RE: testing, testing
Although I don't represent Debian by any stretch, I am going to argue the
Debian perspective for a moment.
We (Debian) need to be asking what project format makes the most sense in
terms of our resources, and the needs of our "users". Frankly, the amount
of effort involved in doing some of the things Gary is talking about are
rather large. However, that doesn't mean that they should not be done.
Personally, I am of two minds on the BSD port, and I would like to hear
comments from both sides (or more sides if they exist) as to the pros and
1. Provide a Debian "BSD Kernel" package.
The obvious advantage here is that we drastically limit our scope to
producing a package that can co-exist with an existing Debian GNU/Linux
installation and provide a BSD kernel. I'm not really sure what the
advantages over a Linux Kernel distribution would be. We would be relying
on BSD's Linux-compatibility layers, which may or may not be perfect (I have
no personal knowledge). We would have limited project scope, and a limite
amount of resources needed.
2. Provide a Debian BSD "port".
Here I mean "port" in the Debian sense. This would be similar to our effort
to port the Debian user environment to the GNU/Hurd. I have done some work
on the Hurd project, and we definitely get to spend time debugging more
esoteric things than a standard Linux package project does. However, one
thing that hurts the Hurd port is the lack of qualified persons helping.
The BSD port will have the advantage of a potentially large group of
knowledgable individuals (the BSD folks themselves) who could provide
assistance. But why produce this port? The main advantage I see for a BSD
user is that they would have access to the Debian package system, which
might make it easier for someone to use BSD, although I'm not convinced that
there is much difference in the "degree of difficulty" in setting
up/maintaining a BSD system. Gary points out that there are many Linux
device drivers and libraries that are not necessarily available on BSD.
This would obviously be a lot of work, but is potentially a very satisfying
and lasting contribution to the Free Software community.
License issues. Debian is heavily GNU-influenced. BSD folks who are
joining this list should probably take a look at the Debian Free Software
Guidelines, and our Constitution. We may have some differences of opinion
over how things are licensed. And we certainly (Debian) do not have a right
to take BSD code and relicense it wily-nily. We are obliged to honor the
BSD terms of the original code. The BSD license is completely compatibly
with the Debian goals, but I am not sure if some the GPL'd kernel code is
"safe" to port to BSD. Anyone who can speak knowledgably on this issue?
Perhaps a BSD expert (Gary?) could give us Linux folks some pros/cons about
BSD? I've installed it on one machine a long time ago (before starting to
work with Linux). I haven't really worked with it much since then, but look
forward to learning more about it.
Sorry for the long post.