Subject: Re: Debian runs on NetBSD
To: Petri Koistinen <email@example.com>
From: Alistair Crooks <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 01/17/2002 11:38:54
On Thu, Jan 17, 2002 at 08:59:02AM +0200, Petri Koistinen wrote:
> In case you read Debian Weekly News you have noticed that there is now
> also Debian NetBSD. This could be good possibility to join the forces of
> *BSD and Linux people.
Just to comment on your webpage entitled: "Why Debian NetBSD?".
I'm not trying to be argumentative, or contrary, just interested
by some of the design decisions, and correcting some terminology.
> NetBSD runs on hardware unsupported by Linux. Porting Debian to
> the NetBSD kernel increases the number of platforms that can run
> a GNU-based operating system
I don't see how any result of using a Debian userland on top of
a NetBSD kernel can be described as "GNU-based". A minor nit perhaps,
but looking at the Linux arena from the outside, there seems to be
a few spats over who did what, and, accordingly, what it should be
called. A NetBSD kernel is surely the basis for Debian NetBSD, and
so the resulting Operating Environment cannot be described as
> The Debian Hurd project demonstrates that Debian is not tied to
> one specific kernel. However, the Hurd kernel is still relatively
> immature - a Debian NetBSD system would be usable at a production
I'm intrigued how things like the 4.4 BSD stackable file systems,
to name but one BSD feature, are going to be provided by a Debian
userland. Is this a straight copy of the various BSD mount_*
utilities, or has Debian GNU/Linux grown stackable filesystems?
In addition, there are a number of places where the kernel is
directly connected to userland utilities, in such things as fstat,
or ps. How did you get around these problems?
> Lessons learned from the porting of Debian to NetBSD can be used
> in porting Debian to other kernels (such as FreeBSD and OpenBSD)
> In contrast to projects like Fink or Debian w32, Debian NetBSD
> does not exist in order to provide extra software or a Unix-style
> environment to an existing OS (the *BSD ports trees are already
> comprehensive, and they unarguably provide a Unix-style environment).
> Instead, a user or administrator used to a more traditional Debian
> system should feel comfortable with a Debian NetBSD system immediately
> and competent in a relatively short period of time
In NetBSD, the third party software packaging system is called
the packages collection, or pkgsrc. A "port" is an architecture
or platform to which NetBSD has been ported.
> Not everybody likes the *BSD ports tree or the *BSD userland
> (this is a personal preference thing, rather than any sort of
> comment on quality). Linux distributions have been produced which
> provide *BSD style ports or a *BSD style userland for those who
> like the BSD user environment but also wish to use the Linux kernel
> - Debian NetBSD is the logical reverse of this, allowing people
> who like the GNU userland or a Linux-style packaging system to use
> the NetBSD kernel
And, likewise, NetBSD's pkgsrc runs on NetBSD, Solaris, Linux,
and, just recently, huge steps have been taken on Darwin. Again,
personal preference thing, no other comments.
> Because we can
You can, because the BSD and NetBSD architects and designers got
things right in the first place. I think you should acknowledge
that in your web pages.