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NetBSD is a free, secure, and highly portable UNIX-like Open Source operating system available for many platforms, from 64-bit AlphaServers and desktop systems to handheld and embedded devices. Its clean design and advanced features make it excellent in both production and research environments, and it is user-supported with complete source. Many applications are easily available through The NetBSD Packages Collection.
I like NetBSD a lot. But it is not fun to install.
The first problem I have always had is dealing with drives. In the past it always... and I mean ALWAYS... got the geometry wrong. In the recent releases I have not had that problem but that doesn't mean the disks just work. fdisk is fun to run... I really doubt a person completely new to the BSD family would have any idea how to use it. Of course, if you select "use the whole disk" you can avoid that. Then again, the one time you can't avoid it (dual booting) also happens to be the time when you really can't afford to mess up your partition table.
After you get your main slice (bsd talk for partition to the rest of the world) you get to edit your partitions with disklabel. Partitions here are inside the slice... any BSD faq will explain this. It is wise to accept the defaults. Why? Because I have NEVER gotten the NetBSD disklabel program to not barf out an error when I edited my own partition table. You CAN ignore this error if you are sure of what you are doing... but it is scary.
Once you get everything installed, this is a very stable and good operating system. You will want to install bash and some other shells as the default ones are not very user friendly. Add some user accounts, download some packages, and you are set. Most configuration will be done after you install during your first boot -- read "man afterboot" to see what it recommends.
This -- for all my complaints -- is a very clean and well designed operating system. I use it as a router, dhcp server, name server, firewall, etc. Mainly because it offers kernel PPPoE which is nice. It also happens to be extremely portable and the code is clean and well commented.
This is probably the hardest BSD to install and setup but it is worth the effort.