Subject: Re: Document: What's the difference between Linux and BSD?
To: Greg Lehey <>
From: Peter Seebach <>
List: netbsd-advocacy
Date: 04/26/2000 23:07:35
In message <>, Greg Lehey writes:
>1.  Have I forgotten something?

BSD/OS.  I know we're "distant cousins" or whatever, but we're definitely
a live branch of BSD Unix, with active development, market niches, etcetera.
There are a bunch of things listing the three open-source systems, but
not listing BSD/OS; this may confuse people when they see just-occasional
references to the 4th member of the family.  Even if we're widely thought to
be the black sheep.  ;-)

Somewhat related:  A reason to use BSD would be that you want to develop
a product based on a system, and may not want to use a completely open source

At some point, you may want to point to "", which will eventually be
something of a BSD, Inc., page for BSD info.

I believe there's a company doing commercial support for OpenBSD, as opposed
to mere consulting, and Walnut Creek has an existing support deal for FreeBSD,
although this is, as I understand it, folding into BSDI's old support group.
(And no, for the curious, no one is losing jobs as a result of the merger; the
big outcome has been a hiring spree.)

>2.  Is it accurate?

Mostly - but, for instance, note that BSD/OS is not "open source", even though
it's clearly a BSD kernel.

I would not call the BSD systems "derivatives of AT&T's UNIX".  In fact,
the entire point of the Lite stuff is that there is *no* derivation, in a
legal/copyright sense, which is why BSD is allowed to exist.

If you compare AT&T UNIX(tm) to BSD, in practice, the systems diverged from
about V7 - BSD is more like V7 than it is like System III or V.

At this point, they're more "clones" of Unix than they are any kind of Unix,
although they're clones that grew by budding, rather than from a single cell.

>3.  Is it fair?


>I'm trying as much as possible to show the BSD camps as a united
>front.  I'm also not trying to knock Linux: any reasons to move to BSD
>must be well-founded, and quite honestly I haven't found too many.
>But I hope that, when I'm finished, I'll have a document which will be
>useful to the BSD community as a whole.

I think the key to understanding the BSD "family" is that we're essentially
siblings.  Siblings don't necessarily get along, but they have a lot in
common, and may band together abruptly if they see outsiders "attacking"
members of the family.

You might want to compare all four of the BSD's, when talking about the
differences; BSD/OS is something of a cross in goals between NetBSD and
FreeBSD; the product has a lot of the "it's right or we aren't shipping"
attitude of NetBSD, and yet, it isn't going for nearly as many platforms
as NetBSD.  A BSDi higher-up might give a better explanation of our official