The BSD is dying troll is now a classic. Every time an article is posted on slashdot about BSD, hordes of trolls inevitably post the text of BSD is dying. Amazingly, even now it still gets people responding to it. The text has evolved somewhat over the ages, but the current common version is as follows:
It is official; Netcraft now confirms: *BSD is dying

One more crippling bombshell hit the already beleaguered *BSD community when IDC confirmed that *BSD market share has dropped yet again, now down to less than a fraction of 1 percent of all servers. Coming close on the heels of a recent Netcraft survey which plainly states that *BSD has lost more market share, this news serves to reinforce what we've known all along. *BSD is collapsing in complete disarray, as fittingly exemplified by failing dead last in the recent Sys Admin comprehensive networking test.

You don't need to be a Kreskin to predict *BSD's future. The hand writing is on the wall: *BSD faces a bleak future. In fact there won't be any future at all for *BSD because *BSD is dying. Things are looking very bad for *BSD. As many of us are already aware, *BSD continues to lose market share. Red ink flows like a river of blood.

FreeBSD is the most endangered of them all, having lost 93% of its core developers. The sudden and unpleasant departures of long time FreeBSD developers Jordan Hubbard and Mike Smith only serve to underscore the point more clearly. There can no longer be any doubt: FreeBSD is dying.

Let's keep to the facts and look at the numbers.

OpenBSD leader Theo states that there are 7000 users of OpenBSD. How many users of NetBSD are there? Let's see. The number of OpenBSD versus NetBSD posts on Usenet is roughly in ratio of 5 to 1. Therefore there are about 7000/5 = 1400 NetBSD users. BSD/OS posts on Usenet are about half of the volume of NetBSD posts. Therefore there are about 700 users of BSD/OS. A recent article put FreeBSD at about 80 percent of the *BSD market. Therefore there are (7000+1400+700)*4 = 36400 FreeBSD users. This is consistent with the number of FreeBSD Usenet posts.

Due to the troubles of Walnut Creek, abysmal sales and so on, FreeBSD went out of business and was taken over by BSDI who sell another troubled OS. Now BSDI is also dead, its corpse turned over to yet another charnel house.

All major surveys show that *BSD has steadily declined in market share. *BSD is very sick and its long term survival prospects are very dim. If *BSD is to survive at all it will be among OS dilettante dabblers. *BSD continues to decay. Nothing short of a cockeyed miracle could save *BSD from its fate at this point in time. For all practical purposes, *BSD is dead.

Fact: *BSD is dying

There are a number of reasons why this seems to be such a successful troll:
  • Target audience: BSD users are often very proud of the fact they use BSD, so there is always someone who is more than willing to defend it.
  • Easily knocked down "facts". The paragraph estimating the number of BSD users for example is very clearly absurd. The fact that many of the claims are easy to rebut increases the likelihood someone will respond.
  • Incorrect claims. For example, the Netcraft survey actually shows that a large portion of the highest uptime machines on the Internet are running BSD.
  • It portrays opinions as facts. The tone is authoritative, which further encourages people to reply to correct the "mistakes".
  • The fact that it is clearly absurd makes it even funnier when people reply :o)
BSD is dying has spawned a number of children. The text to Mike Smith's explanation of why he left BSD, and "What we can learn from BSD" are examples. There also seems to be some kind of BSD is dying song. It is occasionally parodied in the form "foo is dying", for example, "BSD is dying trolls are dying".

Overall, its impressive that after so long it still gets people responding, but it is kind of irritating that a large portion of posts in all BSD articles are now BSD is dying crapfloods.

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