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On blood-lines, forks and survivors

Filed under
OS
GNU
Linux
BSD

GNU/Linux, which is not a direct descendant of the original bits of either AT&T or BSD, and thus not heir to the title of UNIX in the eyes of some purists, ironically brought UNIX to the masses in ways that the more pure-breeds could not. Capitalizing on the confusion created by the AT&T / BSD battles, Linux set its sights on world domination (albeit unwittingly), and the rest as they say is mostly history.

Today, GNU/Linux leads the pack among the Open Source UNIX variants that are active today (such as FreeBSD, NetBSD and OpenBSD). The commercial variants, still alive in data centers, continue to be pushed by big-name vendors, despite being caught in a death spiral and struggling to stay afloat in the face of the penguin tsunami. The once inimitable SunOS/Solaris fizzled away without even a proper goodbye, but continue to live on in Illumos and OpenIndiana, a shell of its former self.

And so it comes down to a handful. On the one hand, GNU/Linux, the irreverent and bastard poster-child that continues to evolve at break-neck speed, and the Right Honourable BSDs that continue to keep the original philosophy alive in its purest form and fighting valiantly into the next decade and into the twilight of most of its developer and user base.

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