The future of NetBSD
MH at kernel32.de
Thu Aug 31 00:50:40 UTC 2006
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Charles M. Hannum wrote:
> popularity in 1993 and 1994) have suffered similar problems. FreeBSD
> and XFree86, for example, have both forked successor projects (Dragonfly
> and X.org) for very similar reasons.
I don't agree that Dragonfly is a successor of FreeBSD. Not yet.
Dragonfly is nowhere near the state of FreeBSD 6.x
Will it get there? Time will tell...
> Were TNF comprised of a good set of leaders, this situation might be
> somewhat acceptable -- though certainly not ideal. The problem is,
> there are really no leaders at this point. "Goals" for releases are not
> based on customer feedback or looking forward to future needs, but
> solely on the basis of what looks like it's bubbled up enough that it
> might be possible to finish in time. There is no high-level direction;
> if you ask "what about the problems with threads" or "will there be a
> flash-friendly file system", the best you'll get is "we'd love to have
> both" -- but no work is done to recruit people to code these things, or
> encourage existing developers to work on them.
This would be the very same with Linux, if there would be the same
amount of developers as in NetBSD. I promise that.
I do know this attidute from reading FreeBSD mailing lists.
However, this is pretty natural for OSS projects.
If you don't have a guy/girl who's doing the job, the wishlist gets long
and the manpower gets short.
It is like that... and it's hard to change.
Myself, I would like to have an easy to setup fully automated, serial
console controlled, installation system of FreeBSD and OpenBSD.
This doesn't exists. So it's in the end up to me to make up my mind, if
nobody else does.
> This vacuum has contributed materially to the project's current
> stagnation. Indeed, NetBSD is very far behind on a plethora of very
> important projects. Threading doesn't really work across multiple CPUs
> -- and is even somewhat buggy on one CPU. There is no good flash file
It is like that in Linux too, more or less. So don't worry ;-)
> For these reasons and others, the project has fallen almost to the point
> of irrelevance. (Some people will probably argue that it's beyond that
> point, but I'm trying to be generous.) This is unfortunate, especially
> since NetBSD usage -- especially in the embedded space -- was growing at
> a good rate in 2000 and 2001, prior to the aforementioned coup.
Avocent's KVM over IP boards are based on NetBSD for instance :)
> 5) There are a number of aspects of the NetBSD architecture that are
> flat out broken, and need serious rehabilitation. Again, the
> leadership needs to recruit people to do these things. Some of them
> * serious problems with the threading architecture (including the
> user-kernel interface), as mentioned earlier;
> * terrible support for kernel modules;
> * the horrible mess that is 32/64-bit compatibility, resulting in
> 32-bit apps often not working right on 64-bit kernels; and
> * unbounded maintenance work due to inappropriate and rampant use of
> "quirk" tables and chip-specific tables; e.g. in SCSI, ATAPI, IDE,
> ACPI and SpeedStep support. (I actually did much of this work for
> SCSI, but am not currently able to commit it.)
You really don't want to compare these facts against Linux. I promise
you, despite how popular Linux is, they have the very same problems, and
IMHO it's even worse. Much worse.
The only luck the Linux project has, is a whole lot of more developers
than any of the BSD's projects have.
Does this produce better code? No!
Does this produce more features? Yes.
Does this produce a faster OS? Probably Yes.
But under the hood, Linux is completely screwed. Ever tried to set up
bonding (aka trunk(4)) ?
You don't want to!
It works, okay, but it's a rocky road...
> [I'm CCing this to FreeBSD and OpenBSD lists in order to share it with
> the wider *BSD community, not to start a flame war. I hope that people
> reading it have the tact to be respectful of their peers, and consider
> how some of these issues may apply to them as well.]
I hope people did. Although I doubt that much read that far. You said
true words, and false, and sometimes it looked like a flame war. But all
in all, it was very sad to read.
Go back to your work, and start changing things. Don't stop.. Keep on!
Marian, FreeBSD and OpenBSD user/advocate (but payed at work to use
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