ServersDifferentiating Among BSD Distros Page 3

Differentiating Among BSD Distros Page 3

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OpenBSD was developed by Theo de Raadt after a disagreement over the future of the NetBSD code. OpenBSD development began by focusing on producing an incredibly secure OS, and it’s an approach that continues to this day.

BSD History
Common Features
Mac OS X
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Unlike other BSD variants, and most Unix flavors, OpenBSD is installed with everything but the absolutely essential services disabled. Users used to having NFS, Telnet, finger, FTP and other features running out of the box on a Linux installation will find they have to specifically enable, rather than disable, these services on OpenBSD. OpenBSD was designed this way to eliminate the possibility of these ‘accidentally’ being open and therefore causing a potential security breach.

OpenBSD also includes a range of built-in cryptography standards, such as RSA,
Blowfish, DES, and full support for the IPSec TCP/IP security system. Cryptographic
support is further enhanced with support of a number of hardware accelerators,
including many of the third-party PCI cards and support for newer systems, such as the
Random Number Generator and Advanced Encryption Standard built into the latest VIA
C3-series CPUs. OpenBSD is well suited for use in a network router, firewall, and secure
Internet service solution because of its high level of built-in security and encryption.

OpenBSD’s overall security is further enhanced by a strict method of code testing and
auditing. The code has been examined, virtually line by line, to find potential
faults in the system. Thus, gaps in the OS, both real and potential, are plugged before
they can be used and exploited.

The result — an OS that for years has not had a remote-root exploit of the type often found on other operating systems.

OpenBSD at a Glance

Home Page
Platforms i386, Alpha, AMD64, sparc, sparc64, hp300, hppa, mac68k, macppc, mvme68k, mvme88k, and vax
Original Release November 1995
Focus Security and code purity

Mac OS X

Darwin, the kernel on which Mac OS X is based, is itself based on the FreeBSD code with a custom Mac kernel in place of the standard BSD kernel. Darwin’s main focus is to provide the base on which the rest of the Mac OS X environment runs. Although Darwin is not designed as an alternative to other BSD offerings, it does
have a place in the BSD space.

Most users logging in remotely to an OS X machine would hardly notice a difference
in the environment if they didn’t look around too closely. The same utilities and
environment are available as within a genuine FreeBSD environment.

The Darwin project is completely open source, Apple makes the system and source code
available online, and
changes to the Darwin code are rolled back into the FreeBSD source tree. Darwin is supported on both the PowerPC and x86 platforms, which often surprises people.

Where Darwin differs from the three other distros is that it forms the base of the Mac OS X operating
system. A proprietary suite of tools and a user environment (Aqua) built on top of the
Darwin core provide a user interface not vastly different from the Mac OS 9 and
earlier interfaces for which Apple is famous. It is through Aqua that the majority of
custom and commercial applications, including Adobe InDesign, Illustrator, and Microsoft
Office are made available.

Despite the additional applications and interface options supported by Aqua and Mac OS
X as a whole, underneath, the FreeBSD core is always available. You can open a shell
interface through the Terminal application; there is support for X Windows System
based applications; and you still have access to Perl, Python, MySQL, Apache, and any
other Unix-compatible tools.

The Darwin core is an open source project, with Apple and members of the
Darwin community enhancing the Darwin code and extending the operation and functionality
of the system. Ultimately, any changes made in Darwin make their way into other
parts of the BSD family. Apple is also helping to support the BSD community as a
whole, so improvements to the BSD platform flow freely between the Apple and
community camps.

Darwin/OS X at a Glance

Home Page
Platforms x86 (Darwin only) and Mac (Darwin+OS X)
Original Release March 1999
Focus Ease of use

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