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NetBSD Announces Sun Hardware Donation 33

Jeremy C. Reed writes "NetBSD announced that Sun donated two machines running Solaris '[i]n order to support and further the development efforts of the NetBSD Packages team, to promote the build of binary packages for Solaris 8, Solaris 9 and Solaris 10 and to enhance the support of the Sun Forte Compiler chain.' The NetBSD Package Collection can be used on many platforms beyond NetBSD to provide an easy way to consistently install third-party software and manage packages."
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NetBSD Announces Sun Hardware Donation

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  • Sun Blade 1000 (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Contrary to their name these aren't blade server, but more or less "usual" desktop system towers, just with the Sun-style. Nice nevertheless.
  • by Alwin Henseler ( 640539 ) on Monday May 09, 2005 @07:23PM (#12483056)
    I've seen some comments by people involved with NetBSD, complaining about lack of hardware or developer support for some lesser-used platforms/machines (and as you will know, NetBSD runs on some exotic hardware).

    This example shows how things should work when supporting any specific hardware/software combination. If you want something done, donate some time by making contributions, fixes, testing, helping out developers with information about the hardware, etc. Or donate money or hardware. Or help developers by giving access to the hardware (remote shell, test their fixes etc., whatever helps).

    If nobody cares about support for a particular software/hardware combination, then what is lost? Software support for hardware that nobody uses anymore. Anything remotely popular will do just fine.

    Apparantly Sun cares enough to throw some hardware at the NetBSD project. Good for them, and why not? Anyway, it's nice to see the NetBSD project helped out like this.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      "Apparantly Sun cares enough to throw some hardware at the NetBSD project. Good for them, and why not? Anyway, it's nice to see the NetBSD project helped out like this."

      No, they care about Sun. pkgsrc, the NetBSD package management system, also runs on Solaris. This has nothing at all to do with NetBSD, and more to do with Sun getting pkgsrc to be even better supported for their OS.
  • by SunFan ( 845761 ) on Monday May 09, 2005 @08:08PM (#12483376)

    From the announcement: "Sun also provided licenses for SunOne Studio 9"

    That's plural, and each Studio 9 license retails for $2,995.00.

    If there were several licenses, for example, this means the donation could be "worth" up to $10K or more. Sun Studio also comes with good documentation, a good debugger, run-time profiling and memory usage checking, etc. NetBSD could even use this for improving NetBSD itself, depending on their dev tool policies (Studio is not open source).

    • From the announcement: "Sun also provided licenses for SunOne Studio 9"

      That's plural, and each Studio 9 license retails for $2,995.00.

      If there were several licenses, for example, this means the donation could be "worth" up to $10K or more.

      Really? It's of course nice of Sun to do so, but it's not like it's costing Sun $2,995.00 for each copy of software they make and sell themselves. But fear not, the bean counters know how to account for it so the total donation cost Sun just about nothing.

    • And this entire donation can be offset against tax. Since the cost to Sun of these license is zero, this means that they can offset a minimum of $5,990 against tax beyond the cost to themselves. In short, the odds are that Sun actually made a profit on this whole deal.

      This is not to take anything away from Sun. If they are going to dodge tax, I am more than happy for them to do so by donating hardware (and software) to NetBSD, and I wish more companies that benefit - even indirectly - from Free Software

  • by bsdbigot ( 186157 ) on Tuesday May 10, 2005 @12:09AM (#12485042) Journal

    This is a smart move, on Sun's behalf. Considering the impending release of OpenSolaris, it's important for them to foster more community involvement. What really makes me curious is the choice of NetBSD. Theo DeRaadt (OpenBSD) is (correct me if I'm wrong) a big Sun hardware nut. Nobody that knows better (and holds no other prejudice towards Theo) would accuse him of being a poor coder. I guess maybe Sun thinks that already going to be an OpenSolaris contributor? Or maybe there's been some past heated discussions between he and Sun?

    I think FreeBSD may not have been the choice for two reasons: 1) they have relatively new support for Sparcs; 2) they have a more Commercial Appearance than Open or Net.

    For you few that think that Sun is going out of business, you should read Yahoo finance once in a while; Sun is apparently quietly positioning themselves to go private (despite McNealy's flimsy denial); this means that, essentially, they have the cash reserves to buy back a significant portion of the outstanding stock. Of course, this all may fall to the ground, but they had a 6% jump on the rumor, which indicates a number of people thought this plausable. The firm that is supposedly helping them do this made major news when they helped Seagate? do the same thing a while back.

    Sun has quietly been rebuilding themselves for a while - the acquisition of Cobalt to put them back into the PC architecture; the purchase and subsequent open-sourcing of their grid platform; the purchase and subsequent open-sourcing of OpenOffice; the purchase of NetBeans IDE and the integration of same with the previously-named Forte compiler suite. The forth-coming OpenSolaris. OK, I disagree with the Java-branded Gnome desktop (KDE would have been my preference), but it still beats the hell out of CDE or OpenLook.

    I definitely feel something brewing at Sun, something really good. I've even bet money on it by purchasing a block of SUNW. I believe they are going to try to go where Apple hasn't and where MS doesn't want them - straight to the homes of millions.

    • There's certainly a lot brewing at Sun, and a lot of it is subtle. However, piecing things together, along with hints dropped by McNealy and Schwartz here and there, indicates a whale about to emerge from what seems to be a quiet sea over at Sun.

      From what I gather, this is the minimum I am expecting in the next several years (I am _not_ an insider--this is just speculation based on public information):

      - a complete open source platform, from the OpenSolaris kernel (buildable with GCC) up through Java c
    • FYI, the machines donated by Sun to NetBSD are for _pkgsrc_ development, not NetBSD development. And as such, the machines will run Solaris, not NetBSD. pkgsrc (formerly known as the NetBSD Packages System) is a system for easy installation of 3rd party software from source, and it runs on may systems, including NetBSD and Solaris. See or for more data.

      - Hubert
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Two things here. NetBSD's pkgsrc is intended to support multiple platforms including flavours of commercial UNIX. OpenBSD's ports is (as far as I know) only intended for use with OpenBSD (on the various hardware platforms they support, of course).

      Also, there was some friction between OpenBSD and Sun over release of documentation relating to the UltraSparc III, which was even lampooned in a cartoon in the OpenBSD 3.4 CD-ROM notes. See here for instance: []
  • Both the systems donated, a Sunblade 1000 and a Dell Precision 2650, are discontinued models, probably recycled after being used internally. And the software license costs them nothing to donate -- it's not as if they're losing a sale! It's nice that Sun supports this project, but lets not overstate their generosity.
  • Everyone benefits from portability. As someone who has run several Linux and BSD distributions, Solaris, IRIX, OSX, and HP-UX, and seen more packages become available for all platforms, I definitely think that the more software that works across multiple *nixes, the more people will use *nix instead of Windows. Getting the latest OSS packages the originally ran on GNU/Linux or BSD ported to proprietary Unix also helps keep these older platforms afloat in a rapidly changing IT world.

Lend money to a bad debtor and he will hate you.