Is FreeBSD faster than Linux?

FreeBSD is a free and open-source Unix-like OS that powers desktops, servers, and embedded platforms. Unlike Linux, which refers to the kernel combined with GNU to form GNU/Linux, the Operating System, FreeBSD is a complete OS with its own kernel and a focus on stability and speed, among other features.

It is not true that FreeBSD is used on only servers and there are a variety of valid reasons why users argue that it does a better job in general than Linux so you might just give it a try. Both are stable and provide an efficient working environment.

However, the general consensus is that nearly all applications run faster on Linux than FreeBSD, but FreeBSD’s TCP/IP stack has way less latency (faster response time) than Linux. This is reportedly the reason why Netflix streams its shows on FreeBSD and even pay some of its engineers to contribute to its kernel codebase.

According to this report, online apps and services run faster on FreeBSD and desktop apps run faster on Linux. So, a question of which is faster depends on the domain in which you’re comparing them; since they have advantages and disadvantages over each other.

Choosing a speeder distro depends on which tasks you want to undertake.

FreeBSD is better suited than Linux when it comes to network tasks like streaming media, serving web pages, and using web applications so it is the ideal pick if you’ll be running a server.

Linux is better suited than FreeBSD when it comes to general application efficiency, graphics & driver support, and overall aesthetics so it is the ideal pick if you’ll be running a desktop.

What is your take on the topic? Which OS has been speedier in your experience? Drop your comments in the comments section below.

Divine Okoi is a cybersecurity postgrad with a passion for the open-source community. With 700+ articles covering different topics in IT, you can always trust him to inform you about the coolest tech.

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4 thoughts on “Is FreeBSD faster than Linux?”

  1. Your article and its subsequent comments got me wondering why software is usually platform specific and not able to run on all platforms. Not being a developer I do not understand all the technical details.

    Some software has versions for all the major operating systems, including BSD and Linux, while others do not. Why is cross platform software not more prevalent? Is it not possible to compile finished software for individual platforms, or is it a programming language issue? What keeps software from working or not with the available platforms?

    I have been exploring Python some and I know that there is software written in Python that is cross platform. Perhaps this could inspire an article. You seem to have a knack for presenting in a very understandable fashion. Thanks, ahead of time.

    • Thanks for your observation, Mike.

      I have an idea of why but I don’t really know why it is still a challenge. I might need to talk to developers themselves. It is something you’ve spiked my interest in so stay tuned and I’ll do my best to answer the question.

  2. It’s commonly thought that FreeBSD has superior network stack performance, partially because TCP/IP is native to FreeBSD. I read an article on this debate that refutes this claim, citing performance gains from Facebook’s work on optimizing the Linux network stack for FB’s needs.

  3. I checked out FreeBSD a little and it was ok but I agree with you 100% that Linux is better suited for desktop. As for faster I did not notice much of a speed difference. FreeBSD was less resource intensive but did not seem to profit from it in any significant way.

    As far as aesthetics, Linux is way ahead. I can see where the BSD’s would make a good server OS but then, Linux covers that very well, also. To be fair, I never gave FreeBSD much of a chance to show me what it had. I tried Linux first when switching from Windows and FreeBSD was not compelling enough to make me seriously consider it as my OS of choice.

    Linux provides so many options and its configuration possibilities make operating systems such as FreeBSD seem almost out of date. Visually, FreeBSD would be hard pressed going against Linux distros from five or more years ago. Even desktop environments that work with either look so much better on Linux.

    FreeBSD did not seem any faster than Deepin, KDE Neon or LInux Mint Cinnamon while using a little than half the system resources. Linux Mint and Ubuntu Mate used a little more resources than FreeBSD but outperformed it.

    I don’t know enough about the BSD’s to pass any meaningful judgement but my experience made me feel Linux is a more modern desktop and a better fit for me.


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