Differences between BSD and Linux

Geekmalaya has a post with 18 points on why the writer thinks FreeBSD is better than Linux

  1. BSD license allows users/companies to modify a program’s source code and not to release changes to the public
  2. BSD has the so-called “core system” (without packages)
  3. On BSD systems, all add-on packages are strictly installed into the /usr/local directory
  4. BSD systems use the system of “ports”, which are fingerprints of applications in the /usr/ports directory
  5. BSD systems have also their stable version
  6. Of course, the kernel is absolutely different
  7. BSD has FFS file system
  8. BSD systems divide their partitions internally
  9. Unless you make a good kernel hack, BSD systems can only be installed into the primary partition
  10. System configuration is manual for most of the time, but various clones like PC-BSD break this convention
  11. All BSD systems have a Linux emulation support
  12. BSD systems have less support from driver vendors, thus they lag behind in this view
  13. BSD systems do not use the Unix System V
  14. BSD kernels can be set to several security levels
  15. BSD’s have everything under one ROOF
  16. Generally, BSD systems boot and reboot faster than Linux
  17. In comparison to BSD, most Linux distributions are overbloated
  18. If you compile programs from ports, you will not stumble into compilation errors

I’m only linking to this article for information – please don’t start a flame war here. Read the whole article and the reasoning here.

Source: geekmalaya.com – 22/01/2009


  1. harry says

    I have used freebsd for years .. but after i enter to Enterprise class application like IBM ((DB2-Webspher …)) and Oracle ((DB 10g .. 11g..appserver and weblogic …..)) as DBA , Network admin or Programer i found this os useless.
    Thats why i migrated to linux with very high support and solution.

  2. Anonymous says

    I think a good test is to use both simulatneously. That is, spend about equal time using both each week. You can use Live CD images and ram/memory disks, without upsetting whatever is your current system.

    Personally, unless being used purely as a web server, and as others have hinted at, I’m not sure it’s the speed alone that becomes the determinative feature in choosing one over the other (if indeed one emerges as preferable). They are both “fast” vis-a-vis Windows or Mac.
    But like any OS they can freeze and they can crash. Even BSD.

    It sure does compile source and boot fast though! Plus it has cool history: back in the 70’s the US military funded BSD to develop the TCP/IP stack, without which there’d be no internet. Nowadays, a computer that can’t network is about as interesting as a calculator. BSD is the OS built for networking.

    And finally, Linus T has been quoted many years ago as saying he would never have written the Linux kernel if AT&T didn’t sue BSD to stop them from releasing 386BSD. He’d be using BSD. :)
    It was good then, and it’s good now.

  3. Shane Kerns says

    I have used both. Out of the box Linux may be bloated and less secure than FreeBSD but it can be made as lean and mean as FreeBSD and then some. I know this coz I use Slackware. Besides, Linux has far more support and more tools to further secure its kernel and additional packages that FreeBSD does not currently have.
    It is also easier to use Linux on the commercial front as “harry” pointed out.
    Bottom line is that Linux can be made as secure and as hardened as you like. The only reason the BSDs boot faster is coz they have a smaller Kernel than Linux does, which also proves my point of lack of drivers in the kernel itself. A lot of “instant on” systems use Linux. That should tell you that the Linux kernel can be seriously optimized and truncated for serious performance boosts for specific systems.
    Linux is far more bleeding edge than the BSDs will ever be….even when it comes to security and speed. Like I said it truly bends to the users needs, making it more/less bloated or more/less secure is entirely a matter that is left up to your needs.

  4. Michalis Backolas says

    My name is michalis backolas and i am from Greece.
    I am some years (around 10)linux user and amateur programmer, and i like as ”a touch with my fingers” freebsd.
    I believe for example you cannot talk for security and you haven’t a firewall like pfsense in front of your network.
    I have small experience with freebsd, but i think…..i like it.

  5. allen says

    BSD has to use Linux Flash Player, the Linux KDE, and Gnome GUI… For example PC-BSD looks just like Linux… So why use BSD when Linux is easier to use for the Desktop ? Answer there isn’t any reason… Plus in the end Windows always come out as the better OS, because it has all the software people use…

    The “ELSE Linux Smart Phone”
    “Google Chrome? OS” is Linux
    “Google Android” Android is a mobile operating system using a modified version of the Linux kernel
    and on and on all Linux…

    Mac OS is based on BSD…Mac OS X is based upon the Mach kernel. Certain parts from FreeBSD’s and NetBSD’s implementation of Unix were incorporated in Nextstep, the core of Mac OS X.

    MkLinux started as a project sponsored by Apple Computer
    MkLinux was specifically meant to take full advantage of the Mach microkernel. OS X instead takes the NextStep approach and runs a hybrid system where the BSD kernel is grafted on top of Mach running in a single kernel address space.

  6. Matthias says


    guess that’s because ibm and oracle spent a lot of money making their products run on linux.

    If they had spend that kind of money with the goal of making their products run on freebsd who knows how good these would run.

    Reminds me of rtorrent. there is a memory bug in it on freebsd and the rtorrent develops say it’s because of the freebsd kernel and refuse to fix it. so they blame the os and not there own product. Maybe the same with oracle and ibm. They made linux fit them and not the other way around. Guess it’s cheaper to sponser a developer changing a free os then the product itself.

    So that doesn’t make linux the better OS. Compare osx with linux as the point of a designer. Well no adobe products run on linux so that would make it an useless os too.

    Maybe mysql, postgresql, apache, bind etc compare would be appropriate.

  7. Vzy says

    KDE desktop environment, You can use on Both Linux and BSD.
    Don’t judge any OS by looks.
    I feel BSD is more secure.

    Next Internet era is “Security”. Linux is not OS, it is a kernal. All these vendors are using their own purpose. So, it will never replace a OS like BSD .

    Android devices are terrible in operation and No where near compare to Iphone.

    If some

  8. Marcus says

    Allen, I strongly disagree on windows (including windows 7). Indeed it is likely the WORSE operating system around. All the applications you need? The only way to have a decent text editor that supports ligatures (waiting for Office 2010), is to get InCopy, not exactly a cheap solution… On MacOs even some free editors have this feature (including OpenOffice/NoeOffice). The font installation on Windows 7 is just a nightmare: often some file disappear from the list (although they are still there), and sometimes you can even not remove them via console. I could list thousand of similar bugs and annoying features. Last but not least, the interface is absolutely horrendous lacking both MacOs X Exposé and virtual screens (already on X11 since I think more than 25 years). Do you need to change the language of the interface? Welcome to hell again…
    The best operating system around is, IMAO, MacOs X, a BSD based system. It is much more stable, elegant, and user friendly, and it has a market of professional applications comparable to Windows (depending on the area either one or the other will be preferable), and at the moment a better choice of free software.
    Both Linux and FreeBSD (or, more exactly, Gnome and KDE) are ages better than windows from the point of view of the interface. Sure, they still lack some strong applications is certain areas. I hoped to see some better support of DTP and a faster evolution of Gimp. Still the advantage not to work anymore with windows should not be underestimated: I think it greatly help the productivity.
    On the Linux vs FreeBSD topic, on the other hand, I agree that for the general user Linux is probably a better choice, but otherwise FreeBSD has certainly the features to be an interesting option, again depending on one’s needs.


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