freebsd vs. linux - educated opinions wanted

Roger 'Rocky' Vetterberg listsub at
Mon May 19 03:13:44 PDT 2003

Aaron Peterson wrote:

 > i am looking for educated opinions about the following:
 > 1. There is better hardware support for linux, and more features
 > because there are more developers.

Do not confuse quality with quantity. More drivers does not mean
better drivers, just as more developers does not mean better code.
More often then not, the opposite is true.

 > 2. Linux code is often not as well written as freebsd because
 > freebsd developers are more unified, focused and strict.

Might be true to some extent, but its not a general rule.
There are parts of the linux source that is just terrible, but then
again Im sure parts of the FreeBSD code isnt as clean and strict as it
should be.

 > 3. freeBSD is more secure

I would prefer to say that FreeBSD is often more secure *by default*.
No os is more secure then the admins make it. Im sure an experienced
linux hacker can tighten down a linux box to be virtually bullet
proof, just as a newbie freebsd user can make his box as secure as an
unpatched w2k running the first version of IIS. However, if you are a 
total newbie, FreeBSD is probably a better start since it will give 
you a good starting point, security wise. But this varies extremely 
depending on distribution. Red Hat is as secure as a Windows 98 box, 
while others like debian or slackware is really good.

 > 4. freeBSD is more stable

By my experience, yes. The FreeBSD VM is the best there is, especially
under load. The linux VM has made a lot of progress, but I dont know
if they have come all the way yet.

 > what does linux have that freebsd doesn't?

Hype, hype and lots of hype. A fat penguin logo.

 > what does freebsd have that linux  doesn't?

A very mature code base and, IMHO, a more organized way of doing
The goodguy to a-hole ratio is probably a little bit better in
the bsd community.
A truly free license. The fact that you dont have to pay money for 
linux does not make it free!

 > what are the security issues that should be acknowledged when
 > deciding which to use for something mission critical in a
 > production environment?  how does one measure/compare stability,
 > and which comes out on top?

You will have to make your own opinion. I have used both Linux and
FreeBSD for 6+ years now, and I know which one I prefer. The strange
thing is, that the more educated and experienced I get with Linux, the
more I dislike it. Still, my work forces me to be able to handle linux
as well as bsd and windows, so Im stuck using and learning all of
them. But at home, all my machines run FreeBSD.

 > these have been swimming around in my head for a while, and i have
 > gotten pretty comfortable with linux, and curiousity has driven me
 > to begin learning freebsd now regardless of the answers.  i am not
 > a hacker or a seasoned *NIX admin though, and would like some
 > better founded opinions that my own :)

No opinion is better then your own. Noone can tell you what works for 
you. People can tell you what they think, but that does not mean you 
have to agree with them. Try it out for yourself and see what you 
think. If you get stuck, we are here to help you.


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