Subject: Re: Thoughts on NetBSD and Debian Linux
To: None <>
From: Aaron J. Grier <>
List: netbsd-advocacy
Date: 05/16/2002 13:12:33
On Mon, May 13, 2002 at 11:18:38PM -0400, Chris Frost wrote:
> I'm just curious to see why individual people prefer netbsd to debian
> (or the other way around of course) for software devel and general
> usage.

I started using linux back in 1995... then in 1997, I was given a
decstation 5000/240.  that decstation attracted others, and I wanted to
keep things legal and didn't want to deal with Ultrix licensing issues,
so I went looking for alternate operating systems.

while there was some work underway to get linux running on decstations
in 1997, it didn't even get to single user at that point, and wasn't
much use unless you were a linux hacker.  I faintly remember getting
NetBSD 1.2.x booted on the machine, but couldn't figure out disklabel or
the installation procedure.  the box sat in my basement for a while...

in 1998 my college got rid of all its MIPS-based decstations, (having
replaced them with alphas,) and by then my BSD-fu had increased such
that I was able to load 1.3.x on them, to help foist them on my fellow
suckers^Wstudents.  linux/mips was going single-user at this point, but
was severely lacking hardware support, and since NetBSD was working,
that's what I went with.

I lived with Linux on the two PCs and NetBSD on the decstations until
1999, when a couple alphas followed me home, which being turbochannel
machines, didn't have a working linux available, so they got the NetBSD
treatment.  I had the decstations and alphas playing nice together, with
unified passwords and home directories via NIS/YP and amd.  it just
started to click in my mind.  I liked the administrative consistency
across the two ports.  I liked being able to build kernels for different
architectures from the same source tree.

late one night a friend of mine pointed out that NetBSD is more "unixy"
than linux, and I realized I had slowly been migrating myself to NetBSD
from linux without really being aware of it up until that point.  a few
months earlier I had switched my X station from my linux box to a
decstation 5000/200, and had slowly been doing more things under NetBSD
than linux.  I had kept my linux box up and running, but more out of
habit than anything else.

the more I work with NetBSD, the more I appreciate its design, its
development model, and the people behind it.  the goals of the NetBSD
project really resonate with me, especially portability and elegant

  Aaron J. Grier | "Not your ordinary poofy goof." |