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Linux vs FreeBSD: a comparative evaluation

Stergios Papadimitriou, Lefteris Moussiades


Linux and FreeBSD are both favorite, full featured, advanced open-source operating systems. They present many similarities owning mainly to their common UNIX heritage and their  monolithic structure. Both systems support dynamically loaded kernel modules that expand their functionality. Also, they provide a similar set of system calls, and their interrupt handling, and virtual memory management systems adopt many common patterns. However, there are also significant differences. In particular Linux tends to implement less layered code, that can offer efficiency gains, however sometimes at a loss of some modularity.

The paper compares their core kernel architecture and functionality. The subsystems examined are interrupt handling, scheduling and memory management. For each subsystem the design approaches of Linux and FreeBSD are elucidated theoretically in order to enlighten the differences. Finally, performance benchmarks are provided that illustrate the efficiency of the operating systems at characteristic sets of basic operations.


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