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Re: config(5) break down

Julio Merino wrote:
On Mon, Mar 15, 2010 at 11:22 PM, Johnny Billquist <> 
Julio Merino wrote:
On Mon, Mar 15, 2010 at 10:08 PM, Masao Uebayashi <>
Let me clarify:

- NetBSD is used for many purposes.
- The official binary should choose the sane default
 - FFS_EI enabled by default
 - XIP would be disabled by default
- While leave developers freedom to customize NetBSD more.
Err, no.  BOTH developers and users should have the freedom to
customize NetBSD, not only developers.  And, of course, users should
not have to rebuild anything, ever.  If we can't provide such a
binary-friendly system, we have failed as developers.  And it's
possible to provide such a system, as has been proven by Solaris,
Windows and, increasingly, Linux.
So what are you saying here? That our goal is to be like Solaris, Windows
and Linux?

I never said that.  But last I read, NetBSD has never been targeted
exclusively to people working on embedded systems.

Hmm. So you mean that the only other group is embedded systems?

No, you never said that NetBSD should be Linux, Windows or Solaris, you only used those as reference points on what could/should be done.

The that's a fine difference.

What is the point in that? There already exist several systems (as you note)
who are that. Do you expect NetBSD to be in that same segment?

I expect NetBSD to be as flexible as reasonably possible with the
binaries we distribute.  If we have to tell any user "rebuild the
software with option foo" to get what they want, we have failed at
that.  And most users will run away.

I would dare say that "any" user who decided to try NetBSD would cease use it, and not because of the build-you-own-kernel reason, but for the simple fact that there are a lot of alternatives out there which better fulfills his needs. The most important one being a lot of commercial or semi-commercial programs which don't run, or run poorly on NetBSD.

So yes, most people are already running away. And the config system and kernel building isn't the reason.

Let's instead ask us who, and why, some people do drift over to NetBSD?
I would say that a large portion of those are people who for some reason or other have gotten tired of the magical modules, autoconfiguration, and magic tools that manage the system for you, and who wants to have better control and understanding of the system. Or else, who are curious about alternative ways of doing things, or possibly curious about how Unix systems used to do it.

Thus, a big change to the philosophy of NetBSD here means we still would not attract the random users, but we would drive away the small following we do have.

But hey. That is just my opinion, and I don't have any hard facts to back them up.

Again, what I meant is: providing the source code of any application
is not an excuse to having a deficient design that does not allow
extensibility or customization without rebuilding.  And that's
orthogonal to being Solaris or whatever.

But sometimes things do clash. I'm not against solutions that extend and refine what NetBSD do, but I do think it's the wrong way to try to redefine the system. And especially doing so with the argument that others do it that way.

But, as I've said a number of times, I'm an old fart who is very conservative and backwards. Heck, I even run NetBSD on my VAXen, although I have not gone past NetBSD 3...


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