On 2009-02-07, der Mouse <mouse%rodents-montreal.org@localhost> wrote:
Prompted by smb's response to ad's note about "Desktop NetBSD"....
I'm actually starting to notice a fundamental divide here. There seem
to be two groups of people (I'm painting with a broad brush here; the
boundaries are not as sharp as I'm making them sound, but I think this
characterization is useful enough to think about). One group uses
"modern" machines (i386, ia64, amd64), sees disk, RAM, and CPU cycles
as cheap, and wants a "desktop experience", preferably one that looks
as much like the Windows/Mac/Linux world as possible. The other group
uses other ports (sandpoint, vax, shark, pmax, the list is long), sees
CPU cycles, RAM, sometimes even disk space as scarce resources, and is
perfectly happy with a command line (or occasionally, as in embedded
systems, no UI at all). Most of the conflicts I've seen within the
project, recently, are between these two camps. Perhaps we need
another split? It would certainly cut down on those conflicts and
each group happier, letting them have what they want without
struggling with the other.
As a desktop user running NetBSD on "modern" (amd64) hardware, I would
find such a split unfortunate. If I wanted a Linux-like user
experience, I would run Linux. The reason I turned to NetBSD was its
clean and light design, which I think is to a large part due to the
constraints imposed by its multi-architecture and multi-purpose
nature. The main area in which I would wish to see improvements is
not desktop experience but drivers and hardware support.
For a while now, NetBSD has been my last refuge against the seemingly
overwhelming tide of bloatware and GUI-centric design. If NetBSD (or
its "modern-hardware" branch) was to become another Linux clone, I
wouldn't know where to turn next.