Subject: Merging Net/Free/Open-BSD together against Linux
To: NetBSD i386 Mailing List <>
From: Alicia da Conceicao <>
List: port-i386
Date: 11/25/1998 06:42:52
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I've just recently returned from Comdex in Las Vegas.  While I was there,
I conducted a number of interviews, with a number of organizations and
individuals for Internet Paper.  Based on the responses I have received,
as well as information from other sources including the web, mailing
lists, news sources, and other publications, it would appear that Linux
(which is already the most popular ix86 Unix OS) is gaining in some of
its growth at the expensive of BSD based Unixes, including NetBSD.  More
alarming, this trend appears to be predominate among new Unix adoptees.

As someone who has personally chosen to support NetBSD for many years,
and used NetBSD as much as possible in the home, work, and for software
development, I find this trend alarming.  It is true that NetBSD does
benefit from the talent pools from other Unix operating systems,
including Linux, FreeBSD, and others, especially through its binary
emulation of applications and porting of non NetBSD based source code.
However, it has become clear that this approach is not enough to prevent
NetBSD's gradual erosion.  I'm sure may of us NetBSD supporters envy
the increasing user base and increasing "native" software base that
Linux is receiving.

Part of the problem with NetBSD is that it is one of several "forks" or
splits from BSD, which also include FreeBSD, OpenBSD, BSDI, etc.  This
splitting up of BSD into the different forks has divided up the talent
pool of BSD developers, benefiting non-forked operating system like

NetBSD, FreeBSD, and OpenBSD are all open source, and each of them have
their own advantages over the other.  Now is the time that people put
their egos aside and perhaps at least talk about merging some components
of these BSD operating systems, including kernels, drivers, etc., taking
the best features from each.  Only then can we establish a BSD based OS
as the real non-Linux Unix alternative; something that Sun Solaris, SCO,
OSF, etc. are also trying to do.

I know that merging the BSD OS forks back together is a huge undertaking,
technically and politically.  But if we all plan to continue using NetBSD
(or its successor) as a viable and robust operating system in the many
years to come, I can not see any other alternative.

As a software developer and system administrator, I love NetBSD, I would
hate to have to force myself to switch to another non-BSD based operating
system in order to keep from sacrificing performance, robustness, or
application/driver/support diversity.

I would be most interested in hearing from other NetBSD users about the
idea of possible merging the BSD OS forks back together, especially from
those of you who are actively involved in NetBSD OS development.

Yours truly, Alicia.
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