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Re: Unified BSD?

On Monday, 12 November 2012 at 21:37:41 +0100, Robin  Björklin wrote:

> First and foremost I'd like to present myself, I'm a young and naive
> junior sys admin that think people should be able to compromise and
> see the bigger picture and the good of the cause.

It shows :-)

> As all of you probably know there's a lot of buzz around Gnu/Linux
> these days and I'm pretty sure you couldn't care less. What I'm
> wondering is why the BSD community which from what I can gather
> isn't as big as the Linux community have decided to split their
> resources into several different projects/forks/distributions. To me
> it seems *BSD would be in a more competitive shape if all developers
> would get in under one roof?

There's 20 years of history to explain that.  Where should I begin?
Should I begin?

- The initial split was between Bill Jolitz and the rest of the world.
  This was partially personality driven, partially goal driven.  Bill
  soon faded out, leaving just the NetBSD project.

- Next came the split between NetBSD and FreeBSD.  That was mainly
  goal driven, but there was also a fair amount of personality

- Then came the Unix wars, where AT&T sued BSDI (a commercial variant
  that no longer exists) over perceived copyright infringement.  The
  free BSDs weren't really directly involved, but the suit would have
  been just as relevant, and people were worried.

  This was the time that Linux was in the ascendancy.  Users had the
  choice of a free GPL system or one which might land them in
  trouble.  Most chose the safe option.

- Then OpenBSD split from NetBSD.  Mainly personality driven AFAICT.
  This doesn't imply any criticism of the founder of the new project.

  Round about this time I wrote a paper on the subject, which I
  presented in various conferences.  You can find numerous versions at, including "Why BSD is better than
  Linux", presented at the in Brisbane.

- Then DragonflyBSD split from FreeBSD.  Mainly personality driven
  AFAICT.  Again, this doesn't imply any criticism of the founder of
  the new project.

And that's where we are.  We have 4 different BSD kernels which
regularly borrow from each other.  Some projects, such as PCBSD, take
these kernels and package them differently.

Looking across the fence, I see that there is no distribution of Linux
with a completely standard kernel (I think), and lots of different
distributions with significantly different interfaces.  On the whole,
I'd say that BSD is more uniform than Linux.

> Am I bat crap crazy for thinking it could be good to merge the four
> largest BSD variants out there, take the best bits and pieces out of
> each and create a Unified BSD?

Maybe not, but there are many reasons it won't happen.  One is the
structure of the individual projects, and another is that the current
system works well.  If you only have one kernel, you don't have people
implementing different solutions for a problem, so you don't find out
which is better.

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