Subject: *BSD cooperation...
To: None <>
From: Peter Seebach <>
List: netbsd-advocacy
Date: 04/23/2000 00:02:04
Disclaimer:  As many of you are doubtless aware, I am currently employed
by BSD, Inc. (aka BSDI-and-Walnut-Creek).  This may color my opinions.  :)

So, BSDI and Walnut Creek merged.  In practice, this means that FreeBSD and
BSD/OS are now sold by the same people, share a booth at Comdex, and things
like that.  The dust hasn't entirely settled, but already there's been some
talk of further cooperation between the BSD's.

I don't think anyone expects to see a "merger" of the various BSD's; it's
possible that BSD/OS and FreeBSD will be getting a lot closer (even fairly
likely), but it's not even clear that they'll merge, let alone that any of
the others will.  I don't think it's even necessarily desirable that the
systems merge; I think we get a lot of great code that might not have been
written for a merged system.

However, it *would* be nice if we all cooperated a little.  I've been trying
to nudge some of the people in the new BSD, Inc. ("BSDi", note lowercase i)
towards a bit of cooperation with NetBSD folks.  I'd love to get feedback on
things that BSDi could do that might be seen as useful.

Now, don't get any crazy ideas.  I'm not promising anything.  I'm not saying
that *anything* will happen.  About the most I can say is that I'm pretty damn
sure no one is planning to invent a trademark suit.  However, I have found a
lot of people at BSDi who are interested in developing and/or expanding
relations with NetBSD.

There's an important corollary.  It would be nice if NetBSD tried to cooperate
with *us*.  I'm not trying to pretend that we're some poor, tiny, little
company struggling to survive; as you may have noticed in the press releases,
we're getting investment money these days.  But any time someone clearly from
the NetBSD "camp" does something helpful for us, it helps make the case that
we can cooperate and work together.

A lot of you will doubtless be skeptical that BSDi will do anything useful
for NetBSD.  There are people at BSDi who are, likewise, skeptical that NetBSD
will be friendly, cooperative, or even anything other than outright hostile.
I think they're wrong, but we all know that the various BSD's have been in
conflict to one degree or another for years.  Any hatchet-burying you guys
can do will be greatly appreciated.

At Comdex, by the third day of the show, we had NetBSD flyers in the BSDi
booth.  I think that was a great thing, and the other people working the booth
seemed to think so too.  :)

This is a bit rambling, but I don't really have a specific, concrete, message
right now.  I haven't got an official checklist of things to do; I'm not an
official liason, I'm not really speaking for BSDi... but I don't think
everything needs to be official and in writing for us to start building some
cooperative efforts, and if we build a good relationship, the impression I
get is that the management folks want to do so, and want to make sure it's a
productive relationship.  They recognize that this would, necessarily, imply
giving back to the NetBSD project.  I want to see that happen.  :)