Subject: Re: removing packages
To: NetBSD Bob <>
From: Lord Isildur <>
List: port-alpha
Date: 11/27/2000 14:17:48
> Interesting thought.....
> (Now donning anciente musty rusty dusty Inet Flak Suit....[remember those?}):
> As a somewhat newbie type, only having been playing UNIX for some 12
> years, and not even anywhere near guru, but maybe journeyman status, 
> I think such a document, of say 30-50 pages length, would be a good
> learning tool for newbies.
> I would like to see in one document, something like a ``BSD Standard''
> or BSD Manifesto or BSD description that includes, for example:
> 1.  Definition of a BSD system. (a short 1 paragraph thing)

hmm. this one might need some finding or writing; there are many 
differences of opinion on exactly what woudl go into that paragraph.. :) 

> 2.  Historical derivation of current BSD implementations.
>     (family history through 4.4BSD through current systems)

this has been recorded in many places. I certainly wouldnt tire of 
writing it again though *grin*

> 3.  Structural layout of a minimal BSD system.
>     (what goes where officially)
>     (a list of file systems and what they contain and how they
>      are linked together)
>     (list differences from offical rubber stamped UNIX maybe?)

this can be found from two places, one with authoritative, absolute, and 
precise detail, and the other with an 'overview' flavor: the source tree 
, and the man page for hier(7)

> 4.  Functional description of a minimal BSD system.
>     (what system features, calls, etc, are official)

section 2 of the manual is the authoritative source of this. 

>     (how the kernel/system/etc all interact offically)

section 2 of the manual. 

>     (list differences from offical rubber stamped UNIX maybe?)

section 2 of the manual. 
(curiously, all three of these quetions, he grouped together, and 
curiously, the great deities of yore put all this stuff in the same 
section *grin* ) 

> 5.  Addin features characteristic of BSD systems.
>     (accepted addin things like mailers, readers, print stuff,
>      webstuff, generic addins that all sysadmins carry along,
>      and that sort of thing, to include a bit about package
>      delivery systems)
>     (this is were each system tends to go their own way)
>     (list differences from offical rubber stamped UNIX maybe?)

this would be either a very short section or a very long section, 
dependingon what system it is. BSD systems have this kind of information 
in the man pages. 

> 6.  Current BSD systems (FreeBSD/NetBSD/OpenBSD) description.
>     (we really need to tie all the all the bastard brothers
>      together in a this is me and this is brother A and this
>      is brother B kind of thing....failure to do that will
>      slight the whole family and is unacceptable)
> 7.  Administrative operation of a BSD system.
>     (a bit of sysadmin responsibilities --- generic and detailed
>      for each system if necessary --- what the minimal sysadmin
>      should know about)

there are the BSD smm documents which are still surprisingly accurate 
even after a decade plus of time passing since their publication. you 
can find them in /usr/doc/smm on any BSD system. 

> 8.  User operation of a BSD system.
>     (the usual login/logout/profiles/mailers/vi kind of junk)
>     (this is what the newbie user should know)
> 9.  Reference materials (urls, on-line docs, books, etc.).
>     (more than just the available on-line docs pointers)
>     (an annotated bibliography would be nice)
> There are faqs and handbooks that cover bits and pieces of this,
> but nothing really in one place, sufficient for a newbie or for use
> as a reference standard, that I can find (point me to urls if they
> exist).

especially the last one of these, this has been a complaint from the UNIX 
user community for over twenty years. Some of the best books on the 
subject that come to mind, however, are these: 

'a unix primer' - for real beginners. it's very old, wirtten about pdp11 
unix, but still very relevant. i dont remember the author's name

'the unix philosophy' is pretty good too, though it sdort of goes 
overboard in some places.. 

the docs that show up in the ultrix supplementary documents collection 
(and the other stff you find in /usr/doc) are also helpful to this 

> Some of these things are covered in the old UNIX books in their
> Berkeleyisms chapters, and there are one or two BSD books out there
> but not many still in print.


> A lot is covered in the FreeBSD handbook, but that is a bit of
> overkill for use as a reference standard, but it has a lot of
> useful info.
> The cannonical 4.4BSD books are good, but getting more and more
> out of date, and hard to find.  The cannonical on-line docs,
> where not copyrighted, are good, but too detailed for a basic
> description or reference standard doc.  Some could be used
> for bits and pieces, though.

you mean the orerilley 4.4 bsd books? those are printings basically of 
the stuff in /usr/doc, and the man pages! 

> Some things are covered in the detailed readmes of each release
> and architecture and system, but it still does not cover a lot
> of reference standard kind of things adequately.
> This kind of document should not be a FAQ, or ``how-to'' but
> a reference standard kind of thing to level the playing field
> across all the BSD brethren.  Maybe it should be chapter 0 of
> everyone's release handbooks?

 io think a clearer 'what is BSD as opposed to somethign else' document 
would be a good idea. I'd be willign to write as much of it as people are 
willing to tolerate my blatant BSD bigotry in! :-)

> > What's your opinion of the package system, both as a concept and the
> > NetBSD implementation of same?
> Mine is that it is good, but, I get a bit leery of everyone's packaging
> system.  I date from the old school where every sysadmin has his tarball
> of addins that fleshed out the basic system into a well-tailored system.
> I still carry that tarball around for a lot of my different machines.
> Packaging systems do a lot of that, but then again, they leave some
> holes here and there, and try to do some things in ``their own way''
> formats that IMHO are not standardized yet (maybe there is no workable
> standardization of packages addins).  Building from sources is the
> best way, and IMHO the most standardized way.  Binaries are not
> the best way, IMHO.

 i will put my .02 in favor of the source tree model we already have. 
Maybe call some new branch of that tree contrib or local, and put 
anythign that didnt come from the distribution itself in there, ,and 
maintain it as if it were just part of the tree, in the same manner as 
the tree. 

> So, where is this magick BSD Standard or whateveryawannacallit?
> The Official Rubber Stamped UNIX crowd has one.  We should, too.
> I don't think we should pattern ours after theirs, though.

ours is just scattered all over theplace. Hell, for the a real definitive 
guide to the kernels (older , albeit), read the famous (and excellent ,if 
you can find yourself a copy these days) 'the design and implementation 
of the 4.3BSD UNIX operating system' by the core CSRG hackers. excellent 
book. It's like the lions book for modern UNIX. :) 

> (now buckling up flak suit and reaching for the flak helmet.....(:+}}...)
> Bob
> (should this be in a generic BSD group or newsfeed?)

i think that the general netbsd lists plus maybe comp.os.unix, 
comp.unix.bsd{.misc,.netbsd} would be fine. 

happy hacking,