Better than Linux

Is NetBSD better than Linux? Some people think so, which would be kind of funny for all the companies who’ve stalled new features for a year because they’ve been migrating products from VxWorks to Linux.

What do we mean by better? Here’s a clue:

While NetBSD uses the GNU toolchain (compiler, assembler, etc), and certain other GNU tools, the entire kernel and the core of the userland utilities are shipped under a BSD licence. This allows companies to develop products based on NetBSD without the requirement to make changes public (as with the GPL). While the NetBSD Project encourages companies and individuals to feed back changes to the tree, we respect their right to make that decision themselves

That’s a very big deal. It also emulates Linux and is extremely portable. See BSD forums.

2 thoughts on “Better than Linux”

  1. I think that making a general statement that NetBSD is “better” than Linux needs to be more specific.

    People will argue that either Linux or any of the BSDs are better based on:

    -range of hardware
    -general ease of use
    -marketing buzz
    -vitality of development
    -diversity of developers

    and all of the above criteria have their various answers.

  2. As I understand the GPL and linux world (and I’ve been using linux since forever, at this point, from 1.2.8), only changes to the kernel or the userland tools would be covered by the GPL; any entirely new add-ons (proprietary tools for configuration, say, or any proprietary applications themselves, or drivers) that do not incorporate GPL code, do not need to be released in source form.

    So, unless the systems in question involve significant proprietary kernel patches, say, I’m not sure this is really much of an issue. Of course, maybe there really is an untapped market for unix-based systems that need significant kernel modifications that, for business reasons, must be kept secret… if so, *BSD is probably a better choice than Linux. But that market segment is, as near as I can tell, so insignificant overall, there really isn’t much difference in terms of how the licensing affects “average” projects.

    (The main advantage I see to Linux over the *BSD family is that linux seems to get support for new hardware faster. Linux also seems to have more developers these days, but like joe says, I can’t really say, in my experience, that Linux is superior in general to the *BSDs, or vice-versa. That’s my take on it, anyway.)

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