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Old 31st May 2009
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Default "Linuxism" in the BSD world

Hi to all,

After many years working with open source OS's (Linuces and BSD's), I think that the BSD community tries to mimic Linux at its bads.

Currently there are these BSD distributions and counting: DragonFly BSD, FreeBSD, PC-BSD, DesktopBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, MirOS BSD, etc.. .
While this a very small list compared to the thousands of Linux flavors, since the BSD community is very small compared to the Linux one, I think that these projects should be merged somehow to provide a magnificent BSD operating system, to make it the best secure/multiplatform/fastest/stable operating system available.

Almost all of the above BSD's are trying to re-invent the wheel with different approaches, waisting development time and resources, instead of focusing their powers to fix crucial BSD problems and adding necessary functionalities that already exist in Linux or introduce new ones.

What is your opinion about this?
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Old 31st May 2009
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You're very ignorant of how different each BSD project is, the major 3 BSD's OpenBSD, NetBSD and FreeBSD have been around for over a decade.

Each of them have worked on their systems separately, they do not share the same kernel or user-land.. they've diverged over the years.. dramatically.

It is wrong to call them distributions of BSD, because they aren't just distributing an unmodified version of 386BSD or 4.4BSD-lite.. they've each made unique changes to the code based on their independent views and philosophies.

In the Linux world, distributions are simply the same kernel.org kernel and a few things listed on gnu.org.. customizations typically include fancy initializations scripts and silly branding.

OpenBSD, NetBSD and FreeBSD are separate entities.. each of them may have started out as 386BSD/4.4BSD-lite.. but today they're 3 entirely different operating systems.

DragonFlyBSD is also a separate project, they may not have been around as long as the other 3.. but they're maintaining and developing their kernel and user-land independently.

MirOS/BSD is a fork of OpenBSD 3.1, comparatively I know little about it.. but it isn't a carbon copy of OpenBSD anymore, 7 years of being a separate project.

FreeBSD has always been a project trying to make life easier for people running in a world full of i386 boxes.. some people have attempted to make life easier by providing novice users with a pre-configured environment and OS X inspired package management system, examples being PC-BSD and DesktopBSD.

A lot of Desktop oriented BSD projects are around as of recently.. that they're not full fledged derivatives of BSD, most of them don't claim to be.. some even try to emphasize the fact that they use an entirely unmodified kernel.

It might be a way to publicize various BSD derivatives, I know for example one of this forums members, jggimi, creates his own OpenBSD based LiveCD images, no doubt his overall goals include making it easier for grandma to try out OpenBSD in a somewhat user friendly manner.

If you don't like the pretty boxed versions meant to lure people who like boxes.. go to the source and get the real deal.

Whining helps nobody, take the time to research the differences between each project.

Take care.

Last edited by BSDfan666; 31st May 2009 at 02:13 PM.
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Old 31st May 2009
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Harisman,

> I think that the BSD community tries to mimic Linux at its bads.

I don't believe that to be true. If anything the BSD's try to adopt whats good in Linux. (For example FreeBSD is in a healthy competition with Linux in the performance area...check out the fbsd dev blogs)

> Currently there are these BSD distributions and counting...these projects should be merged somehow to provide a magnificent BSD operating system...trying to re-invent the wheel with different approaches, waisting development time and resources...

Sorry but that sounds a bit like FUD. Besides, it's worth keeping in mind that the BSD's are essentially volunteer driver projects, nobody can prevent any person (or group) from starting a new distro.

[/offtopic]Thought for the day: Have we become a rant forum?
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Old 31st May 2009
Mr-Biscuit Mr-Biscuit is offline
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BSD: flavor
Linux:distro
My classification of such.
Anyway, each BSD is separate but can work with parts from the other without greatly modifying the system. This isn't so with the Linux distributions. RPM, deb, source, emerge, etc packaging systems have to be modified for another distribution and then it is not guaranteed to work. The major distributions of Linux do not have the fine grained control of
the major flavors of BSD.
BSD: cd /usr/<port source>/<directory>/<subdirectory>
make config
make install clean.

Linux: Download package and install.
Want it custom made? Download, extract, edit, test, config, install, clean.
PC & Desktop are based upon Free. So are a lot of other BSD based projects.

Diversity within the Linux community is based upon the function the developer wants and the audience the developer is targeting.

There is nothing stopping the OP from building boxes and installing his own version of a BSD flavor on them and then distributing it.
Be sure to include:
Full source of all packages.
Build instructions.
Howto's for extra functionality.
Handbook for base flavor plus handbook for modified flavor.
Links to patches, security.
Customer support.
Product warranty.
List of compatible hardware.
Continua com outras problemas e mais.....

A good thing about the Open Source community- both Linux and BSD- is that you do get support with any project you build that is within reason.
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Old 1st June 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harisman View Post
Hi to all,

After many years working with open source OS's (Linuces and BSD's), I think that the BSD community tries to mimic Linux at its bads.

Currently there are these BSD distributions and counting: DragonFly BSD, FreeBSD, PC-BSD, DesktopBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, MirOS BSD, etc.. .
While this a very small list compared to the thousands of Linux flavors, since the BSD community is very small compared to the Linux one, I think that these projects should be merged somehow to provide a magnificent BSD operating system, to make it the best secure/multiplatform/fastest/stable operating system available.
You do not know much about BSDs nor what distribution is.

There are four separate BSD operating systems each one with the different very limited set of objectives. For instance DragonFly is trying to achieve kernel support for cluster computing full stop. Nothing else. It supports only i386. OpenBSD is security appliance and network tool. Everything else is extra stuff. They absolutely have nothing in common except that both can be used as desktop operating system.


There are lot more distributions but fortunately not in the Linux sense of that word (couple idiots are trying to put set of desktop packages they like). Distribution is customized installation of an Operating System. In Linux world
it is a bit more because Linux is just a kernel. So the distribution is also a choice of userland tools.


There were in total over 40 distros based on FreeBSD. Almost 20 based on OpenBSD and at least 3-4 based on NetBSD. Most of them are dead.

Active based on FreeBSD

1.m0n0wall
2.FreeNAS
3.pfSense
4.AskoziaPBX
5.NanoBSD
6.TrustedBSD
7.PC-BSD
8. MidnightBSD

Dead based on FreeBSD-u

1.BSDBox
2.BSDeviant
3.BSDLive
4.Bzerk CD
5.ClosedBSD
6.Damn Small BSD
7.Debian/kFreeBSD
8.DesktopBSD
9.EclipseBSD
10.Gentoo/FreeBSD
11.GingBSD
12.GuLIC-BSD
13.HamFreeSBIE
14.FenestrOS BSD
15.FreeBSDLive
16.FreeBSD LiveCD
17.FreeSBIE
18.Frenzy
19.NetBoz
20.miniBSD
21.PicoBSD
22.RelaxBSD
23.RoFreeSBIE
24.Snarl
25.TheWall
26.ThinBSD
27.Triance OS
28.TrueBSD
29. WarBSD
30.WiBSD
31.WiFiBSD
32.XORP

Active based on OpenBSD

1.ComixWall
2.flashdist
3.MirBSD
4. BowlFish
5.LiveCD made by jggimi's for Desktop demonstration
6.BSDanywhere
7.MarBSD

Dead based on OpenBSD-u

1.Anonym.OS
2.CD Bootable OpenBSD firewall
3.CompactBSD
4.ekkoBSD
5.EmBSD
6.Flashboot
7.Fugulta
8.MicroBSD
9.OliveBSD
10.OpenBSD Live-CD Firewall
11.PsygNAT
12.SONaFR
13.Quetzal



Each of active distros based on FreeBSD like m0n0wall, pFsense, FreeNAS, PC-BSD or AskoziaPBX is trying to solve specific problem.

m0n0wall is FreeBSD firewall for embedded devices. pFsense is FreeBSD firewall for regular PC, FreeNAS is network based storage, PC-BSD is BSD for incompetent Desktop users, and AskoziaPBX is Asterix server.


Quote:
Originally Posted by harisman View Post
Almost all of the above BSD's are trying to re-invent the wheel with different approaches, waisting development time and resources, instead of focusing their powers to fix crucial BSD problems and adding necessary functionalities that already exist in Linux or introduce new ones.

What is your opinion about this?
You do not know much about BSDs and about computers in general!

Last edited by Oko; 1st June 2009 at 07:17 AM.
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Old 1st June 2009
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The reason that the BSDs have not joined forces to become a super-terrific-happy OS is that it is simply far too difficult to do so.

Claim 1: The overall central goal of each group of developers is different, and many developers have ideologies which would conflict with each other if they needed to work together (an obvious yet crucial example would be whether or not to include binary blobs in the source tree). Progress in this environment would be extremely frustrating to developers when such simplistic decisions cannot be made.

Claim 2: This has been stated previously, but I'll state it again; each BSD has diverged significantly from the common starting point (386BSD and 4.4BSD-lite) and thus merging the systems together from their current states would be impossible without relinquishing some functionality, reliability, speed, portability, or security. Each BSD project focuses on a specific, limited set of desired goals, and each project excels at its chosen goals.

One could attempt to write a BSD-based OS which possesses all of the merits of the current systems, but that is no easy task. Look at the most common desktop OSes; many of them try to succeed at perfection (or at least that is what they would have their users believe), and they can never quite get all of it right.

This query is very similar to discussions I've heard on game emulation forums: why can there not be an emulator which is speedy, accurate, and lightweight on resources all at once? Because writing the perfect emulator is a relatively impossible feat. It is the same answer for an operating system; none can be perfect for everything, but they can be darn good for a few tasks. They do not reinvent each others' wheels; they craft entirely different ones.
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Old 3rd June 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oko
You do not know much about BSDs nor what distribution is.
.......
You do not know much about BSDs and about computers in general!
Quote:
Originally Posted by BSDfan666
You're very ignorant of how different each BSD project is, the major 3 BSD's OpenBSD, NetBSD and FreeBSD have been around for over a decade.
Oko and BSDfan666, Cool down.
You *just* did't get the point, not even a bit and I feel sorry for this .

ocicat really understood my point.

Let me give you a quick resume about me: I am using Unix systems since 1991, I have worked and administer in the past with Sco unix, SunOS, Digital Unix, Solaris, AIX and I have got official certifications for Tru64 unix and Solaris. Currently my job is head administrator of over 350 servers with Solaris/RHEL linux in a respectful company in my country. I personally use FreeBSD for hobby since 1996 and I'm very happy with it. I know which is the roots of each major bsd distribution and their focuses and I know about computers in general (I have computer engineering and electronic engineer degree), probably better than you both, too.
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Old 4th June 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harisman View Post
(I have computer engineering and electronic engineer degree), probably better than you both, too.
This is the first time somebody asked me about my degree on any forum but I guess there is always a first time. I have a Ph.D. in mathematics
I am also sticking with my assessment of your knowledge in spite of your formal credentials.
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Old 1st June 2009
ocicat ocicat is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harisman View Post
I think that these projects should be merged somehow to provide a magnificent BSD operating system, to make it the best secure/multiplatform/fastest/stable operating system available.
We see nearly once a year someone making an argument for unification. Although melding all *BSD's back together appears to have merit, in reality it will never happen.

The FreeBSD & NetBSD projects began with an unencumbered source base which had been vetted by real world usage & customized it to their own liking. The various projects have been around long enough now that the divergence is very real -- one cannot expect to take major subsystems from one project & splice into another without encurring a significant amount of work.

Likewise given that the projects have developed their own forms of funding (self-sustainment) & developed their own cultures, there isn't much motivation to merge. Even looking at OpenBSD's PF firewall which has been ported to both FreeBSD & NetBSD, the versions used by Free- & Net- are a few versions older than what can be found on OpenBSD. What this implies is that porting isn't that trivial or no one is motivated enough to change the status quo. The truth probably lies somewhere between.

Usually when people argue for unification, they contrast the number of drivers available in the *BSD world to that of Linux. Again, two core issues are at play:
  • some Linux drivers are encumbered by NDA agreements.
  • the number of *BSD developers pales in comparison to those contributing to Linux.
Yes, unification might help on this front, but again, the various *BSD projects have their own agendas which may not be compatible. In particular, the OpenBSD project does not accept any driver in which code cannot be reviewed without signing nondisclosure agreements with manufacturers, so porting Windows drivers via NDIS (as the FreeBSD project allows...) will never happen in the OpenBSD world.

Outside of technical differences, the cultural differences extend past different funding models to personality differences. Development requires that people work together & that communication occurs freely. Forcing people to unify doesn't mean that they will freely do so -- especially when much of the work is done without pay.
Quote:
Almost all of the above BSD's are trying to re-invent the wheel with different approaches, waisting development time and resources...
Yes, this is a valid interpretation, but perhaps you are making an assumption about the end-goal: with the exception of FreeBSD which believes that it can take on the Linux world, the other *BSD's are reasonably content with their small niches. Most of these projects are done by engineers wanting to do good engineering. Many aren't paid, so financial incentives or world domination can't be high priorities or motivating factors.

To be fair, developers in the various projects do watch what is committed into the various code repositories. Given that each of the *BSD projects descends from a common base means that some bug fixes & drivers can be ported from one project to another, but the greatest limiting factor is whether competent engineers are both capable & willing to do the work.

Nevertheless, merging entire projects means that some project identity may be lost, & scaling development teams who aren't being paid is a real management issue. Because the *BSD world is predicated on the resulting code be freely available to other uses (read the BSD license...), the various projects are primarily managed by engineers. Engineers don't necessarily make good managers, & managing large teams of developers requires real management skills. I don't see unification ever occurring in the *BSD world because the motivation isn't there.
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Old 1st June 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ocicat
with the exception of FreeBSD which believes that it can take on the Linux world, the other *BSD's are reasonably content with their small niches.
Some FreeBSD people believe they can (and want) to take on Linux, most of them don't.
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Old 1st June 2009
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>most of them don't

It's more like 'most of them won't' ;-)
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Old 4th June 2009
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I don't know about Oko, but I'm not very fond of people like you.. I honestly don't care how smart you think you are, but considering you feel the need to say that you're smarter then both of us.. that just speaks volumes about your character.
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Old 4th June 2009
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cut the bull and close this topic
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Old 4th June 2009
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Pretend I am a big pitbull who going to bite the first person who's going to continue this non-sense.

Back on topic, everything else can be fought in private if you feel the need.
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Old 4th June 2009
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If something works for everything, it doesn't work for anything

Make each program do one thing well.

you can tell same for BSD (FreeBSD=perfomance, OpenBSD=security, NetBSD=portability)

merging projects would sacrifice bought performance, security and portability (+ big bonus of bugs)
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Old 4th June 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by killasmurf86 View Post
If something works for everything, it doesn't work for anything
I like that...I'm going to steal it
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Old 7th June 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by killasmurf86 View Post
If something works for everything, it doesn't work for anything

Make each program do one thing well.

you can tell same for BSD (FreeBSD=perfomance, OpenBSD=security, NetBSD=portability)

merging projects would sacrifice bought performance, security and portability (+ big bonus of bugs)
Just an addendum: NetBSD is also known for performance especially compared to FreeBSD. For some time it lost the top position, but today it's in the game again.
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Old 7th June 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oliver_H View Post
Just an addendum: NetBSD is also known for performance especially compared to FreeBSD. For some time it lost the top position, but today it's in the game again.
Good observations. People like to stereotype BSDs. I really have no idea
were so called portability of NetBSD is coming from (at least on workstations). Mac PowerPC port of NetBSD is very solid, sparc64 is a big joke as well as sgi mips.

Have you recently seen OpenBSD sgi port. It works almost on the same hardware as Irix. OpenBSD sparc64 is second to none. I will dare to say that is in par with native Solaris.
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Old 7th June 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oko View Post
OpenBSD sparc64 is second to none. I will dare to say that is in par with native Solaris.
I may have to try Open then (*gasp!*). I have a few old sparc64 boxes that are laying fallow at the moment. One is a dual 500MHz box, with dual graphics cards. Other than its noise (loud!) it is a nice machine. FreeBSD support is OK, but not really that stellar.
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Old 7th June 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oliver_H View Post
Just an addendum: NetBSD is also known for performance especially compared to FreeBSD. For some time it lost the top position, but today it's in the game again.
Well then, I have no choice, but to try it on my laptop
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