Subject: Re: Desktop application agenda
To: None <>
From: Michael Parson <>
List: netbsd-users
Date: 04/13/2007 11:27:57
On Fri, Apr 13, 2007 at 08:45:42AM -0500, Przemys?aw Pawe?czyk wrote:
> On Fri, 13 Apr 2007 15:01:10 +0200
> wrote:
>>> Right to the point. Thanks. Perhaps I'm too young, so tell me
>>> please, have you ever found operating system useful without any
>>> applications?
>> Of course. It's always better when you decide for yourself which
>> applications you are going to install and use, and when you don't
>> need to clean up things before it becomes usable.
> But pkgsrc _is_ on NetBSD operating system WWW!!! The binaries
> are there, as well! And not without a trace of good sense (that's
> purposely).

But pkgsrc is bigger than just NetBSD.  Yes, NetBSD is where it started,
but it also functions quite nicely on other operating systems.  I
personally have used it on NetBSD (of course), Solaris, Linux, and Mac

NetBSD is an operating system, basic stuff, enough to get you started
doing what you might need to do.  They also supply a C compiler so that
you can build whatever else on top of it you might want to do.  Most of
the NetBSD installations I have done have never had KDE/GNOME/whatever
on them, most of them run headless in datacenters somewhere.  I mostly
don't use it as a Desktop OS.  I have my Macintosh and OS X for that.

> All operating system are being offered with additional applications.

All?  I could write a whole long message about this one, but I think
I'll leave it at that.

>> Plus, you can already do a lot of things with the base system (think
>> file/dns/firewall/.. server).
> Server applications may belong to system or may not. That proves my
> point.

This system ( runs NetBSD/i386 and is basically a server.
It is mounted in a rack in a datacenter a few miles from where I am
currently sitting.  I am editing this email with vi (which I will
spell-check with aspell, invoked as a vi-macro), which I read with mutt,
in a screen session, which I started from bash over an ssh session from
an xterm running under the X11 server shipped with OS X on my MacBook.

Some of the above was in the base of NetBSD, some was installed with
pkgsrc.  Not everyone has the same vision for what they want their
installation to look like.  I personally find the 'Linux' way of doing
things limiting.  More and more, when I see new Linux users, they are
all running whatever the default setup is that their distribution
shipped with, they've never seen anything else and don't really want to.

When I do run a unix variant as my desktop, I modify almost everything,
for instance, on a RedHat install, I get rid of the KDM/GDM login
managers and set it back to good-ole XDM, I install my own window
manager (lately, I like evilwm), change my default xterm font to
something I find easier to read than fixed-mono (these days, I seem
to be using lucidatypewritiner-medium).  This, along with a few other
customizations, I put in my .Xresources file, which gets sourced when 
I log in, via my .xsession.

Is the way I do it the easiest?  Depends on your point of view.

I've got nearly 15 years of experience as a professional sysadmin, going
back before the NetBSD project existed.  I find the 'modern' ways of
doing stuff clunky and a lot of that stuff gets in my way more than it

The way I see it, if I make my NetBSD look and act like Windows, why
don't I just run Windows?  Quite the opposite, I do what I can to make
my Windows installations run like Unix (cygwin!).

>>> questions. No wonder NetBSD is slowly dying...
>> A lot of people says that, but they just think a project is alive if
>> it is hyped.
> Perhaps. I took into consideration mailing-lists activities,
> "openness" for new users, recent Google SoC, "popularity contests"
> on IT services, articles written to the IT services, core developers
> attitude toward Community Wiki, etc. The whole picture, from that
> (read my) point of view, isn't bright and catching. If there is small
> chunk of truth in what I wrote, some of you might have thought about
> it. I would do this if I were one of the NetBSD "founding fathers".

The NetBSD community, by and large, is very friendly and will help when
asked.  However, no one likes it when someone comes in and starts to
complain about how things are done instead of trying to understand why
it is done that way.

>>> I want to do something. But I want to do with you (plural) and
>>> according to some rules. So I ask. Why there is so many "hate" on
>> (...)
>> Sorry but I don't think I saw hate in the replies. You just have a
> The "hate" relate more to the tinge of wording than state of personal
> feelings.
>> wrong idea about NetBSD and you don't seem to understand it. NetBSD
>> isn't like *nux, it doesn't need to say the world it is the best, it
>> doesn't need to have arrogant people trolling all over the lists.
>> Most people here just want to make NetBSD better, and saying that it
>> is "dying" won't improve things.
> Perhaps I'm a rhino in a china shop but why you are so touchy. I
> didn't say "NetBSD is dying" from lofty stand but rather in a sad mood
> because I "want" and you "won't" (let). That I want to participate
> in NetBSD development in the fields I think I am good enough to be
> of significant service, namely in writing texts or creating well
> organized html pages or WWW service.

I don't recall anyone saying you couldn't contribute documentation.  All
I saw was you saying you would only contribute documentation if the
established methods were tossed and everyone started doing it your way.

> _Nothing_ and _no one_ will improve things if a status quo is seen as
> the best of all worlds.
>> Then do your special installation CD with all the software you need.
> I will. But without a little help from your side it will be tougher.
> Some applications are indispensable. If I were able to program I
> wouldn't bother you at all.

Indispensable to whom?  I rarely use graphical email programs and I have
never used Sylpheed.

Michael Parson