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NetBSD wishlist


A friend encouraged me to contribute my thoughts to this thread.

+ Automated performance testing incl. kernel RAM usage, real-time and SMP 
characteristics on given HW (e.g. latencies). Reason: such testing will allow 
anyone to check if, say, a new version of nbsd or a proposed change to nbsd 
improves performance on own HW.

(The work on-going in nbsd in developing ATS and related test cases is 
absolutely -great-! Keep it up!)

+ Anything that helps when porting nbsd to new HW, like kernel instrumentation 
and debugging.

+ Anything UI and graphics related (e.g., how do integrate the UI generated by 
3D graphics and overlay on video output. Think of a camera UI for mobile: the 
UI is transparent and overlayed on the viewfinder which is, essentially, a 
video stream before the picture is taken); Wayland kind of window system, etc.
Even if wayland idea is good for mobile, I am not sure the design and 
implementation is the best possible.
If i recall, there was a GSoC that did some work exposing graphics HW to 

+ BSD licensed flash file system. The folks at Szeged are slowing getting 
there. As an introduction, these are the same folks that developed the current 
flash file system in Linux, and before that they improved JFFS2.

+ Performance improvements are always welcome, esp. related to code size, 
configurability, (soft) real-time, SMP, and so forth. Things like a high 
resolution user space timer come handy when doing some (mobile) audio stuff in 
userland. Not to mention it comes handy when testing performance, like RT 
characteristics on given HW.
Memory management can always get better. For instance:
- in some devices, it is possible to maintain a list of processes that can be 
killed. This comes handy when the kernel runs out of memory. So, having a way 
to provide the kernel with such a list is really good.
- Garbagge Collection and paging defeat each other. There is an article in the ACM 
"Garbage collection without Paging" (main author is Mathew Hertz) showing one 
way the VM can cooperate with programming languages that rely on GC (e.g., Java, Lua, 
Javascript, etc). Of course, such issues go unnoticed on servers or desktops.

+ Instant-on

+ XiP support. New memory technologies could make nbsd extremely attractive if 
and when it supports this.

+ Power management. Not much missing except when ACPI is not an option. A clock 
framework is very handy when ACPI is not used.

In general, nbsd is a great kernel. Below, a few comments about the original 

  + please drop CVS,RCS,SVN . ...
We used git in our past projects, and we had no problems scripting our way back 
and forth.

  + Support for more Filesystems. Whats going on in LINUX is crazy but ...
It is possible to use Linux filesystems on rumps, but that work never reached 
completion. Unfortunately. Incidently, the feasibility study was done using 

  + NetBSD LIVE CD/USB with each release ...
  + integrating a small X-Window into the System. Something like Project 
"Wayland" from Canonical that has a minimalistic mem footprint expandable by 
userland modules.
IMHO, take and improve the wayland ideas, and make it possible for others to 
use X. But don't let X compatibility get in the way of a good solution. Let X 
folks deal with the problem, if one arises.

+ NUMA support and a true scheduler fÃr each MultiCore CPU
+ More focus on Mobile Devices - NetBSD is in my opinion a better
System on mobiles than LINUX/Android. Tethering drivers (to iPhone and
Android) would be nice.

I definitely support the focus. I also agree on your opinion even though its unlikely we 
would agree on the reasons. "Better" is in the eyes of the beholder.

Thank you for your time.

Disclaimer: the opinions above are my own and don't necessarily reflect those 
of my employer, colleagues or anyone else. I present these opinions solely as 
an individual.

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