Subject: Re: The Future of NetBSD
To: None <>
From: Eye of the Beholder <>
List: netbsd-users
Date: 09/01/2006 18:54:46

I want to say that to a degree a agree with what Mr. Hannum said about
NetBSD having fallen behind on some things, but i don't think it is
some thing that the Foundation did wrong.

I believe the reason is lack of manpower. Let's not forget that NetBSD
has the smallest developer community of the *BSDs. So, the developers
have to put priorities in their TODO list. Although, i would like to
see some things get to NetBSD, this is completely understandable.

NetBSD developers do a wonderful job. Maybe, a leader would hire some
new developers that would implement the things that are missing very
quickly, but who assures the leader that these new developers would code
per NetBSD quality standards ? Speed coding is not everything. That's
the beauty of the "cathedral model". It is slower but the coding is
better. After all, that is NetBSD's headline. It's code cleanliness
that helped it ported to almost every cpu architecture there is.

Let me mention an example. My sound card chipset was not supported, so
i filed a PR about it. In a few hours i got a reply from Mr. Kent "I
did it. Please try it". I tried it and it worked flawlessly.
That's the beauty of NetBSD. In a OS using the bazaar model, there
would be an ugly hack for the chipset which would break the mixer. After
complaining they would fix the mixer which in turn would break the spdif
and after that they would revert both "fixes" to write a good one.

NetBSD remains one of the OSes with clean code which leads to stability
and performance and is one of less bloated with garbage OSes (if not the
least bloated). It's base system contains only what is needed. 

When, the tests of Internet2 speed were done SUNet chose NetBSD as its
network platform out of hundreds linux distributions and *BSDs,Darwin,
Solaris, etc. This means something.

I respect Mr. Hannum's contribution to NetBSD and as i said i agree with
him at some degree but let's not be hasty to bash the NetBSD developers'
work. Maybe they have made some mistakes, but NetBSD rules and will
continue to.

I use NetBSD for a long time, and what i have seen is that always the
code development was done in NetBSD and then got into the other BSDs.
NetBSD hasn't lost this. It is still way ahead in some domains.

1) NetBSD has bluetooth support.

2) NetBSD is the only one of the *BSDs that has a working azalia driver
with support for almost all the chipsets. The Free team is working
on the HDAC driver (i think it supports only Sigmatel chipsets).
OpenBSD also has azalia support. If you see the code it says
"From kent NetBSD"

3) Marvell Yukon2 Ethernet support. Free only has the vendor provided
driver. OpenBSD has the msk driver. If you check the code it says
"From riz@NetBSD"

There are many other examples of *BSD borrowing code from NetBSD.
I just mentioned some of them to show that Mr. Hannum's argument
that NetBSD doesn't develop code and always borrows from other BSDs
is wrong.

Of course, NetBSD has borrowed code from the other *BSDs too, but
that is not bad. It is the beauty of open source software.

At last, let me say that i am not a NetBSD developer nor know anything
about the internals of the NetBSD team. Maybe Mr. Hannum is right, maybe
he is wrong about what he says.

I just posted this, to show my gratitude to the NetBSD team for
producing one of the best OSes. Of course, there will always
be complaints, and i too have some complaints about some things,
but they are not big enough to shadow the advantages of NetBSD.

Thank you for your time.