Subject: Re: Technical Differences of *BSD and Linux
To: None <>
From: der Mouse <mouse@Rodents.Montreal.QC.CA>
List: tech-kern
Date: 02/03/2003 23:50:01
>> [...the whole thread re BSD vs Linux...]
> [...]  Eventually, the die-hards will die hard, and the lack of new
> competent BSD hackers will seal the coffin...the BSD sysadmin will be
> sent packing

I've seen it said that ego will be the death of BSD.

The more I see of BSD the more I believe it.

In most respects I don't care much for the GPL, but this is one of the
really good effects it has: it keeps people from using "you gotta
splash my name all over everything" licenses on their stuff.  I just
looked at the INSTALL.txt file from the most recent NetBSD/sparc
release - a rough eyeball count found 79 individuals' names in the
"legal mumbo-jumbo" section; I may have skipped a few or duplicated a
few, but I'm sure the count is well over 50, probably over 70.  And
that's not counting institutions, just individuals.  I consider that
totally ludicrous.  (Hackerdom is a gift culture; you attain status by
giving away, not by attaching strings.)  Given their common heritage, I
imagine the other BSDs are similar, though I haven't specifically
checked (NetBSD just happens to be the one I know well enough to be
able to find the relevant file quickly).

Of course, Linux's use of the GPL ensures that OS hackers who want that
kind of egoboo won't go there; thus, they end up with the BSDs, because
there isn't much else in the open-source OS world.  Pity, too, because
the BSD world has a lot to offer, technically, but it's shooting itself
in the foot, socially and legally, by permitting this sort of

>> To the original poster: This kind of posting is very unhelpful.  If
>> you want to learn about the different systems, subscribe to some of
>> the mailing lists for each group, and watch for a while so that you
>> can build your own understanding of what is going on in the
>> respective groups.

Arrogant and unhelpful as this is, there is a grain of truth lurking in
it: nobody but you can ever tell you quite what the difference is for
your purposes.  Asking what the differences between Linux and BSD are
is a bit like asking what the differences between automobiles and
pogo-sticks are: sometimes you want one and sometimes you want the
other, and nobody can tell you what the relevant differences between
them for you are, except by chance, without knowing what differences
you care about.

But it does strike me as a singularly unhelpful way to put it.  The
original question can - and in this case quite likely did - come from a
degree of ignorance that doesn't even know yet what questions are
sensible to ask, and while I can't claim to speak for any of the
projects in question, it does seem to me that such people are exactly
the people whom the projects need most to welcome.

Of course, I've also seen it said (privately) that the original message
could well have been a troll.  If so, it was rather well-done, and even
if it it was, that doesn't invalidate the legitimate discussion that
arose as a result.

/~\ The ASCII				der Mouse
\ / Ribbon Campaign
 X  Against HTML
/ \ Email!	     7D C8 61 52 5D E7 2D 39  4E F1 31 3E E8 B3 27 4B