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Re: Desktop NetBSD needs your help

I am a newcomer and a relative "junior" on netbsd  with no
contributions to netbsd yet, however please allow me to comment.

There is no desktop distribution out there that satisfies users
completely with regards to features. A desktop in todays world has to
be a fully mulimedia capable and too driven by emerging market -
yesterday it was smooth DVD playback, today it is smooth
x.264/h.264/VC-1 mpeg4  playback with support for hdcp and blu-ray.
Too many closed source and buggy implementations of proprietory
formats or graphics drivers to support - that will compromise the
stability and perception of netbsd as a stable platform. Why aim for
desktop that will only partially satisfy an end-user and still require
him to boot windows to enjoy the Internet and rich multimedia?

Instead of targeting the desktop user, netbsd should target at winning
over the average sysadmin user with the promise of making him a
"superhuman" sysadmin with freedom from the bondage of reading manuals
(of course you have to read this one manual to be free from all other
manuals :D ). Creating an "I can do it better with netbsd" mindset on
existing RHEL/SuSE/Windoze sysadmins may be a better challenge than
chasing the desktop dream and never getting there (Case in point -
Ubuntu and OpenSuse are still struggling after all these years  - in
many cases for no fault of theirs but h/w vendors being closed)

 I feel it would be better for netbsd to evolve an enterprise  server
edition competing with those like RHEL or Suse Enterprise - one that
is tuned for large scale deployments to reduce sysadmin headaches.

For example, it will be nice to install a netbsd "enterprise server
edition" flavor that includes out-of-box tools

1. To deploy network device configurations with roll back/checkpoint -
2. A NetFlow monitor
3. Database health monitor app
4. OS/Server app health monitor, with a bundled alerting system that
works in agent/client or central station mode
5. Remote deployment of OS/Application with versioning like item 1
6.  A "heartbeat" or CARP/VRRP failover and redundancy tool
customizable for any server app not just firewalls/gateways (to allow
sysadmins to enjoy their weekends)
7. Anycast IP server deployment tool ( insert and remove network
routes based on app availability) not just for DNS
8. Bundled working linux ABI for tempting migration of existing linux
apps and server deployments etc...
9. Automated and scheduled backup and restore tool where one only
needs to specify  backup strategies and devices ( compete with
existing enterprise solutions for features)

This is not a personal wish-list, just a hint suggestion ... A
seasoned old hand at large scale deployments may have more useful
inputs to give here.

For all of the above, a hi-res vesa  console framebuffer ncurses based
'GUI" that does not involve X and its headache with graphics drivers
blobs would be great!

For items 1, 3 and 4 The station monitoring app could  simply require
one to add an xml based  plugin specifying vendor specific parameters
and thresholds and which IP  to connect to. An xml metadata generator
tool to create the plugins will do the trick neatly. The community can
contribute plugins with context help explaining what the monitored
parameters mean with benchmark tunable thresholds so it does not force
the sysadmin to reach for the vendor specific manual at first use!
Over time a collection of a large pool of 3rd party vendor tools can
be bundled.

If the "enterprise flavor" can give an out-of-box experience for
deployment of a platform with advanced system admin tools - including
many that are only possible with advanced scripting skills that the
average  sysadmin only dreamed about till now, it may serve the
community at large better without diluting the goals of netbsd
movement of having a clean distribution minus the clutter of desktop

It would really be nice to read press releases of corporates that
include phrases  like "NetBSD was chosen as the platform of choice
over other *Nix vendors for our large scale distributed computing
deployment of  "N" number of servers, due to ... its ease of
deployment ... facilitating centralized management, versioning and
monitoring tools ... fast performance scalable upwards and beating all
other existing products  ... integration with exisiting
Solaris/Windows enterprise Server/*nux deployments,  .. blah blah ...

just my er ... 2+2+2+2 .. cents :)

Cheers and Regards

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