Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 22nd Feb 2010 09:53 UTC, submitted by irbis
FreeBSD Why was it not FreeBSD but Linux that became the most popular open source Unix-like operating system? Richard Hillesley traces the history of FreeBSD and examines how FreeBSD, and Linux, their different cultures and preferred licenses affected the open source world. "The BSD hackers have an aphorism that speaks some truths, which says: 'BSD is what you get when a bunch of Unix hackers sit down to try to port a Unix system to the PC. Linux is what you get when a bunch of PC hackers sit down and try to write a Unix system for the PC.' This aphorism speaks of a difference in the cultures that is greater than the words contained within it."
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nonsense
by Oliver on Mon 22nd Feb 2010 14:43 UTC
Oliver
Member since:
2006-07-15

Nonsense written by Linux-zealots. The fact is: nobody in *BSD community really cares about Linux and you cannot beat quality with quantity. *BSD is for UNIX-lovers, Linux is for Windows-haters. That said I'm Slack user since the early 90s, it's the only Linux comparable with *BSD. The rest is just distro-Spam

Reply Score: 2

RE: nonsense
by strcpy on Mon 22nd Feb 2010 15:17 in reply to "nonsense"
strcpy Member since:
2009-05-20

Nonsense written by Linux-zealots. The fact is: nobody in *BSD community really cares about Linux and you cannot beat quality with quantity. *BSD is for UNIX-lovers, Linux is for Windows-haters. That said I'm Slack user since the early 90s, it's the only Linux comparable with *BSD. The rest is just distro-Spam


Linux zealots. Never ending resource.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: nonsense
by danieldk on Mon 22nd Feb 2010 16:45 in reply to "nonsense"
danieldk Member since:
2005-11-18

Nonsense written by Linux-zealots. The fact is: nobody in *BSD community really cares about Linux


And nobody in the Linux community cares about BSD ;) .

*BSD is for UNIX-lovers, Linux is for Windows-haters.


There are plenty of UNIX (AIX, Solaris, etc.) people that moved to Linux. Linux is relatively popular, and the users need to come from somewhere. So yes, it is fairly obvious that some of that needs to come from ex-Windows users.

There is a place for both. And both are fundamentally different socio-politically:

- The license: one has a license that requires a lot of legal knowledge to read, but makes sure that code continues to be available. The other is very simple, and has the advantage that the code can easily be used in other projects, either proprietary or open source.

- The development structure: Linux is clearly a bazaar with patches flying all over the place, and with a userland developed by many different individuals, projects, and companies. The BSDs are cathedrals, where the kernel and userland are developed in an orderly fashion, closely together. Again, both approaches have advantages, the bazaar method seems to give rapid progress, and is very much comparable to chaotic evolution. The cathedral model on the other hand gives far better integration between kernel subsystems, and the kernel and userland. OS X is an extreme in this respect: nothing gets out without Apple's quality control and a high level of integration.

It is not clear that either model as they are implemented in Linux and BSD is best. However, it would be fun to see how BSD would progress with the same number of developer-hours as Linux, and tight control not only over direct userland, but the whole system (all up to the desktop environment).

I think Darwin/OS X kind of lives up to this experiment: it has more development-hours dedicated to the whole system, and has a cathedral model for everything, including the desktop environment. If PC-BSD adhered to a KDE-only philosophy, and gets more developers, it could be a serious competitor to other systems.

All and all, one thing is clear: ESR's "bazaar is better than cathedral" thesis was never proven. FreeBSD manages to do comparable work with far less developers, and more integration. Linux' "let's rewrite the sound system" approach has not turned out to be very effective. I can only hope that BSD projects will move up the stack more in the future (include a desktop environment, make it perfect).

Reply Parent Score: 7

RE[2]: nonsense
by strcpy on Mon 22nd Feb 2010 17:20 in reply to "RE: nonsense"
strcpy Member since:
2009-05-20


It is not clear that either model as they are implemented in Linux and BSD is best. However, it would be fun to see how BSD would progress with the same number of developer-hours as Linux, and tight control not only over direct userland, but the whole system (all up to the desktop environment).


That's a good hypothetical question.

In a way you could reformulate that and say that Linux is doing extremely bad with the resources it has; millions and millions of dollars, big corporations, thousands and thousands developers, and yet these almost entirely community driven systems manage to compete with Linux at some level. A big paradox, if you ask me.

Reply Parent Score: 8

RE[2]: nonsense
by Laurence on Tue 23rd Feb 2010 15:19 in reply to "RE: nonsense"
Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26

It is not clear that either model as they are implemented in Linux and BSD is best. However, it would be fun to see how BSD would progress with the same number of developer-hours as Linux, and tight control not only over direct userland, but the whole system (all up to the desktop environment).


Playing Devils Advocate for a moment: One could argue that BSD is getting big budgets and big corporations when companies like Apple (which you also mentioned) base their OS on BSD systems and BSD features on numerous embedded systems too.

The difference here is BSD code doesn't always make it back to the BSD community like GPL code would in Linux.

So if you look at closed BSD and BSD-derived systems in the same light as Linux distro's, you could argue that BSD is more successful.


(Not that I'm trying to argue that one license is better than another nor one OS better than the other - as I get fed up with flamewars. Just trying to flip the arguement from an (interesting?) new perspective)

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: nonsense
by Doc Pain on Tue 23rd Feb 2010 18:13 in reply to "RE: nonsense"
Doc Pain Member since:
2006-10-08

You're mentioning a valid and important point:

There is a place for both. And both are fundamentally different socio-politically:
[...]
- The development structure: Linux is clearly a bazaar with patches flying all over the place, and with a userland developed by many different individuals, projects, and companies. The BSDs are cathedrals, where the kernel and userland are developed in an orderly fashion, closely together. Again, both approaches have advantages, the bazaar method seems to give rapid progress, and is very much comparable to chaotic evolution. The cathedral model on the other hand gives far better integration between kernel subsystems, and the kernel and userland. OS X is an extreme in this respect: nothing gets out without Apple's quality control and a high level of integration.


As a developer, I really like the BSD platforms because if their excellent documentation attitude. Not only all system binaries have manpage entries, the same goes for kernel functions, library calls, system files or maintenance procedures. Especially when trying to solve problems, this documentation is very helpful. Furthermore, a good handbook and FAQ accompany those manpages. All of them are accessible off-line, which is often an advantage in problem situations.

The source code of FreeBSD, as another example, is very tidy and can be easily read. The included documentation helps the developer to understand what's happening.

FreeBSD's system layout, structure and implementation of concepts is well intended, and thought all over. If something chances, it is made sure that nothing breaks, or needs to wait for a fix in a further release. In this way, many OS subsystems have been rewritten and optimized over the years, without creating a system that's not fully usable.

If I may understand this by the word "quality", then, in my experience, FreeBSD is "better" than Linux. (But, of course, that's not meant to be implolite; I can fully understand that it's quite hard to keep a mass of documentation up to date about a fastly changing and advancing software background.)

It is not clear that either model as they are implemented in Linux and BSD is best. However, it would be fun to see how BSD would progress with the same number of developer-hours as Linux, and tight control not only over direct userland, but the whole system (all up to the desktop environment).


Yes, that would really be interesting.

All and all, one thing is clear: ESR's "bazaar is better than cathedral" thesis was never proven.


Well, it's an opinion, and it is a valid opinion. Furthermore, it's not an opinion I do share, but that I can understand. Many things in this thesis depend on individual interpretation and premises.

Linux' "let's rewrite the sound system" approach has not turned out to be very effective.


You can still feel earth shaking waves from "let's make X depend highly on HAL and DBUS while we already developed something that will replace it". :-)

I can only hope that BSD projects will move up the stack more in the future (include a desktop environment, make it perfect).


What about PC-BSD and DesktopBSD?

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: nonsense
by melkor on Wed 24th Feb 2010 06:28 in reply to "RE: nonsense"
melkor Member since:
2006-12-16

LTNS Daniel. I think you'll find that chaos works best. Nature is chaotic by nature (pun intended), and whilst things might not always be perfect, they tend to work themselves out very well. Structured development is never a good thing imho.

As Princess Leia said in Star Wars (paraphrased) - "the more you tighten your grip, the more systems will slip through your fingers".

Dave

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: nonsense
by bradley on Tue 23rd Feb 2010 11:01 in reply to "nonsense"
bradley Member since:
2007-03-02

Nonsense written by Linux-zealots. The fact is: nobody in *BSD community really cares about Linux and you cannot beat quality with quantity. *BSD is for UNIX-lovers, Linux is for Windows-haters. That said I'm Slack user since the early 90s, it's the only Linux comparable with *BSD. The rest is just distro-Spam


I agree with you here as I'm also a longtime slacker since the 90's... I also have been running FreeBSD since the 90's - Here we are still at this age old comparison??? I've said it once in times passed, so I say it again... " WE HAVE TO GET THERE TOGETHER! "

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: nonsense
by chris_l on Tue 23rd Feb 2010 11:15 in reply to "nonsense"
chris_l Member since:
2010-02-14

Nonsense written by Linux-zealots. The fact is: nobody in *BSD community really cares about Linux and you cannot beat quality with quantity. *BSD is for UNIX-lovers, Linux is for Windows-haters. That said I'm Slack user since the early 90s, it's the only Linux comparable with *BSD. The rest is just distro-Spam


Load of Bullshit. Slackware was and still is a bunch of gargbage mostly because of the BSD crappola. Proof is the huge number of people who jumped ship from Slackware to Redhat when Redhat was released and like me never looked back at Slackware ever again.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: nonsense
by Doc Pain on Wed 24th Feb 2010 14:27 in reply to "RE: nonsense"
Doc Pain Member since:
2006-10-08

Load of Bullshit. Slackware was and still is a bunch of gargbage mostly because of the BSD crappola. Proof is the huge number of people who jumped ship from Slackware to Redhat when Redhat was released and like me never looked back at Slackware ever again.


Slackware was the Linux distribution that inspired me in approx. 1995, and it soon became my main distro. When FreeBSD 4.0 was released, I left the Linux world and never looked back. A fact is that Slackware was the Linux that taught me the basics of UNIX, which I needed every day, in different forms (BSD, Solaris, IRIX, HP-UX, even AIX), and such basic knowledge is essential if you want to professionally work with UNIX, and maybe even with Linux. Today, it's quite possible that there are Linux distributions that are much better fitting the needs of desktop and server users than Slackware.

Still, I don't understand what you mean by "BSD crappola"; I'm familiar with the word itself, but what do you consider "BSD crappola" here, especially in the Slackware context?

Reply Parent Score: 2