The typical discussions about BSD vs Linux

Published on 2017-10-15.

In this article we're going to take a little look at the typical discussions about the differences between popular operating systems such as BSD and Linux.

If you're into operating systems it's highly likely that you have come across people asking questions like, "Should I use FreeBSD rather than Ubuntu?" or "Should I use Arch Linux rather than Debian?". It is also highly likely that you have seen people who get exited when someone migrates from one operating system to another.

Such questions and such behavior makes no sense.

It is equivalent to someone asking, "Should I use car A rather than car B?"

In fact, most people rarely deal with the operating system itself, but rather deal with third party software, like a browser, an email client, etc.

Being happy when someone migrates from some Linux distribution to a BSD flavor or vice versa makes no sense. Being happy when someone migrates from a proprietary system like Microsoft Windows or Apple's MacOS makes sense, because these systems not only compromises users freedoms, but they also contain questionable content.

When people say things like:

We had been running Linux on our boxes and they eventually halted and came down to a crush. We then decided to put FreeBSD on them and they performed twice as well and are still running strong!

Then such a statement says absolutely nothing about the specific Linux distribution they had been running, or what the problem was really about. Perhaps these people had no clue about what they were doing in the first place.

When you understand your specific needs you look for the best tool to solve your problems. In some cases this require testing and a trial-and-error approach. And in some cases you need multiple solutions because you have multiple unique problems that doesn't work well with a "one size fits all" solution.

When you're dealing with most generic situations it mostly comes down to a matter of personal taste and preference rather than technical requirements. Almost any operating system can handle your requirements well with a few exceptions (mostly hardware related restrictions, e.g. OpenBSD doesn't support NVIDIA GPUs). But when you need to be able to fiddle with compile time options because you need a tailor made solution, then you're not dealing with a generic problem, but a specific one.

Questions you need to ask yourself are questions like:

Some operating systems have been designed with meticulous care to detail, like OpenBSD, while other systems are almost thrown together "organically" with no planing, and this greatly effects both security, performance, and control.