Subject: Re: Why so many BSDs?
To: <>
From: Dave Barr <>
List: netbsd-users
Date: 12/01/1999 10:31:26
Greg Lehey wrote:
> IIRC, Theo de Raadt once quoted 240 or 260 different Linuxes.  I
> didn't find out where he got the number from.

Well, Theo is a nut, in more ways than one.

You can inflate the numbers to suit your own agenda, as
apparently Theo is (and others are) doing.  To say there's
more than about a dozen Linuxes is stretching the truth.
To say there's more than a 30 or 40 is statistical hooey.

1. SuSE, RedHat, Debian, Slackware are the big 4.  They
   account for the vast, vast majority of the installed base.
2. Many so called "separete distributions" are either total
   image copies of the above or the above plus some amount of
   branding or additional software packages.  To say they
   are a "separate distribution" to the same degree this has
   meaning as say, RedHat versus Debian, is a lie.
3. Given the same criteria that Theo no doubt uses to get
   the 240 or 260 number, one cannot say that there is only
   3 versions of BSD.  You'd have to get a number in the
   60-100 range.  (add all the *BSD flavors, multiply all the
   branches they have, multiply all the architectures they
   support, add all the non-integrated driver development, etc).
   It's easy to inflate the numbers using meaningless criteria.

The point I'm trying to make is that using an overly
narrow definition of "distribution" is not useful.  If
30 or 40 "distributions" all use RedHat RPMS, use RedHat's
file layout, use the same libraries and kernels as RedHat,
then for all practial purposes of our debate they are one

It's sad to see us stoop to the levels some Linux people
will do to poo-poo the competition.  I consider myself both
a Linux and BSD person, and I get very angry when I see
this behavior on either side.