Exciting future ahead for BSD

FreeBSD LogoTrollaxor has written up an interesting piece about the history and future of the major BSD systems: FreeBSD, netBSD, OpenBSD, DragonFlyBSD and Darwin.

In the new year the Berkeley Software Distribution family of Unix-like operating systems is growing at a phenomenal rate and excitement over the possibilities for this operating system family is in the air. After unprecedented development and adoption as well as major shifts in the marketplace, it’s time to take a look at what’s new with this demonic family of operating systems.


FreeBSD 5 was the darkest period in this operating system’s history and morale and marketshare were at an all-time low. The problem originated from merging BSD/OS into FreeBSD; though the two systems shared a lot of code, the difference of just a couple years was staggering. FreeBSD’s virtual memory and multi-processing code was immature, while BSD/OS’s libraries were archaic. Mating the two was a mess that cost FreeBSD face and kept users on an older branch from the Nineties, 4.11.

Now, with FreeBSD 7.0b on the horizon promising to wrap it all up, FreeBSD is once again taking the free Unix world by storm. It’s a tight, efficient codebase leveraging the best of BSD/OS, Darwin, and FreeBSD that users have been clamoring for. FreeBSD users and sites now have a shining future ahead of them.

… [discusses NetBSD, OpenBSD, DragonFlyBSD & Darwin]

With all of these great improvements to the Berkeley operating system family in the last few years, BSD is clearly where it’s at. Linux is a throwback to when Open Source was a hot buzzword and sharing code was a novel idea. Now, Apple and company use it as standard coding procedure to share and improve the tech they have and leverage their individual strengths.

Even when taking the few commercial Unices that still exist into account, like AIX and Solaris, BSD still owns the arena in its frantic steamroll to the top of the supercomputing mountain. Whether you want the general wholesomeness of FreeBSD, the KGB-like security of OpenBSD, the more experimental NetBSD or DragonFlyBSD, or the utter perfection of Mac OS X, BSD has your bases completely covered with room to grow in the future.

Read the whole article here

(Free)BSD myths dispelled

FreeBSD myths dispelledAs the BSD projects (DragonFlyBSD, FreeBSD, NetBSD, and OpenBSD) have grown in size, a number of persistent myths have grown up around them. Some of these are perpetuated by well meaning but misguided individuals, others by people pursuing their own agendas.

This page aims to dispel those myths while remaining as dispassionate as possible.

Review of “The Book of PF”

Dru Lavigne has reviewedThe Book of PF – A No-Nonsense Guide to the OpenBSD Firewall“. Peter N.M. Hansteen, the writer, has written this book as an expanded follow-up to his very popular online PF tutorial. PF (Packet Filter) is a robust packet filter that originated in OpenBSD and that has been ported to FreeBSD.

Dru concludes here short review with:

All in all, this book is very readable and a must-have resource for anyone who deals with firewall configurations. If you’ve heard good things about PF and have been thinking of giving it a go, this book is definitely for you. Start at the beginning and before you know it you’ll be through the book and quite the PF guru. Even if you’re already a PF guru, this is still a good book to keep on the shelf to refer to in thorny situations or to lend to colleagues.

Check the book details and other reviews here on Amazon. Recommended Buy.

BSD, the more Unix-like OS

This is an interesting blog post looking at the BSD as a viable alternative to Linux. The BSDs are less hyped and are in some areas superior to Linux:

“The BSDs have been around for a long time – longer than Linux. But they have received much less attention than Linux in the press because they have fewer noisy supporters. Nevertheless, they continue to thrive, because of their similarities to, and differences from, Linux. Like Linux, the BSDs are free, fast and have a variety of software available for them. In addition, BSD kernels tend to be more stable than Linux kernels, BSDs run on a wider variety of hardware and have fewer security issues.

But where the BSDs tend to really shine is in networking. TCP/IP speed tests run on identical hardware often show the BSDs to be faster than Linux. While the Linux community has focused on enabling Linux to use more esoteric hardware, the BSD community has worked on making the network infrastructure faster and easier to extend. This has caused a number of network hardware vendors to use customized versions of BSDs, particularly NetBSD, as the internal operating systems of their commercial products.

As the lesser-known players in the free operating system market, the BSD development groups have had more opportunity to work on the core of their products. FreeBSD has the largest market of the BSDs and gets the most development interest. NetBSD runs on an incredible variety of CPUs, including some systems that leave even the fastest Intel chips in the dust. OpenBSD’s main focus is security, and it attracts developers for whom that is the main concern.

It is well known that many large Internet service providers use one of the BSDs (FreeBSD) to run their production mail and Web servers. It is common to find BSD-based Internet servers that have not crashed or been rebooted in years.

… any shop that is considering Linux should also take a look at the BSDs, particularly if they want stability and less excitement in their operating system.”

Source: ravisblog.com (01/11/2007)

Differentiating Among BSD flavours

This website deals mostly with FreeBSD and systems derived from or based on this superb operating system. However it’s also good to be aware of other BSD systems that are around and the reason why they exist or why have been developed: OpenBSD (secure by default – the world’s most secure OS), NetBSD (runs on nearly every platform imaginable, including a bread toaster! and in some sense Apple’s MacOS X. (See Unix family tree here)

There’s a good article on Serverwatch.com explaining the history, the differences between and common features of the 4 main BSD systems.

Organizations that want to use a public Unix variant have two solutions from which to chose: Linux and BSD. The much talked about Linux camp contains a variety of distributions that include different utilities and tool sets. The same is true of the less frequently covered BSD camp. This article compares and contrasts the four main BSD variants and offers recommendations for both server- and desktop-based solutions.

There are four main BSD variants. Three of these (FreeBSD, OpenBSD, and NetBSD) are totally free; the fourth (Mac OS X) is technically the core part of an operating system that most wouldn’t even consider a BSD variant. To understand the differences between the various versions, let’s briefly recap the history of BSD to understand how the different versions have developed.

Read the whole article here.