Originally Posted by murphy_young
Thanks for the reply.
I already read it, but I need your opinion and Scorpions4ever too.
Hehe, I'm honoured. Here's a quick note of some of the differences for someone with a FreeBSD background.
1. Configuration: OpenBSD configuration is somewhat different from FreeBSD. OpenBSD has different files to configure various bits of the server (/etc/myname for hostname, /etc/mygate for default gateway, /etc/hostname.XXX for network parameters for interface XXX etc.). NetBSD supports two types of configuration and you can use either one. One of the configuration types is identical to the FreeBSD way (/etc/rc.conf and /etc/defaults/rc.conf) and the other is identical to the OpenBSD way (/etc/myname, /etc/mygate...)
2. Ports/Packages: FreeBSD has the most ports and packages of any BSD, of course. OpenBSD has the least # of ports and packages and NetBSD has something in between. This has partly to do with OpenBSD's policy of not including something unless it meets their goals of security and being truly free. OpenBSD ports system is very similar to FreeBSD (ports are in /usr/ports and anything installed from ports goes under the /usr/local tree e.g. /usr/local/bin, /usr/local/lib etc.). Under NetBSD, what you call ports are kept under /usr/pkgsrc instead of /usr/ports. Also, in NetBSD, anything installed from pkgsrc (or pkg_add) goes to /usr/pkg tree (e.g. /usr/pkg/bin, /usr/pkg/lib etc.) instead of /usr/local tree.
3. Networking stack: NetBSD supposedly has a better/faster TCP/IP stack than other BSD implementations. Of course, this was from some benchmarks a while back and such statements may not be true tomorrow. Note that NetBSD is the current record holder for the fastest Internet2 speed record for data transfers.
4. Security: OpenBSD has traditionally led the field here. They introduce security features (such as compiler modifications) that may cause programs to run slightly slower than other OSs because of the extra added security. Recently, they introduced another change that would cause some latent errors in programs to show up because the program in question would crash instead of continuing to run. The good side is that you could tell that the program needs to be fixed to fix memory alloc issues, the bad news is that the program has just crashed and is no longer running. NetBSD (and FreeBSD) security records are very good too, it is just that they aren't that pro-active about it as OpenBSD is.
5. Packet Filtering: At one time, NetBSD and OpenBSD both used IPF, but OpenBSD later dropped IPF due to licensing issues and disagreements with the author of IPF. Instead, OpenBSD decided to write PF as a replacement. For a little while, PF was just a poor replacement of IPF, but it has matured and now beats IPF in several benchmarks and features. NetBSD now offers both IPF and PF as packet filtering options. Note that however, the cutting edge work on PF happens on OpenBSD and only gets ported to NetBSD a bit later.
6. SSH: OpenBSD starts with sshd enabled in the default install whereas NetBSD has even ssh turned off by default (you have to enable the ssh daemon after first reboot). Also, OpenBSD allows root logins by default, but NetBSD doesn't allow root to log in via ssh (just like FreeBSD) by default. Note that OpenSSH is an offshoot of the OpenBSD project and hence, any latest developments go to OpenBSD first.
7. Device Support: NetBSD traditionally has had more device driver support for different devices (Network cards, RAID cards etc.)
8. Goals: OpenBSD has put security first with usability being strong second. Sometimes their security initiatives cause hidden errors to show up in programs, that have existed for years. NetBSD's goals have always been to run on the most hardware with reliability being a strong second. Hence, NetBSD usually tends to support more hardware, filesystems etc. than OpenBSD does.
Hope this helps.