XCthulhu's writeup above deserves a certain quantity of commentary, not to say debunking.
- "There exist splinter operating systems to FreeBSD, that are in fact not free at all." Strangely, the operating systems XCthulhu discusses are each either not derived from FreeBSD, or are themselves free software. Darwin is free software; Solaris is not derived from FreeBSD, but from much older forms of BSD Unix (and SysV as well).
- "Darwin, Apple's deceptive stab at a free operating system" Darwin, the open-source OS at the core of MacOS X, is not deceptive in any fashion. (It remains to be explained how an operating system can be deceptive.) Darwin's license complies with the Open Source Definition, and has been acclaimed by open-source leaders such as Eric S. Raymond and Bruce Perens as such. In addition, Darwin development by Apple has contributed code to FreeBSD and NetBSD.
- "Both are based off original BSD ..." If this were the case, then point 1 above is irrelevant. However, it is not. Darwin is a derivative of FreeBSD and NetBSD; Solaris is a mixture of BSD and SVR4 heritage.
- "... but are the products of corporate manipulation, and cost either money or registration." Given that the BSD license permits the charging of money or other favors for software, this does not seem terribly relevant. Darwin, it should be noted, is freely redistributable -- you can get it from your friend, and need not pay or register with Apple. I don't know enough about Solaris's recent flirtation with free software to say if this is the case with it as well, but I suspect not. It is not clear to me what "corporate manipulation" means, but it seems it may be a snarl word.
- "Thanks to anti-compliancy movements by both companies, AT&T System V specification is often lost on such systems" Very few Unix users today have ever touched a pure System V Unix, and the most popular Unices today are fusions of BSD and SysV tradition. Free Unix variants -- such as FreeBSD and Linux, often additionally include the more recent GNU innovations to one degree or another.
- "If one wishes for true freedom ... one good choice would be Linux." The argument over whether BSD or GNU licenses represent "true freedom" has generated far more heat than light. One might even go so far as to label the issue flamebait today. It is more accurate to say that each license offers a different set of freedoms to the software distributor, and to leave it up to coders which to place on their code.
- "If one wishes for ... pretty good System V compliancy, one good choice would be Linux." Certainly the GNU utilities which form a large part of the GNU/Linux userland contain many SysV-like features. However, they also partake of BSD features -- and indeed, many BSD utilities find their way largely unmodified into Linux-based OSes. However, the time for BSD-vs.-SysV holy wars is long past; reasonable Unix folk should accept that most current systems, including Linux as well as Darwin, FreeBSD, and Solaris, inherit features from both families.
- "Linux has been said by marketing specialists to be headed down the roads to being not free, but such speculation is quite contrary to the reality of the licensing condition of Linux, which is released under the GPL." This much is true. However, it seems unnecessary to bring up the rantings of FUD-spewing "marketing specialists" in a discussion among folks who know better.
- "There are currently no intrinsically NotFreeLinuxs, albeit the exception of Redhat, which lies in a gray area." While I have my doubts as to Red Hat's good sense at times -- as in the recent gcc incompatibility case -- it strikes me as ridiculous to accuse them of veering towards non-freedom, as every bit of code they write is GPLed.
All in all, Linux
, and all variant
s therefrom are Good Thing
s -- and it is all the better if they crossbreed
, "steal" code
from one another, and otherwise improve
. The FS/OSS
world is not made any better through the spreading of infighting
or unnecessary flameage