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Roadblocks to further widespread adoption of NetBSD in embedded systems (at least in my neck of the woods)

Greetings NetBSD developers,

This is my first time posting here, so go easy on me. The past few years, my former employer and now client, has been going through a struggle of how best to move from their proprietary OS/RTOS to a commercial OS. I've helped with a lot of research in this issue. The two biggest contenders at the moment are Linux and QNX. QNX is the strong favorite, but negotiations are not going well of late. A lot people dread the Linux GPL, but love the plentiful driver support out there for most of our processors (mainly PowerQuic I & PowerQuicc Pro with some MIPS) and other peripherals currently on existing hardware.

I personally like what I see of the overall design of the NetBSD kernel and the build system. The few times I've dipped into the source, I have been impressed with the layout and organization of it. I prefer the BSD license over GPL, because BSD really is a free license in every meaning of the word free. However, I cannot recommend NetBSD to them at this time, because of these areas that are lacking:

(listed by highest priority)
1. Official PowerQuicc support in the NetBSD tree along with drivers for CPM module. (PowerPC is not quite the same, but a good starting point) 2. No flash support for NOR flash (NAND lacking is well, but NOR is more important for this company based on current deployed hardware) 3. Better remote debugging over ethernet (kernel included). I may be wrong on this, but I haven't seen a lot of info on how to do this for NetBSD. 4. Ability to build a small kernel with small subset of userland utilities much like BusyBox on Linux, but not GPL. 5. Better real time support (it's getting there by 6.0 and technically really a low priority due to more control plane software development the company does)

I say this not to complain, but maybe to help point out these major issues from another company's perspective. If the above areas had full support in the tree, I could almost guarantee it would become adopted. I want to encourage the embedded side of the NetBSD community to commit to these areas more. Personally, I hope to contribute to one of these areas in my own spare time, particularly in the PowerQuicc area (ref boards and debuggers are expensive!).

If my research is wrong on anything of this, please enlighten me!

J. Atkinson

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