"What are the differences between Linux and OpenBSD?"
(And, to some extent, other BSDs?)
I've also been there at some point and these are my conclusions 👇
Please bear with me.
Most free software can be recompiled, though some proprietary software isn't on OpenBSD.
Don't expect any visual changes.
- BSD licensing vs GNU licensing
- "Whole OS" model where some base packages are treated as first-class citizens with the kernel, VS bare Kernel + everything is 3rd party
- Whenever a decision has to be made, security and correctness is prioritized VS general-purpose and popularity and efficiency
They're philosophical distinctions which ramifications are not immediately visible.
They can't be explained, you need to understand them by usage.
That's why the typical recommendation is "just try OpenBSD and see"
Not many, really. Some are "features" and some are "undesired" side effects. With every decision there is a trade-off.
Let's see some of them
- OpenBSD has excellent man pages with practical examples. Use `man`. Really.
and so on.
These cover 90% of the use cases, while being robust and simpler to admin.
The same goes for the rest, and there are more projects on the way (openssl -> libressl)
Do these sound familiar? Most were OpenBSD innovations which trickled down to the rest of the unices
More here: openbsd.org/innovations.ht…
I'd say it's different but equivalent, but OpenBSD's security approach is more robust over time.
If you use a different arch, you'll need to recompile OpenBSD stuff from time to time.
That's because there is probably none.
There are very few things OpenBSD does that Linux does not.
However, what they do, they do better.
Is that important for you?
- Most closed-source Linux software does not work: skype, slack, etc. If that's important for you, use the equivalent web apps, or try FreeBSD, which has a Linux compatibility layer
The same for drivers: OpenBSD has excellent drivers, but a smaller number of them.
This includes compatibility drivers: modern/3rd party filesystems, for example, are not so well supported.
More modern laptops and bigger batteries are a practical solution for most of the people.
At the risk of being technically wrong, but with the goal of empathizing with the Linux user, I'll say yes.
For me, the system architecture, philosophy, and administration is 10x better than Linux's.
Go ahead and spin up a VM or install OpenBSD on an old machine and see for yourself.
Life isn't black or white. Maybe OpenBSD can not be your daily OS, but it can be your "travel-laptop OS"
That is exactly my case
However, I enjoy using OpenBSD much more. The day I retire I will make the full switch 😃
What are you waiting for? It's a fantastic Saturday morning, you have the whole weekend in front of you.
Download OpenBSD and learn what all the fuzz's about!