSD is "better", assuming you have a clueful admin who understands the issues.

IMHO the best thing for the BSD community is if the OpenBSD guys and the NetBSD guys could get together. Unfortunately, the inability to do that is the very reason they are apart.


The FreeBSD folks want to get real work done. Early on, that resulted in an Intel focus, as that was the only affordable platform available. Now the Alpha is included, and hopefully more soon. When they day is done though they are interested in bang-for-the buck, not on RC5 or quake, but applications like web, ftp, and news. Bread and butter network stuff, rooted deep in the Unix world.

This shows in several places. The VM subsystem they implemented several years back was one of the first of it's kind in the free OS world. The port subsystem is an efficient way to distribute and build tools that may still have compile-time dependancies and configuration without creating a packaging nightmare. The installer is simple, clean, fast, and good for the novice and the expert.

Put simply, FreeBSD makes the admin and the machine the most productive when trying to do Internet application "stuff".


I'll offer my Linux opinion, to complete my perspective. Linux wants to be everything to everybody. As such, it supports more "options" to everything. There are more device drivers, more supported file systems, and more "applications" than any other free unix. In many cases, this is good, but when it comes to getting real work done, it is questionable at best.

The quality of both some of the "supported" hardware and the drivers are to be questioned, but how are you to know what is good, and what is bad? The releases are more frequent, both to fix bugs, and introduce features. There are often all sorts of new things added you don't need that may affect what you're trying to do.


Any of them will probably do what you want. All of the BSD's have a very different structure than Linux, not only in code, but in how they are designed, built, and released. They all have core teams, rigid code review and testing procedures, and an emphasis on being correct rather than being first, best, or fastest. For the most part, if there is a feature in a released version, it works, reliably. Linux emulation on FreeBSD works like a dream. If RealPlayer G2 and acroread will run fine under it, anything will. The penality for this stability and reliability is that you're doing to have to pick from the "approved" hardware list, and do without some of the wizbang stuff.

Finally, I have one recommendation. Learn the way each OS wants you to do things. Unix is Unix, unless you're an admin or a programmer. The worst thing anyone switching OS's can do is try to impose one OS's / designers view on another. It's usually a poor fit. Just because one OS does something completely different than another does not automatically make it better or worse, what matters is what you are able to do with it at the end of the day.

Good luck with whatever you try.

Conspiracism? (1)

pigiron (104729) | about 15 years ago | (#1582352)

"FreeBSD confuses demagoguery with leadership and undocumented conspiracism with serious research"

Surely, you mean "conspiritorialism"? ;-)

Re:FreeBSD has incredibly good docs! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1582353)

I found the docs to be the best part of FreeBSD. My first experience with unix was with System V on an NEC StarServer (486). FreeBSD was the first *nix I put on my machine. I love the tun driver and pppctl. I haven't tried the other *nix products and only recently decided to try Linux. Great support on the .org site. I've set it up as a Gateway for a Non-Profit Org. for all of there internet access. Comes with excellent s(ex)ample files. I like the fact that most bacic configuration is in the rc.config file. I strongly recommend. Buildning custom kernel documentation is tops.

Re:Some thoughts on FreeBSD... (2)

NovaX (37364) | about 15 years ago | (#1582354)

As deep and from the soul this sounds, I can't sem to find anything than 'FreeBSD needs to grow up.' Sure, I agree that for a long time FreeBSD was considerd the underdog, and now that people are treating it more like an operating system rather than an annoyance to 'linux world domination,' there's some lag in changing attitude. This isn't by the leaders, but by some followers. Linux advocates had to grow up some, and maybe a few BSD ones do too... who knows.. maybe this is bs too..

But, where is your examples? How is FreeBSD being evil to other BSDs? How is it robbing the poor and giving to the rich, or anything else one could hold ethical and important where FreeBSD breaks community trust. I'm willing to listen, just not accept statements blindly. I like the FreeBSD people I've met, though never met other BSD people since I'm all x86, and used the BSD a system administrator told me to try. I've got an HP Apollo, but no luck yet with the NetBSD port (used to chat a bit with the guy), and just got another HP... might get it working...

So, where's FreeBSD hurt us? I can forgive some evils, because FreeBSD has helped user choice a great deal in knocking the linux zealots over and over again with the fact that there are other, and at times substatually superior, open source operating systems out there. That doesn't make everything ok.. but then what am I to despise FreeBSD for? I don't see them breaking my, or the communities, trust.

Change 'FreeBSD' with let say... Al Gore (0)

liNA-seven-nine (96581) | about 15 years ago | (#1582355)

Al Gore will just moan and groan until we give it permission to legitimize the fear and hatred of the privileged for the oppressed. And I can say that with a clear conscience, because in my effort to uncover its hidden prejudices, I will need to put to rest rabid and pathetic ideals such as Gore's. Throughout human history, narrow-minded ex-cons have always been scummy. So it should come as no surprise that the underlying reasons and causes for Gore's intemperate whinges must be defined, examined, and resolved, or they'll never cease.

it work! no? screw you. it is offtopic anyway


Huh? (1)

Millennium (2451) | about 15 years ago | (#1582356)

I don't know whether to rate this Funny, Flamebait, Troll, or What the Hell Are You Talking About?

It doesn't seem to have anything to do with any of the BSD's. I have no experience with any of the BSD stuff, but I doubt it could possibly be that bad. Actually, it sounds more like a rant that would be targeted at Microsoft than one targeted at the BSD's.

Re:Unix is Unix is Unix (1)

changhua (102361) | about 15 years ago | (#1582357)

You haven't learned much, have you?

BSD differences are small, but at times critical (3)

maynard (3337) | about 15 years ago | (#1582358)

.There are some serious differences between the different flavors of BSD, but for general purpose use one would almost never notice them.

OpenBSD ships with heavy cryptography in the distribution, allowing one to choose Blowfish generated passwords instead of MD5 for example. They're allowed to do this because they code, integrate the distribution, and ship from Canada, where Draconian laws on exporting Open Source cryptography are non-existent. Taking advantage of this the OpenBSD project is also striving to update ssh-1.2.12, the last completely free version of ssh, to remove well known security problems, which will be known as OpenSSH.

The other two projects, NetBSD and FreeBSD each have separate slants, though neither offers direct strong cryptography in their distributions because both ship from within the United States. FreeBSD is tailored for use with x86 and now Alpha CPUs, while NetBSD is tailored for wide portability. This is why the NetBSD project states "Of course it runs NetBSD."

I've only slightly used FreeBSD, and many years back. However, my NAT box connected to a cablemodem runs OpenBSD, and I have several old Sun workstations which run NetBSD... I have to say I'm very pleased with both of these Operating Systems and would strongly recommend them to anyone with need of an OS for some specific purpose (like NAT service on a firewall, or to run old oddball hardware like my Sun3s, old VAXes, and the like). And they're very strong distributions with heavy development cycles... just recently the NetBSD project integrated in UVM, a completely new memory manager with distinct advantages from the stock VM described in the BSD Design and implementation Red Book.

Hell, they all make for excellent alternatives to Linux as well... though I personally prefer Linux on my desktop workstation, after having my previous IP-MASQ Linux system, also connected to the cablemodem, cracked using a well known named buffer overflow (yes it was my fault) I'm now convinced I don't want a Linux box sitting out on the open net. I feel much safer with OpenBSD for many reasons... not just because they include the cryptography but because they code audit, they by default run critical daemons without root privileges in chroot() jails, and the authors take great pains to distribute their system by default with the fewest services started as possible, unlike most Linux distributions.

And one last thing, not meant to inflame Linux Proponents since I gleefully run both systems in my house, the documentation in all the BSD distributions seems far superior to Linux DOCS. Linux may have more HOWTO's, and other informal documentation, but when it comes to finding canonical documentation, like in man5 for /etc for example, the BSD's seem much better organized. The man system is but one small example, for primary documentation (just read Design and Implementation of the BSD Operating System for a great example of amazing kernel documentation) I've simply found nothing better among free software.

I've been very pleased with the results

Re:Some thoughts on FreeBSD... (1)

hollo (107827) | about 15 years ago | (#1582359)

I almost had trouble reading it. I just kept thinking, "what the hell is he/she talking about?" But then i decided, to just think "huH?"

FreeBSD is probably a good starting point (5)

Mr Z (6791) | about 15 years ago | (#1582360)

Although I haven't tried it personally*, everything I've seen and heard points to FreeBSD being the smallest leap from Linux. Once you get past the shallow stability/scalability/performance claims, the two aren't appreciably different.

As for the "emulation", I understand it is pretty good. A coworker of mine used to request Linux builds of a particular piece of software I maintained at work, because he was using it on a FreeBSD box, and I had a Linux box. It all worked without a hitch.

As for claims that some software runs faster, I'm sure it does. In general, software will run slightly differently, which includes some operations running faster and others running slower. FreeBSD and Linux are optimized differently -- this is an artifact of the fact that they're completely different implementations of the same basic POSIX and Unix APIs. I'm sure there's a class of problems that each is better at. Making a broad statement that X is faster than Y is pretty much pointless. (Even if Y is a Microsoft product. ;-) )

In the end, you really need to try out different flavors and find the one you're happiest with. If it seems like too much of a hassle, then perhaps that's a hint that the change won't do you much good.


(* Note: I did try to install FreeBSD once, but a bug in the Adaptec 7800 driver caused it to trash memory and crash before it even mounted the / partition. (This was a long time ago and I'm sure it's fixed by now. Linux and FreeBSD have been sharing their AIC7xxx code for awhile now.) Since I needed the machine for some hardcore simulation work, and since I already had a working Linux install, I didn't take the time to debug it then, and haven't gotten back around to it since. This isn't a black-mark against FreeBSD in my mind at all relative to Linux: Not only were the FreeBSD developers willing to help, but also my first Linux installs required similar sorts of hand-holding. The two worlds aren't that different. I've just been too lazy to try another Unix when I have something that works well enough for me.)


Immutable + Linux (1)

Luke B. Bishop (66779) | about 15 years ago | (#1582361)

Just pointing out that there IS a way to set immutable files on Linux with the ext2 filesystem. I forget the exact command (it's in the ext2 tools though) but it IS there.

Re:New? (1)

Listerine (7695) | about 15 years ago | (#1582362)

Well.. your advice works if you have used Linux previously (and I know the asker did and probably so do most people here)... but I was raised on BSD and to me some of the Linux themes seem odd and queer... so its not necessarily unintuitive, its just different.

Re:BSD's (2)

NovaX (37364) | about 15 years ago | (#1582363)

386BSD was the origional free BSD UNIX. Xenix (MS, later SCO) was in the 80s and quite popular as a usuable UNIX, and BSDI came around at some point and offered another x86 UNIX.

OpenBSD is a 3, I believe, year old splinter from NetBSD. There should be many similarities, and many changes from NetBSD.

BSD is more focused at the task that its goal is, and what its developers are working towards. Linux is developed at what every one or two developers are interested in, and throw their code up and hope Linus takes it. Its not a targetted, planned growth, but definately covers all corners.

Re:New? (3)

jedinite (33877) | about 15 years ago | (#1582364)

As a long time BSD biggot [grin], I feel that I'm somewhat qualified to speak on this one...

Quite simply, one of the biggest misconceptions about the BSD's is that OpenBSD is more secure than all other OS's period. OpenBSD is more secure than any other OS out of the "box"--you can install the latest version and have a damn highly-secure box without any fuss. But FreeBSD or NetBSD can be(and properly patched and config'd and etc ARE) just as secure. By no means should you think that FreeBSD (or NetBSD for that matter) is not a secure OS. It just requires a little more work out of the "box" to fully secure it.

FreeBSD is definately where you should start, I agreee 100%. Even though they've recently opened their driver database for the rest of the BSD's [] , you're so much more likely to get FreeBSD running on your existing hardware than any of the others.

One of the best pieces of advice I can give the BSD newbie is to head to Walnut Creek's site [] and go ahead and pay for the subscription [] . About 4 times a year you get the latest FreeBSD delivered right to your door on a CD, which is extremely handy for handing out to friends who have seen the light :) And, you're supporting some great software (and the development of some future great software)!

As for WHY you should make the switch, just wait till you see the screaming performance. Something about a magic TCP stack, i dunno ;) but the Daemon [] just simply smokes with Apache.

Question: How do I leverage the power of the internet?

Good if you don't use SMP (1)

kriston (7886) | about 15 years ago | (#1582365)

All of the BSD's are great operating systems. One major limitation for large systems is the utter lack of SMP support in threads. None of the BSD kernels I know of support kernel-level threads, and you need them for effective SMP. This essentially means that your second CPU is going to do nothing unless your program actually forks (or you start different copies of your program and give them an affinity to processor 1 and 2). Unfortunately, this still won't address load-balancing, which kernel threads with SMP will do. Doing these things defeats much of the good things about threaded programming and SMP, but that's BSD for you. The kernels are great and stable but just do not seem to address threads at all.

So if you expect to utilize your dual-processor machine, you should consider Solaris x86, Unixware, or Linux, instead of the *BSD's.


Kriston J. Rehberg []

Imagine that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1582366)

Suck on fdisk, just wait till you get to disklabel. Then you will show signs of true confusion.

Re: directory groups (2)

Bill Currie (487) | about 15 years ago | (#1582367)

and the bsd-style kind of file creation is to make the file creator's group match what the directories group is set to. Very nice, b/c I hate doing the find/grep/chown dance twenty times a day *muttering* .
Using the SGID bit on a directory causes all files created in that directory to have their group set to that of the directory. Not only that, but any subdirectories created in that directoryy inrehit the SGID bit. I use this all the time on Linux, Solaris and FTX (Stratus).

*gripe* I hate it when rpms that install into /usr/local reset my SGID bits and groups.

FreeBSD - more merchandise! (2)

Eric Wayte (4583) | about 15 years ago | (#1582368)

I've been tinkering with FreeBSD for nearly a year now and compared to the Linuxen I've experimented with (SuSE, Caldera, Debian, and Slackware), it's easier to keep FreeBSD up to date via the ports tree and CVSup.

But when it comes to the *BSD family, FreeBSD has more merchandise available. Just check out for stickers, hats, shirts, mouse pads, plushies, etc. OpenBSD does have the cool Blowfish shirt, with the C code on the back.

Re:New? (1)

Listerine (7695) | about 15 years ago | (#1582369)

FreeBSD is okay but I installed NetBSD for the first time with no help and no experience installing a *nix. Easy? I should say so... Of course this was on a Mac IIci, but that shouldnt matter.

When idle it had load averages of ~6.5

Re:New? (1)

Signal 11 (7608) | about 15 years ago | (#1582370)

It's unintuitive if you're new! I know it isn't nearly the kind of conceptual leap I needed to make between freebsd and linux as when I jumped ship from w98 to linux. That was painful.

Anyway, whenever I drop into a BSD shell it takes me a minute or two to reorient my brain to that environment... everything "seems" the same.. yet there are subtle things that need to be taken into account. It's not unlike converting regex expressions between perl, php3, egrep.. well.. try it some time, I guarantee you'll be a drooling mess by the end of the day if you have to do alot of it. :\


Not only that, but... (1)

hollo (107827) | about 15 years ago | (#1582371)

Don't forget that some of the Open Source OS's also design programs that do things easily for you. Other ones, no one does any of the "quick fix/setup" programs, and in that case, it is harder. Redhat Linux is my choice for a first time.

Re:FreeBSD has incredibly good docs! (1)

Listerine (7695) | about 15 years ago | (#1582372)

But NetBSD has the best logo!

... (3)

liNA-seven-nine (96581) | about 15 years ago | (#1582373)

from the author of The Complete FreeBSD: []

if you peers are using bsd, use bsd. have no freinds? use linux instead


be careful about video (2)

NovaX (37364) | about 15 years ago | (#1582374)

Got a 7000. Be careful about the video! Mines an ATI-Media-P (they upgraded it behind my back.. would be good if xfree worked). Ok, so xfree does work, just is a pain. Check out the linux laptop pages for info on the i7000 to make sure xfree is setup correctly. I've kept putting off spending another hour or two tryingto get the config to work (kept doing something wrong)... hoping to get a desktop soon enough....

Re:Well, a guy I know says... (1)

E-TiE (107831) | about 15 years ago | (#1582375)

My advice is don't ever listen to _anyone_ be it other Slashdotters or your local Unix guru. Instead, just go out and try out the stuff for yourself. There's no better teacher than experience. --e!
-------------------------------------------- ---

Re:Confession. (1)

arensb (17851) | about 15 years ago | (#1582376)

I don't think that *BSD is significantly easier or harder to learn than Linux. They're both descendents of the grand Unix tradition, so it's not surprising that they have a lot in common.

I think the main thing you need to do, if you haven't done so already, is to realize that Unix and Windows are completely different entities. Once you reconcile yourself to the fact that you'll need to learn a new OS from scratch, you'll be fine. Also, as a rule, Unix is a lot more configurable, but that comes at the price of complexity. As an analogy, think of Windows as a car: you can specify what color you want it, whether you want automatic or manual transmission, and whether you want the extended warranty. Unix, on the other hand, is a box of Legos: you're handed a box of parts, and you can put them together any way you like. Yes, this is more complex, but you can do much more.

Personally, I'm a BSD bigot, probably because I grew up on a VAX running 4.2BSD, so I'd love to see you run *BSD (probably FreeBSD, since it tends to be the most featureful of the *BSDs on Intel boxes). However, from what I've seen, Caldera's OpenLinux is the most newbie-friendly of the free OSes.

If you're just starting out, I'd say that FreeBSD, Red Hat Linux and Caldera OpenLinux are approximately equal (within an order of magnitude) in terms of complexity. I'd recommend that you try at least two of them and see which one(s) you like best.

Dudes, it's a joke (1)

jemfinch (94833) | about 15 years ago | (#1582377)

Not mine, but's a joke. I don't know what's funnier...the joke, or the people who responded seriously to it. :-)


Re:The REAL issue concerning OpenBSD - not securit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1582378)

Hey! I'd recognise the automatic complaint-letter generator [] anywhere.

-Dorsey []

This is only a guess... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1582379)

But he may be referring to freebsds views on outside developers. Outside of you know what. I think some ppl sort of know where he is going with this. Overstated though, sounds like the stuff I write drunk...

Re:Immutable + Linux (1)

logicTrAp (2864) | about 15 years ago | (#1582380)

chattr +i

My impressions of BSD's (2)

kjj (32549) | about 15 years ago | (#1582381)

Well I have played with the install on all three BSD and I will give you a quick warning off the bat. OpenBSD's install is definitly not for the beginner. I found the install process for NetBSD and FreeBSD both to be much easier, with FreeBSD being the most automated. OpenBSD has a very odd way of setting up partitions. NetBSD has some similarities to OpenBSD as far as partioning goes but somehow NetBSD seemed easier. Those nice text menus I guess. Neither NetBSD nor OpenBSD are going to do a lot of post installation setup for you, running XF86Setup automatically for example. For that you need FreeBSD. FreeBSD takes up two floppies to boot instead of one floppy like the others. All three have ftp install processes which is what I was using, but only OpenBSD and FreeBSD include DHCP support during the FTP install. I find the BSD bootloader nicer than LILO and easier for the newbie at least. NetBSD however has a way to set which partitions are on the menu and label each one. FreeBSD uses the partition type as the label but I wasn't sure how to modify the boot menu. NetBSD seems to boot the fastest. NetBSD and OpenBSD put their base dist in a single file and the kernel in a single file and the X stuff all in one file, with the option of getting small split files. FreeBSD only offers them the small split file way. FreeBSD's ports collection is impressive and generally will stay ahead of the other with some interesting exceptions. For example FreeBSD has ported KDE as of 1.1.1 but NetBSD is up to 1.1.2. Those are just a few of my general impressions of the BSD's but I would suggest trying them out and see which one you like. FreeBSD and NetBSD get my vote over OpenBSD because security is not as critical and I find the install and setup easier. Also NetBSD and FreeBSD both can be downloaded from and OpenBSD was oddly absent Hmmm?

Re:Confession. (1)

Listerine (7695) | about 15 years ago | (#1582382)

Harder to learn? What have you been smoking? They are just as easy (or difficult for some) to learn as Linux. The hardest thing is going back and forth because the commands are often similar but different. As for easiest install... its NetBSD by far. You basically download it and hit install. I had no trouble installing it and I had no idea what I was doing.

Feel free to think differently.

FreeBSD (1)

howardjp (5458) | about 15 years ago | (#1582383)

Several years ago I first installed FreeBSD on a spare 486 at Miami University. We were running a Linux server and Linux just wasn't cutting it. We had a lot of problems with reboots and lost filesystems.

So after the first installation of FreeBSD 2.2.2, this thing stayed up and was more responsive that a P166 running Linux. If you just want to play with a UNIX or clone, Linux will get you through your day, but if you are doing real work, FreeBSD is it.

As for the other BSDs, I installed NetBSD on a Mac68k and a MacPPC. In both cases, I was astounded by it. NetBSD is also an incredible system. I have not had much experience with OpenBSD, but the code itself is a direct off-shoot of NetBSD with security tweaks, so I expect the same experience.

But in general, I am sure you will be pleased with any BSD. They are fast, small, and easy systems. They are each present a clean, consistent interface without bogging down the system with unused "features" and bloat as GNU code tends to. The ports system also makes it a snap to install anything from Java to Apache to KDE without anything more than "make install". And without a doubt, my favorite feature of FreeBSD (and the others permit this as well) is the simple upgrade procedure: "make world". Never again will I have to deal with RPMs or dependencies, or precompiled binaries optimzed for a 386sx. :) Have fun and let us know which one you choose.

Re:Unix is Unix is Unix (1)

arensb (17851) | about 15 years ago | (#1582384)

Actually, AIX becomes a lot more tolerable if you stop pretending that it's Unix, and recognize it as a species of its own.

Re:Confession. (2)

NovaX (37364) | about 15 years ago | (#1582385)

Your right, but wrong. I looked at RPI.. my biggst disgust was that EVERYTHING is moving towards NT. I tried asking what UNIX boxes they had on the tour (they tried to keep them away from our eyes) and the CS guy had no clue... stayed with a few people in their rented house, and talked to one about UNIX. They think its dead, he thinks its dead, Microsoft's NT is king. heh... I just didn't feel good about the prospect of going their for CS when they're moving as strongly to NT (because businesses are/were), etc. Wasn't for me, but I wont spout various attacks because if he's going there, he likely found it comfortable.

Re:Unix is Unix is Unix (1)

trance (100920) | about 15 years ago | (#1582386)

Okay, linux is NOT unix, linux is based off of emulating a UNIX enviroment, which is the main difference between that and *BSD. BSD's are actually based off of the code of Berkely's unix, which is the alternative to System V Unix. Now, another big thing is that the FreeBSD developers (and possibly Net and Open) actually worked at Berkely on the software research facility untill they closed that down.

Re:NetBSD... can we trust it with our children?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1582387)

Forgive the French, but...Who the fuck is this AC? Hey..If you want to make a point, make it. Don't screw around with the "loquacious" prose rather than making your point. Thanks

Immutable + Linux ==> chattr (2)

Mr Z (6791) | about 15 years ago | (#1582388)

The chattr command allows changing file attributes on an ext2 partition. Here's an excerpt from the man-page:


chattr -changefileattributeson aLinuxsecondextended
file system

chattr [-RV] [-vversion ][mode]files...

chattr changesthefile attributesona Linuxsecond

The lsattr command allows showing these attributes.


Re:Confession. (1)

pschmied (5648) | about 15 years ago | (#1582389)

No reason to feel bad. I think that FreeBSD is an excellent way (better than linux) to get into *nix. No it does not have a point and click installation program like Caldera OpenLinux, but it is a "real" BSD style *nix that is very coherent. Many linux distros would be well advised to do things like FreeBSD. System setup is, for the most part, done in /stand/sysinstall. This is way different from say RedHat who has a control-panel and a Xconfigurator and a soundconf and ... and ... etc. Anything in FreeBSD that is not set up in /stand/sysinstall is set up in the standard BSD ways. This should not be intimidating if you really want to learn UNIX. There is a wealth of documentation out there on Just my $.02. I really like FreeBSD. I've been a Linux user for a long time and I made the switch to BSD this year. FreeBSD is like the linux distro that I wish I could have had. I'm now dabbling in OpenBSD which is a do-it-yourselfer's dream. It makes UNIX fun :-) I promise. -Peter

Re:Confession. (1)

Listerine (7695) | about 15 years ago | (#1582390)

No. And just for reiteration purposes... no. They are both equally easy/difficult to learn.. but the hardest thing is switching between the two.

Dual Boot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1582391)

If I were you I would go down to CompUSA and buy a copy of System Commander from them. Also be prepared to lose all your data when you repartition your hard drive. But when it's all said and done you'll be very happy with your setup. I recently just got through with my setup for dual boot and I'm very happy. Just remember to install win98 first and then install whatever flavor of linux / unix you want to use afterwards. Also put your LILO in the boot partition where you installed linux. Or you won't be able to boot win98.

Re:Oh that's an easy one (2)

NovaX (37364) | about 15 years ago | (#1582392)

Yahoo, Microsoft, Wistle.. OpenBSD got $10k from very happy corperations that base products on it. Why not go to FreeBSD's page and take a look at the list they made. Its not nearly complete, but shows its got some big names. Yahoo has been very happy. Microsoft too, cept they refuse to update virus scanners so they can blame BSD...

Re:New? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1582393)

No, I think that bsd -> linux is a less painful move than linux -> bsd because the gnu utils usually add options, while keeping options widely avaible on other systems, the same. Thus, the linux user gets accostomed to these extra options, and while on bsd, wonders wtf is going on when that option isn't working. On the other hand, the bsd user doesn't notice that much of a difference. Is the main reason why bsd still creates its own utils liscensing, ego, or support?

OpenBSD audits all its code... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1582394)

and most in the ports tree too. This has enhanced their security greatly and adds a lot more security than say locking down a few services. It helps unix in general because the fixes usually get applied to others eventually. No root exploits in 2.5 years is pretty impressive.

Re:New? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1582395)

uh yea right HEH. Compared to win9x or the latest Redhat or Caldera installs, OpenBSD and NetBSD's isntalls are nightmare from elm streets. Perhaps only better than Debain's install :]

Geeez (1)

aithien (32819) | about 15 years ago | (#1582396)

You sound almost as bad as the dialogue on the #freebsd channel of efnet ;-)

Re:New? (1)

Relforn (105625) | about 15 years ago | (#1582397)

I like NetBSD, even though I run it on x86 hardware (where any of the three BSDixes would run fine). I think it's because they seem to have the most focused community. There just don't seem to be many hot-dog types, and nobody ever hypes it anywhere (I hope I am not engaging in that right now). And NetBSD seems to be the most 'exploratory' free OS of all, it's what a new architecture designer (as with the Chalice CATS StrongArm motherboard) ports first to the new hardware.

I've been working for some time to find replacements for everything I run on Linux so I can convert over my last Slackware box to one of the BSD's (at present I have boxes running all three BSD variants on my home network). The last package is CDParanoia, and it's non-Linux port is in progress right now.

Lastly, I am into this stuff to learn more about Unix, and the BSDs give a lot more exposure (for example, a "real UNIX" responds with wonderment to a "dir" command....) than Linux does.

Of course, your mileage may vary. Mine certainly does.

Re:Confession. (1)

Yakman (22964) | about 15 years ago | (#1582398)

Oh. Backup your data. Win98 doesn't like to share partition tables with other operating systems.

Of course backing up your data is a good suggesiton, but i've never personally had problems with Windows / Linux dual boots. Well, the only problem i've had is that for some reason unknown to me Win95/98 decides to fdisk /mbr when installing, thereby wiping out lilo. There isn't really any reason for this as far as I can see, the Win95/98 installer doesn't do partitioning?! (Unless you have an unpartitioned HDD I assume).

This shouldn't be a problem when adding a Linux partition to a Win98 install though, unless you reinstall '98.

FreeBSD is too focused on x86 (1)

gjohnson (1557) | about 15 years ago | (#1582399)

I had FreeBSD installed on my Alpha for a couple of weeks. I was very disapointed. There appears to be little or no Alpha-specific documentation for FreeBSD, however there are many Alpha-specific issues.

I currently have OpenBSD on that box. Much better, but there are still some problems (no X11 on vga).

Linux seems to be moving faster these days. AFAIK none of the BSD's have decent SMP support yet. NetBSD runs on lots of hardware, but Linux seems to be better optimized on more platforms.

Just my $0.02.


The difference in the *BSDs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1582400)

I have used NetBSD, OpenBSD, and FreeBSD. My judgement is that FreeBSD is the most supported in terms of hardware drivers and software (over 2700 ports compared to roughly 1000 NetBSD and maybe 300 OpenBSD). NetBSD's biggest advantage is the fact that it can run on so many architectures. I do in face use OpenBSD as my main desktop operating system. I use it for the security yes. But it goes beyond that. OpenBSD has many features compiled into the kernel (for security reasons and for drivers) that are not standard on FreeBSD's default kernel (as of 3.2). I know of many people who still dislike recompiling a kernel when they have many boxes to administer so recompiling is a big deal to them. Personally, I enjoy recompiling and getting the most out of the OS. FreeBSD gets most of the attention and it deserves the spotlight. It is a quality operating system with trust and reliability built in. NetBSD I don't see as many people running on x86 with NetBSD). OpenBSD, after the first install, ran all of my hardware perfectly from the first moment. I buy my x86 hardware with Linux and BSD in mind by checking the hardware howto's and seeing what works the best (P2-350, v330, voodoo2, sb16, zoomtel 2919 modem) and they all should work on any UNIX-like OS. The BSDs in general have more centralized information about the OS and programming for it but I believe that linux has more volume in terms of number of articles but not necessarily in terms of quality. Certainly OpenBSD is an operating system that you hack not in that sense :) but you just have to hack it up to get things to work (i.e. the current ports mess right now). But it is a lot of fun and I wouldn't change it for the world. You must have patience with OpenBSD because the only official documentation are the man pages and the openbsd FAQ (which is available in PDF finally). For speed, FreeBSD is still the king and also for the number of applications that run for it. I see more and more applications that are made for Linux and FreeBSD specificially. FreeBSD is great from the install onward. There is a GUI install that allows you to choose all of your packages, plus the ports & packages collection is outstanding. It is worth the 4 CDs for all of the information and applications they give you. It helped me the first time I used BSD by being a previous linux user (redhat, slack, debian) and knowing the general unix setup. Some things to get used to are the BSD sytle setup (unless you are familiar with slack which is not too much different). FreeBSD is a server and/or desktop OS. It rocks at both. OpenBSD is a router and/or firewall OS that some people use in a desktop environment. NetBSD is a server OS that runs on darn near anything except the toaster (future versions might :) My experience with BSD has been a delightful one and I have not run into really any problems. I know the online community and I have friends who also run BSD. There certainly are not as many BSD users as there are linux users (or try and find another OpenBSD user as they are even more scarce). But BSD is not for hand holding. All of the free BSD's in general are tough OS's that take everything that you throw at it and you have to be willing to RTFM and find the FM before you FR it. The BSD's are here to stay and that's also one reason why I run OpenBSD. I enjoy all of the BSDs and I want to continue on that tradition and *not* let it die. There are far more linux programmers so some of us must step up and take the challenge and program for BSD. There is a thing between linux & bsd users (some on either side). I wouldn't pay any attention to all of that. I run BSD but I love the GPL and the BSD license when used in the proper situation. I use g++ and gcc all the time so I am very greatful to the free software foundation. Unix users (commercial and free) must unite together and stick together through out the next century. Unix is a great OS and has had it's share of hardships and quarrels. Let's make sure these are kept to a minimum. Now On with the coding! I prefer to use this "*N?X" instead of "*NIX" since this includes not only UNIX and Berkely UNIX but also LINUX. Long live free software :)

The Complaint Letter Generator lives!!! (1)

Jailbreakr (107836) | about 15 years ago | (#1582401)

Go to aint and generate your own complaints in the privacy of your own home, but dont bother posting them here. Its a waste of time and it only shows how much of a doofus you are.

*BSD's vs. Linux for Clusters? (1)

Zurion (2775) | about 15 years ago | (#1582402)

I'm gearing up for some undergraduate research in clustering. I've used Linux for a few years now, and I'm very comfortable with it. However, I'm interested if anyone has done any direct comparisons between the performance of *BSD's and Linux as far as clusters are concerned.

BTW, I know that the implementations of MPI/PVM are the same for each platform, but I'm wondering if there are any differences in the TCP/IP performance which is a definite limitation in Beowulf-type clustering.
Also, if anyone has used PAPERS [] clusters based on BSD I'd be interested in any results.

-- Zurion

Re:FreeBSD has incredibly good docs! (1)

Relforn (105625) | about 15 years ago | (#1582403)

I like NetBSD. For one, there's one, count-it, one HomePage on the whole 'net for the NetBSD Foundation. (mirrored, of course, all over the world). Not 10,000 places all claiming authority, as is the case with certain other Free OSes.

I shy away from Free Software efforts where there's too much talk of "community" too. It starts to sound like an .advocacy Usenet group shortly after that word wanders into a conversation.

Re:Confession. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1582404)

Oh give me a break. Only the staunchest of advocates woudl say that BSD's install is easy or as easy as winXX's or linux's. That is really a damn bad joke. As for usablitiy, rh6.0 boots to a graphical login (gdm by default) and has a desktop with a semi-similiar look and feel to win9x. To say that for a win9x user that the BSD's are easier to learn/start with than linux is really a bad joke. For a Unix user, their probably isn't a difference, but for a win9x/mac user, the differnece is there. Of course the BSD's don't really target themselves (at least not as much as linux) to the winXX/mac users.

Re:The BSD Family (1)

jemfinch (94833) | about 15 years ago | (#1582405)

There is no sparc port of FreeBSD. FreeBSD runs only on i386 and alpha platforms.

Of course, I could be wrong. But if I thought so I wouldn't have written this :-)


The BSDs (2)

drix (4602) | about 15 years ago | (#1582406)

I'm not going to reinvent the wheel; the distinction between the 31 flavors has been made abundantly clear. I think it's wise to point out, though, that you shouldn't choose OpenBSD just for security, just because of its vaunted line-by-line audit. I mean, that's a really laudable thing to do (not sure if I know of another OS available to day that can claim that), but a lot of what's been done to OpenBSD can be easily implemented in other operating systems (Unix, anyways). I'm sure OpenBSD users might suffer a few less buffer exploits or TCP/IP attacks in the years to come, but I think most the reasons why OpenBSD is "secure" can be implemented by competent sysadmin in the other BSDs. Thus, if you need compatibility or HW support, but also security, don't be too hesitant to try Net/FreeBSD.

BSD's deserve a look... (1)

Dark Fire (14267) | about 15 years ago | (#1582407)

I am a linux user. I have used WINNT in depth, Win9x, and linux. I have become very interested in FreeBSD and OpenBSD for doing proxying/masquerading. I am not certain if masquerading is available on either of the BSDs, but I intend to investigate. It is good that the BSDs are around. BSD code can be used in closed-source commercial products. One of my friends has followed the history of unix extensively and told me that the tcp/ip stack in most commercial unixes comes from the BSDs. Even M$ uses the BSD tcp/ip stack. Who knows what other parts of the code they use. That might explain why commercial software hasn't flopped yet. At the heart, they are using open-sourced code for the parts of their oses that make the whole product work. Ironic, isn't it? I have heard that FreeBSD is the best choice for a BSD beginner. I don't believe that Linux is necessarily any easier. It may be easier to install (depending on distro) than BSD (I can't confirm that either until I try it), but sooner or later, you have to learn the unix model. My $.02.

Re:BSD's (1)

Relforn (105625) | about 15 years ago | (#1582408)

NetBSD - main focus being platform proliferation (they support everything, though I don't know about laptops)

NetBSD works quite well on laptops, in my (limited) experience. NetBSD was the first time I had ever downloaded an entire OS off the 'net and gotten it working (lots of Linux CDs before that point, granted). I put NetBSD on my ageing Toshiba 2105 with greater ease than any of the Linux distributions. The PCMCIA Ethernet support is right in the bare kernel, so no need to futz around with modules or bolted-on kludges.

Re:Some thoughts on FreeBSD... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1582409)

Did you actually take my post seriously, or were you just playing along? If that was the case, hehe. :)

Re:... (3)

NovaX (37364) | about 15 years ago | (#1582410)

Remember that;s not a complaint by Greg Lehey, that's logic. FreeBSD, Inc. has numerously stated that its position to companies that wish to port to FreeBSD is toport to Linux first, for economics, and then port to FreeBSD. The Linux emulator is sufficent and porful enough to run their programs, and all it takes left is the will to port to FreeBSD after Linux. With Linux having a bigger infrostructure, more users, more UGs, more books, etc, its logical if you are on your own. That's one thing I greatly admire, telling users to use another platform because its better for them, and they can go to BSD when they're ready.

oh, and if it was a complaint.. I doubt he would have flown in for FreeBSD Con. Coming to the U.S. from Australia (around a 19 hour time change from Bay area), cannot be fun. Hope he had a laptop (especially with BSD) to keep him company on the flight. :-)
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