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Confessions of a Recovering NetBSD Zealot

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the straight-talk dept.

194

debilo writes, "ONLamp.com is featuring a lengthy interview with Charles M. Hannum, to Slashdotters probably best known for his wake-up call aptly titled The Future of NetBSD that generated a rather vocal discussion. In the interview, Charles speaks about his role in and the beginning of The NetBSD Project, shares his thoughts on software licenses, discusses the popularity of Linux and its development model, and further addresses the problems that NetBSD is facing. Some notable quotes include: 'If I were doing it again, I might very well switch to the LGPL. I'll just note that it didn't exist at the time.' And: 'There was a lot of FUD around this issue — some of it from Linus, actually — and it did cause us some problems.'"

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194 comments

BSD is total crap (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16121938)

BSD is total crap, Petunia. Why don't you finally admit that you're a member of the Taiwanese Communist Party and that you're trying to make everyone here accept the "factuality" of gay cowboys?

Netcraft Confirms it... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16121952)

BSD is living!

All "in the family." (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16121963)

". Some notable quotes include: 'If I were doing it again, I might very well switch to the LGPL. I'll just note that it didn't exist at the time.' And: 'There was a lot of FUD around this issue -- some of it from Linus, actually -- and it did cause us some problems.'""

Wow! Do geeks eat their young, or what?

Re:All "in the family." (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 7 years ago | (#16122018)

Wow! Do geeks eat their young, or what?

Hang around here long enough and you'll stsrt to think the answer is "Yes!"

Re:All "in the family." (5, Insightful)

mccalli (323026) | more than 7 years ago | (#16122036)

How old are you, kid...?

No, that wasn't a serious go at you but it was an attempt at world-weary commentary. I was around when Linux was launched. I was using Minix on an Atari ST before that happened. I was using Linux as a primary desktop in 1994. And once upon a time I had code in the standard Linux driver set (a Compaq SCSI controller, I believe long since factored out. At least, I hope so).

So. The answer is....yes. Geeks eat their young. I remember at the time knowing very vaguely about BSD, but 'knowing' equally that I should steer well clear of it due to ongoing and the future potential for lawsuits. As it turned out, this was utter junk - FUD so to speak. In fact, looking back at things with the artificial benefit of perfect hindsight I would have gone the BSD route rather than the Linux one. I still read amusing little pro-Linux rants that are actually just pro-open source Unix userland, not pro-Linux as they believe themselves to be. Don't get me wrong, there are definite differentiators between BSD, Linux, running GNU tools on Solaris, OS X etc. but that's not the point I'm interested in here. For this discussion, I'm interested in seeing many of Unix per-se's benefits being described as Linux benefits when they are nothing of the sort. Personally I feel a good deal of progress could have been made just following the BSD route instead of going the Linux kernel route. LGPL does seem to encompass the majority of the BSD way, so I find I have agree with the statements made in this article.

Cheers,
Ian

Re:All "in the family." (4, Interesting)

smash (1351) | more than 7 years ago | (#16122112)

I still read amusing little pro-Linux rants that are actually just pro-open source Unix userland, not pro-Linux as they believe themselves to be. Don't get me wrong, there are definite differentiators between BSD, Linux, running GNU tools on Solaris, OS X etc. but that's not the point I'm interested in here. For this discussion, I'm interested in seeing many of Unix per-se's benefits being described as Linux benefits when they are nothing of the sort.

Why, oh why can more people not see this...

Linux is a kernel (as opposed to the BSDs which include a set of integrated userland tools - not just package a bunch of independently developed GNU tools), that really, these days is nothing particularly special, other than being "free". I mean sure, certain aspects of it may be cutting edge, but for the most part they're not "must have" features that will make or break it's usage in a particular application.

As much as I think RMS is a idealist nutjob, I can see his point regarding the whole "GNU/Linux" thing here (even though simply tacking "GNU" on the front isn't fair to other developers, without which the system would be useless for certain purposes, such as xfree.org).

Re:All "in the family." (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 7 years ago | (#16122191)

As much as I think RMS is a idealist nutjob, I can see his point regarding the whole "GNU/Linux" thing here
Yes - it gets him descibed as "the co-creator of linux" in computer magazines that should be better edited.

Re:All "in the family." (0)

Cal Paterson (881180) | more than 7 years ago | (#16122249)

Oh how I wish people would call it Unix. It's a better way to be inclusive of GNU, the Linux Kernel, BSD, Xorg and every other group without having to specifically name each one.

Let's be honest, they're all big contributing factors, so why not imply them all?

Re:All "in the family." (2, Insightful)

setagllib (753300) | more than 7 years ago | (#16122514)

Unix is a trademark - you can't name things Unix (not even UNIX as it should be) willy-nilly. We just need a new term, and Linux seems to have become a blanket term for "libre Unix workalike or derivative" which is offensive to those who dislike Linux but, really, doesn't make even a tiny difference to the masses of clueless users who wouldn't even be able to tell the systems apart, as long as they're not Windows or OSX which everyone knows.

In fact, the end users wouldn't even care what base system it's on, with things like KDE and GNOME appearing and being nothing like real Unix, just happening to run on compatible systems. And a lot of the "Linux software" is being ported to even run on Windows, which is about as compatible with Linux and glibc as day and 1. Even MPlayer, originally called "The Media Player for Linux", now runs on practically everything (and crawls on everything else).

Re:All "in the family." (1)

smash (1351) | more than 7 years ago | (#16122619)

Oh how I wish people would call it Unix.

Definately disagree here.

Linux (or more specifically, "GNU" or "the gnu toolchain") is nothing like 'real' unix when you get further than a cursory observation. The GNU tools are usually different in some subtle way for no *really* good reason (it seems) other than to follow GNU's own "standards".

Examples that spring to mind for example: netstat, ifconfig, info, etc...

If you've used a few flavours of Unix (myself, Solaris, SCO (yes, it sucks), AIX, FreeBSD) the differences (even subtle ones like the display formatting of various commands) in Linux really stand out.

Re:All "in the family." (1)

AJWM (19027) | more than 7 years ago | (#16123455)

I wish people would call it Unix. It's a better way to be inclusive of GNU,

But, but...GNU's not Unix.

Re:All "in the family." (2, Insightful)

Millenniumman (924859) | more than 7 years ago | (#16122501)

What you pointed out is exactly why "GNU/Linux" is ridiculous. The GNU utilities are very important, but many others are equally important to desktop linux. Are we going to call it Ubuntu Debian/GNOME/xorg/Mozilla/Trolltech/OO.o/apache/.. ./GNU/Linux? PHBs would fall asleep before IT had even finished naming it. Linux is a good name and easily imparts what kind of OS a distribution is. Beyond that, the name of a distribution indicates all of the parts other than Linux. You can't really have Debian Linux without GNU, etc. You can have it on a different kernel.

Re:All "in the family." (1)

CeramicNuts (265664) | more than 7 years ago | (#16122563)

perhaps it should be called the 'obnoxius' GNU advertising clause?

Re:All "in the family." (1)

Millenniumman (924859) | more than 7 years ago | (#16122598)

THAT needs to be emailed to the FSF.

Re:All "in the family." (1)

smash (1351) | more than 7 years ago | (#16122593)

Oh don't get me wrong, I don't call it "GNU/Linux" and I agree it's ridiculous really.

However, calling the operating system "Linux" is not really being truthful either.

There's a lack of a term for describing what it really is ("Linux kernel + free stuff" doesn't have much of a ring to it :D), unless you use a distribution name, i.e., Redhat or Debian, etc.

Re:All "in the family." (2, Insightful)

Pausanias (681077) | more than 7 years ago | (#16122819)

Linux has an huge base of open source device drivers taylored to run under it. This is what sets it aside from other kernels. No matter how spiffy the *BSD/minix/Solaris/Hurd or other open source kernels are, they will never catch up with linux as far as popularity, because of this simple issue. You can't use an OS if it doesn't support your devices.

If you ever watch the kernel compiling, most of the time is spent compiling device driver. And the legacy support is immense. Heck, you can shave a few minutes off the compile time just by disabling ISDN.

Re:All "in the family." (1)

smash (1351) | more than 7 years ago | (#16123241)

All of my hardware is supported by FreeBSD. USB support worked in the BSDs before it did in linux. The driver "problem" is largely a non-issue. FreeBSD can actually use Windows NDIS drivers for NICs as well...

Re:All "in the family." (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16123544)

And all your hardware isn't very much hardware. So you prove nothing.

Re:All "in the family." (2)

tius (455341) | more than 7 years ago | (#16122419)

Hmmmm, what sort of blind insults should lay way at you with???? Well, lets skip that, but really, grow up. NetBSD has a very import role in supporting non-homogenios arrays of systems. I would note that for me, that has been the central strenght amonstg many other that have kept me on the netbsd trail. Twat.

Why doesn't he pull a Matt or Theo? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16121967)

In the past, when notable members of the BSD community have encountered difficulties with the status quo, they have taken the initiative to go out on their own. This has proven to be a successful path twice over: first with Theo de Raadt forking OpenBSD [openbsd.org] from NetBSD, and then Matt Dillon forking DragonFly BSD [dragonflybsd.org] from FreeBSD.

Will we ever see Charles back up his rantings with a similar fork? The community won't take him seriously until he does at least attempt to rectify the problems he sees by creating his own fork of NetBSD.

Re:Why doesn't he pull a Matt or Theo? (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 7 years ago | (#16122057)

Maybe he could join Theo's project. Seems crazy to let ego get in the way of the important work of developing software.

Re: Successful? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16122101)

I never even heard of DragonFly BSD. Maybe I don't read slashdot enough since it's probably the only place that talks about it. Of course non-descriptive names like DragonFly don't help spread the good word.

Concerning OpenBSD, is it possible that it's famous only because Theo De Raadt's fame for being a gigantic asshole transcends the BSD community?

In short, all the BSD flavors seem to taste like shit.

Re: Successful? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16122548)

No it's famous because nothing else can touch it when it comes to security and firewalls. It's also famous because the asshole[sic] Theo is a non-compromising sonabitch who doesn't take shit from hardware vendors or accept crap code or bad licenses into the CVS tree. And for that, I'm very very grateful.

Soon you'll be a user of DragonFly BSD. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16122578)

DragonFly BSD is very well known in the BSD community. You'll probably hear far more about it soon, since it is completely clear today that we'll soon be dealing with multicore and multiprocessor systems in basically all PCs. DragonFly BSD is a redesign and reimplementation of the FreeBSD kernel and userland libraries from the bottom up, with the main goal being for it to scale very well on multicore and multiprocessor systems.

So while FreeBSD, NetBSD and OpenBSD will still be working on getting their kernel sufficiently threaded for many years to come, DragonFly BSD will have had that task completed for a while. And it will likely become apparent that it is the only one of the BSDs that will scale on the massively multicore and multiprocessor consumer-grade hardware of the near future. Reportedly, it has become better than Irix at many tasks, and is even beginning to rival Solaris. With Irix still trumping Linux in most cases, this goes to show how far ahead DragonFly BSD already is. Keep in mind that DragonFly BSD is still under very heavy development.

And no, OpenBSD is not famous because of Theo's attitude or reputation. OpenBSD is famous because it is one of the most secure operating systems out there for commodity hardware. OpenBSD is famouse because of the efforts of its developers to remove insecure and faulty code from not only the kernel and system utilities, but also from third-party software like Apache.

Re:Why doesn't he pull a Matt or Theo? (1)

CTwelve (1002403) | more than 7 years ago | (#16122984)

I suspect he may be wary of forking off another operating system, which is after all, a large move with consequences to the user community. Definately not something I would undertake lightly...

Re:Why doesn't he pull a Matt or Theo? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16123040)

But if the problems he describe are as serious as he claims them to be, he should have no problem getting current NetBSD developers to migrate over. He may even be able to attract new developers.

Yes, it does take a lot of effort. But in the end, it sometimes pays off greatly. It was precisely that sort of a fork that created the X.org project, which as we know today has become the premiere X11 implementation. XFree86, once a powerhouse, is basically ignored by all (except NetBSD). Many of the disgruntled XFree86 developers moved to X.org, and with its new organizational structure development really took off.

Perhaps it is time for the same to happen with NetBSD. Like XFree86, it is a relatively ancient project, and sometimes ancient projects do need to morph into new projects with a new organizational structure. And for the record, I'm posting this using Seamonkey on NetBSD.

Re:Why doesn't he pull a Matt or Theo? (1)

unPlugged-2.0 (947200) | more than 7 years ago | (#16123073)

I think that forking is one of the most disruptive ways to let your point be known.

It hurts the overall project and also has the potential to lose developers and dilute the name even more and start a project just to make a point.

I think that if OSS developers learned to work well and resolve differences without a fork that would make the projects much more competitive.

NetBSD is one of the oldest BSD's and has really suffered a lot from well publicised forks (Theo) and other corporate involvement.

I think it is better for Charles to rant and take his opinions up on a public forum as opposed to forking what is really an exceptional OS.

Thanks (1, Offtopic)

ITO (60700) | more than 7 years ago | (#16122015)

Thank you.

It's a new day, new things .. lot's learned.

good luck.

Re:Thanks (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16122633)

A typical slashdot asshole mod.
Nothing OT when someone says 'Thank You' for a great article and wishes 'Good Luck'.

Cause and Effect of BSD "Safety" (1)

twitter (104583) | more than 7 years ago | (#16122045)

A lot of people (and I don't want to be divisive, but honestly they were mostly Linux proponents, including Linus himself) spread FUD for years about BSD systems being "unsafe"--even after the UCB/USL lawsuit was settled. The fact is that there was no danger in using NetBSD in a product, and a number of companies did so.

You have to wonder if that would have been the case if there was not a much bigger boogie man for Ma Bell, M$ and other greed heads to worry about. If it were not for the success of the GPL, would BSD be left alone today? I think not.

Re:Cause and Effect of BSD "Safety" (5, Insightful)

s_p_oneil (795792) | more than 7 years ago | (#16122232)

Are you kidding? BSD was the bigger boogie man, which is why those companies kept beating it even after it had been effectively "put down" due to fear of law suits. Linux was definitely seen as the lesser of two evils by the powers that existed at the time, and with good reason. The license makes BSD much more of a threat to them than Linux will ever be.

Just look at what Apple did with OS X. Any company could do that, getting a huge head start by building on top of the rock solid BSD core (with no fear of being sued, as you would with the GPL). That is a very scary thought indeed for MS.

What free OS designers need to do is realize that Apple did something very right with OS X, and follow suit. Unix with X-Windows on top of it is not suitable for the average user. X-Windows needs to be replaced with something more light-weight (i.e. single-user with direct access to the multimedia hardware). X-Windows will always be around for the power users who want it, but the average joe just wants his games/videos/music to run smoothly without any hassles, and he wants to be able to be stupid when it comes to using the Internet without having to worry about viruses, spam, and all that.

Re:Cause and Effect of BSD "Safety" (1)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 7 years ago | (#16122515)

and he wants to be able to be stupid when it comes to using the Internet without having to worry about viruses, spam, and all that.

And this will never happen. Even if "Trusted Computing" wins the day, Sony's rootkit fiasco proves that companies that are big enough to get their binaries signed are willing to fuck you over.

LK

Re:Cause and Effect of BSD "Safety" (2, Insightful)

s_p_oneil (795792) | more than 7 years ago | (#16122634)

Of course that will never happen, but you can make it safer for them to be blissfully ignorant. I was thinking more along the lines of not giving the average user root access to the core OS files (while still making sure he has direct exclusive access to the hardware). Make him have to do something relatively difficult (like change and recompile the kernel) to get root access if he really needs it. You could also make it an OS installation option for developers.

For the average user and PC, it's ok to make him install and run everything in his user folder. That means the worst that can happen is that he'll have to wipe his user folder and start over. Certain high-risk applications, like browsers and IM clients, can be quarantined so that getting a virus from one means you only have to reinstall that application.

Oh my... (5, Insightful)

Lost+Found (844289) | more than 7 years ago | (#16122594)

Good lord, the meme about X-Windows needing to be replaced is really obnoxious. I honestly thought that when Compiz, XGL and AIGLX startd to appear, fools parroting this tired meme would finally be put to rest.

X-Windows is in many ways archaic, but under the lead of the X.Org project there has been an astounding increase in the rate of development. The project has finally been modularized and the groundwork is in place for direct access to acceleration features. Honestly, the biggest thing holding back X-Windows from even faster modernization right now is the manufacturers of graphics hardware (NVIDIA and ATI) that are ridiculous enough to not even release programming specifications for their chips. Their "support" of the free operating systems is limited to shitty binary drivers, and so when the X-Windows and kernel communities want to introduce new APIs, they are largely at the whims of the moron companies that haven't gotten around to pulling their heads out of their asses yet.

If you believe that UNIX with X-Windows on top of it is not suitable for the average user, you should provide some facts to back up that opinion. Because as every day passes, I've seen all the arguments get displaced by proof of concept and running code.

Finally, what Apple did with OS X indicates just what is wrong with the BSD license. The coders and users that believe in the BSD license have been shown time and time again that the so-called benefits of the license are actually damaging to their projects. Charles Hannum from NetBSD recognized this recently when he talked about NetBSD's stagnation, and aptly characterized part of the problem as the BSD license that allowed companies to fork BSD and hire away all the important developers to work on their proprietary forks. Charles now says that he would have used the LGPL license if he were to do it again, which is exactly what the Wine project did after Transgaming and others ran off with their code and developers.

So this issue of licensing that you describe as making BSD the biggest threat to the proprietary interests is wrong. The BSD license's shortcomings in this area mean that BSD will continue to go nowhere fast. The reason that the BSD lawsuits were more scary was because the free BSDs actually had lineage leading back to the old proprietary (owned) code. The reason the SCO lawsuit is not scary, and rather actually hilarious, is because Linux was (a) developed in a vacuum and (b) is defended by the GPL.

The GPL is very important here, because it creates a safe haven for companies like IBM, SGI, Oracle, Red Hat, Novell, HP, Nortel and others to all cooperate on *one* core. When all of this engineering talent and financial power gets pooled into one project, that one project goes a long ways. And tossing its technical superiority totally aside, you're left with the actual *largest* threat to the proprietary interests - an entire cultural, economic, political and technical shift in thinking from proprietary development to Copyleft.

The BSD project and license followers have been operating with their heads in the sand for a very long time now. Even when the FOUNDER of one of the most significant free BSD efforts came out and said "We fucked up, and here's why," there were still a thousand BSD fans that chose to ignore the majority of the issues he raised, instead babbling on topics like "Theo is finally vindicated!". Given history, I don't expect this to change. There will always be BSD users with their heads buried in the sand, but their numbers are shrinking as they fail to see the train tracks being built directly in their path.

Re:Oh my... (1)

Millenniumman (924859) | more than 7 years ago | (#16122647)

Apple has contributed a lot to open source software. BSD has won in the arrangement. Maybe .00000001% of Mac users would otherwise be running FreeBSD if OS X had not come around.

The choice between BSD and GPL reflects what a developer wants. If they want others to help with their software and want rights to all derivatives of their software, they choose GPL. If they just want to share what they make, they choose BSD.

I don't think that GPL software will make it to the majority of users' desktops. It is just too hard to make profit from Desktop Linux. Unlike a server, support for a Desktop OS can't be worth enough to make enough money to develop the software, or it won't ever sell.

Now, I'm well aware that interested developers will make good software without monetary incentive. But they will make it for themselves. OSS relies on developers interested in it. Paid software relies on consumers paying money to buy the OS. Competition means that it has to improve from a user's perspective. Since Microsoft has no competition, it isn't very good in many respects.

The best thing for software is not Free Software. It would be a "monopoly" on open standards, and many competing standardized OSes.

Re:Oh my... (4, Insightful)

Lost+Found (844289) | more than 7 years ago | (#16123522)

Apple has contributed a lot to open source software. BSD has won in the arrangement.

What exactly has BSD won? Just recently, Apple decided to close up XNU. Granted, I'm now hearing that they have changed their mind again, but doesn't that seem like any possible benefit to BSD is totally at the whims of Apple?

The choice between BSD and GPL reflects what a developer wants. If they want others to help with their software and want rights to all derivatives of their software, they choose GPL. If they just want to share what they make, they choose BSD.

You imply that BSD has a monopoly on sharing. Ironically, the difference between the BSD license and the GPL license is all about sharing, and in exactly the opposite way that supporters of the BSD license love to imply.

The GPL gets torn down by such folks as if it is some kind of false freedom. In truth, the GPL license lets you use the GPL licensed works in any damn way you please; in fact, you don't even have to accept the GPL license to use GPL'ed software!

The difference between the BSD and GPL license, then, is what happens when you want to copy the software. GPL looks out for the actual _users_ of the software by ensuring that the software will always remain free. The BSD license, on the other had, allows proprietary forks that _hurt_ the users. Mr. Hannum even pointed this out when he talked about NetBSD developers getting hired away to work on a proprietary NetBSD fork! He sees this as a big problem, so do I, and so does Stallman, which is why the GPL is designed to prohibit individuals and corporations from taking the freedom away.

I don't think that GPL software will make it to the majority of users' desktops. It is just too hard to make profit from Desktop Linux. Unlike a server, support for a Desktop OS can't be worth enough to make enough money to develop the software, or it won't ever sell.

Good thing the free software properties of the GPL and copyleft that defend the GNU/Linux desktop mean that most of the components are the same exact components as running on all those servers, where paid support is plentiful!

Your big error is in starting with the assumption that there Must Be a business of selling desktop operating systems. Personally I think it is plainly obvious that free software will displace that entire business. That is not the goal of free software, but it will happen anyway.

Desktop users don't buy operating systems -- they buy computers.

Re:Oh my... (0)

dfghjk (711126) | more than 7 years ago | (#16122902)

"...they are largely at the whims of the moron companies that haven't gotten around to pulling their heads out of their asses yet."

Curious that you blame that hardware companies and not X. Why should hardware companies feel obligated to support GPLed software?

"If you believe that UNIX with X-Windows on top of it is not suitable for the average user, you should provide some facts to back up that opinion. Because as every day passes, I've seen all the arguments get displaced by proof of concept and running code."

Documentation of that opinion appears regularly and it take far more than "proof of concept" to make a platform "suitable for the average user".

"Finally, what Apple did with OS X indicates just what is wrong with the BSD license."

Acutally it proves what's right with it. Apple used BSD code precisely in the manner that BSD people would like.

"...which is exactly what the Wine project did after Transgaming and others ran off with their code and developers."

They didn't run off with the code. The WINE project still had the code afterward. As for the developers, perhaps the WINE project wasn't appealing enough to hold on to its team.

"The BSD license's shortcomings in this area mean that BSD will continue to go nowhere fast."

There are multiple BSD projects and they are going how they want them to be.

"When all of this engineering talent and financial power gets pooled into one project, that one project goes a long ways."

Sure, but that's not atributable to the GPL.

"...tossing its technical superiority totally aside..."

you don't know much about linux, do you?

"The BSD project and license followers have been operating with their heads in the sand for a very long time now."

No they haven't.

"...there were still a thousand BSD fans that chose to ignore the majority of the issues he raised..."

or not agree with them.

"Given history, I don't expect this to change."

Neither do I. It doesn't need to.

"There will always be BSD users with their heads buried in the sand..."

sure, just like there will always be Linux users in a similar mindset.

Re:Oh my... (2, Insightful)

Lost+Found (844289) | more than 7 years ago | (#16123568)

Curious that you blame that hardware companies and not X. Why should hardware companies feel obligated to support GPLed software?

They shouldn't have to; rather, they should just go back to releasing specifications to their customers like they used to. I think there are plenty of people in the BSD community that would agree with me on this, especially Theo.

Documentation of that opinion appears regularly and it take far more than "proof of concept" to make a platform "suitable for the average user".

You've made an attempt to totally dodge my question.

Acutally it proves what's right with it. Apple used BSD code precisely in the manner that BSD people would like.

That does nothing to address my point, which is that forks of this nature are bad. Whether or not the BSD developers themselves intended to allow that is a different issue.

They didn't run off with the code. The WINE project still had the code afterward. As for the developers, perhaps the WINE project wasn't appealing enough to hold on to its team.

Nice try twisting my words. Curious - did you even read what Mr. Hannum had to say about this problem of proprietary forks? I think the more relevant example isn't WINE but NetBSD. Wasabi Systems forked NetBSD and hired away good NetBSD people to work on their fork. Mr. Hannum, a NetBSD founder, said that did damage to NetBSD.

There are multiple BSD projects and they are going how they want them to be.

Apparently not, or we wouldn't have one of the three most prominent projects firing eight core developers after one of the founders decides to go public with his frustrations and analysis of why they have failed!

Sure, but that's not atributable to the GPL.

It absolutely is attributable to the GPL. The GPL creates a level playing field where no one party's contributions can be used unfairly against them. Why do you think that Linux, and GPL code in general, has such a huge level of corporate support, while BSD has virtually none?

you don't know much about linux, do you?

This is exactly what I mean about BSD zealots buring their heads in the sand. Wake up, it's 2006! Linux is faster, more portable and has more features than any BSD. Linux runs on everything from cell phones to supercomputers. Pretending that this is not true is asinine.

If portability, functionality and performance aren't big components of technical superiority, what do you suppose is?

Re:Oh my... (1)

s_p_oneil (795792) | more than 7 years ago | (#16123490)

Oh, please. It's a lot less obnoxious than your preaching of the GPL and griping about ATI and nVidia not releasing specs or source code for their drivers. They shouldn't have to release them any more than other companies should be allowed to steal GPL'ed code. (From what I've read, I believe even Linus agrees with that.) Linux wouldn't be a even fraction as popular as it is today if ATI and nVidia hadn't graced it with their "shitty binary drivers", and it's still not very popular among average users.

I've used MS Windows, Linux, and BSD, and I'm not a fan of any of them. I haven't spent much time with OS/X because I've never cared to buy a Mac. If they'll let it run on any of the machines I already have, I may give it a try. I didn't say that BSD's licensing made it a threat to proprietary interests in general. I don't think a general threat to proprietary interests is a good thing, and neither do those companies you mentioned like IBM, SGI, Oracle, Red Hat, Novell, HP, Nortel, and others. Is Oracle open-source? What about DB2? I've used both of those, and their binaries are generally a lot shittier than nVidia's or ATI's. For some companies, BSD serves their proprietary interests extremely well. For other companies, it is a danger. It gives smaller companies a head-start and helps them compete against more well-established companies, which I do think is a good thing.

Oh, and I'm certain that Linux and X Windows are improving, and that's great, but they've been improving for several years, and they're still not ready for average users. Correction, I think Linux and BSD have been ready for years, but X Windows has been holding them back. You want facts to back that up? How about the low adoption rate by average users? How about the number of average users I've talked to that gave Linux a try, only to give up and go back to MS? These people didn't know or care about what's going on under the covers of the OS, they only saw the windowing system that was presented to them, and they got frustrated with it very quickly.

I've recently tried the current releases of Fedora and FreeBSD, and I was still frustrated by X on both systems. Are you going to tell me I need to download and compile more recent source code, or use a different distro, and still claim that it's ready for "average" users today? Also, XGL and Compiz do not look like a step forward to me. If they're anything like Vista's new 3D interface, they look like a step backward. Keeping the graphics card in 3D mode all the time, the laptops that can run it at a decent rate will have their batteries drained so fast that users will think something is broken (and laptop sales are growing faster than desktop sales). It will be a pain for desktop systems too, as electricity is not getting any cheaper, and most 3D cards have annoyingly loud fans kick in for 3D mode.

X Windows doesn't need extra flash, it needs to fix its consistency and ease-of-use issues. From what I know about X Windows and applications, I think it may be easier to start from scratch. If you make it easy enough for my wife to use without bitching at me about it, I will happily concede defeat. Until then, my gripe about X Windows is very real and legitimate.

Re:Oh my... (2, Insightful)

Lost+Found (844289) | more than 7 years ago | (#16123546)

Oh, please. It's a lot less obnoxious than your preaching of the GPL and griping about ATI and nVidia not releasing specs or source code for their drivers. They shouldn't have to release them any more than other companies should be allowed to steal GPL'ed code. (From what I've read, I believe even Linus agrees with that.) Linux wouldn't be a even fraction as popular as it is today if ATI and nVidia hadn't graced it with their "shitty binary drivers", and it's still not very popular among average users.

I'm griping about specs, not source code. There was a time that when you bought something, it came with full schematics. Nowadays the business world seems to want to lock that all away from the end user in the interest of chasing the almighty Dollar. A thriving rate of technical development (and indeed, even competition!) depends on open standards and open specs. When proprietary interests get mixed in beyond the point of healthy balance, the users are the ones who lose.

For some companies, BSD serves their proprietary interests extremely well. For other companies, it is a danger. It gives smaller companies a head-start and helps them compete against more well-established companies, which I do think is a good thing.

Are you saying this because Apple was able to use BSD in the development of a desktop operating system?

What BSD zealots seem to misunderstand is that the GPL doesn't prevent anyone from making money off that code, or using it to build other systems. It merely enforces a collaboration and an equal playing field.

If you think BSD has a monopoly on giving companies a leg up in developing new products, what do you think Novell is doing?

[stuff about X Windows and "3D mode"]

Doing things in 2d is dying off. Microsoft sees this, Apple sees this, X.Org sees this. The fact of the matter is that the cost of including 3d support is going down, and since the 2d stuff can be done with the 3d stuff, the 2d stuff is getting pushed off the chip. Sooner or later we'll have hardware where there is no 2d support at all.

Modern processors don't have a big "On/Off" switch for whole areas of functionality; rather, they can actually swing in and out of various states of activation depending on load. This means that your story about "3D mode", loud fans and power consumption is false. Desktops with minor 3d effects just don't place the kind of load on those chips that 3d games do.

Re:Cause and Effect of BSD "Safety" (1)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 7 years ago | (#16122609)

X-Windows needs to be replaced with something more light-weight
I was with you until this point. X is very lightweight; it runs on some truly ancient systems. Quartz is much heavier.

X-Windows will always be around for the power users who want it, but the average joe just wants his games/videos/music to run smoothly without any hassles,
None of this has anything to do with X versus Quartz. Some of it has to do with proprietary video cards and proprietary codecs. Some of it has to do with the fact that companies producing proprietary games don't see enough profit to be made by porting to any system besides Windows, because Windows can get them to so much of their market.

Re:Cause and Effect of BSD "Safety" (1)

s_p_oneil (795792) | more than 7 years ago | (#16123529)

Ok, poor choice of words. However, X without a window/desktop manager is pretty useless to an average user. Although many window managers are also light-weight, Gnome and KDE do not seem to be, and most users trying Linux or BSD for the first time end up trying one of those. I personally prefer some of the lighter window managers, but they don't seem to be accessible to the average user who just wants things to "work" effortlessly.

Also, I didn't say anything about availability of games. That won't come until a decent percentage of people are using these OS's. And I don't believe that will happen until various problems in X, and its window/desktop managers, are fixed. Actually, applications need to be fixed, too. Consistency and ease-of-use are key, and that includes the applications running on it, not just X. Performance is important too, and performance under Gnome/KDE has always seemed sluggish to me.

X11 is heavyweight? (4, Informative)

steveha (103154) | more than 7 years ago | (#16122686)

X-Windows needs to be replaced with something more light-weight (i.e. single-user with direct access to the multimedia hardware).

Really? Can you please point me to some numbers that demonstrate this point?

X11 was invented in the bad old days, running on UNIX systems less powerful than today's PDAs. As I understand it, it's actually quite lightweight. Certainly the network transparency features don't cost much, because when you run the X server and the X client software on the same computer, they communicate by using domain sockets (which are very lightweight). Both Microsoft Windows and Apple OS X have abstraction layers that isolate the graphics hardware; do you have some numbers showing that X11 has significantly more overhead than those abstraction layers?

The latest versions coming out of X.org now have support for features similar to what OS X does: applications are rendered into offscreen buffers, and the buffers are composited together (with transparency effects, or other special effects if you desire). So, X11 is no barrier to cool eye-candy [linuxedge.org] either.

The worst thing about X11 used to be way it was managed (under Xfree86). Now that the project has moved to X.org and has been revamped, progress has sped up a lot.

steveha

Re:Cause and Effect of BSD "Safety" (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 7 years ago | (#16122926)

X-Windows needs to be replaced with something more light-weight (i.e. single-user with direct access to the multimedia hardware)

The rest of the world is waking up to the idea that single user non-network aware systems are limiting. Hacks like VNC and Gotomypc get you somewhere (I use both) but are really still hacks to get around the limitation. As for needing something more "lightweight" - you can run X windows on a Nintendo DS - that's right, on a system with 4MB of total memory and no memory management unit in the CPU. What Apple have done is certainly not lightweight in comparison to X and was never intended to be.

Cause and Effect of 'X' "Safety" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16123078)

IMHO I don't think the problem with X is so much "lightweight" as it's built on certain assumptions (engineered systems usually are) that limit it's flexability, especially viewed with an eye towards were computers in general, and graphical systems in particular are headed.

Effect of GPL "Political correctness" (0, Offtopic)

Nicolay77 (258497) | more than 7 years ago | (#16122242)

http://chris.pirillo.com/2006/09/06/vistas-ui-is-b etter-than-this/ [pirillo.com]

The Kororaa Project http://kororaa.org/ [kororaa.org] had a live cd that had the Nvidia drivers included that had all this in it. It was amazing. They were forced to remove the distro though because of the GPL license.

Re:Effect of GPL "Political correctness" (1, Insightful)

eraserewind (446891) | more than 7 years ago | (#16122344)

Yeah, and pirated MacOSX is better than that, but they had to remove it beause of the license. If you don't like the license use something else.

Re:Effect of GPL "Political correctness" (0)

Brandybuck (704397) | more than 7 years ago | (#16122533)

You don't get it. The GPL was telling Kororaa what to do with THIRD PARTY software! The NVidia driver was an *optional* *runtime* module. Kororaa is an example of GPL hyperlegalism run amok. The GPL isn't about freedom, it's about suing.

Re:Effect of GPL "Political correctness" (1)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 7 years ago | (#16122569)

From wikipedia:

In May 2006 an unnamed kernel developer sent an email to Christopher Smart, the projects leader, suggesting that packaging the proprietary NVIDIA and ATI drivers was a violation of the GPL as they take GPL code from the kernel and build it into a non-GPL kernel module, qualifying as a derived work. The issue is a grey area and is yet to be resolved. Smart says that he has ceased development of the Xgl Live CD. In August 2006, Smart removed the CD image from his website


Problem here is, it's not really third party software if it takes part of the kernel sources and adds code with incompatible licensing into it. So let's see, take some Windows kernel source, add a third party driver to it, then release as say, BSD. You think the result would be very different?

Re:Effect of GPL "Political correctness" (1)

AJWM (19027) | more than 7 years ago | (#16122719)

Nope, the GPL wasn't telling Kororaa what to do with 3rd party software. It was telling Kororaa what they COULDN'T do with GPL'd software. One thing they couldn't do was combine it with non-GPL'd software and distribute the result. The FSF even gives an example of how to get around this -- distribute the non-free modules on a separate disc.

(The only exception to the above is aggregations of software that are independant of each other. The original Kororaa CD was clearly dependent upon the non-Free software, so that exception doesn't apply.)

Effect of GPL "Ideology" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16123127)

Well regardless of whom one points the finger at. GPL based distros are going to be handicapped (needlessly some feel). While BSD based distros will not. Simple as that.

Re:Effect of GPL "Political correctness" (0, Troll)

Brandybuck (704397) | more than 7 years ago | (#16123541)

You're still missing the point. The purpose of the GPL is to threaten people with lawsuits. Nobody from FreeBSD would give a shit if the NVidia driver were bundled on a CD with the kernel. But do it with a GPL kernel like Linux and suddenly people act like you're drowning kittens. Hence the distros that get shut down. Hence the lawsuit over a *free* chess program. Hence the FSF's legal enforcement division acting like Mini-Me to BSA's Doctor Evil.

Freedom is about letting people do what they will, not suing them into a narrow ethic.

Re:Effect of GPL "Political correctness" (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16122364)

Yet another example of how the "Everything must be Free!" mentality (communism, socialism, GNU, etc.) retards progress. Why does it matter if the drivers linked in are closed source? Nvidia/ATI/Everyone should be free to contribute as much or as little to open source as they want. Linux benefits from having more drivers, just as much as the hardware companies benefit from having the OS to run on their hardware. This "you can't use our code unless you bow before the GNU" is just bullshit politics.

We need a NetBSD (0)

PhotoGuy (189467) | more than 7 years ago | (#16122053)

My view of NetBSD:

A *Freely Licensed* (copy the crap out of it *if* you want, contribute *if* you want, not like GPL), rock solid, incredibly portable, fully functional kernel/OS that will install off of a fraction of a CD.

There's nothing like it, and I think it has an important place in the computing world. Please don't ruin it with (L)GPL's and other crap, it has its place!

You can make an NetBSD installation appear almost indistinguishable from a Linux installation (when you add the optional GPL packages), which is pretty cool. But if you need a lean, mean, *free* core, it will offer what Linux will not.

Re:We need a NetBSD (1)

smash (1351) | more than 7 years ago | (#16122072)

A *Freely Licensed* (copy the crap out of it *if* you want, contribute *if* you want, not like GPL), rock solid, incredibly portable, fully functional kernel/OS that will install off of a fraction of a CD. There's nothing like it,

There's FreeBSD. You can install the base system off an ~120mb install image last I checked. Granted, it's not *quite* as portable, however I would argue that this is not such a major problem these days, with x86 hardware being so cheap and giving good performance. It's "portable enough".

I'm the first to admit that I don't *like* the x86 architecture from an idealistic viewpoint, but it does the job and most of the other architectures are either becoming or actually irrelevant...

Re:We need a NetBSD (4, Informative)

sudog (101964) | more than 7 years ago | (#16122210)

Base install for NetBSD is about 23MB, or 47MB with development tools, 55MB with manpages, and 112MB for all the above plus X.

I can get it installed on older hardware in less than 5 minutes, including the boot time for the floppies. I can get it installed on modern Opteron-based badass hardware in about half that. That's pretty cool.

And you're being very short-sighted about other architectures.

Re:We need a NetBSD (1)

smash (1351) | more than 7 years ago | (#16122521)

And you're being very short-sighted about other architectures.

Yes and no.

I'm aware of the embedded space, but personally I think that within a few years it will all be x86 anyway (much as it's a "crappy" architecture). Also, given that the costs of storage, RAM, etc are dropping extremely quickly, I don't think that worrying about 20mb vs 200-600mb is worth wasting the development time on any more.

But that's my personal opinion...

Re:We need a NetBSD (1)

alexdw (65033) | more than 7 years ago | (#16122531)

I'm the first to admit that I don't *like* the x86 architecture from an idealistic viewpoint, but it does the job and most of the other architectures are either becoming or actually irrelevant...

I somehow doubt you are the first... I've often wondered what the engineers at Intel were smoking back in the seventies. Low level/assembler programming on any of the 8051/8080/8086/etc (the popular "old school" Intel processors) reveals a LOT of architectural gotchas. Memory addressing on 80x86 processors is, well, "interesting".

It is also quite interesting to note that starting with the Pentium (or was it 80486?) Intel basically threw out the oddball CISC architecture and ran the whole thing as a RISC processor with the x86 arch emulated in microcode.

I really wish one of the nicer RISC processors had really taken off, but unfortunately the 8086 model achieved critical mass (thanks M$!). You're right, though... low cost, and wide availability have been a good thing overall, even if we end up stuck with a hairy architecture. Haven't looked "under the hood" at the 64-bitters yet (too busy hacking 8051 code!), but I hope the situation has improved.

Re:We need a NetBSD (1)

smash (1351) | more than 7 years ago | (#16122660)

Pretty sure it was the pentium that started using the Risc core... and yeah, from my limited x86 assembly coding experience (a few half-assed games using inline assembly for quick VGA graphics back in the early-mid 90s) it's definately "strange" :)

I was so hoping for the ppc/alpha to take off myself, but alas... "worse is better" strikes again...

It's getting to the point now though that for 99.99% of the coders out there, they couldn't give a crap what a cpu is like to program from an assembly point of view, as most of them wouldn't go any lower level than C these days anyway - most of them won't even go that low...

Re:We need a NetBSD (1)

alexdw (65033) | more than 7 years ago | (#16123061)

Yeah, these days, as long as the compiler supports the processor/architecture, it really doesn't matter. Even better, if you're using a truly high-level language, it all becomes irrelevant. Perl doesn't care about your architecture.

Right now, I'm working on a multiprocessor embedded project, with a DSP, an 8051 clone, and a PC/104 (x86) system for display/data logging. I used to think that the x86 architecture was bad, but after getting stuck with a couple of Harvard architecture systems, I'm loving the x86. I still miss the 6510/6502 processor; now there was a processor with character! :-)

Re:We need a NetBSD (3, Interesting)

mnmn (145599) | more than 7 years ago | (#16122133)


Free, sure. But I dont know about lean and mean.

The whole point of NetBSD is portability. If it weren't for portability, NetBSD might as well not exist. But the problem is Linux has taken over as the portability leader and has a huge margin.

Every 32-bit cpu out there has a corresponding Linux BSP or distro. At least ones with enough ram or external bus interface. To compete, NetBSD will have to do without MMUs in some cases, and allow the kernel to be configured to be really small. Linux can scale and has enough configuration options to be able to produce a 200kb kernel and boot in under 1MB on an ARM7TDMI.

Given its license and code cleanliness (and maturity) I'd prefer NetBSD if it was portable enough. Its not.

Re:We need a NetBSD (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 7 years ago | (#16122209)

To compete, NetBSD will have to do without MMUs in some cases
uClinux and the derived DSLinux (among others) run on CPUs without a memory management unit. NetBSD probably does as well.

Re:We need a NetBSD (1)

jmcneill (256391) | more than 7 years ago | (#16122321)

NetBSD does not support CPUs without a memory management unit.

Re:We need a NetBSD (1)

macshit (157376) | more than 7 years ago | (#16122331)

uClinux and the derived DSLinux (among others) run on CPUs without a memory management unit.

Note that uClinux was long ago merged into the mainstream linux 2.6 sources (in version 2.5.46 iirc). These days, the "uClinux patch" for 2.6 kernels mainly contains a few odds and ends for specific chips that haven't been merged yet.

So for many MMU-less chips, you can just grab "linux" and it will work, though if you want a 2.4-derived kernel, I guess uClinux is still necessary (2.6 can be slower and more bloated in some cases on small CPUs -- a lot of the optimization work on 2.6 seems to have focused on high-end systems).

Re:We need a NetBSD (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 7 years ago | (#16122250)

NetBSD ran with no problems, out of the box, on my P5, even with X11. I have yet to find a Linux distro that competes. Only reason I use Fedora on my laptop is that it is a laptop.

Re:We need a NetBSD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16122591)

I run OpenBSD on my laptop, because hey... it's OpenBSD! ;-)

Re:We need a NetBSD (2, Insightful)

ElleyKitten (715519) | more than 7 years ago | (#16122334)

A *Freely Licensed* (copy the crap out of it *if* you want, contribute *if* you want, not like GPL)
The GPL doesn't prevent or require you to copy or contribute. The GPL requires you to distribute the code with any modifications you make. If you're going to bitch about the GPL, at least bitch about things that are actually true about it.

Do I need glasses? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16122054)

I read "ONLamp.com is featuring a lengthy interview with Charles Manson" ....

NetBSD is a BSD I have not yet used, FreeBSD's my usual, and OpenBSD if I'm feeling tipsy.

Lets face it... (5, Funny)

interval1066 (668936) | more than 7 years ago | (#16122079)

"We locked 10 BSD programmers in an IT room for one week with one distribution of BSD. When we came back, we found all the programmers dead with their hands around each others throats, and 12 new flavors of BSD."

So true...

So what is the next Toster OS? (2, Interesting)

Watson Ladd (955755) | more than 7 years ago | (#16122170)

A lot of people depended on NetBSD for embeded software development. What is going to replace it? It's kind of sad to see a standard die like this.

The answer is simple... (2, Informative)

Lost+Found (844289) | more than 7 years ago | (#16122600)

...but you may not like it. The replacement is and will continue to be Linux, which is already more portable than NetBSD, has far greater mindshare, performance, scalability and functionality.

BSDying (0, Flamebait)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 7 years ago | (#16122177)

Hmm, well, both NetBSD and OpenBSD suck when compared to any current Linux distribution. It is a Catch-22: They have no developers because they suck and they suck because they have no developers.

Oh well, what the hell...

Re:BSDying (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16123011)

Hmm, well, both NetBSD and OpenBSD suck when compared to any current Linux distribution.

Funny, I know two of the Worlds largest banks use OpenBSD for firewalls in various places. Namely because it does not suck. The US DoD donated $2,000,000 US dollars to OpenBSD for a reason you know? I once posted an email to the sparc@ mailing list around Christmas time, when lots of people were already on holiday and I got various, "sorry I'm out of the office till..." messages. One of those messages was from some IT person working at the Pentagon. So someone in computing with the Pentagon, thinks that OpenBSD is worth watching.

You are an idiot. OpenBSD and NetBSD are great. Linux is great for many things too, but given the choice, I'll take OpenBSD firewalls over any other firewall. Especially on sparc64 hardware.

No matter how large the army of assholes is which you are a member of, nothing can tarnish OpenBSD's legendary status in security.

Re:BSDying (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16123562)

Funny, I know two of the Worlds largest banks use OpenBSD for firewalls in various places. Namely because it does not suck. The US DoD donated $2,000,000 US dollars to OpenBSD for a reason you know? I once posted an email to the sparc@ mailing list around Christmas time, when lots of people were already on holiday and I got various, "sorry I'm out of the office till..." messages. One of those messages was from some IT person working at the Pentagon. So someone in computing with the Pentagon, thinks that OpenBSD is worth watching.

Pentagon shmentagon, the NSA contributes code to Linux and has employees paid to work on the Linux kernel.

What is really needed (2, Interesting)

earthforce_1 (454968) | more than 7 years ago | (#16122343)


I am probably going to get flamed to a crisp for this, but what the heck, I have karma to burn...

If Linus continues to dig in and refuses to accept GPLV3 with its anti-DRM provisions, what is is for the linux developers who truly want to move to a GPL V3 model to contribute the fruits of their labour to a GPLV3 fork of the kernel. (Freenix anybody?) Note that they wouldn't have to stop contributing to Linux, they can dual licence as GPL V2/V3 for as long as they wish.

Actually the linux kernel could be forked from the existing code base licenced as GPLV2 with ongoing contributions to the new kernel licenced as GPLV3. Users would be bound by the terms of both licences, which would default to the more restrictive GPLV3 unless they took the time to strip out all of the newly contributed GPLV3 code. Support for DRMed media and hardware would done through clean room design, and hosted from servers in DMCA free countries. Does DVD Jon have some friends and a bit of spare bandwidth?

I really love linux, use it in my home servers and would use it on my desktop if I wasn't doing contract windows development as well. But I disagree with Linus's stand on DRM and the proposed GPLV3. RMS is an arrogant pain in the butt, but in this he is dead right. I like where GPLV3 is going, but we need to build a full featured OS around it.

Re:What is really needed (1)

mindtriggerz (914619) | more than 7 years ago | (#16122378)

"Does DVD Jon have some friends and a bit of spare bandwidth?"
A bit offtopic, but DVD Jon is now living in America.

Re:What is really needed (1)

r00t (33219) | more than 7 years ago | (#16122434)

DVD Jon is now living in America??? What, in prison?

Re:What is really needed (1)

Brandybuck (704397) | more than 7 years ago | (#16122540)

Remember, it was Norway and Norwegian police that hauled his butt of to jail. If I were him I would have moved to the US too.

Re:What is really needed (1, Redundant)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 7 years ago | (#16122411)

And you'll end up with 2 versions, 1 that people will sell and be able to use, and another that will smack of the 1.x kernel days, when USB support didn't exist, and X kind of worked if you enabled accelerated video (but often locked up the machine). Your 'freenix' may become a sort of minix replacement, but the rest of us will use Linux.

GPLv3 OS (3, Informative)

r00t (33219) | more than 7 years ago | (#16122449)

You can't convert Linux. GPLv2 and GPLv3 both prohibit extra restrictions.

You could create a GPLv3 fork of NetBSD though. That might revive NetBSD. You might just take the kernel though, letting distributions form around it. Debian already supports Hurd and FreeBSD kernels; they could do a NetBSD one as well.

Of course you'd need to find a name other than "NetBSD".

Ideas: NetOS, NotBSD, Netix, Netrix, Netux, Nettle, WebBSD...

Re:GPLv3 OS (1)

kv9 (697238) | more than 7 years ago | (#16122810)

Debian already supports Hurd and FreeBSD kernels; they could do a NetBSD one as well.

http://www.debian.org/ports/netbsd/ [debian.org]

Re:GPLv3 OS (1)

Monsuco (998964) | more than 7 years ago | (#16122960)

Doesn't NetBSD still use the old "advertising clause?" In that case it is not compatable. Why not use FreeBSD instead? Well, the biggest issue with this is people "know" what linux is. People don't know BSD as well. We can't just call it "Linux" as that name is trademarked. Loosing the word linux is actually a huge loss for the GNU project. It might be easier to just relicense everything else besides the kernel under GPL 3. How important is the license of the kernel if the rest of the OS is GPL 3. RMS may be a bit overzelous when it comes to FOSS, but he is certainly right on DRM. It cannot be tolerated.

Re:What is really needed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16122559)

Actually the linux kernel could be forked from the existing code base licenced as GPLV2 with ongoing contributions to the new kernel licenced as GPLV3.

No it can't. GPLv2 makes explicit statements about linking object modules at the binary level (which is what happens when both the kernel is linked during compile and when modules are loaded at runtime) such that all code must be GPLv2-compatible.

A *user* could take a GPLv2-only kernel, add GPLv3-only patches (or modprobe GPLv3-only modules) and use the resulting image. (This BTW is how nVidia gets away with their driver: users have to do it themselves.) However, they would not ever be able to distribute that binary image to anyone else under any license at all. This kills mixing GPLv2 and GPLv3 since distros can't do it.

Now, in practice it won't matter if the kernel is GPLv3: glibc will most definitely move to a LGPL license that adopts the new terms (DRM and patent retaliation) of GPLv3. Since user programs require glibc, and since glibc will eventually require even Tivo-style locked machines to be able to replace /lib/libc.so and /lib/ld.so, the DRM trap will be circumventable at that level. (Unless Tivo plans to make their own version of glibc, or moves to *BSD, or decides to run their entire application as a statically-linked image that calls the Linux system calls directly.) But as others pointed out, if you really want a GPLv3 kernel, take a BSD kernel and redistribute it under GPLv3 and base a new distro off that and you're good to go. Debian could do it overnight on the FreeBSD port.

Re:What is really needed (1)

Millenniumman (924859) | more than 7 years ago | (#16122670)

But as others pointed out, if you really want a GPLv3 kernel, take a BSD kernel and redistribute it under GPLv3 and base a new distro off that and you're good to go. Debian could do it overnight on the FreeBSD port.


Then you wouldn't need the GPLv3 at all. Without any hardware support, DRM isn't an issue.

Re:What is really needed (2, Informative)

bfields (66644) | more than 7 years ago | (#16122914)

If Linus continues to dig in and refuses to accept GPLV3 with its anti-DRM provisions

Good grief:

  1. GPLv3 isn't even finished yet. This is a little premature.
  2. Linus states his opinions very clearly and forcefully. That *doesn't* mean he isn't willing to change his mind. He's done it before. BUT:
  3. Even if Linus did "accept GPLV3", he doesn't own the copyright in most of the kernel himself at this point--for each piece of the code he doesn't own copyright in, somebody would have to either track down the copyright-holder (or their heirs, if necessary...) and get their permission, or rewrite their code. The kernel is really big; the chances of this happening are extremely small.

Re:What is really needed (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 7 years ago | (#16122998)

If Linus continues to dig in and refuses to accept GPLV3 with its anti-DRM provisions
Point one - it is still a draft so he would be stupid and unprofessional to accept it while it is still changing. Point two - some of the DRM clauses still need work to avoid collatoral damage to people that are helping both linux and gnu but don't want random script kiddies flashing the firmware on their embedded systems from the net becuase authentication would be illegal under a silly clause. Point three - the idea to get rid of "evil" uses of the linux kernel by Tivio and Nvidia is not seen as remotely evil by people actually in the linux (ie. kernel) development community. Linux is not a gnu project despite the name change and trying to manipulate it from outside is a good way to piss people off - as you would see from the response of Linus to somebody that demanded he use an earlier draft of GPLV3 which is what I assume you are talking about. Recall that it was a demand and not a suggestion - don't take it from me it is all still on the net. Prove me wrong if you can.

Finish writing the licence, get the bugs out of it, then flame Linus if you like. I'm not really sure a change in the licence is the way to do something that is probably better achieved by writing to your US senator (if you are worked up about this issue I have to assume you are in the USA) - remember that linux is used globally and that DRM is still mostly a US issue.

Re:What is really needed (2, Informative)

SEE (7681) | more than 7 years ago | (#16123170)

Actually the linux kernel could be forked from the existing code base licenced as GPLV2 with ongoing contributions to the new kernel licenced as GPLV3.

Actually, no.

The Linux kernel is specifically licensed under GPL v2 only. Due to the deliberate design of the copyleft in the version 2 GPL, it would be illegal to distribute that code in a kernel where portions of the kernel could not be redistributed under the terms of the GPL v2. The inability of GPL v2 code to be put under a more restrictive license without permission of the copyright holder is a deliberate, designed-in feature, and no FSF backdoor exists.

That means, all the "GPL v3" code in your "forked" kernel would either have to include specific permission to be used under the GPL v2, or none of it could be the current GPL v2 Linux kernel code. In the first case, then, anybody could grab any of the code from your "fork" and distribute it under the v2 only, defeating the whole point of forking a project to add v3 DRM restrictions. In the second, you wouldn't be forking Linux, you'd just be writing a new kernel.

You want a GPL v3 GNU kernel? You can start with HURD, or with one of the nonproprietary BSDs (4.4 Lite, Free, Net, Open), or a few more obscure things. But you can't start with Linux if Linus says no, because the FSF set up the GPL v2 that way.

Linus == Linux (0, Troll)

fm6 (162816) | more than 7 years ago | (#16122467)

As we've seen over the years, one of the great successes of Linux was that it had a strong leader, who set goals and directions, and was able to get people to do what he wanted -- or find someone else to do it. This latter part is also a key element; there was no sense that anyone else "owned" a piece of Linux (although de facto "ownership" has happened in some parts); if you didn't produce, Linus would use someone else's code. If you wanted people to use your stuff, you had to keep moving.

Which is something to respond next time you hear some GNU dweeb insist that Linux be called GNU/Linux. So GNU contributed a lot of code. So did a lot of other people. LT's leadership is what made it happen. All the more absurd because the GNU OS has been "almost done" for decades.

Re:Linus == Linux (2, Insightful)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 7 years ago | (#16122624)

Linus' leadership had nothing to do with making the GNU tools "happen". They happened all by themselves, and had happened before Linux was developed. What Linux did is actually give them a platform to be used on; before Linux they were really just open-source versions of stuff that other OSes often already had. Without Linux, the GNU tools were superfluous. Without the GNU tools, Linux was just a barebones kernel; you need tools to actually do anything useful with it.

That said, I think the constant attempt to change an already-entrenched name is futile. I can understand why someone would get irritated when people in ignorance assign all the hardwork they did to someone else.

All this comes as I think about going to BSD (2, Insightful)

cptnapalm (120276) | more than 7 years ago | (#16122631)

Recently, I have been reading a hefty amount of Unix history and the philosophy which developed once pipes were introduced. Looking at my own history of Linux usage, I have seen that I look upon my computer as an appliance when I spend too much time in a GUI with the do-it-all monolithic apps, but when I use it in the Unix way, it is less a tool than an environment in which I can do things and learn new things. Having read the quote to many times about people using Linux because they hate Microsoft, while others use BSD because they love Unix, I began to incline toward giving one of the BSDs a go. Then this whole mess came out.

I'm finding myself still interested, but more likely to give one of the newer forks a go, like Dragonfly BSD, PC-BSD or Desktop BSD. I incline toward the latter simply because they have a DVD image for download whereas the others do not. With their desktop focus though, I'm wondering if the experience will be more or less the same as I have now.

I really do like Ubuntu, both as a distro and especially as a community. But within the Linux world, it seems that it is Microsoft is the one to beat by creating ever larger Windows like apps rather than doing things in a more Unix-like way simply because of a love of the *nix environment; more into creating a non-evil and free Windows than carrying the Unix tradition forward, innovating of course, but by expanding upon the methodology rather than imitating the abandoned platform. So I am wondering if things will be any different.

As I am realizing that this has nothing to do with the interview, which I actually did read, I'll just stop typing now.

Re:All this comes as I think about going to BSD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16122804)

DFBSD is only for developers right now. And I'd stay away from PC-BSD/DesktopBSD for exactly the reasons you list. If you really want to get deep into Unix, go with Net or Open. They're both lean and mean and will force you to think in different ways than your typical GUI-noob-friendly OS. You can't go wrong with either of them. FreeBSD is okay too, but I don't like it as much because it tries hard to be everything to everyone and has much more focus on GUI stuff.

Re:All this comes as I think about going to BSD (2, Informative)

Nimrangul (599578) | more than 7 years ago | (#16122999)

DesktopBSD and PC-BSD are not forks of FreeBSD, they are add-ons to FreeBSD releases, they are prepackaged versions of FreeBSD, similar to your Linux, "distros," mix KDE with random home-brewed tools and pour into release version 5, 6, or whatever of FreeBSD, serve. DragonFly BSD, while interesting, is not really the system one should be looking into for regular day-to-day use, major design alterations are still underway in the system and as Dillon has said, it's not going to really be ready for a while. NetBSD as you've recently noticed has some issues, it's had stability problems on it's vaunted umpteen jillion platforms for going on the better half of a decade and at best users and developers have been ignoring much of it, the developers focus on making things cross-compile rather than making sure they natively compile and actually run.

If you want to try a BSD, FreeBSD is the most Linux distribution-like of the BSDs, while OpenBSD is the most BSD-like of the BSDs, it's a matter of if you like the old Unix stuff or the newer Linux stuff. Generally speaking FreeBSD is the less GNU-style free, as in that whole freedom schtick, of the two, with better performance and more bells and whistles, while OpenBSD is the more secure, stable, conservative of the two. OpenBSD has better overall documentation, while FreeBSD has several really nice books, like the DAIOTFOS and the Handbook.

Re:All this comes as I think about going to BSD (1)

cptnapalm (120276) | more than 7 years ago | (#16123407)

Thank you for sharing your views on which BSDs to look into. I had not found enough information to properly judge, it seems. I think I'll take a look into both FreeBSD and OpenBSD and perhaps try to keep tabs on Dragonfly.

If ever I fall off the deep end, I can start up a PDP-11 emulator and use the ancient Unix from http://www.tuhs.org/ [tuhs.org]

you fa.il 1t? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16122833)

rules to follow dying' crowd - 4, which by all moans and groans bought the farm... culture of abuse the numbers. The to die. I will jam way. It used to be BBen the best,

*BSD is Dying (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16122978)

It is now official. Netcraft confirms: *BSD is dying

One more crippling bombshell hit the already beleaguered *BSD community when IDC confirmed that *BSD market share has dropped yet again, now down to less than a fraction of 1 percent of all servers. Coming on the heels of a recent Netcraft survey which plainly states that *BSD has lost more market share, this news serves to reinforce what we've known all along. *BSD is collapsing in complete disarray, as fittingly exemplified by failing dead last [samag.com] in the recent Sys Admin comprehensive networking test.

You don't need to be the Amazing Kreskin [amazingkreskin.com] to predict *BSD's future. The hand writing is on the wall: *BSD faces a bleak future. In fact there won't be any future at all for *BSD because *BSD is dying. Things are looking very bad for *BSD. As many of us are already aware, *BSD continues to lose market share. Red ink flows like a river of blood.

FreeBSD is the most endangered of them all, having lost 93% of its core developers. The sudden and unpleasant departures of long time FreeBSD developers Jordan Hubbard and Mike Smith only serve to underscore the point more clearly. There can no longer be any doubt: FreeBSD is dying.

Let's keep to the facts and look at the numbers.

OpenBSD leader Theo states that there are 7000 users of OpenBSD. How many users of NetBSD are there? Let's see. The number of OpenBSD versus NetBSD posts on Usenet is roughly in ratio of 5 to 1. Therefore there are about 7000/5 = 1400 NetBSD users. BSD/OS posts on Usenet are about half of the volume of NetBSD posts. Therefore there are about 700 users of BSD/OS. A recent article put FreeBSD at about 80 percent of the *BSD market. Therefore there are (7000+1400+700)*4 = 36400 FreeBSD users. This is consistent with the number of FreeBSD Usenet posts.

Due to the troubles of Walnut Creek, abysmal sales and so on, FreeBSD went out of business and was taken over by BSDI who sell another troubled OS. Now BSDI is also dead, its corpse turned over to yet another charnel house.

All major surveys show that *BSD has steadily declined in market share. *BSD is very sick and its long term survival prospects are very dim. If *BSD is to survive at all it will be among OS dilettante dabblers. *BSD continues to decay. Nothing short of a miracle could save it at this point in time. For all practical purposes, *BSD is dead.

Fact: *BSD is dying

BSD and the newbie (1)

twoblink (201439) | more than 7 years ago | (#16123062)

I'm pretty much sick and tired of Linux being thrown around as newbie word.. "Yeah, I just installed linux!! I installed redhat!! I clicked next next next 80 times. It's just like windows! I'm a linux sys admin now, someone hire me!!"

When someone tells me "I've been running BSD for 10 year" I at least have some confidence in what they know.. When they tell me that about linux, I don't.

BSD rocks. I think in 2 more generations, most large companies will want to switch to BSD for embedded, simply because the licensing is better.

As for GPLv3, it should die a horrible death. A forked GPLv3 kernel has got to be the stupidest suggestion I've ever heard in my life.

Re:BSD and the newbie (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16123649)

BSD rocks. I think in 2 more generations, most large companies will want to switch to BSD for embedded, simply because the licensing is better.

However, according to fuckwits like you, "BSD" is miles ahead of Linux in every department. So
what are "most large companies" waiting for? That the last 9 bugs in the FreeBSD source tree be
fixed?

BSD Trouble (2, Insightful)

labradore (26729) | more than 7 years ago | (#16123467)

Ok, so what I am getting is that in the BSD development process, a bunch of people live at the top level of the org chart and have access to change the source repository. They agree on what they'll do and then theoretically they all make the changes and updates and eventually someone goes, "Hey, lets bugfix this latest commit and release it as (un)stable."

In the linux dev. process, Linus is at the top of the org chart. He accepts or rejects patches that come to him. He trusts other people to maintain certain subsystems and architectures, but ultimately, he decides what goes in and what doesn't (even if he hasn't really looked at it much).

Difference #2: Linux is GPL'd. You can't profit from changes without sharing them. BSD is BSD'd. You can profit from your changes and keep them hidden.

So the sturcture of the Linux license enforces sharing and the structure of the development process enforces a set of standards (each upstream guy's own standards) on the quality (or lack thereof) of the code. The BSD license and the BSD development structure both require social contracts and continuous communication and agreement among the developers to keep things together and quality consistently high.

So in the BSD world there are forks because developers encounter both technical and personal disagreements. In the Linux world, the devs don't really have to get along as much, because the structure of the project is more forceful than the BSD cooperation regime.

All of the problems that this NetBSD guy have described seem to be mitigated more-or-less automatically in the Linux structure and with the GPL. Linux development is not perfect. Nor is the GPL. However, it sure looks like they're better approaches. Linux certainly isn't less successsful than any of the BSDs.

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