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Linux vs BSD? Which one should I learn and why?


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#1 Nicholas_Kang

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Posted 10 August 2018 - 07:15 AM

Hi guys,

 

I have been busy in the Study Hall for quite some time. Now coming back to Linux... :)

 

A recent article on Itsfoss.com (not sure if it is really reputable, though I am aware of its presence) talks about why people move from Linux to BSD.

 

Is BSD really more superior compared to Linux? As a newbie in the Unix world (maybe a "moderate" user by now. :P), which OS would all of you recommend and why? 

 

I personally use CentOS because a NASA software that I want to use only works on RHEL and its likes. I have to admit that Linux is very nice and really teaches me about computing. But what about BSD? Does it worth learning? Will it be used more frequently in the future?

 

(It always makes me wonder why Linux is so successful in the server world and the high-end computing world but BSD loses out while both Linux and BSD are of UNIX descendants, open source and freely available.)


Edited by Nicholas_Kang, 10 August 2018 - 07:15 AM.

"When the product is free the real product is YOU."
 

An offer of free anti-virus or anti-malware software is essentially a marketing techniqueBottom line...it's all about generating revenue and finding new and creative ways to do so. As such, users may have to deal with occasional nagging pop-ups, nuisance advertising and prompts to upgrade to the paid version or purchase other products.

By using such free programs, you are essentially agreeing to the terms of the vendor's service which includes those annoying pop-ups and ads.
 
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#2 Rocky Bennett

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Posted 10 August 2018 - 11:37 AM

You should try BSD in a virtual box on your Linux machine. That way you can get a feel for BSD and play with it to see if you like it.


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#3 MadmanRB

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Posted 10 August 2018 - 02:49 PM

Eh BSD is fine but its lack of hardware support and software support is much worse than linux.

Is it more stable? Yes

Is it less fragmented? Yes

But is it "better"? That is subjective

 

If you like to use steam and chrome linux is going to be the more viable option


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#4 Rocky Bennett

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Posted 10 August 2018 - 05:36 PM

I have a question that I wrestle with. Is there any philosophical reason to choose BSD over Linux? I'm talking about the whole Richard Stallman and FLOSS type of thing. I am happy running openSUSE as my daily driver but I have also thought about BSD as an ethical choice.

 

Is this even a real consideration?


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#5 MadmanRB

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Posted 10 August 2018 - 08:35 PM

Not really as the BSD licence is mostly GPL compatible

 

Granted the gpl does have drawbacks


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#6 Nicholas_Kang

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Posted 11 August 2018 - 01:26 AM

 

Eh BSD is fine but its lack of hardware support and software support is much worse than linux.

Is it more stable? Yes

 

 

@MadmanRB: I see. That means BSD isn't good at supporting a wide range of hardware? But how can it be stable at the same time? I don't use Chrome and play Steam, so I am fine with CentOS for now.

 

@RockyBennett: Will do!

 

But there is a question that still remains: Why is Linux in general more popular than BSD?


"When the product is free the real product is YOU."
 

An offer of free anti-virus or anti-malware software is essentially a marketing techniqueBottom line...it's all about generating revenue and finding new and creative ways to do so. As such, users may have to deal with occasional nagging pop-ups, nuisance advertising and prompts to upgrade to the paid version or purchase other products.

By using such free programs, you are essentially agreeing to the terms of the vendor's service which includes those annoying pop-ups and ads.
 
Read more here...


#7 Condobloke

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Posted 11 August 2018 - 01:45 AM

Licensing :

 

The difference in licensing that Linux and the BSD family use. While both use open source licenses, Linux uses the GPL which favors users by forcing developers to release any of their modifications to GPL-licensed software as open source and with the same license.

 

The BSD family uses the BSD license, which favors developers by allowing them to take open source software, make modifications to it, and then keep it proprietary if they wish rather than forcing them to release their changes as open source (although they still could if they wanted)

 

Hence the reason why Linux is more popular than BSD

 

if you’re comparing Linux and BSD as a desktop operating system, you have to look at vendor support. When you exclude Mac OS X (as it’s technically BSD, but from a user’s perspective we consider them separate), then vendor support isn’t that great for BSD operating systems. It’s not bad, but Linux has it better. Out of the two, the chances are higher that software will be written for Linux rather than a BSD operating system

 

Article of Interest


Condobloke ...Outback Australian  fed up with Windows antics...??....LINUX IS THE ANSWER....I USE LINUX MINT 18.3  EXCLUSIVELY.

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#8 Nicholas_Kang

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Posted 11 August 2018 - 09:37 PM

Thanks for the explanation, now it makes sense to me.

 

Should I try OpenBSD or FreeBSD then? I hope to learn more about the security features offered by OpenBSD, but it seems that FreeBSD is more popular (therefore I believe more support is available).

 

Any suggestions?


"When the product is free the real product is YOU."
 

An offer of free anti-virus or anti-malware software is essentially a marketing techniqueBottom line...it's all about generating revenue and finding new and creative ways to do so. As such, users may have to deal with occasional nagging pop-ups, nuisance advertising and prompts to upgrade to the paid version or purchase other products.

By using such free programs, you are essentially agreeing to the terms of the vendor's service which includes those annoying pop-ups and ads.
 
Read more here...


#9 mypalabok

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Posted 12 August 2018 - 09:16 AM

without readin previous posts, i'd say go for what your target employer or industry is using. but for personal preference, i'd say one of the BSD *nixes like FreeBSD mainly because i read their history and i like their philosophy.



#10 Mike_Walsh

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Posted 12 August 2018 - 12:36 PM

I think you'll find that the whole reason why BSD hardware support isn't that great is because the team that head-up development subscribe to the same views that are espoused by Stallman & the Free Software Foundation.....embodied by distros such as Trisquel.

 

One of the defining features about hardware support within the Linux kernel is that very often, 'blobs' are needed. These are small chunks of closed-source, proprietary code, without which many hardware devices simply will not run/work.....and their writers point-blank refuse to open them up for public inspection.

 

Trisquel uses a modified version of the already-modified Ubuntu kernel.....with all these 'blobs' removed (for 'ethical' reasons.) But a lot of your hardware simply won't work with it because, since their devs cannot (or more likely, will not) replace that proprietary code with reverse-engineered equivalents, don't expect stuff like Wacom tablets, 'pen' mice, fancy game controllers, etc., to work with it.

 

Rufwoof should be along soon to sing BSD's praises. He'll make you a convert, if anybody can; to him, BSD is the best thing since sliced bread, because of one reason.....its extremely strong SECURITY.

 

 

Mike.  :wink:


Edited by Mike_Walsh, 12 August 2018 - 12:38 PM.

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#11 Nicholas_Kang

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Posted 13 August 2018 - 02:59 AM

Thanks guys. I will see what I can do with the BSDs.


"When the product is free the real product is YOU."
 

An offer of free anti-virus or anti-malware software is essentially a marketing techniqueBottom line...it's all about generating revenue and finding new and creative ways to do so. As such, users may have to deal with occasional nagging pop-ups, nuisance advertising and prompts to upgrade to the paid version or purchase other products.

By using such free programs, you are essentially agreeing to the terms of the vendor's service which includes those annoying pop-ups and ads.
 
Read more here...


#12 mremski

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Posted 16 August 2018 - 06:40 AM

Linux is just a kernel.  A Linux distribution is a Linux kernel bundled with other utilities.  On a Linux distribution, most of the "standard" utilities are GNU:  things like ls, cp, the shells.

 

BSD is not just a kernel.  BSD is a cohesive set of kernel and userland utilities.  Applications like web browsers, desktop environments are not part of BSD but are applications that have been ported to run on a BSD system.

 

Most of the popular applications are actually shared source between Linux distros and BSDs  Firefox, Chrome, etc.

 

From a users perspective the licensing makes little to zero difference.  If you are developing software it makes a huge difference.

 

User experience:

You can set up a BSD system running the same KDE as a Linux system, 90% of the people won't notice a difference.

 

Newer hardware is typically supported quicker under Linux, mostly because there are more folks actively working on Linux.  The argument about binary blobs is really not part of the equation, it boils down more to HW folks making everyone sign an NDA. 

 

There are a number of BSD forks that have different focus.  Original ones:

FreeBSD (best performance on PC hardware), NetBSD (run on anything), OpenBSD (secure by default)

Forks for various reasons (that I can think of off the top of my head)

DragonflyBSD (FreeBSD fork, different path for scaling and multiprocessing, better new hw support)

HardenedBSD (FreeBSD with security focus)

TrueOS (FreeBSD with focus on trying to keep up to date quicker)

 

Unless you are looking at doing kernel level stuff, there is no real reason to pick one or the other.  As a user, pick one.


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#13 Nicholas_Kang

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Posted 16 August 2018 - 08:31 PM

Thanks. I am aware of that. I am mainly concerned with using Linux distro for scientific computing purposes. I would consider using BSD but I am not sure if there are any practical applications of BSD in scientific computing. So, maybe I should think again before trying out BSD. 


"When the product is free the real product is YOU."
 

An offer of free anti-virus or anti-malware software is essentially a marketing techniqueBottom line...it's all about generating revenue and finding new and creative ways to do so. As such, users may have to deal with occasional nagging pop-ups, nuisance advertising and prompts to upgrade to the paid version or purchase other products.

By using such free programs, you are essentially agreeing to the terms of the vendor's service which includes those annoying pop-ups and ads.
 
Read more here...


#14 rufwoof

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Posted 17 August 2018 - 06:28 AM

Rufwoof should be along soon to sing BSD's praises. He'll make you a convert, if anybody can; to him, BSD is the best thing since sliced bread, because of one reason.....its extremely strong SECURITY.

 

I like OpenBSD over FreeBSD as OpenBSD comes configured out of the box. Things are also designed/implemented correctly with security in mind, not tweaking things to get it working with as wide as base as possible. If you have or add hardware that works with OBSD then it works exceptionally well IME, but much less so for many.

 

Under Linux running in ram some programs will seem much snappier compared to OBSD when run the first time. Once cached however the speed difference can be unnoticeable. OBSD's use of FFS filesystems is also slower than more modern alternatives, FFS can however can be tweaked to run quicker, at the expense of lower security/stability and as more transition over to SSD's the differences might also be imperceptible (I still use mechanical disks myself). OBSD'd respo's tend to have less choice than FreeBSD which in turn have less choice than the likes of Debian/Linux. For me the OBSD repo's have enough for my needs.

 

Many use OBSD as a server, I'm also using it as my sole desktop system (bare metal). The base/core OBSD comes with pretty much everything I need other than a browser and that base system is extensively tested as a whole (very stable). X (more secure version), http/mail/etc servers, choice of windows managers ...etc. On top of that I'm a recent convert to the Iridium web browser (formerly was using firefox-esr).

 

In your case however I suspect that running OBSD or FreeBSD in a Linux based Virtual Box might have greater appeal. My personal needs are quite light, web browsing, email, documentation ...etc. For studies I would imagine your needs would be much wider.

 

Some of the things OBSD does with security in mind are the likes of randomising and encrypting swap, randomising PID's and fileID's, randomising the kernel. Pledge is applied on top of that - which checks to ensure programs stay within the bounds of what they are expected to do/access. The next release (6 monthly) will also include unveil, which monitors/limits the filespace (what files/folders programs are expected to access). W^X write exclusive or execute is another security measure making it harder for a potential hack to write program code to some memory space and then have it executed. I also run a daily file checksum run against all bin/sbin/libs/etc files, so any trojan would be flagged. The OBSD run security audits and strive to have clean/proper code (security bugs are more often just standard bug that opens up a potential security breach). Whilst no system is truly safe, OBSD raises the bar https://www.openbsd.org/lyrics.html#60a such that you're less inclined to security issues. As another for-instance hyperthreading will be disabled by default in the next release as a means to address more recent hyperthreading security weaknesses.

 

For me, buying/selecting hardware to match the software I want to run (OBSD) is acceptable. Others prefer that the software runs on their wider range of hardware choice. Predominately the latter is the more common and accordingly Linux tends to better fit with that. But that more often entails BLOBS - binaries where the source isn't openly available and as such is a potential security weakness, something that OBSD doesn't tolerate (so the likes of Nvidia more often won't work or at least work well under OBSD).


OpenBSD (-current)


#15 rufwoof

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Posted 17 August 2018 - 06:38 AM

Thanks. I am aware of that. I am mainly concerned with using Linux distro for scientific computing purposes. I would consider using BSD but I am not sure if there are any practical applications of BSD in scientific computing. So, maybe I should think again before trying out BSD. 

 

https://www.bsdjobs.com/people/

 

Depends upon what scientific computing purpose/software you need to run/create. If using something like C then OBSD is a excellent choice as if it runs under that then it will tend to be solid and portable (along with potential compiler hints as to making the code more secure/better). OBSD count their man pages as part of the system i.e. a man page error is considered as much as a bug as a software bug. Having man pages aligned with the installed system is very useful at times.


OpenBSD (-current)





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