Subject: Re: major hier(7) overhauls?
To: None <>
From: Scott Reynolds <scottr@Plexus.COM>
List: tech-userlevel
Date: 01/28/1999 14:07:33
On Wed, 27 Jan 1999 wrote:

> [ On Tue, January 26, 1999 at 01:48:23 (-0600), Scott Reynolds wrote: ]
> > Subject: Re: major hier(7) overhauls?
> >
> > What does `all in one file system' have to do with hier(7)?  It really,
> > really sounds like your beef is with sysinst, not the fact that hier(7)
> > defines the /usr file system.  If that is in fact the case, I have no
> > problem with you wanting to have / and /usr on the same file system,
> > provided that you don't force it on everyone.
> Nothing really.  Did you miss the first part of this thread?

If it was under a different subject heading, probably.  Dealing with the
pkg hierarchy problem is certainly a sticky issue, but I maintain that
there are some invariants that we have to deal with.  The structure of the
hier(7) is one of them.

> In the blue-sky world I think it would be good for all systems that are
> evolving beyond what Unix originally was to eliminate /usr too.  Given
> the close ties some (NetBSD) folks have with tradition though I don't
> expect to ever see this happen to NetBSD, in particular.  Some people
> seem to attach (too much) emotion to things that have merely technical
> reasons for being (once upon a time they did anyway).

This last sentence is where we differ.  In the following paragraph you
referred to "small" machines as a "side issue of separate importance."
Contrarily, being a user of several such machines myself, I consider this
a significant issue.  The technical reasons for /usr existing are still
just as valid for us now as they were in the past, unless we move to ditch
that subset of machines that simply can't handle a merged root and /usr. 

As the mac68k port maintainer, I see plenty of people describe the
hardware they have or are attempting to install on.  Certainly not all of
them are "small" as we've discussed here, but a non-trivial subset of them
would be abandoned should we go this route.  I don't believe that's wise,
even without considering any of the other ports that have similar

> I personally don't have any beef with having a separate /usr on NetBSD,
> though I don't see that it gains most people anything at all, and in
> some cases there's a noticable loss for having both filesystems on the
> same spindle.

Once more: root and /usr do not have to be separate file systems on the
same spindle.  This currently exists in a default installation only
because of a limitation of sysinst; they can reside in the same
filesystem.  This virtually eliminates the loss that you are referring to.
I don't know why this issue keeps coming up.

> These kinds of issues really should be studied more
> closely and documented better.

Agreed, though I don't know that it's terribly important.