Subject: Re: union filesystem problems
To: Rick Byers <>
From: Chris G. Demetriou <>
List: current-users
Date: 05/11/1999 08:23:11
Rick Byers <> writes:
> What does everyone else think?

If there's already a NetBSD-1.4 directory on the FTP server (there
is), you're _way_ too late and should have made the concern clearer

At this point, the _best_ you're going to get is an entry into the

In my opinion, the practice of putting everthing under the sun into
GENERIC just because it compiles and maybe mostly works is broken.  As
far as I'm concerned, GENERIC should be "Enough to get booted, with
support for all of the devices likely to be in the machine, but not
much more."

You will note that the NetBSD/alpha GENERIC kernel doesn't not contain
any of the 'weird' file systems, just FFS, MFS, CD9660, MSDOSFS, and
NFS -- the set of file systems likely to be directly useful on an
Alpha in a standard configuration.  If you want every last option on
an alpha, there's another config file to provide that.

As OS developers, it's just as much our job to decide what _shouldn't_
be the default as what should be.

Realistically, given their current level of functionality, what
fraction of users find _any_ real utility from NULLFS, KERNFS, FDESC,
PORTAL, UMAPFS, PROCFS, or UNION?  How many users actually care about
the UFS QUOTA code, or XNS, CCITT, or ISO networking?  It's not an
insignificant number, but i'd bet there's a high correlation between
that set of users and the set that has a strong understanding of what
to put in a kernel config.  (Only to mention a few possibilities,
picked because they're all in the default x86 GENERIC config file and
I don't think most users get much use out of them.  Certainly, except
for experimentation, I've not.)

While I'll grant that the name I chose for the Alpha catch-all kernel
(ALPHA) wasn't as great or as easily adoptable as it could have been,
that's little excuse for the lack of judgement being exercised on
behalf of other many ports.

(Bet you weren't expecting a rant in response to your question, eh?  8-)

Chris Demetriou - -
Disclaimer: Not speaking for NetBSD, just expressing my own opinion.