What exact feature of
openBSD makes it better than Linux? I thought that a bug in sendmail can be equally well
exploited in openBSD as in Linux. Is that assumption wrong?
Yes. You have a point. If I had a nickel for every time I heard, "No remote exploits in the default install in three years . . . ." Yes. OpenBSD's default install leaves many services to be desired. (IMHO, the rationale behind this is solid; you can now install only what you want. And installing what you want is typically a breeze. See below.) But yes. I do see your point. If you install sendmail and sendmail has a bug your system has a hole. Still, what system wouldn't?
However, people are, IMO, very correct about it's coherent design. I remember very clearly the feeling I had when I first started getting used to *BSD. It felt exactly like the feeling that I had when I started to grok Linux. Clean design. Stuff just works. For instance, installing enlightenment in OpenBSD works something like this:
# cd /usr/ports/x11/enlightenment
# make install
Hell that at least puts it on par with RPM or apt-get.
Things are easy to do, and I always find myself saying, "Oh, neat! That totally makes sense." Also, I was suprised by the similarities between Linux and the BSDs. Both have bash, both have tcsh, both run XFree86, both have GTK+, both have KDE, both have color ls (my fave), etc. ad nauseum. On my machine at home, I multi-boot NetBSD, OpenBSD, and Linux, and they all share the same /home partition.
Where I think the crucial difference lies is the quality of the code. This sets OpenBSD apart from the pack. People sit down and read every line of code trying to eliminate bugs. Not security holes, but bugs. A system with fewer bugs probably has fewer holes in the first place. But also, and more importantly for you, it has less bugs! Just today I saw a problem with rcp posted to Bugtraq that I could reproduce on Linux, NetBSD, and Solaris, but not on OpenBSD. I checked the code and somebody had gone through and taken care of it already. That is what impresses me with OpenBSD. The big-picture design really shows.
To be fair, OpenBSD in particular does not have the latest features. Especially with eye-candy and other niceties. As I wrote this, I realized that, for some reason, GNOME is not in the ports tree, for instance. This says nothing about the latest features with networking and security, however. OpenBSD can do swap space encryption and has support for hardware encryption, IPSEC, etc. The OpenSSH implementation done by the OpenBSD group is used on Debian and RedHat. Still, some of the flexibility is most certainly not there. I would not suggest OpenBSD as a desktop system for no reason (besides the obvious: to learn). Linux works just fine and is more featureful with the stuff that counts for a desktop system. However, if you are going to use your computer to do anything but "desktopping," I say BSD all the way.
Ants. (two by two)
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