back to article FreeBSD 10.3 lands

FreeBSD fans: version 10.3, which first hit beta in February, has gone to stable release. The Linux-watchers at Phoronix highlight improvements to its Linux binary compatibility layer, which will be welcome news to developers working on both platforms. According to the release notes, the improvements mean the compatibility …

  1. Tim99 Silver badge
    Joke

    Compatibility Layer

    So does this mean that we will now get systemd?

    1. abubasim

      Re: Compatibility Layer

      Joking aside, that would be ironic, considering that Lennart Poettering, the author of systemd, is encouraging Linux developers to disregard compatibility with other platforms such as the BSDs.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Compatibility Layer

        I'd rather encourage developers to disregard compatibility with Lennart Poettering.

        Seriously, how has this one guy been allowed to wreck Linux?

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: Compatibility Layer

          When Red Hat catches a cold, everyone sneezes.

    2. Ole Juul Silver badge

      Re: Compatibility Layer

      Systemd is GPL which is incompatible with the FreeBSD license. The chances of that ever changing are very close to nil.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As a Linux user I couldn't make head nor tail of freeBSD. First it had no tab completion making navigation clunky as hell.

    Next I wanted to "apt-get" a package. But it apparently downloaded the source of ALL the packages, and while compiling exhausted the space the auto-partitioner had allocated.

    I was like "f*ck this noise. Debian sid for lyfe."

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Do Debian users not know how to read documentation…?

      1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

        No one expects users to RTFM

        it is 2016 not 1996.

        I documented a complex system build and got some pretty inexperienced people to test it out. After updating the docs I sent them off to the people at the target site.

        After the umpteenth email reply saying, 'did you follow the documentation?' which was ignored, I had to get on a plane, spend 23hrs in Cattle Class getting to the other side of the planet in order to do a 2day installation and then spend 26 hours getting home(connections sucked). 24hours later I went on holiday. I needed most of the time to recover from that trip.

        All because they couldn't read the effing manual.

        No, I could not have done it remotely. The systems aren't connected to the internet nor will they ever be so.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: No one expects users to RTFM

          Funny you should mention 1996, because freeBSD is stuck in it.

          Take Centos. Never used it in my life, but was able to immediately start using it, despite the subtle differences in tools and conventions.

          With freeBSD however, right from the ugly boot screen, the menus with the clunky keystroke sequences, everything felt very 90s and unintuitive. When you realise everything is shit, and digging is just going to revel more layers of shit, you have to stop throwing good time after bad and know when to bail out.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: No one expects users to RTFM

            On the plus side, that seems to suggest it's safe from you :).

            It's probably easier for people who have indeed lived through the 90s because Linux once was like that too (I started with Slackware, and the whole idea to stick things on CDs and make that bootable came *much* later :) ). GUIs? Luxury!

            I must re-read the manual, because your tale suggests it isn't clear enough which is never a good thing IMHO, not exactly helped by people who seem to consider admitting a lack of knowledge an invitation for abuse instead of showing what experts they are by helping..

            1. sysconfig
              Stop

              Re: No one expects users to RTFM

              Funny though, that FreeBSD's "handbook" (available online) is one of the most up-to-date and comprehensive manuals for any *nix flavour out there. The hurdle to getting started with FreeBSD and doing things *right* is much lower than for most other BSDs and Linux distributions. Other sources of *excellent* quality advice are their official forums and -even more so- mailing lists.

              Of course, if the silver-spoon fed generation thinks Ubuntu and Mint are the gold standard, because you don't have to read or understand anything to get started and keep going, then that's where those users should be and stay, please. Just don't bring that attitude close to production environments, mkay?

              1. itzman

                Re: No one expects users to RTFM

                silver-spoon fed generation thinks Ubuntu and Mint are the gold standard, because you don't have to read or understand anything to get started and keep going, then that's where those users should be and stay, please. Just don't bring that attitude close to production environments, mkay?

                Make that silver-haired.

                Actually mostly what I want an OS to do is just enable me to use a bloody computer OK without breaking down every third hour and costing a fortune I dont have.

                And I am afraid that of all the stuff I have tried, Linux Mint comes top for 'just working' and not being so feature rich (bloated) or so 'minimal' (unconfigurable) or so full of spyware (Windows).

                BSD is probably cool if all you ever use is Emacs. However I use a deal more than that.

                1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                  Re: No one expects users to RTFM

                  "BSD is probably cool if all you ever use is Emacs. However I use a deal more than that."

                  KDE on top of BSD is the same animal as KDE on top of Linux.

            2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Re: No one expects users to RTFM

              "I must re-read the manual, because your tale suggests it isn't clear enough which is never a good thing IMHO"

              On the whole the FreeBSD manual is pretty good. I did discover a weakness in that, unless they've fixed it, installation doesn't offer an option to make the system you've just installed bootable and this isn't addressed by the manual. If you can't boot your new system the rest of the manual, however good, isn't much use. StackOverflow to the rescue.

              1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

                Re: No one expects users to RTFM

                "I did discover a weakness in that, unless they've fixed it, installation doesn't offer an option to make the system you've just installed bootable and this isn't addressed by the manual."

                I don't believe I have ever managed to complete a FreeBSD install since I first tried with 4.3R and ended up with a system that didn't boot to a login prompt. Any idea what you were missing or what went wrong?

        2. Loud Speaker

          Re: No one expects users to RTFM

          As FreeBSD user, I can say I dont often need to read the manual, because not much has changed since I learned Unix in 1978, except the bugs have been fixed. And some new hardware is supported - I have migrated from PDP11 to Oracle (ex Sun) with little need for changes to source code for working software.

          If you want Android, buy Android. Leave our Unix alone.

        3. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: No one expects users to RTFM @Steve Davies 3

          Your experience is practically totally opposite to mine.

          In the early 90's I had exactly the same problem and did as you did, only we found the user companies that didn't employ a "unix" expert generally had a problem free install, because they followed the docs we had prepared; whereas those who engaged a "unix" expert who because of their superior knowledge didn't RTFM and follow our instructions...

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. x 7 Silver badge

        "The "real" computing elite use BSD."

        Self-appointed "elite" ignored by everyone else who has a brain.

        Arrogant twat

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @x 7 - So if you claim to have a brain

          why don't you ignore us ?

      2. MacroRodent Silver badge
        Linux

        "user friendly"

        It is the little things. Just because BSD (and Linux) did something in a certain way 20 years ago is no reason to keep doing it that way on 2016. Not everything in Ye Olde Unix was perfect.

        As I wrote in some earlier post, I (a daily Linux user at work) occasionally peek into BSD to see where it is going. Every time it feels like a time warp. Last week-end it was NetBSD 7.0. Probably the purest maintained BSD version you can get these days.I really liked the way it fast to install and boot up (in a VirtualBox VM). But whoever created its installer though it OK to forget what keyboard layout I requested (Finnish in this case) when the actual OS started. Something most Linux distros started getting right by year 2000. I also asked the installer to install X11 and set up xdm, which it dutifully did, but logging into X11 went nowhere until I rebooted in single-user mode and created a rudimentary .xstartup for root. Then I got in, got an xterm window, and was surprised command-line editing and completion did not work, even though both did work in the plain text console. Seems this depends on some environment variables that do not get set by default in xterms.

        And so on, I expect, if I keep configuring and using it (I might just be masochistic enough to do so). Having fixed basic usability does not make Linux a Windows clone. Just a Unix-style OS that can be approached by other people besides old Unix greybeards

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "user friendly"

          "It is the little things. Just because BSD (and Linux) did something in a certain way 20 years ago is no reason to keep doing it that way on 2016. Not everything in Ye Olde Unix was perfect."

          Oh, you mean like systemd? (and yes, I hate systemd and refuse to use any OS+version that uses it. In fact, I would use Windows 10, before I use an OS that has systemd installed)

          1. MacroRodent Silver badge

            Re: "user friendly"

            Oh, you mean like systemd?

            Did I mention systemd? I was talking about entirely other things. But since you mentioned it, I have used Linux with and without systemd, and have no strong opinions for or against. It appears to work well enough for my needs, and the RHEL/CentOS releases with systemd appear to start up faster than the older ones, which I count as a plus.

        2. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

          Re: "user friendly"

          NetBSD runs on a lot of platforms, some of them quite old, and it's definitely the most bare bones and least user friendly of the BSDs. I'd recommend OpenBSD if you want to try a tight, focused operating system.

          It does have some interesting variants (which work to varying degrees of success), and there's some projects to use it in embedded scenarios/be virtualised with a kernel that only performs a limited selection of tasks.

          Whilst NetBSD can be, and is, used for real work, it does rather feel like a research project at times. Some parts work perfectly (most of the base), others are interesting, and work, but could be more completely implemented (NetBSD Xen). Some components (i.e. ZFS on NetBSD) are really not in a state where you'd trust your data. It has the best support of early Mac PowerPC hardware and SGI O2 framebuffers amongst the BSDs if you're bothered.

          There are very different project aims too. The Bluetooth stack is a good example : it's reasonably solid on FreeBSD, rotting a bit on NetBSD, and completely non-existent on OpenBSD - the code wasn't in a modern usable state there, so the team just removed it. Lynx was removed from OpenBSD base a while back because of security issues. FreeBSD offers decent compatibility. NetBSD is more laissez faire, OpenBSD is utterly focused on security and openness - its project is written for the developers, not user convenience.

          1. MacroRodent Silver badge

            Re: "user friendly"

            Thanks for an insightful discussion of the BSD:s. I certainly will have a look at new versions of the others too, when I get the time.

        3. Teiwaz Silver badge

          Re: "user friendly"

          So you are slamming BSD because you probably didn't set the keyboard up permanently after install and X and stuff was not set up?

          You've clearly never used Arch or other distributions that don't 'assume' you are setting up a desktop system. Not everyone wants/needs X or wants an install that assumes you need quick easy and 'hold may hand please mommy'.

          Stick to the shallow-end of the pool and Mint/Ubuntu or Windows.

          1. MacroRodent Silver badge
            Linux

            Re: "user friendly"

            So you are slamming BSD because you probably didn't set the keyboard up permanently after install and X and stuff was not set up?

            The installer clearly did not work in a usable way. It would have been OK for me if the installer had not pretended to set these up, leaving it to post-install set-ups (like very old Linux installers usually did). But since it offered the choice, I expected it to have a useful effect.

            You've clearly never used Arch or other distributions that don't 'assume' you are setting up a desktop system. Not everyone wants/needs X or wants an install that assumes you need quick easy and 'hold may hand please mommy'.

            You assume too much. I started with Linux back in 1993. when it meant downloading about 20 floppy images, and installing from them to a 486 machine, after which I discovered my second hard drive (attached to a then-new SCSI card type) did not work, until I downloaded the newest kernel source, and compiled it. (I also had been using various Unix versions for years before that).

            So yes, I have done my share of non-hand-holding installations, thank you. These days I use Linux as platform for serious work, and prefer not to waste too much time on the boring mechanics of installing it.

      3. jake Silver badge

        @ 1980s_coder

        "The "real" computing elite use BSD."

        If there actually are "computing elite"[0], they use whatever OS does the job.

        Get off your high-horse, PFY.

        [0] Which I seriously doubt ...

    3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "As a Linux user "

      PC-BSD was built for people like you. I have no doubt you'd have exactly the same problems with Arch Linux. If you want a Windows-like experience, stick with "popular distros" and leave the bare-bones stuff to people who care about that.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Who uses FreeBSD in preference to Linux and why?

    Not an attempt to rile or belittle anyone - I am truly interested.

    1. forquare

      Re: Who uses FreeBSD in preference to Linux and why?

      I started switching my home servers to FreeBSD about a year ago, primarily to use OpenZFS.

      Since then I have also installed FreeBSD on my laptop because I just liked the feel of the system. One of the things I really like is that it comes with very similar tools to that on my desktop running OS X, I've got little interest in plaguing either machine with GNU tools and since both come with BSD tools out be box I pretty much need to only learn one set of flags.

      I also really like the philosophy, history, and community around FreeBSD.

      FreeBSD is licenced under a permissive licence, and while I'm sure there are some companies that take this for granted, an awful lot of companies do contribute back to the project. This freedom has no restrictions.

      The philosophies of the project mirror those of original UNIX philosophy, whereas Linux seems to be running closer to a Windows development philosophy in some areas.

      In recent years mainstream Linux distris have become a haven for less computer literate users and getting help on more advanced topics has become more difficult (in my opinion), I find the FreeBSD community extremely knowledgable, if sometimes a little blunt…

      More than anything, it's great to have the choice. With all the various Linux distros and BSDs, you get a wonderful diversity that makes every project stronger.

      1. itzman

        Re: Who uses FreeBSD in preference to Linux and why?

        A thimbs up for a good neutral answer, not because I like BSD enough to install it.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Who uses FreeBSD in preference to Linux and why?

      License

      The licensing terms are very different, and this has made FreeBSD attractive to the likes of Sony and (more distantly) Apple. Basically the license lets you use FreeBSD, change it in any way you like, and distribute a product with no obligation to also distribute the source code.

      ZFS

      The license has also made it easy to incorporate technologies from other areas, especially ZFS. If you're storing a lot of data, ZFS is a fine way to do it. It takes account of all the problems (i.e.the bit error rate of a drive can no longer be ignored) that crop up when you start having large numbers of multi-terabyte disks collected together. Linux doesn't really have anything to compare to it, which is why companies like Ubuntu are exploring the true limits of GPL in contemplating distributing a ZFS kernel module with Linux. ZFS is a fine gift to the world from Sun, yet the Linux community finds itself turning its nose up at this gift for the sake of upholding their reputation for licensing-related moralistic rectitude. The FreeBSD community had not such qualms.

      Network

      It's also said (I have no first hand evidence one way or the other) that FreeBSD network stack is faster. It also has a reputation for being very secure. If you're running an enormous data centre with a lot of network traffic, stack efficiency can translate into commercially significant energy savings. For companies like Google, energy is their number 1 cost; saving 5% is important.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Who uses FreeBSD in preference to Linux and why?

        That's one way to spin it. Another is that Sun intentionally released it under a sketchy assed licence to ensure GPL incompatibility.

        1. Tom 38 Silver badge

          Re: Who uses FreeBSD in preference to Linux and why?

          That's one way to spin it. Another is that Sun intentionally released it under a sketchy assed licence to ensure GPL incompatibility.

          It's a sketchy assed license that is compatible with 3 clause BSD...

        2. bazza Silver badge

          Re: Who uses FreeBSD in preference to Linux and why?

          @massivelyserial,

          That's one way to spin it. Another is that Sun intentionally released it under a sketchy assed licence to ensure GPL incompatibility.

          Ah careful there, that's a touch of the old licensing-related moralistic rectitude showing through there.

          Sun gave their code away under a license of their choosing, just the same as any other open source creator. Being the originator of something gives you the privilege of choosing. That's the way the world works.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Who uses FreeBSD in preference to Linux and why?

        It also has a reputation for being very secure

        I used to build Gauntlet firewalls on BSD so yes. I actually have an ISP using FreeBSD for their infrastructure, precisely because it means I have to worry less about the underlying platform. Of course, if you then stick Wordpress on it without any extra protection measures you're still asking for it, but at least you know at which level of the stack you still have a problem.

        It's not perfect (nothing is), but the combination seems to wonderfully confuse script kiddies :)

      3. HmmmYes Silver badge

        Re: Who uses FreeBSD in preference to Linux and why?

        You forgot DTRACE.

      4. kryptylomese

        Re: Who uses FreeBSD in preference to Linux and why?

        I think it is great to have a choice, as long as the choice is not Windows :) and I do appreciate the license differences and the freedom that that permits.

        ZFS is as you have described (hope the legal side is resolved soon).

        XFS on Linux can handle 500TB so it is no even close to the maximum size of ZFS but I am not sure that is actually a limitation seeing as you could combine it with GlusterFS and have unlimited storage.

        Linux is the biggest operating system in the world and runs on the all the top 500 supercomputers bat one or two, so I guess not having ZFS has held it back too much :)

        With regards to Network, I too have heard that the network stack in freeBSD is faster. However, I also don't have any evidence for this and am aware that the Linux network stack is very tunable so it maybe just that there is a speed deficit out of the box? At the end of the day, Google run their own version of Ubuntu "Goobuntu" for their desktop operating system rather than BSD and I am guessing that they have an awful lot of instances so power draw may not be a deciding factor?

        1. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

          Re: Who uses FreeBSD in preference to Linux and why?

          XFS is not really any substitute for ZFS, even though I'm using it myself. It can be combined by all the Linux RAID and caching options to create a reasonable system, but it's still not as good as ZFS. If I had enough memory to use ZFS and the FreeBSD Xen dom0 was more usable, I'd be using that..

    3. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: Who uses FreeBSD in preference to Linux and why?

      One plan is to split the workload among servers with different operating systems in the hope that a single exploit will not work on both Linux and BSD.

      A really quick look for market share shows nearly 2% of http servers running a BSD based OS. There is reason to hope that crackers will focus on the mass market.

      1. bazza Silver badge

        Re: Who uses FreeBSD in preference to Linux and why?

        A really quick look for market share shows nearly 2% of http servers running a BSD based OS. There is reason to hope that crackers will focus on the mass market.

        Security through obscurity may get laughed at, but it's difficult to pull off a convincing laugh when oneself has been hacked and the weird guy with the what-in-the-hell-is-that OS is running quite happily totally unaffected.

        In Ian M Bank's series of Culture novels the Mind-run spaceships are described as having written their own OSes specifically to ensure that they're all different to make the fleet as a whole unhackable. Seems like the world of technology is gradually catching up with that good idea!

        1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

          Re: Who uses FreeBSD in preference to Linux and why?

          Security through obscurity may get laughed at, but it's difficult to pull off a convincing laugh when oneself has been hacked and the weird guy with the what-in-the-hell-is-that OS is running quite happily totally unaffected.

          Let me correct you here, it's security through diversity. You're not hiding what you're doing (although it's fun to tweak the IP stack so an nmap -O provides a different output), and it has been the mainstay of any good defence strategy by ensuring that you never had the same two firewalls in subsequent layers (so a bug in one could not affect the other).

          The "I Love You" virus was IMHO in that respect a wake up call. It demonstrated just what could happen if you have a monoculture, whole platforms fell like dominos resulting in outages sometimes for a whole week (no, we didn't have the problem, but that was more because we didn't run Outlook).

          1. Ole Juul Silver badge

            Re: Who uses FreeBSD in preference to Linux and why?

            1/ I do.

            2/ It works for me

    4. Jack of Shadows Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Who uses FreeBSD in preference to Linux and why?

      ZFS is the main driver here; I've 14+ TB to preserve here and straight RAID isn't going to cut it. Further the only file-system on the GPL-approved list may be btrfs but it still isn't ready for prime-time. Hey, the other one was Windows Storage Spaces+ReFS and I don't think I'm going that way, not at the licensing costs (and compliance headaches) involved.

      I'd add security but that's pretty much a given, especially to anyone that's familiar with pfsense or the other tools available.

      Lastly, way back in the late '80's and up to the mid-90's, I was happily running BSD on mi Amiga (extreme mods applied). It's the way I've always seen real computing (running-lite without over-byte)or(small is beautiful).

      I've got one of my dual-Xeons ready to go and the disc cut (I prefer that way). Oh, and the 14 TB is finally, fully (really fully) backed up. Twice! That was a real pain.

    5. thames

      Re: Who uses FreeBSD in preference to Linux and why?

      I don't use it in preference to Linux, but I do use it as a testing platform for a software project that I'm working on (as well as Ubuntu Linux and Windows 10).

      I can't really see anything to recommend it over any of the better Linux distros. It's a bit different in various ways without being obviously better.

      On the other hand, it's a bit more old-school than Linux, and I think that appeals to people who cut their teeth on proprietary unixes.

      As I said, I'm just using it as a testing platform so I'm not really wringing it out thoroughly. One of the reasons I am using it though is that since it uses LLVM for everything, it gives me a third compiler to work with, which helps when writing a portable library. I have noticed though that the resulting code compiled by LLVM is very significantly slower than when compiled by GCC (like half the execution speed). In general, GCC is slightly faster than MS VC, but LLVM is much, much slower than either. That's my application though, and I have been doing enough optimisation work to know that each problem domain needs to be viewed separately. Compatibility with GCC was 100% though, which was a lot better than you could say for MS VC.

      One big thing you have to look out for with any of the BSDs though is that driver support and hardware compatibility is nowhere near up to the breadth and depth of what you find in Linux. If you're going to try it out in anything other than an x86 VM, research the hardware very carefully before committing to it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Who uses FreeBSD in preference to Linux and why?

        How is RAM useage? I heard freeBSD uses less which would be nice for my VPS instances which are RAM-bound.

        However I've got a feeling it's that old chestnut of people miscalculating Linux free space because of cache usage.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Who uses FreeBSD in preference to Linux and why?

          Personally, I've been using one variety of BSD or another on the servers for over a third of a century. And on the desktops for about the first third of that. Why? Because it just works. Yes, you have always had to know something about computers when using the BSDs ... but who are you, Barbie? (Paraphrasing: "BSD class is HARD!")

          About the second third of that time-frame, it's been Slackware Linux on the desktops, and one or another of the BSDs on theservers. Again, just because it works.

          Plug&Pray is a crutch for the computer illiterate "interface users", not actual computer users. And yes, there is a VERY big difference.

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

            1. x 7 Silver badge

              Re: Who uses FreeBSD in preference to Linux and why?

              "The very first machine I installed OpenBSD on, had hardware compatibilitily issues. I successfully wrote and installed a kernel patch within a day to fix it, despite being new to the system"

              if I'm installing a new machine, WTF would I want to need to spend a day correcting system incompatibilities before it will work? I need an operating system that works, not a faulty conundrum that doesn't

            2. jake Silver badge

              Re: Who uses FreeBSD in preference to Linux and why?

              "In order to use BSD, you need knowledge of computing"

              Wrong. You need knowledge of computers.

              "Computing" is abstract. "Computers" are hardware.

              1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Re: Who uses FreeBSD in preference to Linux and why?

          How is RAM useage? I heard freeBSD uses less which would be nice for my VPS instances which are RAM-bound.

          Pretty much any unix system can be configured to use little RAM. Maybe the *BSD approach, which more openly discusses kernel options, is more suited to this approach. But on embedded systems driver support is better for Linux, which is why you see Busybox everywhere.

    6. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Who uses FreeBSD in preference to Linux and why?

      One of the things that *BSD gets right is the separation of system and software. You can run easily run a FreeBSD x.y with the most modern software because software is provided as ports/packages. Another is that userland is the same no matter what *BSD you're on.

      The is in contrast to the "curated" approach of RHEL or Debian which are quite happy to serve up antiquated software packages. You want a more recent version? Then either upgrade the OS or compile and install yourself.

      However, it seems that RedHat and Canonical have more accurately understood that the market is looking to replace skilled sys admins who know what they're doing with burger-flippers.

    7. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

      Re: Who uses FreeBSD in preference to Linux and why?

      FreeBSD is better supported by binary drivers, but also has a consistent user space, great documentation, a decent disk back end, easy to understand firewall, and a reasonable init system. It's the most Linux like BSD there is, although less hardcore users may wish to use the desktop oriented PCBSD, which makes getting X up and running a little easier.

      My favourite BSD is OpenBSD, a very carefully thought through system. NetBSD is a little more anarchic, and the most barebones of the BSDs. It's ability to easily cross compile is excellent, though.

      It's also true that the packages/ports system is very similar on all the BSDs, and knowledge gained on one BSD is transferable to another. It is more than a little irritating that the BSDs have successfully used ifconfig for configuring every type of interface for years, whilst Linux distributions use a variety of different commands.

      I'm fairly pragmatic about operating systems. My base operating system is Linux Salix, because I run everything on a Xen dom0, Slackware is too painful even for me (package dependencies, please!), and a NetBSD/Solaris dom0 is just not as functional, for graphics card hardware passthrough to VMs.

      On top of Xen runs Windows (for app support, development, and some light gaming) and FreeBSD - because it's supported by NVidia, and the open source graphics drivers, whilst just about adequate, don't work well in VMs (a VM only looks like a real PC if you squint at it - typically it's a 440BX (pentium 2/3 era) or a Q45 (penryn era) chipset, with a more recent CPU than ever ran on those platforms, plus an odd BIOS, an ACPI table that looks like nothing else, and a few other oddities).

      A couple of notes about BSDs : typically you can run with a generic kernel, and don't need to recompile. On OpenBSD you should definitely run with the stock kernel, it is unusual to try anything different, and error reports will be rejected. Also note that whilst it is generally quite safe to run OpenBSD -current snapshots as a day to day environment, this is not the case for NetBSD and FreeBSD - if you need them to work, use their stable environments.

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: Who uses FreeBSD in preference to Linux and why?

        It is more than a little irritating that the BSDs have successfully used ifconfig for configuring every type of interface for years, whilst Linux distributions use a variety of different commands.

        Have an extra upvote for that. It is admittedly a while back but I remember helping a Linux user (I think the system was Fedora) setup their wifi which the GUI was failing to do. Turned out that the GUI was simply wrapping round the BSD setup… which obviously didn't work on a system with different paths, etc.

    8. CAPS LOCK Silver badge

      Re: Who uses FreeBSD in preference to Linux and why?

      I use it at work for servers. Why? Because it's simple, reliable and durable, and I don't even run ZFS. I've run it since 3.3 without any grief or drama. Would I change to Linux? No, I like the simple life.

    9. sysconfig

      @ephemeral: Re: Who uses FreeBSD in preference to Linux and why?

      There are a couple of reasons I have been using it for about 12 years in *some* environments:

      1. ZFS

      FreeBSD has the most solid and longest running non-Solaris implementation of it, which also runs as a kernel module and not, like on Linux, in Userland (though they are trying to change that there; licence niggles aside). ZFS on Linux in any form is much younger, hasn't seen a lot of production use, and is therefore a no-no for the time being in any case.

      2. Performance of the network stack

      There's a reason why other OS's including Windows have borrowed FreeBSD code in their implementations.

      3. Choice of excellent firewall implementations

      pf, ipf, ipfw... You have a choice of three excellent options, all of them long-standing and robust. My preference is pf, although I wish they would be have more of the latest OpenBSD features included; that's work in progress though. In any case it's super robust and has handled shed loads of traffic as a low-budget firewall (or pair rather, thanks to pfsync and carp) for us.

      4. Ports tree

      While you don't have to compile anything from source any more these days (pkg-ng, the latest FreeBSD package manager is IMHO superior to apt-get and yum), you can. Where ports are different from normal source tarballs which you have to fall back to elsewhere if you want to compile in certain features which the standard packages don't provide, is that you have a standard way of configuring all the bits and bobs (read: dependencies) while you compile things. It's *much* easier and more consistent (read: repeatable) than going off to deal with stand-alone source code packages.

      5. devd

      We used that a lot to respond to events on the system, for example failures. It allows to run arbitrary commands as soon as components fire events and enable us to respond to that on the application layer, which in turn leads to graceful failures and fail-over procedures with *zero* impact from the user's point of view.

      6. Licence

      Want to use any FreeBSD code for whatever it is you are intending to do? You can. You don't need approvals, you don't have licence incompatibilities with FreeBSD code elsewhere, you may or may not publish your stuff with or without source code. This is why you find FreeBSD (and NetBSD and OpenBSD) on so many embedded devices and appliances. NetApp for example have made very heavy use of FreeBSD and built rock solid devices (they got a bit carried away on price tag and missed recent developments though, but that's a different story).

      7. Documentation and Support

      The FreeBSD Handbook is brilliant. And any serious questions get very high quality answers on their mailing lists. Much better than the random guesses from so-called experts you often get in the various Linux distributions' camps.

      Sure, if you go with RedHat Linux, you get absolutely outstanding support, too, at a price tag though. (And what's worse, you support the employer and indirectly pay the salary of the systemd looney!)

      8. Performance

      Some of the software we have been running over the years runs better on FreeBSD according to in-house benchmarks. This is obviously largely dependent on the work load and the hardware as well as particular configuration details. Your mileage may vary by a mile or two.

      Now most of the above is for servers. On the desktop it's a completely different story. Well, not entirely. The items hold true, but FreeBSD is seriously lacking in desktop support. Yes, you can make it work - and I have been running FreeBSD for a year or so recently as my main desktop. But it's only worth it if you depend on any of FreeBSD's features. Truth is that most FreeBSD developers run other systems on their desktops and laptops, which is the main reason why it will stay behind for some time to come. PC-BSD is trying to bridge the gap, and Kris Moore is doing a good job there. But most average users will give up on it early. Too many hurdles, if you can have Ubuntu or Mint running in a few minutes. FreeBSD should probably keep its focus on the server side, IMHO.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: @ephemeral: Who uses FreeBSD in preference to Linux and why?

        "FreeBSD is seriously lacking in desktop support... PC-BSD is trying to bridge the gap"

        I haven't cut over to FreeBSD as yet because I've a few things to check out first & other stuff keeps getting in the way whilst Debian LTS is able to keep a non-systemd system going a little longer. But I ran KDE, LibreOffice etc on it without noticing any particular differences. I suppose if I lusted after Gnome 3 things might be different...

        One thing I have noticed is the lack of the equivalent of Synaptic for S/W management. Yes, the modern package management is comparable to apt but the advantage of Synaptic is that you can make a keyword search where you know the functionality you want but not what supplies it. Having to go via the website to look for packages is a bit half-arsed in comparison. PC-BSD sets out to fix that but I found its entire package management system to be such a CPU-hog that I gave up on it.

        My impression is that Linux started out with considerable usability issues back in the '90s but picked up a lot of effort to polish it. There were major glitches - the 2.4 to 2.6 period broke a lot of pre-compiled S/W (it might have been libc6 that was actually responsible) and certainly leaves me with the impression that the overall Linux ecosystem has more devs who don't mind breaking stuff than is comfortable. Overall Linux has gained an edge in usability but platform-independent stuff at desktop and application level means that the edge isn't that great. What's an interesting question is whether people moving over from Linux, prompted by systemd, will erase that edge altogether.

      3. fnj

        Re: @ephemeral: Who uses FreeBSD in preference to Linux and why?

        @sysconfig - first, you make some great points, almost all of which I entirely agree with. However ...

        <blockquote>FreeBSD has the most solid and longest running non-Solaris implementation of it, which also runs as a kernel module and not, like on Linux, in Userland</blockquote>

        Utter horse feathers. ZFSonLinux is a kernel module, albeit one that uses a shim (SPL - Solaris Porting Layer) to emulate a bunch of the Solaris kernel interface. You are probably thinking of zfs-fuse, which, in the dim past, USED to be the only way to run ZFS on linux. They are COMPLETELY different animals.

        <blockquote>ZFS on Linux in any form is much younger, hasn't seen a lot of production use, and is therefore a no-no for the time being in any case.</blockquote>

        It is certainly comparatively young, but for at least a couple of years now, ZFSonLinux has been rock-solid and most definitely production ready. Lots of people use it, plenty of them for mission critical work. I am one of them. I use ZFSonLinux on multiple systems, as well as ZFS under FreeBSD.

    10. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Who uses FreeBSD in preference to Linux and why?

      "Not an attempt to rile or belittle anyone - I am truly interested."

      Mainly because I had someone who used it to turn to for help when I was switching from Windows and he recommended it. In the longer term, because of the excellent documentation. At the time I switched, Linux was a nightmare of competing "distros" all doing their own thing, documentation was scattered all over the internet and help from other users was extremely elitist. Personally I find the Linux habit of mixing system and user stuff into the same directories to be a huge faux pas. There's a reason for /etc and /usr/local/etc, /usr/bin and /usr/local/bin and so on.

      I'm currently running a headless server with a 6TB RAIDz serving out NFS shares (and CIFs for my Windows loving wife), a couple of desktops and my laptop. Everything pretty much just works. I used to use Linux on the laptop, but mainly just to SSH with X forwarding into the the main desktop in the study, but running a local browser since Linux seemed have fewer problems with multimedia webpages and better hardware support. My current old(ish) laptop is fully supported, even the built-in webcam and wireless NIC.

      Everything I need to do works just fine but since I've been using it since 4.3R I have a lot of time and experience invested in FreeBSD. Just like I used to have with Windows up to XP.

      I think the problem some of the Linux users above have is that they already know the Linux Way, have much experience with it and for some weird reason expect to switch to another OS without investing the same time and experience in it. BSD !=Linux, despite the apparent surface similarities once a GUI is running.

      1. a_a

        Re: Who uses FreeBSD in preference to Linux and why?

        At the time I switched, Linux was a nightmare of competing "distros" all doing their own thing,

        That's how I came to FreeBSD, I keep meaning to try a Linux but still can't pick one.

        1. Someone_Somewhere

          Re: I keep meaning to try a Linux but still can't pick one.

          The closest thing to a BSD experience with linux would probably be:

          Arch, if you want to have a similar level of control and a ports-like package system.

          Gentoo, if you prefer to compile everything yourself.

          Slackware, if you want an FSH that adheres more closely to the BSD standard and don't mind managing dependencies yourself.

          (Hardened) (B)LFS if you want to compile everything yourself and an even greater opportunity (obligation?) to manage and maintain it /all/ by hand.

          I'm watching PacBSD out of the corner of my eye, because it just might offer a suitable compromise between the security/stability of BSD with the facility to run more up-to-date stuff from linux when desirable/necessary - but will wait to see if anything comes of it before commiting to it.

          1. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

            Re: I keep meaning to try a Linux but still can't pick one.

            Arch is quite good, although it does use systemd (there are non systemd options too). It is *remarkably* bare bones : there's your root prompt, fix/install everything else you need now..

            Gentoo - don't go overboard with it, whilst there may be *some* minor advantage for compiling builds more specific to your processor, fiddling with other compiler flags rarely helps much.

            I would definitely recommend Salix over Slackware. Dependency management is such a huge pain, even if the number of packages in use are small.

            The one large difference with Salix/Slackware (apart from them being systemv init hold outs) is the boot manager is LILO, which doesn't support an initrd. This has two important implications, although it doesn't matter during installation :

            1) If compiling a new kernel, make very certain it has support for the filesystem used by the root partition compiled into the kernel, rather than as a module, otherwise your system will not boot.. Also, never start from a clean kernel config file, always base it off the current kernel config (do a zcat of /proc/config.gz, normally).

            2) Systems that need an initrd to start up (i.e. Xen) need another solution. That solution is mbootpack, which I actually prefer over fiddling with initrd, even if what it does to make it all work is a little gnarly.

            1. Someone_Somewhere

              Re: I keep meaning to try a Linux but still can't pick one.

              @ BinkyTheMagicPaperclip

              Why on earth did someone downvote you for that?

    11. FrankAlphaXII Silver badge

      Re: Who uses FreeBSD in preference to Linux and why?

      The community for me.

      The Linux community is fucking awful, especially to newcomers. It didn't get any better during the 10 years I used it daily, if anything, it got worse and I really doubt it is ever going to improve at this point.

      The FreeBSD community is really helpful and much less prone to people throwing fits over bullshit. I've been using FreeBSD for about two years now and it works, solidly, with no systemd (which I didn't mind but some people seem to really hate) if you can bother to follow directions. OpenBSD is good if security is your thing. Honestly, its been years since I heard anything about NetBSD, I didnt even know they were still making releases. PC-BSD is also pretty good for a unixlike desktop, its easy to use FreeBSD for all intents and purposes, with KDE or GNOME its basically indistinguishable from Linux using one of those two DEs unless you're in the terminal.

      ZFS was the reason I tried it in the first place, the community was the reason I stayed.

    12. Groaning Ninny

      Re: Who uses FreeBSD in preference to Linux and why?

      There are three things that appeal to me about FreeBSD:

      1. The license. I prefer the permissiveness of the BSD license over the GPL.

      2. ZFS.

      3. Systemd - or rather, the lack of it.

      I'm a RHEL admin, so with the move to RHEL7 I'm stuck with systemd, despite my revulsion. I've seriously considered moving storage and core servers to FreeBSD just for ZFS and systemd, the license is a bonus. Workstations and compute nodes have to remain of RHEL for the users, but these (the systems, not the users) are almost disposable, I'm happy to wipe them at a moment's notice.

  4. MJI Silver badge

    That sounds like

    Some of the PS4 changes being put back in

  5. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. itzman

      Re: 1980s coder

      In your linked page you observe that...

      UNIX was never designed to be used this way, as a simplistic one-user desktop with virtually no learning curve.

      No, but it does it a heck of a sight better than windows when all is said and done. And is that a reason not to use it in that rôle?

      I mean, you sound like a grumpy old man saying 'The world has changed' without actually recognising that you can still have crumpets and Marmite for breakfast, if you REALLY want to, but there is a bit more choice today.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 1980s coder

        @itzman,

        "No, but it does it a heck of a sight better than windows when all is said and done. And is that a reason not to use it in that rôle?"

        Are you kidding? Gnome has become awful. The only one that's halfway good is Cinnamon, so it's not surprising that Mint is doing well. So much of it though is slooooow, probably because of the amount of scripting that goes on in a Linux desktop these days.

        1. fnj

          Re: 1980s coder

          <blockquote>Gnome has become awful. The only one that's halfway good is Cinnamon, so it's not surprising that Mint is doing well.</blockquote>

          Yes, Gnome circled the bowl and flushed itself when the developers abandoned a perfectly good design, ver 2, and came out with the ver 3 abortion. And yes, Cinammon is better. But they are far from the only games in town. There are KDE, Mate, Xfce, Enlightenment, LXDE, Trinity, CDE, and Lumina, which between them fill just about every possible preference and tradeoff between features and lightness/speed. And that is far from an exhaustive list.

          IMHO Mate is substantially the best of all. It will be instantly recognizable and fully usable by any Gnome 2 devotee.

    3. Someone_Somewhere

      My paper [...] might be of interest to some of you.

      It was.*

      And (sadly) I couldn't agree more.

      * very well written too.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

  6. Inspector71
    Devil

    Random Monday Morning Thought

    Going a bit off topic here but all this talk of BSDs and a distant memory has popped up out of nowhere. Does anyone remember A/UX? I know it was only "sort of" bits of BSD and a bit of System V also a bit of....

    ....Goes to dig out Quadra from garage.....

    Icon for obvious reasons with this story.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Inspector71
        Happy

        Re: Random Monday Morning Thought

        You are most welcome. Upvote incoming.

  7. Rainer

    WhatsApp runs FreeBSD

    As do the Netflix Cache-Boxes.

    Admittedly, WhatsApp is apparently using FreeBSD mostly as Erlang-launcher - but they serve there 9-digit number of users with a comparatively small number of servers (50-ish, IIRC).

    But still - I doubt you could do that with a crap OS.

    See this press-release from Mellanox:

    http://www.mellanox.com/page/press_release_item?id=1688

    We use it a lot for servers. Installation is simple, clean. The handling is very straight-forward. No silly side-effects, no "you have to turn this knob and then that one", none of the idiosyncrasies of Linux. 3rd-party apps behave (almost) exactly like their native documentation describes.

    On the desktop, I prefer SuSE (historically). Everyone else in on Ubuntu.

    FreeBSD and Ubuntu lack the enterprise-features of RHEL/Centos.

    In case of Ubuntu, you can buy them with landscape (but this isn't available on-premise and it makes Ubuntu about as expensive as RHEL - and frankly it's not good enough for that price-tag).

    If I could get FreeBSD pkg-management via foreman/katello, this would be an absolute killer.

    Well, at least in my datacenter(s) ;-)

  8. kryptylomese

    "2. Performance of the network stack. There's a reason why other OS's including Windows have borrowed FreeBSD code in their implementations."

    Linux didn't exist or was at least only a proto kernel when development started on WindowsNT so MS could not use the anything from Linux.

    Also:-

    http://www.zdnet.com/article/anonymous-msft-developer-admits-linux-is-faster-than-windows/

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      No, but BSD did and Windows carried the official message from The Regents of UNiversity of California as specified in the Licence when the took and adapted the BSD network stack.

      BSD |=Linux.

      BSD is an evolution from Unix while Linux was a ground up work-a-like new development similar to Unix.

  9. Kubla Cant Silver badge
    Joke

    Let me get this straight. Is BSD the operating system advocated by the Judean People's Front and Linux that favoured by the People's Front of Judea? Or is it the other way round?

    Joke icon, just in case.

    1. Hans 1 Silver badge
      Coat

      No, both the Judean People's Front and People's Front of Judea (TRAITORRRRS) use FreeBSD ... The Romans use Linux, Windows is only used by hermits, around here at least ... ;-)

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      I know it's meant as a joke, but I think that's probably more true for Debian/Suse/Fedora than it is for BSD & Linux, because BSD and Linux do reflect different philosophies, not least in their licensing.

  10. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    mp3splt-ers!

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    FreeBSD was created

    by Unix people who wanted it to run on a PC while Linux was created by PC people who wanted it to run Unix. I know my phrase is not very well formulated but I hope this will help explaining the differences between the philosophies of the two camps.

    I use them both and to me FreeBSD and Linux have each their strengths. Now concerning their (perceived) weaknesses, my brain has adapted without any difficulty.

    And to those bitching here about the restrictions imposed by GPL, I would suggest them to read Microsoft licensing agreements they all accept without reading, without even blinking. GPL has been designed for one single purpose and just like food, if you don't like it, don't eat it. The same thing Sun did with their ZFS licensing and I don't have the slightest problem with that.

    1. W. Anderson

      Re: FreeBSD was created

      Unfortunately your reasoned information or logic will not be ingested by the majority of those commenting idiotically on this article, either in their complaints about GPL or BSD licence in bubble of ignorance, or the real differences of usage generally between BSD and Linux. The Desktop GUI, whether Gnome or KDE for Linux/BSD or windows 7/8/10 Interface has no reference to article content.

      It is sad that in 2016, it appears that a significantly larger proportion of the populace using computer technology are more ignorant about the technical aspects of computer Operating Systems (OS) then in 1980s and 1990s when it was essential for one to have fundamental understanding of desktop and server OS.

  12. W. Anderson

    sounds from the ignorant camps

    As a *BSD and GNU/Linux user and professional technologist for more than 18 years, my experience with both operating systems (OS) ecosystems have given me a very clear perspective of both the purely technical attributes and the philosophical sides of the software environments.

    Any competent technologist with substantial experience in either of these OS software, particularly in a server or network scenario - i.e. with use of Command Line and Shell Scripts, would not be completely baffled as if one coming from the lowest-common-denominator of technical reasoning and understanding Microsoft Windows environment, or - as one commenter stated - the modern dumbed-down for Windows users Linux desktop offerings, like Zorin Linux as the perfect example.

    Not that Zorin, Linuxmint or any of the other "Windows attracting" Linux distributions should not exist as an excellent escape opportunity from Windows idiocy, or be different from *BSD, Suse or RedHat server OS, but desktop computer use is significantly different from Server, Network or other development, enterprise OS software use, and should not be compared as such.

    Why else would Microsoft port BASH shell into their Windows "Powershell" UNIX-like tool - greater efficiency.

    I do suspect that many recent Linux desktop users are dissatisfied Windows users, masking their basic UNIX/Linux (NIX) OS ignorance by attempting to sound technically apt.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @W. Anderson - Re: sounds from the ignorant camps

      I'd rather say the dissatisfied Windows users are looking for a zero cost version of Windows and can't be bothered to learn about the internals of Unix/Linux/BSD or any other OS for that matter.

      I strongly doubt any real Linux user would down-vote your post. Could it be because the word competence ?

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: @W. Anderson - sounds from the ignorant camps

        "I'd rather say the dissatisfied Windows users are looking for a zero cost version of Windows and can't be bothered to learn about the internals of Unix/Linux/BSD or any other OS for that matter."

        And why should they?

        #include usual car analogy.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @Doctor Syntax - Re: @W. Anderson - sounds from the ignorant camps

          You mean like everybody wants to drive a car but nobody wants to learn how to do it ? How about a surgeon who wants to perform surgery without learning how to perform a surgery ? An airline pilot who will try to take off with zero experience and training ? Oh well, just let robots and computers do everything for us and let us all indulge in allowing our brains to go idle.

          Sadly, this is the latest trend and it starts very early in school. Then they will resort to cheating just to get a diploma instead of actually learning something.

          1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

            Re: @Doctor Syntax - @W. Anderson - sounds from the ignorant camps

            No, like learning how to drive a car safely, but not learning how to build one from scratch.

  13. bombastic bob Silver badge

    I"m not happy about gnome 3 - FBSD hung onto gnome 2 like, forever!

    I'm not happy seeing Gnome 3 - FBSD hung onto gnome 2 like, forever, and it became very stable as a result. The constant instabilities from gnome's "development" cause a LOT of problems in FreeBSD a while back, and I was GLAD to see it stop (I hated having to fix week-long ports builds because of gnome). Of course, there's always Mate, which is essentially gnome 2, but any "default" using Gnome 3 is just a *HUGE* *MISTAKE*.

  14. David Roberts Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Developed from Unix?

    Back in the day there were two main variants of Unix - AT&T System (most Unix boxes) and Berkley Systems Division (mainly used by Sun).

    From reading the comments, FreeBSD is a free version of the Sun Unix.

    So when did it stop being Unix?

    Icon in case this is a dumb question.

    1. MacroRodent Silver badge

      Re: Developed from Unix?

      From reading the comments, FreeBSD is a free version of the Sun Unix.

      Actually FreeBSD is a direct descendant of Berkeley Unix, which in turn is a heavily modified version of the old 7. edition Unix. Sun's old Unix (SunOS) used to be also based on Berkeley, but at some point it was rebased on (or hybridized with) AT&T SysV to create Solaris.

      No doubt many see the above as an oversimplification. Various histories and family trees of Unix can easily be found on the net.

      FreeBSD and the like are not called Unix because of trademark issues.

    2. W. Anderson

      Re: Developed from Unix?

      The University of California at Berkeley (UCB) and a few other research schools and institutions received UNIX from AT&T for research and Computer Science (CS) software development purposes up to early 1980s. After a while the University CS students and professors began to "re-design" -

      without copying - many of faulty aspects of UNIX, eventually creating a "completely new "UNIX-like Operating System (OS), which could not be called UNIX since that trademark and copyright belonged to AT&T.

      When AT&T, the creators of UNIX became an independent commercial company way back in 1984, they wanted the University to pay them for the technology learned from the UNIX experiment, which the University refused.

      A federal court case of AT&T versus UCB concluded that UCB "owned" their UNIX-like OS - which did not infringe the AT&T UNIX patents, but could not call it UNIX proper.

      Sun used UCB code to create SunOS as a commercial OS and various forks of UCB were developed under a BSD Open Source Software License with base of UCB code called BSD - for Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD), thus FreeBSD, OpenBSD and NetBSD. and more recently DragonFly BSD.

      The BSDs have evolved and improved significantly since those early day, with imput and contribution of code from Sun Microsystems and others, to become today - in 2016, one of the most "robust" and secure OS available period. Many large corporations, universities and Research Institutions still rely on BSD for all their heavy lifting, and FreeBSD was the original base of software that became Apple Mac OS X. FreeBSD in it's more pure code, is the OS for Sony Playstation 4.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Developed from Unix?

        "The University of California at Berkeley (UCB) and a few other research schools and institutions received UNIX from AT&T"

        Small adjustment ... ken brought Unix TSS (later UNIX) from Bell Labs to Berkeley. It quickly spread to other comp-sci programs at universities dotted around the country. Ma Bell was later split up into "the baby Bells", most of which re-merged as AT&T. It was only after that that the lawyers noticed a potential cash-cow of an Operating System hanging out in limbo with no obvious owner.

        My background on the subject:

        I got to Berkeley roughly at roughly the same time as ken ... The first UNIX I used was Unix TSS (4?, 5?, Lotta water under the ol' bridge ...) and I worked on BSD through Tahoe & Reno. In my mind, the current various BSDs are more UNIX-like than the commercial variations allowed to use the term "UNIX[tm]" ... except (surprise!) Apple's OSX.

        Slackware is the only fairly mainstream distribution of Linux that I, personally, consider being close to UNIX-like.

        And please note that while the various BSDs don't use any commercial code, ALL of the commercial UNIX[tm]s contain BSD code.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

  15. Someone_Somewhere
    Devil

    I spit on your BSD and A/UX

    Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries!

    /Real/ men use OpenVMS on vtAlpha/vtVAX!!!

    1. jake Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: I spit on your BSD and A/UX

      I spit on your OpenVMS ... I run TOPS-10 and TOPS-20 on a small cluster of vaxen. No joke ... I have a couple of ancient contracts that just keep on giving :-)

      Relax, have a glass of elderberry melomel on the house.

      1. Someone_Somewhere
        Pint

        Re: I spit on your BSD and A/UX

        > I run TOPS-10 and TOPS-20 on a small cluster of vaxen.

        That's the /easy/ way out!

        Anyone can run the real thing.

        An emulation on top of a compatibility layer on top of an emulation; that's what /really/ sorts the sadomasochists from the pseudomasochists. ;)

        > Relax, have a glass of elderberry melomel on the house.

        Ooh! Don't mind if I do.

        Cheers!

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