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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 Opteron machines 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.
Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 10
Portable, clean, small footprint, rock solid.
It really is essential that you read and/or know what you're doing before you use this system.
I have used NetBSD for several years, almost always in areas where I need high reliability. Although, I have used it for workstations as well. The installation of the original system is very straight forward and simple if you know what you are doing. But at the same time, it is also very powerful if you want or need to do things outside the standard procedure.
The biggest pro in my book has to be portability. This is probably an under-appreciated ability for most users. But having systems that are consistent across hardware platforms can be a life-saver.
My network was being routed by an old SPARCstation 10. A little machine with 2x40Mhz chips (yes that's forty and not a typo). It has a decent amount of RAM and all but it's certainly an old machine. It routed the network traffic and offered services (named, dhcpd, firewall) without a problem and had cycles to spare even under the heaviest loads so replacing it wasn't a priority.
I was able to forget about this machine until one of the power-supply fans started to fail. I didn't want this machine to die (the power-supply provides cooling across the entire machine) so I needed to replace it until I could look into replacing the fan.
Because of the consistent OS across hardware platforms, I was able to do a fresh install on a spare i386 machine, copy over the configuration files (changing device names in one file) and fire up a replacement. The total downtime for the provided services was under a minute and the install/configuration of the replacement machine took less than 20 minutes. Yes, that's from booting the machine with the install disk until it was providing all the services of its predecessor.
The ability to do something like that may not seem important until you need it. And with NetBSD, I am not limited to a hardware solution. If I found a better or cheaper hardware replacement I would not have to redo my entire setup as long as NetBSD ran on it. And that's likely considering how many systems it supports.