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Why BSD? (and not Linux or Solaris or …)

Here is a nice definition I found in a blog article, I quite like it as well:

BSD is what you get when a bunch of Unix hackers sit down to try to port a Unix system to the PC. Linux is what you get when a bunch of PC hackers sit down and try to write a Unix system for the PC.


I have been a UNIX user for a long, since I was at the University. In 1991, Bill and Lynne Jolitz, at the time part of the Berkeley CSRG, decided to take the BSD source code named Net/2 and port it to the Intel 386 processor thus creating 386BSD.

386BSD was rather primitive at the time and people, mostly on Usenet, decided to help and contributed to it by writing patches. Some of them created the 386BSD patchkit to get the patches together.

After some rather heated discussions (not to call them flame wars), the whole thing blew up and people ended up creating NetBSD and FreeBSD in 1993. This is why I ended supporting the FreeBSD-to-be people and choose it as my main OS in October 1993.

The various groups then got into some serious troubles with AT&T as a side-effect of a suit between BSDI, vendors of BSD/386 and AT&T (more explanations in Net/2).

Myself within the project

I became a committer on 20/02/1995 to work on the FAQ and documentation then moved after a few years to work in the VFS subsystem and NTP. I still maintain a few ports as well.

I have made some contributions over the years, the main being I think the move from text-based documentation to SGML through my conversion of the FAQ and other documents to Linuxdoc SGML DTD. Now, the FreeBSD documentation project has moved over to DocBook SGML (and XML for some parts) for better maintenance. The FreeBSD website is also generated from XML sources and maintained through Subversion.

I’m also the author of a console font (iso-thin-8x16 & iso15-thin-8x16) in ISO-8859-1 & -15 encoding.


On the left side, you can see several HOWTO-kind of document I’ve been written for some time to help properly configuring full-ZFS FreeBSD systems, whether it is locally or remotely hosted, cryptography becoming more or less mandatory for me when dealing with remote machines. You never know when a disk can fail (and it will, do not doubt it) and having someone else being able to change the disk for you without having to worry whether they will try to read it or give it to someone else when repaired is really nice.

My personal data is mine, not anyone else (yes, including any government).


I regularly attend some BSD-related conferences to keep in touch with the project and its people, many of them became friends and it is always fun to meet new people there.

The two I always try to be are

There is also MeetBSD/PL, MeetBSD/USA and AsiaBSDCon (Japan).

FreeBSD and Mercurial

I wrote a paper on using a Distributed VCS in the FreeBSD project in 2005. I presented it at EuroBSDCon 2005 in Basel, Switzerland. After some updates and better timing on my side, I also presented it at BSDCan 2006.

The fun side story is that Linus Torvalds even wrote to me asking to consider Git for a future update of the paper :)

The paper and slides are available here and on the respective conference sites.

Both were written in LaTeX, the latter using the Warsaw theme of the Beamer package.

General FreeBSD presentations


As part of the Autour du Libre” conference in April 2006, set in Brest, I made a presentation about FreeBSD and how it is developed and communication within the project.


Linux Expo Conference (May)


University of Saint Denis and Lyon