Linux or FreeBSD

Thank you so much for your answers! To be honest, I'm a complete novice at this. I have Linux on my office computers, so I decided to read about it and google brought up this forum. But apparently this forum requires a different level of knowledge, I rushed the question.
In my "advanced power user" experience, I've have less pain using FreeBSD than Linux. So now I only recommend FreeBSD to advanced computers users who know what they want, and have no issue with reading documentation and learning a whole new system from scratch.
Hi all, I want to ask your advice! I have always worked with Windows, but now I decided to learn Linux or FreeBSD. I read that FreeBSD is faster, can you please tell me what are the main differences between these operating systems?

If you never used Linux or FreeBSD things can be hard at start. Both OS'es need way more technical knowledge about hardware than any Windows version.
FreeBSD is different than Linux in its core, but most applications are shared between them.
VirtualBOX is your friend, and you can check any OS you want.
distrotest is a much better alternative.
I am not sure if it is much better, a little better or better. I suspect it is much worse.

The link I gave boots the system in the browser, linux runs in the browser under an emulator, TinyEmu, that is compiled with emcc and runs in the browser. No remote connection to a virtual machine.

I am not sure if it is much better, a little better or better. I suspect it is much worse.
At least it offers a vast choice, not just a few outdated Linux releases plus FreeDOS and Windows 2000.

Thank you for the link anyway, it's quite fun to run Windows 2000 in a browser. The booting time difference with the emulated Fedora is considerable...

Trying to shut down Fedora also was a funny experience:

# shutdown -h now
System has not been booted with systemd as init system (PID 1). Can't operate. Failed to connect to bus: Host is down Failed to talk to init daemon.

# poweroff
System has not been booted with systemd as init system (PID 1). Can't operate. Failed to connect to bus: Host is down Failed to talk to init daemon.

# halt
System has not been booted with systemd as init system (PID 1). Can't operate. Failed to connect to bus: Host is down Failed to talk to init daemon.

# acpiconf -s 5
sh: acpiconf: command not found
go with FreeBSD directly and learn it in the hard way...error..and solution and so...
allways make a backup before do something important, learn about ZFS
about Linux or FreeBSD, mmm, Linux is not what it was in the good days,so FreeBSD, you will not regret
VJro, go with Linux (I would probably advise Debian) if you:
  • Want to touch a Unix-like system and get experience with it
  • "Need things done now"
  • Want a "pre-built" operating system - install and use
  • Wish to have all apps to just run, with as little tinkering as possible
  • Are okay not understanding fully what your OS is doing (or ready to dig deep to understand)
  • Feel fine buying books or looking for third party sources to get information
  • Don't care about inconsistencies between different Linux distributions
  • Generally don't care about standards and "making things right"
  • Want to join a very large camp of users
  • Want a system optimized for general use case
Go with FreeBSD if you:
  • Want to run and understand a Unix-like system
  • Would like to see how your OS works from the inside, from the boot to GUI
  • Want a feel that your OS is what you make out of it
  • Like having good documentation available as part of the system (FreeBSD Handbook, man pages)
  • Can dedicate time to make small things right, e.g. setting up sleep, and configure the OS as you see fit
  • Have fun learning how your hardware works and interacts with the OS
  • Appreciate true UNIX heritage
  • Enjoy this forum
  • Are fine with joining a much smaller camp of users
  • Want a system that expects to be molded into something by its user
  • Appreciate freedom - you can make things on FreeBSD, sell, lease, set on fire - it's all yours
Do you want a fully furnished house or an empty one to furnish yourself? Are you OK assembling some furniture yourself or you need a guy to come in and bring everything? Would you enjoy trying to change oil yourself or need full service? Finnish vodka with a juice of your choice, or brandy? Just kidding.

Of course, everyone's perspective is different. All this is not mutually exclusive. Of course, you can learn how to set up WPA authentication on your wireless interfaces in Linux manually, you just get less chances of doing so, and sleep just works out of the box - with mainstream distributions like Debian, Fedora and Ubuntu, to which my personal experience is limited. I am sure there are Linuxen out there that will show you all the guts.

Hope this helps. :)
One other consideration that I'd add with blackhaz's list, is look at what applications you need/use. The application list may end up directing you one way or another, depending on if it will run on FreeBSD and/or if they is a alternative application that you can use instead. Some applications can be made to work under the linux emulator to various degrees, others you may be forced to running in a full VM to get it working. There are some limitations running stuff in a full VM, that it would make it impracticable for your use cases (ie hardware usage). I admit I had to switch one of my systems back to linux until my requirements/needs change.
About the point if to learn Unix(like) quickly prefer Linux first I'd like to contradict.

At university (>30y ago) we had Sun Sparc stations with Solaris.
I really loved those.
Of course as a student I neither couldn't afford a license nor a suitable machine for my own.
So I started with Linux, because it was promoted beyond students as "a unix, but free".
But it's not.
Shallow on the very first look Linux really seems to be some kind of unix.
But the deeper you dig into it, the more you get away from real Unix.

After a long odyssey over Windows and several Linux distris I never felt comfortable with
I finally started with FreeBSD, and felt at home directly.

If you don't care much about the system, want something turnkey, nothing much tailored to your needs, chose a Linux distri.
But if you want to dig into a operating system, if you really want to learn unix(like):
Start with FreeBSD directly in the first place.

Well, of course it's not as easy installed as a turnkey OS, because it's none, it's modular and to be individual tailored, but it's no rocketscience neither to get FreeBSD and a desktop environment installed. (I did it 😜.)
But you dig into the system - and true unix(like) - from the very start.

I don't see the point to start learning something different first, which then will be your reference, and then switch to FreeBSD, only being confused and wondering, why in FreeBSD this or that is made different (no, under Linux it's made different)... first start upside down, and then turn around? What for?
I came from Solaris.
I compare Linux with Unix, not vice versa.
You can see the results nearly daily on this forum: People coming from Linux, having it as their reference, needed to be adjusted to the righteous path 😁
Well, of course, if ones intension is primary operating systems, not it's usage, then I also recommend to learn both.
But then I also recommend Windows Server, because that's what most companies having on their their servers 😁

Even then, start with Unix/(Free)BSD.
Make (Free)BSD you reference, not Linux!
Profighost, at which point did Linux start to diverge from a true Unix for you? It's an interesting topic, I wish people would talk more about this. Where do you begin to realize there's something Linux'y here?

For me it was on a rather pedestrian level - when systemd arrived , then ifconfig disappeared, then some critical CLI tools begin to be unpipeable or the output was formatted the way you had to grep the hell out of it to extract useful information. I forgot what it was exactly, I simply couldn't pipe stdout to something else, and if parts of the system aren't designed for pipe, it's no longer Unix for me. But I am a desktop user. Know very little about the internals.
To do it in detail would be a long post and off-topic .
There were/are many small, minor points, maybe too minor for many, such as directories are organized "strange" (in Ubuntu you'll find directories/files such like "2398erghiasddjkiasfpiuhwrfp9iuwehhrfg982143982" That's crap!!)
And it differs from distri to distri, or how config is made, and the work in the shell (to me shell is first choice and desktop additional.)

Installation of packages is something still not really working smooth. Then is missing this, or that library is wrong version, missing independcy, after hours of slaving over it, still not working: warning ... warning...warning....error...error...error. Aborted. 🤬

I'd have to try to remember all those things I left behind years ago, and feel uncomfortable about them again,... just to list them here. (And maybe then need to argue about them how stupid I am and seeing the things wrong?)
No thanks.

But, OK, so much:
Linux started to be a copy of Unix. But in my eyes it became more and more something of it's own, what wouldn't be bad, if it would be done right, what it was not.
The core reason I say that is I have the feeling they want to get closer to Windows instead of to Unix.
And besides it's wrong for the reason Windows is no good example, it's a systematically bs also.
Because then you could stay with Windows in the first place.
In my eyes there is no reason going to the market copying what already exists.
Except you're selling it cheaper, which mostly also means doing it worse. Or you hope to be taken over.
One may say:"Or to do it better."
In theory, yes. But in real world >90% buy the lowest price, only.

To me Linux is way too experimental and anarchic. Lacks to much of consistence. Between the different distris as after new versions occured. If you know Suse and then look at Debian you feel you start all over again (would have switched directly to FreeBSD if I'd knew what I know today). Maybe today not so much anymore, but 15...20 years ago you couldn't rely on the distri you decided for would be the same, still free availabe or even exist at all next week.
Tha's nothing to found on something seriously, really.

To me Linux is enthusiast's handicraft rubbish.
For Windows users it's very useful to have a USB-Stick with a live-system by hand, to maintance the points of Windows, where Windows lacks for a real, full, professional OS.
But else Linux to me is something like old cars are for oldtimer-freaks:
They are not intend to be actually driven.
They are there to potter with them.
If something does not work, they are happy, because it's a reason to fiddle.

If it's working, they look for semething it's not.
They want to fiddle, not really use it.
That's nothing for me.

Don't get me wrong.
I do not say anything is bad about Linux.

So, it seems, I did not gave you an straight answer on your question, but made some kind of general Linux bashing.
Well, since those are processes, it's not possible to put it to a single point.
The most important core point of Unix vs No-Unix is Unix-Philosophy.

I totally and completely fully agree with UP uncontradicted.
Because if you want the best, that's the way to do it.

FreeBSD follows UP completely,
Linux partially.

UP was defined by people who gave the whole thing a very good thought.
One of UP's cores is modularity.
Modularity is not for Unix or operating systems only. It's systematic.
Modularity is global, fundamental core rule of solid engineering.

Modularity is something all agree with immediatly, because it sounds reasonable and promises high quality results.
You can sell things by writing "modular" on it.
And then something else is done or bought.

Modularity is not only a technical term, sounding good and reasonable, because it promises adaptivity, flexibility, efficiency and more.
Modularity also means:
1. Effort. You need to search, find, chose and decide what modules you need and install them. You need to organize the modules.
2. Restriction (modesty). You have to be satisfied with you only get all you want and all you need.

Today's people are so used to always get way more superfluid stuff as they asked for, that they are disapointed if they only get what they ordered, and cannot deal with it, if someone complains to received things didn't asked for.
"But everybody else..."
The majority are morons, cattle, silently nodding anything through you present them.
I don't care what "everybody else....".
I know what I want, and what I don't want.

Most who would sit at my machine would complain:
"Looks boring. Nothing on it. Empty. Spartan. Old fashioned...."
Well, it's defined by me for me and reduced to my needs.
All I need it's there. It's reduced to it's core.
I only potter with something if I need it or want something new.

Coming from Windows, over the years I "downgraded" from LXDE over xfce to fvwm2. [I was no Gnome-type-user and I always disliked KDE]
With fvwm2 I finally can do what I could not do with any other I used before:
I can tailor my desktop exactly the way I want it to.
I don't care much about modes and how window decorations look [funny thing: the look currently modern as "plain and clear" 20 years ago would be blamed as "ugly, primitive, incapable" 😁]
If I need a red alarm-knob I give it a good design.
And then bother about other things.
But (software)world is full of people arguing:
"Let's make it triangle shaped!" - "round!" - "square!" - "ROUND!!" - "...what about to make it blue or green? Red is so old-school...." 🤪

This was my way top-down.
But this also ain't UP.
Starting with everything and then throw all over board you don't want and ignore what you don't need, but lug it around anyway is the opposite of efficient.
UP - modularity, efficiency - means bottom-up.
Start blank and then add (only) what you need and want.

So a turnkey OS with a complete, predefined Desktop Environment is not UP.
It can't.
Because all decisions and selections about the modules are already chosen, and not by the user.

This ain't no problem, because for the majority this is best.

But we need to preserve diversity.
Life needs evolution, and evolution needs diversity.
Keeping individual styles is a very comfortable bonus included for free.

Modularity is most efficient to realize diversity.
Don't understimate Unix Philosophy.
Don't take it lightly as marketing slogan, only.
Keep it more than some wise words.
Live it!
Use FreeBSD!
At university (>30y ago) we had Sun Sparc stations with Solaris.
Perhaps it was SunOS, not Solaris?

SunOS was a BSD derivate and hence like FreeBSD. Solaris was System V and more like Linux.

I also had a similar experience, I used SunOS, then changed to Solaris, and when I began using FreeBSD I felt
again at home.
Perhaps it was SunOS, not Solaris
Can be. I'm not sure anymore. I'm also not sure, but I think those were Sparc stations II, and according to Wikipedia they could run both.'s been about 30 years... 😁

My very first machine was a Schneider (german license built of Amstrad) PC1512 with one single 5,25" Floppy, without a HDD, and MS DOS 3.2.
Couldn't do really something useful with that thing.
At university then there were those Unix machines.
It was my first contact with Unix at all.
I really loved to computer on those.
For myself at this time I had an Amiga 2000, also not complete rubbish for its time.

Then - unavoidable - came Windows.
Big disapointment if you knew how computers could work.
I joined computer's hell with late 95.
Cause until then my Amiga was still very usable. And we Amiga users could only laugh about all the issues Windows-users were telling
Those were good times.😁
Since then I was always looking for getting this satisfactory workfeeling back.
All alternatives all my computer versed friends came up with (I studied at a technical university - full of computer nerds 😎) was Apple (not affordable), Linux, nobody really was doing it then if not developing on it (opensource systems were still deep in their infancy then), and, what all used, Windows.
"Get used to it!"

After some research I ordered Red Hat (version 4.something? I don't remember anymore).
Came on 6 or 8 3,5" floppy disks.
If you weren't already an involved Linux hacker, you couldn't do much with that, because the Handbook was... crap.
After several weeks messing around with it, not get it run really, I wrote Red Hat an ugly e-mail (I was young and stupid 😁) and tossed the whole rubbish into the garbage.
So, I admit, Linux and I did not had a good start in the first place.

So I stayed with Windows, not being satisfied, not to say pi%%3d.... always again and again trying Linux, still not satisfactory to switch to it, not really the satisfactory feeling I had on those Unix machines...
And a couple of years ago I made a research again, because I really wanted to get rid off this Windows ... - I don't want to say crap again 😅
once and for all.
What is there?
What could be looked closer at.
And I stumbeld over "FreeBSD." Aha. Never heard of it. But sound promising.
After three, four start attempts (the usual backdraw: 8 years ago to get X running was not so easy as today) I decided to bite through and gave it a real trial,...
Voilà, here I am.

I wouldn't recommend FreeBSD to my wife or my parents (just for the reason I'd stick with the maintence... 😎
...but if anybody willing to dig a bit into a system, is looking for a reliable, stable, intelligent, smooth, powerful, userfriendly, controllable....individual tailorable...
- really unixlike:

I switched over as a process.
(I recommend to have at least one running machine, capable of browsing the internet (Handbook) while learning to get into FreeBSD on another machine.)
I completely stopped working with Windows app. 5...6 years ago. (I still had a small 7home partition for games. It's also gone.)
I have some Linux Live systems somewhere for testing things; but this is to be discontinued, too.
....I already experimented to create a FreeBSD live system of my own...

Now I have FreeBSD only on all my machines (Desktop, Laptop, (small) Server) exclusively.
And they all working more and more together, not only having acces to files only on my NAS anymore, one may say:
it's becoming a system :cool:
Hi all,

Sorry for jumping into this thread in my first post, but now I'm facing a similar dilemma and I want to share my thougths.

I the early 2000's (when I had more time and no responsibilities beside my studies) I briefly used Linux (Suse and Debian) at home. However, at the University (and my jobs after that) I had to use Windows because almost all the technical software that I used back then (Matlab,, Autocad, Orcad, etc.) only had Windows versions (and, sure…the games).

Now I still need Windows at my job, but at home, running Windows in my two laptops (one 10 years old and the other 4) it's nearly impossible... even in the newer laptop —i5 with 12 Gb (RAM), 1 TB (HDD) and Intel/Nvidia graphic cards— Windows takes more than 10 minutes to start. And I’m really, really tired of Microsoft, Windows 10/11 are more a platform for advertising than an OS.

So, I installed Debian (11 stable) in the older laptop and a Windows 10/Debian (dual boot) in the newer. The older goes quite well (fast and reliable), but... the other:

Windows: after a fresh installation, it install two automatic updates... slow as a turtle again, stuffed with ads again, hideous again.​
Debian: fast, but erratic, unpredictable. I installed it tree weeks after the one in the older laptop, but it behaves different, it has a slightly different directory structure, config files in different places (I downloaded the very same stable version, but it seems that comes with some updates).​

Looking for answers, I started to read more about Linux, Systemd, Unix/BSD, etc. and I found things like this:

Great, seems like BSD is more coherent and consistent OS... so I erased Windows and Debian and I installed FreeBSD in my (not old but not quite new) laptop... but something went wrong. Even without the GUI, the systems was too slow (for example, Vim took 3/4 seconds to open an empty text file). Probably because the system needed some tune or faced some driver problem/bad configuration (I disabled NVIDIA graphic card and Installed Intel drivers for the integrated one, but not sure if those were the ones that FreeBSD was using).

Now I've installed Artix Linux (to avoid Systemd) just to try something different to Debian in Linux world. It's fast, really fast, but requires to use other package manager, get used to new directory structure, dealing with lack of documentation (also Debian documentation is not as good as I was expected).

At this moment I still have the dilemma. Learn to use a new Linux distribution or try FreeBSD again. I kwon the benefits and drawbacks of both options, so probably my decision will depend of the time I can spare, the software I need, and the behaviour of the older laptop (now it’s my daily driver and allows me to use the other as test platform).
If you never used *nix-like before, probably you get some difficulties using linux, freebsd or any other *nix-like.
Linux ou FreeBSD? Learn booth!

For advocating, the mainly difference is the license. BSD license is more permissive, with minimal restrictions.
Technically, Linux is just a Kernel. FreeBSD is a complete OS.

Before install a Linux distro or FreeBSD, I suggest you to try some Gnu/Linux in LiveUSB Image, or NomadBSD in LiveUSB.
And read the books!