Tomahawk Desktop switches to FreeBSD; from Linux

According to this  press release Tomahawk Computers has changed its Tomahawk Desktop from Linux to FreeBSD.

Tomahawk Desktop switches to BSD and raise funds

Tomahawk Computers Pte Ltd, Singapore, the makers of the Tomahawk Desktop operating system, is pleased to announce that the next version of the Tomahawk Desktop operating system would be based on the rock solid BSD code.

Tomahawk Desktop operating system is a general purpose operating system for personal computers/laptops based on BSD code with K Desktop Environment (KDE).

Current predicament of the desktop operating system market is people are in fact left with only two choices, either live with very serious security issues or buy software tied to hardware at high premium. This situation obviously create a lucrative and large market opportunity for us.

Our mission is to offer a secure operating system for desktop, laptop and mobile devices markets based on widely known Unix strengths for both closed source as well as open source applications and drivers to flourish without any legal hassle on wider choice of hardware.

Tomahawk’s main reason for switching is the GPL license and the Linux kernel:

Linux is an operating system kernel. FreeBSD is a tightly integrated operating system release.


Press Release | Fund Raising & Reasons for switch |  Website

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: – 22/01/2009

Software licensing; GPL, BSD or public domain?

The discussion on GPL vs BSD  licensing will probably never end, unless one or both licenses cease to exist.

There’s an interesting post about the GPL license and BSD license, and the writer’s suggests that the public domain license is the license to be chosen for real freedom, as the other two lay restrictions on the user.

About the GPL license he notes:

That’s what the GPL really is. A binding contract : That is a set of restrictions on those who use, develop or modify content licensed under it. It is not now or has ever been a formula on “freedom”. The GPL is not the definition of “generocity” that is giving without expecting any return. I hope all you GPL advocates would stop treating it as such and call it what it is. A license and a binding contract. Nothing more.

I.e. GPL restrictions are there to keep the freedom to change, modify, and share the code.

With regards to the BSD license he remarks:

Unlike the GPL, the BSD license doesn’t pretend to be something it isn’t and users of BSD license are well aware that, like all licenses, it is a binding contract between developers, distributors, and users. They have no delusions about how much “freedom” both licenses afford however the BSD still being a license it still has usage restrictions. Namely the copyright and disclaimer.

Developers using the BSD license don’t care nor want to police the actions of users once the source is copied. They’re not interested in “freedom” through coersion, which is actually slavery. They just want to make sure their products and sources are available from them regardless of need or future availability. If the users want to share their own modifications, then more power to them. But they’ll be damned if it’s by force.

I.e. the BSD license lets users do whatsoever they want with the software, even using it commercially (in closed source).

If real freedom is to be chosen, the author suggests going down the public domain route. This license places basically no restrictions whatsoever on your software. Anybody can use the software, may sell it or do with it what (s)he wants.

Read the post in its entirity.

Talking about blog posts discussing GPL vs BSD, here’s another recent one: BSD vs GPL ( – 30/12/2008)

FreeBSD – A better chioce for the Open Desktop?

Thoughts about FreeBSD

Since is now a *BSD supporter, it only makes sense that we’d write a few Pro-BSD articles, right? Good.

Today, we’re going to talk about why FreeBSD is a better choice for the “Open Desktop”.

Linux is the current leading Open Source Operating System (LOL?). But, then again, Linux isn’t really an Operating System. Yeah, yeah; we’ve all heard that before. But, what should it be called then, you might ask. Well, the most common answer is “Linux is a kernel, which is then packaged into a something called a distribution with other software, thus making it an Operating System”. Those are the really nice terms, though, I would describe it like the following “Linux is a cluster **** of a kernel packaged into about 10 billion different distributions that are almost identical, yet cannot agree on a decent set of standards, so every software and hardware company cringes at the thought of having to support a super-dooper cluster **** like that is Linux.”

FreeBSD, on the other hand is a complete Operating System, with standards, a well organized development team, and all that jazz nobody gives a **** about.

Here’s a few basic comparisons: etc

  • Licenses
  • Main Development Team
  • Documentation
  • Advantages for the Power Users

There’s some strong language in this post (hence the **** above). A new version is in the make.

Thanks Justin for submitting this.

BSD license vs GPL license

Every so many weeks you find that GPL license advocates attack the BSD license. These attacks are about freedom of sharing the code, and to what degree this should be allowed.

Chemisor, a BSD advocate, is of the opinion that a linguistic misunderstanding may be the root of the disagreements over the difference licensing philosophies. He publishes his thoughts on the quite-hostile-towards-BSD Quite courageous of him! Not unexpectedly this is the start of quite a lively discussion.

The first disagreement I wish to address concerns the statement “BSD projects are free, but GPL projects stay free.” GPL advocates cannot understand why the BSD advocates are not getting this point, and BSD advocates make accusations of Communism, which are then argued to death by both parties. The problem with the statement above is the different interpretation of the word “project.” I, and I suspect many other BSD advocates, generally separate the concept of “project” from “code.” While code is what projects are made of, I do not see it as valuable as the useful product a project provides. When I write a program, be it a site scraper, or a todo program, or a UI framework, I think of my project as the entity that matters. The fact that I may have copied some code from one to another is of no concern to me.

A GPL advocate sees an entirely different situation. To him, it is the code that comes first, and the applications built from that code are a secondary consideration. Even a single line of code is precious, whether it contains a complex spline formula or i += 2;. As an aside, I would expect this mindset to be more prone to reusing other people’s code instead of reimplementing it. Where I would scoff at a piece of code, call it utter garbage, and rewrite the damn thing from scratch, a GPL advocate would probably wrap the garbage in another API that he finds more palatable. In my opinion, this leads to bloat from wrappers, instability from the garbage that is still there, and loss of skills. What programmer from the current generation is up to the challenge of reimplementing libjpeg? But, I digress. I am here to explain, not bash, so please excuse this little rant.

Read further here

Further reading

If you want to know more about the differences between the GPL and the BSD license, have a look at these articles:

FreeBSD review and howtos from a Linux user

I recently decided to give the new 7.0 release of FreeBSD ago and was fairly impressed. I did use BSD along time ago on a home server for a few months but pretty much forgot everything about it from back then.

Firstly FreeBSD refers to both a kernel and userspace tools making it a whole operating system (userspace tools being the basic programs like shells and copy/move commands), this is different to Linux which is just a kernel and distros are technically called GNU/Linux to show that it is using the GNU userspace tools.

read further

I’m faster than you! No I am!

All FreeBSD interested people will remember the document that Kris Kennaway released (Introducing FreeBSD). In this paper he explains how dramatic improvements have been achieved in FreeBSD 7.0; especially with regards to SMP and SQL database querying (MySQL and PostgreSQL). According to his findings FreeBSD even outperformes Linux.

There’s always been a healthy competition between Linux and FreeBSD, but stating that FreeBSD is faster than Linux, that hurts….

After major improvements in SMP support in FreeBSD 7.0, benchmarks show it performing 15% better than the latest Linux kernels (PDF, see slides 17 to 19) on 8 CPUs under PostgreSQL and MySQL. While a couple of benchmarks are not conclusive evidence, it can be assumed that FreeBSD will once again be a serious performance contender.

Linux kernel developer Nick Piggin reran the benchmark and came to a different conclusion: In his benchmark Linux was faster than FreeBSD.

I’m not an expert, but what do you guys think of this? Is Nick doing a fair analysis and comparison? Anybody been using FreeBSD 7 in a “heavy duty” (SQL) environment who can comment on this?

Depenguinator – version 2.0

Beastie kills TuxIn December 2003, I wrote a script for remotely upgrading a linux system to FreeBSD. I gave it a catchy name (‘Depenguinator’, inspired by the ‘Antichickenator’ in Baldur’s Gate), announced it on a FreeBSD mailing list and on Slashdot, and before long it was famous. Unfortunately, it didn’t take long for changes in the layout of FreeBSD releases to make the Depenguination script stop working; so for the past three years I have been receiving emails asking me to update it to work with newer FreeBSD releases,

Colin Percival wrote on his website. If you want to ‘kill’ some ‘penguins’, download the Depenguinator and let it do it’s job ;-)

GPL and BSD : impact

Very Grumpy Bunny has written a post comparing the GPLv2 and the BSD licence and explaining the difference when  applied to Amarok.

There are several BSD licenses, so many that you’ll typically see any particular license under BSD terms listed as a BSD-Style license. Example, the Vorbis and Theora codecs. The terms themselves are fairly simple.

#1: Anybody can access the source code
#2: Anybody can copy the source code
#3: Anybody can modify the source code
#4: Anybody can use the source code
#5: Anybody can relicense modified code

Sounds pretty simple, at least compared to the Gnu Public License. Here are the terms of say the GPLv2.

#1: Not everybody can access the source code.
#2: Everybody who can access the source code can copy the source code
#3: Everybody who can access the source code can modify the source code
#4: Everybody who modifies the source code must submit the changes back to the original author
#5: Everybody who modifies the source code must maintain the original license

That does seem a little bit more complex. Immediately we see that the GPL has restrictions placed on what can be done with the code. Ergo, the BSD-style license is more free… or is it?

Read the simplified terms of the BSD-License again. Note anything missing? Well, if you didn’t, here’s what is missing. Any changes that are made to the BSD code don’t have to be given back to the author. Anybody can take a segment of BSD code, do whatever they want with it, and never post any changes back, tell the author what they did, or anything else.

So, there is a critical difference between a BSD license, and a GPL style license. The BSD license adopts a care-free attitude about written software, while a GPL style license enforces restrictions around that software to make sure everybody benefits.

Whole post can be read here.