Debian unleashes inner devil

Summary:The Debian project has announced that it is adding two new FreeBSD kernels to the unstable and experimental archive under the name of Debian GNU/kFreeBSD.

The Debian project has announced that it is adding two new FreeBSD kernels to the unstable and experimental archive under the name of Debian GNU/kFreeBSD.

The announcement came over the weekend in a posting to the Debian developer announce list, and gives Debian users a choice of between Linux and FreeBSD kernels for the first time.

Logo of the Debian GNU/kFreeBSD project (Credit: Debian/Debian Open Use Logo Licence).

Initial reactions of "why? what the?!!?" to this announcement were pre-empted by the kFreeBSD team, who have listed the reasons for the project's existence.

A niche where I can see kFreeBSD gaining traction is for people interested in *BSD operating systems but put off by the BSD userland. For instance, the top command in Linux and BSD has the same objective but the BSD instance needs to be explicitly told to sort by CPU usage which the Linux instance does by default. And if you haven't used BSD before and want to play with the routing table, check your head in for reprogramming at the door.

One can always come at it from the other side (install as much of a GNU userland as possible on FreeBSD), but most Linux users are likely to prefer a binary package manager to BSD's ports system.

Debian is not the only option for having a BSD kernel wrapped inside of a traditional Linux distribution, with Gentoo having the Gentoo/Alt project.

In the coming years, I for one would like to see a Debian BSD/Linux distribution — a BSD userland with Linux kernel — for no other reason other than completing the set of userland and kernel combinations.

Topics: Open Source, Linux

About

Chris started his journalistic adventure in 2006 as the Editor of Builder AU after originally joining CBS as a programmer. After a Canadian sojourn, he returned in 2011 as the Editor of TechRepublic Australia, and is now the Australian Editor of ZDNet.

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