When comparing GNU/Linux vs FreeBSD, the Slant community recommends GNU/Linux for most people. In the question“What is the best operating system for a developer?” GNU/Linux is ranked 1st while FreeBSD is ranked 3rd.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Access to really powerful terminals
Pro Most software is open source
Pro Lots of development tools available
Pro Most likely also your deployment target
Makes testing while developing easier. According to a September 2014 study by W3 Techs, *nix based servers are used on over 2/3 of websites.
Pro Package managers
You can install any library or package that you need (gcc, php, node) with just a couple of commands in the terminal.
Pro Most Linux distributions are free
Pro Large percentage of Linux users are developers
Pro Follows the UNIX philosophy
The UNIX philosophy: 'Write programs that do one thing and do it well'. Since Linux itself follows this philosophy then it's very easy to start creating scripts and programs.
Pro A wide variety of distributions available
With a lot of variety, one can use the distribution that fits the type of work best because of the many choices that are given, instead of just one.
Pro Familiarity with Linux is often required from a developer
Nice, developer-friendly environment.
GNU/Linux handles desktop sessions differently than Windows. Users may customize their own sessions; in fact, a single user may use different desktop environments for different login sessions.
Pro Choose any type of desktop environment (or none)
Most Linux distributions support a range of desktop environments, be it plain old X, a tiling window manager or a fully fledged mammoth desktop like GNOME or KDE.
Pro Hardly ever crashes
Pro Works great on older hardware
7-10-year-old Dell laptops can run Unix or Unix-like OSes very well, where Windows would grind/drag/vomit.
Pro No telemetry, unlike Windows
Pro Lower chance of data loss
Linux has very few viruses. So there's almost no chance of getting infected by a virus and thus losing your data including your important programming files.
Pro Extremely fast
Can be made even faster by going GUI-free or using a lightweight window manager.
Pro Batteries included
Base system contains basic developer tools, including compiler, debugger and system utilities.
Pro Powerful ports collection
Ports provide a wide collection of software which are easy to build, install and modify. They contain recipes and patches to build various software, so you can simply run "make && make install" to build and install the software. You may also keep local patches and it would be picked up automatically. It also allows you to use the latest software even if you are not using the latest version of the operating system.
Pro Jails mechanism
Jails allow for partitioning a system into several independent "mini-systems", a feature not found in many of the popular OS choices.
Pro Stable updates
Con Issues with drivers if your hardware is not officially supported
Con Steep learning curve
Con Maintenance is time-consuming
Con Too much customization
To get features on par with OS X, you need to research packages, install them and configure them. Even then, it may not be as good as OS X.
Con A wide variety of distributions available
With a lot of variety, one cannot deploy to a single system and has to prepare for a bundle of distributions, instead of just one.
Con Less and worse professional software is developed, due to the low user base
Depending on what type of work you are doing, you may find Linux software lacking compared to their Win/Mac counterparts.
For example in game development, tools, like Unreal Engine or Unity, usually lack in quality or novelty compared with Windows. Having crashes or bugs that aren't fixed for a while.
Con Low user base to develop to
Con Inferior driver support for workstations
Lack of drivers for some modern personal devices.
Con Pathetic third-party application support
Need to run Photoshop? No luck. Even most software that's portable to Linux will have a hard time running on FreeBSD. You're stuck with ONLY running the free software.