5 Best BSD Distributions

Posted by jun auza On 4/03/2009
5 Best BSD Distributions: As some of you may know, Linux is not the only Unix-like operating system available. There are other UNIX derivatives, and one of the most popular among them is called BSD. If you have been to Distrowatch, you will see different BSD distributions listed in there.

I have said before that I'm interested in trying BSD distros, but until now I still can't find the time to actually do it. I just did some research about several BSD distributions and read a couple of reviews so if I have the time to finally take the plunge, I'll be prepared.

For my own reference and for those who are also interested to try BSD, I've listed five BSD distros that are considered by many as the best:

Free BSD is the most widely used of all the BSDs and has been called "the unknown giant among free operating systems." It is utilized in servers (FreeBSD hosting are in demand), desktop, and embedded hardware. Its latest version is FreeBSD 7 and is loaded with exciting new features and innovations. FreeBSD has its own repository with thousands of easily accessible third-party applications. FreeBSD can also run a majority of Linux binaries without sacrificing performance and without the need for any compatibility layer.

Like most BSD distros, FreeBSD system installation is still in text mode. However, it is well documented and as some say, installing it is as easy as Ubuntu.

Perhaps the second most popular BSD distro is OpenBSD. It is founded by Theo de Raadt, the equally popular free software developer and advocate. OpenBSD is well known for the developers' insistence on open source code and quality documentation; uncompromising position on software licensing; and focus on security and code correctness. Its strict security philosophy and advanced security features has become its trademark. Its latest stable version is OpenBSD 4.4 with features such as: improved hardware support; new/extended platforms; new tools and functionality; More info can be found HERE.

On lighter note, the current OpenBSD mascot is a pupperfish/porcupinefish called Puffy. It was chosen because of the Blowfish encryption algorithm used in OpenSSH and the strongly defensive image of the porcupinefish with its spikes to deter predators.

NetBSD is one of the major BSD-derived operating systems. With a motto, "Of course it runs on NetBSD," it is known for its portability supporting 50+ hardware platforms. In fact, NetBSD supports more platforms than any single Linux distribution. NetBSD has been ported to a large number of 32- and 64-bit architectures, from VAX minicomputers to Pocket PC PDAs.

Its latest stable version is NetBSD 4.0, which was later updated to version 4.0.1. For more information about NetBSD, you can read the complete and updated user guide HERE.

DragonFly BSD
DragonFly BSD is a fork of FreeBSD 4.8 with a main goal of giving the BSD base an opportunity to grow in an entirely different direction from the one taken in the FreeBSD-5 series. It is known for implementing a Light Weight Kernel Threads (LWKT) and a lightweight ports/messaging system. Being a derivative of FreeBSD, DragonFly has inherited an easy-to-use integrated build system that can rebuild the entire base system from source with only a few commands.

The latest release of DragonFly BSD is version 2.2 with the latest drivers, better pkgsrc support and integration, and a brand new release infrastructure with multiple target options. It can run as a LiveCD, and is available in bare-bones bootable USB disk-key image, CD IS, and DVD ISO (with fully operational X environment). You can learn more about DragonFly BSD or read the installation instructions by visiting HERE.

PC-BSD is a desktop-oriented OS that is based on FreeBSD. With a graphical installer and a user-friendly KDE desktop environment, PC-BSD makes life a lot easier for beginners. It also provides official binary nVidia and Intel drivers for straightforward hardware acceleration and an optional 3D desktop interface through Compiz Fusion. In addition, its package management system is designed for ease-of-use.

PC-BSD 7 is the latest edition with PC-BSD 7.1 coming real soon. It utilizes KDE 4 desktop, has updated its hardware support and out-of-the-box packages, and offers new methods of installation, including a DVD, USB and Internet/network install. Learn more about PC-BSD by visiting HERE.

If you have tried any BSD distribution, please share with us your experiences via comment.

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