Subject: Re: Future of NetBSD??
To: Jim Wise <wisej@acf4.NYU.EDU>
From: Michael L. VanLoon -- <>
List: current-users
Date: 06/25/1995 20:46:52
Windows NT/NetBSD discussion follows, skip now to keep sanity.  Wish
that I could direct "Follow-ups" elsewhere.  If anyone else wishes to
continue this discussion, please cc: only the respondents to this
thread, and don't direct further mail to current-users.

>On Sun, 25 Jun 1995, Michael L. VanLoon -- wrote:
>> and run it exclusively on my main machine at home, Windows NT is the
>> most reliable operating system I have used.
>> I'm not saying it's better.  God knows I curse missing functionality
>> in it daily, but it is more reliable, IMHO.  And, Microsoft is gearing
>> up major advertising pushing Windows NT as the server OS of choice.
>> So... you read the cards.

>Read which cards?  UN*X in it's assorted forms has lasted as _the_
>server/high-end OS through major advertising pushes by Digital,
>IBM, Novell, Honneywell, Data General, and dozens more...  It'll be

In which setting?  In university research settings and large corporate
settings with lots of dedicated support staff, yes you're probably
right.  In the low-end high-volume commodity market, the server "OS"
of choice has been Novell Netware for years, with Windows NT and, to a
lesser extent, IBM OS/2, making inroads recently.  Unix is used in
many shops only because there isn't a more mundane, simple to use,
alternative that works.  Novell is moving Netware in that direction
with its next generation Netware/Unixware mutation, IBM is pushing
OS/2 hard as an alternative, and Windows NT is very much in the

Don't kid yourself -- the average small business generally has no
interest in Unix's superior design, but simply wants a good server OS.
They have no love for Unix, in general, and would dump it in a minute
if something really easy and powerful, which would meet all their
server needs were available.  Unix has been the only real alternative
for many shops in the past, but not so much any more.  As long as
there are less "technically superior" OS' that provide all the
necessary basic functionality, and are MUCH easier to administer, Unix
will start losing out to these pedestrian server OS' in many shops
where application, file, and print serving is the biggest need.
Generally, small to medium sized businesses, where they don't have an
interested in spending a lot of time adminning a server, and don't
have the money to hire full-time support staff to do so.

>there.  Besides, advertising aside, MS is _not_ especially pushing
>WinNT.  The requirement that products seeking Windows-Compatible
>Branding must run under Win95 at least, NT optional, means that even
>if NT does provide more, its added features won't see the light...

You haven't really been paying much attention to Microsoft's push of
their BackOffice products.  These are NT-only server aps.  They are a
big part of Microsoft's enterprise-oriented software efforts.  Things
like SQL-server, mainframe connectivity serving, high-end file and
print serving.  And, the latest, Microsoft Exchange, which will be to
Lotus Notes/cc:Mail what Excel is to Lotus 1-2-3 (and I might point
out that Microsoft Mail and cc:Mail have over seven million installed
desktops, by industry counts).  From my observations, they don't
advertise these things as highly in the technical computer rags as
they do in the business management type rags.  And, they haven't
really started pushing BackOffice hard until recently.

True, Microsoft is pushing Win95 on the desktop.  But, they're pushing
NT Server hard for the back office server.  And, in fact, there are
lots of big corporate accounts already who Microsoft is making deals
with to upgrade their desktops to NT instead of Win95, because they
don't wany to continue waiting for Win95 to ship, and they don't want
to sit through the initial bug-fixing stage of Win95's first release.

Anyway, to re-align this discussion with NetBSD...  I just wanted to
point out that there is a comparable OS from Microsoft, and it is very
good in many respects.  NetBSD will probably never be a commodity OS
that can compete with Microsoft -- it will probably always be a niche
OS.  I personally believe it's the best thing I can install on my
computer.  But the world in general is not going to be bowled over by
it any time that I can forsee in the near future.

I love NetBSD.  It could conceivably be a really great research OS at
many universities.  It may even be the CSRG of the future.  But I
don't see it making a dent in corporate America, Microsoft's own back

  Michael L. VanLoon                       
       --<  Free your mind and your machine -- NetBSD free un*x  >--
     NetBSD working ports: 386+PC, Mac, Amiga, HP300, Sun3, Sun4, PC532,
                           DEC pmax (MIPS R2k/3k), DEC/AXP (Alpha)
     NetBSD ports in progress: VAX and others...