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Old 20th May 2008
FreeMan FreeMan is offline
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Default OpenBSD - the right choice ?

I learned a lot from one of the other threads today. Thank you everyone there. As wubrgamer mentioned before, if I want to learn serious Unix, what operating system should I use? I'm running OpenBSD, did I choose the right one?

Last edited by FreeMan; 20th May 2008 at 01:58 AM.
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Old 20th May 2008
corey_james corey_james is offline
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moved post to new thread
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Old 20th May 2008
ocicat ocicat is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FreeMan View Post
...if I want to learn serious Unix, what operating system should I use? I'm running OpenBSD, did I choose the right one?
You ask a useful question, however, this is off-topic from the OP's initial intent. When changing subjects, it is more useful to all to begin a new thread.

As for which Unix to learn, it all depends upon your ultimate goal:
  • If you are wanting to leverage knowledge for employment reasons, you may want to consider Solaris and/or Linux for these are most widely used in classic IT shops today.
  • Having said that, the *BSD's are also used in industry, but the licensing makes the *BSD's more palatable to embedded work (...as is Linux to a lesser degree, however, the GPL can make usage by start-up companies more difficult if source is not made freely available.).
  • Of the *BSD's, FreeBSD has the greatest popularity & usage in industry:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compari...ems#Popularity

    ...as it is used extensively by companies such as Yahoo!, Juniper, etc. However, this is not to imply that any of the other *BSD variants are not useful or popular for specific reasons. OpenBSD is in use at numerous companies for its firewall & other security capabilities. NetBSD also is used in a number of embedded environments.
You will find that there is no clear answer to your question. Although the *BSD's have forked & have their own personalities, they all have a heritage coming from a base code base which is over thirty years old. With this, comes a great deal of stability. Note that Solaris builds on this same tradition as it stems from the early BSD code base as well.

Linux, on the other hand, began as a complete rewrite modeled after Minix's kernel in the early 1990's. It's code base is not as old, but it has undergone rapid growth, & has captured significant market share.

So there is significant overlap between the *BSD's, Linux, & Solaris, but each effort has developed its own personality & community. It is up to you to experiment & dig deeper to see which variant fits your needs best.

Last edited by ocicat; 20th May 2008 at 02:14 AM.
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Old 20th May 2008
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ocicat made a very good post (y).


I personally started with FreeBSD, I find no major problems going and using a Linux or OpenBSD machine (aside from a few shell aliases that needed porting).

The only issues are where they differ the most and on the BSDs it is much less because of the common origins. The biggest stumbling points would probably be kernel related things, which is where every system is likely to differ (BSD from Linux and AIX and vice versa).


If the reason for learning is only business: I'd suggest Fedora, CentOS, or Debian.


For fun or sake of learning, any will do. I chose FreeBSD because it felt the best unix like system that meets my tastes and style when it comes to how things are done.


If you seriously learn one UNIX system you can make the transition to others without a lot of trouble.



footnote:

(y) is an emote for thumbs up.
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Old 20th May 2008
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I also think that Ocicat's response was admirable... so I hope that in no way this response detracts from it. But since he has given that fine response, I will do as TerryP has done, giving you an answer from the perspective of why I chose OpenBSD. Here are the reasons-

- Considered by most to be the most secure operating system in the world.
- The slogan "It just works" is true (when configured properly )
- The source code is untainted by licensing issues or commercial binary blobs (no GPL code, it's all BSD-licensed. No NDA's with companies.) In other words, it is truly free.
- As a network administrator, I like the fact that it's the original source of many network-based applications- PF, OpenOSPFD, OpenBGPD, CARP, OpenNTPD, etc.
- It's actually easy to use. Most commonly used configuration files are in /etc/, there isn't a whole lot of cruft to sift through (compare the output of 'top' in OpenBSD to any distro of Linux.)
- The development team strives to make things workable and secure, and is a truly dedicated bunch, answering to no one but themselves.

Of course, no OS is perfect, and OBSD has it's flaws- because it accepts no commercial binary blobs, 3D graphics hardware support doesn't really exist. Because they answer to no one, the development team is sometimes not the friendliest bunch. Because they work for functionality over feature-richness, Symmetric multi-processing performance isn't that hot.

So as a desktop system it's passable but I wouldn't play any serious games on it. As a server, I think it's great. As a router or firewall, I think it absolutely rocks.

If I had to pick a single word for OBSD- it would be uncompromising.
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Old 21st May 2008
FreeMan FreeMan is offline
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Thank you guys!

Last edited by FreeMan; 21st May 2008 at 12:32 AM.
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Old 21st May 2008
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EDIT: FreeMan removed his question, which asked which BSD was more Unix. My answer and ai-danno's were to that question

-----------------------------------

Your question shows some level of ignorance of the history of Unix Systems. That's OK. I will refer you to Google for the gory details, but here is an extremely brief history to get you started:

Both FreeBSD and OpenBSD have roots in the same OS, something called "BSD 4.4 Lite." That was the final release of "BSD" from the University of California, Berkeley. BSD is an acronym for "Berkeley Systems Distribution" and BSD began as a collection of patches and modifications to AT&T's Unix. Over the years, modifications replaced all of the underlying AT&T Unix source code ... by the time AT&T and UC Berkeley parted ways, BSD no longer had any AT&T derived source code, though AT&T's Unix had incorporated many BSD features and modules.

AT&T later sold "Unix" and ownership has changed hands several times since.

Today, there are some commonly used commercial Unix systems: Solaris (Sun), AIX (IBM) and HP/UX (HP) are the market leaders due to the market presence of their hardware. There are other server (and workstation) vendors over the years that have also provided commercial Unix systems. These hardware vendors differentiate themselves not so much by the variety of Unix they provide, but by the features of their hardware and the tools in their Unix systems which support the hardware.

Today's BSDs may have started their lives way-back-when as Unix, but today they are known as "Unix-like systems," just like Linux is, though Linux has an entirely different history -- as a clone of the kernel of a Unix system called "Minix."

Unix has a history which goes back about 35 years. If you're interested in more historical details, and present offerings, spend a little time with Google.

Last edited by jggimi; 21st May 2008 at 12:46 AM.
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Old 21st May 2008
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Wow, good question. I'd say OpenBSD... but I'm sure some FreeBSD fans would have some convincing arguments to the contrary.

First a comment on BSD and UNIX (and yes I'm lumping a lot of history into two lines)- University of California at Berkeley put together the first BSD OS (Berkely Software Distribution) because it wanted academia to be able to use a UNIX-like system without having to pay all the licensing costs associated with actual AT+T UNIX. Since all the current BSD's use original code from UC Berkeley's original BSD, that's why you see the attribution when booting up any BSD system.


So I think it would be more accurate for me to say- OBSD is more in the original BSD UNIX-like tradition because it's code is completely transparent. There is no section of the code that is a pre-compiled binary that you can't review. Other BSD's will use this type of code (aka "binary blobs") to bring it's own OS into the 'modern day' functionality- a perfect example is 3d graphics hardware drivers, and also certain SCSI drivers. With OBSD sometimes this means that you will lose the ability to use certain hardware- OBSD developers respond to those non-cooperating hardware vendors with, "Make your driver source available and license-free - only then will we think about including support for it."

The other thing about OpenBSD that's really great is it's documentation. I can't speak for the documentation efforts of the other BSD's (so I can't say whether OBSD is better in this respect), but OBSD is routinely praised for it's depth and completeness of it's documentation, which in official terms relates to it's MAN pages and the OpenBSD FAQ. Of course, we're here to help, too .
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Old 21st May 2008
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dang it! That's what happens when I take forever to craft my response... someone else jumps in there and says most of it first... lol.. oh well.
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Old 21st May 2008
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Heh. I entered mine then re-edited it again and again, trying to make it more readable.
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Old 21st May 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jggimi View Post
Today's BSDs may have started their lives way-back-when as Unix, but today they are known as "Unix-like systems," just like Linux is...
The reason for using the "Unix-like" moniker is because the name "UNIX" has been trademarked by the Open Group:

http://www.unix.org/trademark.html

...which means that a lot of money has to exchange hands in order to legally be called Unix today.
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Old 21st May 2008
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I spent a couple of years working regularly with the senior management of the Open Group. That was during this century, so "Unix" never once came up.
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Old 21st May 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ai-danno View Post
[The] University of California at Berkeley put together the first BSD OS (Berkely [sic] Software Distribution) because it wanted academia to be able to use a UNIX-like system without having to pay all the licensing costs associated with actual AT+T UNIX.
That's not correct. AT&T initially made Unix licenses available to academia at very reasonable rates. Berkeley started as a patch set to the standard AT&T Unix release (6th Edition, I think) and it evolved from there. It was much later in the game -- after 4.3BSD and with 4.4-lite -- that it began positioning itself as an alternative. The Unix landscape had changed by then, but BSD had been at it for a decade by that time.
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Old 21st May 2008
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Both jggimi/ai-danno have excellent explanations, some.. inconsistencies though:

1) BSD stands for Berkeley Software Distribution, not System.
2) It originally consisted of extra utilities/programs for AT&T Unix, they did however start making customizations of the AT&T Unix kernel(BSD Sockets API, TCP/IP, New architecture ports.. etc), eventually they realized how little AT&T copyrighted code remained, and removed/replaced it.. thus, the BSD kernel was born.

I know, Wikipedia is often accredited to lack of trust, but the history and origins of BSD are fairly sound, check it out for a mostly full story. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BSD

I use OpenBSD, like ai-danno, I enjoy the unprecedented freedom the system offers, (When compared with all others..), as for the current lack of 3d acceleration - It's being worked on, partially working code is already in the tree thanks to oga@

Personally, I don't need 3D acceleration or Flash.. or anything else common folk seem to think important, I'm a minimalist.. plus, the OpenBSD hier is just breathtakingly beautiful.
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Old 21st May 2008
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Nevermind.
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Last edited by ai-danno; 21st May 2008 at 01:11 AM. Reason: no reason to argue over ancient history that is of little consequence to today's affairs
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Old 21st May 2008
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UCB distributed their tapes for free (or darned close -- shipping, media and all that). To be useful it required the recipient to hold a valid Unix license. Pretty much all the major academic institutions had Unix licenses so that was no big deal.

You have no idea how cool Unix was back in those days. Most of us still worked on punch cards.
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Old 21st May 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ai-danno
"Make your driver source available and license-free - only then will we think about including support for it."
Wrong. Wrong. Dead Wrong, They never ask that the source for either drivers or firmware be released.

They only ask for "Documentation", source code is not a valid substitute for proper documentation.

If company claims the documentation does not exist, wasn't written, or lost in a corporate takeover, OpenBSD developers often reverse engineer the hardware..

Last edited by BSDfan666; 21st May 2008 at 02:14 AM.
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Old 21st May 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrJ View Post
Berkeley started as a patch set to the standard AT&T Unix release (6th Edition, I think) and it evolved from there.
Yup. This is Peter Salus' take too in A Quarter Century of UNIX.

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Old 21st May 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BSDfan666 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by ocicat
"Make your driver source available and license-free - only then will we think about including support for it."
Wrong. Wrong. Dead Wrong, They never ask that the source for either drivers or firmware be released.
Uh BSDfan666, I didn't say this...
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Old 21st May 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ocicat View Post
Uh BSDfan666, I didn't say this...
That's right it was me. I mispoke. Luckily I wasn't just wrong... I was "DEAD WRONG" lol. Of course by this misquote it appears I wasn't the only one.


hehehehehe
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