Subject: Re: OpenBSD
To: David Holland <>
From: Greg A. Woods <>
List: current-users
Date: 09/21/1998 22:56:52
[ On Mon, September 21, 1998 at 18:19:54 (-0400), David Holland wrote: ]
> Subject: Re: OpenBSD
> Well, that's not clear, because OpenBSD won't release their fixes,
> because then other systems would be able to catch up to them on
> security, or some kind of nonsense like that.
> Their usual answer is to read their cvs commits mailing list.

I hate to be "the devil's advocate" on this one, but perhaps someone who
is in fact on the NetBSD side should do so....

What the heck are you talking about?  "won't release their fixes"????
You've got to be joking.

The OpenBSD folks not ony make their "cvs commit" messsages mailing list
available (just like NetBSD and FreeBSD do), but they also have an
anonymous CVS server available for use by anyone, *and* a WWW interface
to their CVS tree.  What more could you ask for?  Bug reports?  Well it
just so happens the OpenBSD folks also make available their GNATS based
PR database and it's trivial to generate a report of closed PRs from it
using their WWW query interface (again much like NetBSD and FreeBSD).

They OpenBSD folks try their hardest to guile the other BSD's into
getting the diffs from their CVS tree and use them to make the same
fixes in the other BSDs.  In fact if you watch the NetBSD (and FreeBSD)
commit messages and PR comments you'll often find notes to this effect
(i.e. that NetBSD does borrow changes from OpenBSD on occasion and does
give credit where it's due).

It should be a simple matter of checking out a current (or released)
version of OpenBSD side-by-side with NetBSD sources and running diff
where desired and "cvs log", "cvs annotate", "cvs diff" et all in the
OpenBSD working directory to see what and why things changed.  They even
have at least their starting release of NetBSD in the vendor branch of
the CVS tree so that you can also see what might be different in NetBSD
since OpenBSD started.

They don't want to do all of this diff'ing and explaining just to
satisfy arbitrary whim's of third parties for much the same reason you
might not want to do so on your own -- it's a non-trivial task because
there's just sooo much code and there are likely lots of changes
un-related to the category of changes you might be interested in
comparing (eg. security, or device driver interfaces, or whatever).  Not
only that but they *know* what they've changed and don't have to, and
may not even want to, go back over all this history, esp. since it's all
recorded in public view (i.e. in their CVS tree).

I've done comparisons of this sort to some extent with FreeBSD, though
with FreeBSD the differences are even more radical, esp. in the kernel
because they've not done much of the organization necessary to keep
order in a multi-platform world as NetBSD has, and one, or the other, or
both, have totally re-written various sub-systems, such as VM, sysctl,,
and soon SCSI, etc.  With FreeBSD of course it's easier to get a
complete and up-to-date copy of their CVS tree with CVSup.

							Greg A. Woods

+1 416 218-0098      VE3TCP      <>      <robohack!woods>
Planix, Inc. <>; Secrets of the Weird <>