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Date:      Mon, 18 Jul 2011 15:32:25 -0500
From:      Paul Schmehl <>
To:        Gary Gatten <>,
Subject:   RE: Lennart Poettering: BSD Isn't Relevant Anymore
Message-ID:  <BAE7C8EACEC781AE26C2E7B5@utd71538.local>
In-Reply-To: <>
References:  <20110717071059.25971662@scorpio> <> <>	<> <> <> <> <>

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--On July 18, 2011 2:44:15 PM -0500 Gary Gatten <> wrote:

> <snip>
> I've always been curious why "Linux" seemed to take off so fast when
> other FOSS / non Winblow$ OS's were available for some time with not much
> traction; OS/2, BeOS, *nix with X11, etc.
> Not just on the desktop, but servers as well.  "Supported" versions of
> Linux such as RHEL, Suse, etc. seem to have made more headway into the
> enterprise computing environment in the last ten years than *BSD did in
> the last 30.
>> From my personal experience - which is relatively limited - it seems
>> applications just work on Linux?  When I need to compile an app, it
>> takes a few mins on Linux - but may take me a few weeks on FBSD.
>> Granted someone more knowledgeable with FBSD, Compilers, etc. could do
>> it much faster than I.
> Anyway, if someone has a brief explanation of why Linux has apparently
> triumphed (in so far as installed base, desktop penetration, etc.) where
> so many others have failed (including IBM with OS/2) I'd be interested in
> hearing those thoughts.

I'll hazard a guess.  Linux was new and shiny and all the rage when 
computer science really took off in the higher ed field.  So geeks wanted 
to use it, but to do so at that time you had to be a bit of a coder.  So 
the number of people hacking on it and submitting changes ballooned. 
Basically, anyone who wanted to submit a change could, but Linux kept the 
base kernel code management to prevent major mistakes.

Then all their friends wanted it too, but they couldn't code.  So the push 
for ease of use began.  That was the genesis of projects such as kde and 
gnome and the drive behind getting things like flash and "cutting edge" 
drivers working in Linux.

Meanwhile, the *BSDs were those "old" "stogdy" OSes that "nobody" was using 
any more, so there was no great incentive for geeks to check it out and use 
it.  Remember the old saw, "Unix is user friendly.  It's just picky about 
who its friends are."?

So Linux was becoming more "user friendly" and gaining all sorts of GUI 
crud that made it easier for non-geeks to be "admins" while the BSDs were 
still rolling down the tried and true path of development that required 
that you actually understand the innards if you really wanted to be an 

Linux hasn't "triumphed", BTW, it's merely in ascendancy right now.  It 
could well go by the wayside if a major problem erupts and doesn't get 
resolved quickly.

In short, some people chase the newest shiniest thing.  Others prefer to 
stick with what works.  Often, the newest shiniest folks, after they've 
gained some wisdom, move to the other camp.  So you could well see a 
resurgence of BSD as Linux admins who've grown tired of its quirks but have 
gained some unix skills start moving back toward the BSD side.

Paul Schmehl, Senior Infosec Analyst
As if it wasn't already obvious, my opinions
are my own and not those of my employer.
"It is as useless to argue with those who have
renounced the use of reason as to administer
medication to the dead." Thomas Jefferson
"There are some ideas so wrong that only a very
intelligent person could believe in them." George Orwell

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