Subject: Re: /etc/daily and /scratch
To: der Mouse <mouse@Collatz.McRCIM.McGill.EDU>
From: Ken Hornstein <>
List: current-users
Date: 03/29/1996 13:13:51
>Do we want to be a research system, one aimed at people who don't mind,
>nay, even enjoy, getting their hands dirty grubbing around inside
>kernels and compilers and such?  Do we want to be a "solution", an OS
>aimed at people who have trouble telling the mouse from the keyboard
>and are lucky not to stuff the cdrom into the floppy drive?  Just whom
>_do_ we want to be for?

Hmm, somewhere in the middle, I would hope.

There are some advantaged to catering the the "point and drool" market.
When you increase the user base, you'll get more people who work on the
OS.  Look at, for example, Linux ... whenever there's a weirdo card out,
Linux is generally the first free Unix that supports it.  Why?  Because
they've got the numbers.

If it was up to me, I would hope that NetBSD would be useful to novice
users and to "power Unix users" alike.  Certainly FreeBSD is doing a
better job in this respect - they've got some of the things that makes
life easier for novices, like a good installation/upgrade procedure,
so they get more users.

>I don't know.  I haven't heard any clear direction from core - indeed,
>from anyone - on this matter.  I'd like to know, if anyone can say,
>what the intended target audience for NetBSD is...if only so that I
>know whether I should go my way and let it go its if I'm not part of
>said audience.

I have heard people from core speak on this subject - as I recall, I believe
that the general opinion was that NetBSD is trying to be a high-quality,
POSIX-compliant OS.  But I suspect that we haven't heard too much about
that because it's a hard question to answer.

>Certainly _I_ have no use for a "just click here to
>upgrade" release, and consequently consider time spent specifically
>making life easier for such things time wasted.

I don't think there's any effort under way to "dumb down" NetBSD; I for one
would certainly object to such efforts.  But don't you think that increasing
the NetBSD user base, thus increasing the number of people who work on NetBSD,
would be a good thing?  One big hurdle people have with installing NetBSD
is that it's hard to install (especially on the i386 port, where people
have to deal with dumb PC crap).