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

>> 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.

> Absolutely!

> Thanks for these wise words, johnny.

"What they said."

Thank you, Johnny, for putting it so eloquently.  This is very much
what bothers me about the directions NetBSD is headed, and has for
quite a while: it appears to be trying to turn itself into Yet Another
Unix Variant, different from Linux and Solaris and their ilk only in
the brand name on the case.  People say things like "we'll never win
over the Linux users without $FEATURE!", which makes me say "why do you
want to?".  If I want Linux - or Solaris, or any of various other
Unices - I know where to find it; if NetBSD succeeds in turning into a
Linux - or whatever - clone, it will have lost the reasons it
previously gave me to prefer it.

"But we're not trying to do that!"  Enough of you are that that's
NetBSD's direction.  You're trying to come up with point-and-drool
installers.  You're trying to fully support "desktop environment"s.
You're trying to make system administration easy for non-sysadmins.
You are, in short, trying to give it the things I picked NetBSD to get
away from, the things Johnny summarized so well: lots of magic code
doing things users are not only not expected to understand but are
expected to not understand (and under whose hood prying is not
supported).  /etc/rc.d/*.  Modular kernels.  Sysinst.  I
don't want a system that has any code under whose hood prying is not
supported; if the answer to "I'm having trouble with $FOO" is "messing
with $FOO is not supported; use our magic code instead", that's a bug
as far as I'm concerned.

I've seen it called elitist to prefer, for example, installing by hand.
I can understand that point of view, but I think it misses the point
fairly fundamentally.  It's the difference between inclusive and
exclusive - I don't want to keep hoi polloi out by demanding
understanding before they are worthy to (say) install NetBSD; rather, I
want to bring them in by imparting that understanding, with things like
manual installation serving as teaching (and self-testing) tools.
Nothing teaches like experience.

Yes, this excludes the people who don't understand and don't want to.
To steal a term from marketing, I don't think NetBSD should try to
serve that market segment; it's already well-served by others, and I
see no percentage in trying to join them.  It doesn't serve them better
(indeed, by adding yet another alternative they neither are nor want to
be competent to choose among, it serves them worse) and it doesn't
serve NetBSD (people who don't even want to understand are among the
least likely to turn into developers and contribute back).  So what's
to like?

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