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

On Sat, Mar 27, 2010 at 3:49 AM, Jack Atkinson <> 
> 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 want to beat QNX.  Seriously.

> 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)

Our overall design of SoC support is not good.  We need huge improvement here.

> 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.

My goal is to provide a nice build interface to build 1MB kernel & 1MB
userland.  Those embedded developers should not edit ugly config files
and "list" file for crunched binaries.


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