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Status: Suggested to NG 20000913

%t FreeBSD
%n R
%s Unix for real men
%a Alex Gough (
%d 20000913

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 properly.[1]

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, _Walnut Creek_ sell a cheap package of tools, OS sources and documentation at .

[1] These paragraphs have been registered under the 1988 _containment of holy wars_ act as having an inflamatory tone yet being in essence true.

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 ^Back to Top^ | ©Alex Gough Mon Mar 14 2005 ...more than you might imagine.