I have a few NetBSD servers I maintain, and some Linux workstations on my desktop, and an old 486 laptop or two running NetBSD. I used to have a FreeBSD workstation but it hosed itself during an upgrade. They all suck ass. I'm pissed, my clients are pissed. A small collection of machines and crashes are a weekly affair. I'll get into the reasons each sucks in a moment, but I'm now on a quest to try to get my hands on the legendary BSD/OS. Can you help me with a license key, source, and installer for a recentish version, such as 4.3.1? I'm also going to take a stab at Solaris -- again. More on that in a moment. I'm not being petty here or just trying to be an uptime snot, but I must say I see the attraction now. Crashes mean sleepless nights on the phone with tech support and then weeks of grovel and now and then, a lost client. This means misery and poverty.
NetBSD -- slowass.net seems to have some timer built in, and after 100 days, the thing just wedges up. I've posted various kernel backtraces in gnats reports to NetBSD but NetBSD has recently taken to deleting bug reports -- not marking them duplicate, resolved, or anything else -- just deleting them. Little wonder, and they're absolutely snowed in by the things. Linux needs no explanation -- anyone who thinks Linux is stable hasn't used anything but Linux and Windows, and that's hardly a contest. That's like saying that dirt is really soft compared to rock. NetBSD recently released a roadmap that basically boiled down to "try to be more like Linux". Rats, quick, jump ship! Oh, and here's the best part. They broke the Sparc port in 2.0 so processes wedge up the kernel after about 24 hours of serving TCP. Killing the process doesn't get it out of its wedged up state -- not even kill -9. It just sits there stuck in this kernel state. You can't restart it because the port is still open by the other process. So, NetBSD 3.0 comes out and this bug still exists. Now NetBSD 4.0 is in RC and... the bug is still there. I knew NetBSD was a little obscure, but these massive showstopper bugs that never get fixed really drive that point home.
FreeBSD -- I removed a program I found offensive, and when it tried to upgrade, it tried to remove all of the "packages", failed to remove that one because the file was gone, and left the system basically demoeted and completely hosed. What fucking imbicile decided that something as fault prone as a package systme should be responsible for system upgrades and didn't even take steps to add robustness to the process so that one missing file doesn't hose the whole process? I mean seriously -- remove one unimportant binary and you've ruined your whole FreeBSD system. This is *not* robust. And FreeBSD 5.x crashes a lot. You FreeBSD weenies had stability, didn't know it, people told you you had it, you started bragging about having it, you lost it, and you still brag about having it. Dipshits. And you traded it away so cheaply, too. And don't pull that "FreeBSD never crashes for me!" crap. Windows users pull that all the time. Even ones who crash daily. Even ones who crash daily *while* I'm watching. Massive code churn is the enemy of stability and no little week long RC tests will tell you if your thousands of lines of new and changed code damaged the multi-year stability that the thing had before you fucked with it.
Linux -- crashes a lot and for dumb reasons just on a workstation. Everything seems to be broken. Has umount -f ever worked on Linux?
OpenBSD -- very conservative policies, but Theo scares away developers and I've seen it lock up. Security is much higher priority than stability.
BSD/OS -- tops all of the uptime charts from Netcraft's to the smallest home grown ones. Major ISPs use it and turn hundreds or thousands of users lose on the systems with shell and routinely get multi-year uptimes. Source code is available with the license of $995. But alas, BSDi got bought and its buyer killed it, but gave the FreeBSD squad the chance to look at the code and copy bits that aren't NDA. Of course, you can't backport stability, and FreeBSD doesn't seem to want to anyway, so this does me no good.
Solaris -- after BSDi and before Windows 2000, it tops the stability charts, though I'm guessing the Windows 2000 machines are heavily firewalled, running nothing, and are in fact stripped to the core, whereas the BSDi machines "accidentally" got massive uptimes while hundreds of malicious users cruise around them. But just try getting a copy of the personal use version -- you have to log in, which means you have to create an account, which means you have to pick a username, but that username is already taken from your last failed attempt, and you don't know the answer to the security question because you got annoyed with the 100 blank form by that point and entered an angry rant, so you try to recover and reset your password by email, but all of the email addresses you've ever used come up dry, so you try creating another account, but you never get the email probe, so you contact their account tech support and spend an hour on the phone getting an account hand rolled, so you then you log in, and you go to download the software and it wants you to download and run special download-software-from-Sun-software, but it doesn't run on your platform, so you try to do the HTTP downloads, but they're served from an auth-checking application that doesn't understand byteranges or resumes, and your download times out, and it times out over and over again, and you start from the beginning each time, and eventually two days later you give up, completely defeated, not even gotten the first of the six required CDs, and don't even have the energy to buy Solaris any more, not to mention a deep profound hatred of Sun that prevents you from wanting to, and you start to realize why Solaris is seen as unapproachable and klunky, and you sigh to yourself and think that it all started when they switched to SYSV, an d remind yourself you don't want to live in SYSV hell. Sun, you're in business in spite of yourself.
Flame on. I think this isn't the first time I've given low marks to Unix-like systems on this little blog here. So you've probably seen my disclaimer. I've been working with Unix and Unix-like systems since Ultrix on the DEC3100 (16mhz RISC... yum) and AIX2 on the IBM PC RT (4mhz RISC... wee!). I've run Linux since Linux 1 and NetBSD since 0.9, and before those, I ran Minix from 5.25" floppy disc and on the Amiga. I've seen SysIII running on 68k hardware. I've seen a lot of Unix systems. So if your only experience is your favorite system you're writting to defend, save the "nuh uh!!". Your opinion is invalid and unfounded.