nanobsd, picobsd, tinybsd

Giorgos Keramidas keramida at
Sat Nov 10 14:51:52 PST 2007

On 2007-11-10 15:45, John Smith <johnjgsmith at> wrote:
>On Nov 10, 2007 9:40 AM, Giorgos Keramidas <keramida at> wrote:
>>On 2007-11-09 17:01, John Smith <johnjgsmith at> wrote:
>>> Can anybody please explain to my what the differences are between
>>> nanobsd, picobsd and tinybsd.
>>> They all seem to be doing the same (creating a minimal FreeBSD image
>>> that can be used in embedded systems), or is this not right?
>> What don't you experiment with them, and see? :)
> I'd expected a more level headed reply from this FreeBSD list. How is
> a newbie supposed to know the differenced and how can I test this if I
> don't have a spare machine?
> My question was more out of interest. This mailing list is called
> FreeBSD-Questions, so why can't I asked a reasonable question and
> expect a reasonable reply...?

Minus the typo in the original reply [s/What/Why/], I'm afraid that this
is the only way to get hands-on experience with these systems.  I'm
sorry if the original response came out as ``odd''.  More over, I don't
really know what you mean by ``level headed'', other than ``not flame me
for asking'', which is not something we tend to do in freebsd-questions.

Having said that, a brief description of what each one of the systems
you mentioned is:

  * PicoBSD used to work with earlier FreeBSD versions.  I don't think
    it does work with recent 7.X versions or CURRENT.  I wouldn't even
    go there right now, unless you want to ``forward port'' all the code
    which made PicoBSD tick, and make it work with recent FreeBSD

  * NanoBSD is more ``modern'' than PicoBSD, and it works with 6.X, 7.X
    and CURRENT releases.  One of the advantages of NanoBSD is that it's
    part of the base system and it is easy to use.  Our documentation
    includes an article about NanoBSD at:
    Try reading the introduction of the article for some of the features
    of NanoBSD.

  * TinyBSD is a set of tools and scripts, which is also part of the
    base system.  It definitely has a few good characteristics.  For
    instance their documentation is Wiki-like and gets updated often.

These short descriptions contain stuff that only scratches the surface
of what it *feels* like to work with each system.  If that's what you
originally wanted, then Google and ten minutes or so would do fine.  The
important bits, however, are always in the details, and that's why you
have to try NanoBSD and TinyBSD yourself, and see how much you like or
dislike each one of them.

- Giorgos

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