Linked by Howard Fosdick on Thu 28th Mar 2013 21:49 UTC
Linux Like many OSNews readers, I use Ubuntu. I also use several less popular distros. What is it like to use these lesser-known distros compared to the dominant systems? How does running, say, VectorLinux or Puppy or PC-BSD, differ from using Ubuntu or Fedora? This article offers a few ideas. Obviously, it broadly generalizes about distros for the purpose of discussion.
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RE[3]: Not a distro
by Doc Pain on Fri 29th Mar 2013 10:25 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Not a distro"
Doc Pain
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Nope. It's just FreeBSD with a new installer and PBI system.

Partial-nope. :-) It's a bit more than that. PC-BSD first of all is the FreeBSD operating system plus a new installer and the PBI packaging system. Furthermore it includes a desktop environment and preinstalled and preconfigured applications. This provides a nice "out of the box experience" for novice users who take those components as granted, usually in conjunction with desktop systems.

FreeBSD as an operating system, consisting of a kernel and the userland programs that comprise a fully functional OS, is created and maintained in a standardized way by the FreeBSD team. The big difference to Linux distributions is that they are based on a kernel, maybe add changes to it, and then add packages to deliver the functionality they intend: Lightweight distros or server systems are composed completely different from desktop, gaming or multimedia systems. So everything on a Linux system can be considered a package, even the kernel. There is no OS per se. Instead the creator of a specific distribution has to deciede how he wants his system to appear, e. g. which shell is the scripting shell, if there is a different default dialog shell, what packaging system to use, what mail subsystem and so on. There are many differences among the Linusi.

If you would remove the /usr/local subtree from a FreeBSD or probably even PC-BSD system, you would still have a fully intact OS. This differentiation between "the OS" (maintained by OS tools) and "additional applications" (maintained by package management) is often considered a disadvantage, as updating "the whole thing" consists of two parts. On the other hand, it can be really nice if a recent "simple update" renders the boot process unfunctional, as it can happen a few times on some Linux systems. On PC-BSD, binary updating for OS and applications has been mostly unified with PBI, so the desired experience can be delivered. But the means to do this in "the FreeBSD way" are still present: You can update world (the OS) and ports (installed applications) from source, if you wish, or use a port management tool, or even the new pkg tool.

Taken this consideration into mind, PC-BSD can be considered a "distro of FreeBSD". However, PC-BSD is not a Linux distribution. I still remember having read an article in some german computer magazine, titeled "FreeBSD - the professional Linux"... :-)

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