This question is a sequel or a parallel question to my previous one: https://unix.stackexchange.com/questions/56101/unity-problems-searching-for-a-good-wm

I am wondering whether my personal assumptions that FreeBSD is indeed more stable and more tightly controlled, less chaotic, more organized than Linux is actually true. (I don't want to cause a debate, only if its a healthy one)

I'm a front-end developer wanting a STABLE, COHERENT and mature environment working mostly with:

  1. browsers
  2. fancy editors (IDEs) (aptana?)
  3. other local dev tools such as a webserver, a DB, a deployment tool and so on..

The thing is I am mostly using *nix in order to experiment/learn about stuff that I might use in a professional level such as the deployment of Versioning systems, the customization of web servers and so on... Would using FreeBSD for all that limit me, in the sense that it doesn't enjoy the popularity of Linux/Ubuntu therefore there might be less packages (ports?) available, or the versions of these apps would be less cutting-edge than the Linux ones?

  • Please define "stability". Are you talking about crash-proof-ness (shouldn't matter much between FreeBSD and Linux assuming that you run the same software; on working hardware, I don't think I've ever had Linux OOPS at me in the 10+ years I've used it on a number of computers), or package version stability (big difference between Linux distributions; compare e.g. Fedora to Debian stable)?
    – user
    Nov 19, 2012 at 13:16
  • 1
    yes, crash-proof-ness . (I had already several crashes with Unity). The shell crashes and asks me if I wanna relaunch it etc... Never had that with FreeBSD. Nov 19, 2012 at 14:14

4 Answers 4


You mentioned above that you're looking for "crash-proof-ness", and you said that Unity appears unstable.

Don't confuse the stability of the window manager with the stability of the distribution or the kernel.

Unity is a quite new window manager (some say it was released before it was ready for production use and still needs polishing), and it may take some time before it becomes stable. It would likely be just as unstable on FreeBSD (if it was ported there).

If you're looking for stability, try one of the older, simpler, and more mature window managers like xfce.

I've found XUbuntu 12.04 LTS (which uses the xfce window manager), to be quite stable. I'm running it now, and this laptop has been running for 33 days without a reboot or a window manager restart, the last time I rebooted was when I powered it off to take it on a trip.

  • I think I will take your advice. I already tried it on a Virtual Machine and it seems stable. Less fancy, sure, but stable. is it customizable? Nov 19, 2012 at 19:20

Personally I think they are equal although in the web hosting world I would venture a guess that Linux is used much more than FreeBSD.

As a developer I have found it much easier to develop in an environment that is as similar to the production environment as possible. On that basis alone, I would go with Linux over FreeBSD for what you have detailed as wanting to do.

What good does it do to learn how to deploy a versioning system on FreeBSD when all of the servers you work on are running RHEL/CentOS?


FreeBSD is not the kernel alone while Linux is only the kernel with many variations ("distros"). Each distro has some variation. Linux also tends to make changes such as the recent systemd and Wayland while FreeBSD prefers "steady as she goes". In that case, FreeBSD is less likely to change its core infrastructure while, in Linux, there may be required changes to your code/workflow/updating/whatever on occasion.

FreeBSD's roots are from Unix and there is a strong desire to maintain "The Unix Way" while Linux seems to prefer to change things for the sake of "progress". Some call "The Unix Way" being stuck in the past while others call it stability while making improvements. Some question why Linux can't make their "progress" by improving current methods.

Overall, FreeBSD is less likely to have things move around on you than Linux. Sometimes programs don't put things in the same place on Linux from distro to distro.

As far as applications go, most, if not all that you would use, are also available on FreeBSD or, if not, FreeBSD can run most Linux applications just as well in compatibility mode.

As far as crash-proof, I doubt you would find anyone to say FreeBSD doesn't do as good a job or better in that department. From almost 9 years of use, we have never had a crash on FreeBSD and, even with the typical power outages and user screwups, each box has always re-started without issue.

Right now, our development is done on multiple boxes for various reasons. Now we are getting ready to build our own monster-box with FreeBSD as the OS but running Linux in multiple VMs. This way we can code on FreeBSD and deploy/recompile/etc to multiple versions of Linux, and even Windows, if necessary.


For my own personal and professional development, I've found that BSD has worked better, was more reliable, and would just do what you wanted over linux. Most of the tasks that I asked it to do though were of the server variety, such as running LAMP stacks or application servers. Never used a front end GUI on it at all.

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