Linked by Nathan Mace on Thu 31st Jan 2002 18:45 UTC
FreeBSD By now, anyone who is even remotely related to an IT-type position has heard about Linux, and has most likely used it, if only to see what all the hype is about. However, GNU/Linux is not the only "free" Unix type OS available. FreeBSD and its cousins, NetBSD and OpenBSD are all offshoots of BSD UNIX, a commercial UNIX also known as Berkeley Software Distribution. This article will help you learn more about FreeBSD, its differences from Linux, and it will ease a potential migration process.
Permalink for comment
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
by Passer-By on Thu 31st Jan 2002 21:02 UTC

I think that a couple of things should have been made clear at the top. First of all, it's "UNIX", not "Unix." The Open Group, currently the owners of the name and product, has guidelines to proper usage. The rest of the article would carry more weight if the author hadn't made this gaffe, making himself look more like an outsider than someone whose instructions you would follow. It's also worth noting that there is no more BSD UNIX. The U of C closed down that project nearly a decade ago. Nor is "BSD" synonymous with "UNIX." Berkeley resold AT&T UNIX, with their own value-added extensions and utilities. Many of these utilities are now freely available, and that's what you get in FreeBSD et al. What you specifically don't get is UNIX.

That leads me to the most important point. Why should we change? The article doesn't say. Frankly, I can think of a number of reasons to stay with Linux. While Berkeley's networking stack and utilities were state of the art in the 80s, they're antiquated now, in the 21st century. GNU has taken the torch that Berkeley dropped, as Berkeley did with AT&T. Times have changed, and the epicenter of innovation is far closer to Linux than it is to FreeBSD.

Don't get me wrong, FreeBSD is a fine distribution. If your shop is already running FreeBSD, or if you're a developer charged with replacing some old, creaky VAX with BSD UNIX on it, then FreeBSD is the logical place to start.

I think the author is confused about what an OS is, vs. what utilities, libraries and applications are. When dealing with the UNIX paradigm, this kind of knowledge is essential! Even if the installers are different, the programs that are being installed are the same -- this seems lost on the author. So is the fact that the X Window system is used by both FreeBSD and Linux, but belongs to neither.

In summary, I was disappointed to see so many cheap shots, often based on a poor understanding of Linux and the greater UNIX paradigm. The title should not have been "Migration Guide." It was more personal opinion than anything else. But it does illustrate the prime factor that separates the maintainers of FreeBSD and Linux -- their attitudes. The FreeBSD folks are reactionary, and a little snobbish. Linux has exploded in popularity, in good part because of the openness and approachability of its maintainers. Change is inevitable. Those who embrace change are the ones making a difference.