[openbeos] Re: openbeos Digest V7 #140

  • From: Nicholas Blachford <nicholas@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: openbeos@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 24 May 2007 12:04:02 +0100

Hi Charlie,

No, that's not what distro's are about. FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD were
forks where the source was changed for essentially philosophical
differences. I believe the splits were somewhat acrimonious at the
time but importantly compatbility of utilities was maintained.
Distro's are when someone is trying to make money, or not. Enter
Marketing. So RedHat and Novell vs. Debian and Slackware. Or more
recently Sun, IBM and Oracle vs. RedHat. NB. that some distro's have
deliberately introduced incompatibilities: didn't François point out
recently that you can't get root on one of them? :-/

In some cases the linux distros are also made for philosophical reasons, Mandrake and later Ubuntu both had ease of use as a primary goal. Gentoo for speed etc.

I mean, as a "disto consumer", I don't go looking for a Linux distro
because I want to throw money at someone or not - I go looking based
on the community around it, how well it works, what software it comes
with, and whether it will meet my needs. Slackware vs. Ubuntu for
example - night and day for many even if it's the same underlying

Well, yes because it's Un*x and this is effectively the argument of
the GNU: different kernels but the Borg's utilities. My point is that
you don't get any of these discussions with the *BSD's. It doesn't
matter which one you have as the configuration, location of the
libraries, etc. is all the same. A whole heap easier for all
concerned, if you ask me. The question is whether the lack of distro
hell is down to anything that the FreeBSD lot do or simply because
nobody thinks it'll fly. I've still not sussed why you don't see many
routers, etc. with customised FreeBSD cores (apart from Cisco's IOS).

I believe the reason is cost and possibly also support.
I was told some time ago by someone in the business that the FreeBSD base took up more room and that meant more Flash ROM, which meant more $$$ (ROMs use NOR flash which is a lot more expensive than the NAND flash you find in most flash media cards).

Another possible reason is there is now a lot of support for embedded Linux, there are specific embedded distros with special kernels etc. I'm not sure if anything like this exists for FreeBSD.


Nicholas Blachford
"Do not fear death, fear having not lived."

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