Subject: Re: Difference
To: None <>
From: Greg Hudson <ghudson@MIT.EDU>
List: tech-install
Date: 10/25/1996 23:40:48
Just a note: is not necessarily a bad place to
send these questions, but probably would have
been better.

> What is the difference between linux and net bsd?

The main differences are not in features visible to you, but in
development philosophy.  Linux development tends to be fast-paced and
distributed, with typically one person responsible for each major
component of the system.  Code review is typically minimal and
integration testing is usually done by the users (whom there are a lot
of).  Since a lot of people use Linux, this strategy tends to work
mostly, although a lot of subtle bugs tend to go unnoticed for a while
(especially security holes).

NetBSD development is centralized and code review is considered
important.  There is one coherent product with a release cycle.
Changes tend to happen rather slowly; this sometimes means that
difficult bugs (e.g. the inconsistency between the VM system and the
buffer cache) don't get fixed very quickly.  On the other hand, NetBSD
bugs tend to be well-understood; it is a "more stable" system in that
sense.  NetBSD has relatively few users on the net, which makes a more
careful development model critical; similar projects which have
shirked testing and code review have typically resulted in unstable

What does thie mean for you?  At any given time, Linux will support
more hardware, may have slightly better performance, and will have a
lot more in the way of nice windowing-style tools to do installation
and system administration.  On the other hand, Linux will probably
also give you more surprises as time goes on.  In my view, NetBSD is a
lot easier to deal with for a support organization, but significantly
harder for an individual on the net.

> why can't make a windows style setup program and a dos-based
> installer?

A nicer install system (not necessarily DOS-based; see below) is very
high up on our wish list, but no one has put the work in to do it yet.
Keep in mind that it's significantly harder to do a nice install
system for fifteen architectures than for just one.

> why does not have information about the differences between the dos
> and bsd type of partitions?

I'm afraid I don't understand this question.

> Why netbsd is so incompatibble with the other unix partners, such as
> minix and linux?

One might ask the question in reverse, since NetBSD is based on a
chunk of code much older than Linux: why did Linux choose to be so
incompatible with BSD?  (They had their reasons, but I don't really
want to go into a history lesson.)  In any event, NetBSD will run the
majority of Linux binaries, including commercial software such as
Applixware and Matlab.  NetBSD and Linux won't share a filesystem;
each camp sort of believes it's the other camp's responsibility.
(NetBSD's filesystem is much older and established on multiple
platforms; Linux has more users than the *BSD camps.)

> And why do we have to wait for the kernel to boot up before it can
> be run the install program?

[As opposed to having the install program run under DOS, I assume.]

Mainly because DOS does not know how to create or write to a NetBSD
filesystem, and teaching it to do so would take a lot of work to do
and a lot of work to maintain.  Also, doing so would only be useful
for one platform (the x86).  (Which doesn't automatically mean that we
shouldn't do it, but it's a reason not to.)

> tell me if i can network with another computer running the bsd
> system, but with the different central processing unit?

You can certainly network between two BSD systems, even if they are of
different architectures, but I have a feeling you have a more specific
question in mind.  I don't know what it is, though.