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The State of BSD At the Start of 2013 91

Posted by Soulskill
from the still-alive-still-alive dept.
An anonymous reader writes "NetBSD developer Julian Djamil Fagir provides a nice briefing on what the big three BSD projects have been working on, and explains/reminds us of their cultural differences. Stick a fork in them? Yes, Djamil Fagir mentions a couple of those, too. The recent releases from FreeBSD and NetBSD were covered by Slashdot."
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The State of BSD At the Start of 2013

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  • by NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) on Friday February 15, 2013 @03:24PM (#42914105)
    I thought not.
  • by snarfies (115214) on Friday February 15, 2013 @03:40PM (#42914417) Homepage

    It is official; Netcraft now confirms: *BSD is dying

    One more crippling bombshell hit the already beleaguered *BSD community when IDC confirmed that *BSD market share has dropped yet again, now down to less than a fraction of 1 percent of all servers. Coming close on the heels of a recent Netcraft survey which plainly states that *BSD has lost more market share, this news serves to reinforce what we've known all along. *BSD is collapsing in complete disarray, as fittingly exemplified by failing dead last in the recent Sys Admin comprehensive networking test.

    You don't need to be a Kreskin to predict *BSD's future. The hand writing is on the wall: *BSD faces a bleak future. In fact there won't be any future at all for *BSD because *BSD is dying. Things are looking very bad for *BSD. As many of us are already aware, *BSD continues to lose market share. Red ink flows like a river of blood.

    FreeBSD is the most endangered of them all, having lost 93% of its core developers. The sudden and unpleasant departures of long time FreeBSD developers Jordan Hubbard and Mike Smith only serve to underscore the point more clearly. There can no longer be any doubt: FreeBSD is dying.

    Let's keep to the facts and look at the numbers.

    OpenBSD leader Theo states that there are 7000 users of OpenBSD. How many users of NetBSD are there? Let's see. The number of OpenBSD versus NetBSD posts on Usenet is roughly in ratio of 5 to 1. Therefore there are about 7000/5 = 1400 NetBSD users. BSD/OS posts on Usenet are about half of the volume of NetBSD posts. Therefore there are about 700 users of BSD/OS. A recent article put FreeBSD at about 80 percent of the *BSD market. Therefore there are (7000+1400+700)*4 = 36400 FreeBSD users. This is consistent with the number of FreeBSD Usenet posts.

    Due to the troubles of Walnut Creek, abysmal sales and so on, FreeBSD went out of business and was taken over by BSDI who sell another troubled OS. Now BSDI is also dead, its corpse turned over to yet another charnel house.

    All major surveys show that *BSD has steadily declined in market share. *BSD is very sick and its long term survival prospects are very dim. If *BSD is to survive at all it will be among OS dilettante dabblers. *BSD continues to decay. Nothing short of a cockeyed miracle could save *BSD from its fate at this point in time. For all practical purposes, *BSD is dead.

    Fact: *BSD is dying

  • by X0563511 (793323) on Friday February 15, 2013 @04:35PM (#42915261) Homepage Journal

    This is insanely cool... [netbsd.org]

    Seriously.

  • FreeBSD KMS & Co. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I think it's also worth noting that FreeBSD' support for moder GPUs is finally improving:

    -nvidia closed-source driver works (as always)
    -Intel works https://wiki.freebsd.org/Intel_GPU
    -AMD porting has started https://wiki.freebsd.org/AMD_GPU

    • by rbprbp (2731083)
      I wish FreeBSD added support - however minimal, disabling the power-hogging dedicated graphics card - for hybrid graphics. That would be pretty much enough for me to at least dual-boot FreeBSD on my laptop.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        sysctl hw.pci.do_power_nodriver=D3

        make sure a driver doesn't attach.

        cheers

  • BSD is pretty cool (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 15, 2013 @04:47PM (#42915459)

    What I find funny is that BSD is finally, after 10 years of ATT/UNIX trademark fearing BS, starting to not only catch up but exceed in technical developments and market growth.
    I've used it as my main desktop for almost 15 years. Well, ok FreeBSD specifically. I run Linux, and a little windows too. All the servers are BSD.
    BSD has ZFS, which is the reason Linux has ZFS, because BTRFS is still vaporware.
    And because of the ultimate freedom of the BSD two/three clause license all other OS can use BSD code.
    But Linux is a zealous camp and insists on infecting people :( And now even Linux is stealing back clean-roomed BSD code that the BSD projects clean-roomed from GPL tools specifically to get away from GPL versions of same. How funny is that :)
    And now with CLANG/LLVM things are really moving.
    No, BSD is not dying, it's building very long term openness and business friendly models, much longer term and open visioned than Linux. BSD cares about these things. One way to see that is the FreeBSD foundation's donations page, the model is working.
    Linux is better than it was in the 90s and 2000s, it doesn't crash on me like it used to. They'll both still crash if you poke them in certain ways. But as a daily use, BSD hasn't ever exibited what I used to see with Linux.
    Oh, there is also PC-BSD for users, which is sort of like Ubuntu to Debian.
    I like not having to worry about KERNEL from Linux + GNU from third parties to make a whole OS... BSD projects provide the sum of those two IN HOUSE. You get the whole OS from one shop. So all that is left is the packages you want to install like X, Firefox, GIMP, whatever just like any other OS.
    Anyways, I'm just happy with FreeBSD (and OpenBSD and DragonflyBSD, don't really use NetBSD because they're more embedded).
    If you're a Linux user and haven't tried it, grab an ISO and run it in a VM. Don't freak because you might not have a sexy GUI installer with pointy clicky AJAX menus and stuff (that's coming), but take a look at the configuration mechanism after you're up and running, how you update and build the kernel and world... the overall BSD model of things.
    See if you like it maybe :)

    • by dbIII (701233)
      Because of ZFS (and after being disappointed with the current state of ZFS on linux, it's still too early and performance is way behind other implementations) I put a version of BSD on an old 32 bit file server with 750GB IDE disks that were being wasted and hadn't been powered on for a while. Even that thing seemed fast - with a quick boot time and enough disks in the ZFS pool it suddenly seemed viable despite being in the rack with machines seven years newer. Of course having 4GB of memory helps a lot.
    • by Patch86 (1465427)

      But Linux is a zealous camp and insists on infecting people :( And now even Linux is stealing back clean-roomed BSD code that the BSD projects clean-roomed from GPL tools specifically to get away from GPL versions of same. How funny is that :)

      Yeah, I hate it when people release code under the license they want, and then someone comes along and takes it off them, and releases the code under a completely different license! Really rude. If only there were a license that the BSD project could use which would prevent such terrible behaviour...

      Or to put it another way (with less snark)- if they don't like people changing the license their code is under, they shouldn't be releasing it under a BSD license. That's basically the point of that license...

    • by srobert (4099)

      About 8 months ago, I dived into trying FreeBSD on the desktop, after having been a Linux user since the mid-90's. I like it very much. In fact it has become my default desktop, but I'm reluctant to recommend it to others. Firstly, I don't know whether their hardware will be fully supported. And, even if it is, most people won't have the time or inclination to learn what's required to use it.

    • by zixxt (1547061)

      What I find funny is that BSD is finally, after 10 years of ATT/UNIX trademark fearing BS, starting to not only catch up but exceed in technical developments and market growth.

      Proof?

      I've used it as my main desktop for almost 15 years. Well, ok FreeBSD specifically. I run Linux, and a little windows too. All the servers are BSD.
      BSD has ZFS, which is the reason Linux has ZFS, because BTRFS is still vaporware.

      Vaporware? I'm using BTRFS as we speak

      I like not having to worry about KERNEL from Linux + GNU from third parties to make a whole OS... BSD projects provide the sum of those two IN HOUSE. You get the whole OS from one shop. So all that is left is the packages you want to install like X, Firefox, GIMP, whatever just like any other OS.

      Your first point Is a matter of opinion, and I can do the same thing by using Debian, Slackware or Gentoo.

  • From TFA:
    "Playstation 3 -- FreeBSD now officially supports the Playstation 3 game console. This might be a bit late, but the Playstation 3 has been useful for several number crunching applications due to its processor and its low price."

    The PS3 hasn't had the OtherOS option for how long? I don't know of anyone that hasn't updated after that, obviously not the USAF.
    I knew *BSD was behind the times, but come on now...
  • by unixisc (2429386) on Friday February 15, 2013 @06:01PM (#42916463)

    I read TFA. I was rather disappointed that in the list of BSD's accomplishments, no mention was made of IPv6, where FBSD was the pioneer. It was the first to have support from the KAME project, and later, in version 9, they even had the IPv6 only mode, which users could use if they wanted to test whether applications work w/ IPv6 w/o a fallback to IPv4. They would also have done well to have described PC-BSD's EasyPBI package manager, which even FBSD seems to have adapted, as well as the Linux jails in FBSD and PC-BSD.

    On the OBSD side, they could have described their routing and firewall capabilities. Also, they could have, in the FBSD part, described m0n0wall and pFsense, and compared them w/ OpenBSD

    On the NBSD side, I don't see NetBSD playing much of a role. If they are targeting embedded devices, they would do better to team up w/ Minix3.2, which, as a really small microkernel would be better suited for embedded applications, and focus on the things mentioned, whether it's file systems, networking, getting non-GNU utilities (like FBSD, they too ought to endorse and adapt LLVM/Clang) and Wayland. Since Minix 3.2 is under a BSD license and has adapted the NBSD conventions, it would be a good idea simply to merge them. I mean, does the NBSD kernel have anything special about it that Minix 3.2 doesn't deliver

    • by laffer1 (701823)

      The author did a poor job of listing most BSDs accomplishments and fails to mention many projects of interest in the community.

      GhostBSD, pfSense, Monowall are all interesting projects and then there's my project MidnightBSD and MirBSD.

      In general, I think there's interesting projects related to file systems, IPv6, compiler work, and virtualization happening in many of the BSDs. Some BSDs are going to GPLv3 binutils and GCC (DragonFly, NetBSD). Others are using LLVM+clang (FreeBSD, MidnightBSD) and then oth

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The article states "TrueCrypt, a disk encryption tool, though being Closed Source, gained a wide distribution among computers due to its ease of use and cross-platform compatibility." I think this is misleading as the source code is licensed under a custom license but it is open source (depending on what one means by open source). It's not a BSD or GPL license, but the code is open and one is allowed to modify it and distribute binaries and source of the modified version. It has to be renamed and there are

Cobol programmers are down in the dumps.

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