Subject: Re: NetBSD and my life...
To: None <netbsd-advocacy@NetBSD.org>
From: Stephen Borrill <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 09/13/2005 11:21:54
On Mon, 12 Sep 2005, Shigeki UNO wrote:
> I like this kind of story and would like to read some others.
Back in the pre-1.1 days (1993?), I was doing a PhD and I was introduced
to Unix for the first time (using Masscomp machines - anyone remember
those?). It blew away Windows (or DOS as it was mainly then) and every
other OS I'd used. I had an Acorn RiscPC and I wanted to run some form of
Unix-alike on it. RiscBSD (which later became NetBSD/arm32) was very early
on and not part of the NetBSD tree, but was the only option (interestingly
RISCiX was a 4.3BSD OS written by Acorn for their older machines, but it
wouldn't run on the RiscPC). Armed with about 40 floppies, I trudged
elsewhere in the uni and downloaded it (a slow job!). Got it installed and
I never looked back.
After the PhD, I decided that academia wasn't for me and so got a job at
Acorn in tech support. The company then merged with Apple to become Acorn
and Apple's sole provider to education in the UK. A new client came out
which booted using bootp and NFS with no local storage. I took it and got
it to boot from NetBSD. The company ran with this and we launched in
January 1997 (using 1.2G IIRC). We sold these systems to schools all over
the UK (so Apple UK were effectively selling BSD boxes into schools years
before MacOS X). In 1999, Apple bought out the whole company and anything
non-Apple got dumped. I took all the IPR and set up my own company to
continue development. We rebranded it and moved to Intel hardware.
NetBSD's single source tree and cross-platform ability meant this was very
easy). We expanded the services it provided and to this day continue to
sell Internet/security servers to schools throughout the UK (In fact, I'm
currently typing this on such a machine out on site while their Windows
server rebuilds after a crash). See http://www.netmanager.info/
We are also heavily into Citrix and thin-client computing. We sell a
product based on NetBSD which converts pretty much any old PC into a
centrally-managed thin-client. This is installed in the hundreds at some
schools. We are also due to launch our own range of thin-client hardware
at the end of the month which is, once again, NetBSD based (this time
running 3.0_BETA and waiting for a full release!). http://www.thinit.info/
I like to think that in our small way, we are introducing people to NetBSD
(even if they don't see much of it). Many tens of thousands of pupils and
teachers throughout the UK use NetBSD every day because of us.