I was a long-time OpenBSD user since the OpenBSD 2.7 days, and cut my teeth on Unix development there. I was attracted by its focus on security and conscientious coding practices. I was happy through the early 2.x days, but the more I got involved in developing for OpenBSD the more I was dissuaded from doing so.
Part of the issue was this focus on security. After I began to use OpenBSD at home and at work in earnest, I realized that it was limited in hardware support compared to other operating systems. I purchased a new workstation and portable within a year of each other, and both times came to some unhappy realizations about OpenBSD support.
I began to seriously look at Linux and FreeBSD at this point, knowing hardware support was much more robust. (I had also looked at NetBSD, but even though it booted on nearly everything, driver support was anemic.) I started to dual-boot FreeBSD on my workstation, and spent more and more time there. But it wasn't only hardware support that pushed me away from OpenBSD.
The FreeBSD development model is, to say the least, more sensible. Like I said, the more I got involved with OpenBSD development the more I was turned away, and that was mostly due to the project leader's attitude. During the run-up to OpenBSD 4.2, Theo de Raadt had been in a couple highly-publicized arguments with Linux developers, rubbing a ton of people the wrong way.
What many don't understand is that this was not an isolated incident. Try being an OpenBSD developer! These kind of scathing verbal assaults happened all of the time on the mailing lists. I was—and still am, actually—unsure whether Theo doesn't give a shit due to some philosophical stance, or can't help it due to something like Asperger syndrome. In either case, he typically drags anyone he disagrees with over the coals, all while telling them to stop taking it personally.
I wish Theo had taken some of his own advice. I believe he has hurt the OpenBSD platform more than he has helped it, and I also firmly believe that hardware support in OpenBSD sucks not because of code auditing practices or security focus, but because Theo has either scared or purposefully chased away developers.
Long-time OpenBSD developers might migrate to FreeBSD or Darwin; newbies might try for Linux instead. Those who taste the de Raadt wrath, however, always run in the end. A friend of mine once incurred his ire by asking the wrong question at the wrong time, and Theo de Raadt hacked his router and remotely remapped his keyboard!
This is abuse, plain and simple, and Theo's relationship with his developers is abusive. I feel bad for anyone who has to engage him in real life, and fear something Reiser-like happening in the future. This controlling, manipulative attitude coupled with periodic violent outbursts indicates a deep-seated mental health issue that has gone unchecked for far too long. If you are an OpenBSD developer, watch your back!
After all this mess, I switched to FreeBSD 7.2 and never looked back. I upgraded to FreeBSD 7.3 and started using FreeBSD 8 as soon as it was in pre-release, and I am eagerly working on FreeBSD 8.1. I feel spoiled now, too, because of the throng of developers devoted to professionally working the FreeBSD platform into something spectacular instead of naggling over trivial matters or admonishing one another.
The thriving FreeBSD ecosystem contrasts sharply with the Jonestown-like atmosphere of OpenBSD. There is also the fact that no one person looms so largely over any other; ego is checked at the door in FreeBSD since the goal is to make a great operating system, not lord over others like David Koresh and a harem of 14-year-old girls.
Feel free to disagree with me or point out counter-examples; I would love to read them now that I have left OpenBSD. I will always have a soft spot in my heart for the little secure operating system even though it leaves me with chills. I sometimes fondly load www.openbsd.org and read the latest release notes and smile wistfully.
It's okay to smile, now that I'm free from OpenBSD.