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.

FreeBSD in 2007 – a review

2007 is over. It was a very successful year for open source software and another 12 interesting months have passed for FreeBSD. In this post I want to look back at 2007 and see how FreeBSD faired, what happened in “FreeBSD land” and how FreeBSD based operating systems have developed. This post will be a sort of summary of the messages I posted during 2007.

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We’ll be looking at:

Start of this blog

Around April last year I was toying with the idea of starting a FreeBSD related news blog with the view to raise more awareness of FreeBSD and show it’s a perfect alternative to Linux. My first post was on 17 May 2007 and since then visitor numbers have rapidly gone up and feedback from visitors indicates that there’s definitely interest in such a blog. With the continuing growth of my hosted blog, I wanted to get some more flexibility and the ability to install plugins and scripts. Hence my move to Bluehost/FreeBSDOS (BTW, if you’re looking for cheap and reliable webhosting, I can really recommend them).

FreeBSD in 2007

FreeBSD LogoUnfortunately 2007 didn’t see the final release of FreeBSD 7.0; just 4 beta’s and a RC1. Well, maybe not “unfortunately”, because a top-quality product is better than a rushed-out flaky one that needs to be fixed and patched soon after its release. FreeBSD 7.0 incorporates some new and exciting technologies which will put this version a-par with, if not ahead of, Linux. Exciting stuff.

The FreeBSD Foundation have issued their quarterly newsletters (Q2, Q3, Q4), keeping the world up-to-date with the latest developments and news. The Foundation received a lot of coverage online and in the blogosphere with their Absolute FreeBSD book auction and their fund raising drive. The 2007 fundraising goal was $250.000, but a total of $403,511 was achieved. Well done.

There are already a couple of Linux related magazines for sale in stores, but BSD magazines aren’t available currently. “An interesting opportunity“, Software Media LLC/LP Magazine must have thought. They will issue first issue at the beginning of Q2 2008 and will contain an article by Dru Lavigne and Jan Stedehouder (Jan used and reviewed both PC-BSD and DesktopBSD for a month in his PC-BSB: the first 30 days and DesktopBSD: the first 30 days series).

Conference-wise, the ‘normal’ BSD conferences (BSDCan, EuroBSD, MeetBSD) were held, with a new one in Turkey (BSDConTR).

[Read more…]

GPL vs BSD, a matter of sustainability

Both licensing models have been around for a very long time. I don’t know which predates which, but it really doesn’t matter. The spirit behind both licenses is very similar: free software is good. But they realize this idea in different ways.

In the GPL license you have the four freedoms: to run the software, to have the source code, to distribute the software, to distribute your modifications to the software.

The BSD license is different, because it gives *you* the right to distribute the software, but it does not oblige you to make sure that the next guy has any such right.

Read this interesting article here

BSD Community vs Linux Community

Another interesting post from Penguin Pete: “The BSD Community Compared to the Linux Community”:

“I’ll tell you the number one thing right off that I like better about BSD than Linux: the peace and quiet.

An amazing experience occurred when I began to run BSD. It was a Jedi event. I was jolted by something that suddenly stopped when I started BSD, something I hadn’t been aware of until it was gone. I experienced a great calming in The Force; as if a million screaming voices suddenly shut up!

Here is the story of two free Unix systems. BSD, at this time, is about twice Linux’s age. Many of the same programs will run on both. Much of the same kind of person who likes one should like the other. Yet on Linux’s side of the fence, there is this massive war going on; while on BSD’s side, you can step out on your porch at night and hear nothing but crickets.

Nobody is preaching that BSD has to do this, this, and this to suit some agenda.

Nobody is threatening to tar and feather the BSD users for being elitists.

Microsoft isn’t shaking any clubs at BSD and threatening to sue it for millions of patent violations.

Nobody is snapping up BSD distros in patent-protection racket deals.

Pundits are not shrieking about what BSD has to do to “make it on the desktop”.

Nobody’s threatening to blackball me out of the community if I don’t give them all my money to advertise BSD with.

Nobody’s gaming Distrowatch to try to get BSD distro A ranked above BSD distro B.

Nobody is wringing their hands about how to dumb BSD down, make it suitable for idiots, or turn it into I-Cant-Believe-Its-Not-Windows.

SCO isn’t suing over BSD.

Amazing, isn’t it?

Carry on reading here

Major differences FreeBSD – Linux

I like this comparison between Linux and FreeBSD:

Although FreeBSD and Linux are close cousins with a considerable number of similarities under the hood, some major differences separate them. FreeBSD is tidy, self-contained, and well-organized. All the pieces form a harmonious whole — a place for everything, everything in its place, and pretty much just one way to do anything.

Linux is more like a barrel of monkeys — loud, messy, chaotic and very busy. Every monkey thinks she knows the best way to accomplish a particular task, so there are always several ways to do any one thing. The Linux world is faster-paced and more diverse, but sometimes a person just wants a nice calm computer on which to do work without all the drama.

FreeBSD is the most popular of the open source Unix operating systems. It’s a top-of-the-line genuine Unix, and it powers many of the world’s most demanding Web servers. Because it is secure, stable and easily manageable via its Ports system of package management, FreeBSD is a popular platform for servers of all kinds. FreeBSD also runs Linux binaries, so you can run pretty much any applications you want. Its hardware support is not as robust as Linux, however, so you do have to shop a little more carefully.


FreeBSD or Redhat Linux; what is the difference?

First, Linux is a kernelnot an OS — that Red Hat combines with other software they choose to form the production Red Hat distribution of Linux, currently Red Hat 7.3. As you no doubt are aware, there are hundreds of distributions of Linux. With FreeBSD, there is only one “official” production version of FreeBSD (right now version 4.6). Many would say that with the BSDs one has a complete operating system…with Linux, you have a kernel anybody can use to roll their own operating system. In fact, there is a Linux distribution called Linux From Scratch that guides you in doing just that — rolling your own Linux “distro” from scratch.I’ve asked about the merits of FreeBSD .vs Linux at a few places online. The consensus of what I’ve been told by those with more experience than me (I’m still new to *nix, but learning) is:1) FreeBSD is regarded as better for a webserver OS. IMO, folks regard FreeBSD as more stable, having less downtime, easier to keep upgraded via the FreeBSD ports system, and not to have as many security holes over time come to light for it as come to light for Red Hat Linux.2) Red Hat Linux in particular, and Linux in general have much more hype and mindshare going for them than FreeBSD. This means if you need an OS to have the latest software drivers for hardware, you are more likely to have that with Linux than with FreeBSD. This is important for gamers in particular. With either OS, one needs to be aware that not all hardware is supported by Linux or FreeBSD. For most, the best option is to download a free ISO image from the internet, burn to CD and see if it installs OK. If not, figure out what hardware you need to replace, and decide if it’s worth the money to you…..or if another flavor of *nix, such as Mandrake Linux, might work better.3) People regard FreeBSD to *be* a Unix operating system, whereas any Linux distribution is a “Unix-like” OS, rather than a Unix proper. One of the major things people point to is the directory structure of FreeBSD being more “right” in a Unix-ish way than Red Hat’s directory and file structure, which may change with each distribution. People find the more logical to their Unix thinking minds file layout of FreeBSD to help with system maintenence over the file layout of Red Hat Linux. Many Linux advocates regard Slackware Linux to be the most Unix-like Linux distribution.4) There are fundamental differences in how each of the two operating systems do things “under the hood” that one can learn about to one’s hearts content online, but is not worth going into here…and I’m not knowledgeable enough to be either OS’s spokeperson in this regard.

5) There are differences in how various commands and utility programs work under both OSs…but they are still both Unix-ish and more similar to each other than either one is to windows. Learn one, and you know most of what you need to be functional with the other one, IMO.

6) Both operating systems have their strong supporters that sing the praises of their chosen OS and bash anyone preferring the other OS.

7) There is more information online and geared to *nix newbies for Linux in general, and Red Hat Linux in particular than exist for FreeBSD. However, some would say the online and print documentation for FreeBSD is superior in quality to that available for Linux — and is totally adequate, too.

8). As with most things technical, the answer of which one is “best” is….as usual….”it depends”. It depends on what your purposes are. If I wanted to dive into the world of unix from a Windows background by loading one or the other OS on a personal computer at home to see what all the *nix fuss is about, Red Hat Linux would be an excellent choice. There are many GUI tools to help when just starting out with most Linux distributions (Mandrake is an excellent example….and choice for newbies, too).

Please note, this is an old post (31 July 2002) that I came across and wanted to save here, so please bear in mind that some of the information is out of date. For instance FreeBSD 6.2 is the most current version, with 7.0 in full development.

Comparing GNU/Linux and FreeBSD

The Free Software Magazine has published today an article explaining the main differences between FreeBSD and GNU/Linux. This article is especially interesting for those who are (fairly) new to BSD and/or Linux.

GNU/Linux is the most popular operating system built with free/open source software. However, it is not the only one: FreeBSD is also becoming popular for its stability, robustness and security. (bold by me)

freebsd_logo.jpgFreeBSD is an operating system based on the Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD), which itself is a modification of AT&T’s UNIX, and was created by the University of California. During the development of FreeBSD, to avoid any legal problems with the owners of the source code, the developers decided to re-engineer the original BSD, rather than copy the source code.
In contrast with GNU/Linux, where all the pieces are developed separately and brought together in distributions, FreeBSD has been developed as a complete operating system: the kernel, device drivers, sysadmin’s tools and all the other pieces of software are held in the same revision control system.

tux.jpgInitial development of Linux was started in 1991 by Linus Torvalds who used Minix—an operating system developed by Andrew Tanenbaum for teaching purposes—as the basis for his system. By 1990 the GNU project, which had been started in 1983 by Richard Stallman, had produced and collected all the libraries, compilers, text editors, shells and other software necessary to make a free operating system—except a kernel. The Linux kernel developers decided to adapt their kernel to work with the GNU software to make a complete operating system: GNU/Linux was born.

The kernel and the majority of the code in FreeBSD has been released and distributed under the BSD license although some components use other open licenses like the GPL, the LGPL or the ISC. The Linux kernel, and most of the software in the GNU project, has been licensed under the GNU GPL which was created by the Free Software Foundation.

After this introduction the article deals further with the technical differences and similarities:

1) Naming of devices, 2) runlevels and startup scripts, 3) the kernel, 4) software installation, and 5) the actual installation of GNU/Linux and FreeBSD.

The article concludes with:

FreeBSD and GNU/Linux are two great options: choosing one or the other depends on many factors. Usually FreeBSD is used as a web server: companies like Yahoo! or Sony Japan trust FreeBSD to run their internet portals; on the desktop GNU/Linux wins this battle, but GNU/Linux is used on many web servers as well. Users will find if they are familiar with traditional UNIX systems they can use either without many problems. FreeBSD and Linux: a gift of quality, robustness, security and stability from the free software community to the world of operating systems.

The whole article can be read here.

BSD compared with Linux (funny)

Browsing some forum I came accross the following quote which I want to share with you. I don’t want to start a Linux-BSD flame war, but to me, being a BSD fan, I think there’s some truth it (slightly edited):

BSD rules because it’s time-tested and stable. Linux peeps can’t even get their act together with all their distros and different userland apps.

Picture it this way.

BSD is like the mafia. Professional (stable), organized (one coherent Unix system), hit men who never miss (can last turned on for years without a crash), and who act like The Transporter.

Linux are like Los Angeles drive-by shooters, shooting in all directions (many distros), not organized (no coherent testing on whether new versions of dependencies and libraries work with all the apps in the distro), not professional (most distros are amateur knockoffs of the real distros, Debian, Gentoo, Slackware, etc.), and, although cool in their diversity, need to really stabilize ONE package manager standard, and fix “dependency hell”. An example: PC-BSD PBI system, which is easy to use, easy for users to maintain, and NEVER modifies the base system, ensuring system stability and coherence.

ANd like hitmen, when things just don’t work the “professional” way (meaning, Linux apps or plugins are needed), they can get gansta dirty and use Linux Compatibility Mode to “be” like Linux gangsters when they “need to be”. Linux can’t be BSD, but BSD can be Linux.

So, I think the war is over. Have your petty Linux gangbang drive-bys…but no Linux EVER dares to go into BSD Mafia territory (Server-land). Those that do, end up dead (don’t last more than 5 months turned on, while BSDs can last years).

Soure: Linuxganster website