FreeBSD vs. Linux on TechTV! The iXsystems Shootout


September 3, 2003

NOTE: This is historical content that may contain outdated information.

On September 2nd, iXsystems CTO, Matt Olander, and FreeBSD Mall VP of Engineering and FreeBSD Project Release Engineer, Murray Stokely appeared on TechTV, a major technology network, for a segment entitled FreeBSD vs. Linux. The segment appeared on The Screen Savers show, which is one of TechTV’s most popular programs.
The purpose of the show was to see how FreeBSD stacked up against Linux in a desktop environment. Matt and Murray were invited to represent FreeBSD, while Linux Journal’s Chief Editor, Don Marti showed off SuSE Linux. Chris DiBona, formerly of VA Linux, was there to referee the challenge.
iXsystems provided four systems to each team for demonstration purposes. Each team installed live on the air on one box and then showed some applications that they had a bit of time to setup on the other system. When Leo Laporte, the host of the show, came back to check on the installation, he reported that the FreeBSD side finished their installation first and were already configuring their window manager by the time the Linux guys were putting in disk 3 of their installation.
TechTV has posted an article regarding the segment that can be found here.

We had the opportunity to discuss the FreeBSD ports collection on live television,” stated Murray. “When compared to Linux, this is truly one of the areas that FreeBSD stands out.

A stream of the segment can be found here . In order to view the stream, you will need RealOne, which is a free download at . The unix version of RealOne can be found here. “I’m glad that we had a chance to show that FreeBSD is a viable desktop operating system,” said Matt. “We found that most people weren’t even aware that FreeBSD could run many of the same applications as Linux.”
The FreeBSD team showed off the Fluxbox window manager ( running mplayer playing Ace Ventura Pet Detective, AbiWord, Gnumeric, XChat, Konqueror, KOffice, and other applications. Combined with some transparent multi-colored tinted aterm terminals, Leo thought that the Fluxbox desktop looked very sexy and professional when compared to the vanilla KDE installation on the Linux desktop.
In the end, Chris officially considered the comparison a tie, although this caused many of the TechTV audience members to boo and hiss the decision. Whether or not it’s because they would’ve preferred to see FreeBSD win, we’ll never know.

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