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NetBSD 5.0 RC1 Released

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  • by AuMatar (183847) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @05:13PM (#26687061)

    What advantage does NetBSD give me over Linux? Other than avoiding monoculture, of course. People must obviously think it brings some set of advantages if they continue working on it and using it, I'd like to hear what they are.

  • NetBSD is awesome (Score:5, Interesting)

    by wandazulu (265281) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @05:14PM (#26687069)

    I have a lot of hardware that would have been relegated to scrap if it hadn't been for NetBSD. Hmm...can I still do anything useful with that Mac SE/30? Sure, I'll run a small mail server for internal use so I can learn how Postfix and Sendmail work. And the multitude of bots trying to hack my Internet-facing machine wouldn't know what to do with a Vax-based NetBSD machine even if they got in.

    That said, of course these machines are outrageously slow by today's standards; the Vax alone has been relegated to the basement 'cause it's so freaking loud. But hey, I happened to have the hardware, and since of course it runs NetBSD, it's a learning experience if nothing else.

  • Re:Slow news day (Score:3, Interesting)

    by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @05:34PM (#26687247) Homepage Journal

    Of course, the "article" didn't really provide much to talk about.

    It's NetBSD. It's 100% Hype Free [netbsd.org]!

    They don't believe in hype. Hence, for the 'article', you get nothing more than "We released 5.0 RC1".

  • by LizardKing (5245) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @06:15PM (#26687513)

    A month's worth of electricity for your VAX would probably buy you an entry-level modern PC.

    Depends on the model. Not all VAX machines are huge beasts like an 11/750 or an 8600. My VAX are a 3100 Microvax and a 4000 VLC Vaxstation - the former is the size of a desktop PC and the latter is the size of a medium pizza box. Power consumption is lower than the quad core PC sat next to them, even though the Microvax has three SCSI drives in it (with /, /usr and /home split across them). The VLC was a web server in the not too distant past. Why? Low power consumption and minimal noise.

  • Re:NetBSD is awesome (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Fackamato (913248) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @06:23PM (#26687571)
    What's wrong with virtual machines?
  • by langelgjm (860756) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @06:28PM (#26687611) Journal

    If you have old or somewhat unusual hardware, NetBSD does quite well.

    I have a Sun Ultra 1, circa 1995, that I pulled out of the closet for fun recently. Debian installs on it, but 1) is sluggish, and 2) doesn't support certain hardware. My machine has a PCMCIA adapter in it, and I have an old 802.11b PCMCIA card, so I thought I'd be able to use wireless on this machine.

    Turns out no Linux drivers exist for the PCMCIA adapter, whereas in NetBSD they do. After a kernel recompilation, the Ultra 1 is up and running on the wireless network.

  • raises his glass (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Danzigism (881294) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @06:44PM (#26687707)
    I'm a proud NetBSD user for sure. I still use 3.1 on an old HP Omnibook 800ct. It works wonders on that Pentium 133 with 16mb of RAM. Boots in about 30 seconds or so, and WiFi works too. Not only is a great learning tool for aspiring people wanting to learn a good Unix, but it has a lot of good factors that experienced users look for in a good OS. Pretty decent driver support, a super small and quick installation, powerful security, a great list of binary packages, a large /usr/pkgsrc similar to /usr/ports, not to mention an excellent community of developers that are always willing to help a brotha out. Thanks to the dudes on Freenode and the NetBSD mailing lists for all their help. I'm looking forward to this release.
  • by CAIMLAS (41445) on Monday February 02, 2009 @02:32AM (#26691043) Homepage

    Here are some reasons:

    1) Linus "Testing is for someone else" Torvalds isn't running the show, and therefore you're more likely to get a properly tested kernel.
    2) You can download an official kernel and expect for it to not only build using your old configuration, but to not have a previously-working driver not work any longer.
    3) It has nice tools for doing #2, whereas in Linux, 'make oldconfig' has been seemingly abandoned in the name of progress and "let the distros handle it"
    4) Slower, more thorough release cycle which is still aware of "development" and "stable" branches
    5) You can still run a usable system on top of old hardware that only has 64Mb of RAM (or 32Mb, as I did recently with netbsd 4 - and yes, 32Mb is 'just barely' functional)

  • Re:Slow news day (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 02, 2009 @03:25AM (#26691355)

    I am and was aware of Linux use of UBC, so I was very shocked to see it perform so badly.

    A simple test of circa '05 NetBSD and a Linux distro (I tried RedHat and SuSE at the time), would show you. I'd be interested if this is still the case.

    Check how much free RAM you have in each install at idle, then create a file which is 75% of that. Now write a script to read that file to /dev/null a fixed number of times or have the script increment a display of the number of times the copy completed. Then watch how fast each OS completes this.

    From my memory, Linux was 30+ times slower than NetBSD. Even OpenBSD (which I spend most of my time using) was faster than Linux in this regard and it does not use UBC.

    Try it if you don't believe me. My initial choice was Linux, until I saw this behaviour. I'd be interested if this is still the case.

    Take a look at table 1 at this page, to see what I'm talking about:

    http://www.usenix.org/publications/library/proceedings/usenix2000/freenix/full_papers/silvers/silvers_html/

    That is almost 11 years old however, so I'd be interested how this compares with current OS'.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 02, 2009 @06:22AM (#26692187)

    I cannot begin to describe my feelings with the comments here. The same people touting about "monoculture" and how bad Windows is can't seem to graps what NetBSD is about. Instead all the same questions about "Why not use Linux" "How does it compare to Linux" pop up.

    It's a simple as: people love to do different things. NetBSD has been around forever. NetBSD first set the TCP/IP speed records, long before Linux even had the framework to have and use different congestion algorithms. NetBSD runs on more architectures than you kids have EVER got your hands on.

    I'm excited - a lot of work went into that release, a lot of brainpower and concepts. Let's see how it works out.
    Only thing I don't like: BSD userland, GNU's is so much better ;)

  • by Raenex (947668) on Monday February 02, 2009 @04:36PM (#26699083)

    Back in the 80s my first computer had 640k of memory. After having owned this computer for some years, I remember talking to another kid in school and he said he was going to build a PC with 8 megs. I couldn't fathom such a thing, either that it was possible or why you would want all that memory.

  • by That's What She Said (1289344) on Monday February 02, 2009 @05:42PM (#26700149)

    I second the "small and stable" argument.

    I have used NetBSD for the same purposes as yttrstein, I think. For example, my firewall, which uses ipfilter on a bridge interface.

    There's not much besides the kernel and the most basic packages. The system fits in a few megabytes and runs from a CF card (a spare 128MB card I had in my old digital camera), no swap.

    I don't have any window servers and the only way to access the machine is from a serial console.

    Works like a charm: over 2 years uptime now.

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