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Operating Systems Software Unix Upgrades BSD IT

NetBSD 6.1 Has Shipped 105

Posted by timothy
from the more-of-a-workhorse-than-a-showboat dept.
Madwand writes "The NetBSD Project is pleased to announce NetBSD 6.1, the first feature update of the NetBSD 6 release branch. It represents a selected subset of fixes deemed important for security or stability reasons, as well as new features and enhancements. NetBSD is a free, fast, secure, and highly portable Unix-like Open Source operating system. It is available for a wide range of platforms, from large-scale servers and powerful desktop systems to handheld and embedded devices. Its clean design and advanced features make it excellent for use in both production and research environments, and the source code is freely available under a business-friendly license. NetBSD is developed and supported by a large and vibrant international community. Many applications are readily available through pkgsrc, the NetBSD Packages Collection."
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NetBSD 6.1 Has Shipped

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  • Why NetBSD? (Score:5, Informative)

    by manu0601 (2221348) on Sunday May 19, 2013 @08:35AM (#43767349)

    Why NetBSD?

    • For its excellent backward compatibility: NetBSD 6.1 is still able to run a.out binaries built for NetBSD 1.0
    • For its system-independant build system. Building NetBSD needs a POSIX system with a C compiler, which does not need to be NetBSD. It first builds the tools for the host, including the compiler itself, and then the target NetBSD system, which may be for another CPU.
    • For its machine-independant drivers. Have a fancy platform with an odd CPU? If NetBSD has a driver for a chip, it will work as is, no need to port it
    • Yup, the little bit I used NetBSD, I liked it, but I like Fedora more.
      • by manu0601 (2221348)
        Theses two OSes are not really for the same usage. NetBSD is good for servers and embedded, but it is not very desktop friendly. It can be used as a desktop, but it required some work that you do not have to do with Fedora.
        • For Embedded, why bother w/ NetBSD at all - Minix is smaller, but uses the same NetBSD userland. NetBSD is fine for servers. For desktops, I agree w/ you - they'd need to come up w/ their own equivalent of PC-BSD for a desktop OS. Maybe they could re-do the abandoned Desktop BSD distro to be based on NetBSD, borrow PBI/EasyPBI and build a laptop based distro based on that.

          However, they may not wish to focus on the desktop at all, and instead, may want to focus on tablets. In which case, they should ta

          • by manu0601 (2221348)

            For Embedded, why bother w/ NetBSD at all - Minix is smaller, but uses the same NetBSD userland.

            Right, but what about kernel support for embedded CPUs? You have ARM, but you could want SH3, SH5, MIPS, PowerPC...

            • by unixisc (2429386)
              Minix 2 used to support SPARC in addition to x86. But you're right - right now, Tannenbaum ain't interested in any platform other than ARM, so for people looking at MIPS or PowerPC or SH3/5, it's either Linux or NetBSD or even Windows CE. Incidentally, does Hitachi still do the SuperH CPUs?
    • by armanox (826486)

      The one system I really wanted to run NetBSD on isn't supported (SGI Octane). Ruined the whole "Of course it runs NetBSD" joke for me.

      • Re:Why NetBSD? (Score:5, Informative)

        by manu0601 (2221348) on Sunday May 19, 2013 @10:27AM (#43767759)

        Have you considered lending the machine to a NetBSD developer? In order to have hardware supported, we need the conjunction of (access to hardware, skills, time). You may lack the second entry of the tuple, but someone else may just lack the first one.

        NetBSD mailing lists (port-sgimips here) are the right place to discuss such an arrangement

        • Re:Why NetBSD? (Score:4, Informative)

          by armanox (826486) <asherewindknight@yahoo.com> on Sunday May 19, 2013 @01:29PM (#43768541) Homepage Journal

          I don't know any NetBSD devs, and especially not any that live in close proximity to me (I'm in Baltimore, MD). It's a heavy machine (~25 Kilos), and I'd rather not pay shipping costs.

          Based on your posts it sounds like you are a NetBSD developer. If there is an interest in making it work, perhaps something can be arranged.

          • Re:Why NetBSD? (Score:5, Informative)

            by manu0601 (2221348) on Sunday May 19, 2013 @01:55PM (#43768705)

            Please subscribe to the port-sgimips mailing list [netbsd.org] and tell that you are ready to lend the machine to someone that would pick it up or pay shipping. You will get an answer or not, but at least you will have tried

        • Re:Why NetBSD? (Score:4, Informative)

          by Achra (846023) on Sunday May 19, 2013 @04:08PM (#43769299) Journal

          Have you considered lending the machine to a NetBSD developer? In order to have hardware supported, we need the conjunction of (access to hardware, skills, time). You may lack the second entry of the tuple, but someone else may just lack the first one.

          NetBSD mailing lists (port-sgimips here) are the right place to discuss such an arrangement

          Eh, lack of availability of those computers isn't the problem. The problem is that the systems have very custom/unique architecture and there isn't a lot of end-user desire. I, too, went through what the GP is talking about. Irix is _still_ commercial and is realistically still the only option if you want to fire up your Octane. I went down all of the roads I possibly could with Linux/mips & NetBSD/mips.. support on both sides of the coin was the same: Terrible. Anything besides Irix on those old mips SGI's is pretty much useless, everything from "Hey, I got a bootloader to work and you can totally telnet into the machine, no framebuffer support" to "framebuffer support, mostly works, but no acceleration of any kind". The SGI Octane is really a conversation piece at this point anyways, I donated my long ago to the local PC-recycler and they turned it into scrap metal. Not old/rare enough to be a museum piece and not new/fast enough for modern use.

      • by iggymanz (596061)

        OpenBSD runs on Octane supporting Octane 2 or ImpactSR graphics cards but no audio.....but it's one thing to run a server which is the main target of BSD, but quite another to make a desktop. There is GNU/Linux for Octane too such as Debian

        • by armanox (826486)

          Debian doesn't run on Octane (least not last time I checked). Gentoo was the only option when I was playing with it several years ago.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I play with lots of different boards that use ARM application processors, but I've always used Linux of various flavors. It's not because of any particular attachment to Linux, but just because Linux runs on most things.

      An alternative would be welcome. just for variety. And I did use BSD4.2 on VAXen a million years ago, so I'd like to deploy a bit of nostalgia too, if NetBSD can do it.

      • by manu0601 (2221348)

        Here is a good starting point [netbsd.org].

        There are a lot of kernels built for ARM platforms [netbsd.org], but you will probably want to tweak and rebuild your own. This can be cross-built from your favorite Linux box, it is as simple as

        • downloading the source tarballs from ftp://ftp.netbsd.org/pub/NetBSD/NetBSD-6.1/source/sets/ [netbsd.org]
        • unpack
        • run ./build.sh -U -m evbarm tools to build the toolchain (-U for unprivilegied if you are not root, -m for target platform)
        • copy a kernel config file from sys/arch/evbarm/conf, and change whatever you
    • You dodged the most important question: What is it good for? If I just want to get a job done, is there any kind of "job" beside "having fun setting up a strange OS" where NetBSD would be the appropriate choice?
      • by manu0601 (2221348)

        NetBSD has unmatched features for embedded: cross-building out of the box and machine-independant drivers help a lot here.

        It is also very good as a server. The backward compatibility seems to be a detail, but when you think of it, that means easy upgrades: reboot with a newer kernel without upgrading userland, it works. Then drop to single user, unpack up-to-date userland without upgrading the packages, return to multiuser, it works. Install a package built for version n-1, it works.

    • by unixisc (2429386)

      Why NetBSD?

      • For its machine-independant drivers. Have a fancy platform with an odd CPU? If NetBSD has a driver for a chip, it will work as is, no need to port it

      Last I checked, Itanium was not supported - it is supported on FreeBSD. Does NetBSD support it now, or have they abandoned plans of supporting it? It would certainly puncture their claims of being the most ported Unix around (aside from Linux)

      That aside, it's nice to see some OSs, such as NetBSD, still strive for compatibility w/ different platforms. I'm disappointed that more recent versions of distros such as Red Hat have dropped support not just for Itanium, but for SPARC as well, while OpenIndiana

      • by manu0601 (2221348)

        Last I checked, Itanium was not supported - it is supported on FreeBSD. Does NetBSD support it now, or have they abandoned plans of supporting it?

        There is a work in progress port [netbsd.org], but no formal release. I do not know how usable it is

  • "UNIX-like"??? (Score:5, Informative)

    by gweihir (88907) on Sunday May 19, 2013 @09:59AM (#43767625)

    AFAIK NetBSD is derived from the original UNIX-Sources as any BSD is. That makes NetBSD not "UNIX_Like", but a proper UNIX, or at the very least a "UNIX derivative". Linux, on the other hand, was implemented from scratch and not derived from the original UNIX sources (and even the scum at SCO has admitted that by now), and hence is only "UNIX-like".

    • Re:"UNIX-like"??? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Antique Geekmeister (740220) on Sunday May 19, 2013 @10:17AM (#43767725)

      The Linux _kernel_ was new. The Linux _operating system_ was primarily GNU tool based, using precisely that GPL licensing model that has been so effective in fostering open development. And even the GNU toolchains were not entirely from scratch: key tools like gcc and glibc were written with new code, but clearly written to emulate the behavior of the existing tools from BSD UNIX.

      It's always seemed unfortunate to me that the core toolchains, such as C compilers and critical system tools like "make" and "cp" have different behavior in the different UNIX and Linux environments. It makes cross-platform suppoprt much more awkward. It's also helped pay my salary as my colleagues and I resolve such diffeences, but there are more interesting tasks we'd prefer to spend our time on in almost every project.

      The main reason that Linux is considered "UNIX-like" isn't the software history. It's that getting certified as "UNIX" is expensive, and the stndards can be quite difficult to follow after a dozen years of free software and open source evolution. The standards are described at "https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Single_UNIX_Specification".

      • by gweihir (88907)

        Of course I am talking about the Linux Kernel when I am talking about Linux. That the GNU tool-chain is not Linux-specific but available on a range of platforms is well known, no need to state the obvious.

        Actually, the reason that Linux is not UNIX is that it is not derivative. The certification is entirely secondary and nobody cares about it.

      • by unixisc (2429386)

        It's worth noting that except OS-X and Solaris, none of the current OSs are certified as Unix. Not FreeBSD, not OpenBSD, not NetBSD. So that's not something restricted to Linux. Also, it's useless to argue whether any of the BSDs would have passed more easily than Linux.

        Also, weren't the original Unixes the System V unixes - the ones of which Solaris is the only survivor today? And the BSDs - be it FBSD/NBSD/OBSD - good as they are, are not the original Berkeley Unix - they are its modern successors.

    • Re:"UNIX-like"??? (Score:5, Informative)

      by tomxor (2379126) on Sunday May 19, 2013 @10:45AM (#43767845)

      AFAIK NetBSD is derived from the original UNIX-Sources as any BSD is. That makes NetBSD not "UNIX_Like", but a proper UNIX, or at the very least a "UNIX derivative"

      Know your BSD history:

      After Net/1, BSD developer Keith Bostic proposed that more non-AT&T sections of the BSD system be released under the same license as Net/1. To this end, he started a project to reimplement most of the standard Unix utilities without using the AT&T code. For example, vi, which had been based on the original Unix version of ed, was rewritten as nvi (new vi). Within eighteen months, all the AT&T utilities had been replaced, and it was determined that only a few AT&T files remained in the kernel. These files were removed, and the result was the June 1991 release of Networking Release 2 (Net/2), a nearly complete operating system that was freely distributable. Net/2 was the basis for two separate ports of BSD to the Intel 80386 architecture: the free 386BSD by William Jolitz and the proprietary BSD/386 (later renamed BSD/OS) by Berkeley Software Design (BSDi). 386BSD itself was short-lived, but became the initial code base of the NetBSD and FreeBSD projects that were started shortly thereafter.

      From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berkeley_Software_Distribution#Net.2F2_and_legal_troubles [wikipedia.org]

      The whole purpose of this was to make a functionally UNIX type system, but not UNIX (and there for free). This is why for legal reasons it is UNIX-Like, Linux on the other hand is is not as UNIX-like (if you like) because it's not trying to be.

      • On the other hand Darwin certified and blessed as a bona fide official UNIX. And Darwrin is derived from BSD.

        Genetically, the various BSDs are direct descendents of UNIX. The ancestral tree might not be all that clean, but no one outside of a mythical Ozzie and Harriet world can claim the same about their family either. Legally I can't call NetBSD a UNIX, but that doesn't mean it isn't.

        • Re:"UNIX-like"??? (Score:4, Informative)

          by tomxor (2379126) on Sunday May 19, 2013 @01:07PM (#43768445)

          On the other hand Darwin certified and blessed as a bona fide official UNIX. And Darwrin is derived from BSD.

          Darwin is POSIX compliance meaning it can use the UNIX name, it is possible to write a completely separate system and gain POSIX compliance, it is merely a certification of compliance to a specification not of an inheritance to UNIX the operating system. Also darwin is derived from a great many things including a large portion of freeBSD and the mach kernel, not that it matters.

          Genetically, the various BSDs are direct descendents of UNIX. The ancestral tree might not be all that clean, but no one outside of a mythical Ozzie and Harriet world can claim the same about their family either. Legally I can't call NetBSD a UNIX, but that doesn't mean it isn't.

          I disagree, if you want to use genetics as the analogy, the source code (genes) are separate, even the way processes are performed is different, the functionality and interfaces are the only thing which is the same, that is a substantial step up from source code... if you look to nature for an analogy of this functional mimicry; the best fit i see is Batesian Mimicry [wikipedia.org].

          My goal here isn't to strive at pedantism, i'm just pointing out that the inheritance here is functional not litteral, and then the very long evolution of that 386BSD "UNIX clone" to the various systems it has formed today make the word UNIX more of a classification than a litteral inheritance.

          • by Nimey (114278)

            The correct term is "pedantry". :P

          • Just to be annoying and argue both sides :D I recall that there are many places in the complex inheritance tree where the UNIX System integrates source from various BSDs' along the way after the 386BSD separation. Taking that into consideration it would be more accurate to call the UNIX Systems' a source descendant of BSD :P but essentially the descendants of 386BSD do have source code that is in UNIX Systems, the difference is however that UNIX inherited it from the BSDs' not the other way around... I don'
      • by gweihir (88907)

        Hmm. Interesting! I just learned something.

      • by zipn00b (868192)
        It's a tangled history with AT&T being greedy pricks over the whole thing. Considering they apparently didn't contribute financially to the project in the early stages that makes it even more interesting. For the most part I always considered the division between BSD and Unix being whether you paid licensing fees to AT&T. It's a very muddy delineation since Unix systems tend to contain BSD code but I guess it keeps the lawyers happy.......
  • by EmperorOfCanada (1332175) on Sunday May 19, 2013 @03:22PM (#43769087) Homepage
    I would love to deploy some BSD machines and see how they fair in a long term A/B test against Linux machines. I hate to use the term but a TCO.

    But with servers there is rarely one killer feature that make an OS way better than the others. Usually it is a bad feature that kills the OS. If you need a certain package and it doesn't exist or isn't well supported with a certain OS then that OS is dead to you regardless of all its other virtues.

    Now I use Mac OS X for my desktop and Linux for my servers. I am impressed with the Bastard BSD underlying Mac OS X in that it doesn't get in my way.

    So my question is: I am using CentOS because it keeps me in my Linux as Unix comfort zone but that NetBSD would be way better and every day I don't switch is a day wasted? Or would NetBSD make me angry that I left the happy easy land of CentOS?
    • by ifrag (984323)

      If you need a certain package and it doesn't exist or isn't well supported with a certain OS then that OS is dead to you regardless of all its other virtues.

      If you don't have access to source, all major BSD's have support for running linux binaries. Can be a bit of work to setup but I've used it successfully for a few things.

    • I still love BSD. 15 years ago FreeBSD in particular had some advantages with its ports system over linux. It was also in that time that FreeBSD often time ran software faster using its linux emulation mode than linux itself back then. We still use FreeBSD to this day running many of our core web servers & PostgreSQL database cluster. The argument could be made today that Linux would be better suited for the task as it's far more common and you can find enterprise support. But frankly, our system a

    • by iggymanz (596061)

      which apps and app platforms do you run on your servers? Any of the BSD do all the usual: apache, nginx, tomcat, php, perl, ruby, python, mysql, postgresql, postfix, qmail, sendmail, bind,

      do you have something that is uniquely Linux-packaged running?

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