Angry exchanges between rival sections of the Unix community have driven a software download site to despair and forced it to close one of its channels.
Tucows, a software download site, sent out an open letter to the BSD community announcing "the overall failure" of its BSD channel because of the "battering" it received from rival factions "at any attempt to provide a middle ground".
BSD (Berkeley Software Design) is a Unix kernel. It originated in the 1960s, was developed by students, and has been dubbed "core" or "original" Unix. Like Linux, it is an open source operating system and has many ardent supporters. Factions grow because users are free to develop BSD as they choose, so it is always evolving.
In the letter, the Tucows BSD team thank "interested and intelligent BSD enthusiasts for their positive and constructive user comments". However, it admits, "what our concept failed to consider is the extent to which vehement personal beliefs and attitudes prevail among certain pockets of the BSD collective", and says the power struggle has "exhausted our resources in repeated attempts to satisfy each group".
It continues: "Because your individual demands are so unique, it has become impossible to provide the consensus forum that has always been Tucows BSD's mission."
Tony Lock, analyst at Bloor Research, said: "BSD was created by students in the Sixties with too much time on their hands. It is not like operating systems that have spread to the world at large. It is used by IT professionals. For that reason everyone has an opinion, and a lot of those opinions date from closing time on Friday nights. To a degree it's partly a game, but there are strong believers. It's the same with Apple Mac enthusiasts."
Phil Payne, analyst at Isham Research, said the problem with BSD is that there is "a lack of central authority to approve or vet changes. There are too many flavours of BSD, which makes it very hard."
He added: "Free operating systems are fine, but if people want to develop applications for sale, it creates too many porting problems if there are multivariants."
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