Subject: Re: NetBSD momentum
To: Dave Vollenweider <>
From: Alistair Crooks <>
List: netbsd-advocacy
Date: 12/22/2004 11:00:23
On Mon, Dec 20, 2004 at 11:23:36AM -0600, Dave Vollenweider wrote:
> To do that, though, I think that NetBSD would do well to emphasize
> the desktop side of the OS in addition to the server side, as right
> now I get the idea that NetBSD as reflected in the NetBSD Guide
> doesn't really aim for the desktop user all that much.  FreeBSD was
> making inroads into this area before the debacle that is 5.3-RELEASE
> was released.  This will also mean getting more packages in the
> Package collection, but we'll have to leave that to the developers. 
> :)

I believe that number of packages is only one of the criteria in
judging a third-party packaging system, and not necessarily the most
important.  At the risk of irritating all those who were at pkgsrccon
in Vienna in May, I'd like to re-iterate that there are other criteria
that we should use, in addition to the number of packages:

	+ portability
	+ ease of use
	+ security features
	+ digitally-signed packages
	+ ability to specify preferences when building
	+ ability to produce and use binary packages
	+ ability to add packages from remote hosts
	+ ability to replace packages in-place
	+ a clear strategy and plan for development of the system

and the list goes on...
> Some sort of FreeBSD-to-NetBSD migration guide would also help.  I
> can guarantee that one of the first things former FreeBSD users will
> ask when looking at NetBSD's Packages collection is, "Where's
> portupgrade?" or "How can I update my ports easily?" pkg_check will
> do the job, but you wouldn't know that by looking in the NetBSD
> Guide; it's silent on the issue.

I do try to send out regular monthly bulletins of the changes to the
packages collection, and keep everyone informed of what's happening in
those.  There are ways to upgrade packages, but they are not the same
as those you may be used to.  We are working towards a way of layering
packages, such that multiple conflicting versions of a package may be
installed at any one time, called pkgviews.  Our current goal is to
have that in place in Q2 2005.  Some packages are already ready for
that - others have still to be converted, and I believe that most, if
not all, of the infrastructure is in place to acheieve that.