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The BSD Community Compared to the Linux Community

Date/Time Permalink: 10/12/07 11:45:01 am
Category: General

I'll tell you the number one thing right off that I like better about BSD than Linux: the peace and quiet.

An amazing experience occurred when I began to run BSD. It was a Jedi event. I was jolted by something that suddenly stopped when I started BSD, something I hadn't been aware of until it was gone. I experienced a great calming in The Force; as if a million screaming, bitching voices suddenly shut the hell up!

Here is the story of two free Unix systems. BSD, at this time, is about twice Linux's age. Many of the same programs will run on both. Much of the same kind of person who likes one should like the other. Yet on Linux's side of the fence, there is this massive war going on; while on BSD's side, you can step out on your porch at night and hear nothing but crickets.

Nobody is preaching that BSD has to do this, this, and this to suit some agenda.

Nobody is threatening to tar and feather the BSD users for being elitists.

Microsoft isn't shaking any clubs at BSD and threatening to sue it for millions of patent violations.

Nobody is snapping up BSD distros in patent-protection racket deals.

Pundits are not shrieking about what BSD has to do to "make it on the desktop".

Nobody's threatening to blackball me out of the community if I don't give them all my money to advertise BSD with.

Nobody's gaming Distrowatch to try to get BSD distro A ranked above BSD distro B.

Nobody is wringing their hands about how to dumb BSD down, make it suitable for idiots, or turn it into I-Cant-Believe-Its-Not-Windows.

SCO isn't suing over BSD.

Amazing, isn't it?

This is not to say that BSD is without its strife. Even from reading the /usr/share/doc/ section of the FreeBSD install, I can find references to heated battles and controversies going way back. But most of it's internal, and revolves around shaping and building the best operating system they can produce.

Oh, yes... one more thing. There was USL vs BSDi back in 1992, a lawsuit remarkably similar to this decade's SCO vs Linux. That Wiki link says that the lawsuit slowed BSD development for a while, and:

"Linux and 386BSD began development at about the same time, and Linus Torvalds has said that if 386BSD had been available at the time, he would probably not have created Linux."

Now, had the SCO vs Linux lawsuit gone the way it was intended, would another developer have likewise emerged from the wings with his or her own free operating system? Are there alternate universes where Torvalds and Stallman simply joined the core BSD team?

Which kind of explains a little bit of the animosity towards Linux present in the BSD community. What animosity is that? Hey, images like this, this, and this don't draw themselves!

A lot more of the animosity is easier to explain, but harder for some of us to see. Many of the BSD tribe view the Linux tribe as teeth-grittingly irritating. That's all, just plain unruly, rowdy neighbors. With all the whooping and screaming from the Linux side of the fence, it is little wonder why.

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