... and what are the differences between them? I formulated my question like this to make it clear I'm not interested in a flamewar of opinions, rather in an objective comparison between the different flavors of BSD Unix. Ideally I could get feedback from users who have experience in all of them.
I recently discovered that there's much more to Unix than merely Linux. I use Solaris at work, it opened my eyes. Now I'm interested in new unices, I want to try a new one and I'm naturally curious about BSDs.
I'm not asking for advice or opinions on what BSD to install; I want to know the differences (and common points) between them so I can make up my own mind. The problem is that it's difficult to get proper comparisons between them.
If you're lucky, you get some hasty definition like this one:
FreeBSD = Popular all-rounder. NetBSD = Portable (runs on a lot of platforms, including a toaster) OpenBSD = Security above anything else.
(It might be true, but it's not really useful. I'm sure FreeBSD is portable and secure as well ...)
If you're unlucky you get caught in one of those inevitable Unix legends about projects splitting, forking, rebranding on intellectual/moral grounds, how Theo de Raadt is an extremist and how MacOS X and FreeBSD had a common ancestor over 20 years ago.
Fascinating, but not really informative, is it?
The BSDs I am interested in are:
In order to understand the differences better, here's a list of somewhat related questions about the different distributions (can we use this term?). If you present your answer under some form of tabular data, you are my all-time hero!
- Do they use the same kernel?
- Do they use the same userland tools? (what are the differences, if any?)
- Do they use the same package/source management system?
- Do they use the same default shell?
- Are binaries portable between them?
- Are sources portable between them?
- Do they use different directory trees?
- How big are their respective communities? Are they the same order of magnitude?
- How much of the current development is common?
- What are the main incompatibilities between them?
I don't know how easy those questions are to answer, and how relevant to the StackExchange format this question really is. I just never came across a simple document listing the differences between BSDs in a clear way, useful for fairly experienced users to look at and make a choice easily.