BSD is dying

Paul Robinson paul at
Thu Jul 28 11:40:32 BST 2005

On Thu, Jul 28, 2005 at 10:50:14AM +0100, Paul Richards wrote:

> and seems pretty  much dead in the UK based on this list.

Well, you know, hate to say 'told you so', but I've moved almost
entirely to OS X, as has every other BSD geek I know. At least for home
use. Apple killed it. Simple as.

For servers, I've got a project setup that looks like we'll be moving
entirely over to FreeBSD from a mix of BSD and Windows boxes. This might
take a few months, and it's all in the air.

Even so, Apple has killed casual use of BSD. Everybody said I was talking 
rubbish, which was the point I decided to jump ship early with the other
rats. It's a genuine shame, but I think if you look at the amount of
development activity, Summer of Code projects included, it all looks a
bit grim compared to a few years ago.

> Although I'm being a bit flippant, since this list has become totally
> inactive recently I've also been trawling job lists a lot in the last
> few months and BSD has vanished from the UK job market too.

To be fair, it was never really a dominant market in the first place.
Most Unix jobs are either legacy (AIX, HP-UX), or new build outs (Linux,
Solaris). Nobody out there outside of the ISP space and the hardcore
"I'm fed up with Linux" geeks are actively deploying FreeBSD, IMHO. Oh,
and embedded of course, but I only know of one company doing that, as
you well know. :-)

FreeBSD is a better system to manage, and is easier to train people up
on when they're moving from a zero-command-line background. However, it
just doesn't have the commercial backing Linux has.

As for desktop, well, OpenTech this week was a house of Apple and the
occasional Windows/Linux laptop. I think if you were to hold a BSDcon
this autumn, 95% of laptops in use would be Apple.

> Anyone got any comments on how they see the state of BSD in general
> and FreeBSD in particular in the UK at the moment?

Honestly? We killed it. The only BSD User Group (in Manchester) is now a
place for friends to meet and talk gadgets, geekdom and drink beer.
Every person at that meeting has an Apple, and OS X is discussed more
than FreeBSD. In fact, OS X is probably discussed more than all the BSDs
combined. On occasion, mention is made of a security advisory or
features expected in 6.x, or problems with upgrading, and FreeBSD is
there in the background, but I don't think people are actively engaging
with it the way they were in the first few meetings.

I think if we attempted a UK meetup, we'd get a few dozen showing up,
many of whom would be there for reasons of nostalgia. At 27 (next
week), I would likely be one of the youngest people there. We'd all
still end up talking OS X.


So, do we make an effort to resurrect the patient, accept ourselves as a
niche within a niche, or let things die off and get our momentum behind
making other high-level open source apps get visibility? I've been
spending a lot of time with Ruby on Rails and web frameworks recently,
very little time worrying about operating systems. In fact, I'm one of
the many I've spoken to who are trying to get out of IT altogether.

The UK community always struck me as being a little like my University,
UMIST, in that the SU could be renamed 'The Apathetic Society', except
nobody could be bothered to do so...

I don't think this is a particularly bad thing. I just think it is the
way it is.

Paul Robinson

More information about the Ukfreebsd mailing list