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What's wrong with NetBSD?

By jmcneill in News
Fri Jun 23, 2000 at 08:13:27 AM EST
Tags: Software (all tags)

Everytime I see a story about NetBSD posted on a site where the majority of users run Linux, I'm sickened by the uneducated posts on how "NetBSD sucks" or how "NetBSD is a dying operating system". Now, I don't mean to get off on a rant here, but I'd like to know where these people get such stupid ideas.

Are people that in love with Linux that they'll shoot down anything that comes in its way? Sure, Linux is a great operating system, but it's definitely not for everybody. Personally, I wouldn't trust a Linux box in a situation where I needed security. It's not that I don't know how to use it, or that it's not fit for the job, which I'm sure it is. I don't run it for portability (although that is a plus); all of my boxes are i386's. The reason I run NetBSD on all of my workstations and servers is that I trust my own abilities in administering a NetBSD box.

What about OpenBSD? Sure, it has a good track record of being secure, but it's important to release that only counts for a default setup. How many people actually install an operating system and use it with only its' default config? Any poorly written third party software could completely moot the system's security. I'm sure Theo et al did a great job with auditing its' code, and I wouldn't be suprised if their ports collection was audited in the same way. This however doesn't prevent administrators from installing software from other sources, and I feel that some users are left with a false sense of security after the matter.

My absolute favorite part about NetBSD is the presence of clean, human readable code. If you ever get a chance, have a look at the style guidelines in /usr/share/misc/style. I admit to not being the best programmer in the world, and I always find it a struggle to add features to existing software. I found myself in the situation where I wanted to be able to upload files via ftp from the command line, so I decided to take a look at the source code to the wonderful ftp client bundled with NetBSD. Was I ever suprised by how easy to follow it was! Within a few minutes I had a working flag to the ftp client that allowed me to upload files on the fly.

NetBSD is definitely not dying. The project just entered the 1.5 release cycle, which will add many new features not present in 1.4. It was the first open-source operating system with USB support, new drivers are constantly being added, and 1.5 will ship with full crypto and it will be IPv6 ready. A quick glance at the NetBSD package collection and you will see that not only is there a large selection of software present, much of the networking software is already IPv6-ready (even Quake :) ).

Have I mentioned that NetBSD runs binaries from a bunch of other operating systems?

So please, next time you feel like saying negative things about NetBSD, think about what you say before you say it. It doesn't suck, it isn't "the operating system to use when OpenBSD won't run on your platform", and it isn't dying. I wouldn't have a problem with it if you actually lost the part of you that thinks "GPL == god", and "Losedoze sux0rez", and actually install it. It's not difficult in the least, and that way you will know for sure if you like it or not.

Kudos to the NetBSD core and all of the developers for making a great operating system that definitely doesn't suck.


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Related Links
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Display: Sort:
What's wrong with NetBSD? | 73 comments (70 topical, 3 editorial, 0 hidden)
Why no NetBSD? (4.30 / 3) (#1)
by PresJPolk on Fri Jun 23, 2000 at 12:59:46 AM EST

I guess the reason NetBSD isn't getting more attention, is that their claim to fame isn't very "sexy."

FreeBSD works to be easier to use.
OpenBSD works to be easier to secure.
NetBSD works to be... portable?

Unless you're using something that runs on nothing else but, "of course", NetBSD, then it seems like there's no reason to use it over, say, Linux or some other BSD.

Note that I have no opinion of NetBSD, I'm just stating my impression on the situation.

Re: Why no NetBSD? (none / 0) (#3)
by jmcneill on Fri Jun 23, 2000 at 01:08:10 AM EST

What reason do you have of using Linux over NetBSD?
``Of course it runs NetBSD.''
[ Parent ]
Re: Why no NetBSD? (none / 0) (#5)
by Perpetual Newbie on Fri Jun 23, 2000 at 01:24:16 AM EST

What reason do you have of using Linux over NetBSD?

It seems to me that Linux has earned a reputation as the Unix operating system for newbies. Easy to install and set up, easy to learn and use, plenty of good books and documentation, lots of software written for it, and everybody's running it so you can just ask the kid next door for help if you need it.

[ Parent ]

Re: Why no NetBSD? (4.00 / 1) (#6)
by jmcneill on Fri Jun 23, 2000 at 01:26:51 AM EST

written for it, and everybody's running it so you can just ask the kid next door for help if you need it. Everybody's running Windows too, it's not a decent reason to run it. I'd have to disagree with the "easy to install" part, a friend of mine who knows almost nothing about computers commented that he found NetBSD's installer easier to use than Red Hat 6.1's X11-based installer. Isn't Red Hat's new installer supposed to be aimed at people without a clue?
``Of course it runs NetBSD.''
[ Parent ]
Re: Why no NetBSD? (none / 0) (#15)
by PurpleBob on Fri Jun 23, 2000 at 03:44:57 AM EST

You know, at first I thought you were making a point here - the article was cleverly disguised as something meaningful - but now I see you're just a flaming advocacy troll.

I'd say the same thing to someone who was advocating Linux and making that kind of stupid generalization ("people without a clue") about all Windows users, BTW.

[ Parent ]
Re: Why no NetBSD? (none / 0) (#21)
by jmcneill on Fri Jun 23, 2000 at 09:45:41 AM EST

How else would you refer to someone that didn't have a clue what they were doing?
``Of course it runs NetBSD.''
[ Parent ]
Re: Why no NetBSD? (none / 0) (#44)
by Pelorat on Fri Jun 23, 2000 at 04:30:09 PM EST

How about 'newbie'? Or, strange as it may seem, 'someone who doesn't know much about (whatever)'.

It's not very hard to find non-derogatory ways to describe people.

[ Parent ]
Re: Why no NetBSD? (3.00 / 1) (#57)
by Commienst on Fri Jun 23, 2000 at 11:59:57 PM EST

If people get offended fuck them. If someones opinion offending you is such a big problem for you, dig a hole somewhere and live there the rest of your life so you will never be offended again. I am sick of people accomodating people who are easily offended.

[ Parent ]
Linux rules the pack on ease of install (none / 0) (#19)
by Anonymous 242 on Fri Jun 23, 2000 at 09:36:38 AM EST

I'd have to disagree with the "easy to install" part, a friend of mine who knows almost nothing about computers commented that he found NetBSD's installer easier to use than Red Hat 6.1's X11-based installer.

I can't speak with knowledge about Red Hat (I haven't used it since 5.0), but Caldera (since OpenLinux 2.2), Mandrake (since 6.0), Corel, and Storm have got install routines that could be administered by brain dead Monkeys. Corel and Caldera have their install routines to about 4 questions, where should I install, what is the root password, if you have a windows network what is the machine name, and what type of install (what types of programs do you want installed by default). The install routines are ridiculously simple. My jaw about dropped when installing OpenLinux 2.2 for the first time.

That said, I still prefer Debian and the easiest way I know of in installing Debian is to install Storm and then add potato to /etc/apt/lists and run apt-get dist update.

I'm not saying that BSD is necessarily hard to install, but having read the installation instructions a month or so ago when deciding whether to put BSD or Linux on my new old laptop (a NEC Versa/V50), the directions seemed much more complicated than the installers of a good deal of the new distributions of Linux.

[ Parent ]
Re: Linux rules the pack on ease of install (none / 0) (#26)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri Jun 23, 2000 at 10:58:07 AM EST

*BSD installations require a bit of a clue about what you're doing ( *cough* disklabels *cough* ), but I've found them much easier to deal with than my experiences installing RedHat Linux (sorry, haven't tried the others). My *BSD installs just work. Half the time the Red Hat install doesn't work. Regularly it ignores my wishes for running daemons (can't remember how many times I found sendmail running when I explicitly said "No, don't run sendmail"). And it usually takes several attempts to get lilo to install correctly. RedHat's installer seems to be going the Windows-esque "We don't want you to have a clue" route. As I've said, I haven't tried other distro's, but I definitely wouldn't describe RedHat as easy to install.

[ Parent ]
Re: Linux rules the pack on ease of install (none / 0) (#32)
by hurstdog on Fri Jun 23, 2000 at 12:04:06 PM EST

I think RH suffers from the same fate that the windows installer does in that it tries to do everything and make it so easy that it has frequent failures etc. due to the huge amount of added complexity from trying to do everything. I usually install RH from expert mode and it still does too much IMO, starts everything automatically, for example. If I choose expert mode I want it to install the stuff, run _nothing_ and let me do the rest. period.

I havn't installed rh in a while so this might have changed but from my last experience with it...

[ Parent ]
Re: Linux rules the pack on ease of install (none / 0) (#38)
by Anonymous 242 on Fri Jun 23, 2000 at 02:10:26 PM EST

Okay, I'm a bit confused. I gave a list of multiple Linux distributions that are incredibly easy to install which did not include Red Hat and the response the Anonymous Hero gives specifically compares *BSD installs to Red Hat:

*BSD installations require a bit of a clue about what you're doing ( *cough* disklabels *cough* ), but I've found them much easier to deal with than my experiences installing RedHat Linux

Go figure.

Ease of install aside, my Linux distribution of choice is Debian because despite being something of a pain in the keister to install, it shines at other more important tasks. Installation (hopefully) only occurs once in the life-cycle of a machine.

[ Parent ]
Why Linux? I have 3 reasons (1.00 / 1) (#47)
by PresJPolk on Fri Jun 23, 2000 at 04:48:05 PM EST

1. Linux has more applications.

2. Linux has more, and growing, driver support. Many of these drivers are inaccessible to BSD, because of the ever-stifling GPL.

3. Legacy. I had never heard of any of the BSDs, when I first heard about and tried linux. And, by the time that I did hear about them, I had already learned enough of linux for my Slackware to serve my needs. Why switch?

[ Parent ]
Re: Why Linux? I have 3 reasons (5.00 / 2) (#54)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri Jun 23, 2000 at 09:48:05 PM EST

Answer 1: Indeed there are more applications available for linux BUT all the GOOD ones are ported to BSDs anyways (including typical desktop stuff like GNOME and KDE). Unless you have a compelling reason to install all 29000 IRC clients for Linux this one is a non-issue.

Answer 2: Drivers support may or may not be a problem depending on your hardware but you'll always get it unless you run Win95. As for the GPL I think that alone is good enough a reason for switching over to BSD. Don't want to start a flamewar but GPL is not developer friendly which was well exemplified by the Debian/KDE dispute (KDE mailing lists having to put up with frequent trolling and abuse regarding that very issue). BSD type licensed software doesn't have those strings attached it's much more developer friendly than GPL. Since I'm a developer that's the viewpoint that's important for me. But I can see where the freeloaders are coming from when they troll for GPL. They simply don't want to spend a penny on their software ever again and GPL pretty much guarantees just that. BSD=Freedom GPL=Confiscation IMHO. Enough digressing though...

Answer 3: BSD systems have roots in the original Berkley Systems Design and thus are much more mature than Linux. BSD existed looong before linux was conceived. It's just that linux attracted enough loudmouths to get the critical mass required for effective PR.

[ Parent ]

I think stuff like this is needed... (1.50 / 2) (#2)
by iCEBaLM on Fri Jun 23, 2000 at 01:02:23 AM EST

Even though I don't use NetBSD (hrmm, maybe I'll try it on my 68k mac..) and do use the aforementioned linux, I think we need rants like this every once in awhile as reality checks. To keep us grounded in the fact that Linux really isn't the end-all be-all OS (yet) and there are some pretty fine BSD boys on the other side of the fence.

-- iCEBaLM

HAHA fucking HA (2.50 / 2) (#4)
by Commienst on Fri Jun 23, 2000 at 01:18:13 AM EST

"Linux really isn't the end-all be-all OS (yet) "

Linux will not be the "end-all be-all OS. NO OPERATING SYSTEM EVER WILL.

[ Parent ]

Re: HAHA fucking HA (none / 0) (#7)
by Perpetual Newbie on Fri Jun 23, 2000 at 01:33:22 AM EST

Linux will not be the "end-all be-all OS. NO OPERATING SYSTEM EVER WILL.

But Microsoft says that Windows 2000 is the end-all be-all OS, just like NT, Windows 98, Bob, Windows 95, and MS-Dos were! ;)

[ Parent ]

Re: HAHA fucking HA (none / 0) (#27)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri Jun 23, 2000 at 10:59:45 AM EST

> But Microsoft says ...

Exactly. Thus, they aren't. :-)

[ Parent ]
Hard or Soft? (2.00 / 3) (#8)
by duxup on Fri Jun 23, 2000 at 01:40:27 AM EST

I've never used BSD and I'm a mediocre Linux user. From what I heard BSD (free, net, whatever) is more difficult to use. Most of the time I hear that it's someone flaming, so they're not detailed and somewhat untrustworthy.
Is this true about BSD? And if so . . . why?

Re: Hard or Soft? (3.00 / 3) (#9)
by jmcneill on Fri Jun 23, 2000 at 01:47:02 AM EST

NetBSD isn't really hard to use, there just aren't any graphical setup tools to help you. Most system configuration is done by editing the plain-text file /etc/rc.conf; this file tells the boot scripts what to start. The programs are started in /etc/rc (I believe in -release) and in /etc/rc.d/ (in -current), with local additions in /etc/rc.local. The rest of the system software is generally configured the way you'd set it up on Linux. The Inet Superserver is setup in /etc/inetd.conf, sendmail (or postfix if you enable it and run -current) are setup the same as well. I found that I didn't really start learning things until I started using NetBSD; before I started running it I ran Red Hat 4.2 and I was completely dependant on the control-panel to do everything from adding users to setting up system services.
``Of course it runs NetBSD.''
[ Parent ]
Re: Hard or Soft? (none / 0) (#25)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri Jun 23, 2000 at 10:57:56 AM EST

I learned a lot running RH4.2, but I guess that's because I got used to the command line and started liking it. For a boot camp style Unix experience, install Stampede Linux. Their 0.89 release was broken in lots of ways, making for an interesting learning experience... (I learned about install-info to create /usr/info/dir, and how to make /var/catman/... so cat pages would be cached, and fun stuff like that:) I got tired of all the work, and I run Debian now. Their text config files are usually pretty easy to edit. I still haven't gotten around to trying any kind of BSD :(

[ Parent ]
on OpenBSD (3.00 / 2) (#13)
by Arkady on Fri Jun 23, 2000 at 02:40:51 AM EST

Speaking as someone who admins rather a large collection of OpenBSD (and Linux) machines, I don't think it's really necessary to wander too far from the defaults to get a good net server. Sometimes the users (Hi John!) force other priorities on you that move the box off into more insecure turf, but generally you can stay pretty close. It helps that the OpenBSD folks have put a lot of effort into coming up with good default installs ... ;-)

Adding a daemon or two does risk opening up a hole. That's a fact of network life. Getting the base secure before you worry about the daemons makes a lot of sense, though.


Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere Anarchy is loosed upon the world.

*BSD (4.12 / 8) (#14)
by mattc on Fri Jun 23, 2000 at 02:52:52 AM EST

I've installed/used FreeBSD and OpenBSD, but not NetBSD (maybe I should try it). They are both excellent systems, although I mainly use FreeBSD since I have x86 machines and don't really worry too much about security beyond the usual stuff like disabling daemons I don't need and cleaning out inetd.conf.

One of my favorite parts of BSD is how neatly organized and uncomplicated the system is. You get a good base system with the standard utilities and tools. I know many people prefer the GNU tools, but I like the simpler BSD tools.. they certainly do everything I cuold ever possibly need (and if not I can write a shell script). Also the man pages are a lot easier to read :P

Compare this to linux where you get everything-and-the-kitchen-sink with your distribution. You have the linux kernel (which is excellent) but you also get all these other programs tossed in haphazardly. Half the programs you never use and don't know what they do. Your /usr/bin directory is 40 pages long.. etc :-)

Basically, I just like the simple coherency of the base BSD system. When you upgrade, you get the source and compile yourself. It feels like you are really in control of things .. On linux you have these package systems (RPM, DEB) doing who-knows-what when you upgrade. Of course on linux you can do source compilations yourself, but who was time to keep track of all that? The BSD 'make world' is a much more sensible.

On BSD any program you need that isn't in base system, you can get with the ports collection, which is one of the best software installation tools I've ever used. The ports are installed in /usr/local so they don't get mixed in with your base system (making upgrading easier). Compare this to the linux software installation systems (RPM, DEB, ..) where there is no concept of a 'base system' so everything is just dumped in /usr/bin... Sure on linux you can compile everything yourself and use the 'stow' program to keep programs seperate, but the BSD ports system is still a lot better.. figures out dependancies automatically and keeps a list of installed packages, so you can uninstall them just as easily as you installed them.

Another thing I like is the BSD license, which lets you do just about whatever you want with the system. I'm not one of those trolls who go around calling the GPL 'viral' and flaming people... personally I don't mind the GPL... it's a good license. but I like the BSD license because it gives me the freedom to do whatever the hell I want with the source.

There are some weaknesses to BSD though:

  1. Users are rude. -- Okay, this may seem lame, but BSD users are some of the rudest people I've ever known. You've heard of RTFM? Well, BSD is more like RTFMYFR (rtfm you fucking retard ;) Contrast this with Linux users who are for the most part very friendly about answering newbie questions. I don't mean to stereotype BSD users -- there are some nice people -- but they've got a long ways to go if they expect to attract unix newbies.
  2. Doesn't support some of my weird hardware -- This isn't really that much of a problem -- BSD supports most of what Linux supports -- but if you've got some rare hardware you may have some trouble. Sure I could just buy a Sound Blaster card instead of the one I have (which works fine on linux), but I'm not exactly overflowing with money, and I don't like to throw away functional hardware.
  3. Less 'bleeding edge' than Linux -- Linux just has more users, so it often leads here (the adoption of ELF for example).
Don't misunderstand me -- I like Linux (in fact I'm typing to you on Debian Linux right now) -- but BSD has a lot of advantages over Linux in some areas. If you haven't tried BSD yet, you should!

Re: *BSD (3.00 / 3) (#28)
by Rasputin on Fri Jun 23, 2000 at 11:15:16 AM EST

"Users are rude" - I guess that depends on which users you're talking to ;) I'd tend to agree the readers of the FreeBSD-Hackers list (as an example) can be a little abrupt when they see things that should be in the FreeBSD-Questions list. If you ask the kernel developers how to add a user, you probably shouldn't be too surprised at a RTFM#!*%$!# response. On FreeBSD-Stable(as a different example), assuming the question at least vaguely applies, the responses tend to be reasonable and thought out, although occassionally beyond what a newbie might be prepared to deal with. I guess the bottom line is ask the right people the right question and it isn't as bad as a lot of people seem to think.

"Doesn't support some of my weird hardware" - BSD still tends to focus on the main stream server environment. Weird hardware is frowned upon in a lot of ways because, although it's quite suitable for personal use, it doesn't have the reputation that more known products have for stability. Also, who puts sound cards in a server? ;) There is certainly a push to move towards the desktop/workstation environment, but this is still new ground for a lot of the BSD folks.

"Less 'bleeding edge' than Linux" - This has little to do with user count and more to do with history. It's by specific intent that BSD moves slowly, given the history of being server oriented where change for change's sake is a Bad Thing(tm). It's one thing to reload all the apps on your desktop because the binary format changed. It's a whole different Horde of Vikings to reload the servers at WalnutCreek CDROM ;) As well, I'm not completely sure why, but admins with a large collection of servers, regardless of OS, tend to be late adapters of new technology and the BSD's seem to have the same basic mind-set. The majority of Linux users tend to be desktop/workstation types so they would have a slightly different view of these things.

I have to aggre that there are issues in the user groups of any OS. All you can do is find the system that's most appropriate for what you need and go with it. And yes, personal preference and familiarity can be important factors in picking an OS ;) If there's nothing to choose between NetBSD and Linux in a specific instance except for personal preference (that has to be decided on a case by case basis) then go with what you know.
Even if you win the rat race, you're still a rat.
[ Parent ]

Re: *BSD (none / 0) (#61)
by Anonymous Hero on Sat Jun 24, 2000 at 02:40:03 PM EST

I see no evidence that Linux is more cutting edge than FreeBSD. If anything, discounting esoterica in favor of the "hard" problems in kernel space, FreeBSD is more advanced than Linux. Linux really is pedestrian any way you care to slice it. Sorry, I use a wide range of OS's and the only impressive thing about Linux is that (a) it works and is constantly improving; (b) Linus.

As a desktop OS, FOR NON DEVELOPMENT WORK, the use of Linux or a BSD over something like W2K is baffling. The difference in responsiveness and apps is just too staggering to make any sense. I mean, unless computers are your politics and vice versa.

For server duties and development, FreeBSD all the way. Linux is too chaotic and Windows too fragile.

[ Parent ]
Re: *BSD (none / 0) (#70)
by Qtmstr on Sun Jun 25, 2000 at 06:03:24 PM EST

Perhaps becuase I don't enjoy crashing, I want to be able to edit my configuration files with emacs (or another editor) instead of with some arcane registry tool devoid of functionality, or because I want to able to combine tools in an effective way, or because I want to avoid the mess that is OLE/ActiveX [Raw COM isn't so bad], or because I want to be able to *look* at what <someapp> is sending over the network instead of relying upon the goodwill of some company saying "Of course, we'll NEVER send your personal information out... yes... just... trust us.. yes... trust us." Linux is *extremely* responsive for me as well a large number of other people, and, as for the apps, I challenge you to name *one* thing besides gaming, which has been improving recently, that one can do under Windows or *BSD that one cannot under Linux.

Kuro5hin delenda est!
[ Parent ]
Re: *BSD (2.50 / 4) (#33)
by Paradox on Fri Jun 23, 2000 at 12:07:03 PM EST

I am in shock.
In awe. Let me address why.

1) "Users are rude."
Dear god! What are you smoking!?! Some of the nicest people I've ever met in a mailing list, IRC channel, or newsgroup were all FreeBSD people. I've learned more in the #freebsd IRC channel than I do from any webpage, and I've been referenced to some of the best technical manuals I owned from people involved with FreeBSD answering my questions. One time someone from #freebsd spent an hour with me, just me, helping me set up an anonymous CVS server and making sure I understood what all the options in the config file meant, and helping me test it.

Linux, on the other hand, has too many kiddiez and lusers in using it these days. People who don't even know what BSD is, and assumes shell commands are hacking. Maybe I am stereotyping. There are plenty of competant, smart linux users out there. It's just not many of them I find on IRC, mailing lists or newsroups are nice. I've gotten RTFM for asking questions about bind 8 config files (which is dumb, the docs for bind are worthless, the Howto's don't go into any detail, and the FAQ's don't answer much). I don't even think the person who told me that knew the answer, he just likes saying RTFM.

2. "Dosen't support some of my wierd hardware"
Write drivers. If they are decent, anyone who is sane will take them. If you don't know how, well it's fun to learn if you have some spare time.

3. "less bleeding edge"
I use linux. I love it. But its not bleeding edge, in most cases. The new kernel is just getting Devfs stuff done, which isn't new by any one else's standards. It did have IPv6 stuff pretty early, I suppose. Linux is cool because of it's development model, which is facinating. Read some of ESR's rants on how crazy the fact linux even exists is. He makes some good points. Linux is not horrible in the technical sense by any means, but where it really shines in my opinion is the huge UNIX PR campeign it mounts. I went today and bought a copy of Slack 7 from Frys (the home of satan, I know). The fact I can go and buy linux from a luser mainstream store says something, and it's good. However, it dosen't say "Linux is technically superior to all other OS's."

Dave "Paradox" Fayram

print print join q( ), split(q,q,,reverse qq;#qsti
qq)\;qlre;.q.pqevolqiqdog.);#1 reason to grin at Perl
print "\n";
[ Parent ]
Rude Linux users (2.50 / 2) (#34)
by mr on Fri Jun 23, 2000 at 12:17:03 PM EST


I see many Linux users who are rude.

They are at LinuxWorld and go up to the BSD booth and say "what are YOU doing at OUR show"

How about Joe Barr, a headlining author at LinuxWorld. Is his 'letter to mindcraft' an example of how 'non rude' the Linux community is?

[ Parent ]
Re: *BSD (3.00 / 1) (#51)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri Jun 23, 2000 at 07:57:14 PM EST

I have subscribed to ports@openbsd.org and tech@openbsd.org since last November. NEVER have I seen RTFM! Every inquiry is answered politely, in depth and with utmost courtesy. If the answer is in TFM, the specific part of the manual is pointed out. We have had Linux users, Microsoft users, what_have_you post questions and get polite, correct answers. Check out the mail archives. Dave

[ Parent ]
Re: *BSD (none / 0) (#63)
by jmcneill on Sat Jun 24, 2000 at 08:57:20 PM EST

Ditto with port-i386@netbsd.org and current-users@netbsd.org
``Of course it runs NetBSD.''
[ Parent ]
but it's not as interesting. (none / 0) (#16)
by sergent on Fri Jun 23, 2000 at 04:00:21 AM EST

So I have no beef with NetBSD. It's really well engineered. But I don't happen to use it.

Either way it's probably best to ignore people who trash such things in a forum like this without providing any cogent technical arguments.

It sounds like the author is insecure about his choice operating systems because some people trash it on weblogs. It's not clear that this should matter. If it's right for you -- then it's right for you.

It also seems like K5 is somewhat better about this type of thing. So the story seems a little off topic...

Nothing wrong with any BSD. (3.30 / 3) (#17)
by tpck on Fri Jun 23, 2000 at 07:19:45 AM EST

What about OpenBSD? Sure, it has a good track record of being secure, but it's important to release that only counts for a default setup.

You can ruin the security on any operating system, by it Linux, NetBSD or OpenBSD. Sure, you can explicitly destroy the security from within, but that's not OpenBSD's fault. The default system is very complete and usable; you don't need to open security holes, but if you do, it is your fault. Be more careful next time.

You just finish saying "I'm sickened by the uneducated posts on how NetBSD sucks" and you turn around and say, basically, "OpenBSD sucks". Your point is correct, but it applies to every system, not just OpenBSD.

My absolute favorite part about NetBSD is the presence of clean, human readable code.

One of my big problems with Linux is that everything is an an absolute mess. Your friendly neighbourhood BSD is generally much easier to understand. There is less clutter, less cruft. Everything is just seems so much simpler and more consistent.

I think people just have the wrong image of NetBSD. It does feel like something to use on bizzare achitectures where other operting systems, such as OpenBSD or FreeBSD won't run. It needs to shake off the image of being an alternative to an alternative operating system, if you know what I mean.

But mostly I think the problem is that no one knows anything about it. They've heard about Linux. They've heard Linux is easy to use, stable, cutting-edge, hip and generally kick ass. But they've heard that *BSDs are hard to use, poorly documented server operating systems with poor support and no software.

Gee, that sounds like Linux a few years back now, doesn't it? In time everyone what they are missing and convert. Maybe. :)

Re: Nothing wrong with any BSD. (none / 0) (#20)
by jmcneill on Fri Jun 23, 2000 at 09:42:58 AM EST

You just finish saying "I'm sickened by the uneducated posts on how NetBSD sucks" and you turn around and say, basically, "OpenBSD sucks". Your point is correct, but it applies to every system, not just OpenBSD.

Not once did I say that OpenBSD sucks, I was just using it as an example. I haven't used OpenBSD enough to give it a fair judgement.

``Of course it runs NetBSD.''
[ Parent ]
Comparing OSes (none / 0) (#53)
by tpck on Fri Jun 23, 2000 at 09:36:20 PM EST

Not once did I say that OpenBSD sucks...

Sorry. :) You didn't outright say it sucked, but you didn't say anything good about it. You marginalized its niche. I overreacted. :)

Nearly everything you say about NetBSD can be said about other operating systems. NetBSD isn't the only one to ship with full crypto, binary emulation, USB support, clean source code, etc. It is difficult to compare complex things, such as operating systems: they all look very similar at first glance, especially when you just list off a set of features. Something, then, is needed to help people differentiate between them.

One common method is to exagerate the faults of other operating systems and ignore or attack their high points. Instead of concentrating on the faults of other OSes, though, it is better to promote unique features and benefits of your own. Then it looks less like you are FUDing others, and more like you are proving the value of what you are promoting.

If you had left OpenBSD out, I would probably have had nothing but praise for your story, but I go on the defensive when people mention it. I thought the article was well presented and informative. It renewed my interest in NetBSD.

[ Parent ]

Umm, you're clueless (2.00 / 4) (#18)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri Jun 23, 2000 at 09:05:53 AM EST

You see some posts saying "NetBSD sucks."

You immediately assume they're from Linux users, and that it's some evil Linux-vs-NetBSD campaign.

Grow up! Most Linux users don't hate (or even care about) NetBSD. In all honesty, NetBSD would have to do a serious PR campaign before any of the Linux users I admin boxes for would even know about the existence of NetBSD to be able to disparage it.

Hell, it's far more likely (though an equal leap of faith to assume as fact, but hey, it's not like you're concerned with being correct, just flaming, so that's okay. sigh.) that most of those posts you're seeing are actually from OpenBSD lusers, not Linux lusers. OpenBSD user base at least has both the knowledge of NetBSD and the history of antagonism with NetBSD's base, unlike Linux.

As for *why* people say NetBSD is dying, well, that perception is easy to understand too. It's losing marketshare amongst *BSD types to OpenBSD. Most people I know who use NetBSD (including myself) only use it when they want *BSD on that machine, but FreeBSD and OpenBSD don't support it; that makes a certain amount of sense, since FreeBSD performs better, and OpenBSD performs as well, and has the added benefit of a rigorous audit. Similarly, it's losing its claim as the world's most portable OS to Linux, which runs on an even wider range of hardware than NetBSD. Sure, there are probably still more NetBSD ports than Linux ports (though that, as much as anything else, is a reflection of the different port definitions in the two worlds; the NetBSD equivalent of the one Linux m68k port is counted as at least six different NetBSD ports, for example), and NetBSD ports for obscure hardware are certainly better quality than Linux ports for obscure hardware, but, well, when your market share is dwindling and your one claim to uniqueness isn't very unique, and so your mind share is dwindling, it's easy to see why people can falsely conclude NetBSD is a waste of effort.

Re: Umm, you're clueless (2.00 / 1) (#49)
by porovaara on Fri Jun 23, 2000 at 05:30:55 PM EST

Apparently you missed the point.

Why do I say such? Because there very first thing your post contains is an attack on the person who wrote it.


[ Parent ]
What's wrong with NetBSD? Why, why, *Everything* (2.00 / 1) (#22)
by porkchop_d_clown on Fri Jun 23, 2000 at 10:07:17 AM EST

*grin* I think you must have missed the OS wars of the late 80's and early 90's. Back when the comp.sys.amiga.advocacy people were squaring off against the Mac and Atari users and the Mac users were attacking the Amiga users and everybody was trashing DOS. Back in '88-'89 there were literally thousands of UseNet posts each day all taking the form of "Your OS sucks!".

And I'm willing to bet that less than .01% of any of the posts that were made had any truth or merit to them. I see the "Linux will rule the world" crowd as just another group of kids who think they discovered something that everyone else missed. Which is pretty funny, considering I was running NetBSD on my Amiga back when Linux was less than an idea...

People who think "clown" is an insult have never met any.
NetBSD Question (none / 0) (#23)
by decomyn on Fri Jun 23, 2000 at 10:43:11 AM EST

NetBSD is a little low on the horizon. Right now, if I want security, I run OpenBSD, if I want to use my dual-processor board I run either Linux or NT. (Haven't booted NT in over a year.) When I started with SMP, the support for FreeBSD wasn't there and Linux support was poor. (I think I've seen that both have come a long ways since.) I've kept up with OpenBSD, and would use it on more machines with SMP support. I've tried BeOS, but not had a compelling reason to use it. Where is NetBSD? Does it support SMP, and how well? An O/S is a tool to get a job done. What kind of jobs does NetBSD excel at? I may try a NetBSD installation just to scratch the curiosity itch, but without a strong reason to learn its quirks, why should anyone else bother?

Re: NetBSD Question (none / 0) (#43)
by jmcneill on Fri Jun 23, 2000 at 03:32:35 PM EST

I'm not asking anybody to "bother" using it, I think that people should use whatever they're comfortable with. There are lots of places I've found NetBSD to be lacking (compiling applications that rely heavily on threads can be a pain for example). One of these days I'm going to sit down and port SDL..

Oh and there was some work on i386 SMP in -current, I don't know how well it works or even if it's been integrated into the source tree. Hopefully in 1.6...
``Of course it runs NetBSD.''
[ Parent ]
Re: NetBSD Question (none / 0) (#46)
by starlitz on Fri Jun 23, 2000 at 04:35:28 PM EST

NetBSD runs on a lot of stuff that isn't supported by other OSes. I use 98% OpenBSD, but since Open doesn't run on my MicroVAX 3100/80, I run NetBSD on that. Beats the hell out of VMS, if you ask me.

[ Parent ]
/. synchronicity - NetBSD gets commercial support (none / 0) (#24)
by Anonymous 242 on Fri Jun 23, 2000 at 10:52:08 AM EST

/. just put up an article about a start-up company named Wassabi that does commercial NetBSD support. Go to http://slashdot.org/bsd/00/06/22/1815244.shtml if you are interested.

NetBSD (none / 0) (#29)
by Zarniwoop on Fri Jun 23, 2000 at 11:19:09 AM EST

I once tried to get NetBSD installed. It was on a completely blank Sparcstation IPX. No OS to work with at all, and the install kinda assumed that there was an OS so you could partition the drive. It sounds like a great OS, streamlined, portable, and such, but I couldn't get the damn on the drive.

I eventually gave up and installed OpenBSD, which worked great and had a one or two disk+network installation process. Worked like a charm.

My information is about one and a half years old, though- things may have (hopefully) changed since then.

Re: NetBSD (none / 0) (#36)
by gr on Fri Jun 23, 2000 at 12:35:39 PM EST

My information is about one and a half years old, though- things may have (hopefully) changed since then.

It certainly has. Install floppies perform partitioning and newfs'ing on nearly every port (mac68k stands out in my mind, but it must be booted through MacOS itself in order to initialize the hardware devices, at least for now).

In fact, I've got an IPX in the next room that'll be getting 1.4.2 later today, and a couple of IPCs that are chugging away into their third month of uptime.

[ Parent ]
Re: NetBSD (none / 0) (#37)
by Zarniwoop on Fri Jun 23, 2000 at 01:40:22 PM EST

Hey Hey, right on!

[ Parent ]
Evangalistic view? (4.00 / 4) (#30)
by l4m3 on Fri Jun 23, 2000 at 11:30:05 AM EST

You are so upset at Linux user for loving their OS of choice, yet you admit that the reason you use NetBSD on your servers is because you know the OS. Then you go on about how OpenBSD probably isn't as secure as people give it credit for.

You claim that Open's ports collection probably isn't all that secure. Nothing could be further from the truth, They are still using Bind 4 because they haven't yet found Bind 8 to be secure enough. They use an older version of ipf for similar reasons. As for "only the default is secure" the default install has plenty of applicataions and services as well, it just happens that they are audited such that remote bufferoverflows do not work on them.

I agree that Net has the cleanest code out there, but it certainly does not have the greatest amount of application support, nor does clean code make it the best choice for your servers. A good arguemnt for why to have NetBSD on your servers would be its consistantly good performance on uptime contests.

To be upset with Linux users for evangalism, only to show a predisposition to your own OS of choice does not do much for NetBSD's acceptance in the mainstream

OpenBSD 2.7 uses Bind 8.. (none / 0) (#41)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri Jun 23, 2000 at 03:06:11 PM EST

..and it is a part of the base OS! It has nothing to do with the ports (which they do not audit).

[ Parent ]
Re: OpenBSD 2.7 uses Bind 8.. (none / 0) (#45)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri Jun 23, 2000 at 04:31:47 PM EST

It actually doesn't use 8. It uses 4.9.7

Jun 15 17:50:21 mona named[22777]: starting. named 4.9.7-REL Thu May 21 19:27:54 1998 root@localhost:/usr/src/usr.sbin/named/named/obj

OpenBSD mona 2.7 GENERIC#25 i386

This isn't 2.7-RELEASE, but it is -current from after 2.7 was shipped to manufacturing.

[ Parent ]

Re: OpenBSD 2.7 uses Bind 8.. (none / 0) (#50)
by kraant on Fri Jun 23, 2000 at 07:54:03 PM EST

..and it is a part of the base OS! It has nothing to do with the ports (which they do not audit).
zen:mc {194} pwd
zen:mc {195} make
===>  mc-4.1.35 is marked as broken: security is bad; auditing on the way.
zen:mc {196}

*cough* FUD *cough*
"kraant, open source guru" -- tumeric
Never In Our Names...
[ Parent ]

Re: Evangalistic view? (none / 0) (#48)
by shaggy on Fri Jun 23, 2000 at 04:58:41 PM EST

He didn't say OpenBSD's ports was not secure, he said he wouldn't be surprised if the ports code was audited in the same way the OS code base was. Learn to read.

[ Parent ]
Marketing (2.00 / 3) (#31)
by Ex Machina on Fri Jun 23, 2000 at 12:00:16 PM EST

NetBSD (OpenBSD, Debian, Slackware and FreeBSD also to varying degrees) do not present themselves as friendly. Look at the NetBSD webpage.... yuck.... it seems aimed at the devloper rather than the "casual" sysadmin. Compiling binaries whenever they need to be updated is trivial but would the average user want to leech the new source from CVS when they need to update their OS. NO! they want binary packages (hopefully signed). That's the problem with OpenBSD also. Serious patches are often applied to the CURRENT source and binary updates are not released for STABLE. So to avoid these nasty bugs, you'll need to be running CURRENT code. blech. Same goes for slackware... kind of... to fix the recent linux kernel flaw you were FORCED to go to slackware-current tree and manually install a new kernel. NetBSD is the worst of all!
/* ooka looka */
Re: Marketing (none / 0) (#42)
by jmcneill on Fri Jun 23, 2000 at 03:19:05 PM EST

NetBSD does provide quite a large collection of binary packages for the -release tree, however if you try to follow -current (especially now with the a.out -> ELF transition) you're pretty much stuck compiling things on your own.
``Of course it runs NetBSD.''
[ Parent ]
Re: Marketing (none / 0) (#58)
by Paul Dunne on Sat Jun 24, 2000 at 03:13:57 AM EST

It's generally a bad idea to speak on behalf of "the average user". For myself, I see no problem with patching and recompiling from kernel source when it's needed, never mind just grabbing a new binary via ftp. I don't know how many times it needs to be said, but: no-one is forced to use Linux (or NetBSD or CPM 2.2 or ...). God knows that are enough OSes out there that you should be able to find one you don't object to.
[ Parent ]
you are not alone (3.70 / 3) (#35)
by semis on Fri Jun 23, 2000 at 12:18:13 PM EST

I get told constantly that IRIX is dead. Yet, last week I downloaded and installed the latest service release for 6.5.

I think zeolots need to realise that all unices are connected, and that in most cases zeolots don't recognise this.

For example, SGI has made many contributions to Linux through opening up of IRIX's codebase. I'm using open-ssh on my SGI, which was developed by the OpenBSD crew. There is alot of sharing of ideas between FreeBSD and Linux too - SMP code is one that I know of, personally. If one unix dies, it's to the detriment of the others, because the pool of ideas and code shrinks.

just my 2c

Re: you are not alone (none / 0) (#40)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri Jun 23, 2000 at 03:04:08 PM EST

He he :-) I was reading the comments thinking "What a bunch of lamers - all those people who think this or that OS is dead." And then I got to this comment.
Of course Irix is dead. It's a simple fact with no dispute. I'm going to miss it but times are changing.

[ Parent ]
Re: you are not alone (2.00 / 1) (#66)
by semis on Sun Jun 25, 2000 at 04:13:20 AM EST

I think your mistaken.

Here's a few things to consider.

1. IRIX is the *ONLY* OS that will run on SGI hardware. Linux-MIPS is in infancy, and only runs in text-only mode on Indy's, and I seriously doubt how far it will get. But as for now, all those (hundreds of?) thousands of SGI owners are running IRIX. Until this hardware becomes decomissioned, IRIX is still gonna run strong. And trust me, SGI hardware doesn't go out of date quickly.

2. If you read my post, you might have discovered that I was getting at the point that all unices are interconnected in many ways, sharing common code and ideas. Sure, in 10 years if IRIX is well and truly "dead", then it's code will live on, in the likes of XFS, OpenGl (which DID come from IRIX - irisGL), and many other oss projects that SGI are providing IP for. (oss.sgi.com).

3. Go look out at many OS projects, and see how many people are running it on IRIX. better still, go to freeware.sgi.com, which has got hundreds of ported popular GNU software running for it. Remember, while GCC runs on IRIX, there's a whole host of software for it. For example, go look at the Python default module list, notice how many modules are IRIX only!

Before you open your mouth and say "it's a simple fact", go and think about these things. I thought IRIX was long gone and dead until last year when I purchased my Indy. Now I own an O2 - and trust me, IRIx is definately not dead, nor is it in the process of "dying" as you call it.

[ Parent ]
Definitely disputable. (none / 0) (#69)
by Anonymous Hero on Sun Jun 25, 2000 at 04:30:10 PM EST

SGI as a company may be having some trouble with priorities, but the idea that IRIX is dead is ludicrous. Your opinion is definitely disputable, but the following facts aren't:
  • How many other UNIXes have a native logical volume manager and journaling filesystem? Not very many. Solaris's Veritas doesn't really count (SGI, IBM, and HP do it much better and don't make you pay extra for it) and ReiserFS doesn't do LVM. In fact, you could base a pro-IRIX argument almost entirely on the IRIX filesystem alone.
  • IRIX is unbeatable as far as the number of CPUs and amount of memory it will handle.
  • People who are serious about 3D modeling (such as Lucasfilm, South Park, and Pixar) inevitably turn to SGI machines to do it.

    Just because IRIX doesn't have the biggest market share doesn't mean it's dead (after all, Microsoft has the market share for PC OSes). As was already mentioned, they have no plans to discontinue their hardware and Linux is far from being able to do anything on SGI hardware other than waste power.

    [ Parent ]
  • Re: Definitely disputable. (none / 0) (#73)
    by Anonymous Hero on Tue Jun 27, 2000 at 03:41:50 PM EST

    People who are serious about 3d modelling do *not* turn inevitably to SGI. That is an outright falsity. They *used* to. Almost all large visual effects companies are looking to alternative platforms and will probably deploy alternatives on a wide scale within the next year. Companies like ILM feel cheated by SGI and can't wait to get Linux out there. Digital Domain have had plenty of success modelling under NT and *many* other companies will follow soon. For rendering Linux has been working fine for years in many visual effects companies (Mental Ray, Renderman and other renderers all work under Linux). On the desktop there is now *no* reason to choose IRIX over NT. I think we've already seen the last major deployment of IRIX in a visual effects company already - it's never going to happen again. Of course IRIX is dead.

    [ Parent ]
    I agree with you 100% (5.00 / 3) (#39)
    by mdxi on Fri Jun 23, 2000 at 02:33:17 PM EST

    I've never understood people who run about telling people how "Linux rulz!" but "FreeBSD sux0rz", and the like.

    I use Linux on my machines, for much the same reason you use NetBSD: I'm comfortable with it and it does what I need. But I've played with OpenBSD and FreeBSD on Intel boxes and NetBSD on a 68040 Mac. I've used Solaris a lot; it was my first exposure to Unix. I'm about to install Plan 9 on a spare box. I'm not a Linux zealot, I am a Unix zealot.

    Use whatever OS works for you. Don't criticize others. If you believe strongly that your stuff is "better", point out in a *helpful* way places where your OS of choice outshines others. And most importantly, listen politely when others tell you why (A) No, theirs is better or (B) they're not interested.

    My advice: if you're not running production servers on all your machines, play with the different Unix variants out there. Play with the BSDs. Play with Be. Check out Darwin from Apple (we have it installed on our iMac, NetInfo is some funky stuff). Check it all out, learn more, stick together.

    Oops. Didn't mean to get all WAFFy there at the end. Let me balance that out a bit: EM4CZ 0wnz j00, y0! :P


    grr...you sound bitter (none / 0) (#52)
    by theSpartan on Fri Jun 23, 2000 at 09:10:21 PM EST

    Why are you singling out OpenBSD to compare it to? If you think that installing a few programs makes an OBSD box only as secure as a linux/NetBSD box than you are very mistaken. I love Net, Free and Open, but downplaying one to make another look better is not sound advocacy. Just run what you like, and let the Linux zealots stay where you seem to like them...over at that other site doing what they do best, complaining. Do you really want them to piss in your beloved NetBSD gene pool? Let em have their opinions. Have a nice day

    What's Wrong With NetBSD? (3.33 / 3) (#55)
    by The Welcome Rain on Fri Jun 23, 2000 at 11:00:37 PM EST

    To the author of the article:

    As someone who uses NetBSD on his workstation at work, I'll happily answer your question, belligerent and defensive though you are.

    NetBSD on i386 and PowerPC is an unstable mess. I understand that three of the five core maintainers of NetBSD left in a huff a while back; this may explain the crappy reliability of the OS. No, the problems are not restricted to one window manager or one buggy utility, and no, it's not that X locked up and the user can get to a virtual console, and no, it's not crappy hardware. We use all sorts of hardware configurations (the two platforms mentioned above should have indicated as much), none of which have any problems under Linux; we use a bunch of window managers; the boxes lock up and reboot while the user stares on in innocent bewilderment.

    I suspect it's the virtual memory manager, since the problems generally occur when someone has loaded an application or two with a large memory footprint. I'm told this was redesigned or reimplemented or both in the 1.4 kernel; I'm not sure if that's true.

    We're using 1.4.1, and our sysadmins would rather upgrade us to potato than to 1.4.2 given the dismal track record of NetBSD. If you can point me to some reasonably reliable information which demonstrates that 1.4.2 solves our problems, I'll present it to our sysadmins. Otherwise, I'll talk dirt about NetBSD all I like, thanks so much.

    Re: What's Wrong With NetBSD? (5.00 / 1) (#62)
    by jmcneill on Sat Jun 24, 2000 at 08:53:28 PM EST

    I'm running fairly recent builds of -current on my boxes at home, and I've noticed that problem as well with GNOME. I'm not sure of the reason, I'll ask on the mailing lists and see what's going on.

    I don't mind if you "talk dirt" about it as long as you have a valid reason :)
    ``Of course it runs NetBSD.''
    [ Parent ]
    Rants are ok but this is a bit of a strawman. (5.00 / 1) (#56)
    by mihalis on Fri Jun 23, 2000 at 11:09:12 PM EST

    I only have linux on my machines at home but at work I've got linux, Solaris and Windows NT 4.0. In the past I've also used MacOS, Apollo Domain, VAX/VMS, SunOS 4 and all kinds of predecessor OSs, so although I have a linux preference, I'm fully aware of the breadth of technology other systems offer.

    I must say if the premise of this rant were true in my experience, I'd be more inclined to go along with the rest of the argument. There's nothing "wrong" with NetBSD and people shouldn't mindlessly dismiss it. However I just don't come across much hostility towards it. I do my share of browsing the hardware sites, the manic overclockers, the Intel stooge sites etc as well as plenty of linux sites and yes of course there is the odd clueless ignorant post, but no pattern. In fact when people know anything about NetBSD, they seem to know "oh yes, very portable, very predictable, feels right to BSD fans etc"

    So I see the premise as a straw man - a false argument put up in order to be torn down. Once that's out of the way it's just a little booster article - which is fine - but it's kind of the wrong way to introduce the topic.

    Personally I'm quite excited about NetBSD. As far as I can tell they have the closest to a modern operating system ported to my classic matt black NeXT cube currently available. That baby's going to become a backup mail host and fileserver for me some time this summer once i get clued in on the netbooting stuff. Can't wait. I might even learn something about X by trying out some hacking on, say, an Xserver that can use the NeXT Dimension board.
    -- Chris Morgan <see em at mihalis dot net>

    Some general mumbling about advocacy (none / 0) (#59)
    by Paul Dunne on Sat Jun 24, 2000 at 03:16:42 AM EST

    OS advocacy in general is A Bad Thing. That said, I don't think it's unreasonable to look askance at someone who uses Windows 95/2000/NT/WhateverNext(TM) as their OS of choice (what one's compelled to use at work is a different matter, of course). No more would I think it unreasonable to raise one's eyebrows at a reader who admires Stephen King's prose, or a grown-up who takes their politics from the novels of Robert Heinlein. There are standards in the world; some things are better than others. Clued-up people will use a decent OS; and though a group of clued-up people may well disagree in detail about which OS is "most decent", you'll generally find that they recognise crap when they see it. To that extent, then, OS advocacy has its place.

    Undoubtedly you do see Linux zealots slagging off all and sundry on Web-logs, on Usenet, and anywhere else they can. That's only to be expected: it's something a lot of boys and young men like to do: 10 years ago it was Atari v Amiga, 15 Apple ][ v C64 (or whatever; I'm rusty on Ancient History). It's harmless, as long as they don't come here.

    I don't "do" Linux advocacy myself, but then I'm a grumpy old bastard who wishes all these newbies would go away. For those who can't restrain their enthusiasm, there are guidelines:

    my experience with 1.4.1 (4.00 / 1) (#60)
    by Anonymous Hero on Sat Jun 24, 2000 at 04:52:54 AM EST

    I intalled NetBSD 1.4.1 for fun on my intel workstation, and well it was more pain the fun.
    Partitioning was way too obscure and hard, OpenBSD's is just so much clearer despite it is also command line.
    I had problems configuring the console fonts the way I like it.
    The ports tree is just small for a desktop system, however it contains for example sidplay while OpenBSD 2.6 didn't, go figure :)
    It was interesting that the netscape 3 binary was really a BSD/OS binary and it run in emulation mode flawlessly.

    In the end I could do most of the things I do on my Debian system, but with much more unnecessary effort. Hence I don't recommend it as a desktop OS.

    OpenBSD has much more friendlier install, better manpages, better ports collection, I would choose it anytime over NetBSD. Although I still like it better than FreeBSD somehow.

    So all in all I think it is a good OS, but there are better alternatives.

    (OT) command line FTP (none / 0) (#64)
    by Anonymous Hero on Sat Jun 24, 2000 at 09:58:35 PM EST

    It's cool you found it easy to modify the stock ftp client, but there are some alternatives. NcFTP (http://www.ncftp.com/ncftp/) last I checked its license wasn't free, but it has source and is nice. I usually use scp which is included with ssh. Secure and easily scriptable, I think this is the best alternative.

    Re: (OT) command line FTP (none / 0) (#65)
    by jmcneill on Sat Jun 24, 2000 at 11:32:34 PM EST

    Luke Mewburn's FTP client (lukemftp) is my favorite; I've tried both ncftp2 and ncftp3.
    ``Of course it runs NetBSD.''
    [ Parent ]
    My NetBSD experiences (none / 0) (#67)
    by Anonymous Hero on Sun Jun 25, 2000 at 12:17:54 PM EST

    Well, I run Linux on my Intel systems, since its what I've grown up with. But on my Sparc (a Sparc 2 - 40 mhz - 64M ram - 1.05 GB SCSI disk), I do run NetBSD. I have found its instal to be rather barebone, but nevertheless quite nice, as it allows you to select which options you need and is more much expert friendly then FreeBSD's or RedHat's install. It also installs over the FTP (although I've beent old OpenBSD does that too), which is a plus for me. Supports all my SUN hardware flawlesly. Downside is the lack of utilities I am used to: like killall, adduser, etc... Sure, I can edit /etc/passwd and I can grep for the process id and kill it, but this is a slight inconvenience.

    Ports are nice too, all works, but for some reason ncruses wouldnt install - stops at compile time. I guess I'll have to compile it myself, later on.

    In all other ways, NetBSD is a nice system, inheriting the niceness from all the other BSDs: single config file /etc/rc.conf, much faster to config the kernel then make menuconfig and of course ports.

    Re: My NetBSD experiences (none / 0) (#68)
    by jmcneill on Sun Jun 25, 2000 at 01:49:15 PM EST

    'killall' is in the Package Collection (sysutils/psmisc IIRC).

    Although there is no 'adduser', 1.4.3 and 1.5 (not sure about 1.4.2) come with useradd, groupadd, etc. There's also a program in the Package Collection called 'addnerd' which is a simple and easy to use alternative to adduser.
    ``Of course it runs NetBSD.''
    [ Parent ]
    Opinions. (none / 0) (#71)
    by Anonymous Hero on Mon Jun 26, 2000 at 12:51:26 AM EST

    It's nice to see a NetBSD article.. however... (boy I wish I could write better) For me, and for everyone else, if they are serious, it's never about what is all around 'better'. I'm sooo sick of the media and other linux/unix nuts, and windows nuts.. in fact, nuts of all flavors, telling me 'so-and-so is better because of so-and-so'. (Oh.. I'm not referring to or knocking this article at all.. I loved it.. I'm just ranting.) The choice of OS (and hardware) is always one of the right tool for the right job. For many people, the 'job' is simply learning about computing, about computers. For a great many of the linux hackers (linux kiddies) out there.. even you old aging kiddies... that's exactly what linux is. A tool for learning. And what a tool. So.. when it comes to the production 100% required uptime web server at work... on a million dollar project.... I hear linux nuts telling me 'use linux. use linux.'. Really.. they are telling me to use linux simply because a) They know it and feel comfortable that it would do the job and b) They percieve it as a viable low cost alternative. Which it probably is. What they miss... is that my choice to use Solaris/SPARC is a) financially motivated, but not simply based on the OS price. b) If linux can do it (with regards to the project) so can solaris. c) Solaris/sparc has a better track record. I can point to a great many mission critical things running on solaris. d) Considering the cost of the project.. saving money on the OS and/or hardware won't help at all. most of the cost is in manpower and development, which is needed anyway. So.. do I love linux? Do I use it at home? Absolutely! I learn on it.. it's where things happen... it's arguably the new unofficial reference platform. (it used to be solaris) And it's not the best choice, I'm sorry, for a great many tasks. Distribution wars? Healthy competition is good. An outright war IS *NOT*. FreeBSD? NetBSD? OpenBSD? You know.. most linux users sit there and bitch.. but the differences are far more in the distribution than the kernel. Or rather, the percieved differences. If you whacked a debian distro together that used FreeBSD kernel... many linux users would never even notice.

    (none / 0) (#72)
    by Cthu on Mon Jun 26, 2000 at 06:02:04 AM EST

    Personally i haven't had any experience with NetBSD but I can't really
    understand the OS/Distro-Supremacy wars ...

    I mean, I see an OS is a tool not a religion...
    ... and you should always use the right tool for the job at hand ...

    That means my home boxes are set up as follows (all i386 arch.)

    two firewall boxes running OpenBSD
    five WWW/Mail servers running FreeBSD
    three work boxes running Linux (two running SUSE , one running Slackware)
    and one gaming box running w98 ...

    That the firewall boxes came to run OpenBSD should come to no big suprise..
    I use FreeBSD for the "Pure" servers due to it's stability and performance ...
    and Linux was best suited for the task of being the work os due to it's "Userfriendlyness",
    mind you this is purely a subjective view ...
    ... i want to get rid of the w98 box but since i'm quite addicted to gaming this is
    not an option right now ( unfortunatly...)

    When working outside of home i usually work on NT boxen ...
    i dont like them as much , but still they get the work done ...

    sorry for the grammatical and spelling errors but it was a rough weekend ;)

    What's wrong with NetBSD? | 73 comments (70 topical, 3 editorial, 0 hidden)
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