Usually, I pick up with debian at work and home and sometimes think of dual booting my system with a BSD operating system.
So Which BSD should I use? There are many choices and each are different even if they share code for some projects. Each has a unique philosophy, politics, technical team and a foundation. But tech team in all BSD is much better than any other Operating systems so far. I don’t want to step into BSD vs Linux distro vs Windows vs .. debate. So let’s come back.
I don’t have anyone at work using a BSD that I am aware of. Some of them even don’t know about BSD. Asking on any existing forum is not a right move unless, I can find a reply from me from future!. But I would be lying that I didn’t search around internet to know why each of them are special and in what way that attracts me. You can find things like
FreeBSD is more general purpose. I use it for desktop and server.
NetBSD is more portable. If you had searched about NetBSD, it is highly likely that you might have read: “If I want a toaster I use NetBSD or I will use a FreeBSD”
OpenBSD is more secure and if you want a secure OS use OpenBSD. So everyone want a secure OS no matter what you work right?. And remember this is not just a matter of highly secure login. 3-stage password verification and stuff like that. OpenBSD is much more.
So this BSD wave comes and goes without sticking ever into my laptop at home or work.
After a long long time………
I installed FreeBSD with zfs. Installation was not unpleasant. But first boot after install, I got a boot error. This was with FreeBSD 10.0. Looking on freebsd bug tracker this was a known issue. “ZFS cannot work with intel core2duo cPu”. Well, that was pretty neat for a general purpose OS. I gave up and didn’t tried other BSD as I lost a lot of time reinstalling, checking installation media, looking on bug tracker. You know the error is in boot code.
Two months ago…
I tried FreeBSD 10.3-release and 11.0-current in that order and was amazed to see the same error. No fix yet. There was patch attached in bug report but nobody cared.
Three weeks ago..
I got a spare laptop with no OS. So BSD wave come back like a tsunami. But this time I was prepared to not touch a FreeBSD and focused on OpenBSD.
Installation was easy. Just a couple of questions. mostly yes, no, hostname. X was installed by default. wifi was detecting with no problem. I installed dwm windows manager, tabbed and configured xterm and started using OpenBSD in less that 10 mins after installation.
It was very good experience using OpenBSD and wonder why is it not popular like any other linux distro. There aren’t many packages in OpeBSD which is true. But I found everything I need to replicate my development environment on Debian. Having less packages, is not a kind of excuse for me who build most of my projects from source. It has everything required for a desktop or a server use. OpenBSD has very good code base with lot of non-optional security policies which I like. I very much appreciate the effort put by OpenBSD guys. It is a wonderful and successful effort to make a good Operating system.
I will stay with OpenBSD for now.