Linked by fvillanustre on Fri 6th May 2011 22:19 UTC
Talk, Rumors, X Versus Y When comparing the evolution in market share of Linux and OpenBSD, two operating systems that were born around the same time, a question comes to mind: why is there such a difference in market penetration? Linux, on one side of the spectrum, with a license that supposedly impairs commercial venues, has enticed companies and organizations to adopt and support it under varying commercial models, while the BSD derivatives (FreeBSD, OpenBSD and NetBSD), with a larger history and an allegedly more commercial friendly license haven't been as successful to gather a large installed base and widespread adoption.
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RE[2]: Comment by Drumhellar
by laffer1 on Sat 7th May 2011 01:30 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Drumhellar"
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It is challenging to get into the big three BSD projects, especially FreeBSD. There is a steep mentoring period and it ends up making their average committer's age much higher. They attract mature developers instead of college students. The downside to that is that there are much less people interested in contributing as the bar is higher to start.

I think Google's Summer of Code program has helped interest in several BSD projects over the last few years. DragonFly and FreeBSD have gained developers from it.

The real difference is that linux is quite commercial these days. Many of the developers work for a large company and get paid to work on Linux part of the time. That makes a big difference in what gets done and how quickly. It also balances out the immature developers from college that also work on linux. People talk about the GPL but at the end of the day the IBM, Novell (who knows with attachmate), Intel and Ciscos of the world fund Linux development.

I can tell you it's quite hard to attract new developers to my project. It was much easier when I was in college and had a lot of time to contribute as well as many contacts with free time.

Another hurdle is that people can just do things on linux that aren't possible on other operating systems like use flash, java, etc. Sure there are ports to some of the BSDs but they are buggy or outdated. Eventually you hit people who want to get real work done and it's hard to get them to run your OS that's designed for servers. There is movement in this area in the BSD world. PC-BSD has started to attract interest in desktop development and my project is specifically about making BSD desktop ready.

I don't think it has anything to do with the license. Most people I've met don't care that much.

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