FreeBSD vs. Linux: Which Should You Use?
You’re trying to choose a system, and it’s coming down to FreeBSD vs. Linux. What do you do?
Linux and FreeBSD are both Unix-like operating systems (or more specifically, the Linux kernel is used in Unix-like operating systems). They share a lot of common features, but there are some important differences. The biggest difference is simple: Linux is used for everything from small devices to desktop computers, whereas FreeBSD is almost universally used for servers.
Today, we’re going to take a look at the key differences between Linux and FreeBSD. What are the differences? And which option is best for you?
What Is FreeBSD?
FreeBSD is a free and open-source Unix-like operating system descended from AT&T UNIX. FreeBSD is the most popular BSD variant and is often used in servers. It was first developed in 1993. Since then, its popularity has been off-and-on, although it has been accelerating recently. FreeBSD still comprises a vanishingly small amount of the market—less than 1%.
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The pros of FreeBSD include:
- Free and open-source. Open-source isn’t just valuable because it’s easy to get. It’s valuable because it means that an entire team is working together to ensure that the system is protected and that new features are added.
- Very stable. FreeBSD is known for its stability, which is one reason why it’s so frequently used for servers. FreeBSD has not changed significantly over the years because it hasn’t had to. The number of exploits available for FreeBSD is vanishingly small.
- Good for servers. Because FreeBSD is secure, stable, and scalable, it’s suitable for servers. It’s more likely that FreeBSD will be on a server than on an end user device such as a laptop.
The cons of FreeBSD include:
- Not as popular as Linux. This can affect many situations. You won’t be able to get help as easily. There won’t be as many software utilities. And you may find that putting FreeBSD on your resume doesn’t help as much as putting Linux.
- Can be difficult to use for beginners. Because it’s such an advanced system and it’s so frequently used for servers, it can be complicated for beginners to get over the initial learning hump.
- Not very well-supported. Another issue that arises with limited popularity is that there’s also limited support. The community isn’t as active as Linux, and free users need to pay for dedicated or enterprise support.
Who uses FreeBSD?
Many high-profile organizations, including Netflix, Yahoo, Pfizer, and Goldman Sachs are using FreeBSD. Not a lot of organizations require the performance and security that FreeBSD can provide; it’s primarily designed for larger institutions.
Are there different versions of FreeBSD?
Yes, there are several different versions of FreeBSD. The most prevalent version is FreeBSD 11.1, which was released in January 2017. There have been forks of FreeBSD—most notably, HardenedBSD, which was a more secure version of FreeBSD. But many have been discontinued.
How do you get FreeBSD?
Getting FreeBSD isn’t as easy as getting Linux. You can’t just download an ISO and install it; you need to either build it from the source or use a pre-built image. Since it’s an operating system, you will need to install it directly on your device.
What Is Linux?
Linux is a family of free and open-source software operating systems built on the Linux kernel. Linux is the most popular operating system for web servers and is used in many consumer electronics devices.
The pros of Linux include:
- Very popular. Linux wins the popularity contest, which also means that Linux has an extraordinary number of software components, code archives, and online documentation.
- Many distributions to choose from. Linux distributions can be dramatically different from the Linux kernel and provide developers with the ability to choose the perfect system for them.
- Well-supported. Not only is Linux well-supported by the community, but commercial distributions also provide state-of-the-art customer support.
The cons of Linux include:
- Can be difficult to use for beginners. Like FreeBSD, Linux is a challenge. While FreeBSD is harder, Linux can still be seen as difficult when compared to an operating system like Windows or macOS.
- Not as stable as FreeBSD—though a few things are. That said, some Linux distributions are intentionally designed to be more stable than others, and these might be an ideal solution.
Who uses Linux?
Linux is used by a large number of organizations and individuals, including Google, Facebook, Amazon, IBM, and Dell. It’s a very popular operating system for web servers and is used in many consumer electronics devices.
What are Linux distributions?
Linux distributions are collections of software based on the Linux kernel and often include the GNU toolchain. The kernel is the core of an operating system and provides basic system services such as process management and memory management.
What are the five most popular Linux distributions?
The most popular Linux distributions are Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora, OpenSUSE, and Mageia. They are all free and open-source, which is part of the ethos of Linux.
- Debian is a Unix-like operating system based on a philosophy of software freedom. Debian is the foundation for Ubuntu, which is the most popular Linux distribution.
- Ubuntu is a Linux distribution that emphasizes ease of use, security, and regular releases. Ubuntu is the most popular Linux distribution and is often used on desktops and servers.
- Fedora is a Linux distribution that focuses on bringing the latest technologies to users. Fedora is sponsored by Red Hat and is the basis for the commercial Red Hat Enterprise Linux product.
- OpenSUSE is a Linux distribution that emphasizes collaboration and community involvement. openSUSE is sponsored by SUSE and is the basis for the commercial SUSE Linux Enterprise product.
- Mageia is a Linux distribution that emphasizes community involvement. Mageia is based on the popular Mandriva Linux distribution and is often used on desktop PCs.
Many people don’t realize they use Linux. But quite a few phones, tablets, and other smart devices actually run on Linux distributions. Google Android devices, for instance, are based on Linux.
Is Linux an operating system?
A major difference between BSD and Linux is that Linux is a kernel, whereas BSD systems are full operating systems. The Linux kernel is packaged in different Linux distributions, whereas each version of BSD is going to be a complete operating system.
You can use the FreeBSD project if you want a free and open-source Unix-like operating system. Or you can use an open-source operating system built on Linux. Both Linux and FreeBSD have available source code, package management, and file systems; however, they are both free and open-source.
How do you get Linux?
Linux is free and open-source, so you can download it and install it yourself. But most people use Linux distributions, which are pre-packaged collections of software that include the kernel and other essential components. You can choose from many different Linux distributions, so you can find one that fits your needs.
FreeBSD vs. Linux: The Major Differences
Linux is more popular for home and personal computing use, while FreeBSD is more popular in server environments. Linux is also a bit more beginner-friendly than FreeBSD. FreeBSD has more features and customization options, while Linux is known for its stability and security.
In general, the two systems are quite similar. However, if you are looking for an open-source Unix-like operating system to use in a server environment, FreeBSD is a better option than Linux. Linux is more popular for home and personal computing use, while FreeBSD is more popular in server environments. Linux is also a bit more beginner-friendly than FreeBSD. FreeBSD has more features and customization options, while Linux is known for its stability and security.
What is the market share of FreeBSD vs. Linux?
According to W3Techs, Linux has a market share of 37.3% compared to FreeBSD’s 0.2%. This is largely due to the fact that Linux is more popular for home computing use, while FreeBSD is more popular in server environments. However, FreeBSD is growing in popularity, and its market share is increasing, partly because there are more server environments now.
Is FreeBSD or Linux more secure?
Both FreeBSD and Linux are quite secure, but Linux is more popular for security-sensitive applications. This is largely due to the fact that Linux distributions are more thoroughly tested than FreeBSD distributions. However, FreeBSD is becoming more popular for security-sensitive applications as its security features continue to improve.
Which is easier to use: FreeBSD or Linux?
Linux is a bit more beginner-friendly than FreeBSD. FreeBSD has more features and customization options, while Linux is known for its stability and security. But this also highly depends on the distribution of Linux you’re talking about. While openSUSE might be very easy to use, Kali Linux (built for white hat hacking) is going to be a little harder.
Is there more software for FreeBSD or Linux?
Linux has more software options than FreeBSD, but FreeBSD is catching up. FreeBSD’s growing popularity means that this is changing and there are now more software options available for FreeBSD users. You’re probably not going to be playing a lot of video games or entertainment on either FreeBSD or Linux, although you can always run a Windows emulator on either.
Which is cheaper: FreeBSD or Linux?
Both FreeBSD and the vast majority of Linux distros are going to be completely free. Some Linux distros do require that you pay, but it’s rare; most are distributed through a completely free license. So, unlike Windows, you don’t have to worry about licensing costs for either.
Does FreeBSD or Linux have an active community?
Both FreeBSD and Linux have very active communities, but Linux is more popular by far. If you have a question about Linux, you can probably get your answer within a few minutes. If you have a question about FreeBSD, you’re probably going to have to wait for a while.
Does FreeBSD or Linux have more documentation?
Linux has more documentation than FreeBSD, but FreeBSD’s documentation is growing quickly. Linux’s popularity means that more resources are available for Linux users, but FreeBSD’s documentation is improving all the time.
Is FreeBSD or Linux faster?
Linux is faster than FreeBSD, but the difference is not significant. Linux is more popular for high-performance applications, such as web servers and databases, because it has a better reputation for performance. However, FreeBSD is catching up, and its performance is improving all the time. The difference is generally negligible unless you absolutely need a high-performance and scalable system.
FreeBSD vs. Linux: what do careers look like?
Linux has a larger user base, which means that more jobs are available for Linux professionals. However, server administrators are more likely to get use out of FreeBSD, whereas anyone troubleshooting a system or running a help desk is far more likely to encounter Windows or Linux. Whether FreeBSD or Linux might be helpful for your career depends entirely on what position you are in within IT.
When are FreeBSD and Linux updated?
Both FreeBSD and Linux are updated on a regular basis, but the frequency of updates varies. FreeBSD generally has more frequent updates, while Linux distributions tend to have bigger updates less often. FreeBSD has an extended-release period, which can delay updates but also ensures that FreeBSD is more stable.
FreeBSD and Linux Alternatives
There are a number of alternatives to FreeBSD and Linux, but the most popular are Windows and macOS. Windows is the most popular operating system in the world, while macOS is used by a large number of creative professionals. If you’re looking for an alternative to FreeBSD or Linux, these are your best options. When it comes to Linux vs. Windows, Windows is usually more expensive and a little less flexible, with the trade-off being that it is easier to use.
Should You Use FreeBSD vs. Linux?
The best way to decide which operating system is right for you is to try them both out. Linux is a good option for home users who want a stable and secure operating system, while FreeBSD is a better option for server deployments or more advanced users who need more customization options.Now that you know more about FreeBSD vs. Linux, consider looking into the best Linux OS or even comparing Linux vs. Windows. You can also review Udemy’s Top Linux Course online.
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