Linked by Eugenia Loli on Thu 31st Aug 2006 01:29 UTC, submitted by sequethin
NetBSD Charles Hannum, co-founder of NetBSD posted to 3 major BSD lists saying that "The NetBSD Project has stagnated to the point of irrelevance. It has gotten to the point that being associated with the project is often more of a liability than an asset. I will attempt to explain how this happened, what the current state of affairs is, and what needs to be done to attempt to fix the situation."
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Cloudy
Member since:
2006-02-15

I remember sitting around with a bunch of BSD developers "back in the day" listening to McKusick ask that very question.

I gave him the same answer ten years ago that I'll give you now: The organization of the various BSD projects encouraged small close-knit communities concentrating on specific goals. Linus had the foresight to play to the crowd. Linux has always had an inclusive egalitarian development model. I wouldn't go so far as to call it a cult of personality, but the fact that Torvalds is warm hearted and good natured, and has an inclusive development process while BSD projects tend to be faceless to outsiders and exclusive in appearance is what led to Linux being "all the hype".

Reply Parent Score: 3

h3rman Member since:
2006-08-09

Thanks for those comments. It's very interesting to see that these open source projects develop their own, unintended dynamic.

However,

"Linus had the foresight to play to the crowd."

I don't think that was intended or in any way a "foresight". As Torvalds has himself said, he didn't really feel like working out all the "boring" stuff, at least, what he himself found less exciting, that you have to do to create an OS out of a kernel. That's why he sent his kernel into the world. But then, how many things that bring about change in the world are really intended ?

I also heard a lot of BSD users are former Linux users that got disappointed at the "messy" or "dirty hack" nature of Linux code. I have no way of judging this, but what do you guys think, is there anything objective to say about these assertions? And isn't all that only relevant to developers?

Reply Parent Score: 3

Cloudy Member since:
2006-02-15

When Linus started on Linux, he announced it on comp.os.research. Even that post had an appeal for cooperation. But the 'playing to the crowd' I was thinking of includes things like the playful nature of penguins dominating the world.

Whether BSD or Linux has a cleaner code base is indirectly interesting to users. Messy, hacked systems are difficult to maintain and tend to be buggy. They also tend to get buggier quicker than well planned systems as features are added.

Reply Parent Score: 1

Oliver Member since:
2006-07-15

>Torvalds is warm hearted and good natured

Do you know him personally or do you just know the hype? ;-)

>BSD projects tend to be faceless to outsiders and >exclusive in appearance

If you count on GNU/Linux because of a good natured Linus, try this ... *BSD are honest operating systems, no hype, just what you see is what you get :o)

There is nothing exclusive in *BSD, but out there in Linux world, there are many urban legends about *BSD. Vice versa almost noone in *BSD world is interested in flamewars about GNU/Linux or Windows - that's the difference. Nowadays hype (aka how to lure people into something) is the measure for the success of an operating system or application - to be true, it's bullshit. Sorry, but opensource should do it better than closed-source systems, but the opposite is true (see Ubuntu for example). If you fight the battle with the same means, than you aren't any better than Sun, Microsoft, Apple, IBM and so on.

Back to topic, yes NetBSD needs a real overhaul, there is no need to acquire some of Linux mechanisms, why to mimic the behaviour of a system, who in the end mimics Unix only? NetBSD is a real Unix derivate, it needs more people like Charles Hannum, who think about it and work toward a better future.
I know *BSD is dying, especially on OSNews ;) , ... for years and anyhow it's alive and kicking.

Hype doesn't last forever, one day in the future there isn't enough hot vapour anymore and then? Think about it.
So GNU/Linux should think about it's path toward the future. NetBSD only needs enthusiastic, but able people!

Reply Parent Score: 3

bryanv Member since:
2005-08-26

>>Torvalds is warm hearted and good natured

>Do you know him personally or do you just know the hype?

I heard that he once saved three infants from a burning house, rescued five puppies from a collapsing building, drug a 250lbs man from his burning car and resuscitated him in the street, prevented the assination of multiple world leaders at a peace summit, and solved the world's OS issues -- all in one day!

Reply Parent Score: 3

Cloudy Member since:
2006-02-15


Torvalds is warm hearted and good natured

Do you know him personally or do you just know the hype? ;-)


I don't have his cell phone number, but we've met.


BSD projects tend to be faceless to outsiders and exclusive in appearance

If you count on GNU/Linux because of a good natured Linus, try this ... *BSD are honest operating systems, no hype, just what you see is what you get :o)


I don't "count on" GNU/Linux. I also don't include GNU under Linux's success. If anything, the FSF is more off-putting and exclusive than the BSD core teams, which is a significant part of the reason why the hurd has been such a long-term failure.

There is nothing exclusive in *BSD, but out there in Linux world, there are many urban legends about *BSD.

I speak from 23 years of involvement in the *BSD world, not from urban legends. The exclusivity is definitely present. It is part of what led to Theo's untimely demise, it was very visible in the original split of free bsd. It is apparent in Matt Dillon's interactions with the FreeBSD core team. It is apparent from the concept of 'core'.

I do not judge this. There are strengths in such a system. Popularity is not one of them, however.

Reply Parent Score: 3

twenex Member since:
2006-04-21

Nowadays hype (aka how to lure people into something) is the measure for the success of an operating system or application - to be true, it's bullshit. Sorry, but opensource should do it better than closed-source systems, but the opposite is true (see Ubuntu for example).

I'd go so far as to say that isn't a problem with Linux or open source or even closed source, as it is a problem with people - or to put it perhaps more charitably, with the way they process information. "The wheel that squeaks the loudest is the one that gets the grease."

Reply Parent Score: 1

Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

"BSD projects tend to be faceless to outsiders"

Unless you count Theo. He can be called a lot of things but faceless isn't one of them ;)

Reply Parent Score: 3