[nycbug-talk] New to BSD (dont know which one to get)

G. Rosamond george
Sun Apr 4 15:22:18 EDT 2004

>Scott Robbins <scottro at nyc.rr.com> wrote:
>> NetBSD.  "Of course it runs NetBSD".  Widest variety of supported
>> platforms. If you have some obscure hardware, it might be 
>the best fit.
>I'd like to dispute the old myth or what might lead to the notion of
>NetBSD only being suitable for ``obscure hardware''.  Many people seem
>to say ``Well, you should use NetBSD only if you have to, if you have
>i386 you should use FreeBSD''.  Similarly, there's the notion of
>``OpenBSD is secure, so if you want security, use OpenBSD''.
>I have no experience with either OpenBSD nor FreeBSD, but a fair amount
>of experience with NetBSD.  It's of course perfectly suitable for
>non-``obscure'' hardware, runs equally well on my IBM T30 
>laptop as well
>as on any i386 desktop as well as on dual-processor high performance
>servers etc.  It is secure out of the box, and just like with any other
>OS, the security after the first boot depends entirely on the person in
>charge of the box.
>I can only recommend it.  ``Even'' for i386.

I was waiting for this. . .<g>

I think Jan has a very valid point. . .NetBSD is often dismissed as
being *only* about portability. . .and I, for one, admit to falling into
this notion.

NetBSD was my first BSD install back in 1999, and I spend most of my
time with Open and Free since.  And I think that for most BSD hackers,
the majority are of the Free-Open hybrid type.

When I did do a Net install again recently, I was amazed at the
simplicity of install.  The specifics of the security debate, namely of
Net v Open, I don't know enough specifics about, but I am aware that
some degree of personalism has crept into the debates.

It's clear to me, however, that with security, eg, OpenBSD has set a
tone  for not just the other BSD's, but also beyond.  And I'm not just
referring to the recent adoption of "secure by default" by MS.

The beauty of having three main separate projects is about a de facto
division of labor, but the progress is not exclusive.  You can make a
FreeBSD box *almost* as secure as an OpenBSD one, I'd argue.  That does
come back to the person in charge of the box, as Jan noted.

One problem that NetBSD does face is publicity, particularly versus the
other BSD's.  Free is clearly the most popular, and Open has enough
publicity based on controversies as much as technical innovations.  I
agree it is time to give NetBSD its due respect, which I hope NYCBUG
will continue to do.  Our second meeting was on NetBSD, but I think  by
the end of the summer, we should look at a funky, NetBSD install fest,
as its strengths are often overshadowed by the press of the other two

I believe I am like many others, who have heard the argument about
NetBSD security, but let's put this discussion out in the open.  It
would be a great meeting topic.

But it's not odd that NetBSD is 'button-holed' into being viewed solely
for its portability by others. . .I mean, look at the web site. . ."of
course it runs on NetBSD". . .


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