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penrose orange



cat /var/log/stephen >/dev/eyes

Do not fear the daemons
penrose orange
Been playing with NetBSD for a few days.

Feels very spartan compared with Debian. Debian gives you a nice automatic upgrade system, with plenty of example config files, and lots of help to configure things (if you know where to look). NetBSD gives you a load of config files, barely adequate documentation, and basically just says "there you go. All yours. Go on, configure me!"

I got networking and X11 up and running by cloning large parts of my Debian config. I'd never have managed it otherwise.

Configuring and recompiling the kernel is a matter of... editing a huge configuration file. There's no configuration program like with Linux. The NetBSD kernel config is simultaneously very scary and strangely logical. Unlike Linux, it's not a very modular kernel; most device drivers have to be statically compiled in. The few drivers that can be loaded separately are mainly filesystems, and compatibility for other Unix-like operating systems. Yes, there is Linux compatibility.

The Linux compat module works pretty well, considering what it has to do. At the moment, I'm typing this into the Linux version of Emacs, running under NetBSD. When I've finished, I'll post it using the Linux version of the LiveJournal client, again, still running under NetBSD. Native NetBSD versions are preferable, of course, because they consume less memory (no Linux libraries to load; plus the NetBSD C library is a lot less chunky than GNU libc). My web browser doesn't work, unfortunately. Well, it kinda does, but it's rather unstable.

My goal is to get the system so completely set up that I can log in to either Debian or NetBSD without being able to tell the difference. I'm not intending to replace Debian as my primary OS; this is just a project for fun.