Status: Suggested to NG 20000913
%s Unix for real men
%a Alex Gough (email@example.com)
Back in the dark ages of computing, well before the brave new face of linux
came to bring joy to the world, pain to Bill Gates and fame to Linus
Torvolds. In a (for the sake of narrative) small, dark, undergound
laboratory a group of (one assumes) bearded computer scientists at the
University of California at Berkely's Computer Systems Research Group
released the sources of the 4.4BSD-Lite operating system to the world.
Another group of operating systems junkies seized upon these sources and
after years of painful development (again, one would hope, in badly lit
sub-terrainean vaults) they released FreeBSD into the world. Not content to
leave their baby to fend for itself in the wild world of computing, ready to
be gobbled up by some cloned CP/M upstart, they continued to develop and
improve the system until it became what it is today.
To their credit all of that hard work paid off and FreeBSD today has
performance and stability to rival (or even surpass) that of many commercial
UNIX offerings as well as the ability to run many of the same applications
after minimal alterations to their source code.
When an aspiring uber-geek takes his first tearful steps away from the
comforting world of Windows, he will usually turn his gaze to linux. Many of
these people will manage, after a time, to install one of the many different
distributions and will then grow to love the new and more powerful
enviroment they find themselves working with. Little do they know how much
they are missing though. There are some amongst this crowd that soon come
to hear of FreeBSD and decide to try using that instead. More often than
not they are suprised by how easy it was to configure and install, by the
wealth of applications available and by the extra power available to them.
This transition can sometimes be too tough for weaker men, the power can
overwhelm them and they feel lost or let down by the broken promises of
linux. These people then return to linux where they live out their quiet,
happy, lives trying to forget their experience. Other, stronger, men stay
where they are.
Real men, on the other hand, when making their first forays into UNIX-like
systems pass by the false havens of linux and sail straight onto FreeBSD.
They reason that if something is worth doing, it is always worth doing
What is it that makes FreeBSD so different (and, of course, better) than
linux? Firstly, linux is a clone of UNIX and was written from scratch
rather than being a direct descendent as FreeBSD is. Linux consists only of
a kernal, it only becomes an operating system when it is bundled with
various tools in a distribution leading to multiple (and sometimes
imcompatable) versions. There is only one distribution of FreeBSD. The two
systems do have something in common though, they both attract a large group
of avid devotees who are prepared to agrue with each other about the merits
of their platform over the other until they are blue in the face.
FreeBSD is available for download from ftp.freebsd.org, _Walnut Creek_ sell
a cheap package of tools, OS sources and documentation at www.cdrom.com .
 These paragraphs have been registered under the 1988 _containment of
holy wars_ act as having an inflamatory tone yet being in essence true.