Subject: An open apology to the NetBSD VAX list
To: Anders Magnusson <>
From: NetBSD Bob <>
List: port-vax
Date: 02/28/2001 15:35:20
One of the NetBSD list remarked:

> Please, keep the OpenBSD discussions on their mailing lists. There are
> quite a lot people that have been handled real bad by OpenBSD and may
> feel bad if you try to discuss OpenBSD here. Please try not to offend
> people even if it is by accident by mentioning OpenBSD.
> .....

If I have offended anyone, intentionally or otherwise, please accept
my apologies.  But, that aside, I would offer the following......

1.  I will take issue with the topmost statement, since it can affect
    the community effort to make a better BSD.  Although I prefer
    BSD's over most other flavors of UNIX or UNIX clones, I really
    don't ``give a damn'' about which particular flavor I use, except
    as relates to particular hardwares and how well it runs on any
    given particular hardware.  These flavors include Free/Net/Open
    BSDs, and more traditional BSDs back as far as 4.3BSD, as may be

2.  My intention of mentioning OpenBSD on the NetBSD list was not to
    raise any offense towards anyone, but to provide some insight into
    some nuances that the NetBSD folks seem to have lost touch with.
    It was, at the least, a minor comparative analysis of the systems.
    To that end, it was done as a learning experience for the NetBSD
    list, poking fun, if any, at myself as the writer, and reporter
    of the experience.  If I choose to do that, and poke some little
    fun at myself, that is my poetic license, and I accept the full
    responsibility for it.

3.  My goal and agenda (if I have to have one) is to make a better BSD.
    That is the long and short of it, folks.  Let's make a better BSD
    first, and worry about politics/bad blood/old hurt feelers, later.

4.  As to issues I raised in the cited email:

    a).  we need to fix VAX booting.  OpenBSD, amazingly, has a perfectly
         fine boot floppy for VAX.  Why don't we?  Let's make a better
         BSD and fix that.  Henry Spencer is noted to have said, to the
         effect, that ``Not all the world's a VAX'' as related to C
         programming.  I take some issue with that, since I find a lot
         of my ``world'' deals with VAXentoyz.  But, I would paraphrase
         that, to this extent, ``not all the world's a netboot'', and
         surmise that perhaps we need to make a better BSD and fix the
         NetBSD VAX booting systems a bit.  A working tape boot might
         be nice, and a working floppy boot might be nice, especially
         for the 3100 class machines which abound, and many I have run
         across do have that mystical DEC scsi floppy rack, inside.
         The last really good NetBSD VAX system to boot on almost
         everything up to the kitchen sink, was NetBSD-1.4.1.  Somehow,
         after that time, things are becoming lost in VAX booting.
         Lets make a better BSD and fix that.

    b).  the other things mentioned were things that NetBSD did well,
         and OpenBSD was a little short on.  If anything, that is
         kudos to NetBSD and OpenBSD could learn a little from NetBSD.

I, myself, am not a particularly great code jock, but can muddle around
in the code sufficient to fix my needs most of the time.  But, I do
consider myself a fair sysadmin, practically, and do see things from
that point of view, much of the time.  To the extent that I need to
easily install and maintain many different kinds of older machines,
including VAXen, anything that can be done to improve installations
and maintenance, is always good, in my book.  The OpenBSD boot floppy
was a real eye-opener in the install mode.  Immediately, an inner voice
suggested, ``Gee, we need that kind of thing in NetBSD VAX!''.  Thus
was born the need to raise this issue.

To summarize, if anyone has taken offense to my original posting of
OpenBSD related issues that might be of potential interest to NetBSD
users, I offer my apology.  Now, lets collectively make a better BSD!


(Now donning ancient rusty dusty musty Inet Flak Jacket.....(:+\\...)