Subject: port-i386/36631: Change Request
To: None <,,>
From: None <>
List: netbsd-bugs
Date: 07/11/2007 07:55:00
>Number:         36631
>Category:       port-i386
>Synopsis:       Change Request
>Confidential:   no
>Severity:       non-critical
>Priority:       low
>Responsible:    port-i386-maintainer
>State:          open
>Class:          change-request
>Submitter-Id:   net
>Arrival-Date:   Wed Jul 11 07:55:00 +0000 2007
>Originator:     David A. Clark, Jr.
>Release:        3.1
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 
The Guide. 
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.