Subject: Re: Merging Net/Free/Open-BSD together against Linux
To: Alicia da Conceicao < alicia@internetpaper.com>
From: Herb Peyerl < hpeyerl@beer.org>
List: netbsd-advocacy
Date: 11/25/1998 04:57:06 
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To: Alicia da Conceicao < alicia@internetpaper.com>
Cc: netbsd-advocacy@netbsd.org
Subject: Re: Merging Net/Free/Open-BSD together against Linux 
From: Herb Peyerl < hpeyerl@beer.org>
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Date: Wed, 25 Nov 1998 04:57:06 -0700

[note: I'm confused by what exactly this has to do with the i386 port of
NetBSD.  Perhaps the author doesn't understand that NetBSD is not just 
an i386 based operating system and that we support on the order of 20 
more platforms.  Not to mention that this is not technical discussion.
So I'm putting it here; in as much as it's marginally relevant to this
list.  (hp)]

Alicia da Conceicao < alicia@internetpaper.com>  wrote:
 > I've just recently returned from Comdex in Las Vegas.  While I was there,
 > I conducted a number of interviews, with a number of organizations and
 > individuals for Internet Paper.  Based on the responses I have received,
 > as well as information from other sources including the web, mailing
 > lists, news sources, and other publications, it would appear that Linux
 > (which is already the most popular ix86 Unix OS) is gaining in some of
 > its growth at the expensive of BSD based Unixes, including NetBSD.  More
 > alarming, this trend appears to be predominate among new Unix adoptees.

I don't think that is particularly "alarming" myself... It seems perfectly
natural that people should try other products... For the most part, I
know many people who have tried NetBSD, FreeBSD, and Linux and have 
come back to NetBSD.  I'm sure there are cases where people have tried 
all three and chosen one of the others. I think this is a perfectly
acceptable outcome... As long as they don't try all three and choose
W98... We know that the vast majority of the populace will choose 
mediocrity when presented with all the choices.  This is true in general.

 > development, I find this trend alarming.  It is true that NetBSD does
 > benefit from the talent pools from other Unix operating systems,
 > including Linux, FreeBSD, and others, especially through its binary
 > emulation of applications and porting of non NetBSD based source code.
 > However, it has become clear that this approach is not enough to prevent
 > NetBSD's gradual erosion.  I'm sure may of us NetBSD supporters envy
 > the increasing user base and increasing "native" software base that
 > Linux is receiving.

I'm not sure how you've been able to conclude that it's suddenly become
clear that this will not prevent NetBSD's gradual erosion? Please provide
your sources.  I would agree that many NetBSD supporters envy the
increasing user base and increasing "native" software base that Linux
is receiving... However, I'm also sure that many NetBSD supporters do
_not_ envy those things and in fact, are quite grateful that we do not 
have millions of rabid hordes of junior OS-hackers flooding us with 
incorrect patches and then stirring up trouble when they don't get 
included.   In reality, I know, from looking at the increase in signups
on the mailing lists, as well as a few other indicators, that the NetBSD
user base is in fact increasing.  How is it eroding?

 > Part of the problem with NetBSD is that it is one of several "forks" or
 > splits from BSD, which also include FreeBSD, OpenBSD, BSDI, etc.  This
 > splitting up of BSD into the different forks has divided up the talent
 > pool of BSD developers, benefiting non-forked operating system like
 > Linux.

The last time I looked, which was quite recent mind you, I found that 
there were quite a large number of Linux distributions all with different
goals and different contents.  In fact, I found that there were more
"Linux operating systems" than there are currently BSD operating systems.
How can you claim that Linux is a non-forked operating system? How similar
is Redhat with Debian?  How similar is the Amiga version of "Linux" to
the Sparc version of "Linux"?  How 'bout the Alpha version?  To my knowledge,
they don't even share the same source repository... What exactly _is_ 
"Linux"?  Linux is to Unix as Hamburgers are to the food industry.  You
can buy hamburgers from any of a thousand different vendors and they're 
all different...

 > NetBSD, FreeBSD, and OpenBSD are all open source, and each of them have
 > their own advantages over the other.  Now is the time that people put
 > their egos aside and perhaps at least talk about merging some components
 > of these BSD operating systems, including kernels, drivers, etc., taking
 > the best features from each.  Only then can we establish a BSD based OS
 as the real non-Linux Unix alternative; something that Sun Solaris, SCO,
 > OSF, etc. are also trying to do.

We have been told repeatedly, over the years, that "now is the time that
people should put their egos aside and perhaps at least talk about 
merging some components."  In fact, at one point, we did "talk" about
merging some components... At the time, we couldn't even agree on how to
go about merging... The problem was not _ego_ however; it was a result of
widely different goals that were not mutually compatible; and in the end,
it was decided that we were all best off the way we are.

 > I would be most interested in hearing from other NetBSD users about the
 > idea of possible merging the BSD OS forks back together, especially from
 > those of you who are actively involved in NetBSD OS development.

>From my own perspective; there's a lot of water under the bridge. Some
of it is moving and some of it is just swirling around... When standing
on the outside, it must seem quite obvious that the one true answer is
to merge all of the *BSD's and create one true BSD to go forth and 
conquer the world... However, from the inside, it is not so plain and
in fact, becomes a non-goal due to the wildly conflicting goals and 
directions that we've all taken.  If you propose to merge the goals and
direction and try to corral up all the wild horses, you will kill off
most of the true thoroughbreds and end up with a mish-mash that will
really go stagnant...

It seems we, the various developers and organizers, are quite happy in
our respective places... We don't agree with your assertion that the
only road to nirvana is in squishing diversity.

Just my opinion.

Subject: Re: Merging Net/Free/Open-BSD together against Linux
To: NetBSD i386 Mailing List < port-i386@netbsd.org>
From: Alicia da Conceicao < alicia@internetpaper.com>
List: port-i386
Date: 11/25/1998 16:36:59 
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Jordan K. Hubbard wrote:
> Hmmmm.  I don't recall you stopping by and talking to us FreeBSD folks
> at our booth just outside the Linux pavilion (a rather strategic
> location as it turns out, just as an FYI to any NetBSD folks
> contemplating a presence next year), but if you had we could have
> certainly presented you with a somewhat brighter picture for BSD than
> the one you evidently have.

I believe I did talk to someone at a FreeBSD booth in the Sands
convention centre, which was the last booth in a row of Linux booths,
sponsored by Walnut Creek.  They were even nice enough to give me a 
4 CD copy of FreeBSD 3.0, although they refused to sell me a BSD plush
doll that I really wanted.  :-(  (Do you know where I can buy one online
in North America?)

> As far as mergers are concerned, all I can say is that the last 97
> times (at least) that this issue was raised, we made little progress
> and managed to generate far more heat than light in the process.  What
> would the merged product be called?  Who would be "in charge" of the
> final result?  What about the differences in overall direction and
> philosophy between the various *BSD camps?  Who's "vision" for BSD is
> chosen as the principal direction?  These are far from unimportant or
> trivially answerable questions, and I can easily envision a scenario
> where a merged frankenstein BSD goes stumbling across the landscape to
> its subsequent destruction as it attempts, in a state of extreme
> schizophrenia, to execute multiple incompatible goals at once.

Even if such a attempt to merge were made, it would be too soon to even
give it a name, although "uniBSD" does come to mind.  But as a
mentioned in my post, merging the BSD's can be a distant long term goal.
In the short term, those in the core of the BSD's could perhaps start
thinking about small, incremental steps, like unifying some of the
device drivers, using a common directory structure and naming
conventions, eliminating the "domestic" and incorporating strong crypto
directly into the distribution.  (If there are any US based concerns,
I would be more than happy to donate a NetBSD server on a T3 in Canada
to the NetBSD core development team with full root access.)

Even if the core goals of the different BSD's are different, the
differences are not to the degree that at least some small amount of
convergence can take place.  After all, there is a lot more in common
between the BSD's then there is with Linux, which is something that
I'm afraid that some will feel pressured to adopt.  And I am not so
sure that the different goals of the BSD's are really that different.
FreeBSD is now trying to incorporate some of NetBSD's multiple
platform support.  NetBSD is incorporating some of OpenBSD's security
fixes, and some of FreeBSD's ix86 hardware support.  I am sorry if I
sound ignorant, or if I am over simplifying, but I still don't
understand why there cannot be at least some co-operation and some small
steps towards establishing some commonality between the BSD's.

All of the BSD's have grown well beyond the needs of the core development
teams.  Perhaps some type of meeting and peace negotiating needs to be
considered.  If South Africa and North Ireland can broker peace accords
between warring factions, why can't we?  Maybe NetBSD should be the first
to extent the olive branch.  :-)

Alicia.

PS. Linux does have different distributions, but as I understand it,
	these all run the same kernel, and differ primarily in
	software applications unrelated to the OS.

Subject: Re: Merging Net/Free/Open-BSD together against Linux
To: Jordan K. Hubbard < r.evans@ic.ac.uk>
From: Todd Vierling < tv@pobox.com>
List: netbsd-advocacy
Date: 11/25/1998 10:24:53 
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Date: Wed, 25 Nov 1998 10:24:53 -0500 (EST)
From: Todd Vierling < tv@pobox.com>
To: "Jordan K. Hubbard" < jkh@zippy.cdrom.com>, Robert Evans < r.evans@ic.ac.uk>
cc: Alicia da Conceicao < alicia@internetpaper.com>, netbsd-advocacy@netbsd.org
Subject: Re: Merging Net/Free/Open-BSD together against Linux
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[MOVED FROM port-1386 TO netbsd-advocacy; PLEASE HONOR CC: FIELD.  port-i386
is in Bcc: to make sure users see this message of the thread.]

On Wed, 25 Nov 1998, Jordan K. Hubbard wrote:

: Hmmmm.  I don't recall you stopping by and talking to us FreeBSD folks
: at our booth just outside the Linux pavilion (a rather strategic
: location as it turns out, just as an FYI to any NetBSD folks
: contemplating a presence next year), but if you had we could have
: certainly presented you with a somewhat brighter picture for BSD than
: the one you evidently have.

Very nice.  Read on, as I have something on this point at bottom.

: I do not know what NetBSD's growth figures for the last year look
: like,

Probably not as astonishing as FreeBSD, but certainly much higher than in
NetBSD's years past.  Just the addition of the NetBSD-supported X and pkgsrc
distributions made for a large bit of added popularity.

On Wed, 25 Nov 1998, Robert Evans wrote:

: The best we can hope for is friendly cooperation, and I think to a
: large extent NetBSD and FreeBSD have achieved that over the last couple
: of years

And this is a good point that I'd like to link with trade shows above.

I know we have political differences, but if we can find people from each of
the free-source *BSD's out there, and maybe even someone from BSD/I to
represent the commercial factor, perhaps we can get a collective, or
neighboring, display/booth at some trade show?

This is pipe dream, of course, because I can see the colossal potential for
infighting in my head just as I write this.  Still, it would be a
possibility.

-- 
-- Todd Vierling (Personal tv@pobox.com; Bus. todd_vierling@xn.xerox.com)

Subject: Re: Merging Net/Free/Open-BSD together against Linux
To: None < port-i386@netbsd.org>
From: Robert Evans < r.evans@ic.ac.uk>
List: port-i386
Date: 11/25/1998 12:33:32 
Apologies for following up to myself...

> The best we can hope for is friendly cooperation, and I think to a
> large extent NetBSD and FreeBSD have achieved that over the last couple
> of years with people like John Dyson (I only mention him as the first
> name off the top of my head) making valuable contributions to
> discussions on the NetBSD lists.

It has been pointed out to me that John Dyson may noy have been the
best example to use (perhaps my memory is getting faulty).

However, I still think the point that trying to merge the flavours of
BSD is more likely to result in extra spin-offs (and more political
discussions) rather than fewer is valid...

Rob

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On Wednesday, 25 November 1998 at 10:24:53 -0500, Todd Vierling wrote:
> On Wed, 25 Nov 1998, Robert Evans wrote:
>
> : The best we can hope for is friendly cooperation, and I think to a
> : large extent NetBSD and FreeBSD have achieved that over the last couple
> : of years
>
> And this is a good point that I'd like to link with trade shows above.
>
> I know we have political differences, but if we can find people from each of
> the free-source *BSD's out there, and maybe even someone from BSD/I to
> represent the commercial factor, perhaps we can get a collective, or
> neighboring, display/booth at some trade show?
>
> This is pipe dream, of course, because I can see the colossal potential for
> infighting in my head just as I write this.  Still, it would be a
> possibility.

It sounds like a good idea, and possibly also a good time to talk
about it, though I'm not the person to carry it on.

For those of you who don't know me, I'm the author of ``The Complete
FreeBSD'', and I've been relatively active in the FreeBSD advocacy
group.  I've just subscribed to NetBSD-advocacy and
(OpenBSD)-advocacy, and I'm copying both lists as well as the
FreeBSD-advocacy.

  Note for the paranoid: in the following, where I refer to the three
  free BSDs, I'll do it in alphabetical order.  It should not be taken
  to imply any preference.

Most of you will know about Daemon News, which was one effort we made
in this direction.  I believe there are other things that the
different *BSDs can do together; I'll expound on this below around the
framework of Herb Peyerl's message, and also in a separate message on
a related subject.  Here are the relevant parts of Herb's message:

> Alicia da Conceicao < alicia@internetpaper.com>  wrote:
>> I've just recently returned from Comdex in Las Vegas.  While I was there,
>> I conducted a number of interviews, with a number of organizations and
>> individuals for Internet Paper.  Based on the responses I have received,
>> as well as information from other sources including the web, mailing
>> lists, news sources, and other publications, it would appear that Linux
>> (which is already the most popular ix86 Unix OS) is gaining in some of
>> its growth at the expensive of BSD based Unixes, including NetBSD.  More
>> alarming, this trend appears to be predominate among new Unix adoptees.
>
> I don't think that is particularly "alarming" myself... It seems perfectly
> natural that people should try other products... For the most part, I
> know many people who have tried NetBSD, FreeBSD, and Linux and have
> come back to NetBSD.  I'm sure there are cases where people have tried
> all three and chosen one of the others. I think this is a perfectly
> acceptable outcome... As long as they don't try all three and choose
> W98... We know that the vast majority of the populace will choose
> mediocrity when presented with all the choices.  This is true in general.

I suppose the most interesting thing in this message is that it would
sound just about the same in a FreeBSD context if all instances of
FreeBSD were replaced by NetBSD and vice-versa.  I agree with Herb
that things aren't alarming, and for the same reasons.

>> Part of the problem with NetBSD is that it is one of several "forks" or
>> splits from BSD, which also include FreeBSD, OpenBSD, BSDI, etc.  This
>> splitting up of BSD into the different forks has divided up the talent
>> pool of BSD developers, benefiting non-forked operating system like
>> Linux.
>
> The last time I looked, which was quite recent mind you, I found that
> there were quite a large number of Linux distributions all with different
> goals and different contents.  In fact, I found that there were more
> "Linux operating systems" than there are currently BSD operating systems.
> How can you claim that Linux is a non-forked operating system? How similar
> is Redhat with Debian?  How similar is the Amiga version of "Linux" to
> the Sparc version of "Linux"?  How 'bout the Alpha version?  To my knowledge,
> they don't even share the same source repository... What exactly _is_
> "Linux"?  Linux is to Unix as Hamburgers are to the food industry.  You
> can buy hamburgers from any of a thousand different vendors and they're
> all different...

To be fair here, the Linux distributions all use the same kernel.
It's the kernel that would make it difficult to merge FreeBSD, NetBSD
and OpenBSD, assuming this should be desirable.

>> NetBSD, FreeBSD, and OpenBSD are all open source, and each of them have
>> their own advantages over the other.  Now is the time that people put
>> their egos aside and perhaps at least talk about merging some components
>> of these BSD operating systems, including kernels, drivers, etc., taking
>> the best features from each.  Only then can we establish a BSD based OS
>> as the real non-Linux Unix alternative; something that Sun Solaris, SCO,
>> OSF, etc. are also trying to do.
>
> We have been told repeatedly, over the years, that "now is the time that
> people should put their egos aside and perhaps at least talk about
> merging some components."  In fact, at one point, we did "talk" about
> merging some components... At the time, we couldn't even agree on how to
> go about merging... The problem was not _ego_ however; it was a result of
> widely different goals that were not mutually compatible; and in the end,
> it was decided that we were all best off the way we are.

Agreed, mostly.  Ego still is a problem, I suspect, but it's not the
main problem.  There's also still the question: ``Is it worthwhile?''

Obviously we need a minimum quorum of people to keep kernel
development working.  I believe that this is quite small, not more
than two or three people, so all three BSDs fulfil this requirement.
Having separate development groups may appear to dilute the efforts,
but it also sustains multiple platforms for testing out alternative
approaches.  For the same reason, I believe that Linux has a place,
and I'd be sad to see BSD take over so completely that Linux went away
altogether (some hope, anyway).  Don't forget that there's a lot of
cross-pollination between the four systems.

Having said that, it *might* be a good idea to agree on certain
interfaces, so that for example a driver for one of the BSDs could be
ported to the others with a minimum of pain.  But even there, there
are practical considerations which oppose the idea.

>> I would be most interested in hearing from other NetBSD users about the
>> idea of possible merging the BSD OS forks back together, especially from
>> those of you who are actively involved in NetBSD OS development.
>
> From my own perspective; there's a lot of water under the bridge. Some
> of it is moving and some of it is just swirling around... When standing
> on the outside, it must seem quite obvious that the one true answer is
> to merge all of the *BSD's and create one true BSD to go forth and
> conquer the world... However, from the inside, it is not so plain and
> in fact, becomes a non-goal due to the wildly conflicting goals and
> directions that we've all taken.  If you propose to merge the goals and
> direction and try to corral up all the wild horses, you will kill off
> most of the true thoroughbreds and end up with a mish-mash that will
> really go stagnant...

Well, what would to happen is that the best would escape and form new
herds.  Just look at history.

One of the most frequent questions we see on FreeBSD-questions (after
``What's the difference between FreeBSD and Linux?'') is ``What's the
difference between FreeBSD, NetBSD and OpenBSD?''.  One thing the
three advocacy groups could do it come up with a good, neutral answer.
In this connection, look out for my next message (promised above): I'm
writing an article for SunWorld about the return of the BSD.  I'd like
help from anybody who can shed more light on the NetBSD and OpenBSD
perspectives, both of which are interesting for people with old Sun
hardware.

Greg
--
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From: Greg Lehey < grog@lemis.com>
To: Robert Evans < r.evans@ic.ac.uk>
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Subject: Re: Merging Net/Free/Open-BSD together against Linux
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On Wednesday, 25 November 1998 at 10:24:53 -0500, Todd Vierling wrote:
> On Wed, 25 Nov 1998, Robert Evans wrote:
>
> : The best we can hope for is friendly cooperation, and I think to a
> : large extent NetBSD and FreeBSD have achieved that over the last couple
> : of years
>
> And this is a good point that I'd like to link with trade shows above.
>
> I know we have political differences, but if we can find people from each of
> the free-source *BSD's out there, and maybe even someone from BSD/I to
> represent the commercial factor, perhaps we can get a collective, or
> neighboring, display/booth at some trade show?
>
> This is pipe dream, of course, because I can see the colossal potential for
> infighting in my head just as I write this.  Still, it would be a
> possibility.

It sounds like a good idea, and possibly also a good time to talk
about it, though I'm not the person to carry it on.

For those of you who don't know me, I'm the author of ``The Complete
FreeBSD'', and I've been relatively active in the FreeBSD advocacy
group.  I've just subscribed to NetBSD-advocacy and
(OpenBSD)-advocacy, and I'm copying both lists as well as the
FreeBSD-advocacy.

  Note for the paranoid: in the following, where I refer to the three
  free BSDs, I'll do it in alphabetical order.  It should not be taken
  to imply any preference.

Most of you will know about Daemon News, which was one effort we made
in this direction.  I believe there are other things that the
different *BSDs can do together; I'll expound on this below around the
framework of Herb Peyerl's message, and also in a separate message on
a related subject.  Here are the relevant parts of Herb's message:

> Alicia da Conceicao < alicia@internetpaper.com>  wrote:
>> I've just recently returned from Comdex in Las Vegas.  While I was there,
>> I conducted a number of interviews, with a number of organizations and
>> individuals for Internet Paper.  Based on the responses I have received,
>> as well as information from other sources including the web, mailing
>> lists, news sources, and other publications, it would appear that Linux
>> (which is already the most popular ix86 Unix OS) is gaining in some of
>> its growth at the expensive of BSD based Unixes, including NetBSD.  More
>> alarming, this trend appears to be predominate among new Unix adoptees.
>
> I don't think that is particularly "alarming" myself... It seems perfectly
> natural that people should try other products... For the most part, I
> know many people who have tried NetBSD, FreeBSD, and Linux and have
> come back to NetBSD.  I'm sure there are cases where people have tried
> all three and chosen one of the others. I think this is a perfectly
> acceptable outcome... As long as they don't try all three and choose
> W98... We know that the vast majority of the populace will choose
> mediocrity when presented with all the choices.  This is true in general.

I suppose the most interesting thing in this message is that it would
sound just about the same in a FreeBSD context if all instances of
FreeBSD were replaced by NetBSD and vice-versa.  I agree with Herb
that things aren't alarming, and for the same reasons.

>> Part of the problem with NetBSD is that it is one of several "forks" or
>> splits from BSD, which also include FreeBSD, OpenBSD, BSDI, etc.  This
>> splitting up of BSD into the different forks has divided up the talent
>> pool of BSD developers, benefiting non-forked operating system like
>> Linux.
>
> The last time I looked, which was quite recent mind you, I found that
> there were quite a large number of Linux distributions all with different
> goals and different contents.  In fact, I found that there were more
> "Linux operating systems" than there are currently BSD operating systems.
> How can you claim that Linux is a non-forked operating system? How similar
> is Redhat with Debian?  How similar is the Amiga version of "Linux" to
> the Sparc version of "Linux"?  How 'bout the Alpha version?  To my knowledge,
> they don't even share the same source repository... What exactly _is_
> "Linux"?  Linux is to Unix as Hamburgers are to the food industry.  You
> can buy hamburgers from any of a thousand different vendors and they're
> all different...

To be fair here, the Linux distributions all use the same kernel.
It's the kernel that would make it difficult to merge FreeBSD, NetBSD
and OpenBSD, assuming this should be desirable.

>> NetBSD, FreeBSD, and OpenBSD are all open source, and each of them have
>> their own advantages over the other.  Now is the time that people put
>> their egos aside and perhaps at least talk about merging some components
>> of these BSD operating systems, including kernels, drivers, etc., taking
>> the best features from each.  Only then can we establish a BSD based OS
>> as the real non-Linux Unix alternative; something that Sun Solaris, SCO,
>> OSF, etc. are also trying to do.
>
> We have been told repeatedly, over the years, that "now is the time that
> people should put their egos aside and perhaps at least talk about
> merging some components."  In fact, at one point, we did "talk" about
> merging some components... At the time, we couldn't even agree on how to
> go about merging... The problem was not _ego_ however; it was a result of
> widely different goals that were not mutually compatible; and in the end,
> it was decided that we were all best off the way we are.

Agreed, mostly.  Ego still is a problem, I suspect, but it's not the
main problem.  There's also still the question: ``Is it worthwhile?''

Obviously we need a minimum quorum of people to keep kernel
development working.  I believe that this is quite small, not more
than two or three people, so all three BSDs fulfil this requirement.
Having separate development groups may appear to dilute the efforts,
but it also sustains multiple platforms for testing out alternative
approaches.  For the same reason, I believe that Linux has a place,
and I'd be sad to see BSD take over so completely that Linux went away
altogether (some hope, anyway).  Don't forget that there's a lot of
cross-pollination between the four systems.

Having said that, it *might* be a good idea to agree on certain
interfaces, so that for example a driver for one of the BSDs could be
ported to the others with a minimum of pain.  But even there, there
are practical considerations which oppose the idea.

>> I would be most interested in hearing from other NetBSD users about the
>> idea of possible merging the BSD OS forks back together, especially from
>> those of you who are actively involved in NetBSD OS development.
>
> From my own perspective; there's a lot of water under the bridge. Some
> of it is moving and some of it is just swirling around... When standing
> on the outside, it must seem quite obvious that the one true answer is
> to merge all of the *BSD's and create one true BSD to go forth and
> conquer the world... However, from the inside, it is not so plain and
> in fact, becomes a non-goal due to the wildly conflicting goals and
> directions that we've all taken.  If you propose to merge the goals and
> direction and try to corral up all the wild horses, you will kill off
> most of the true thoroughbreds and end up with a mish-mash that will
> really go stagnant...

Well, what would to happen is that the best would escape and form new
herds.  Just look at history.

One of the most frequent questions we see on FreeBSD-questions (after
``What's the difference between FreeBSD and Linux?'') is ``What's the
difference between FreeBSD, NetBSD and OpenBSD?''.  One thing the
three advocacy groups could do it come up with a good, neutral answer.
In this connection, look out for my next message (promised above): I'm
writing an article for SunWorld about the return of the BSD.  I'd like
help from anybody who can shed more light on the NetBSD and OpenBSD
perspectives, both of which are interesting for people with old Sun
hardware.

Greg
--
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Subject: Re: Merging Net/Free/Open-BSD together against Linux
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On Wed, 25 Nov 1998, ADRIAN Filipi-Martin wrote:

> Date: Thu, 26 Nov 1998 12:37:21 +1030
> From: Greg Lehey < grog@lemis.com>
> To: Robert Evans < r.evans@ic.ac.uk>
> Cc: Alicia da Conceicao < alicia@internetpaper.com>,
>     netbsd-advocacy@NetBSD.ORG,
>     FreeBSD advocacy list < FreeBSD-advocacy@FreeBSD.ORG>,
>     advocacy@openbsd.org
> Subject: Re: Merging Net/Free/Open-BSD together against Linux
> 
> On Wednesday, 25 November 1998 at 10:24:53 -0500, Todd Vierling wrote:
> > On Wed, 25 Nov 1998, Robert Evans wrote:
> >
> 
> To be fair here, the Linux distributions all use the same kernel.
> It's the kernel that would make it difficult to merge FreeBSD, NetBSD
> and OpenBSD, assuming this should be desirable.

	Sure, the kernel is defintely the hard part.  How much divergence
has there been in userland?  I run OpenBSD on a sparc and I see a few
things here and there.  I wonder how feasible it would be to have a
unified distribution with three possible kernel architectures, yet a
unified userland?  (He quickly ducks for cover.)  As long as device files,
filesystem and directory hierarchies were agreed to, it seems feasible.

	This would be one way of reducing redundant work, yet facilitating
distinct kernels.  It would also over time encourage driver developers
both to make their drivers work with the relavent kernels and to make the
driver API's converge over time.

	Adrian
--
[ adrian@ubergeeks.com -- Ubergeeks Consulting -- http://www.ubergeeks.com/ ]


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Subject: Re: Merging Net/Free/Open-BSD together against Linux
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On Wed, 25 Nov 1998, ADRIAN Filipi-Martin wrote:

> Date: Thu, 26 Nov 1998 12:37:21 +1030
> From: Greg Lehey < grog@lemis.com>
> To: Robert Evans < r.evans@ic.ac.uk>
> Cc: Alicia da Conceicao < alicia@internetpaper.com>,
>     netbsd-advocacy@NetBSD.ORG,
>     FreeBSD advocacy list < FreeBSD-advocacy@FreeBSD.ORG>,
>     advocacy@openbsd.org
> Subject: Re: Merging Net/Free/Open-BSD together against Linux
> 
> On Wednesday, 25 November 1998 at 10:24:53 -0500, Todd Vierling wrote:
> > On Wed, 25 Nov 1998, Robert Evans wrote:
> >
> 
> To be fair here, the Linux distributions all use the same kernel.
> It's the kernel that would make it difficult to merge FreeBSD, NetBSD
> and OpenBSD, aReturn-Path: < owner-freebsd-advocacy@FreeBSD.ORG>
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In-reply-to: Your message of "Wed, 25 Nov 1998 19:38:53 PST."
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Date: Wed, 25 Nov 1998 21:28:52 -0800
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> day OpenBSD (or NetBSD) will integrate the FreeBSD ARM port, 

There is no FreeBSD ARM port.

>   o distribution layout. We all nitpick. OpenBSD follows the decree in the
> 	BSD Net/2 README to the letter. FreeBSD, if I remember from 

This is determined by hier(7).

> 2: The licensing aspect--

We're rather attached to the 2-clause modified BSD copyright.  Our
claim to fame is an EASY copyright and I'm certainly not inclined to
give this up.

>   o IMHO We need a solid packaging system. Someone on misc@openbsd.org touted

FreeBSD is already working on a new packaging system using paid
contractors so that it actually happens this time.  We hope to have a
technology demonstrator by March of next year; I won't say too much
about it except to say that it's considerably more ambitious than any
of the existing (Linux, *BSD) packaging systems and does a better job,
IMHO, of handling both the front-end and security issues.

>   o IMHO Release distributions. Base + extended utils + programming tools + X
> 	+ kernel source + full source. Easy to use install manager. I heard
> 	FreeBSD is paying someone to write a really, really, really good
> 	installer. How easily can this be ported to other architectures. On

That's coming out of the new packaging system since, in a more ideal
world, the "installer" is just enough framework to whomp filesystems
and disklabels on new disks and then use the package system to
populate them.  Everything will and should be a package, from the most
critical system component(s) to emacs.

>   o Release schedules
> 	o At the last FreeBSD user group meeting was at, jkh admitted to
> 	being behind its deadlines. (This was almost a year ago.)

Actually, what I said was that we didn't seem to be making the
aggressive quarterly release schedules we'd set at the beginning of
the project and were going to something closer to a 2-3 release per
year (on a given branch) schedule.  That still commits us to 4-6
releases a year and is probably more than enough work for anyone.

I don't believe in clockwork releases either e xcept for cases of
extreme delay (like FreeBSD 3.0) where some major whip-cracking is
called for to get things unstuck.  Otherwise, I prefer to release when
things look closer to being ready and make sure that things are ready
at least twice a year.  The alternative is releases which are
frequently bogus.

> 	o Security. As a security guy and OpenBSD guy as of late we need to
> 	constantly audit code-- no new code can be thrown in the tree if it
> 	hasn't been looked at. I think Net/Free feel the same way, but I

Who's going to look at every line of code?

> We'd need a leader to lead the leaders if you get my drift. It won't be
> easy.

I'd go further in saying that, for all intents and purposes, it's hard
enough to be considered essentially impossible.  Perhaps if someone of
unimpeachable moral authority like Kirk McKusick were to lead, people
would follow, otherwise I can't see any credible candidates amongst
the current core superset.

- Jordan

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ssuming this should be desirable.

	Sure, the kernel is defintely the hard part.  How much divergence
has there been in userland?  I run OpenBSD on a sparc and I see a few
things here and there.  I wonder how feasible it would be to have a
unified distribution with three possible kernel architectures, yet a
unified userland?  (He quickly ducks for cover.)  As long as device files,
filesystem and directory hierarchies were agreed to, it seems feasible.

	This would be one way of reducing redundant work, yet facilitating
distinct kernels.  It would also over time encourage driver developers
both to make their drivers work with the relavent kernels and to make the
driver API's converge over time.

	Adrian
--
[ adrian@ubergeeks.com -- Ubergeeks Consulting -- http://www.ubergeeks.com/ ]


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ADRIAN Filipi-Martin < adrian@ubergeeks.com> writes:

> 	Sure, the kernel is defintely the hard part.  How much divergence
> has there been in userland?  I run OpenBSD on a sparc and I see a few
> things here and there.  I wonder how feasible it would be to have a
> unified distribution with three possible kernel architectures, yet a
> unified userland?  (He quickly ducks for cover.)  As long as device files,
> filesystem and directory hierarchies were agreed to, it seems feasible.

I have a standard reply to things that people always have good ideas about.

"When are you ready?"

Speaking about things doesn't improve reality in this case. If you want
something like this done you can:
 - do it yourself.
 - pay someone to do it.
 - Convince someone to do it.

Generating 1000 mails with good ideas won't write code. Sorry.

I'm not picking at someone specific. It's a generic rant to all people that
can't stop talking about this. Either accept reality as it is or do something
about it. And filling peoples spools doesn't get anything done.

Merging the BSDs is easy, just diff(1) and patch(1). If everybody in this
thread would just merge one single utility instead of coming with good ideas
you would be closer to One World, One License, One BSD. Apparently talking
is more important than getting the job done.

//art

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Im loosing track of what lists this is going to as I cant focus to well
visually being totally stuffed with prime rib and turkey. :-)
So I hope this is not getting out of control and breaking anyones list
charters.

	Here is my thought. As crazy as it may or may not be.
If you want a collaboration between the 3 Free *BSD's why not have a BSD
IETF group. Like the 3 primary architects from each *BSD, the kernel
architect and the VM, and networking architect. Those 3 architects from
each *BSD make up the BSD IETF. Thats 9 members. Those 9 work together to
draw out RFC's the *BSD's can follow should they choose to implement
something. Like threads for instance. They draw up the RFC on how threads
should be done. and *IF* the various *BSD's decide to do threads there
still doing it in their own Free|Net|Open BSD circles but they have to
conform to the standard BSD RFC for threads. 

	To me that seems about as fair, and non ego'ish as possible. 
And the most realistic way for cross collaboration. Im not even sure that
the 3 members from each group can get along. And it might fail miserably.
But in my opinion thats the most feasble way to go. But that means the 3
BSD's have to participate. Im not sure they can get along but IF the 9 can
agree on a final RFC that leaves little room for other ego's. That is the
way it has to be done. So it is VERY important that the 9 members document
WELL THOUGHT OUT, technically sound RFC's. That have as FEW problems and
loopholes as possible.

That's my idea anyway. And I see it as the best way to get the 3 to get
along. But like I said it may also fair miserably. But that is what I
would try.

Chris

"If you aim the gun at your foot and pull the trigger, it's UNIX's job to 
ensure reliable delivery of the bullet to where you aimed the gun (in
this case, Mr. Foot)." -- Terry Lambert, FreeBSD-Hackers mailing list.

===================================| Open Systems FreeBSD Consulting.
   FreeBSD 3.0 is available now!   | Phone: 402-573-9124
-----------------------------------| 3335 N. 103 Plaza #14, Omaha, NE 68134
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      http://www.freebsd.org       | Consulting, Network Engineering, Security
===================================| http://open-systems.net


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Date: Fri, 27 Nov 1998 10:18:44 +1030
From: Greg Lehey < grog@lemis.com>
To: "Open Systems Inc." < opsys@open-systems.net>
Cc: netbsd-advocacy@NetBSD.ORG,
        FreeBSD advocacy list < FreeBSD-advocacy@FreeBSD.ORG>,
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Subject: Re: Merging Net/Free/Open-BSD together against Linux
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On Thursday, 26 November 1998 at 17:21:54 -0600, Open Systems Inc. wrote:
>
> 	Here is my thought. As crazy as it may or may not be.
> If you want a collaboration between the 3 Free *BSD's why not have a BSD
> IETF group. Like the 3 primary architects from each *BSD, the kernel
> architect and the VM, and networking architect. Those 3 architects from
> each *BSD make up the BSD IETF. Thats 9 members. Those 9 work together to
> draw out RFC's the *BSD's can follow should they choose to implement
> something. Like threads for instance. They draw up the RFC on how threads
> should be done. and *IF* the various *BSD's decide to do threads there
> still doing it in their own Free|Net|Open BSD circles but they have to
> conform to the standard BSD RFC for threads.

I think it's a good idea to have some consensus on how things are
done.  But in the same anarchistic way that the individual BSDs
develop, it's unlikely that all groups would agree to implement all
points of the ``standard''.  On the other hand, it could help limit
gratuitous changes, and as Adrian Filipi-Martin suggested, it might
make sense to spend more time ensuring a more consistent userland.
This kind of initiative could help.

Greg
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Date: Thu, 26 Nov 1998 18:31:41 -0600 (CST)
From: "Open Systems Inc." < opsys@open-systems.net>
To: "Jordan K. Hubbard" < jkh@zippy.cdrom.com>
cc: Artur Grabowski < art@stacken.kth.se>,
        Adrian Filipi-Martin < adrian@ubergeeks.com>,
        Greg Lehey < grog@lemis.com>,
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Subject: Re: Merging Net/Free/Open-BSD together against Linux 
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	Of course its work. I've heard before from FreeBSD people that behind 
the scenes face to face the netbsd and freebsd people can talk and share
ideas but once they leave the room and resort to email it just turns into
flames and disputes. But I could be mis-informed. 

	In my mind the architects from the 3 BSD's getting together is the
best way to go. It's just an idea, that I think has the best chance of
working. And im not saying it can be done. The 3 groups may never get
along well enough to come together on anything. And thats fine. Im
perfectly happy with the way things are. I run FreeBSD, I'm very pleased
with the people behind it. As I am sure the NetBSD people are with NetBSD
and OpenBSD people with OpenBSD. It would be nice to get us all together
in a more coherent manor but that just might not be in the cards.

	It just seems to me that if you cant get a few of the
architects on each side to come together on things the foot soldiers
(commiters) are not likely to do so either. Jordan, Theo, and Charles are
more likely to know the way things really are. I could be totally out in
left field.
		
	Greg's idea may be a better idea. It might be better to just
forget about the pipe dream of a mutually represented committee of the 3
BSD's, and just try and share ideas and code. Setup a forum to discuss
drivers and other code and maybe setup a box that can be used by all.
Maybe that wont work either. Who gets commit privs, etc..

	I dunno maybe it just cant be done. Unless like someone said
earlier someone of impecable standards that NO ONE would argue with like
kirk stepped in and tried to get things working. But I think we all know
how likely that would be :-) This discussion has taken place many times
before and maybe it will just die again and nothing will come of it.
But maybe this time something might give. Who knows. Ill be interested in
new ideas that pop up and how things turn out this time around though.
Seeing the 3 work together would be nice. But im happy if things stay the
same. So either way is a win IMO.

Chris

"If you aim the gun at your foot and pull the trigger, it's UNIX's job to 
ensure reliable delivery of the bullet to where you aimed the gun (in
this case, Mr. Foot)." -- Terry Lambert, FreeBSD-Hackers mailing list.

===================================| Open Systems FreeBSD Consulting.
  FreeBSD 2.2.7 is available now!  | Phone: 402-573-9124
-----------------------------------| 3335 N. 103 Plaza #14, Omaha, NE 68134
   FreeBSD: The power to serve!    | E-Mail: opsys@open-systems.net
      http://www.freebsd.org       | Consulting, Network Engineering, Security
===================================| http://open-systems.net


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        Greg Lehey < grog@lemis.com>,
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Subject: Re: Merging Net/Free/Open-BSD together against Linux 
In-reply-to: Your message of "Thu, 26 Nov 1998 18:31:41 CST."
             < Pine.BSF.3.96.981126180808.16382A-100000@pinkfloyd.open-systems.net> 
Date: Thu, 26 Nov 1998 16:41:26 -0800
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> 	Of course its work. I've heard before from FreeBSD people that behind 
> the scenes face to face the netbsd and freebsd people can talk and share
> ideas but once they leave the room and resort to email it just turns into
> flames and disputes. But I could be mis-informed. 

I think you're misinformed.  As far as I can recall, the last 2 or 3
initiatives have not dissolved in acromony of any sort.  That would
have represented a far greater investment of energy than was actually
expended. :)

As I said in my earlier posting on this toic, the plain and simple
fact of the matter is that nobody has any time to put into something
like this, just judging by past results and current observations to
the effect that everyone seems to be just barely keeping their heads
above water on smaller scale projects a lot closer to home.  Unless
someone has something more substantive than just another new rehash of
old ideas to bring to the table, it's probably a waste of time to even
debate it (yet again).

- Jordan

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From: Greg Lehey < grog@lemis.com>
To: "Open Systems Inc." < opsys@open-systems.net>,
        "Jordan K. Hubbard" < jkh@zippy.cdrom.com>
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Subject: Re: Merging Net/Free/Open-BSD together against Linux
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On Thursday, 26 November 1998 at 18:31:41 -0600, Open Systems Inc. wrote:
>
> 	Of course its work. I've heard before from FreeBSD people that behind
> the scenes face to face the netbsd and freebsd people can talk and share
> ideas but once they leave the room and resort to email it just turns into
> flames and disputes. But I could be mis-informed.

I'd say that your information is slightly unbalanced.  Sure, it's no
secret that there have been flamefests in the past.  I think most
people have grown out of that, though.  I also think you underestimate
how much work this is, and that's what Jordan's trying to say.

> 	In my mind the architects from the 3 BSD's getting together is the
> best way to go. It's just an idea, that I think has the best chance of
> working. And im not saying it can be done. The 3 groups may never get
> along well enough to come together on anything. And thats fine. Im
> perfectly happy with the way things are. I run FreeBSD, I'm very pleased
> with the people behind it. As I am sure the NetBSD people are with NetBSD
> and OpenBSD people with OpenBSD. It would be nice to get us all together
> in a more coherent manor but that just might not be in the cards.

Consider the geography.  The FreeBSD team is spread around the world,
and I assume the same applies to the NetBSD and OpenBSD teams as
well.  Sure, many of them could get together at USENIX next year, but
that's a busy time, and I don't see it leading to much consensus about
the topics we're discussing here.  Like it or not, Email's the way we
communicate.

> 	Greg's idea may be a better idea. It might be better to just
> forget about the pipe dream of a mutually represented committee of the 3
> BSD's, and just try and share ideas and code. Setup a forum to discuss
> drivers and other code and maybe setup a box that can be used by all.
> Maybe that wont work either. Who gets commit privs, etc..

I think you can assume that commit privs will remain jealously guarded
in all three projects.  But more information flow would help.  That
can be as simple as having more people join the lists of the other
projects and participate in discussions.

> 	I dunno maybe it just cant be done. Unless like someone said
> earlier someone of impecable standards that NO ONE would argue with
> like kirk stepped in and tried to get things working. But I think we
> all know how likely that would be :-)

I don't think it's impossible that Kirk would step in.  This would
mean coming down from his pedestal, however, and I consider it highly
likely that people then *would* disagree with him.

> This discussion has taken place many times before and maybe it will
> just die again and nothing will come of it.  But maybe this time
> something might give. Who knows. Ill be interested in new ideas that
> pop up and how things turn out this time around though.  Seeing the
> 3 work together would be nice. But im happy if things stay the
> same. So either way is a win IMO.

I suppose the present is a relatively unique time (like all other
times :-) The open source movement is gaining momentum, and the press
is interested in the subject.  Now's a good time for the *BSDs to show
that they're not a group of in-fighters, but people writing reliable
software.

The press is *not* only interested in Linux, BTW: they'd much rather
have something else to talk about that what's been discussed dozens of
times already.  But who's out there feeding *BSD information to the
press?

Greg
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Subject: Re: Merging Net/Free/Open-BSD together against Linux
In-Reply-To: < lubvhk2nq4v.fsf@pizza.stacken.kth.se>
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On 26 Nov 1998, Artur Grabowski wrote:

> ADRIAN Filipi-Martin < adrian@ubergeeks.com> writes:
> 
> > 	Sure, the kernel is defintely the hard part.  How much divergence
> > has there been in userland?  I run OpenBSD on a sparc and I see a few
> > things here and there.  I wonder how feasible it would be to have a
> > unified distribution with three possible kernel architectures, yet a
> > unified userland?  (He quickly ducks for cover.)  As long as device files,
> > filesystem and directory hierarchies were agreed to, it seems feasible.
> 
> I have a standard reply to things that people always have good ideas about.
> 
> "When are you ready?"
> 
> Speaking about things doesn't improve reality in this case. If you want
> something like this done you can:
>  - do it yourself.
>  - pay someone to do it.
>  - Convince someone to do it.
> 
> Generating 1000 mails with good ideas won't write code. Sorry.
> 
> I'm not picking at someone specific. It's a generic rant to all people that
> can't stop talking about this. Either accept reality as it is or do something
> about it. And filling peoples spools doesn't get anything done.

	Point taken.  However, for such an initiative to succed, there
ought to be a little discussion and buy-in from the exising developers. 
How many others would like to see a unified userland source tree? 

	In about a month I will be in a situation to provide such diffs. 
I could also probably get a CVS server on a decent connection with disk.
As you point out, people need to sign on, not just talk.

	So, again, who would like to participate on such a project,
scanctioned by a *BSD core team, or not?  The michanics of the process are
fairly straight forward, but they are time intensive. 

	Adrian
--
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Subject: Re: Merging Net/Free/Open-BSD together against Linux
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On Fri, 27 Nov 1998, ADRIAN Filipi-Martin wrote:

> 	So, again, who would like to participate on such a project,
> scanctioned by a *BSD core team, or not?  The michanics of the process are
> fairly straight forward, but they are time intensive. 

	Just an addendum to my previous message.  If you think you would
be interested in helping on such a task, send me your address off-line.
I'll save them.

	If there is suficcient interest/manpower to make it more than a
one-man show, I'll set up a 3-way CVS mirror at UVa or maybe a local ISP. 
We can tag an initial starting point and start merging into one of the
three trees.  If this bears fruit we can then re-merge any recent changes
and make it a new baseline for userland.  (Yes, there is undoubtedly a lot
more to consider, but it's a start.) 

	I think minimally, there would need to be two people from each
group.  I am best counted as a FreeBSD'er.  Are there five others?

	Adrian
--
[ adrian@ubergeeks.com -- Ubergeeks Consulting -- http://www.ubergeeks.com/ ]


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On Friday, 27 November 1998 at  0:49:30 -0500, ADRIAN Filipi-Martin wrote:
> On Fri, 27 Nov 1998, ADRIAN Filipi-Martin wrote:
>
>> 	So, again, who would like to participate on such a project,
>> scanctioned by a *BSD core team, or not?  The michanics of the process are
>> fairly straight forward, but they are time intensive.
>
> 	Just an addendum to my previous message.  If you think you would
> be interested in helping on such a task, send me your address off-line.
> I'll save them.
>
> 	If there is suficcient interest/manpower to make it more than a
> one-man show, I'll set up a 3-way CVS mirror at UVa or maybe a local ISP.
> We can tag an initial starting point and start merging into one of the
> three trees.  If this bears fruit we can then re-merge any recent changes
> and make it a new baseline for userland.  (Yes, there is undoubtedly a lot
> more to consider, but it's a start.)
>
> 	I think minimally, there would need to be two people from each
> group.  I am best counted as a FreeBSD'er.  Are there five others?

Count me out.  I don't think this is a worthwhile effort.  Discuss
things, maintain more communication, try to keep things pointing in
the direction, sure.  But your efforts aren't going to give us a
unified userland: they're more likely to create a fourth version.

Greg
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On Fri, 27 Nov 1998, Greg Lehey wrote:

> On Friday, 27 November 1998 at  0:49:30 -0500, ADRIAN Filipi-Martin wrote:
> > On Fri, 27 Nov 1998, ADRIAN Filipi-Martin wrote:
> >
> >> 	So, again, who would like to participate on such a project,
> >> scanctioned by a *BSD core team, or not?  The michanics of the process are
> >> fairly straight forward, but they are time intensive.
> >
> > 	Just an addendum to my previous message.  If you think you would
> > be interested in helping on such a task, send me your address off-line.
> > I'll save them.
> >
> > 	If there is suficcient interest/manpower to make it more than a
> > one-man show, I'll set up a 3-way CVS mirror at UVa or maybe a local ISP.
> > We can tag an initial starting point and start merging into one of the
> > three trees.  If this bears fruit we can then re-merge any recent changes
> > and make it a new baseline for userland.  (Yes, there is undoubtedly a lot
> > more to consider, but it's a start.)
> >
> > 	I think minimally, there would need to be two people from each
> > group.  I am best counted as a FreeBSD'er.  Are there five others?
> 
> Count me out.  I don't think this is a worthwhile effort.  Discuss
> things, maintain more communication, try to keep things pointing in
> the direction, sure.  But your efforts aren't going to give us a
> unified userland: they're more likely to create a fourth version.

	Well, that would be hard to do without a kernel.  ;-)  

	Avoiding a new *BSD is one big reason why I want to constrain such
an effort to non-kernel code. 

	What do you think would increase the liklihood for such an effort
to succeed?  

	It's not that I think such work should be done in secrecy without
any comminication with the developers at large.  I personally would want
to work in a faily autonomous manner so as to not be directly branched off
of a particular CVS projects repository.  But that could just be me.  

	The basic reason I'm pursuing the notion of userland unification
is that I'd bet dollars to doughnuts that the egos are smaller and less
likely to be a problem outside of the kernel.  It would also leave the
respective camps free to have their own add-ons.  This would be one way to
reduce the effort spend tracking what the other groups are doing for the
entire distribution.

	I could see things where 90% of userland, and 90% of the ports
(not packages) could be lumped together on a single CD, that could be
included in each OS's distribution.  The particular flavor would provide
it's kernel sources, system binaries and other bits that are truly kernel
specific.

	Anyway, it's just an idea.  It's one I feel I could get behind.

	Adrian
--
[ adrian@ubergeeks.com -- Ubergeeks Consulting -- http://www.ubergeeks.com/ ]


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From: Greg Lehey < grog@lemis.com>
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On Friday, 27 November 1998 at  3:20:41 -0500, ADRIAN Filipi-Martin wrote:
> On Fri, 27 Nov 1998, Greg Lehey wrote:
>
>> On Friday, 27 November 1998 at  0:49:30 -0500, ADRIAN Filipi-Martin wrote:
>>> On Fri, 27 Nov 1998, ADRIAN Filipi-Martin wrote:
>>>
>>>> 	So, again, who would like to participate on such a project,
>>>> scanctioned by a *BSD core team, or not?  The michanics of the process are
>>>> fairly straight forward, but they are time intensive.
>>>
>>> 	Just an addendum to my previous message.  If you think you would
>>> be interested in helping on such a task, send me your address off-line.
>>> I'll save them.
>>>
>>> 	If there is suficcient interest/manpower to make it more than a
>>> one-man show, I'll set up a 3-way CVS mirror at UVa or maybe a local ISP.
>>> We can tag an initial starting point and start merging into one of the
>>> three trees.  If this bears fruit we can then re-merge any recent changes
>>> and make it a new baseline for userland.  (Yes, there is undoubtedly a lot
>>> more to consider, but it's a start.)
>>>
>>> 	I think minimally, there would need to be two people from each
>>> group.  I am best counted as a FreeBSD'er.  Are there five others?
>>
>> Count me out.  I don't think this is a worthwhile effort.  Discuss
>> things, maintain more communication, try to keep things pointing in
>> the direction, sure.  But your efforts aren't going to give us a
>> unified userland: they're more likely to create a fourth version.
>
> 	Well, that would be hard to do without a kernel.  ;-)
>
> 	Avoiding a new *BSD is one big reason why I want to constrain such
> an effort to non-kernel code.

But of course, if you do it and nobody wants it, you might be tempted
to put in a kernel as well.  After all, by definition any kernel will
do :-)

> 	What do you think would increase the liklihood for such an effort
> to succeed?
>
> 	It's not that I think such work should be done in secrecy without
> any comminication with the developers at large.  I personally would want
> to work in a faily autonomous manner so as to not be directly branched off
> of a particular CVS projects repository.  But that could just be me.
>
> 	The basic reason I'm pursuing the notion of userland unification
> is that I'd bet dollars to doughnuts that the egos are smaller and less
> likely to be a problem outside of the kernel.  It would also leave the
> respective camps free to have their own add-ons.  This would be one way to
> reduce the effort spend tracking what the other groups are doing for the
> entire distribution.

You've forgotten something that went by a day or so ago: the source
trees are structured differently, and the licenses aren't quite the
same.  In these areas you'll run into an amount of stubbornness^W
reluctance to change which might surprise you.

> 	I could see things where 90% of userland, and 90% of the ports
> (not packages) could be lumped together on a single CD, that could be
> included in each OS's distribution.  The particular flavor would provide
> it's kernel sources, system binaries and other bits that are truly kernel
> specific.

Well, since you mention the ports, there's an idea.  I know that
FreeBSD and NetBSD have a certain amount of object code compatibility;
I expect that applies to OpenBSD as well.  A thing that *really* would
be worth doing would be smoothing the differences, which would
probably require some modifications on all three systems.  The result,
though, would be that the ports (which Walnut Creek already ships
precompiled) would work on any of the three platforms.  And if you
prefer the NetBSD dump(8) over the FreeBSD version, there'd be nothing
to stop you.

Greg
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As I mentioned in a mail message yesterday, I'm writing an article for
SunWorld about the return of the BSDs, and I have a couple of things I
want to say which I'd like all *BSD groups to find positive.  In
particular, I'd like to be able to give sensible answers to the
following implied questions:

1.  What is the difference between FreeBSD, NetBSD and OpenBSD?

    Once upon a time it was relatively easy to answer this question:
    FreeBSD aimed at ease of use on the Intel platform, NetBSD aimed
    at portability, and OpenBSD wasn't.  Now it's more difficult:
    FreeBSD has moved to other platforms, and while I don't know if
    NetBSD is any easier to install, there's at least OpenBSD to
    address as well.  The best I have come to in recent times has been
    ``FreeBSD aims for ease of use and maximum performance, NetBSD
    aims for portability, and OpenBSD addresses security''.

    I'm not very happy with this statement, which bases mainly on
    hearsay, and which may not even be a good basis for discussion.
    I'd welcome any input.

2.  What aspects of *BSD would interest a SunWorld reader?  At first I
    thought ``well, they're not going to be interested in FreeBSD,
    because FreeBSD doesn't run on Sparc'', but it seems to me that
    it's unlikely that many Sun users would install current versions
    of *BSD on their modern hardware.  Sure, there are plenty of older
    Sun machines out there, on which it's either impossible or
    impractical to run Solaris 2, and for them NetBSD or OpenBSD would
    be a good alternative to SunOS 4.  But what are the majority of
    the users going to want to know about *BSD?  Sure, it has the
    comfortable feel of SunOS 4, but what hardware would they run it
    on?  What would they do with it?  I've thought of things like name
    servers and Internet gateways, but there must be more than that.

    Obviously there is some interest, because SunWorld has been
    carrying lots of articles about Linux, and the same considerations
    should apply to Linux (in addition to the fact that Linux doesn't
    have this old, familiar feel about it).

Greg
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