FreeBSD LogoTrollaxor has written up an interesting piece about the history and future of the major BSD systems: FreeBSD, netBSD, OpenBSD, DragonFlyBSD and Darwin.

In the new year the Berkeley Software Distribution family of Unix-like operating systems is growing at a phenomenal rate and excitement over the possibilities for this operating system family is in the air. After unprecedented development and adoption as well as major shifts in the marketplace, it’s time to take a look at what’s new with this demonic family of operating systems.

FreeBSD

FreeBSD 5 was the darkest period in this operating system’s history and morale and marketshare were at an all-time low. The problem originated from merging BSD/OS into FreeBSD; though the two systems shared a lot of code, the difference of just a couple years was staggering. FreeBSD’s virtual memory and multi-processing code was immature, while BSD/OS’s libraries were archaic. Mating the two was a mess that cost FreeBSD face and kept users on an older branch from the Nineties, 4.11.

Now, with FreeBSD 7.0b on the horizon promising to wrap it all up, FreeBSD is once again taking the free Unix world by storm. It’s a tight, efficient codebase leveraging the best of BSD/OS, Darwin, and FreeBSD that users have been clamoring for. FreeBSD users and sites now have a shining future ahead of them.

… [discusses NetBSD, OpenBSD, DragonFlyBSD & Darwin]

With all of these great improvements to the Berkeley operating system family in the last few years, BSD is clearly where it’s at. Linux is a throwback to when Open Source was a hot buzzword and sharing code was a novel idea. Now, Apple and company use it as standard coding procedure to share and improve the tech they have and leverage their individual strengths.

Even when taking the few commercial Unices that still exist into account, like AIX and Solaris, BSD still owns the arena in its frantic steamroll to the top of the supercomputing mountain. Whether you want the general wholesomeness of FreeBSD, the KGB-like security of OpenBSD, the more experimental NetBSD or DragonFlyBSD, or the utter perfection of Mac OS X, BSD has your bases completely covered with room to grow in the future.

Read the whole article here