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Re: 80386 support
>> I then pointed to mail-index's archived copy of the "we're going to
>> a three-tier paradigm" announcement.
> I'll admit to some disappointment when I first read that announcement
> but I have come round to the idea that it's a recognition of finite
> developer resources. It doesn't prevent people from working on
> unusual ports but illustrates where current development focus is
> likely to be.
I expect it _will_ prevent people from working on non-privileged-tier
ports, because anyone trying to will be - probably repeatedly - screwed
over by people making changes to the main tree that don't work, or are
unacceptably expensive, for such ports. I know it sure demotivates
_me_ to even try, knowing that keeping modern NetBSD running on (say)
sun3, or vax, is going to be a constant fight to find workarounds for
things committed by people who don't care about the effects they have
on such ports - and that's just to keep it running, never mind actually
make any progress.
I recently discovered that as of 4.0.1 a 32M x86 machine can,
effectively, no longer self-host, because the compiler thrashes for
hours trying to compile one of the source files. Fortunately that
machine had upgradeable memory, and I had memory to add to it. But I
have an hp300 with a grand total of five megabytes of RAM. I'm
unlikely to ever find more memory for it, certainly not much more.
Last time I tried to boot it, there was approximately one megabyte left
for userland. That machine would be majorly screwed over by people
working on multi-gigabyte amd64 boxen thinking "who cares about another
64K?". And now that NetBSD is no longer willing to tell such people
"no, you can't do that, it breaks these other machines", it amounts to
abandoning support for such machines.
There's another machine I have which is in a similar situation with
disk space. As far as I know, no interface hardware exists at all
(much less is commonly available, even as comared to the machine
itself) to allow it to use even IDE, much less SATA, disks; "how much
does that much disk space cost these days? $0.00005?" is simply
_wrong_. Yet I've been seeing that sort of remark for years, and now
it has NetBSD's backing behind it. That machine is another of the
second-class citizen ports. I expect it to be dropped within a few
years because it's broken - well, duh it's broken, NetBSD no longer
cares if people break it!
Perhaps that is not how core will treat such things. But in that case
the announcement was pretty catastrophically badly worded, because it's
sure the impression it leaves. And it seems to be the effect it's
having; less than a week ago, someone discussing a proposed change said
"Well, that covers most of the Tier I ports, which I think is good
enough.". Not totally unreasonable in that particular case, but an
illustration of the attitude - note it wasn't "...which I think is good
enough in this case".
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