Sparking my interest: NetBSD

Around the same time I was experimenting with the latest “release” of ReactOS, I also took an hour or two and installed a very sparse NetBSD system.

Coming from Crux as my main system (three out of four of my machines have it installed right now) NetBSD was very, very attractive — to the point where I plan to spend a lot more time with it in the future.

Why? Well, it’s a little tough to explain. Given the things I like about Crux, and given the things I usually feel are shortcomings for Crux, NetBSD seems to be a good mesh of corrections and enhancements.

As an example, Crux’s software “repositories” are admittedly sparse. What you don’t see in one of the four “official” software lists you have to either draw up from scratch, adjust from another distribution or maybe update from someone else’s version. In one way that can be unappealing, because it means more work to install something you happen to like, but isn’t quite “popular.”

Thus far however (and my experience with NetBSD is extremely thin at this point) it seems that a lot of the programs I enjoy are already available within NetBSD, which means I don’t have to work quite so hard to put together a system I like.

But at the same time, the things I like about Crux — like the ability to customize a machine at a very low level, or relying on adjustable scripts to modify software at a low level — also appear to be available in NetBSD. And the experiences I have with Linux suggest that those are helpful in rejuvenating very very old machines.

So thus far I like what I see. Installation for a bare-bones system is very quick, wireless networking for my PRO 2200/BG was not a problem, and building software was relatively painless. I have yet to put together an entire desktop (mostly because time is an issue for me right now), but I’m very, very interested in learning.


5 thoughts on “Sparking my interest: NetBSD

  1. Pingback: Do more with less « Motho ke motho ka botho

  2. Glenn Becker

    You might also like OpenBSD. I’ve run both but not spent nearly enough time in either.

    1. Stefan

      Indeed. I personally found OpenBSD even more attractive. There are (in my experience) things, that sometimes break and can really annoy you, in NetBSD. Things like a freezing X in a stable release. I know, that this is not a big factor for you, though. 😉
      Simply said, OpenBSD does, what it promises and everything it can do is very well documented. For this I am very thankful, as it gives me time to focus on the things, I want to explore, rather than fixing my OS.

      Anyway, I really recommend looking at both of them and decide, which one is more to your liking. I know fans of both and each of them has clear advantages. The huge package collection you mentioned is one of NetBSDs 🙂

  3. Pingback: So many projects, so little time « Motho ke motho ka botho

  4. steve

    Good luck getting wireless hardware to work in any flavour of BSD.
    Linux wins in this area hands down.


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