Subject: Re: removing packages (good discussion...etc)
To: Lord Isildur <>
From: NetBSD Bob <>
List: port-alpha
Date: 11/27/2000 16:33:59
> > 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.. :) 

Well, that is what I am seeing here and there.

For the sake of discussion....

a) are we the cannonical suite or is 4.4BSD the cannonical suite?
   (Where does the cannon lie?  It is not exactly the same from
    tracing through everyone's readmes and docs and sources.
    Since that is the case, it needs to be cannonized, i.e., a
    current official definition/description made that satisfies
    all the current players (Free/Net/OpenBSD, BSDI, etc.).

b) what do we put in a definition/description to accommodate all
   the players?  Are we the right one or is FreeBSD the right one,
   or is BSDI, etc?

We want to be as exact as we can, but sufficient to cover everyone
in the BSD bailywick.  We could use 4.4 as the basic description,
or Lite-2 or what should we use?

> > 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*

Sure, but it would need to be there for precision.  The tree in the
PUPS archive might do, although it might require some fine tuning.
Basically this section is designed to show our lineage and right
to be called a UNIX (as opposed to Don Kool's definition on the
comp.unix lists).

> > 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)

The source tree is too long, although the output of hier is good.
The problem with that is that ours is not exactly like anyone elses
in minor details.  Which is ``right'' or how do we strip it down to
a common BSD point.  Perhaps use 4.4 output for this, although we
have changed things since then.

> > 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* ) 

True, but we need to condense it down into a minimal output that is
usable as a base document.  Then again, which section 2 is the correct
one for a reference standard?

Well, I was not trying to imitate the dieties, but, set it out in
a simplistic set of sections.

> > 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. 

True, but again, it needs to be condensed down into a reference standard
of some sort, rather than an entire man dump to printer kind of thing.
Remember, this is sort of a minimal doc that gives a standardized overview
of what BSD is, rather than a man dump for your local machine.

> > 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. 

True, but a lot has changed, and a lot is copyrighted from 4.4 encumbered
days.  Rather than outputting all of that from a 4.4 source tree, it
needs to be condensed down into something that is a common document
and not too long.

I don't want to reinvent the O'Reilly dumps of the things.
> > 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)

Ditto this section.  A lot of the early V7 books have this kind
of stuff in a concise way.  Something similar to those, but
as cannon for BSD is what I was thinking.

> > 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

That sort of thing I was thinking of, but it needs to be BSD specific
and not V7.

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

I don't have that handy.

> 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 

Hmmm, I will have to peruse those and see what might be distilled therefrom.

> > 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.
> true. 
> > 
> > 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! 

True, but the total is way too long for the kind of reference standard
doc I was thinking of.  A distillation therefrom is needed.

> > 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! :-)

Well, that would be a good starter.

I think all hands agree something in one place is needed, but just what
exactly is still open for discussion.  The goal is to define BSD as it
is (or was and currently is, if needed).

Mebbie a collective discussion will generate some impetus to get something

> > > 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. 

Sounds reasonable, as long as we don't call it /opt.....that still
sends shivers up me spine (I guess I am fond of the simplicity of
the 4.3 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. :) 

IFF anyone has a spare copy of that tome, do holler.  I have been looking
for it.....(:+}}...

> > (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,
> isildur

Sounds good.....

Anyone willing to work on such a BSD standard thingie as discussed,
or should I duck and cover....?