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Debian NetBSD 346

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the thats-something-different dept.
bXTr writes "Interesting project over at SourceForge. Quoting from the website, 'Debian NetBSD is a port of the Debian Operating System to the NetBSD kernel. It is currently in an early stage of development and cannot currently be installed from scratch. Instead, a tarball of the current envionment is available and can be extracted into a handy directory on a NetBSD system.' Check out the reasons why they're doing it and some interesting commentary at DailyDaemonNews on this."
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Debian NetBSD

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  • Two open source minorities combine in a brilliant flash of light Because we can. .
    • Re:kaboom (Score:3, Insightful)

      by erlenic (95003)
      To me this kind of thing really shows the strength of the open source community. I'm sure we've all seen the flame wars that start here over the difference in the licenses, but in the end, we all have a common goal, share the source!
  • I don't see why not, we have lindows, and now deb-bsd, so it shouldn't be bad.
  • I thought NetBSD's motto was to port to anything and everything with a CPU (viz. NetBSD Dreamcast), not to get another operating system ported to it ;)

    Disclaimer: Yes, yes, I know what they did and it's not porting an OS. I just found it sort of funny, in a 'tables-have-been-turned' sort of way.
  • by horster (516139) on Sunday January 20, 2002 @01:24AM (#2871144)
    personally, I would like to see a BSD distro with ports and all, but with a linux kernel.

    I just installed FreeBSD recently and have to say i was blown away with how professional the installer was, very simple and powerful - not to mention the ports system.
    debian is nice, apt-get is a great program and the net install is awesome, but I can't say I have much love for dselect. I think debian shows the most promise of any linux distro right now, but in terms of polish, I have to give it to FreeBSD so far.
    • What is wrong with the FreeBSD kernel?

      I have been in no situation where the linux kernel is better than the FreeBSD kernel.
      • not so much what's wrong with the FreeBSD kernel as what's wrong with linux user land. I would like to see the FreeBSD installer & ports system, to begin with, exist on a linux distro.
        I'm new to FreeBSD, so I might be wrong, but it seems like linux gets more of the new 'sexier' things. sambafs was on linux first, numa, IBM s/390 port - those kinds of things. not to mention binary support, which ok, there's linux emulation in FreeBSD, but it's easier to do it straight on linux.
      • What is wrong with the FreeBSD kernel?

        FreeBSD doesn't have as many drivers for esoteric hardware. Not a technical advantage for Linux so much as a side effect of the greater market penetration.

        But that's the way it is, nevertheless.
    • Gentoo linux (Score:4, Informative)

      by metalhed77 (250273) <andrewvc AT gmail DOT com> on Sunday January 20, 2002 @01:37AM (#2871198) Homepage
      Gentoo Linux has that, , it uses a ports style system, i'm not sure if it's a direct port of ports, or their own deal.
      • thanks, I'll check that out.
      • Re:Gentoo linux (Score:1, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        I tried gentoo, perhaps someday it will be in the same ballpark as FreeBSD (or even Net/Open), but not now. The install is less than perfect, the portage system currently has very little to choose from. Also, there is no BSD-style separation of base and packages.

        Its a good idea though, I also would love to see BSD-like distro based on a Linux kernel.
      • What exactly is the ports system? Anyone up for some extra karma? :)
        • Re:Gentoo linux (Score:4, Informative)

          by cymen (8178) <cymenvig&gmail,com> on Sunday January 20, 2002 @04:54AM (#2871577) Homepage
          Ports is a collection of applications that can easily be compiled for your operating system. Basically for FreeBSD you have /usr/ports. That directory contains various subdirectories dividing applications into www (apache, mod_php4, etc), lang (ruby, etc), mail (mutt, exim, etc), and so forth. Each directory for a specific application contains a number of files. Some of these are patch files that are applied to the source code of the port. See the ports tree doesn't contain the actual code of the application - it only contains enough logic to get the regular .tar.gz release (usually from the developers home site) and the patches to build it properly (particular distribution preferences on file structure, libraries, etc).

          Every couple days I use cvsup to suck down the modifications to the ports tree to my FreeBSD box. Then I happen to use a relatively new tool not in the base system (portupgrade, written in ruby) to check if my currently installed packages are up to date. If they aren't, I can instruct portupgrade to upgrade them or go to each directory individually and do a "make install". Oh yeah, each directory has a Makefile :).

          It's sort of like why distribute the source code if it is just going to get out of date (plus you'll be getting the source for all kinds of crap you never end up using). Of course now each application must be compiled but if you don't want to do that you can use the packages (precompiled binaries that can be added with pkg_add, etc).

          Another benefit is ports can be on any version of the operating system because it is independent of the base system. Look at RedHat and you'll see compiled packages for RedHat 6.2, 7.2, etc (of course, before someone knee jerks a reply, RPMS are out there but I'm trying to make a point here). Ports avoids this. The price is compilation. A trade off. You make the call.

          Hope that helps. Here is the FreeBSD handbook section for ports: ports-using.html [] (it contains a better description of what files are in a ports directory).
        • ports (Score:5, Insightful)

          by lightfoot jim (441918) on Sunday January 20, 2002 @05:03AM (#2871597) Homepage
          What exactly is the ports system?

          More like, what are rpm users missing out on? With rpm -i package.rpm the user may or may not be able to install the intended software. There could be real dependency problems, as in kde2 needs qt2. There could also be bogus dependency problems since you may have compiled qt2 from source but rpm wouldn't know about it.

          Enter FreeBSD and ports. A typical FreeBSD install creates a directory called /usr/ports which is a whole tree of makefiles. So to install something, you just cd /usr/ports/category/WhateverYouWantToInstall/ && make && make install. All dependencies are taken care of automagically. The makefiles in these directories are smart enough to download whatever you need and then compile the source on your machine. So installing a new package doesn't take several hours of trolling newsgroups and searching for rpms.

          But you don't have to take my word for it. Check this [] out.

          My experience is limited to Mandrake, Slackware, FreeBSD and OpenBSD. They each have their strengths and weaknesses, but when I need to get sh*t done, BSD, espescially FreeBSD is my first choice just because the ports tree contains nearly any software I'd want to run, eliminating the bottleneck that software installation sometimes turns into and letting me get to the task at hand.

          As an aside, it seems like everything that Mandrake tries to be to "joe sixpack" who is just getting into trying linux on the desktop, BSD is to the sysadmin or programmer who needs to get a *nix platform up and running for a certain task. Compiling a custom kernel, installing software, modifying the init process, etc are at least as easy for the sysadmin on BSD as adjusting the screen fonts and changing the wallpaper are for a newbie in Mandrake.

          • How is this any more convenient than apt-get which is also available for RPM based systems?

            Personally I find that I rely on the installed RPMS of most everything (and once in a while upgrade my distro to get the newer X, KDE etc), and simply compile from tarballs anything that I really care about and want to be up-to-date with, which basically means development libraries and a few cutting edge utilities. It works for me.
            • Re:ports (Score:4, Insightful)

              by scrytch (9198) <> on Sunday January 20, 2002 @01:34PM (#2872421)
              > How is this any more convenient than apt-get which is also available for RPM based systems?

              Because ports does not require packages. Example, if I want to install a KDE app, it does not require that I have the qt package installed. It searches for If it's a gtk package, it runs gtk-config, if it's apache, it runs apxs, and so forth. Now debian's a little better than RPM, which ends up making you force-install just about everything (defeating dependency checking) because you installed something from source, but you still have to intervene when a dependent package isn't present. Ports assumes you know what you're doing, and if the lib is there, it's there, it doesn't need a package manifest to tell you. It does check for the package first, and ports does build a package, so you get a package-based system that degrades gracefully when you don't religiously use the package system.

              THAT is why I use ports. Because no sysadmin I know of takes the builds out of the box, they keep their source trees around to tweak and recompile as needed. Oh, and ports lets me do that doo, I just "make get" the port, cd work/packagename, and there's the source tree as if I'd untarred it myself. I can configure && make install it from there, or cd ../..; make install from there and it builds as a package.
    • Try these (Score:4, Informative)

      by Arker (91948) on Sunday January 20, 2002 @02:08AM (#2871289) Homepage
      Slackware, the daddy of em all - still alive and kicking. Very BSDish install, similar package handling, BSD init. No ports system last I checked :( but a very friendly system otherwise for compiling from source.

      Gentoo, a newcomer, to oversimplify a little the idea seems to be Slack+Ports. Haven't used it yet, heard some great things, sure looks promising.

      Also another similar project that was just recently reported here - sorcerer linux. Don't know enough about it to differentiate it from gentoo, the ideas seem very similar unless I'm missing something (quite possible, haven't had the time to try either.)
    • personally, I would like to see a BSD distro with ports and all, but with a linux kernel.

      Me too, but only to annoy the FSF zealots who keep insisting on GNU/this and GNU/that :) LinuxBSD would be funny--nothing GNU except for the toolchain and a few other utilities. I don't actually see a real advantage of a system like that over a standard Linux distro, but the idea amuses me :)

      • LinuxBSD would be funny--nothing GNU except for the toolchain and a few other utilities. I don't actually see a real advantage of a system like that over a standard Linux distro, but the idea amuses me :)

        David Parsons created a distro a few years ago with pretty much exactly this in mind. Parsons on the GNU utilities: "Unfortunately, these tools come with a few albatrosses around their neck: FSF bloat, FSF philosophy, and Richard Stallman." One of his goals was to minimise the amount of GPL code in his distro.

        It's called Mastodon Linux [].

      • Yah, but RMS won't shut up til ya build it all with lcc :^)
    • Quite. Many of us use Linux despite the GNU userland, not because of it.

      Apart from bash, that is. That beats [t]csh any day. The rest I can lose in favour of BSD.

    • personally, I would like to see a BSD distro with ports and all, but with a linux kernel.

      I agree. Although I think the BSD kernel is arguably superior, having a Linux kernel would allow the rapidly increasing number of commercial applications that run on Linux to work.

      The big, ugly, problem for me (and almost anyone else that's really worked with and appreciated the real power of *real* Unix, as opposed to Linux) has always been the GNU utilities. They're acceptable, but just barely. GNU Documentation stinks when iut's there at all, at least partly because even most FSF-backers recognize that man pages are the expected form of OS docs and info pages are a hoppeless GNU-ism.

      The GNU utilities insist on using their own hopelessly convoluted syntax, (especially the hideous "--" options, another perversity enforced by the gnazis that intentionally creates a gulf between the GNU wasteland and the civilization of the Unix/BSD world.

      The BSD utilities are one of the best reasons to run BSD - they are orders of magnitude more stable and standard than their GNU hack counterparts. The code for many of these utilities is indeed old, but has not remained static: The BSD utilities provide a level of maturity that GNU will probably never reach, simply because structure and gols of their organization forces the BSD folks care about such things, while that of GNU seems to ensure that that level of care and attention will not be lavished on the code. In my mind, this is a distinction that is far too often overlooked.
  • Well... (Score:1, Flamebait)

    by Anonymous Coward
    At least Enron isn't the only group of people jumping off of sinking ships! About time Debian started moving to an operating system that doesn't have VM problems every other release. Go ahead! Mod this one down!
  • Cooperation (Score:3, Insightful)

    by awgy (315261) on Sunday January 20, 2002 @01:32AM (#2871182) Homepage
    To me, this is promising. I like to see cooperation between the Linux world and the *BSD world. Both have their advantages, and it'd be great if both would learn from each other more often. Perhaps this is an instance where some exchange of ideas could come about? Those responsible deserve a pat on the back.
    • Debian is not Linux (Score:5, Informative)

      by CatherineCornelius (543166) <> on Sunday January 20, 2002 @02:01AM (#2871265) Journal
      To me, this is promising. I like to see cooperation between the Linux world and the *BSD world.

      Well I agree with you that it's promising, but do remember that the Debian project is not Linux, but a GNU operating system. There is Debian GNU Linux, and there is Debian GNU HURD, and now (apparently) Debian GNU BSD.

      • That's true of EVERY Linux distribution - they all pair the GNU libraries (glibc, etc), GNU tools (gcc, etc), with Linux kernel. There's no such thing as a non-GNU Linux system, and I don't think anyone trying to sell a Linux distribution that consisted of Linus's kernel sitting on a CD all alone would get too far! ;-)
      • remember that the Debian project is not Linux, but a GNU operating system.

        Bullhockey! The name of the operating system is "Linux". The name of the distribution is "Debian". As the distributor, Debian could call the OS any damn thing they want. They could have called it "Fred", but they chose "GNU/Linux" because that involved the least amount of bloodshed on the Debian mailing lists.

        A few definitions are in order:

        Operating system: "software that controls the operation of a computer and directs the processing of programs (as by assigning storage space in memory and controlling input and output functions)" [Merriam Webster []]. This specifies a kernel and some bits of surrounding infrastructure (such as a filesystem, init scripts, etc). Everything else is extra. They are not part of the operating system.

        The GNU System: An operating system created as part of the GNU Project. The FSF very clearly refers to GNU as "an operating system". Unfortunately, the FSF doesn't really know what an operating system is. They talk about games and mail clients and all sorts of stuff that aren't part of operating systems. It really seems that they aren't describing an operating system, but an overall collection of software that just happens to include an operating system.

        Until Debian releases "Debian GNU/Hurd" in a finished state, there will be no GNU System.
  • Since 1999 (Score:2, Informative)

    If you check out the mailing list archives [], you can see the project has been ongoing (or at least discussed) since May 1999. It just until now to get it to the point where it actually sort of works.

  • So how long before they declare that we have to start calling it GNU/NetBSD?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Really, the convergence of Debian package management, GNU utils and NetBSD kernel isn't all that special and WILL NOT create a stronger, unified, easy-to-use UNIX variant.

    Please, try Mac OS X; there's every advantage to it without all the traditional UNIX disadvantages.

    • Simplified installation - OS X installs easily
    • Easy-to-use interface - A yummy GUI interface that a first-time user can grok, with an excellent command shell for advanced users.
    • Powerful inexpensive yummy hardware - G4 PowerMacs trump x86 by a long margin and cost much less than underperforming but expensive SPARC, MIPS and the PeeCee user's Holy Grail of DEC Alpha, which was intended to run WinBlows from the beginning and is dying anyways.
    • Best design - look at the new iMac! Complete Apple Goodness from the small footprint to the sharp LCD display, all surrounding a powerful G4 processor.
    • Open Source, even though GNU zealots will not agree. Fellow BSD'ers will soon recognize the errors of their ways and join ranks with the Apple crowd.
    • Mac's ain't PeeCee's ;-)

    My hope is that OS X will unify the BSDs into its proper place - at the top of the OS food chain. Many Free/Open/NetBSD users are coming to that conclusion as are many Linux users, beset with flaky kernels and horrible OS packaging.

    Apple OS X and the *BSDs will be our answer to WinTel/Linux obsolescence.

    • [MacOs X has] Powerful inexpensive yummy hardware - G4 PowerMacs trump x86 by a long margin and cost much less than underperforming but expensive SPARC, MIPS and the PeeCee user's Holy Grail of DEC Alpha, which was intended to run WinBlows from the beginning and is dying anyways.

      I don't know where you get your hardware from, but it is my experience that the cheapest powerful kit around is Intel-compatible. I'd love one of these Mac boxes, but I just cannot afford one.

      And as for the alpha, it was originally designed by Digital to run its VMS operating system, not Windows, which was at that time a 16-bit shell running on top of MS-DOS.

  • Right now if you need any sort of third-party application support (Oracle, etc.) or kernel threads (Java Hotspot, etc.) you need to run a Linux kernel.

    If you don't need third party application support or kernel threads, however, FreeBSD has a much more solid, reliable kernel.

    It would be excellent if you could maintain different machines with different kernels as needed, but have everything on top of that be Debian (both because Debian is excellent, and because supporting a heterogenous OS environment is a pain best avoided if possible).

  • by xcomputer_man (513295) on Sunday January 20, 2002 @02:25AM (#2871324) Homepage
    Finally, it's the GNU/BSD distribution!
  • I don't like it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by znu (31198) <> on Sunday January 20, 2002 @02:41AM (#2871365)
    The thing I've always really liked about the BSDs is that they're complete and separate systems that include everything from the kernel to the userland tools, all integrated by one team. Compare with the Linux world, where you have a bunch of different distros that many people pretend are all the same OS (in spite of the fact that file systems are arranged differently, boot sequences are different, configuration is different, package management is different, userland tools are often different, etc.) because they happen to use the same kernel. The BSD way has always seemed a lot cleaner to me. The idea of seeing a myriad of distros based on the BSD kernels really isn't one that I like. I believe it's a step in exactly the wrong direction. Open source Unix needs more standardization, not more fragmentation.
    • Re:I don't like it (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Raving (548181)
      This is oh such a troll !

      Giving choice has never been a problem in the Open source world, and the good ol' argument about "all those people are wasting their energy, they should team up !" doesn't take into account the way people work.

      If anyone likes a project, he will join it. But if he doesn't, he will start hims. Is this a problem ? There is no such think as a best solution for the environment/distro/kernel choice ; being able to take whatever best fits your need is hence a big plus.
    • In a way this is standardization, just of a different kind. In the past, if I wanted to use both Linux and NetBSD I was forced to use too completely different operating systems. Different packaging systems, different user environments, etc. Now I can use the Linux, NetBSD, and Hurd kernels while sticking with my 'standard' Debian operating system.

      I, for one, welcome the idea. It makes it far more likely that I'll consider using the NetBSD kernel at some point in the future.

      • Except Debian isn't an operating system. The operating system will still be NetBSD. The Debian bits could be called the operating environment, but it certainly is not the software that directs and controls processes, manages access to hardware, etc.
        • That's entirely a matter of definition. I think saying that the operating system consists of only the kernel (which is arguably the least visible component) is a bit of a stretch. The Microsoft position that the operating system is everything that's shipped on the CD is a little extreme as well.

    • What happened to the concepts of diversity, hybrid vigor, competition, and cooperation?

      With Microsoft we get a monoculture.

      Are you suggesting the same for all other OSes?

      If nothing else this project encourages and explores compatibility issues, source examination, bug catching, performance tuning, and a bunch of other things, if only because a new, fresh, set of eyes (Debian) is looking at old things (BSD), and the other way around, BSD people looking at Debian things.

      This cross pollination can have so many surprising and unexpected benefits too. Like the fact that if the kernal is BSD and the userland is Debian... it means you could, besides a little project called Fink, place an entire Debian OS layer on top of Apple's Darwin or Apple's OS X.

      Then there is the ports system, which sounds very good to me. It's currently a BSD thing, but there's nothing stopping it from running on top of the Debian-netBSD distro, with work, and therefore stopping it from working on GNU-Debian with just a little more work, with 'work' and 'little more work' being subjective here.

      These are just obvious speculations on my part. Many more advantages can be found, I'm sure, of this type of project.
  • Linux has some serious issues []. I like the Freebsd development model better then linux thanks to all the issues with the 2.4 patches. My problem with FreeBSD is that its cripppled after the install is done. Hardly anything is configured. I feel like a kid stuck on a pogo stick when trying to do anything. For example under WindowMaker you need to put every item one by one to the x menu. No config menu's here. Also not even bash or frankly any shells besides the crippled bsh is installed by default. You need to edit all the files yourself assuming your unix literate. All just to learn it. That is crazy. Why? What a pain. Its not FreeBSD per say but unix in general that suffers from this. Linux breaks the mold. Unless you have 5 years expereince or a cs degree you can not really tune it or highly configure it. In Windows you can just point and click and all the items are in the start menu by default. There is an old saying. IF computers were airplaines the unix one would be the best. However you would need to assembly it yourself. I believe Linux took off because the distro's configure everything for you. Don't get me wrong when I say that BSD is a great server OS. I just hope debian *bsd will fix this which actually knowcked unix almost out of the workstation market. I have never used debian linux so I don't know how much is configured by default during installation. I just assume its better then the current netbsd.

    • Your complaints about NetBSD are a result of your experience with FreeBSD? These are completely different *operating systems* (not kernels, full operating systems).

      Windowmaker is not BSD. If you have a problem with Windowmaker, go complain to them.

      Which parts of tuning require five years of experience and/or a CS degree? I switched from Linux to NetBSD after I'd been using computers for about two years altogether, and have always found it easier to work with. Why? Because it's a whole operating system. If stuff goes into the kernel, it's released with userland support, all at the same time.

      NetBSD is, IMO, the cleanest system out there today. Everything works, and moving forward is easy. Doesn't come with bash? So what? I don't use bash, so I'm pretty happy to not see it. I do like the standard bourne shell it comes with for running my scripts. I do use tcsh, so it's typically one of the first things I install from pkgsrc on a new machine.

      ``But pkgsrc is hard! You have to build the stuff yourself,'' you say? A ``make package'' at the top level will create binary packages for the current platform for all packages your configuration suggests you're licensed for. Port maintainers typically do this and provide binary packages for most things people would want. In fact, when NetBSD releases ISOs, they release pre-built package ISOs for i386, just to make it a bit quicker (it certainly can't be any easier).
    • For example under WindowMaker you need to put every item one by one to the x menu.

      That's the way it is supposed to be. Windowmaker is not FreeBSD and FreeBSD is not Windowmaker. They are separate projects. For FreeBSD to come along and decide what entries you must have in your wm menu would be the height of arrogance.

      I used a Linux distro once that kept modifying my Windowmaker menu. It drove me nuts. I kept removing stuff and Redbutt kept putting it back in. So I tried another distro and it did the same damn thing, but went several steps further by removing every manual configuration I made every time it booted.

      Dammit! Leave my configuration alone! If some distro wants to ship with default configs for the newbies, more power to them. But don't touch my configs after I do. That's more than rude, it's Evil.

      Unless you have 5 years expereince or a cs degree you can not really tune it or highly configure it. In Windows you can just point and click and all the items are in the start menu by default.

      Since when did you need a 5 year degree to add items to a menu?

      I believe Linux took off because the distro's configure everything for you.

      Linux took off long before the hand-holding distros should up. Go use Redhat 4.2 and see how easy it is. It was a nightmare of unusability. But it was the most popular distro at the time the world begin to discover that there was such a thing as Linux.
  • by foonf (447461) on Sunday January 20, 2002 @02:58AM (#2871393) Homepage
    Did they just port apt and dpkg, and put up some Debian-packaged NetBSD binaries? Or have they moved to a Sys V init system, ported the Debian administration and configuration tools, and all the other stuff that makes debian distinctive? They explicitly say that NetBSD doesn't support runlevels, and looking at the package list, it doesn't look like much of the debian tools have made it yet.

    If its just a different package system, its pointless. Less work, and more immediately useful results, would be modifying apt to work with the current binary package system (which actually does support dependencies, etc.), and the large number of binaries in this format already available.

    If not, its a more questionable proposition. Arguably, its not really BSD runs NetBSD binaries and uses that kernel, but the userland is basically Debian, ie, just like any Linux distribution. And most people who want that should just assume use Debian with the Linux kernel, which is a far more mature combination. Yes, for VAXen, toasters, slide rules and other more arcane platforms this won't exactly work, but Debian-NetBSD doesn't seem to have package for these platforms anyway.
    • Or have they moved to a Sys V init system

      This would be a pretty big step backwards. The NetBSD startup stuff is far superior to SysV. They wanted to move to a similar model for a while, but anyone who's ever used SysV startup on a real system understands the problems.

      Their current system allows you to drop files in a directory for startup that contain no special file names. They may list internally what service they provide, and what service they require and they will be sequenced properly. If you run two things that require network and don't provide anything that anything else requires, they'll get run after the network portion of the startup runs. There is no special shell scripting based on requested command (i.e. how many SysV startup scripts have you seen that implement ``start'' but not ``stop?''). Best thing is they're tiny, and they grow with the system. You define a couple variables and then do ``run_rc_command "$1"''

      I think it's cool that people are trying different things, and I don't care as long as it's not wasting me money, but they'd probably be better off learning from a system rather than trying to assimilate the kernel while throwing away the other good stuff.

    • Apt and dpkg have been ported. We're working on porting the administrative and configuration utilities. The idea is not to just package NetBSD binaries - the idea is to build the Debian source packages on NetBSD except in cases where that's impossible, and in those cases to produce packages that provide as much of the same functionality as possible.

      Less work, and more immediately useful results, would be modifying apt to work with the current binary package system

      I'd argue with the "less work", but anyway. Connectiva have ported apt to work with RPMs - that doesn't make it Debian. We're not trying to produce a NetBSD varient using Debian packaging tools. We're trying to produce Debian running on top of the NetBSD kernel.

      Arguably, its not really BSD anymore

      By some values, this is probably true.

      Debian-NetBSD doesn't seem to have package for these platforms anyway

      Yet. Once we're running on one architecture, this ought to happen.
  • I started using linux because it had the hardware support I needed, and support was 100x better. But it wasnt stable enough for my server, so I ran freebsd. But that was a few years ago. Ive always been able to explain to my friends who run BSD, that I need SMP support, so I run linux. But its also how linux has better configuration utilties and drivers. After using linux for years, I know where everything is, easy to setup and fix.

    Now, Linux is rock solid, and I get to laugh at my friends who cant X setup on thier freebsd boxes. But then, by the time a good bsd distro will be out, newer and better linux kernels will be out, with new vm's and more features.

    The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' (I found it!) but 'That's funny ...' - Isaac Asimov (1920 - 1992)
  • Transition (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tiny69 (34486) on Sunday January 20, 2002 @03:10AM (#2871413) Homepage Journal
    Not too long ago, someone made the comment on slashdot about the general progression of Linux users. As a users becomes more experienced with Linux, they tend to shift from:

    Mandrake/RedHat -> Debian/Slackware -> *BSD

    It seems that Debian is going to make that last transition a little easier.

    • Mandrake/RedHat -> Debian/Slackware -> *BSD -> Debian

    • Re:Transition (Score:4, Interesting)

      by m_ilya (311437) <> on Sunday January 20, 2002 @11:33AM (#2872032) Homepage
      Funny but I've switched my desktop OS in slightly different order:

      RedHat -> Slackware -> FreeBSD -> Debian

      For desktop OS I find Debian Linux more convient than FreeBSD for two reasons:

      • Linux have better support for multimedia devices than FreeBSD
      • Debian have more prepackaged software than FreeBSD and in general quality of debian packages is better than FreeBSD ports thanks for Debian strict packaging policy.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 20, 2002 @05:39AM (#2871651)
    The original proposal was for Debian OpenBSD:

    Debian OpenBSD topic []

    Debian OpenBSD txt []
  • I'm a bit confused here. Didn't the GNU community (what is pretty much what debian is) show it's openness to other kernels when it accepted the linux kernel while continuing on with the original GNU Hurd system? Even knowing it would slow down the progress of the Hurd?

    I'm confused because the listy of reasons seem to suggest that it was in accepting the Hurd that states Debian is open to other kernels.

    And even the Hurd is open to different micro-kernels! Mach and L4 are current micro kernel use efforts.
    • Linus's kernel and the GNU project are two seperate things. GNU predates the Linus's kernel and was always meant to be a complete Unix implementation - both user tools such as gcc, glibc, emacs, tar, ftp, etc, etc, and the kernel HURD. The timing of it was that the GNU project was pretty much complete excepting HURD while in parallel and independently Linus had started his kernel project and it had got to the point of being usable.

      My history is a bit shaky here, but I think it was the Slackware team which first made the unholy alliance of the GNU tools and Linus's kernel, and released it as a Unix distibution. I think Linus may have coined the name "Linux" a bit earlier for the combination of his kernel and a small set of GNU tools.

      I think that Debian is more of a Linux distribution than a GNU project - even though the GNU project is what make Linux possible, they've never actually put out distributions of their OS themselves. But of course Stallman would like them to get credit for the fact that the only part of Linux that is Linus's is the kernel (a miniscule part of what's in a "Linux" distribution).. hence the GNU/Linux and GNU/HURD pedantry which is quite reasonable apart from Stallman's initially obnoxious way of handling it.
      • Well, no, it was Linus himself who first paired the kernel with GNU tools. He developed it using GNU development tools on Minix and then Linux itself once it was usable, and ASAP he had the standard GNU toolset compiled and running on his own box.

        Perhaps Slackware did indeed release the first distribution; but from the start, GNU was used on Linux. I imagine that the 0.1 release had some mention of "BTW, if you want to actually DO anything, go get the GNU stuff..."
  • What next? (Score:2, Funny)

    by archen (447353)
    Does this mean that the "BSD is dyeing" guy is going to finally update his message to include Linux?
  • I once thought of making a Linux distro -- yeah, everyone has -- but short story shorter, I don't have that itch to scratch anymore, since I have sitting in front of me a box that's running just Win2k. I got cygwin, liked it for a while, and have grown to hate it. Slow, buggy, and now unreliable in config -- make stopped working, some weird interaction with shell quoting. Make is kinda important yunno. The DLL that every last damn cygwin program needs is also GPL'd, which ironically might violate the LGPL for a lot of binutils. Discouraging commercial apps from using cygwin might be A Good Thing anyway, since it's not a paragon of security (it uses a shm segment to keep state like fd's). So I'm switching to MinGW, which is much nicer in many ways, but it has an even worse system of distribution than cygwin's rather unimpressive kludgy installer (which for starters is impossible to use without a mouse)

    So I am wondering, what about porting something like BSD ports or Gentoo's portage or Debian's apt to MinGW? They're all ostensibly architecture-neutral, right? Personally I am leaning toward ports, because it uses the right language for dependency checking (make), it doesn't require packages (great for embryonic distros that don't have everything in packages). Portage OTOH looks like it has transactional features ports does not. I don't want to get mired in trying to design The Package System To End All Package Systems ... I would like to know if anyone else is working on such a thing for cygwin and/or mingw though.
  • I am not a NetBSD user, but I love FreeBSD like Madonna loves dick. Debian's pkgs are interminably behind the curve relative to the rest of Linux-land and this would only serve to slow down NetBSD's acceptance. As far as BSDs go, NetBSD aims for hardware-indpedence/multiple platform acceptance. It is already behind the curve as far as pkgs go. The Debian "keep it stable at the cost of progress" mentality might hurt NetBSD. Please keep these people away. They might come after FreeBSD and really dick up things. Luckily, OpenBSD has Theo -- who is just plain mean as shit -- to protect the very important security work that is done over there. I don't see Hubbard as such a crusader to stop the "everything-that-is-bad-about-linux" crowd from poking their heads in.
    • by faedle (114018)
      I'm sorry if keeping it stable is such a bad thing for you. Fortunately for people who's jobs depend on reliability and stablilty of the systems they maintain, there are people like the Debian developers who think that keeping it stable is a Good Thing.

      How quickly we forget that stability is how many of us have sold Linux and *BSD to our employers, and that sudden rash changes and stability problems can leave those who require stability out in a lurch.

      I see Debian's methodical approach to "current" as a good thing. Debian is about choice: if you want to be on the bleeding edge, please run unstable, we need the beta testers. If that's not your game, here's the stable tree. If you're really anal (or demented), here's the last version with security patches.

      Sounds like a win for everybody. NetBSD gains more users (those who happen to get off on apt-get), Debian gets to work on porting to other kernels (a major cornerstone of the Debian project's defined goals), and everybody gets more choice.

      Stay away from system administrators who think that the "latest" is always the "greatest."

The other line moves faster.