Update - Debian 9.1 Stretch
I wanted to post a short update about some other interesting discoveries that I've made since I have revisited Debian as my open source operating system of choice. In my previous article, I referred to Debian as Debian Linux. While Debian is one of the oldest and most mature distributions, it would have been more apt (excuse the pun) on my part to refer to it as a universal operating system, which is how they now brand the project.
While reviewing some of Debian's documentation, I found some very interesting articles on how Debian supports non-Linux kernels; hence, the term 'universal' comes more into play. Ironically, I had made several comparisons between FreeBSD and Debian, as Debian seems to share both the structured documentation of FreeBSD (ex: Handbook, Wiki, etc), as well as kernel support that was previously unknown to me.
Debian's website refers to this support as 'kFreeBSD' and describes it as follows:
The site further indicates:
Debian is also planning to support another non-Linux kernel: GNU/Hurd. The universal operating system concept is very cool. This allows users that are familiar with alternative kernels to keep their userland(s) managed by various common Debian Project methodologies without having to learn the layouts and nuances of entirely different operating system. For example, Debian GNU/kFreeBSD is a complete operating system and only seems to borrow the kernel, drivers, and BSD-utilities from FreeBSD to boot and administer the system. All BSD-related non-free code is stripped from the OS. In the end, you may get the best of both worlds: FreeBSD users inherit Debian's powerful package management system, and neatly organized file structure, but don't necessarily have to give up FreeBSD's kernel.
From my perspective, a greater level of knowledge sharing between FreeBSD and Debian contributors can potentially improve both OSes in the long run. Again, I would highly recommend revisiting Debian as an open source operating system. The project is one of the greatest enduring open source community projects. It is incredibly stable and well documented. It is easy to see why other distributions have used Debian as a foundation for decades. Best of all, it has become much easier to install and use, offers more configuration choices during setup, and requires minimal tuning to end up with a super-responsive system.