What are FreeBSD, OpenBSD, and NetBSD?

The purpose of this article is to show the characteristics of the operating systems FreeBSD, OpenBSD, and NetBSD, so that it is possible know the difference between them and which one is more indicated for certain applications. This is definitely a very common those who wish to use a BSD operating system, but do not know which one to choose. It is very important to know what is and how did the BSD. Therefore, this topic will be seen first. Then, you will be shown the characteristics of each system BSD, and that these differ.

What is BSD and how it came about

BSD is the acronym for Berkeley Software Distribution. This is a creation made by students at the University Berkeley, California, to enhance and add some features to the Unix operating system. The initial idea was suffering changes quickly. So many that it got to the point where the BSD became, practically, a new operating system. To have a the idea, in books and articles on BSD it is common to name the fact that there was a period in which only 6 Unix files were used. These were quickly replaced and, inevitably, the BSD turned an operating system independent.

Perhaps, what the creators of the BSD did not know, is that this the system, considered by many to be a philosophy, it was to have so much importance to the world of computing. Even Windows incorporated some of the features of BSD. The operating system MacOS X, Apple, it is based on the BSD and it is one of the operating systems more elegant and functional that currently exist (but only runs on the Apple platform).

When the subject is security, operating systems BSDs show unbeatable. The whole structure of the BSD was and is developed considering the aspects of stability, integrity, security and reliability. As a consequence, it is a robust system, efficient and excellent for mission-critical applications. Proof of this is that the Internet itself is related to BSD, since it uses some of its media features and connection.

The license to use BSD

In the world of free software, the type of licensing, most well known is the GPL (GNU Public License), mainly used by Linux. The BSD, however, has a license of their own. Through this license, any person/company can do that you want the code, including, change it to the creation of unopened products (as do Microsoft and notoriously Apple). In the GPL license, that would be extremely complicated, not to to say impossible. Any BSD system that uses this acronym, such as those listed below, can only be considered as such, if you use this type of licensing. Following, learn about the 3 operating systems BSDs the most well-known and that they follow this standard license.


The the FreeBSD operating system is one of the most used in the world of software free. Has a true legion of fans, and developers. Including, Yahoo is a major contributor to this BSD. Consequently, it is the one that has the largest number of applications, being easy to to find support materials about it on the Internet. When the subject is documentation, it also stands out: there is a document called the FreeBSD Handbook that is excellent for those who need to ask questions about the system. Developed also at the University of Berkeley, its first version appeared in 1990.

One of the features of FreeBSD attract new users, is the installation hassle free. In this process, there is few chances of failure and compatibility with hardware is great. Believe me, it is even possible to install it directly over the Internet. As is the case with the distributions Linux, it is possible to find the FreeBSD in magazines or on sites selling computer products. However, it is important to point out that this “ease of installation” it is relative. If you are already used to install Linux distributions, mainly by the text mode, little you will probably have problems. But if you are a user with little experience, it is recommended to look for some material that will assist in the installation.

The FreeBSD “failed” when the subject is architecture. Wheel only on the Intel platform 32-bit (which includes AMD), DEC Alpha, Sparc64 and PowerPC, in addition to being compatible with the architecture 64-bit developed by AMD. The highlight of FreeBSD is its excellent performance in applications for Web servers and database data. It is recommended to use it if you want being a new user of systems BSDs, mainly by the range of applications that this system offers.

The the OpenBSD system has been designed to be extretamente efficient in terms of security. This philosophy is visible already in the installation process, where it disables some features that can be used for purposes dangerous. In the process of development, the code is evaluated and re-evaluated constantly. When an error is detected, an immediate solution is has been developed and applied. The question is so carried seriously, what other systems BSDs are based on their policies security in OpenBSD.

In the case of the installation, OpenBSD is not as simple like FreeBSD. The user needs a certain experience, precisely because of the issue of security. You need to know this area to know how to configure the system. As is with the FreeBSD, OpenBSD can also be installed directly by the The Internet, however it is more common to find it in the CDs. The compatibility of the OpenBSD architectures is a highlight. In addition to the platforms mentioned in the case of FreeBSD, OpenBSD supports even Mac computers, and Sun.

A very important feature of OpenBSD is that the from him was created the project OpenSSH (how could it not leave be, a project that emphasizes safety and security). This project has objective to apply the features most effective in the SSH protocol (Secure Shell). Its use has constant growth.

OpenBSD is not very appropriate for those who are starting to work with BSD. It is necessary to a certain experience, mainly with safety issues. This system is very used on computers that serve as the router, firewall, backup and monitoring.

Released in 1993, the NetBSD is a system that stands out for being compatible with a huge amount of platforms. Believe me, it already was implemented even in the video game console Dreamcast, Sega. It is certainly the most comprehensive system that exists in the question architecture. For this reason, there are many users this system they chose to use it to have that play their computers the old in the trash (the old Apple computers, for example).

The issue of security is also strong in the NetBSD. But the focus is to even enable the system to be multi-platform. The NetBSD can do it so well that the other systems BSDs use part of your code to deal with the matter.

The installation of NetBSD is not complicated, but not enough to be as efficient as the installation from FreeBSD. It is possible to download it over the Internet, by FTP, however, it is common to find it on CD.

Many computing students prefer to use the NetBSD to search for its ability to be compatible with various platforms. However, as has already been said, many use it for “give new life” to old computers, especially machines Apple and Sun Microsystems. As the famous platform Friend also is compatible. Visit the official site to find the list compatibility. If you want to use a BSD system, the NetBSD it is a good option.


The systems in BSD discussed in this article tend to have a number increasingly more users. This is due to the fact that the BSDs are complete, include the kernel, applications and configuration the pre-set. In addition, each has a focus, which allows you to the choice of a system according to the need.

Those who want to be a user of a BSD system, will not have so many difficulties, because the number of sites, forums, lists discussion and documentation is growing. The case has already been decided, it remains to analyze which BSD is best for you or for your application.

FreeBSD, OpenBSD, and NetBSD The Characteristics of Each 1

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