Why so many BSDs?

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Louis Bertrand

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Nov 30, 1999, 3:00:00 AM11/30/99
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Specialisation.

All three have well defined goals and reasons to exist. Look into all
three, then pick the one that works for you.

Also have a look at Daemon News:
monthly ezine: www.daemonnews.org and
daily news: daily.daemonnews.org

Ciao
--Louis <lo...@bertrandtech.on.ca>

Louis Bertrand http://www.bertrandtech.on.ca/
Bertrand Technical Services, Bowmanville, ON, Canada

OpenBSD: Secure by default. http://www.openbsd.org/

On Tue, 30 Nov 1999, Martin Horcicka wrote:

> Hi,
>
> the thing I've never understood is why you are developing three BSD
> systems separately - well, they are not too separate because if one
> system implements a thing the other two will probably port it.
>
> Wouldn't it be better to join the projects together and this way to more
> effectively use your time, skills and energy?
>
> Please, don't lapidate me - I'd just like to know the reasons.
>
> Martin
>
> P.S. I'm not member of this lists, so please answer directly to me.
>
> Sorry for cross-list message.
>
>
>


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Jason Thorpe

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Nov 30, 1999, 3:00:00 AM11/30/99
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On Tue, 30 Nov 1999 08:27:11 +0100 (MET)
Martin Horcicka <mhor...@ss1000.ms.mff.cuni.cz> wrote:

> the thing I've never understood is why you are developing three BSD
> systems separately - well, they are not too separate because if one
> system implements a thing the other two will probably port it.
>
> Wouldn't it be better to join the projects together and this way to more
> effectively use your time, skills and energy?
>
> Please, don't lapidate me - I'd just like to know the reasons.

Sigh, this is probably the last question any of the more reasonable of us
want to answer. Suffice to say, "we have different goals, and differing
opinions".

Why are there so many Linux distributions out there? :-)

-- Jason R. Thorpe <tho...@nas.nasa.gov>

Martin Horcicka

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Nov 30, 1999, 3:00:00 AM11/30/99
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Hi,

the thing I've never understood is why you are developing three BSD
systems separately - well, they are not too separate because if one
system implements a thing the other two will probably port it.

Wouldn't it be better to join the projects together and this way to more
effectively use your time, skills and energy?

Please, don't lapidate me - I'd just like to know the reasons.

Martin

P.S. I'm not member of this lists, so please answer directly to me.

Sorry for cross-list message.

To Unsubscribe: send mail to majo...@FreeBSD.org

STeve Andre'

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Nov 30, 1999, 3:00:00 AM11/30/99
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I think you might be able to distill that down to one word: freedom.

Each group does things its own way. As with any complex undertaking
which involves many people, there comes a time when a group fissions,
heading off in two different directions. If you think about it you'll
see this effect in other areas of your life, too. The technical aspects
of why one group splits off from another is irrelevant; it simply
happens.

However, the projects do help each other, quite a lot. The code that
one develops frequently makes it way into other projects, such that what
one group does has benefits for all the others. The philosophy of being
open is so wonderful--here at least, there are no Scrooges jealously
guarding source code, ensuring that no one else gets the benefit of it.

The freedom to freely regroup ultimately helps all.

--STeve Andre'
and...@msu.edu

chuck

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Nov 30, 1999, 3:00:00 AM11/30/99
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At 08:27 AM 11/30/1999 +0100, Martin Horcicka wrote:
>the thing I've never understood is why you are developing three BSD

"You." The great BSD central commitee?


>systems separately - well, they are not too separate because if one
>system implements a thing the other two will probably port it.
>
>Wouldn't it be better to join the projects together and this way to more
>effectively use your time, skills and energy?
>
>Please, don't lapidate me - I'd just like to know the reasons.
>
>Martin
>
>P.S. I'm not member of this lists, so please answer directly to me.
>
>Sorry for cross-list message.

Well, there is one Windows. Monopolistic, no innovation, etc.

There are about 12 leading Unixes. They each have different
features and strengths. There are 3 BSD OpenSource Unix-alikes
and I don't know how many Linux distributions, also Open Source.

What's good about OSS? Well, ideas can easily travel from one
group to another. A better swapping system comes along in NetBSD
and in fairly short order, it's running on the other BSDs. And
that's okay.

I don't have a lot of tolerance for the usually Press Created "wars
between the OSs". If someone's running Linux, at least they are
running what I have been roughly calling Unix. ls, partitions and
basically the Philosophy of Unix - the toolkit and layered approach
to problem solving.

So don't think of it as three BSD's battling each other as much
as 3 complementary versions, each goading the others to get better.

This is what healthy competition is in the Open Source community.


Troll answer (recalling 2am):
Big troll question I'm sure. Probably sent my MS or those Linux
bastards :) to distract everyone from their jobs.

If so the answer is that they really are ONE BSD effort, but
broken up to keep the Internation Justice Department (a tool of
the UN) from recognizing the monopoly. It's all actually
controlled by Bob Young/Bill Gates, working in consort to
create the idea of competition against Microsoft. Ever see Bob
and Bill in the same place? In bikinis, playing bagpipes? I
thought not. ;=)

later.

chuck

The Hermit Hacker

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Nov 30, 1999, 3:00:00 AM11/30/99
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On Tue, 30 Nov 1999, chuck wrote:

> At 08:27 AM 11/30/1999 +0100, Martin Horcicka wrote:
> >the thing I've never understood is why you are developing three BSD
>
> "You." The great BSD central commitee?
> >systems separately - well, they are not too separate because if one
> >system implements a thing the other two will probably port it.
> >
> >Wouldn't it be better to join the projects together and this way to more
> >effectively use your time, skills and energy?
> >
> >Please, don't lapidate me - I'd just like to know the reasons.
> >
> >Martin
> >
> >P.S. I'm not member of this lists, so please answer directly to me.
> >
> >Sorry for cross-list message.
>
> Well, there is one Windows. Monopolistic, no innovation, etc.
>
> There are about 12 leading Unixes. They each have different
> features and strengths. There are 3 BSD OpenSource Unix-alikes
> and I don't know how many Linux distributions, also Open Source.

Last number I heard for "# of Linux distributions" was >70...I think some
guys dog did one or something silly like that *shrug*

Marc G. Fournier ICQ#7615664 IRC Nick: Scrappy
Systems Administrator @ hub.org
primary: scr...@hub.org secondary: scrappy@{freebsd|postgresql}.org

Nathan Kinsman

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Dec 1, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/1/99
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> So don't think of it as three BSD's battling each other as much
> as 3 complementary versions, each goading the others to get better.
>
> This is what healthy competition is in the Open Source community.

Yes, I like that. Healthy competition. I don't think there would be
the same level of innovation with just a single BSD.

--
Nathan Kinsman, |nat...@kinsman.com| don't send spam...@mentisworks.com
Network Integrator, Systems Architect |FreeBSD/Linux/Netware/MS Windows|
Phone/Fax: |Chicago| +1 312 803-2220 |Sydney| + 61 2 9475 4500
http://nathan.kinsman.com | http://www.mentisworks.com

Garance A Drosihn

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Dec 1, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/1/99
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At 8:27 AM +0100 11/30/99, Martin Horcicka wrote:
>Hi,

>
>the thing I've never understood is why you are developing three BSD
>systems separately - well, they are not too separate because if one
>system implements a thing the other two will probably port it.

When you say "you are developing", it sounds as if there is one
unified group which is sitting down and producing three different
operating systems (such as Microsoft producing Win98, WinNT, and
WinCE). In fact, there are three different groups working on
three different open-source BSD-ish operating systems. It's like
asking Ford and General Motors why they don't get together and
produce just one model of car.

The three groups have different priorities. That's the great
thing about it. Each group has enough people in it who have
the same general priorities that the group is able to keep
improving *their* operating system along *their* line of
priorities.

All three groups are interested in good ideas, and if one of
the groups implements something that the other groups like,
and it doesn't conflict with that group's priorities, then
they are very likely to pick it up. Again, this is a good
thing.


---
Garance Alistair Drosehn = g...@eclipse.acs.rpi.edu
Senior Systems Programmer or dro...@rpi.edu
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Ross Harvey

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Dec 1, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/1/99
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I wasn't involved when any of the projects were started, but it's my
understanding that NetBSD was first. Certainly, it was the first with a
release. So, I would say, "don't ask us, when we started there were none."

Now, if you think about it, there are really four BSD's. The for-profit BSDI
did a release even earlier than NetBSD.

ro...@netbsd.org

Greg Lehey

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Dec 1, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/1/99
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On Tuesday, 30 November 1999 at 12:14:12 -0800, Ross Harvey wrote:
> I wasn't involved when any of the projects were started, but it's my
> understanding that NetBSD was first. Certainly, it was the first with a
> release. So, I would say, "don't ask us, when we started there were none."

Well, in fact 386BSD predates all three free BSDs. The developer of
386BSD, Bill Jolitz, kept the source code for himself and didn't
commit much-needed changes, so people split off their own projects,
first NetBSD, then FreeBSD. OpenBSD split off NetBSD some time later.

> Now, if you think about it, there are really four BSD's. The
> for-profit BSDI did a release even earlier than NetBSD.

Right. They also predate 386BSD.

Greg
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Greg Lehey

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Dec 1, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/1/99
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On Tuesday, 30 November 1999 at 9:42:36 -0400, The Hermit Hacker wrote:
> On Tue, 30 Nov 1999, chuck wrote:
>
>> At 08:27 AM 11/30/1999 +0100, Martin Horcicka wrote:
>>> the thing I've never understood is why you are developing three BSD
>>
>> "You." The great BSD central commitee?
>>> systems separately - well, they are not too separate because if one
>>> system implements a thing the other two will probably port it.
>>>
>>> Wouldn't it be better to join the projects together and this way to more
>>> effectively use your time, skills and energy?
>>
>> Well, there is one Windows. Monopolistic, no innovation, etc.
>>
>> There are about 12 leading Unixes. They each have different
>> features and strengths. There are 3 BSD OpenSource Unix-alikes
>> and I don't know how many Linux distributions, also Open Source.
>
> Last number I heard for "# of Linux distributions" was >70...I think some
> guys dog did one or something silly like that *shrug*

IIRC, Theo de Raadt once quoted 240 or 260 different Linuxes. I
didn't find out where he got the number from.

Greg
--

Christian Gruber

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Dec 2, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/2/99
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And how exactly does name-calling, in the name of moderation, benefit the
cause of Free-UN*X unity?

One of my big problems in the wars between OS's is not that facts are
distorted, as those facts can be countered by better facts, but rather that
the rhetoric and religion flows thick, preventing anyone from even getting
to factual arguements.

Theo's being a nut or not is irrelevant to the facts you mention. Secondly,
Theo was paraphrased without references, so holding him to the statement is
like hearing someone say, "I heard that Clinton (Dole... whoever) hates
black people," and then replying "What a bastard" instead of "Quote your
source." It's bad science, so to speak.

Mostly this personal thing really pisses me off, because even if Theo were
as nutty as you ascribe of him, you contribute to extremism in the issue by
calling him so.

A few points:

> 1. SuSE, RedHat, Debian, Slackware are the big 4.
> They account for the vast, vast majority of the
> installed base.
1. Windows has most of the install base, so the
arguement of 80/20 may make some sense, but
has a real problem when taken too far.

> 2. Many so called "separete distributions" are
> either total image copies of the above or the
> above plus some amount of branding or additional
> software packages. To say they are a "separate
> distribution" to the same degree this has
> meaning as say, RedHat versus Debian, is a lie.

2. Agreed, but you must remember that if I use one
distribution, which is red-hat-like, and they change
at v.X to use a slackware style packaging system,
I have a choice. I can change distributions blah
blah blah.

However, the fact that they can alter their
distribution without synchronizing modifications,
means that they're different enough. From a
Project-management and Product-management standpoint,
these issues of revision control show up as a severe
quality assurance hassle. Linux has the wonderful
advantage of having people who will rip-off any
good changes from such an altering distrubution,
and merge them into the whole, and will probably
ditch any distribution en-masse if that org makes
mods which render their version incompatible... but
to use the software in a commercial or other setting
where stability and security are required, some
level of stability needs to be guarranteed. Now
paying red-hat some money will probably guarrantee
it, and that's one legitimate way... pay for the
service, and Red-Hat's reputation requires them to
be careful. But that's a different dynamic than
an actual approach which encourages stable merging.

Which is a better system, BSD or GNU? Who the heck
knows, but in one you get fewer branches, and
stability from the process, and the other, you get
more branches, and stability from commercial demand.
Take yer pick.

> 3. Given the same criteria that Theo no doubt uses
> to get the 240 or 260 number, one cannot say that
> there is only 3 versions of BSD. You'd have to
> get a number in the 60-100 range. (add all the
> *BSD flavors, multiply all the branches they
> have, multiply all the architectures they support,
> add all the non-integrated driver development,
> etc). It's easy to inflate the numbers using
> meaningless criteria.

3. Agreed, such inflations are unreasonable, if they
include architectures, and "branches within a project",
but there are fewer independant groups working on
OpenSource BSD-based operating systems. I know of but
a few, including OpenBSD, FreeBSD, NetBSD, and Darwin.
There are some specialized OS's for real-time computing,
massively parallel stuff, but these bill themselves
quite differently, and I think the number is quite
small. I think that the arguement about numbers of
distributions is entirely a red-herring. It's more,
if anything, about process control, and too often,
about ideology.

regards,
Christian.

Original:

Well, Theo is a nut, in more ways than one.

You can inflate the numbers to suit your own agenda, as
apparently Theo is (and others are) doing. [snip]

Matt Curtin

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Dec 3, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/3/99
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>>>>> On Tue, 30 Nov 1999 08:27:11 +0100 (MET),
>>>>> Martin Horcicka <mhor...@ss1000.ms.mff.cuni.cz> said:

Martin> the thing I've never understood is why you are developing
Martin> three BSD systems separately - well, they are not too separate
Martin> because if one system implements a thing the other two will
Martin> probably port it.

There are so many BSDs for the same reason that there are so many
types of hammers. There are tack hammers for little jobs, sledge
hammers for breaking stuff, framing hammers, drywall hammers, etc.

The need for OSes like MacOS vs BSD is as obvious as the need for tack
hammers vs. sledge hammers. When you get into areas that have greater
areas of overlap, it becomes a bit obvious. In this area, we have the
various BSDs.

The issue is the same: focus. FreeBSD comes from a group that
initially maintained focus on a high-quality BSD operating system for
the IA32 architecture. NetBSD comes from a group that is focused on
portability. OpenBSD comes from a group more closely focused on
security.

If you know how to use one, you have a pretty good idea how to use
them all, just as knowing how to use the typical 16 oz hammer will
give you a pretty good clue how to use the 22 oz framing hammer. But
if you have a specific need, you might find that one satisfies that
need a bit better than the other.

Which BSD I use -- and even which OS I use -- isn't consistent for
every job. Approach your needs with the mind of an engineer:
articulate your requirements, catalog your options, and make an
intelligent decision to use the one that will satisfy your needs the
best. My environments are almost never any single OS. At home, I use
IRIX, Solaris, OpenBSD, and FreeBSD. Which is in use depends on the
purpose of the machine.

Wouldn't it be better if we all work together? Well, assuming that we
don't work together is really a mistake. Just because we fly
different banners and focus on different areas, we hold in common many
of the same higher-order objectives, which include sharing information
and providing free access to source code. As such, by helping one
project, you help them all. The "one size fits all" mentality that
permeates mainstream computing is really the backward way of looking
at things. It's strange how no one seems to criticize Microsoft for
for having so many versions of Windows. The fact that there is
WindowsN'T, Windoze 9x, and WinCE, aside from demonstrating other
things, is further support of our assertion that the "one size fits
all" view is unworkable.

--
Matt Curtin cmcu...@interhack.net http://www.interhack.net/people/cmcurtin/

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