[PLUG] Anyone using / can advise on FreeBSD/NetBSD?

Amarendra Godbole amarendra.godbole at gmail.com
Fri Jul 15 11:49:10 IST 2011

On Fri, Jul 1, 2011 at 8:13 PM, Mayuresh <mayuresh at acm.org> wrote:
> I don't intend to start any BSD/Linux or anything vs anything flame.
> There is ample material on such comparison on the web some of which I
> have browsed through.
> If somebody has used any of the BSD systems (FreeBSD or NetBSD), I'd have
> just liked to know the experience with them, any significant advantages or
> pain areas felt etc.
> I am a largely command line user, never use any feature rich desktop
> manager. I use a regular x86 desktop computer / laptop. For such a usage
> profile and hardware, which flavor of BSD will be good to use?

I use OpenBSD (and nothing else). Have been using it for about 4 yrs.
now, and it does everything what I want it to do. I know you don't
have it in the above list, but since it is a "secure sibling" of the
BSDs' you mention, I thought you may be interested. If you want to run
a "secure" machine, OpenBSD is for you. Some interesting features (I
am not going to bore you with common stuff, but things that make it
stand out):
* installs in 10 minutes flat on a standard laptop/desktop - most
painless install if you give it the entire disk.
* runs in "secure by default" mode, which enables only ssh, and
disables remote root logins (the ps ax listing occupies less than 1
terminal page).
* focus is primarily on security and correctness - including the man
pages and the docs they produce. code in the man pages can be "copied
and used as-is". Uses strong crypto and never had any export
restrictions, since it gets developed and distributed from Canada.
* does have X, default window manager being FVWM.
* uses no "blobs" - binary-only drivers for hardware from the
manufacturer. developers write drivers using specs. so h/w that has
closed specs may not have a driver. the only binary they accept is the
firmware on the h/w device.
* has primitive or no support for latest and greatest cutting/bleeding
edge technologies like logical volume manager, and a lot of other
bells and whistles linux has. focus is more in improving what you
already have, than adding a lot of new and untested things.
* ports system has ~6000 ports (compare with more than 22K for FreeBSD).
* developers write code for themselves. typical mentality is "shut-up
and hack", and the mailing list is considered to be very rude by many.
A lot of emphasis is on RTFM, rather than stupid newbie questions
(this turns-off most folks who want to make a switch to OpenBSD).

To summarize, you either get OpenBSD, or you don't. Take your pick. :-)


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