Subject: Linux and FreeBSD support (was Re: RealAudio)
To: Tom T. Thai <>
From: Todd Vierling <>
List: current-users
Date: 10/30/1997 21:55:40
On Thu, 30 Oct 1997, Tom T. Thai wrote:

: get lots of twisting going! :)  I am getting tired of seeing all this
: support out there for Linux and FreeBSD but no native support for NetBSD.

Not to support this trend, but to explain why vendors make products for
FreeBSD and Linux instead of NetBSD/i386:

- FreeBSD and Linux have a bit more commercial support behind them.
  How many vendors now make fully supported Linux based OSes now?
- FreeBSD and Linux have a bit more "oompfh" behind them when it comes to
  making new system releases.  (How long has it been between NetBSD 1.2 and
  1.3?)  This "looks good" in the corporate eye, even if "version" is
  really only a buzzword.
- NetBSD/i386 is perfectly capable of running both FreeBSD and Linux/x86
  binaries almost flawlessly.  (Hence why many vendors make a "statically
  linked" version--usually Linux, because FreeBSD can run it too.)
- NetBSD/i386 can add the FreeBSD and Linux shared libraries for free, if
  the application is not statically linked.  I'm actually cobbling together
  library bundles I'll put up for ftp shortly for just this purpose, in the
  spirit of FreeBSD's linux_lib package.

I myself don't mind the vendors continuing to develop for FreeBSD and Linux;
in fact, I deliberately cross-compile my third-party programs to SunOS (for
NetBSD/sparc) or Linux (for NetBSD/i386) whenever I add something to my
testbed machines, because it ensures that I can take the same bundle of
binaries and run them on the largest number of machines out there.  Granted,
this may seem a little inefficient, but I have the memory to spare to have
both NetBSD and Linux shared libraries in core at once.

Binary compatibility, though tiresome at times, is a very real and very
useful thing.  Be glad it exists, because it's (IMHO) the biggest feature
NetBSD can tout, and a significant one at that.

(note of thought:  "rpm2cpio" is a godsend utility.  ;)

== Todd Vierling (Personal; Business
== I know you like the Internet, Bobby.  Now go eat your Frosted Flakes.