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Re: Do you advise me to adopt NetBSD?

On Wed, Oct 10, 2012 at 08:27:56PM +0200, wrote:
> I have a Linux background (and Windows before that), and I am now
> considering moving to NetBSD. But I am still uncertain.

I switched to NetBSD after being a Linux user for many years. So may be
sharing my experience will help you.

I first started using NetBSD on a spare disk for the purpose of learning
it.  (Tried FreeBSD before that, though liked NetBSD more.) Over a period
of time NetBSD became my primary desktop OS, though I retain one Linux
installation as a backup.

Immediate benefits for me with NetBSD were stability of certain drivers
(wifi and fat) which behaved weirdly for me on Linux. (This is not a
generalization. This just so happened with me.) Besides, I like easy
installation, upgrade, simple kernel compilation process and
administration of NetBSD and I like pkgsrc despite occasionally getting
frustrated when using it. (Of course one can resort to binary installs and
not use pkgsrc.)

On the other hand, I faced great difficulties with getting certain
hardware work on NetBSD - such as a Usb printer and scanner (which I
finally managed after a lot of trial and error). Certain CD drive still
won't work. A certain usb modem won't work. Primary reason for this is
Linux centric development by creators of ceratin drivers/packages. I am
hopeful that these things will get resolved as well. From 5.x to 6.x I
have witnessed a big change in NetBSD in terms of hardware support etc.
Actually, it was 6.0 BETA when I switched my primary desktop OS from Linux
to NetBSD.

Another area where NetBSD / rather pkgsrc applications lack is good voip
clients. I have never managed to get skype, pidgin, linphone, twinkle etc.
work, though I make do with kiax/asterisk which actually works pretty

Coming from Linux background, we have to understand the distinction
between base+kernel and packages very well. When you talk of clean
development etc. it's the former that NetBSD should be credited (or
criticized if you will) for. As an average desktop user, once the OS
(kernel+base) is suitable for you, you have to mainly deal with packages
for your day to day needs. This is where you may find NetBSD lagging
behind for various reasons, one of which is portability of those
applications causing some issues, which stems from the fact that most
applications are built and tested mainly on Linux.

You mentioned performance in your mail, though I find Linux to be much
faster for most practical purposes for desktop user. x11 in snappier on
Linux, so is disk i/o with ext3. (I never understood though that NetBSD
reports higher FPS in glxgears test than Linux - the same not reflecting
in the "feel" of snappiness.)

Boot up time is way too faster on Linux (depending on how you configured
it. Mine is Arch Linux with initrd fine tuned). For a brief while I used
FreeBSD I found it matching Linux in terms of the "snappy feel", which I
miss on NetBSD. (May be there is something that can be configured which I
may be missing on NetBSD. Tuning the kernel to keep minimal options has
not helped.)


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