Subject: Re: Thoughts on NetBSD and Debian Linux
To: Chris Frost , <firstname.lastname@example.org>
From: Richard Rauch <email@example.com>
Date: 05/13/2002 21:35:29
It's not clear what you are asking. Do you want us to tell you which one
(a) This is netbsd-advocacy; guess which one is more poppular here.
(b) It depends on what your interests, needs, and tastes are.
Or did you perhaps rather want a comparison, simply of how NetBSD feels
compared to Debian GNU/LINUX (as opposed to other GNU/LINUXen, and/or as
opposed to other BSD's)?
I had Debian GNU/LINUX installed on one of my machines for a while (it
was a dual-boot machine). Mostly, I wanted to play with DRI; I was
disappointed to learn that I couldn't use DRI with the kernel that shipped
with that version, and never got around to updating LINUX. I almost never
booted GNU/LINUX, anyway, since this was my main machine, and I feel more
comfortable under NetBSD. Eventually, I upgraded my NetBSD installation
on that machine, and in the process decided to reclaim the GNU/LINUX
However, Debian GNU/LINUX felt ``okay'', if you ignore the binary-only
package system that they use. It didn't take me too long to get X
configured, though I remember being miffed at getting an overpowered
desktop/window-manager as the default (I expected my lovely minimalist
twm; instead I got something that looked like KDE, though I assume that it
wasn't actually installing KDE as a default).
I didn't spend enough time with GNU/LINUX to form opinions that I'd trust.
(Opinions, yes. But not ones that I'd trust.) Debian was, however,
recommended to me as the GNU/LINUX most akin to what I was used to in
Perhaps, since I wanted to explore the other side a bit, I should have
taken a more vastly different GNU/LINUX. The goal, after all, wasn't to
find a GNU/LINUX to replace NetBSD, but rather to play with DRI and also
get a sense for how (at least some) GNU/LINUX systems are managed, as
opposed to how NetBSD is managed.
That said: Day to day use, if you don't have to muck around as your own
admin, is pretty similar between them. THey're both UNIX-like OS's. They
have similar baseline features, and by the time you're done installing
packages you can largely make one look like the other. (Want TeX? cd
/usr/pkgsrc/print/tetex && make update. Or do the Debian apt-get
equivalent.) Assuming that your hardware is supported, and you don't need
DRI, I don't think that you'll notice a lot of difference, once you've got
them set up and configured.
Development: Similar answer. (Unless you mean development of the
operating systems themselves. In that regard, you'll have to look at the
source code for the systems and form your own opinions. (^&)
I'm using NetBSD because:
(a) It suits nearly every need I have.
(b) Principle: I like the priorities that the NetBSD project seems
to have. (This is also somewhat long-term pragmatism.)
(c) Community. (Small and generally open & friendly.)
Honestly, if not for those, I could substitute FreeBSD, or Debian
GNU/LINUX, and be approximately as happy (maybe a little moreso in some
ways, maybe a little less in others).
``I probably don't know what I'm talking about.'' --firstname.lastname@example.org