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[20130321] Happy 20th Birthday, NetBSD! (Update)

20 years back from today, NetBSD was initially checked into CVS. Revision 1.1 of src/Makefile was committed on March 21st 1993 on 09:45:37 by Chris Demetriou (cgd@):

% cvs log -Nr1.1 Makefile
revision 1.1
date: 1993/03/21 09:45:37;  author: cgd;  state: Exp;
branches:  1.1.1;
Initial revision 
NetBSD was started as successor to the Berkeley System Distribution (BSD) Unix with a focus on multiplatform support.

Personally, I've followed NetBSD since the day in 1993 when the Amiga port popped up, which was the first platform that the newly forked operating system was ported to after its separation from BSD.

Many things have happened in the past 20 years, and a lot could be shown and told for the history books at this point. But I guess that can be done later - I'd be happy to help out with such a project if someone wants to start it, though :)

For today I'm very happy that NetBSD is available on a wide range on platforms, runs the software that I want and gives me the assurrance it will be around tomorrow and hopefully for the next 20 years, too.

Cheers, NetBSD!

Update: Jeremy Reed pointed me at his BSDnewletter posting, which gives a number of details of NetBSD's history. Recommended reading!

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[20060222] Article: OpenBSD founder pulls no punches
I've stumbled across this interview with Theo de Raadt which is a bit dated (done 2004), but which I think is very interesting (and on-topic here!) as it gives some details on the very first days of how NetBSD (and FreeBSD) emerged from 386BSD.

Funny enough, I found a printout of slides from the conference where Chris Demetriou presented NetBSD, with his and Theo's name on them the other day.

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[20060128] Blog migration: Hello World, V2.0
So far this blog was written with my own software, which was mostly a wrapper around vi to add data to a HTML file, and a perl script to dig out data and generate a RSS feed. With more or less success. Features like notifying ("pinging") search engines, tagging entries to group similar articles etc. were not supported. After seeing the tagging done in C-Keen's blog, I wanted to have that too, for exactly the tagging.

Blosxom was appealing to me as software as it doesn't need a database and all the related install and maintenance overhead (esp. I don't have root on my webserver, for starters!), and editing single ASCII files seems the most forward for me, instead of having data stuffed away in some binary blog database.

For the contents, I have basically split up the old monolithic file into single bits, and added lots of keywords (see the end of the blog page!). In the future, this can be used e.g. to easily sort articles into categories like Articles, Docs, Advocacy, Hardware and whatnot. For toying, I've started a page with tags used in my blog, please have a look.

So for the changes:

  • The bad news first: Links to seperate articles will be busted. Deal.
  • The old blog URL should still be ok (
  • The old RSS-feed URL should still be ok (
  • Tags, as told above. A lot more work can be put into this, but tools are needed. Editing like 670 files in vi is not fun.
  • No need to reload the whole page for a single article, permalinks can be set to single articles (be sure to use the permalinks provided behind the green dates, not the ones shown in the URL bar of your webbrowser.

    Yes I know that's a bit confusing, but I have no real idea how to fix that.

  • The default view shows like 20 entries and you can move to the next page and back.
  • Everything is stuffed away in one directory, and things are a bit easier for me that way. I hope I didn't goof up with the redirects.
  • I'm notifying a number of webpages about updates of the blog, so it should be found a bit better in the future.
As always, feel free to drop me mail about updates and comments.


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[20060128] Would you like to play a game?
NetBSD used to ship a 'falken' login that runs /usr/games/wargames by default. That login's gone, and I've learned another reason for this today: Apparently you can run every program from /usr/games from it, by simply typing its name:

 miyu% /usr/games/wargames
 Would you like to play a game? fortune
 Flying saucers on occasion
         Show themselves to human eyes.
 Aliens fume, put off invasion
         While they brand these tales as lies.
This reminds me of a few of the rather nifty examples in Ivan Sklyarov's "Puzzles for Hackers", where you have to modify a (MS-DOS) binary to do something else than printing some dull text. Very nice examples (including detailled explanations) for doing evil stuff... recommended reading! :)

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[20060123] Article: BSD: The Other Free UNIX Family
An article for those that think Linux is the only competition to Windows out there. Nothing new, but I like the conclusion of the author, that answers the eternal question of which BSD is the best that ``[...] which to use is a matter of personal taste. On a low-volume server, the security and ease of use of OpenBSD can be attractive. On a laptop, the hardware support of FreeBSD can be more attractive. On anything else, NetBSD may be the only choice, and on other hardware, the ease of package management and the lightweight design might make it a better choice.'' (I think emphasis should be on the first part here :-)

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[20041126] Musing about BSD history
Philosophing a bit about the history of the various BSD derivates, I tried making an image for better understanding, and from that picture it seems BSD isn't much better than Linux, with bazillions of splits and forks, and new versions here and dead old versions there. Looking closer, it seems that only some of the BSD projects can't manage their own userbase and developers, forcing to fork again and again though, while others provide a stable platform that's fit everyone's need with (almost *cough*) no need for forking. Go figure!

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'nuff. Grab the RSS-feed, index, or go back to my regular NetBSD page

Disclaimer: All opinion expressed here is purely my own. No responsibility is taken for anything.

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