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Operating Systems Software BSD

NetBSD 5.0 Released 129

Posted by samzenpus
from the come-and-get-it dept.
kl76 writes "The NetBSD Project have announced the release of NetBSD 5.0 after two years of development. Highlights of the seven million new lines of code in 5.0 include a new threads implementation, kernel preemption, a new scheduler, POSIX real-time scheduling, message queues and asynchronous I/O, WAPBL metadata journaling for FFS filesystems, improved ACPI support, UDF write support, X.Org instead of XFree86 (on some platforms — at last!) and lots of driver updates. Binary distributions for 53 different platforms are provided."
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NetBSD 5.0 Released

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  • by gzipped_tar (1151931) on Wednesday April 29, 2009 @10:07PM (#27767415) Journal
    That's $28 million/month in total!!!!!!
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by K. S. Kyosuke (729550)
      You gotta love those guys. Of course, it shows that they love eating C for breakfast. (Must be those C-reals... :-)) Now excuse me, I am going to worship them in course of an OS installation.
      • by Brian Gordon (987471) on Wednesday April 29, 2009 @11:12PM (#27767845)
        I wouldn't get out the incense too soon. Switching to x.org is a Bad Idea right now. xorg-server-1.3 is aging badly: unsupported, unfixable bugs, and oh god xorg.conf. xorg-server-1.5.3 isn't really stable yet, especially for NetBSD, but we're on the cusp of the migration. If NetBSD is including 1.3 then all the fixing and configuring admins will have to do will be wasted when 1.5.3 breaks everything again.

        1.5.2 completely destroyed my gentoo X a few months ago when I tried installing kde-4.2. Apparently fglrx didn't support 1.5.x yet?! I was cast into DPI hell and my font sizes are still a barely noticeable few pixels off. grumble grumble
        • Sounds like fglrx destroyed your gentoo. I'm running the latest xf86-video-ati in portage on a RadeonHD 4850 with excellent results.
          • What? Please tell me they implemented Radeon HD 48xx support for the open-source xorg! Because I'm waiting for this for *ages* (Well, since the card came out.)

        • by Galactic Dominator (944134) on Thursday April 30, 2009 @03:27AM (#27769331)

          xorg-server-1.5.3 isn't really stable yet, especially for NetBSD, but we're on the cusp of the migration. If NetBSD is including 1.3 then all the fixing and configuring admins will have to do will be wasted when 1.5.3 breaks everything again.

          I've got no idea about NetBSD, but xorg server 1.6 has worked great on my system for months on FreeBSD 7.1 and 7-stable. 1.5.x was fine too except for a few conf changes.

          midco# pkg_info | grep xorg-server
          xorg-server-1.6.0,1 X.Org X server and related programs

        • by MrHanky (141717)

          Good thing for NetBSD they don't use fglrx, then.

        • by Sir_Lewk (967686) <sirlewk@NOSpaM.gmail.com> on Thursday April 30, 2009 @04:51AM (#27769793)

          "1.5.2 completely destroyed my gentoo X a few months ago when I tried installing kde-4.2. Apparently fglrx didn't support 1.5.x yet?!"

          Well thar's your problem, that's like The Perfect Storm, linux edition!

          I jest, I jest...

          • by Jurily (900488)

            Well thar's your problem, that's like The Perfect Storm, linux edition!

            Nah, it's more like that kid from The Day After Tomorrow:

            Also, the alleged honor student who gashed her leg while standing hip-deep in flood waters overflowing out of the sewer, and yet never thought of trying to disinfect her wound. Her near-death by infection several days later came, amazingly enough, as a complete surprise to her.

          • About the Gentoo part: Gentoo works fine, if you got the brains for it. ;)
            Yes it is a system, made by tinkerers, for tinkerers. But if you happen to be such a person, it is the best thing there is. Try finding anything like Portage somewhere else. Ports is far away from it. And don't get me started about the dependency hell of RPMs, or the DLL hell of Windows.

            Hint: We tinkerers have fun doing the things that you dislike. But this does not make anyone of us wrong. It's just a matter of taste.
            I still would re

            • by Seq (653613)

              Try finding anything like Portage somewhere else. Ports is far away from it. And don't get me started about the dependency hell of RPMs

              It would be an apt idea to try out a few other systems again. RPM a lot more yummy than in the past.

              Granted I haven't used gentoo in a few years, but other than an ebuild being easier to make than building a debian package or spec files, I don't really know what you're getting at.

              • by Chabo (880571)

                It would be an apt idea to try out a few other systems again. RPM a lot more yummy than in the past.

                /facepalm

            • by geniusj (140174)

              MacPorts is also excellent. I wouldn't dis ports too much though. Respect your elders :-)

        • and oh god xorg.conf,

          What about it? I liked it. It's clean and well structured. Of course I wrote it myself.

          xorg-server-1.5.3 isn't really stable yet

          What are you talking about? I'm running it since it was available for Gentoo. And it did not give me any problems. I'm using it right now.

        • Oh. By the way: It is your fglrx messing things up. I know this, because it happened to me.
          Hint: Do not buy ATi cards if you have a Linux system. EVER. ^^

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      [Disclaimer: This comment applies to Vista as well; please don't take it as a rant against BSD in particular.]

      Actually for a mature software project, you can bet dollars to donuts that there's always at least one bug per 10 KLOC, even after thorough testing and review. That means we have a very conservative estimate of at least 700 brand new bugs. And if only 1% of the new bugs are security related, then that's 7 brand new ways to get owned.

      I really wish OS vendors would start focusing on feature minimizati

      • The question is how many of those 7 MLOC are you going to use on your particular machine... Not everyone uses all the device drivers, for example. I think that NetBSD in particular is no great offender in terms of feature creep. I always thought they were the ones who likes to keep things clean, simple and modular.
      • by icebike (68054) on Wednesday April 29, 2009 @11:21PM (#27767889)

        Your numbers are off by a factor of ten.

        You are far too optimistic when quoting such low bug levels

        1 bug / 10K lines?

        Jesus H. Coder can't do that well.

        So the lesser gods that wrote NetBsd are probably going to have error rates ten times as high.

        • BSD is compelling (Score:2, Interesting)

          by mcrbids (148650)

          BSD is one of those things that I've been interested in doing, especially early on. It is arguably more secure than Linux, is definitely older and potentially more secure.

          So after using Linux for a year or so, I tried OpenBSD for a full month because of its much-touted security benefits before going back to Linux, and I've never looked back. Why?

          1) At the time, getting stuff installed was more of a chore.

          2) Although they had similar backgrounds and technologies, the differences were enough that it was almos

          • by afabbro (33948) on Thursday April 30, 2009 @01:05AM (#27768507) Homepage

            BSD is one of those things that I've been interested in doing, especially early on. It is arguably more secure than Linux, is definitely older and potentially more secure.

            OpenBSD is - not BSD in general.

            2) Although they had similar backgrounds and technologies, the differences were enough that it was almost a complete re-learn. RPM didn't work. Init was totally different. Commands such as ps, at, etc. had different options.

            You name three things that one would expect to be different, even without installing OpenBSD:

            • BSD does not use the RedHat Package Manager. Now there's a shock.
            • rc.X-style init vs. BSD init is one of the archetypal differences between BSD and SysV systems...so what did you expect?
            • GNU vs. non-GNU utilities have different arguments. Again...why the surprise? I suppose if Linux is the only Unix you've ever used, then perhaps you think the whole world works in a GNUish way. AIX, Solaris, HP-UX, and dozens of others have long had their quirks.

            I guess I don't see why your experience surprised you so much. If you're going to switch Unices, particularly from a (mostly) SysV-based system like Linux to a near-purely BSD-based system like OpenBSD, you should expect that some things are going to be different. It's one thing to say "hey, I tried OpenBSD, found that security is indeed the inverse of convenience, and decided I liked Linux better because it was more familiar to me". But saying that you were surprised to find that RPM didn't work leaves you vulnerable to "well, duh" comments. Like this one ;-)

            • by berashith (222128)

              AIX, Solaris, HP-UX, and dozens of others have long had their quirks.

              How dare you . Solaris is the one true system!!! everyone else has quirks!

            • The GP was actually a good post, as many people have not used *nix long enough to know these 'obvious' differences.

              I can rhyme off a dozen differences between Unixware, Solaris, Irix, Linux and OpenBSD but I doubt many people I know who use Linux on a regular basis would know any of them and assume the BSDs are more similar than they are.

          • by ByOhTek (1181381) on Thursday April 30, 2009 @08:33AM (#27771149) Journal

            BSD is one of those things that I've been interested in doing, especially early on. It is arguably more secure than Linux, is definitely older and potentially more secure.

            In general, BSDs do have a longer lineage than Linux, and they seem to have better security as well. However OpenBSD is the only one the is exceptionally notable in the security standpoint.

            1) At the time, getting stuff installed was more of a chore.

            I don't know, I've not used NetBSD. Install from packages on FreeBSD is fairly trivial. As long as you don't go crazy with your make.conf, install from source is pretty reliable and trivial as well.

            2) Although they had similar backgrounds and technologies, the differences were enough that it was almost a complete re-learn. RPM didn't work. Init was totally different. Commands such as ps, at, etc. had different options.

            Their backgrounds aren't really similar. I wouldn't expect RPM to work any more on *BSD than I would expect it to work on Windows or Mac. Well, maybe a bit more than on Windows. It doesn't even work across all Linux distros (and in my experience, I had better luck with apt on RH, than RPM. The exception being for the Linux Compatibility Layer, I would expect RPM to properly install stuff there (and it does!)

            As for init, yes, it is rather different, but there are several different init systems out there for *nix and *nix-like operating systems. You can get two or three of them on Linux.

            3) Didn't have support for multi-core systems. (at the time, I believe that's long under the bridge now)

            I've had SMP on FreeBSD for a long time, I expect OpenBSD was the same way. However, prior to FBSD7, you had to change some kernel options to get SMP. I'm guessing OpenBSD was the same way.

            Bottom line? I'd started to build a business that continues to this day using Linux as my architecture. In order to move over, I'd have to port over all my administration scripts, and much of my software to an environment that was just different enough to make me *think* I knew the answer when I didn't. Porting would have been somewhat expensive, and the case to make for the switch was marginal.

            True, but no one is asking you to switch. Keep with Linux, if it works for you, stick with it.

            In my experience, I spend less time in a year doing administrative tasks on a FreeBSD box, than I do in a month on a Linux box. But it's a mindset thing. FreeBSD is better designed for my mindset. There are people for whom the Linux mindset is better, or the Windows, or the Mac. It's good we have options so more people can have computers they can use.

            Long live BSD!

            And Linux, Windows, MacOS as well. May BeOS and Amiga be raised from the dead in the process.

      • by dbIII (701233)
        Cool!
        Numerology!
        Reality is dependant on so many variables that numerology is just adding an extra layer of complexity that you don't get with tea leaves or examining fish entrails.
        To sum up, your generalisation is unlikely to apply in many cases and thus the two derived numbers based on a flawed assumption become nothing but noise. This unfortunately applies to many MBA metrics but such numerology should be left out of discussions with technical folk.
        The last point was valid, but as for the bit of "I Chin
    • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Wednesday April 29, 2009 @11:38PM (#27767997) Homepage Journal
      No its seven million lines in the patch. Many of them will be changed or removed line of code.
  • Excellent (Score:3, Informative)

    by Venture37 (654305) on Wednesday April 29, 2009 @10:11PM (#27767441) Homepage
    NetBSD 5 is out today & OpenBSD 4.5 is out tomorrow, it's going to be busy weekend for some. :D
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by toejam13 (958243)
      To add to it, DragonflyBSD 2.2.1 was released just last week. Also, FreeBSD 7.2 is currently in release candidate (RC1) state. It should be out soon as well.
      • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Actually, FreeBSD 7.2RC2 is out.. ;)
        (As of April 24th, 2009)
        http://lists.freebsd.org/pipermail/freebsd-stable/2009-April/049591.html

    • 2009 is the Year of the NetBSD & OpenBSD Desktop!

      • OpenBSD has been a desktop OS for years.

        OpenOffice has been in ports/packages for about 2 years now. It's a bitch to build from ports. Before that, you could install it using linux_compat, and install the RPM of OO.org.

        epdfview for pdf viewing
        gimp for picture editing

        I use fluxbox for X manager, but we have KDE/gnome if you enjoy the bloat.

        I use grip for OGG/FLAC creation
        MPlayer/FFMPEG for video conversion
        Firefox for browsing, but we have Opera if you absolutely need things like flash for youtube.

        We have t

  • by chill (34294) on Wednesday April 29, 2009 @10:15PM (#27767469) Journal

    NETCRAFT:
            Bring out your dead!
            [clang]
            Bring out your dead!
    CUSTOMER:
            Here's one.
    NETCRAFT:
            Ninepence.
    NETBSD:
            I'm not dead!
    NETCRAFT:
            What?
    CUSTOMER:
            Nothing. Here's your ninepence.
    NETBSD:
            I'm not dead!
    NETCRAFT:
            'Ere. He says he's not dead!
    CUSTOMER:
            Yes, he is.
    NETBSD: Bring out your dead!
            [clang]
            Bring out your dead!
            [clang]
            Bring out your dead!
            [clang]
            I'm not!
    NETCRAFT:
            He isn't?
    CUSTOMER:
            Well, he will be soon. He's very ill.
    NETBSD:
            I'm getting better!
    CUSTOMER:
            No, you're not. You'll be stone dead in a moment.
    NETCRAFT:
            Oh, I can't take him like that. It's against regulations.
    NETBSD:
            I don't want to go on the cart!
    CUSTOMER:
            Oh, don't be such a baby.
    NETCRAFT:
            I can't take him.
    NETBSD:
            I feel fine!
    CUSTOMER:
            Well, do us a favour.
    NETCRAFT:
            I can't.
    CUSTOMER:
            Well, can you hang around a couple of minutes? He won't be long.
    NETCRAFT:
            No, I've got to go to FreeBSD. They've lost nine today.
    CUSTOMER:
            Well, when's your next round?
    NETCRAFT:
            Thursday.
    NETBSD:
            I think I'll go for a walk.
    CUSTOMER:
            You're not fooling anyone, you know. Look. Isn't there something you can do?
    NETBSD: [singing]
            I feel happy. I feel happy.
            [whop]
    CUSTOMER:
            Ah, thanks very much.
    NETCRAFT:
            Not at all. See you on Thursday.
    CUSTOMER:
            Right. All right.
            [howl]
            [clop clop clop]
            Who's that, then?
    NETCRAFT:
            I dunno. Must be Tux.
    CUSTOMER:
            Why?
    NETCRAFT:
            He hasn't got shit all over him.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by rdwald (831442)

      Replying to eliminate incorrect moderation.

    • by n1ckml007 (683046)
      Now did you right a script to modify the script? check+ if you did. P.S. is there an HTML code for "check+"?
      • by chill (34294)

        Just search and replace in a text editor.

        And no, there is no check character [utexas.edu] in HTML.

        • by jgrahn (181062)

          And no, there is no check character in HTML.

          What a horrible page you linked to. Not only do they recommend escaping the ordinary Latin-1 character set as if it was 1995; they also cannot spell "guillemot".

  • Hajelluleh? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Kudos to the NetBSD team. I have a NetBSD machine running as a NAS and media server that's so reliable that even my wife likes it. However, I won't be upgrading for a while. That's an incredible amount of new code they've committed, and while I have enormous faith in the skills of the NetBSD developers, there's a good chance that something slipped through the cracks. I think I'll wait for the bugfix release :) BSD Forever!

    Confessions of a Recovering Preppie: The Blog [michaeldemare.com]

  • Will it still run on my toaster?

  • Time to get out the toaster. I've been rather lax at keeping that thing updated.
  • by martin-boundary (547041) on Wednesday April 29, 2009 @10:29PM (#27767571)
    Don't forget to use Debian GNU/NetBSD [debian.org] ;-)
    • It would be nice if I could upgrade the core system with pkg tools, as opposed to reinstalling or compiling from source.
      • by X0563511 (793323)

        You should pay special attention to this statement made clearly on that page. I mean come on, it's only the second sentence on the page!

        It is currently in an early stage of development...

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by MichaelSmith (789609)
          No I am talking about netbsd in the context of debian. You can upgrade a debian system entirely with dpkg. You can not upgrade a netbsd system entirely with pkg tools. I am suggesting that netbsd make it possible to do that. All the tools exist, its just a matter of how they are used.
          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward

            No I am talking about netbsd in the context of debian. You can upgrade a debian system entirely with dpkg. You can not upgrade a netbsd system entirely with pkg tools. I am suggesting that netbsd make it possible to do that. All the tools exist, its just a matter of how they are used.

            pkgtools are for installing and maintaining third-party software packages, and not the "base" system.

            Traditionally BSD has done an upgrade-via-source way of doing things, but some FreeBSD people have been experimenting with binary updates:

            http://www.daemonology.net/freebsd-update/

            Of course you don't have to compile the source on every system. The build process can be centralized on one host, and then you can mount it into the local /usr/src and just do a "make install".

    • Re: (Score:1, Redundant)

      by MsGeek (162936)

      This is newer (and GNU-er): http://www.debian.org/ports/kfreebsd-gnu/ [debian.org]

    • by mebrahim (1247876)
      http://www.srcf.ucam.org/debian-netbsd/floppies/ [ucam.org]
      Last files are for 2002!
      I hope they update Debian/NetBSD for NetBSD 5.0.
  • I find this very interesting : http://uptime.netcraft.com/up/today/top.avg.html [netcraft.com]
    • Re:Uptime (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Marillion (33728) <ericbardesNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday April 29, 2009 @11:09PM (#27767819)

      It is interesting, but is it relevant to this thread?

      I tried to find a methodology of their statistics. If I recall, netcraft used to perform fancy packet inspection to determine what a site was running and if or when a site rebooted. Today, any site of substance is really a cluster of servers fronted by load balancers. You really have no idea when a server behind it reboots.

      • by Divebus (860563)

        He was talking about the web site.

      • by icebike (68054)

        > Today, any site of substance is really a cluster of servers fronted by load balancers.

        Dude: We are talking NetBSD here, why would there be a "site of substance" for a product that is simultaneously:

        1) not used by anyone
        2) able to server the world running on an HP 35 Calculator

        ??

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ZosX (517789)

      Its fascinating how windows dominates that list.

      • Re:Uptime (Score:4, Informative)

        by nicodoggie (1228876) on Thursday April 30, 2009 @01:42AM (#27768701)
        from http://uptime.netcraft.com/up/accuracy.html#os [netcraft.com]

        Why do some Operating Systems never show uptimes above 497 days ?

        The method that Netcraft uses to determine the uptime of a server is bounded by an upper limit of 497 days for some Operating Systems (see above). It is therefore not possible to see uptimes for these systems that go beyond this upper limit. Although we could in theory attempt to compute the true uptime for OS's with this upper limit by monitoring for restarts at the expected time, we prefer not to do this as it can be inaccurate and error prone.

        Why does my uptime go back to 0 after 198 days ?

        The Linux TCP stack uses the low 32 bits from the system uptime timer, and this timer, in recent kernel releases, runs at 250Hz. This means that the timer value wraps around to 0 after roughly 198 days. Although we could in theory attempt to compute the true uptime for OS's with this upper limit by monitoring for restarts at the expected time, we prefer not to do this as it can be error prone.

        Why do you not report uptimes for Linux 2.6 or FreeBSD 6 ?

        We only report uptimes for systems where the operating system's timer runs at 100Hz or less. Because the TCP code only uses the low 32 bits of the timer, if the timer runs at say 1000Hz, the value wraps around every 49.7 days (whereas at 100Hz it wraps after 497 days). As there are large numbers of systems which have a higher uptime than this, it is not possible to report accurate uptimes for these systems.

        The Linux kernel switched to a higher internal timer rate at kernel version 2.5.26. Linux 2.4 used a rate of 100Hz. Linux 2.6 used a timer at 1000Hz (some architectures were using 1000Hz before this), until the default was changed back to 250Hz in May 2006. (An explanation of the HZ setting in Linux.)

        FreeBSD versions 4 and 5 used a 100Hz timer, but FreeBSD 6 has moved to a customisable timer with a default setting of 1000Hz.

        So unfortunately this means that we cannot give reliable uptime figures for many Linux and FreeBSD servers.

        meh...

        • Re:Uptime (Score:4, Insightful)

          by shutdown -p now (807394) on Thursday April 30, 2009 @04:41AM (#27769727) Journal

          I think that it comes as no surprise to anybody that Linux and BSD can have years of uptime, but some people (particularly on /.) have hard time believing that, yes, it is actually possible to configure and administer a Windows/IIS box so that it will keep on par with that, too.

          • by pato101 (851725)
            From fortune:

            Tim Schmielau wrote:
            > the appended patch enables 32 bit linux boxes to display more than
            > 497.1 days of uptime. No user land application changes are needed.

            Thank you for doing this labor of love -

            I will let you know how it goes sometime
            after March 23, 2003 -

            - J Sloan on linux-kernel
          • (While I can't see the point in defending Windows, I do agree wholeheartedly with your signature :-)

      • Try reading this survey [netcraft.com] instead. It includes a distribution of servers running the busiest websites in the world, arguably a more valuable metric as it doesn't include placeholder and bulk hosting sites.

        In that context, Apache is 27% ahead of IIS.

    • by Lennie (16154)

      What does this bring us ? A list of servers that 'IS Interned Services' hasn't had any security updates or more likely their colo-customers servers ?

  • So where is it used? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by alienfluid (677872) on Thursday April 30, 2009 @01:48AM (#27768737) Homepage
    Anyone know of any major projects where NetBSD has been deployed and has been known to provide benefits far and beyond what can be gained from using more "traditional" operating systems?
  • Why NetBSD? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 30, 2009 @04:31AM (#27769673)

    I believe NetBSD 5.0 is a major turn of tide. Compared to 4.0, this is definitely a new chapter. In a way Mr. Hannum did a favour in his infamous rant: practically all aspects he identified have been addressed.

    We here at $DAYJOB have made extensive evaluation of the NetBSD 5.0 pre-releases and it is looking very good indeed. Our internal benchmarks show that for our typical workload, performance of NetBSD is now comparable to that of Linux and FreeBSD. (Numbers and methodology may not be representative nor even correct, but we have to base our decisions to something.) It is very likely that we will be rolling the next big-iron production line solely with NetBSD again. The recent happenings with Sun and the uncertainty surrounding Solaris have warmed also the management section upstairs.

    Besides performance and SMP, other things that account high in our book:

    1. Long support cycles and backward compatibility. This has always been one of the greatest strengths of NetBSD.
    2. Stability. When evaluating an operating system for servers that should be online to the late next decade, it is of crucial importance that stability is guaranteed. In this item there is a question mark for Linux in our list.
    3. Security. We believe that reducing the amount of code running is the first step to a more secure environment. In the Linux world the trend has been exactly the opposite even with so-called enterprise distributions. From NetBSD 5.0 we look forward to ASLR and security features inspired by PaX, the technology which we believe in with our Linux systems. This is one area where there is a big minus sign for FreeBSD.
    4. Xen. Not only does it run on NetBSD, but does it better (stability-wise) with NetBSD. Contradicts with all previous points, but is probably going to be employed in some parts of our farm, even if it is just to please management.
    5. Journaling support. While ZFS is the clear winner here, no doubt about it, the so-called WAPBL has looked promising in our tests. Roughly speaking, our conclusion has been that ext3 and FFS+WAPBL are quite comparable in their performance and stability. To rephrase this: both suck equally bad. Our Solaris-fileservers are not going anywhere for at least five years.
    6. Cleanroom implementations and central source for code. Since we have a relatively large in-house software stack, this, combined with (1) and (2), is very important to us. We are an open-minded shop with technically competent people who can replace non-optimal or bad parts of the system with internal designs. Avery dangerous thing to do with Linux due lack of coherency, but our previous experiences have shown that this is not so much of a problem with NetBSD.
    7. Documentation. Add to the end of (6). A big minus sign for Linux.

    Some drawbacks:

    1. The package system. A huddle of shell scripts without a strict API. Can be forgiven since nothing essential depends on it. A big plus sign for Linux.
    2. Lack of binary updates. A blessing and a curse. Can be forgiven in our case, but would be a pain in more heterogeneous environment. Again a plus sign and a parrot sticker for Linux.
    3. Java. Practically a complete lack of enterprise-like support for this nasty piece of software rules out NetBSD in many of our servers. Linux and Solaris are the only options to consider.

    At $HOME perhaps the most exciting feature is the new power management framework. This has taken huge leap forward in NetBSD 5.0. While there is still much work to be done, the direction is right. I believe that like SMP on the other end, power management will be one of the dominant factors in consumer-grade computing at the other end of the spectrum.

    Other things that I like generally in NetBSD:

    1. UNIX legacy. I have always liked the history of computing and it is a fresh breeze of air to find a system in which you can still feel the good-old days instead of the GU
    • Re:Why NetBSD? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by CraigParticle (523952) on Thursday April 30, 2009 @06:25AM (#27770341) Homepage

      Folks with mod points should bump this (AC) parent up; it's pretty much spot-on.

      Here are a few extra data points...

      I've been following the NetBSD 5.0 branch since it turned -RC on sparc, i386 and ARM. It's a significant step forward in a lot of ways. For example, on my EEE PC 900, everything works... something not every Linux distro has managed to do.

      In NetBSD, there seems to be a stronger realization that developer time is precious. For example, NetBSD suffers a lot less from 'superfluous redesign' than Linux. Many years ago, I wrote a few Linux 2.0 device drivers for a few ISA and PCI data acquisition boards I was using. I had to make fairly significant changes for kernel 2.2, then 2.4, then 2.6. And since then... don't get me started. I've had to fix inane code breakages in the 2.6 series several times. In NetBSD, my driver code didn't need to evolve a tenth as much. Code interfaces are just more stable.

      Just the build system alone is a huge time saver on embedded systems. You don't have to go searching around for cross-compilers, toolchains and all the other things that can be painful in Linux (unless your vendor spent a lot of time to assemble them for you). In NetBSD, this stuff is all built right into the base system to begin with.

      Admittedly, on the desktop, NetBSD is still more work than it should be, even compared to typical Linux distros. It's about like the other BSDs, and not so different from a basic Debian install, for example. There's a growing realization in the NetBSD community that 'making it easier' to get a functional modern desktop environment running is worthwhile. Hopefully this gains traction.

      NetBSD is a really nice system, which undeservedly gets overlooked a lot. It's definitely worth a look.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by catmistake (814204)

      hmm... listing pkgsrc as a drawback? Every admin I know sez its better than any other available... perhaps for this reason its been ported to most other platforms even...

    • Security. We believe that reducing the amount of code running is the first step to a more secure environment. In the Linux world the trend has been exactly the opposite even with so-called enterprise distributions. From NetBSD 5.0 we look forward to ASLR and security features inspired by PaX, the technology which we believe in with our Linux systems. This is one area where there is a big minus sign for FreeBSD.

      Which part of that does FreeBSD lack to earn the big minus sign?

    • by Mr.Ned (79679)

      "The package system. A huddle of shell scripts without a strict API. Can be forgiven since nothing essential depends on it. A big plus sign for Linux."

      pkgsrc works, but it's nowhere near as nice as apt. There's a Debian port to use the FreeBSD kernel (http://wiki.debian.org/Debian_GNU/kFreeBSD) that looks promising - the more operating systems that get something like apt, the better.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by hson (78256)

      Here is a short presentation with some purty graphs comparing NetBSD 4.0, NetBSD 5.0, Linux and FreeBSD 7.1.
      http://www.netbsd.org/~ad/50/img0.html [netbsd.org]
      Done by Andrew Doran, one of the most prolific NetBSD developers.

  • The really short summary: I want to run a 64bit OS on 64 bit hardware, everything to date is choking.

    https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/ubiquity/+bug/330866 [launchpad.net]

    I haven;t added these comments to the bug:
    FreeBSD64 chokes as well at some point.
    OpenSolaris CD boots but I couldn't tell if it was running in x64 mode or not. Didn't stay up long enough (Gnome &/or X would bork after about 5 minutes).

    Does NetBSD have different (better possibly but at least different) hardware detection and so might boot so i

    • by Noryungi (70322)

      Do try NetBSD/amd64 and OpenBSD/amd64: both have excellent hardware detection and should be able to - at least - provide more information on what went wrong.

      Also of interest to you: NetBSD was the first Open-Source OS with USB support [netbsd.org], so there is hope a correct ICH7 driver is included.

      In the worst possible case, you can probably make sure some functions are de-activated if they crash the kernel. See here for an example [slashdot.org] - it uses OpenBSD, but the procedure should be very similar in NetBSD.

      Hope this helps!

      • Seems strange that the amd64 iso is only 247Mb
        ftp://iso.au.netbsd.org/pub/NetBSD/iso/5.0/ [netbsd.org]
        So hopefully will download while I sleep and I will try and remember to report back tomorrow (probably about 24 hours from this post).

        I suspect the BIOS may be screwed for anything except Windows and there are no further BIOS updates from Asus. I spent some quality time (it was actually great) on IRC with the coreboot people, but trying the alpha version (of coreboot v3) with no way to restore a working BIOS isn't a go

        • by LizardKing (5245) on Thursday April 30, 2009 @09:37AM (#27771855)

          Seems strange that the amd64 iso is only 247Mb

          That's because it only includes what would be called a "base" install by the standards of most Linux distros. You'll get all the command line utilities, developer tools and an X Window install if you choose to install all the packages from the CD. What you wont get is things like a GNOME or KDE environment - those can be added after installing from CD by using the package tools. With these tools you can download pre-compiled packages from the NetBSD FTP server or (preferably) a mirror close to you.

          • by Noryungi (70322)

            Seems strange that the amd64 iso is only 247Mb

            That's because it only includes what would be called a "base" install by the standards of most Linux distros.

            Yes, but this still allows you to test a misbehaving machine, such as the one of the original commenter.

            In that respect, OpenBSD 4.5 may be a slightly better choice, since the i386 CD also include some basic package.

      • OK so I didn't read the documentation before I booted the LiveCd, all that follows is my fault however much i rant.

        1) CD detected, boots and fairly simple options to start with.
        2) partitioning - think I picked the right partition on /dev/sda (the unused 19.5 Gb one - the one I cleared and wiped formatting from) to use, kept having a hissy fit about not having an active partition
        3) the mistake I think - selected NetBSD boot loader option (Yes rather than No)
        4) install completes and says is ready to go, looke

    • You might give this NetBSD Live CD a try:

      http://www.jibbed.org/ [jibbed.org]

      It would be a fairly painless way to see how NetBSD 5 behaves on your system.

      • by tqft (619476)

        Just asked ISP to cache it so others in Oz can get it fast, easy and free (we all have download limits on Australia's largest ISP except for stuff on their cache site).

  • by bjb (3050) *
    Alright, I admit I had to try and search a bit to figure out if by FFS they meant Amiga Fast File System [wikipedia.org]. Didn't dig that deep, but realized they must be referring to Berkeley Unix File System [wikipedia.org].

    Hey, anything that looks like an Amiga reference props my interest ;-)

    • by Gleng (537516)

      That was my first thought too.

      In fact, I may try out the Amiga port [netbsd.org] on my A1200 when the 68030 accelerator board I ordered the other day arrives in the post. :)

  • Native Java on i386 and soon on amd64 http://www.netbsd.org/~ad/50/img8.html [netbsd.org] Anybody knows more about this?
    • by haad (948012)
      Please search mailing lists(current-users) there were some native java builds for current & netbsd-5 done some time before.

You can measure a programmer's perspective by noting his attitude on the continuing viability of FORTRAN. -- Alan Perlis

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