Subject: What are the strengths of FreeBSD, NetBSD and OpenBSD?
To: FreeBSD advocacy list <>
From: Greg Lehey <>
List: netbsd-advocacy
Date: 11/28/1998 14:36:03
  by with SMTP; 28 Nov 1998 04:06:19 -0000
	by (8.9.1/8.9.0) with ESMTP id OAA00797;
	Sat, 28 Nov 1998 14:36:08 +1030 (CST)
	by (8.9.1/8.9.0) id OAA07066;
	Sat, 28 Nov 1998 14:36:04 +1030 (CST)
Message-ID: <>
Date: Sat, 28 Nov 1998 14:36:03 +1030
From: Greg Lehey <>
To: FreeBSD advocacy list <>,,
Subject: What are the strengths of FreeBSD, NetBSD and OpenBSD?
Mime-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
Organization: LEMIS, PO Box 460, Echunga SA 5153, Australia
Phone: +61-8-8388-8286
Fax: +61-8-8388-8725
Mobile: +61-41-739-7062

As I mentioned in a mail message yesterday, I'm writing an article for
SunWorld about the return of the BSDs, and I have a couple of things I
want to say which I'd like all *BSD groups to find positive.  In
particular, I'd like to be able to give sensible answers to the
following implied questions:

1.  What is the difference between FreeBSD, NetBSD and OpenBSD?

    Once upon a time it was relatively easy to answer this question:
    FreeBSD aimed at ease of use on the Intel platform, NetBSD aimed
    at portability, and OpenBSD wasn't.  Now it's more difficult:
    FreeBSD has moved to other platforms, and while I don't know if
    NetBSD is any easier to install, there's at least OpenBSD to
    address as well.  The best I have come to in recent times has been
    ``FreeBSD aims for ease of use and maximum performance, NetBSD
    aims for portability, and OpenBSD addresses security''.

    I'm not very happy with this statement, which bases mainly on
    hearsay, and which may not even be a good basis for discussion.
    I'd welcome any input.

2.  What aspects of *BSD would interest a SunWorld reader?  At first I
    thought ``well, they're not going to be interested in FreeBSD,
    because FreeBSD doesn't run on Sparc'', but it seems to me that
    it's unlikely that many Sun users would install current versions
    of *BSD on their modern hardware.  Sure, there are plenty of older
    Sun machines out there, on which it's either impossible or
    impractical to run Solaris 2, and for them NetBSD or OpenBSD would
    be a good alternative to SunOS 4.  But what are the majority of
    the users going to want to know about *BSD?  Sure, it has the
    comfortable feel of SunOS 4, but what hardware would they run it
    on?  What would they do with it?  I've thought of things like name
    servers and Internet gateways, but there must be more than that.

    Obviously there is some interest, because SunWorld has been
    carrying lots of articles about Linux, and the same considerations
    should apply to Linux (in addition to the fact that Linux doesn't
    have this old, familiar feel about it).

See complete headers for address, home page and phone numbers
finger for PGP public key