The BSD Presence

The BSD system is less popular than Linux, about that there is no doubt. But do you know where BSD is currently widely employed and its real importance for the industry?

Introduction

Born in a splendid cradle like the University of California, Berkeley, BSD had a great responsibility as a system that originated from UNIX® and was just as versatile. But it lost ground to Linux systems as the years went by, even leaving the area of supercomputers. – Remember our article about the 500 biggest and best supercomputers in the world currently running Linux? Well, they used to run under IBM’s AIX® – a UNIX® certified system – or Windows Server.

But BSD is not dead yet. Although we have addressed this possibility in this post, the dear system of the devil is still important in the industry, acting where Linux has not been able to bring full play. – I invite you to read this article, in which I detailed FreeBSD: The System of the Goat, before going any further!

If BSD as we know it will die one day, being restricted to industry use and losing even more space to Linux, only time will tell. But while that day doesn’t come, learn about the main areas of activity of the system today and its importance to the industry.

1. Network Stacks

1.1 Firewall

BSD’s strongest point today is its networking stack. Its daemons for TCP/IP network management, ports, traffic control and so on make BSD still outperform Linux in this respect. Even the best firewall developed under Linux – take Alpine for example – loses out to BSD when it comes to traffic management, since BSD naturally features a low latency kernel with a focus on networking.

Among the biggest examples are OPNSense and pfSense, which, being free firewalls, compete with paid and proprietary firewalls like the Mikrotik’s but lose nothing in features, being quite viable alternatives.

1.2 Netflix

When I say that BSD’s networking stacks are fantastic, I wasn’t kidding.
Netflix has invested heavily in servers running under BSD rather than Linux to deliver their movies and series with the lowest possible latency, while also retaining high security for the company and those watching. – More details here.

1.3 WhatsApp

The popular Brazilian messaging application makes use of BSD on its servers, precisely because of the optimization of the network stacks it provides.

The stability, simplicity and optimization of BSD are such that the WhatsApp team only needs 50 engineers to service its +900 million customers, while 1 network node handles up to 1 million UDP connections! – More details here.

1.4 Apache

Apache is one of the most popular HTTP, proxy, and mail servers on the Internet today. And for rapid maintenance on its customers, the Apache Software Foundation makes use of the custom FreeBSD Tinderbox and FreeBSD Update servers to quickly perform application and base system updates across multiple datacenters in an automated, fast, and efficient manner. The Apache Infrastructure Team often works directly with FreeBSD developers to emphasize cutting-edge features like ZFS in real workloads.

1.5 NGINX

Nginx competes directly with Apache in the market as an alternative to HTTP and reverse proxy servers, as well as a server for IMAP/POP3 email proxy. Written by Igor Sysoev, according to this, FreeBSD has been the company’s main platform for performance and development since 2005.

1.6 Verisign

Verisign is a company that operates in the area of network security, Internet and telecommunications. It started its activity in the web digital certification market in 1995, as a Certification Authority and supplier of personal digital certificates and SSL, besides providing PKI technology and services.

The company has several developers working on FreeBSD, while making use of the system to provide high digital security services and servers.

1.7 Weather Forecast

The Weather Channel uses BSD on its servers running Intellistar 2, a weather forecast management system for cable TV providers.

When the weather forecast appears in the corner of the cable TV channel selection menu screen, if it was provided by The Weather Channel, the signal comes from a server running under BSD!

1.8 Television set

Panasonic Viera TVs, according to the manufacturer’s license terms, run under BSD!

2. Apple macOS

Talk good, talk bad, but talk Apple: Steve Jobs’ company making use of some of the BSD code in the development of one of the company’s main systems. Both macOS and iOS on iPhones run under modified versions of BSD code. – More details here!

But let’s be honest: 15 years of development separate the current BSD from macOS.
Both have no direct compatibility layers since Apple has already incremented much of its own code, leaving BSD unrecognizable. For that matter, BSD is still only “UNIX based”, while macOS is “UNIX Certified” byThe Open Group.

3. VideoGames

PCMasterRace has no place here: It is in the tabletop video games, the consoles, that BSD shines in the games category.
The PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, the PlayStation Vita handheld, and the Nintendo Switch all run under the BSD kernel modified to the needs of their respective manufacturers.

In this post I gave more details about FreeBSD on PlayStation 4.
In this one, I detailed the system on the Nintendo Switch.

4. Conclusion

BSD may be a system that has lost market share to Linux over the past few years. But that doesn’t take away from its brilliance, merit, and beauty, nor has it ceased to exist. Its focus has always been more on security than on updates or even advertisements.

As unpopular as it is, it still has a part of the market in its hands: Those who do not like the “freedom” of the GPL license and prefer the BSD license, which allows the system to be closed and only the binaries to be delivered, not requiring the distribution of its source code.

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