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Re: (AMI) usability

On 8 April 2012 23:31, Jeff Rizzo <> wrote:
> On 4/7/12 9:56 AM, Jan Schaumann wrote:
>> Hello,
>> 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?
> I mentioned this in PR46306, but I think what's happening here is that the
> AMI is crashing on boot, and so can never be logged into.  I have had this
> happen on certain very old hypervisor versions that Amazon sometimes
> allocates (3.1.2 and before).  We're looking into it, but unfortunately it's
> not very easy to debug with an unusable console.  :(
>> 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
> We're working on addressing this at least a bit in 6.0, which will make it
> easier to have pkgin available right off the bat.  Please test the new
> config menu in -current sysinst!  (it will be pulled up to netbsd-6 before
> release)

I just did. It looks good, but:

- the network configuration was tested and performed, but did not go
into the installed system even if I answered that this was the final
network configuration for the target host
- pkgin setup was transferred to the target system, but I had to
select 6.0_BETA_current as the repo, as there is no 6.99.4 version
available ( and this works only partially - many libraries in base
system are newer version than those required by the binary packages in
6.0_HEAD_current, one has to link to the required version, which is OK
for a package like sudo which lacks only two libraries, but not for
something like icewm, which leads to tens of libraries with wrong

Sorry for hijacking the thread, it is probably not worth a PR at this stage.


>> - 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)
> This is almost definitely a side-effect of libexpat being part of X11 for
> NetBSD < 6, and nobody in their right mind installing X on a server.  This
> lib was moved during the 6.0_BETA cycle, and the next batch of binary
> packages (which I'm building now) should handle it correctly.
>> 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.
> It's good to hear that people are actually trying things out;  concrete
> suggestions would be helpful, but it's a start!
> +j


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