Subject: Re: Desktop application agenda
To: None <>
From: Andrew Ball <>
List: netbsd-users
Date: 04/13/2007 22:36:05
Hello Andy,

  ACR> NetBSD is an operating system with a rather minimal set of
     > applications that allow it to function in some sort of way.


I think that's part of the beauty of NetBSD.  I love that it doesn't
make assumptions about what I want to do, what software I will choose
to run. This past week I've been working with another operating system
and have been reminded how much time it takes to root out irrelevent
software and repair or work around assumptions made by the company
behind the distribution.

NetBSD's 'building block' approach must have saved me a lot of time
over the years: First I install NetBSD, then I fetch pkgsrc and build
(and install) a few things that I like to have around: cpuflags, joe
and in the case of X workstations Blackbox.  Then I build application
software to suit the work that the machine is supposed to do (e.g.
Mozilla Seamonkey and perhaps OpenOffice for a desktop machine,
thttpd or Apache for a Web server and so on).   Finally I remove
pkgsrc.  I am not wasting time fighting with someone else's favorite X
window manager, uninstalling KDE and Firefox or trying to tear IP away
from interfaces that aren't attached to IP networks. I did skip a step
because I usually like to roll a custom kernel, but that's optional.

How to do these things is mostly documented in the NetBSD Guide, but I
have always valued the extra help and advice I get from the community
of users and developers, via mailing lists and IRC.  In the past I've
worked in environments where dizzying sums of money were spent on
proprietary software and I've never encountered a commercial vendor
that could match the NetBSD community for responsive, effective


- Andy Ball