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NetBSD & binary [was Re: config(5) break down]

could you please use subject lines that somewhat reflect the content
of the discussion please? I was surprised to find a discussion like
this under that subject, or maybe you want to sneak it through? :)

On Tue, Mar 16, 2010 at 11:39:07AM +0100, Johnny Billquist wrote:
> Julio Merino wrote:
> >(...)
> >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.

Well, if you tell them, run this script and reboot to configure your
system for your needs, then most users would sign that. And that's
all our (cross-)building is. Run a script. Now if the source is not
properly maintained because someone keeps yelling we need binary
kernel modules that don't install using said script... or build time
options turn over to bitrot because you could as well keep and load
all the relevant code... well, that's when NetBSD fails. but ...

> 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.

Absolutely. That's the #1 reason linux guys who are initially quite
charmed with NetBSD go away again. Hey! We don't have flash, skype, ...
(and don't tell me about our emulator stuff. It's neat but it's
not really a solution to the problem)

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

Actually the experience I had with my NetBSD advocacy in the windows
and linux circles I used to do that was that everybody was quite
positively impressed about the clarity of kernel config files,
documentation and building.

> 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.


Thanks for these wise words, johnny.


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