On Sat, Mar 06, 2004 at 11:34:33PM -0800, D.B. Lewis wrote:

> My background is in Redhat Linux and Windows, so please pardon the
> "dumb" question: How close are FreeBSD and OpenBSD?
> The reason I ask is to get a handle on how useful OpenBSD tips, FAQ's,
> etc. might be as I learn FreeBSD.

OpenBSD, FreeBSD and not to forget the third member of the troika,
NetBSD are all descendants of the BSD 4.4 code released from Berkeley,
so they do share a great deal in common.  More recent offshoots exist,
with varying degrees of relatedness: like DragonflyBSD, which is based
on FreeBSD 4.x, but hasn't been in existence long enough yet to have
made many user-visible changes; or Apples' MacOS X, which is the
marriage of NeXT's user interface, an early version of the MACH
microkernel from Carnegie Mellon, the 4.4-BSD release code and a large
amount of more recent userland and some driver code from NetBSD and

There's a handy document in /usr/share/misc/bsd-family-tree showing
the relationship between the principal BSD derived operating systems
-- similar documents showing the relationships between all Unix and
unixoid systems are readily found on the web -- like

Each has been pushing towards their own development goals however, so
divergence is apparent: for instance the ports/packages scheme under
FreeBSD is the equivalent of 'pkgsrc' under NetBSD and 'pkgs' under
OpenBSD, all of which provide the same basic service -- installing and
managing 3rd party applications -- but with their own ideosyncrasies.
The distinctions are not so large as they might be, because the three
OSes cross fertilize each other quite regularly.  Thus there are
projects to port the latest FreeBSD vinum to NetBSD, and to import the
latest OpenBSD 'pf' firewall into FreeBSD.

As to how applicable tips from on OS are when applied to one of the
others -- well, they can often be relevant and useful, but only
experience will tell you what is and what isn't.  Read, learn and
experiment and you'll soon be able to answer your own question.



Dr Matthew J Seaman MA, D.Phil.                       26 The Paddocks
                                                      Savill Way
PGP: http://www.infracaninophile.co.uk/pgpkey         Marlow
Tel: +44 1628 476614                                  Bucks., SL7 1TH UK

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