December 11th, 2005, 12:08 AM
The differences between the BSDs
I've done a thread like this for Linux, and feel like I'm leaving BSD out, and I don't want anyone thinking that it was intentional.
BSD stands for "Berkeley Software Distribution" and sometimes "Design". Depending on who you're talking to, and what you're talking about.
There are quite a few forms of BSD available and it can be confusing as to which does what and what they were intended for. This little doc should help clear up some of this.
If anyone would like to add to this, feel free to reply and I'll pop it in here if I feel it would make a good change to this doc.
What types of BSD am I likely to see? -
The following are fairly common, and you're probably at some point in your computing life going to at least use one of these once:
From a non developer perspective, what are the differences? -
Free BSD is the most used of the others, and is a direct descendant of the original Unix OS made by K&D back in 1968. Back then AT&T didn't sell Unix so much as giving it and it's sources away dirt cheap to colleges. One of them was the University of California at Berkeley.
The boys down there started making changes to UNIX and, in the tradition of freedom, wanted to give it away for free. This got them in some legal troubles from AT&T because it constrained their proprietary Unix Source Code inside.
This was in 1992 when AT&T's USL (Unix Systems Labs) filed a lawsuit against BSDI (Berkeley Software Design Inc) who made BSD/386 and later on, BSD/OS.
The outcome was settled out of court, and BSD moved it's sources to the 4.4BSD-Lite sources, a move they planned on doing already anyway. At this time Free BSD decided to do the same and move to the BSD-Lite sources, as it did in 1994 with the release of 2.0.
Free BSD is the one that follows closely to the tradition of the CSRG (Computer Systems Research Group) which was made to research Unix. When Unix became mature this group closed it's doors as it was to stable and mature in OSs to consider it a research toy.
In case you're wondering :
386/BSD was made by William Jolitz in 1992. It didn't go to far and two projects rose from it's ashes. They are Free BSD and Net BSD.
Free BSD -
Free BSD is the easiest to install for most people and is closer than the others to use as a desktop. However now that PC-BSD is out, it has major competition on the Desktop.
Free BSD is different from the others in that it aims to be easier to use and as stable as can be. the TCP Stack for Free BSD is consider one of the most stable in the World.
I personally highly recommend FreeBSD as my personal favorite of all of them. I consider it the best of the BSDs, and VERY well thought out.
Net BSD -
This is very similar to FreeBSD, except it's main goal is to be as portable as possible. It can run on hundreds of platforms and is probably going to be the OS they use in the first Computer toaster, which the porting for has probably already been started for.
Open BSD -
Open BSD focuses on making a free and secure OS for everyone. Not exactly as easy to install as the others, and when you do install, everything by default is completely locked down and shut off making it out of the box, very hard to use as you have to turn everything on that you want to use.
Open BSD has a strong cult following and can be just as good as the others, but as reported earlier, it's main object in life is being the most secure OS in software history.
However this has never been tested or given a rating.
Because Open BSD sprang up from Net BSD, it does have a few platforms it's been ported to already.
I'd like to point out that if you take ANY BSD or Linux OS, and shut off all the services, and enable the encryption services of the particular OS you're using, you have basically the same thing as OpenBSD.
A lot of OpenBSD users talk a lot about how they use it as the most awesome thing they have ever used, but really, it's still BSD / UNIX.
Sometimes you'll hear about the "Source Audit" for OpenBSD from fan boys who love to talk about how secure it is. What they won't tell you is that SUSE Linux has been doing that for years, line by line. FreeBSD does this too now, so really it's nothing special anymore.
Web Site not available.
BSD/OS is from the original BSD guys and is more a pay for version. It's very similar to FreeBSD except it's commercial. I haven't used it so I'm not going to pretend I know exactly what it's about.
I would like to add something though; If you ever purchase Slackware Linux official CD-ROMs or the Slackware book from store.slackware.com you have probably noticed the very similar look a Slackware CD-ROM case has to a FreeBSD CD ROM set. And the book used to have on the back the BSDi logo.
I guess Slackware and FreeBSD manage to play nice. And considering that years ago any BSD user was generally more than willing to flame a Linux user, and a Linux user ready to flame BSD users, it shows that at least some can play nice.
I personally have always like both.
PC-BSD is a lot like Free BSD with a face lift for new users. It's aim is to be much easier to use and install as a desktop system :
PC-BSD has as its goal, to be an easy to install and use desktop OS, which is built on the FreeBSD operating system. To accomplish this, it currently has a graphical installation, which will enable even UNIX novices to easily install and get up and running.
The system comes loaded with the "K" Desktop Environment (KDE), which lets users immediately sit down to a familiar interface.
Also developed exclusively for PC-BSD is the PBI system, which lets users download and install their applications in a self-extracting & installing format, similar to InstallShield® on Windows®.
If you're new to UNIX and Linux and BSD, and what to try it out, or, if you're new to computers, and tired of all the system requirements or crashes, this may be exactly what you're looking for.
So is BSD better than Linux? -
Linux is a clone of Unix written by Linus Torvalds. At the time the BSD sources were not yet freely available.
The following is adapted from "The Complete Free BSD. 3rd Edition" -
== Free BSD is a direct descendant of the original Unix.
== Linux is a clone
--The BSD guys each have their own central group of software developers, and there is only one version of NetBSD, FreeBSD, etc...
-- Linux is a Kernel maintained by Linus, the rest is mainly software from third parties that make up distributions. Hundreds exist.
== BSD aims at being a stable production environment
== Linux is stable too but some distros don't really try as hard as others. Slackware is just as stable as any BSD box, but there are some out there who really just don't try. RedHat / Fedora, has been known to ship things broken out of the box.
The answer is more about taste than technology. They both can do just about the same thing. If you're used to a UNIX machine at work or at home, like maybe a Sun machine, or an SGI, then BSD is probably going to make more sense to you.
If you're a Windows user who wants to taste the sweet sweet juice of UNIX, Linux may be more your way, as you'll probably want the out of the box polished pretty look Linux distros have more of than BSD.
If you're a new to computers in general person, you could always just buy a Mac computer with OS X. OS X is based on BSD at it's core, which is something I'm personally impressed with, as they have the easy to use pretty features built on top of the most stable OSs in history.
Also, when it comes to Hardware and Software that actually work together, it's hard to beat a Mac. The Mac computers are built directly for the Software they are going to be used with. And the MAc software is built exactly for the hardware they will be used with.
If you're used to PCs and the myriad of hardware available for the software you have, this can be both good and bad.
On one end, you have hardware that works great with the software.
On the other end, you have hardware you can't just open up and upgrade because it isn't standard off the shelf stuff.
Hopefully this has helped answer some of your questions about the differences.
More information -
Last edited by gore; January 12th, 2009 at 07:46 AM.
December 29th, 2006, 07:34 AM
To anybody who wants to study up on openBSD I would highly recommend absolute openBSD. It's helped me learn my way around unix and linux a little better.
Last edited by muert0; December 29th, 2006 at 07:41 AM.
When death sleeps it dreams of you...
December 29th, 2006, 11:10 AM
One slight variation of the difference between BSD and linux. The BSDs are true direct descendants of the one and only UNIX. The BSDs are all fully blown operating systems. Linus only created a kernel, from scratch, that was UNIX work-alike.
And you left out one important BSD: Mac OS-X
Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.
April 1st, 2007, 12:12 AM
You forgot to include Dragon fly BSD
What types of BSD am I likely to see? -
The following are fairly common and you're probably at some point in your computing life going to at least use one of these once:
PC BSD really rocks,very very easy to install.
Thanks for the info gore
Last edited by TejasV; April 1st, 2007 at 12:26 AM.
July 29th, 2008, 10:14 PM
OK, I've updated this one a bit now too. I didn't add much because the first replies to this thread pretty much added to it in their own way, so I didn't want to take what they said and pretend I wrote it.
Anyway, I'd like to see BSD getting some more spotlight in here, so check it out !
July 30th, 2008, 09:44 AM
Thanks for the info Gore
The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it.
July 30th, 2008, 09:59 AM
I totally disagree with this bit...
== Linux software is actually updated and has more of the pretty new features.
There's no such thing as "linux software", besides the kernel. Even the tools that make it into an OS (ifconfig, sh etc.) are 'borrowed' from elsewhere.
Xorg, Gnome, KDE etc. is exactly the same on BSD. That's the beauty of open source.
Last edited by SirDice; July 30th, 2008 at 10:02 AM.
Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.
July 30th, 2008, 10:59 AM
Dice, I didn't change that part, it's been there since I first posted this years ago, and I must say:
Just have to remember that when I did this, I wrote it based on my own experiences with this stuff, and I did want to point out how it was my opinion at the time. And back then, Linux distros had those nice looking installers that were real pretty, but, as I said, this was back then when most of BSD didn't care about pretty.
Hell, I still remember the Kernel configuration that you did before you started an install in the 4.x days. Man things sure do change fast when millions can change the source of something and send it back in to help improve software..
I really do wish I could learn C sometimes. It's frustrating as crap when it take me 45 minutes to read ONE page in a teach yourself C book because I have a major problem comprehending what is on the page. I can read it 50 times and not remember it, yet I look at a Linux doc ONCE and can almost tell you exactly what it said. I'm not sure if it's me being lazy AND the ADD, or just the ADD but I have tried for 7 years now to learn coding, and not HTML or something but an actual language. I still can't.
If I could, and I really want to, the main reason is to work on UNIX based stuff.
July 30th, 2008, 02:30 PM
Well damn I was off. lol. Cut me some slack though, this past week I've literally watched the Sun come up each every day without sleep other than yesterday morning when I finally got a nap in. I've gone through 17 cans of Monster, 2 Cans of Red Bull, 12 cans of Jolt, 4 cans of Rock Star, two Monster BFCs, another Monster Heavy Metal, a 2 liter of Vault, and 3 Wired X 344s. Not including Coffee of course.
And Today is my Wife's Birthday I know I did good when I picked a card, She cried reading it. She was also trying to help me work out my coding troubles as well, She knows Assembler, Perl, and a few others, which of course makes me feel like a girly man. lol.
July 30th, 2008, 02:36 PM
Dice, I think that is a good idea
Moved them all there