Subject: point-and-drool installation (was Re: /etc/daily and /scratch)
To: None <current-users@NetBSD.ORG>
From: der Mouse <mouse@Collatz.McRCIM.McGill.EDU>
List: current-users
Date: 03/30/1996 08:37:16
>> Do we want to be a research system, [...]?

> I hate to say this but, "Come over and visit the real world some time."

> If NetBSD wants to be a "research system," i.e. used by researchers,
> then it _HAS_ to support "point-and-drool" operation.  Researchers
> don't want to "get their hands dirty grubbing around ..."

Sigh.  I would have hoped my explanatory comment would have clarified
what I meant.  I continued,

>> one aimed at people who don't mind, nay, even enjoy, getting their
>> hands dirty grubbing around inside kernels and compilers and such?

By "research system" I did not - do not - mean a system intended for
people doing, say, psychophysics research, or aerodynamics research.
Such people are, as you point out, point-and-drool end users from this
point of view.

I meant a system intended for people doing software research.  Stuff
like experimenting with tweaks to TCP to make it behave better in the
current Internet.  Stuff like implementing IPv6.  Stuff like new
optimization techniques in the compiler.

> If NetBSD wants to be a "hacker's OS," then it already is.

And personally, I'm mainly concerned that it stay that way.  Someone
pointed out that brain-free installation procedures are orthogonal to
it being a hacker's OS.  This does sound like a reasonable claim, but I
have yet to see an example, a system with "trust us, it Just Works"
installation that wasn't also full of baroque undocumented internal
interfaces that you don't dare touch because things break in cryptic
and borderline unfixable ways if you do.

Perhaps NetBSD can be the counterexample I haven't yet seen, but I'm
not holding my breath.  Not that I would mind if it were; I just don't
want to see it walk down the same path to ruin that Solaris (nee SunOS)
and IRIX - to name the two cases I'm most familiar with - have.

					der Mouse