Subject: Re: Bad Mistake by Announce List Owner
To: Herb Peyerl <>
From: Alicia da Conceicao <>
List: netbsd-advocacy
Date: 12/09/2001 04:00:02
>> Allowing the announcement of 4Front Tech's new sound driver is
>> on the Netbsd-Announce List is a mistake.
>> The code quality of this package cannot be independantly verified
>> as source is not available and  using this driver, which works at
>> very low levels of the OS, can compromise the stability of the 
>> NetBSD OS for which each and every NetBSD developer has
>> worked so hard.
>> I suggest that announcements of this kind may not be allowed
>> on the list 

Here is my two cents.  Announcements of commerical or other non-
opensource software *SHOULD* be allowed on the Netbsd-Announce,
if they release NetBSD specific binaries.  The purests do have a
valid point, so I suggest that a disclaimer be added to the
beginning of each commerical or other non-opensource software
announcement.  For example, such a disclaimer can look like this:

The NetBSD announcement list is please to announce the following
commerical vendor software release for NetBSD.  Note that as with
any non-opensource software, we cannot guarantee its performance
or stability, since it has not been subjected to a public code
review, however this is unknown risk is a tradeoff for the
additional capabilities and functionality that such software

Okay, I am not a good writer, but you get my idea.  There is so
little commercial software releases for NetBSD, especially when
compared to other OS's like Linux, that we need to encourage them
much as possible.

In the case of 4front, regardless of the quality or stability of
the drivers, the fact is they provide the *ONLY* drivers for many
laptops.  I run many NetBSD servers, but I do all of my NetBSD
development on a workstation laptop, where I am more than willing
to sacrifice stability to hear 16 bit audio when playing my MP3's
on the road.  I would not install it on my servers, but I have
purchased a licence copy for my laptop.  This is the exact same
reason why I like to run NetBSD on my workstation laptop, to take
advantage of new features and driver support, but only run stable
releases on my servers.

Personally, I dislike the fact that 4front uses a loadable kernel
module, since it only works with a limited list of NetBSD kernel
releases, which do not include current snapshots.

Just as an idea, why not offer a userland plugin API for
commercial driver support in userspace?  The plugin API can be
fully opensource, and companies like 4front can release their
drivers in userspace, so that it would be independant of the
kernel.  Anyways I do not know enough about the kernel, to know
how well this would work out, but hey it is an suggestion, so
no flames please.