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(AMI) usability


I'm currently teaching a class in system administration using Amazon
EC2[1].  In it, I like to expose students to different operating systems
wherever possible, and obviously like to use NetBSD as well.

Unfortunately, it has repeatedly been the case that the NetBSD AMIs
listed on are not working
reliably.  A common problem that I've observed myself is that they
simply cannot be ssh'd to, despite network access being open.  Is there
anything known about this issue?

Additional feedback from my students frequently goes into the direction
of them considering NetBSD the "worst" platform:

"This assignment[2] has taught me never to use NetBSD.  One of the biggest
lessons I've learned in this class."

General lack of experience with non-linux aside[3], my students do have
a point:

- in comparison to other systems, including, in particular, FreeBSD, our
  use of pkgsrc with binary packages is quite cumbersome.  This is a
  quite serious issue for casual and novice users, who may not (yet?)
  understand or appreciate pkgsrc's strength

- some of the packages built for NetBSD 6.0 Beta simply do not work (on
  the AMIs?): apache-2.2.21* installed, but the executable failed with
  missing or conflicting dependencies (I have not yet had the time to
  file a PR, I'm afraid)

It is unfortunate when my attempts to expose students to different
platforms leads them to conclude that NetBSD should be avoided, and it
would be nice if we could improve on this.

Sorry, I'm aware that this email does not contain any direct ways to
improve things, but still wanted to bring this up, if only as another
reference point in the dicussion around what audience we are targeting.



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