Compare and contrast: your favorite *NIX

I seem to find myself attempting to find good, quality answers to questions that usually invite flamewars. I usually manage to do alright.

I’ve discussed the merits of Linux and BSD in recent days. Why does it matter? Who cares if Linux is better than BSD – or if Solaris is better than Linux?

It is important, especially in the corporate data center, because we must justify the use and support of whatever system we want to use. It is not enough to say it’s better – we must justify our choices to people who don’t care which one looks better or which has the better development model.

What do executives care about? Stability and reliability. Twenty-four hour phone support. On-call support. Security against hacks. User base. These are some of the things that executives (like CIOs and CEOs) want to know about. Even for open source desktops, these same qualities are of importance to them.

If you know the ins and outs of all of the systems that are available, then you can better judge which may be good and can explain your choices (or prefered choices!) to your CIO or other management. Better still – can you back it up with examples and details? If you’re going to pitch FreeBSD (or a FreeBSD-based desktop) you’ll have to.

This is also why many times the systems that are installed are not the most reliable (they are the most well-supported) or the most technologically capable (they are the most widely known). This is truly unfortunate – it is the oft-reported “barrier to entry” (in this case, it is the network effect) – but it’s the way it is until you find management willing to take a chance.

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