Subject: port-i386/36631: Change Request
To: None <email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org,>
From: None <email@example.com>
Date: 07/11/2007 07:55:00
>Synopsis: Change Request
>Arrival-Date: Wed Jul 11 07:55:00 +0000 2007
>Originator: David A. Clark, Jr.
Cannot yet cut and paste, which is part of my change request at hand...
First, I would be remiss if I did not mention that I am what some
might regard a newbie to NetBSD, or BSD in general. I have limited,
"home user" experience with OpenBSD, and slightly more experience with
Gentoo GNU/Linux. I would be equally remiss if I did not also
congratulate and thank the NetBSD developers and contributors for
providing what I would thus far consider a wonderful system... Thank
you and job well done!
Having said that, there are a few areas in which I feel NetBSD could
provide a more rewarding experience to its end users. Also, I think
these suggestions could be easilly incorporated. Of course, I am no
"expert" with BSD, so if I am ignoring what others might feel are
obvious oversights in the realm of security, for instance, please
excuse my ignorance in that regard. Now, I am not about to suggest
something silly as "Offer an easier editor than vi." I am not THAT
much a newbie!
1) The installation utility (sysinstall, is it?) could default to ffs2
over ffs1 for disk slices, perhaps even with softdeps enabled. Maybe
this is bad? Maybe it could at least more actively sell the option to
the user. Ffs2 seems to work MUCH faster, especially with softdeps
enabled. Also, the default scheme of everything under one slice seems
like a bad idea to me. An "auto" feature ala FreeBSD's disklabel
utility would have been handy. The disk partitioning portion of
sysinstall is by no means difficult to use--OpenBSD's is horrid in
comparison--but, in the end, these seem like changes that could make
it even better than it already is.
2) I know there is no ulterior mission to have GNU/Linux users "defect
to the BSD side" or anything, but having come from Gentoo GNU/Linux
and building a LFS a few times, I grew accustomed to having certain
ammenities right off the bat. Command Line History is a big winner for
me, and I really had to dig in the man pages before I figured out how
to enable this basic feature. Actually, I would not go so far as to
say "put 'set -o emacs' or 'set -o vi'" in the skeleton '.profile'. I
think it at least deserved honorable mention in the wscons section of
3) Another ammenity that I find indespensable, and missing in the
GENERIC kernel, is being able to scroll back the console buffer. This
has utility beyond viewing dmesg... That is not where I am going with
this; rather, consider this scenerio: You just installed NetBSD. One
of the first things you might do is check out what is in /etc/. Well,
there is an aweful lot in there, and 'ls' in any form is not going to
make it fit in one screen. Piping it, 'ls /etc/ | less' for example,
becomes tedious after a while, and compiling a custom kernel is not
something many users may want to do right off the bat.
4) Defaulting or at least offering the option to default to wsvt25
over vt* would be handy. Again, nothing earth shattering, but having
color is nice. Maybe an option to default to a 132 column vt would
handy, too. (I am still digging in the manuals to figure this one
out.) A console framebuffer is overkill, I am sure, but anything to
fit more text on a modern display is nice, and since I cannot get X to
work for the life of me (bug report forthcoming), I am stuck with the
console for the time being.
5) Speaking of which... Defaulting to insecure consoles/terminals and
forcing an under-privledged account would make NetBSD more secure by
default. Why not make sudo part of the base system or maybe a
security.tgz set? Even better, the disk could offer a few packages or
even pkgsrc, much like FreeBSD offers the option of installing ports
with the base installation. Su-ing becomes tedious after a while, and
while sudo is just a pkg_add away, some people may have other
priorities before adding packages.
6) Having a simple browser and irc client available in much the same
fashion would be ammenable, too. How do you check the mailing lists
for bugs if pkg_add fails?
These are a few things that I think would make NetBSD more accessible
for less-experienced users. Perhaps even some of the experts out there
might find them handy, too.
In closure, these suggestions I have made are purely in the interest
of making NetBSD more ammenable to the non-gurus out there, much as I
would classify myself. It is an exellent system, and right now the
only one that works stably on this laptop I am using right now.
OpenBSD and DragonFly have exhibited all manner of problems. FreeBSD
works somewhat better. That says a lot to me. Much as I do with
anything, I would just love to see it be even better.
No problem. Just a few usability nits from a newbie.