Subject: Re: Release cycles (Was: Re: RealAudio)
To: John F. Woods <>
From: Jim Bernard <>
List: current-users
Date: 11/01/1997 18:17:45
On 11 1, John F. Woods wrote:
> >  A disadvantage, to be sure--but then, I've never really understood the
> >intense need that a lot of people seem to have for having their OS's
> >distributed on CD.
> Leave college (assuming, unwarrantedly, that that's the reason you have a .edu
> address).  Get a modem connection, especially in a rural area with poor phone
> lines.  You'll gain a new appreciation for CDs.

  Sorry--wrong classification.  Anyway, I do use a modem, and the most efficient
way for me to upgrade is to compile from source--I don't expect most people
to do that, but it works best for me.

> Or:  lose a disk.  Now, do you want to (a) spend all day babysitting a download
> and unpacking gzip'ped tar files and recompiling, or (b) pop in a CD, run a
> command, and be done with it?  Now, method (a) is great if you're trying to
> avoid studying, perhaps, but few people have the bandwidth into their homes
> to make (a) more rewarding for those with limited hobby time.

  For those with isolated machines, a CD is clearly superior.  However, most
users (I think) have machines attached to (possibly very small) networks,
where salvation is just an ftp away (you _do_ keep a spare copy of your OS
stashed on another disk or another machine, don't you?).

> 	I would also point out to the general audience that the commonly-seen
> 	sentiment "I've never really understood the intense need that a lot
> 	of people seem to have for <anything differing even slightly from
> 	my preferences>" is a significant part of why Linux and FreeBSD have
> 	more users (even if not the greatest part):  they *cater* to people
> 	who want to use their systems a bit more, and by golly, people *use*
> 	their systems more.  (Of course, the core group has turned down a
> 	number of suggestions that would have made NetBSD even more mass-user
> 	hostile from some of the "I've never really understood..." crowd.)

  You're absolutely right that such a narrow-minded attitude is inappropriate
and counter productive.  What I was attempting to express, perhaps overly
provocatively, was simply that I don't share the "it must be on CD, or I
won't use it" view, not that it's an invalid or inferior one.  I would point
out, FWIW, that those folks in my experience who do seem rather attached to
getting their OS's on CD's do have high-bandwidth connections available.

> > It's seems so...static--guaranteed to be obsolete by
> > the time it's available--kind of like releases, actually, but with the
> > additional delay time incurred by burning and shipping CD's.
> Two whole weeks?  The horror!  Any portmaster who is willing to go through

  For 1.2 it was either 4 or 6 months (I've forgotten which), and I don't
regard that as trivial.  I expect 1.3 to be much better in that regard.

> It's a simple, observational fact that there are a lot of people who vastly
> prefer canned CDs for their operating systems.  Arguing that it shouldn't be
> so is like arguing that the sun should rise in the West and set in the East.

  Agreed.  (And I didn't argue that.)

> Torpedoing a proposed release strategy because people should not prefer CDs
> makes precisely as much sense as torpedoing it because the sun rises in the
> wrong place.

  Did somebody suggest that?  If so, I missed it.

  And, just to clarify: my original remark about CD's was an aside, and had
_no_ causal, deductive, or other relationship to my suggestion that releases
be abolished.  Indeed, I had mentioned how one might go about assembling a
CD under such a scheme.