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Which BSD did you start on

September 29, 2023 — Nico Cartron


Ruben recently wrote an article where he detailed his first encounters with *BSD (and funily enough, he started with Linux and listed it, as it's indeed using BSD software such as OpenSSH).

I figured out it was a fun experience, very much in line with my own articles about remembering where my website was hosted, or which DNS software I used.

First encounter with BSD Software

I started using/installing Linux circa 1998, installing Red Hat and Mandrake Linux back then, on an old PC of mine.

First BSD!


The first BSD I interacted with was... NetBSD. Not really usual, especially in 2000. That's because the school of computer science I attended, Epitech (near Paris) had a huge NetBSD install base, and all our projects were done on NetBSD machines.

Back then, it was still huge desktops, with CRT screens.

Apart from school, I used NetBSD on 2 Sun Ultra 5 workstations that I bought for a cheap price, but didn't use it a lot.


Shortly after starting that school, I joined the "junior enterprise" association, which was basically finding jobs for students.

The internal and external servers of the association were both running FreeBSD 4, and I quickly had to learn the basics of the system.

Fun fact: back then, the school had its own /16 CIDR block (, which it still owns), and this webserver had its own public IP address, running in the office where we were working!

I also installed and used FreeBSD on one of my first laptops, as well as on my workstation while working in the early 2000s in a hosting company where I just completed the paperwork (and technical Zebra configuration along with my peers) to get our own AS Number, along with a /19 - so naturally, that FreeBSD workstation got its own public IP space, "because why not?"

Also, for one of the jobs I took during my studies, I took over sysadmin for 2 web servers for a one-person web company, and those web servers were running FreeBSD.

My love for FreeBSD really comes from my early encounter with it - it was simple and clean already back then!


I have not use OpenBSD extensively, compared with FreeBSD, so I won't spend much time on it.

However, since I am moving most of my systems off Linux (as usual, blog article about that will come), I am considering migrating my email server to OpenBSD, hosted by the folks at OpenBSD Amsterdam.

So I'll probably write soon on OpenBSD and my experience migrating my current Postfix/Dovecot setting from Debian to OpenBSD.

And 20+ years later...

I'm writing this from a Lenovo laptop running... FreeBSD <3

Most of my dedicated servers are running FreeBSD, and I have OPNsense at home, and soon will get more FreeBSD at home, with TrueNAS (previously FreeNAS) replacing my Synology NAS.

Stay tuned!

Tags: FreeBSD, IT

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