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NetBSD Makes Plea for 'Cold, Hard Cash'

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the capitalist-running-dogs dept.

The Almighty Buck 34

daria42 writes "NetBSD has e-mailed its user community asking for donations. "There are many upgrades we'd like to make to the NetBSD project infrastructure," said the e-mail, "but which we cannot make because, to be blunt, our project is poor. Not poor in innovation nor poor in developer resources nor poor in features -- poor in cold, hard cash, the kind we need to buy hardware that would let us better serve our users." The e-mail pointed out while sister projects OpenBSD and FreeBSD had received tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations, NetBSD had up until now been embarrassed to ask its users for money."

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Dupe! (4, Informative)

dorward (129628) | more than 9 years ago | (#12811484)

We know already []

Re:Dupe! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12826217)

Well, it seems that free software does not pay out very well.

Surprising indeed.

Sad that Theo is too egomanic and anti-social to work at Microsoft and earn his money.

Re:Dupe! (1)

fvwmfan (792446) | more than 9 years ago | (#12896707)

O, give me a break. There might be other reasons he doesn't work at Microsoft. Haven't you noticed that Microsoft itself is egomaniac and anti-social? How much does Mister Shaft pay you to troll Slashdot?

I donated, what about you? (4, Insightful)

plcurechax (247883) | more than 9 years ago | (#12812050)

While I don't use NetBSD directly, I am confident that I have benefited from the NetBSD project.

I've already donated $20.00 US, and if 2 in 1000 slashdot readers did the same, they would met their goal and we won't see this story again.

Re:I donated, what about you? (2, Insightful)

benjamindees (441808) | more than 9 years ago | (#12815093)

We're all confident that you guys have benefitted from NetBSD as well. I, for one, am no longer interested in the public continuing to fund R&D for the most wealthy company in the world.

Re:I donated, what about you? (1)

plcurechax (247883) | more than 9 years ago | (#12815310)

We're all confident that you guys have benefitted from NetBSD

I'm not with Microsoft. I don't know of any NetBSD code in microsoft, of course there is some BSD code in Microsoft's products (tcp/ip stack), at least there was once upon a time.

Re:I donated, what about you? (1)

nacturation (646836) | more than 9 years ago | (#12824016)

Why not? A lot of companies use GPL software on their websites to run services and make boatloads of profit. How many Fortune 500 companies have benefited from Linux internally? Or GCC? Or numerous other GPLed software which, because they don't distribute it, they haven't provided source code?

I guess you can take the exclusionist approach or maybe consider that one project's advances will help the whole industry, both commercial and non-commercial without regards to any particular political ideology.

Re:I donated, what about you? (1)

toadlife (301863) | more than 9 years ago | (#12838867)

The common good cannot be served if everyone isn't included.

Re:I donated, what about you? (2, Funny)

Belgarath52 (121024) | more than 9 years ago | (#12818271)

Donating money might well fix the problem, but I'm pretty confident that we'll get the story again until the end of time.

Slashdot should fund this by offering subscribers the ability to block dupes for an extra $2/month, and sending the proceeeds to NetBSD. Of course, we'd probably get articles about that new feature every 2-4 weeks...

Re:I donated, what about you? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12822031)

they'd get a little more if 1 in 500 donated

OK, OK (4, Funny)

FullMetalAlchemist (811118) | more than 9 years ago | (#12812201)

OK, OK... I _will_ donate again... :-P

Thank you Slashdot, dupes in the BSD section; well, at least they post news twise as often.

Just like public radio (3, Funny)

Intron (870560) | more than 9 years ago | (#12815433)

This story is just like those NPR pledge drives that keep coming around again, asking for money.

Trouble is, the VAX port is going nowhere (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12815884)

The GCC compiler has recently dropped support for the VAX architecture, so unfortunately, I'm stuck at the current version and probably will stay there until 2038.

(and no, don't mod me as "funny"...I have a bunch of VAX systems and I run NetBSD on them)


Re:Trouble is, the VAX port is going nowhere (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12822059)

I am unfamiliar with all this, my understanding is the VAX is an old arch and isn't that fast the cases also look fair big from a couple of googles.

In terms of cubic centimeter volume of the cases and power consumption - what are *your* personal reasons for still having a "bunch of VAX systems". Nostaligia?

I mean, I am serious, if you can get a A64 3000+ to outperform them (I dunno if it can, but I assume so, moores law vs how old they are) and put it in a nice case and have low power consumption at a very reasonable cost... what are you reasons for keeping them?

I can only think of nostaligia or you are dirt poor, but elighten me if there are other reasons.

Stability, reliability, quality. (1)

CyricZ (887944) | more than 9 years ago | (#12834420)

The reason is stability. VAX machines are stable beyond belief. They just plain last. They might not be the most powerful computers per watt, but for applications where reliability and extreme uptimes are required, you go with a VAX.

Indeed, I'd hate to see a Pentium 4 desktop used for any mission critical function. What do you do when the CPU fan dies and the system shuts down (assuming it doesn't melt, like some AMD CPUs), and now the core temperature of your local nuclear power plant isn't being monitored? You're fucked, and probably should have used a VAX.

Re:Stability, reliability, quality. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12834662)

"What do you do when the CPU fan dies and the system shuts down"

I take three of those Pentium 4 "desktops" in redundancy so I'm even better than you with your single point of failure no matter how VAX is it.

Re:Stability, reliability, quality. (1)

CyricZ (887944) | more than 9 years ago | (#12854027)

Redundancy doesn't solve the problem of inherent low quality. Great, now you've got four systems which have a high probability of failure, in addition to the added complexity of handling off responsibilities when a failure does occur. In your effort to remove a single point of failure, you have instead introduced many more such failure points!

Re:Stability, reliability, quality. (1)

B1 (86803) | more than 9 years ago | (#12880021)

Redundancy doesn't make the individual low quality systems any more reliable, but it does help out the reliability of the system as a whole.

Let's say you have a server which is 90% reliable (or unavailable 10% of the time).

If you have two such servers working in redundant cluster, then you will only have an outage when both servers are down (p(failure) = 0.1 * 0.1 = 0.01). In other words, you've gone to 99% availability.

By adding a third server, you go to 99.9% availability (etc).

Clustering *does* add complexity though--especially when you need to replicate application state across your cluster so that it has the appearance of being a single system. In some cases, you're better off with a single reliable host such as a VAX. But if you don't need a single system image, a cluster of disposable boxes makes good economic sense.

Can you imagine... (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 9 years ago | (#12846413)

I'd hate to see a Pentium 4 desktop used for any mission critical function.

In general, when you pay extra for server-rated x86 hardware compared to desktop hardware, you're getting a case designed for rack mounting and better airflow, and you're getting more reliable fans.

What do you do when the CPU fan dies and the system shuts down

When the fan dies on an Intel Pentium 4 processor, the thermal diode kicks in and cuts the CPU down to 50 percent utilization, making passive cooling safe. Or you can imagine a Beowulf cluster of x86 blade servers, and when one machine dies, the rest of the machines are still serving requests.

Re:Can you imagine... (1)

CyricZ (887944) | more than 9 years ago | (#12854090)

Indeed, server-quality x86 hardware is a slight improvement. But it still offers reliability and durability nowhere near that of true VAX technology. There are still unfortunate quality problems to deal with, even if the airflow is slightly better.

Clustered solutions only serve to bring in more points of failure than single, extremely reliable solutions. Now you have to guarantee that the hand-off code and hardware is reliable. Soon enough you'll need to introduce redundancy there. And then you'll need to add hardware and software to provide redundancy for the redundant system redundancy systems.

Re:Stability, reliability, quality. (1)

bani (467531) | more than 8 years ago | (#12903574)

Nuclear power plants dont use VAXen to control reactors.

what about 5 pentium 4s with voting logic ? (1)

vlad_petric (94134) | more than 9 years ago | (#12907474)

There are definitely ways of making a farm of x86 servers very reliable - see google, for instance.

Re:Stability, reliability, quality. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12916056)

So get a via CPU no fan needed.

Re:Trouble is, the VAX port is going nowhere (1)

brilinux (255400) | more than 9 years ago | (#12825076)

So, there is a VAX sitting on the floor of the Computer Club's room at my college (and a bunch in a rack too), which is there for people to work on independant maintenance of GCC. I think that it is running either NetBSD 1.6.2 or NetBSD 2.0, and has open access for people who work on NetBSD/vax and GCC/vax. The info about the vaxen for the guy who maintains them is at [] .

Re:Trouble is, the VAX port is going nowhere (2, Interesting)

Gendalia (241762) | more than 9 years ago | (#12829482)

I just asked one of the maintainers and he said that a.out support has been dropped, but that vax support itself has not been dropped.

In other news... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12816822)

...NetBSD is also making pleas for warm bodies to actually read and comment on OpenBSD topics on /.

Diversification is needed (5, Funny)

suitepotato (863945) | more than 9 years ago | (#12817478)

They should convince hot naked chicks to wear BSD demon temporary tattoos and then sell the pics. Instant hit with geeks. Money comes in.

Re:Diversification is needed (2, Interesting)

Gary W. Longsine (124661) | more than 9 years ago | (#12829232)

Seriously though, I bet some sexy PG pics on t-shirts and coffee mugs, sold via something like Cafe Press might work. A hot babe with one of those skimpy little halloween costumes that get trotted out on halloween should do the trick -- little satin horns, red bikini, tail, pitchfork, and a smile.

There is apparently no shortage of sexy she-devil costumes [] .

If NetBSD doesn't jump on this chance, some other open source project will, undoubtedly.

How about (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12819986)

a server of cold, hard reality. Nobody wants their shit software.

But Why? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12830402)

You can't take it with you when you die!

Dig deep boys (1)

neurokaotix (892464) | more than 9 years ago | (#12839960)

I think that giving to a charity or good cause such as the NetBSD project is an excellent way to spend some money. I donated blood to the Red Cross for the victims of the earthquake because it was something that needed to be done. NetBSD has served its thousands of users for years. I think that we should all pitch in a little to help them out.

Seriously tho (2, Interesting)

william_w_bush (817571) | more than 9 years ago | (#12853303)

If you have are an admin, or your company uses linux or anything please donate. So much of the cross-architecture, and device driver support for the BSD's and linux comes from NetBSD you'd be surprised. I gave 50 just cause I remember back in the day when they were the only group to support my old SGI Indigo2, and they still lead in most wierd architecture support.

If you have a wierd or rare architecture they probably support it, or have something that can be hacked to work, and that kind of resourcefulness is why we aren't all running windows 3.3, TPM Borg edition.

Re:Seriously tho (1)

bani (467531) | more than 8 years ago | (#12903464)

Do you have examples of specifically which cross architecture and device drivers in Linux come from NetBSD?

The only drivers I'm aware of that came directly from BSD are the ncr53c8xx driver and aic7xxx. And those came from FreeBSD.

Some code in various drivers were written after peeking at BSD driver code, but the same goes for BSD peeking at linux driver code.

And AFAIK none of the cross architecture code in Linux is taken from NetBSD. If you have specific examples I'd be interested to see it.

FWIW it looks like Linux currently supports a much broader list of architectures and platforms than NetBSD. At least, I'm unaware of any NetBSD ports to say, the Apple iPod, Linksys WRT54G, Gameboy Advance, etc. You can find Linux there though.
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