Subject: Re: Merging Net/Free/Open-BSD together against Linux
To: NetBSD i386 Mailing List <>
From: Alicia da Conceicao <>
List: port-i386
Date: 11/25/1998 16:36:59
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Jordan K. Hubbard wrote:
> Hmmmm.  I don't recall you stopping by and talking to us FreeBSD folks
> at our booth just outside the Linux pavilion (a rather strategic
> location as it turns out, just as an FYI to any NetBSD folks
> contemplating a presence next year), but if you had we could have
> certainly presented you with a somewhat brighter picture for BSD than
> the one you evidently have.

I believe I did talk to someone at a FreeBSD booth in the Sands
convention centre, which was the last booth in a row of Linux booths,
sponsored by Walnut Creek.  They were even nice enough to give me a 
4 CD copy of FreeBSD 3.0, although they refused to sell me a BSD plush
doll that I really wanted.  :-(  (Do you know where I can buy one online
in North America?)

> As far as mergers are concerned, all I can say is that the last 97
> times (at least) that this issue was raised, we made little progress
> and managed to generate far more heat than light in the process.  What
> would the merged product be called?  Who would be "in charge" of the
> final result?  What about the differences in overall direction and
> philosophy between the various *BSD camps?  Who's "vision" for BSD is
> chosen as the principal direction?  These are far from unimportant or
> trivially answerable questions, and I can easily envision a scenario
> where a merged frankenstein BSD goes stumbling across the landscape to
> its subsequent destruction as it attempts, in a state of extreme
> schizophrenia, to execute multiple incompatible goals at once.

Even if such a attempt to merge were made, it would be too soon to even
give it a name, although "uniBSD" does come to mind.  But as a
mentioned in my post, merging the BSD's can be a distant long term goal.
In the short term, those in the core of the BSD's could perhaps start
thinking about small, incremental steps, like unifying some of the
device drivers, using a common directory structure and naming
conventions, eliminating the "domestic" and incorporating strong crypto
directly into the distribution.  (If there are any US based concerns,
I would be more than happy to donate a NetBSD server on a T3 in Canada
to the NetBSD core development team with full root access.)

Even if the core goals of the different BSD's are different, the
differences are not to the degree that at least some small amount of
convergence can take place.  After all, there is a lot more in common
between the BSD's then there is with Linux, which is something that
I'm afraid that some will feel pressured to adopt.  And I am not so
sure that the different goals of the BSD's are really that different.
FreeBSD is now trying to incorporate some of NetBSD's multiple
platform support.  NetBSD is incorporating some of OpenBSD's security
fixes, and some of FreeBSD's ix86 hardware support.  I am sorry if I
sound ignorant, or if I am over simplifying, but I still don't
understand why there cannot be at least some co-operation and some small
steps towards establishing some commonality between the BSD's.

All of the BSD's have grown well beyond the needs of the core development
teams.  Perhaps some type of meeting and peace negotiating needs to be
considered.  If South Africa and North Ireland can broker peace accords
between warring factions, why can't we?  Maybe NetBSD should be the first
to extent the olive branch.  :-)


PS. Linux does have different distributions, but as I understand it,
	these all run the same kernel, and differ primarily in
	software applications unrelated to the OS.
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