Depenguinator – version 2.0

Beastie kills TuxIn December 2003, I wrote a script for remotely upgrading a linux system to FreeBSD. I gave it a catchy name (‘Depenguinator’, inspired by the ‘Antichickenator’ in Baldur’s Gate), announced it on a FreeBSD mailing list and on Slashdot, and before long it was famous. Unfortunately, it didn’t take long for changes in the layout of FreeBSD releases to make the Depenguination script stop working; so for the past three years I have been receiving emails asking me to update it to work with newer FreeBSD releases,

Colin Percival wrote on his website. If you want to ‘kill’ some ‘penguins’, download the Depenguinator and let it do it’s job ;-)

GPL and BSD : impact

Very Grumpy Bunny has written a post comparing the GPLv2 and the BSD licence and explaining the difference when  applied to Amarok.

There are several BSD licenses, so many that you’ll typically see any particular license under BSD terms listed as a BSD-Style license. Example, the Vorbis and Theora codecs. The terms themselves are fairly simple.

#1: Anybody can access the source code
#2: Anybody can copy the source code
#3: Anybody can modify the source code
#4: Anybody can use the source code
#5: Anybody can relicense modified code

Sounds pretty simple, at least compared to the Gnu Public License. Here are the terms of say the GPLv2.

#1: Not everybody can access the source code.
#2: Everybody who can access the source code can copy the source code
#3: Everybody who can access the source code can modify the source code
#4: Everybody who modifies the source code must submit the changes back to the original author
#5: Everybody who modifies the source code must maintain the original license

That does seem a little bit more complex. Immediately we see that the GPL has restrictions placed on what can be done with the code. Ergo, the BSD-style license is more free… or is it?

Read the simplified terms of the BSD-License again. Note anything missing? Well, if you didn’t, here’s what is missing. Any changes that are made to the BSD code don’t have to be given back to the author. Anybody can take a segment of BSD code, do whatever they want with it, and never post any changes back, tell the author what they did, or anything else.

So, there is a critical difference between a BSD license, and a GPL style license. The BSD license adopts a care-free attitude about written software, while a GPL style license enforces restrictions around that software to make sure everybody benefits.

Whole post can be read here.

FreeBSD in 2007 – a review

2007 is over. It was a very successful year for open source software and another 12 interesting months have passed for FreeBSD. In this post I want to look back at 2007 and see how FreeBSD faired, what happened in “FreeBSD land” and how FreeBSD based operating systems have developed. This post will be a sort of summary of the messages I posted during 2007.

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We’ll be looking at:

Start of this blog

Around April last year I was toying with the idea of starting a FreeBSD related news blog with the view to raise more awareness of FreeBSD and show it’s a perfect alternative to Linux. My first post was on 17 May 2007 and since then visitor numbers have rapidly gone up and feedback from visitors indicates that there’s definitely interest in such a blog. With the continuing growth of my WordPress.com hosted blog, I wanted to get some more flexibility and the ability to install plugins and scripts. Hence my move to Bluehost/FreeBSDOS (BTW, if you’re looking for cheap and reliable webhosting, I can really recommend them).

FreeBSD in 2007

FreeBSD LogoUnfortunately 2007 didn’t see the final release of FreeBSD 7.0; just 4 beta’s and a RC1. Well, maybe not “unfortunately”, because a top-quality product is better than a rushed-out flaky one that needs to be fixed and patched soon after its release. FreeBSD 7.0 incorporates some new and exciting technologies which will put this version a-par with, if not ahead of, Linux. Exciting stuff.

The FreeBSD Foundation have issued their quarterly newsletters (Q2, Q3, Q4), keeping the world up-to-date with the latest developments and news. The Foundation received a lot of coverage online and in the blogosphere with their Absolute FreeBSD book auction and their fund raising drive. The 2007 fundraising goal was $250.000, but a total of $403,511 was achieved. Well done.

There are already a couple of Linux related magazines for sale in stores, but BSD magazines aren’t available currently. “An interesting opportunity“, Software Media LLC/LP Magazine must have thought. They will issue first issue at the beginning of Q2 2008 and will contain an article by Dru Lavigne and Jan Stedehouder (Jan used and reviewed both PC-BSD and DesktopBSD for a month in his PC-BSB: the first 30 days and DesktopBSD: the first 30 days series).

Conference-wise, the ‘normal’ BSD conferences (BSDCan, EuroBSD, MeetBSD) were held, with a new one in Turkey (BSDConTR).
CONTINUED

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GPL vs BSD, a matter of sustainability

Both licensing models have been around for a very long time. I don’t know which predates which, but it really doesn’t matter. The spirit behind both licenses is very similar: free software is good. But they realize this idea in different ways.

In the GPL license you have the four freedoms: to run the software, to have the source code, to distribute the software, to distribute your modifications to the software.

The BSD license is different, because it gives *you* the right to distribute the software, but it does not oblige you to make sure that the next guy has any such right.

Read this interesting article here

BSD Community vs Linux Community

Another interesting post from Penguin Pete: “The BSD Community Compared to the Linux Community”:

“I’ll tell you the number one thing right off that I like better about BSD than Linux: the peace and quiet.

An amazing experience occurred when I began to run BSD. It was a Jedi event. I was jolted by something that suddenly stopped when I started BSD, something I hadn’t been aware of until it was gone. I experienced a great calming in The Force; as if a million screaming voices suddenly shut up!

Here is the story of two free Unix systems. BSD, at this time, is about twice Linux’s age. Many of the same programs will run on both. Much of the same kind of person who likes one should like the other. Yet on Linux’s side of the fence, there is this massive war going on; while on BSD’s side, you can step out on your porch at night and hear nothing but crickets.

Nobody is preaching that BSD has to do this, this, and this to suit some agenda.

Nobody is threatening to tar and feather the BSD users for being elitists.

Microsoft isn’t shaking any clubs at BSD and threatening to sue it for millions of patent violations.

Nobody is snapping up BSD distros in patent-protection racket deals.

Pundits are not shrieking about what BSD has to do to “make it on the desktop”.

Nobody’s threatening to blackball me out of the community if I don’t give them all my money to advertise BSD with.

Nobody’s gaming Distrowatch to try to get BSD distro A ranked above BSD distro B.

Nobody is wringing their hands about how to dumb BSD down, make it suitable for idiots, or turn it into I-Cant-Believe-Its-Not-Windows.

SCO isn’t suing over BSD.

Amazing, isn’t it?

Carry on reading here

Major differences FreeBSD – Linux

I like this comparison between Linux and FreeBSD:

Although FreeBSD and Linux are close cousins with a considerable number of similarities under the hood, some major differences separate them. FreeBSD is tidy, self-contained, and well-organized. All the pieces form a harmonious whole — a place for everything, everything in its place, and pretty much just one way to do anything.

Linux is more like a barrel of monkeys — loud, messy, chaotic and very busy. Every monkey thinks she knows the best way to accomplish a particular task, so there are always several ways to do any one thing. The Linux world is faster-paced and more diverse, but sometimes a person just wants a nice calm computer on which to do work without all the drama.

FreeBSD is the most popular of the open source Unix operating systems. It’s a top-of-the-line genuine Unix, and it powers many of the world’s most demanding Web servers. Because it is secure, stable and easily manageable via its Ports system of package management, FreeBSD is a popular platform for servers of all kinds. FreeBSD also runs Linux binaries, so you can run pretty much any applications you want. Its hardware support is not as robust as Linux, however, so you do have to shop a little more carefully.

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