Subject: Re: Community Issues ** LONG **
To: Michael Graff <firstname.lastname@example.org>
From: Ted Lemon <email@example.com>
Date: 02/22/1999 15:33:22
> > I think that by and large, the reason NetBSD does not have such a
> > person is because we don't want it to.
> Who's "we" here? I'd like to have NetBSD be more widely known, used,
> etc. I can only convert so many people over in one lifetime. :)
Well, I notice that you didn't say you'd like to have NetBSD run by
some single charismatic figure, even though the context would suggest
that that is your argument. I'd love to have NetBSD be more widely
known, used, etc. However, if you look at how FreeBSD and Linux both
operate, I think you can see that the charismatic central figure isn't
a universal win.
In the case of Linux, the real reason it's such a success is because
by and large Linus stays the hell out of it. He's got no particular
ax to grind, and isn't pushing his own agenda. As a consequence,
while he allows some stupid decisions to be made on occasion, things
generally go reasonably well, and the many schisms that have occurred
in the linux community have never drawn them away from running the
same kernel. The result of this isn't what I'd call a win, because
there's no consistent Linux distribution, but how hard can you argue
In the case of FreeBSD, I would argue that the reason it works as well
as it does is that Jordan again has no ax to grind, and doesn't
presume to tell people how to do things - all he does is marketing.
The reason FreeBSD is more popular than NetBSD is probably a
combination of marketing and a lack of purism.
NetBSD is a community of purists with no real central leader. We all
subscribe to a core set of common ideals, but disagree probably on
more ideals than we agree upon. The result is slow progress, a lot
of arguments, and, frankly, pretty decent code. Another result is a
tremendous amount of frustration, and a lot of wasted work.
I don't really see any way to resolve our problems. I think we are
all doing a good work by participating in the NetBSD project, even if
we do squabble more than is entirely healthy. Will NetBSD ever
really take over the world? Probably not. Is it worth hacking on?
Probably. Should we place our fate in the hands of some individual
Fearless Leader who will solve all our problems? I think you already
know my answer to this question.