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Re: Open Letter @ the developers of oBSD

(with some minor spelling and grammar changes).
Quoting rembrandt (rembrandt_(_at_)_jpberlin_(_dot_)_de):

Why would you be compelled to sign a message to a list?

> I got some... not really friendly answers.
> But: Please stop shit like this on ALL mailinglists here.
There *are* other maillists.  current-users_(_at_)_netbsd_(_dot_)_org jumps
to mind.

> Just things like: If you're using x86 ist't (bla). But "real" mashines
> (then the list: sparc, sgi and co)dosn't have (bla).
That would have been me.  Watching lots and lots of effort and time
(key there - if you spend 40 hrs getting a 1990 machine running
 for anything but the geek factor and complain that openbsd doesn't
 do what you need, then you need to recognize that most machines
 built before 1997 are pretty close to free, are often a burden to
 businesses and, for someone in a commercial venue, that 40 hrs of
 your could be more profitably spent working and throwing all that
 money into a current machine.  A 50MHz 486 with disks of that era
 can cost US$5/month to run.  When I pulled 4x424MB disks and put
 up a 10K RPM 36GB disk, my power usage DROPPED.
BIOS?  I'm (again) appalled that after 21 years of the PeeCee
 that these so called "servers" still often need a keyboard and
 CRT to manage them.  20 years ago I could use a modem to get
 to the console of a Unix box (300baud baby) and manage the
 sucker for all but power.  Now I can turn machines in Australia
 off *AND ON* while sitting in the US.  But the PeeCee people
 have to get someone to stand in front of the computer and they
 dictate instruction to fix their BIOS settings.

My freaking Powerbook has an Open Boot Prom - a full blown Forth
based ROM that manages the hardware before the machine comes up.

> 1. Things i miss (SMP is the most thing I miss... but I'm not alone)

Not me.  I use it under FreeBSD and (some) under NetBSD. Same
taste as OpenBSD, different focus.  Perhaps mail lists there
are more friendly to you.

> I dosn't know who manage the ports at all. I dosn't know who's the big
> boss wich judge each package. Yeah I dosn't know...
YOU manage the ports.  Those who spend time making them and
then maintaining them manage them.  If I really need a port (pkgsrc
in netbsd), then I can MAKE one and share it to save someone ELSE
the effort of doing that work.

> But if the developers (coders) have to hold the packages/ports up2date
> please give other guys this job.
What other guys?  I'm looking for the line?  I'm looking through
the company roles to see who's been hired for that and isn't doing
it.  Oh yeah, no company.  It's a project with a bunch of volunteers
at the edge, serving juice, testing drivers. Then there are those
outside the building on their way to work complaining on lists
about what they think the volunteers should be doing.

> Yes SMP is not easy to set up.. but even it's there it should be useable
> for the future, or?
> I don't know.. maybe SMP on SPARCs differ from SMP on INTELs.
Radically, yes.  Much is based on Cray technology.  Switched
backplanes, not busses.  Largely without available documentation.

> After a walk in the computerroom our university I asked the FW-Admin
> which OSs are in use there. He told me "Solaris, LINUX and fBSD".
> He's a solaris freak but he told me if he has a choice he would use oBSD
> for the firewall. So fBSD is in use becouse SMP.

On a firewall?  When a $100 motherboard with a 3GHz CPU can filter SATURATED
100Mb/s lines?

Maybe his need is for pretty GUI management tools or something.  I can't

I use Solaris a lot.  I have 1280's and 32 CPU machines.  Databases
all.  Some 4CPU machines for other uses.  Lots of AIX and HP.  Most with
idle machines backing them up.  Why?
Cause it's a large corp and they feel better that at 9PM when
something dies, they will have someone there in 2-3 hrs with spare
parts and can call for help with OS bugs.

I've got a box monitoring running BSD because I got tired of working
so many days to duplicate (cd /usr/ports/*/rrdtool;make install).
We tell people it's a Sun not a P/233 that was heading to the trash.

SMP is great for several things.  Filtering isn't one of them.
Note also that the 2CPU 1.2GHz UltraIII box (v280R) blows away
the 4CPU Suns that they got 3 years ago.  Hell, the 3GHz 1 CPU
box I just got smokes them both for actual use.

The 2CPU box I have running FBSD 5.2 I acquired cheaply because
the company replaced it with a faster 1CPU machine a year after
they got the 2.  I win.  They lost.

So what's an alternate strategy?
Well, FreeBSD's SMP in 4.x was pretty bad.  5.x is coming along
quite nicely.  NetBSD's been chugging away.  Lots of people in
those projects getting that expertise.  The Linux folks have
been active in redoing their SMP code as well.

OpenBSD's code audits certainly affect the other BSDs and other
projects.  "Oh crap, those guys found a raft of bugs in lpd. I'll
import those changes here."  "Fast IPSec" has made its way from
OpenBSD into FreeBSD and NetBSD.

When FreeBSD (likely leader) gets their SMP code solid and gets
the principles down, perhaps OpenBSD will adopt and port.

Advanced happen in a rich field of development - with competition
and collaberation.
Noticed the advances in Internet Explorer and Outbreak?  Me neither.

Why merge the BSDs when there are many people doing there work on
2 or more?  Different cultures work for different people.  The
end result is that, often, commit messages say "importing fixes
from (NetbSD|OpenBSD|FreeBSD)".  Working out solutions in different
areas and sharing them.  Works for me.

> And why didn't you copy code? SMP-Code from fBSD or so?
Not ready yet.  Really.

> Yes... but what's your goals?
> A secure OS...well.
> But a secure OS used by 5k people on the world?
No, a secure OS used by the 15 main developers.

The rest of us are just getting a free ride.

> Which is not useable in large networks, on big servers?
> Yes security is very importent... but other things importent too. So
> please never forget this fact.

> I wrote Theo a mail..

And theo's not a terribly tolerance guy.  Maybe he had a bad
experience with a hostile gerbil or something.  He is who he is.

So, in summary:  There are other projects.  There's no need
for you to hang around with people you don't seem to like
doing things that you don't find that interesting.
NetBSD is terribly portable.  Give them a visit.
FreeBSD does your SMP stuff (not that I'd put 5.2- into
production) and has tons and tons of ports.  I use it where
I find it appropriate.

Linux is fine for many people.
My *mom* can use Mac OS X, but doesn't understand why I pull
up terminal windows when I use her machine.

It's a big party with lots of people.  You needn't hang out
with people you don't like.  You needn't try to tell 3 different
groups of people doing different things that they should all
do their stuff together.  Microsoft already has that down
(they're the huge crowd of frat boys over their who've convinced
each other and themselves that running as fast as they can
into a wall is just great fun).

Me?  I enjoy the Platonic Unix.  You can see its shadow in OpenBSD,
MacOS, Irix, Solaris, Minix/Linux and CrayOS.  (it's blurry in HPUX
and AIX :).

That there are so many groups using it for different purposes and
they are just close enough to share ideas is awesome.  GL could
not have been developed by Sun or Berkeley.  Amazing multiprocessing
was developed by Cray, not Sun, SGI, DEC or Apple.  DEC and IBM
developed chips that pushed that envelope.  My BIOS distaste comes
not only from PeeCee's but from the utter lack of true innovation
from Intel.  It's still an 8086 in its core :)
I like the MIPS R12000; Alpha had a great run.  The ARM chips use
near zero power and give reasonable CPU.  You want big computers?
I want them small.  I want a computer in my wall that knows that
when I come home, I turn on THESE lights first, that will sort
my email for me and remove the junk.  For all the hardware increases
in the last 5 years, software has barely moved.

And that leads to other threads.

Go visit the other places.  Check out NBSD and FBSd for a
couple months.  Then choose (or don't - there's no pressure
to pledge allegiance to any one flavor of unix) and contribute
where you do.