> Dear list,
> I would like to hear your opinions about your favorite UNIX programming
> platform.

*nix    ;)

> The kind of programming I am more interested is "system and network
> programming".

Pick one that is accessible to you and dig in. I've found myself liking
the BSDs more than the Linuxes, but I am looking for some time to dig
into Debian. 

(Vine and Miracle Linux are presently in use in my office particularly
because they provide tools useful in a Japanese environment. Many of
those tools are available in freeBSD, but not yet quite as accessible as
they are in Japanese-built Linux distributions. We also use Solaris, but
that's kind of expensive, and you would likely need no one to suggest it
to you if you were in the position to use it.) 

> I am looking for those "details" that will make my life easier or harder.

Then I'd suggest Mac OS X. (This is not your father's Macintosh.)

But if you already have an MSWindows box that you want to put to good
use, freeBSD is fairly straightforward to get started with, and has a
lot of tools/toys to work with. 

netBSD seems to be good with odd-ball hardware, but you have to know
quite a bit about what you're doing to take full advantage of the tools
there. (They have some interesting cross-architecture tools, for

If you are already comfortable with installing and configuring, and what
you really mean by "details" is a lean-n-mean system and a tight focus
on networking and security, check openBSD out.

That's probably the "standard" take on the more prominent players in the
BSD world, but it doesn't do justice to any of it. Start with the one
that's handiest for you, but play with the others when you get a chance.
(System and _network_ would imply more than one computer, anyway, right?)

Just my two cents.

Joel Rees, programmer, Kansai Systems Group
Altech Corporation (Alpsgiken), Osaka, Japan

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