Selling FreeBSD

Chris Whitehouse chris at
Thu Jun 5 17:03:44 BST 2003

>> Secondly, why would companies choose Linux over FBSD with that in mind,
>> it's completely counter intuitive IMHO. One factor that strikes me
>> relates to a contract I've recently been on, and it's to do with highly
>> threaded applications, such as H323 proxies in telecoms. It seems that a
>> RH9.0 with a preemptive kernel (2.5.x-one-million) can handle threads
>> much better, but I've never seen a comparative with FBSD, only with
>> Linux of a lesser version. Comments?

I suspect a completely objective comparison of different aspects of latest stable releases would show that one is better for some things and the other is better for 
others. I've read that FreeBSD's virtual memory managament is better and the network stack is pretty fast but that as mentioned above linux kernel threading is better.

I think a major reason why companies or organisations would choose Linux is because they have heard of it - as *the* alternative to the proprietary software option 
rather than 'an' alternative. The word Linux has acheived a sort of critical mass where it appears in popular magazines, main stream press articles, etc which are not 
particularly computer related. It is mentioned in other contexts than computing, for instance because of its political implications - public sector organisations and even 
whole nations choosing open source over proprietary as a matter of principle and choosing Linux in practice. There is also a very strong community of more or less 
geeky and alternative people who are doing all sorts of new things such as wireless networking and other community and generally contra-m$ activities, who are 
using Linux as a platform. They are all talking to each other about what they are doing and this inevitably leads to Linux's name being spread further. Ultimately the 
decision is 'everyone is using Linux, it's obviously the way to go' - same way the decision is made to use Windows.

I am involved in a group organising a conference on a range of topics under the umbrella term 'Social Software'. To me the conference is about bringing information 
technology back to the community so that the community can use IT tools to enable itself - including Free and Open Source software but lots else besides. But very 
much of the discussion that goes on on the social software list and at meetings is about Linux. I think there is a a very strong perception that if you are talking about 
open source you are talking about Linux. Look at O'Reilly's LAMP project LAMP stands for Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP. They use this 
mnemonic to stand for Open Source as a whole. Near the end of the article 'What is LAMP' after several 
paragraphs about Linux is this sentence " Let the L stand for Linux, FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, and Darwin/Mac OS X... ." I would like the elders of the BSD 
community to take O'Reilly to task for this gross marginalisation. It's a bit ironic too because the Apache MySQL PHP part is what runs the internet mostly and afaik 
the majority of internet computers are running FreeBSD. BLAMP would be ok by me though.

>Well, the company I work for do movie standard graphics, and they use
>Redhat 7.x because of compatibility with a certain graphics program
>called Shake. Also, our render farm runs on Redhat because of software
>that was developed by Pixar. So I suppose developers need to turn to
>FreeBSD before users (truism alert ;) I'm not sure of the lower-level

I guess developers develop for Linux for exacly the same reasons developers developed for Windows not OS/2

>> >And - much as I adore the little Beastie - a less inflammatory mascot.
I have one of those rice jobbies on my desk. I think she looks quite friendly actually

>> >
>> >Hmmm, a polar bear perhaps.  ;-)

That might cause some confusion with Smoothwall...


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