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I have been using Ubuntu 10.04 for 2 years now and honestly, I am somewhat bored of Linux and wish to explore Unix (or Unix Like) now. I don't want a dumbed down version (like Ubuntu) anymore and want to experience Unix (or Linux if need be) in its true form. I basically want more to do with terminal and exploiting the open source nature of the OS.

My requirements are plainly

  1. No dumbing down. I'll take a few shots in my knee if necessary.
  2. Awesome interface from parallel/high performance programming. I use Intel MKL on a daily basis. I use the computer ONLY for programming. So, all else (Flash support, Firefox blah blah) is useless.
  3. It should be extremely extremely stable. (Debian like)
  4. It should have good community support and long term support. I don't like changing OSes every 6 months.

What would you suggest?

(I have tried to make this question as objective as possible. Please don't give me a "depends" answer. Just throw a name if need be) NetBSD vs FreeBSD vs OpenBSD vs Other Unix/UnixLike vs Linux (I would really want to try a BSD/Unix now but then, if my requirements aren't met, I don't mind a Linux)

P.S: I am not a N00B. I have tried Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora & RHEL but not long enough to make an informed choice.

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By dumbed-down, are you referring to Ubuntu desktop, or which part? Or maybe Ubuntu OS in general? – Tshepang Jan 20 '12 at 14:21
I want to explore awk, sed, grep and other stuff. I want to write my own codes or scripts when I want to do something rather than google it immediately. I know its possible to do so in Ubuntu as well but the fact that it is so user friendly is a demotivator :P – user14517 Jan 20 '12 at 14:35
Thank you all for your comments. Now, it comes down to: OpenBSD vs FreeBSD vs Debian Any comments? – user14517 Jan 20 '12 at 14:41
Debian? I see no suggestion for that. Remember that Ubuntu is a Debian based distribution. Everything will work - boring. ;-) – Nils Jan 20 '12 at 20:54
I am definitely no expert, but because no one else has suggested it here, I would recommend Arch Linux. – InkBlend Jan 12 '13 at 4:25
up vote 2 down vote accepted

For exploration purposes I would say OpenBSD to discover how stable, secure and simple it can be. The basics of Linux will be Slackware.

But this is in contradiction to your programming goals. So knowing about HP-Unix, AIX, Solaris, Linux Debian, RH and SuSE I would recommend using Linux CentOS 5.7 (or newer - keep it updated via yum-cron) to you.

CentOS 5 is binary compatible to RHEL 5 and there are many tools around for the el5-branch (use rpmforge as additional repository - see the CentOS page about that).

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Just a pointer, have you heard of Nix? (Its based on Plan 9. Not sure if it's ready for prime time, though.)

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+1 for the pointer :-) – Nikhil Mulley Jan 20 '12 at 10:09

Solaris is used in enterprise environments for high load, high uptime servers - that should be a good recommendation in itself.

If you want to get into some more esoteric hardware then you can find higher performance OSs, but from your question I'm guessing you want to stay with Intel.

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Debian or Slackware, those are the "classic" choices. They are very different, thus it is worth trying both. Debian is by no means "dumbed down", but it has many tools which make your life easier. With Slackware you are very much on your own.

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If you are just looking for Choice -- I would suggest get onto using SmartOS (Fork of OpenSolaris by Joyent group and sports active development, community and support) Has got all the necessary tools that a modern Operating System should have.

Link: http://smartos.org

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FreeBSD is the answer for you !

because freeBSD is stable secure and easy to use for geeks, its known for its stability and best of all its truly open source, I know some of us will not agree with my thoughts. Its way mature than any other OS , its useful for programming :)

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Any reason why? – Tshepang Jan 20 '12 at 14:18
Those are the reasons you should put on the post, not just FreeBSD is the answer for you !. – Tshepang Jan 23 '12 at 9:06
thanks @Tshepang for your advice, I'll take in future :) – Abhishek Jan 24 '12 at 4:58
you can do it right now... no need ta wait – Tshepang Jan 24 '12 at 10:05

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