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They are about as different as two operating systems can be. It is a bit hard to answer your question since there is really no way to even compare the two.
Ubuntu is not a good choice for a server, it is certainly designed for the desktop. FreeBSD is good for a server, but is is also completely different than Linux. If you know Linux, it won't help you a whole lot on BSD and vice-versa.
I think it really comes down to whether you want to learn Linux or BSD. Both can be very good for servers and both have very good security. With BSD: OpenBSD I think is more secure than FreeBSD, but FreeBSD is very secure. In Linux, I would look at a distro like CentOS or one of the other server grade Linux distros.
EDIT: I use FreeBSD and CentOS (Linux). Personally, I would choose Linux.
Documentation and tutorials are very good in Debian (a linux 'distro'-short for distribution). Take a look here. Also, Debian won the LQ poll for Server Distribution of the Year. Debian is used by many people (myself included, if you couldn't already tell ) in a desktop environment.
EDIT: I'm posting this from Slackware (also a good choice for servers and desktops) but mostly use Debian.
Last edited by brucehinrichs; 04-12-2010 at 04:29 PM.
Why not consider slackware.... it is the most BSD like linux system.
I played around with the BSDs and was surprised at how different the base structure is, to a linux system. The file systems and partitioning are not compatible. I suppose you could argue that this would make it more secure. Slackware has good documentation, emulated on BSD and for me (while not as easy as ubuntu) has been the best learning experience.
I've used both as servers and desktops...each has their pro's and con's. I'd try not to limit yourself. There are many distros dedicated to what you are trying to do. ClearOS is one, and there are dozens of others. (I use ClearOS for one server....sidux (debian) for another)
BSD is used on a lot of servers — Yahoo uses it — but so is Linux! The important thing for a server is stability, so the basic Ubuntu would not be a good idea. The Long Term Support version would be OK, though; just confine updates to security fixes and removing any bugs that have actually troubled you. Debian Stable would be very good, and closer to Ubuntu than CentOS.