OpenBSD Journal

BSD Comparison

Contributed by jose on from the comparison-shopping dept.

bsb writes:
"This will apply mostly to neophytes but I have run several flavors of Linux on my home network in recent years but have only became interested in BSD since I began paying closer attention to my logs. I've been reading quite a bit about firewalls and IDSs and have settled on OpenBSD for the host. I just came across this article on that seems to have confirmed my choice (as have many others) and that attempts to briefly sketch the differences among the BIG 3 BSDs. Though my DB/Samba/Web server currently runs Mandrake, perhaps I'll consider moving to NetBSD and keep it all in the "family"...

The article URI is; "

The article is a pretty decent overview of the BSD family, but more importantly it helps to spread the word. UNIX Review has normally been into Linux, so I was happy to see this.

(Comments are closed)

  1. By Anonymous Coward () on

    for me to piss on.

    1. By Justin () on

      They tried and failed. Unfortunately this seems to be the equivalent to the mainstream media and Linux. Just mention a couple of bits of info with no real meat, and making sure it is stuff people already know if they use Linux. Everyone (who uses Linux) knows Debian is not like Redhat or Mandrake which is not like Yellowdog. Free/Net/Open BSD have more differences than just the primary goals of the core developers.

      Piss on buzzword fickle media content creators!
      That is just my cynical 2 cents.

  2. By Anonymous Coward () on

    Though it's great for the BSDs to get the press, this article is exactly like every other *BSD comparison guide. In fact, I think reading it made me dumber...what are stateful filters again?

    1. By Anonymous Coward () on

      What's *BSD? Oh yeah....

  3. By Anonymous Coward () on

    NetBSD split from FreeBSD in an effort to support a wider range of platforms.

    How do you want we take it seriously ?

    1. By Anonymous Coward () on

      Seems to be the only mistake they made in the article. I think you can give them a brake.

      1. By Anonymous Coward () on

        No. That, and SMP being unique to FreeBSD.

        I picked up those two after skimming for about twenty seconds. I'm sure there is more invalid information.

        1. By Anonymous Coward () on

          By "skimming for about twenty seconds" do you mean carefully reading the article begining to end? IT certainly looks that way.

          > I'm sure there is more invalid information.

          And I'm sure you are wrong.

          1. By Anonymous Coward () on

            Pathetic as that would be, who knows. I don't know enough to say. Either way it's grounds not to take this article too seriously.

            1. By Anonymous Coward () on

              it's a REVIEW - that means, one person's observation of the current situation..

              this is not a pile of facts..

              I think your hat is on crooked, nerd!

              1. By Anonymous Coward () on

                The article begins:

                "Ever wonder what the difference is between the various flavors of BSD? Read on for an overview of FreeBSD, NetBSD, and OpenBSD.

                The History of Berkeley UNIX

                Sounds like he aims to present some history and facts about BSD. The implication, of course, is that they are true. Maybe not. Maybe he's attempting some avant garde media style where all the facts are wrong. But I doubt it.

    2. By Anonymous Coward () on


  4. By Anonymous Coward () on

    Yet another comparison of BSDs that compares nothing. What a waste!

  5. By smoo () on

    Nice article, but way too shallow.

    Does anyone know of any in-depth comparisons of Open/Free/Net BSD, Linux, Solaris, etc.?

    I've been reading "Unix Internals" by Uresh Vahalia, but it's a bit dated. Next on my reading list is the "Design and Implementation of the 4.4BSD OS", but it too is a bit dated.

    1. By Anonymous Coward () on

      So are many parts of the source.

  6. By pula () on

    What I what is an article that picks on all bsd's bugs and stupid featrues.

    1. By Anonymous Coward () on

      Guess you'll think a spell checker is a stupid feature

      1. By Anonymous Coward () on

        unfortunately, you are too stupid yourself to address his statement.

  7. By Jeff Flowers () on

    This article says nothing that anyone already using a *BSD probably wouldn't know. However, all of the BSDs are good operating systems and I think that you can't go too wrong which ever one you choose.

  8. By Will B () on

    C'mon. Yeah it was a brief article, but was it way wrong? Is there a better article out there for non-bsd users? Instead of complaining, write one and post it here.

    1. By Anonymous Coward () on

      The article compares nothing, just gives a tiny, weeny overview of a few well known, overly repeated topics. See and you'll find more like it.

  9. By Somebody () on

    What's wrong with OpenBSD mailing lists?

    Listserver seems to be dead.

    1. By pravus () on appears to be up (it responds to a ping) but the mail services don't appear to be functioning. whomever takes care of that machine took a holiday vacation at just the wrong time... ;)

      1. By Anonymous Coward () on

        > whomever takes care of that machine took a holiday vacation at just the wrong time

        That would be Todd Miller and yes, he is on vacation. As was said elsewhere, the /var hard drive on the mailing lists machine is dying - that's why the lists were stopped. It will be fixed next week.

    2. By Dom De Vitto () on

      You can send to the server ok, but majordomo don't respond :-(


  10. By Anonymous Coward () on

    I found the review of Mandrake on the site interesting as well. Made me consider: what is the state of KDE and Gnome on OpenBSD and what about OpenOffice? As a firewall OpenBSD has no peers, why not an article on desktop options and what works best? Why not an article on the quality of the various *BSD ports collections and THEN list the best of each area.

    For instance, I use gnuplot to get graphs out, but have not tried any of the others. Is the accepted practice to read the DESC file, install each, try it out, move on, stop when you find one that works? How about an article from someone that has done that and can give guidance?

    1. By Anonymous Coward () on

      Oh no, you misunderstand. We don't actually write the articles, we just make fun of them.

      1. By Anonymous Coward () on

        Oh sorry, I forgot. LOL

  11. By Jim () on

    It was a good intro to BSD, however I believe one thing is incorrect. It was stated that NetBSD was an offshoot from FreeBSD. However, I believe this is incorrect. According to Kirk McKusick (one of the original BSD maintainers at Berkley), (see: the NetBSD group formed after Bill Jolitz release of 386/BSD based off Berkley’s BSD. Soon after, the FreeBSD group formed with a different charter. Later on, the OpenBSD group split off from NetBSD. This was because Theo de Raadt had a disagreement with the other NetBSD members and split away to form the OpenBSD group.

    For those of you who haven't read it, the above link is to Open Sources: Voices from the Open Source Revolution, Twenty Years of Berkeley Unix
    From AT&T-Owned to Freely Redistributable
    by Marshall Kirk McKusick. The whole book is available online and has some great chapters, including the one on the detailed history of BSD...


    1. By Shane () on

      Theo didn't have a disagree with NetBSD, NetBSD had a disagreement with Theo. The NetBSD core team kicked Theo out of core, but still encouraged him to contribute to the project. core basically didn't think Theo was a good representative of the project. You can read about it at It's interesting.

    2. By Jeffrey () on

      Thanks for the URL to opensources @

      == Twenty Years of Berkeley Unix ==
      I started reading it yesterday.
      This is invaluable info!

      The current state of the world, things, computing, or whatever else really means nothing without a knowledge of the history behind it. Without historical perspective there is really no point to anything IMHO.

      I might even buy that book!
      Thanks again for the URL =)

  12. By Philip Reynolds () on

    This review is for people new to the software scene. Very few people runnning any one of the three distributions will find anything surprising in here.

    This article has no real place here. It's author has problems describing in detail anything different. "OpenBSD is secure; NetBSD is portable; FreeBSD is a good mixture of both" ... I can't see much else here.

    "The first download takes quite a while, probably more than an hour on the Pentium 166 machine on which I'm keeping NetBSD"

    The first download takes more than an hour? Takes more than an hour on what? That's rather like saying the build process takes 24 hours to complete, or telling you how long a piece of string is.

    Poor research. If you're a coder, this article is equivalent to a "quick hack" IMHO


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