Fate of the *BSDs
Posted Nov 14, 2012 10:20 UTC (Wed) by man_ls
In reply to: Crowding out OpenBSD
Parent article: Crowding out OpenBSD
Those holes are easy to plug, even without being our esteemed editor.
You talk of the Linux monoculture but what about the Unix/POSIX monoculture? Why is BSD dying worse than the death of CP/M, DOS, AmigaOS, ...?
Because BSD is Unix and it is Free software; BSD history is an essential piece of the grand tradition that has brought us Linux, GNU userland and all distros. BSD (or rather the *BSDs) are also "serious" OSs in areas where those others you mention are no competition, such as multiuser support.
You say that your humble readers should care about BSD's death, that BSD matters. But if it dies, it is *because* it doesn't matter.
You have a point, but many worthy software packages are in danger or unmaintained even though they matter a lot -- at least to some people.
You say that it is an important part of the free software ecosystem. But if it dies, it's because it's not important anymore.
That would be like saying that extinct species deserve their fate because they have not adapted to their ecosystems. There are external forces that have great influence on any ecosystem, in our case market pressures or company buyouts.
You say that we should care because BSD has many talented developers. Those developers won't die with BSD, they can move on to Linux or Haiku, or even Windows.
Precisely. Having those developers moving to Windows or Mac OS out of spite would be a loss from our point of view (i.e. Free software).
And maybe one day, this will happen to Linux too. The world changes, the world evolves. Darwin's theory at its best. The king is dead, long live the king.
Having some alternatives is good in case you need them. It is a classic case of generalists vs specialists: the specialist is better suited to its niche. But the niche can disappear at any moment killing the specialist in the process. The generalist can also invade the niche. Looking at evolution there is not one single solution, and neither is there in Free software OSs.
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