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.
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All OS are fun...
by JYL on Wed 6th Feb 2002 05:29 UTC

I will sound pretty old, but most OS have something that the others do not have. I have work on many OS (RSTS/E, VMS, XENIX, SCO, OS/2, NT and several more?) I do also operate a number of Linux, OpenBSD, ME/NT/2000/XP machines (no FBSD yet).

I am always amaze by the advocacy groups that claim that such OS is the best "OVERALL" and that the others suck big time (of course, Micro$oft deserve it at time). I hear this rhetoric for the last 20 years and honestly, it does not work that way. Other factors influence a lot more than the technical merit of any given OS. Take VAX/VMS in the 80?s, this OS was very advance, with clustering, security and everything. Guest what, this guys have lost most of it popularity over time.

To me, instead of being a nice and shiny sailboat or racecar, I perceived an OS to be more like a freight truck or a transatlantic gas tanker (boat). They are tools, not our good-looking girls? friend that we try to exhibit to everyone.

Often too, the claim of one avocacy group cannot be substantiated. Take one of the posts referring to netcraft to indicate that *BSD is more stable than Linux. Wheel, better than 1200 days of uptime is commendable ? However, Linux will never report better than 497 days of uptime. The server can be up for 1200 days, but the best uptime it will report is 497 days. Therefore, Netcraft do not know if Linux is better or worse than *BSD. So Netcraft cannot be use to compare the two.

Linux and OpenBSD are two very capable OS. I do favor OpenBSD for all security related task because this OS is build for that and it shows. An OpenBSD Firewall can be setup in less than a day by almost anyone with the support of a knowledgeable person (someone that have done it before). This will be an industrial strength firewall, ready to handle some serious cracker/hacker activity. Therefore, this is a good fit for Firewall, Mail Server, Web Server, Proxy Server, PPPOE Gateway, NIDS, IPSEC VPN and Router like function. On good hardware, this thing can keep going for hundreds or thousand of days without a single reboot.

You can do the same with Linux, but this is a lot more work and a much more complex process. (I do operate a few Linux firewall)

Linux shine at the desktop, number of RPM that can be easily installed, this is a perfect toy machine to try new thing.

However, Linux code and installation feels somewhat more experimental, needs more care and patching (security patch), the development process seem accelerated so much so that one have to upgrade very often to kept current.

Linux is also good for production server. I have MySQL and E-MAIL server that work flawlessly on Linux

Finally, Linux is pretty stable too but not yet with the *BSD league. Anyway, should we really care since anything that can do better than 180 days of stable operation under load is probably good enough for 99% of our need. Just look at several large corporations that are perfectly happy with NT.

Obviously, you can setup a shiny desktop and install a lot of software with OBSD. But, this is a lot more work and a much more complex process.