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Re: openbsd -> netbsd : same yet feels different ...

At date and time Tue, 17 Jun 2014 13:43:05 +0000, Mayuresh Kathe wrote:

> hello,
> it's been 3 days since i took advice from "aaron b" and migrated
> to netbsd from openbsd.
> i won't go overboard and say that i'm an instant fan-boy, but
> frankly, the system feels the same, yet quite different.
> for one, the responsiveness while using the operating system is
> much better than under openbsd (or even freebsd).
> secondly, the community (mailing list) isn't grumpy. :)
> i migrated primarily because of the upcoming support for "lua"
> throughout the operating system, hope it materializes.
> what else could someone who's not so much into system setup and
> administration, nor into systems programming do with netbsd?
> ah yes, i am not much of a 'gui' user, so will be working at the
> console, primarily, but would be nice to know if there's anyone
> here using or carrying over 'cwm' from openbsd, it's kinda nice.

I too moved from OpenBSD to NetBSD. (For 20+ years before that I was an
illiterate product of the Irish education system, knowing and caring for
nothing other than Microsoft Windows.) I liked and still like OpenBSD:
their pf packet filter with queueing integrated; their work on OpenSSH;
and their commitment to security. But a couple of things nagged me. One
was the recommendation not to install from source. The other was the
outright refusal to countenance OpenBSD as a host for virtual machines.
When I discovered NetBSD it was like a breath of fresh air. The whole
system has a feel to it that is just right. And NetBSD has Xen! pkgsrc
has "just-in-time" su! NetBSD has veriexec! LVM and npf have arrived!
NetBSD 7 will have ipfilter 5, which can block based on domain names!

Honestly, to my mind NetBSD feels like a beautifully engineered system,
much more than any other system I have tried. I am not a programmer or
a professional sysadmin. I understand every system has its flaws, and I
certainly have encountered them along the way in NetBSD. Things I'd
love to see in NetBSD: Dragonfly BSD's Hammer; a more complete wiki,
which supersedes all the conflicting and out-of-date documentation out

I would also like to see a *step-by-step* guide to pkgsrc on NetBSD. The
pkgsrc guide falls short of giving this. For example, it makes the
assumption we know where mk.conf is, and where it should go, and what
adjustments we need to make to the file before we start using pkgsrc.
It took me a long time to understand the difference between "just-in-time"
su and compiling an unprivileged build: this will seem ridiculously
obvious to those in the know but to absolute beginners it is thoroughly
confusing and there is no clear explanation in the guide. Indeed I am
still not 100% clear about it. It's also difficult to get mk.conf
working so that GNU and Perl and Sourceforge software is pulled from a
local mirror. No matter what I try to get it pulled from HEAnet in
Dublin most of it still seems to come from Vienna!

These criticisms aside, NetBSD remains for me the gold standard in
operating system design and behaviour. The NetBSD developers and users
here are patient and friendly. They don't tolerate anything less than
excellence, and they are patient. Too patient sometimes! I am dying to
see 7 branched! But at least their conservatism means we will never see
any of the brain-dead rubbish that has infested Linux make its way into

Gerard Lally

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