“It’s hard to browse the Web or read a computer magazine without finding a reference to Linux, the operating-system wunderkind created by Linus Torvalds and developed by a host of others. But although Linux steals the headlines, ISPs and system administrators often choose one of the BSDs – a group of operating systems based on code polished during more than 20 years of research at one of America’s leading academic institutions. What are the BSDs? And why should you consider using them if you’re looking for a non-Windows operating system?”
OS Alternatives – PCWorld on *BSD
2001-11-14 BSD & Darwin 7 Comments
So Apple who has traditionally had a following of mostly academic and graphical users is now in a position where they have something of a geek’s os. Carbon is fast, Cocoa is pretty, and best of all under the whole thing is the reliability and robustness provided by a BSD kernel. I wonder, will geeks start migrating to MacOS as their platform of choice? Remember the burning question: Wouldn’t it be cool if you could hack around, play all the new video games, and view all the latest and greatest movie trailers on an alternative platform? Well, now you can.
There’s only one hurdle, $1700 is the entry level non-iMac, non-laptop, and that doesn’t include a monitor. The other big kicker is that Apple doesn’t believe in supporting ‘older’ hardware, so you won’t be able to run OS X on your old PPC 604e 250. 250? But I can install FreeBSD on my 486/dx4 100 and it runs like a champ! They both have the similar guts right? I’ve even run OpenBSD on a 30MHZ Dec, and it ran flawlessly. Yeah, I just don’t see Jane Schmoe College going out and dropping her tuition check on a machine when she could just reuse that old P333 her parents are getting ready to throw away.
I am not a GPL fine print interpreter, but I am sure this is not correct:
“… if you use any part of the source code from Linux in a program you write, you must give the program away. So being rewarded for your labors is difficult, if not impossible, even if you’ve made a brilliant technological advance or you’ve combined only a few lines from Linux with a much larger amount of your own code.”
Don’t you just have to release the source code for the part of the program that uses the GPL code?
The whole anti-GPL diatribe in the article “sidebar” is unfortunate. Otherwise it’s a decent first look at the BSD world.
>Don’t you just have to release the source code for the part of the program
>that uses the GPL code?
As I understand the GPL, you cannot sell a product that incorporates code written under the GPL without violating the license. You can sell books/reference/support, as in the case of RedHat.
It’s sad that the only “viable” desktop operating systems are based on DOS/VMS (oh, sorry, “Windows NT”) and UNIX.
Do we need to wait for some sort of incredible revolution before we get to an OS that wasn’t designed about 20 years ago?
>As I understand the GPL, you cannot sell a product that incorporates code >written under the GPL without violating the license. You can sell >books/reference/support, as in the case of RedHat.
What the hell? So every distro selling a boxed set is in violation of the GPL? It’s clear you’ve made no attempt to understand the GPL at all – take your FUD elsewhere.
I hate the term “FUD”. It’s become as meaningless as “politically correct”–or rather devolved into essentially the same meaning, i.e., that which the speaker doesn’t agree with and wants to dismiss contemptuously.
The GPL doesn’t restrict sale at all. It places restrictions on source code availability. If you make a GPL program available to the public, you must make the source code available to the public free of charge or for a nominal charge (in any one of several fashions the license stipulates), without restrictions on use of that source code. If you wish to use GPL code in your own code, the resulting product must likewise be licensed under the GPL unless you make a specific agreement otherwise with the copyright holders of the GPL code. Since in the absence of such an agreement, the “new” product is licensed under the GPL, its source code must be made freely available as well.
And that’s it. No more, no less. You can sell binaries of GPL code for whatever price you feel like. Of course, anyone’s free to take your source code and make their own binaries and sell them for less, or give them away on street corners.
There’s a lot of animosity directed toward the GPL which is, at the least, overinflated. The charge that it’s difficult to make money with GPL products is absolutely true, but that’s true of any open source license: by definition if it’s “open source” the license can’t restrict redistribution by others. The charge that it’s more restrictive than the BSD license is absolutely true, too–if you license your stuff with a BSD-style license, I can take it, add a couple new features and make the resulting product completely closed source. That might not bother you–in some cases it might be precisely what you want, in fact (if you’re trying to promote a new protocol, for instance). But you might want to say, “Hey, I’m not charging you money for this, but I’m stipulating that if you make an improvement to it you have to give that away, too.” More power to you. It’s your right. If it annoys me, I’m just not going to make an improvement to it.