Subject: Re: changing to NetBSD, still not quite sure... :-/
To: None <>
From: Douglas A. Tutty <>
List: netbsd-users
Date: 10/28/2007 21:47:20
On Sun, Oct 28, 2007 at 11:22:17PM +0100, Christian Baer wrote:
> Sorry for starting a new thread on this, but the old one was kinda getting
> away from the subject. :-) I'm still not sure if I should change from
> FreeBSD to NetBSD because of my slightly changed situation and I am hoping
> to get some more input from you guys.
> The main idea of using NetBSD instead of FreeBSD is because more of the
> software I want to use actually runs on more plattforms - especially
> sparc64. In this case that would mainly be Firefox, Thunderbird and
> Keepassx - or something else that could replace Keepassx. Doesn't look
> like much, but those are the last programs I couldn't get to run. :-) And
> since I also have to mips-machines that could be useful, FreeBSD isn't
> really a choice.
> A few other things I have to do on more than one plattform (although I'm
> pretty sure I can do these with NetBSD, I'd like to get some feedback):
> - Software-RAID (currently only 1, but 5 is planned)
>   - encrypt that
> - Can I encrypt whole disks and partitions with cgd?
> - Standard AMP (not the mp3-player, but Apache... etc. :-)
> - Use Firefox *with* Flash under amd64 (does Linux compat make that
>   possible?)

There is no amd64 flash player.  In Debian Etch, you must run the
browser and the flash player in an i386 chroot.  In Debian Lenny
(Testing) there's a wrapper to do away with the chroot.

> - Use UDF in the near future (including writes)
>   - encrypt those disks
> - keep the system up to date
>   Under FreeBSD I did this with cvsup and rebuilding the system
> Also, there was a statement, that NetBSD didn't perform as well on some
> plattforms (i386 was named there) because of the portable nature of the
> OS, many plattform-optimations could not be used if NetBSD was to remain
> as portable as it is. This discussion I followed in a German newsgroup
> shortly before NetBSD 2.0 was released. Is this really the case?
> Sorry for getting on your balls with all of this. The problem just is that
> I have to get quite a few computers to run before long. A few are already
> up and running (with FreeBSD) and changing the OS on them (I don't want
> more than one OS to deal with) will be a major task in the near future. So
> I want to be able to assess what I am getting myself into (work-wise).
> Maybe I could get a few more voices on this? Once again, I don't want to
> start some sort of OS-war, so please don't treat this thread as one. The
> thing that is killing me is the mixture of CPU-architectures I have to
> work with, while still trying to keep it down to one OS.

Are you sure that you want or need to stick with one OS?  To help answer
your questions, you may want to make a table of arch and use.

E.g (only):

Athlon64(amd64)		desktop
Opteron(amd64)		application server
PIII(i386)		firewall
Sparc64			file server
Sparc64			desktop.
mips			database server

You could then detemine if everything you want to put on a desktop is
available on one OS in both amd64 and Sparc64 (including the ability to
run i386 Firefox with Flash) [or is there a Sparc64 flashplayer?].  

You could look at the file server needs; number of disks, filesystem
size required, etc, and see which OS does what you need the best.

It also depends on how many desktops you're talking about.  If there are
more than a couple, it would make sense to have one OS for all desktops,
even if it meant running a particular application on an application
server via ssh if it won't run on the desktop hardware/OS directly.

It also comes down to your own piddly details.  For example, I'm on slow
dialup.  All things being equal, Debian's aptitude is the easiest to
keep up-to-date since it handles interruptions (need the phone line)
very gracefully and will resume.  I have a 486 that won't run debian but
OpenBSD's pkg_add will also resume, however a minimal OpenBSD is a bit
bigger than NetBSD so it depends on what hard drive I put in the 486.

I haven't tried FreeBSD for one reason:  Debian works pretty well for my
big box and the things I disagree with about Linux seem to be happening
or have happend to FreeBSD.  OTOH, my big Athlon64 box has an nVidia
video card and OpenBSD doesn't do binary blob drivers.  I don't like
binary blob drivers but I like the fine detail when watching a DVD so I
need it.