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[20070418] On NetBSD being dead (maybe a bit late, but hey)
There was quite some hoopla some time ago when Charles Hannum, co-founder of the NetBSD project, send out a mail about NetBSD being ~dead[1]. While this mail gained a lot of attention, no immediate or direct action was taken from an official side of the NetBSD project. The only consequence that seemed to be some account spring cleaning that also affected Charles' account[2]. Now while one may see an obvious connection of cause and effect here, things are not always what they seem, and Alistair Crooks, president of The NetBSD Foundation, has outlined a bit of the history of events that happened behind the scenes[3]:

``Charles had been asked to sign a developer's agreement, as had every other NetBSD developer, and he was unwilling to do that.

For almost 18 months prior to that, Charles's ssh access to all of the project machines had been suspended, as described in the mail below which I sent to an internal project list. The reason for the insistence on a completed developer's agreement for people with write access to the repositories is hopefully apparent.''

So in retrospect, it can be said that Charles' original mail was more of a frustrated reaction on the direction in which the NetBSD project went, and that it was not in the way of (one of) the original project founders.

Instead, in order to be able to protect the NetBSD project's assets, The NetBSD Foundation (TNF) was founded to claim copyrights and trademarks, to protect the NetBSD code base, the NetBSD project machines and in effect also the NetBSD userbase from ill meaning. NetBSD developers are members of TNF and have to sign developer agreements to ensure they know what they can and can not do -- the NetBSD Foundation Membership Agreement can be found at [4].

While a lot can still be said about the state of NetBSD, Alistair Crooks continues to point out the important part that eventually counts:

``As far as the "NetBSD is dead" thread - if anyone thinks that, they have obviously not read source-changes or pkgsrc-changes just recently.''

[1] http://mail-index.NetBSD.org/netbsd-users/2006/08/30/0016.html
[2] http://mail-index.NetBSD.org/netbsd-announce/2006/09/01/0000.html
[3] http://mail-index.NetBSD.org/netbsd-advocacy/2007/04/18/0000.html
[4] http://www.NetBSD.org/developers/agreement.txt

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