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Re: Question to the candidates: inclusion of the kFreeBSD-* ports

On Mon, Mar 05, 2007 at 06:18:56PM -0800, Russ Allbery wrote:
> Anthony Towns <aj@azure.humbug.org.au> writes:
> > I'd love to be proved wrong on kfreebsd's value to users and the project.
> I'd personally find it frustrating and demoralizing if, after working
> really hard on a project for quite some time, I asked for it to be
> included and got back "mmm, sorry, no, you didn't blow me away, but I'm
> not going to tell you what would blow me away so that you could remedy
> it."  I don't think that's what you're really trying to say, but I'm not
> sure I can figure out what you *are* trying to say from this thread.

Try "please, blow me away". 

If kfreebsd gets added to Debian, I'm going to get asked "So, kfreebsd,
huh?" and I'd love to be able to respond in a really positive way:
"yes, it solves ____ a problem" or "it demonstrates this really awesome
new technique, _____, that's miles beyond anything else, even linux"
or /something/. 

For GNU/Solaris, that would be "dtrace" amongst other things for Linux
people, and "well supported packaging" for Solaris people. But for
kfreebsd, I'm lost as to any answer beyond "oh, some people get a kick
out of it, it doesn't actually achieve anything much beyond what Debian
GNU/Linux does, or what regular FreeBSD does".

A Debian port of ReactOS or Minix or Plan9 or FMI/OS would likewise be
interesting in their own right, afaics -- they're significantly different
operating system concepts to what Debian already does, and afaik they
don't already have an effective distribution.

If we were seriously planning on trying to have Debian ports of
all sorts of different operating systems -- Hurd, FreeBSD, NetBSD,
OpenBSD, GNU/Solaris, ReactOS, Minix _and_ FMI/OS eg, it'd be easy to
say "supporting kfreebsd is part of our aim to truly be the universal
distribution, supporting absolutely everything we can". That would
absolutely blow me away if done seriously [0]. In that case it's not
the BSDs that are what's interesting, they're as much part of the path
to supporting everything than a destination in their own right.

One thing I'd like to see for candidate x86/x86_64 architectures is a
preinstalled vmware-format image (which aiui will work under both qemu
and vmplayer) that can be used to easily demonstrate what's so fantastic
about a new OS.

Given something fantastic that makes it all worthwhile, all the practical
things can be solved. Without any particularly interesting goals that
get people excited and involved and can be clearly described, I think
there'll be long term problems in keeping the port active.


[0] By "seriously" I mean recognising the problems -- eg the lack of
    success we've had with making the Hurd suitable for general use,
    or the devisions within the BSDs, and the GPL v CDDL concerns for
    Nexenta, etc -- and dealing with them; which might mean talking to
    upstream, or creating new technologies, or establishing convincingly
    that concerns within the Debian project aren't actually justified,
    or whatever else.

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