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[20160501] Bootstrap pkgsrc under 'bash on Windows'
Much bruha was made about Windows running Linux userland recently. Leaving out the fact that emulating other operating systems is something that NetBSD does for ages, there is one real challenge that every Linux user faces when he has set up his operating system: getting software installed easily. And of course there is only one truely portable answer to that question: use pkgsrc, of course!

The process is pretty much straight forward, and Ryo ONODERA has verified the prerequired Windows versions and Linux packages, and has sent instructions on how to bootstrap pkgsrc on Windows 10. Now who's the first one to post a screenshot with output of pkgsrc/misc/cowsay running "cowsay hello pkgsrc"? :-)

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[20110710] Sudbury Star article: There's no need to buy an OS
Citing from yesterday's article ``There's no need to buy an OS'' in the Canadian newspaper The Sudbury Star:

``There are also "lite" versions of the Linux operating system available, including NetBSD, which is at One of the amazing things about NetBSD is the variety of hardware pieces it will run on.''

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[20090615] Comparing Operating System sizes
Slashdot links to an article that aims at comparing operating system sizes, and their growths. Of course operating system means Linux today, right? Not quite, actually. They also have a page dedicated to BSD growth. BSD here means FreeBSD, NeTBSD, OpenBSD and Darwin, and for NetBSD they look at the number of external symbols for data (empty / block storage, read only and read-writable) plus code. More symbols can mean more code or more features features, but also more bugs, so it's left to your own interpretation. :)

Also interesting are the timelines, which I wonder a bit about. My own perception was that release ("stable") branches survive their direct successor for quite some time, and NetBSD's documentation confirms this. Anyone want to double-check the numbers and the graph? Updates welcome! :)

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[20090223] Yet another pkgsrc-based system: BlackMouse Linux
From the BlackMouse Linux homepage: ``BlackMouse is Linux distribution based on Slackware Linux and pkgsrc package system. Pkgsrc system is used in NetBSD unix system and other modifications in other systems, for example in FreeBSD. Main base packages is from slackware with some modification for pkgsrc and other applications packages are compiled from pkgsrc tree.

Prefer gui is GTK2, so prefer desktop is Xfce and GNOME, but KDE is compiled too. Any others BlackMouse tools is/will be programmed in Python, GTK and Bash. In fact, we could say, that BlackMouse Linux want be BSD distribution /with same clean/. In another view to BSD, it's better, and more freedom licence that GPL. So this distribution as complet (new thinks to GNU Slackware Linux) is BSD. We can call BSD BlackMouse Linux as BSD distribtion with GNU kernel :) Many thinks which they are only modifed are still under GPL licence ! Only some new scripts or separate files, code or thinks are under BSD licence!

At this moment, there are 3 hardware versions of BlackMouse: i586, i686 and for x86_64.''

I think at this time I'll stick to my BSD distribution with BSD kernel. :-)

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[20080612] Voltalinux 2.1: Slackware + NetBSD's pkgsrc
Here's another one in the series of Linux distributions based on NetBSD's pkgsrc, quoting from the announcement: ``Matteo Garofano has announced the release of Voltalinux 2.1, a server-oriented distribution based on Slackware Linux and using NetBSD's pkgsrc package management system.

As expected, after the release of Slackware Linux 12.1, Voltalinux 2.1 (code name 'Livorno') is out. It benefits from the many new features in Slackware: HTTP and FTP install, new kernel, installation on LVM and RAID, etc. Also includes the benefits of the new features found in the NetBSD's pkgsrc port system, such as upgraded packages and a better management system. As usual, Voltalinux comes with more then 150 packages (compiled with the pkgsrc port system) intended for server use, including Postfix, Exim, Dovecot, ClamAV, Pure-FTPd, Bftpd, Squid, MySQL, PostgreSQL, Bind, MaraDNS, etc."''

For more information, see the Voltalinux 2.1 announcement and the Voltalinux homepage.

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[20080524] DracoPKG: an attempt at merging pkgtools and pkgsrc
According to the homepage, DracoPKg is ``a humble attempt at merging pkgtools and pkgsrc through a simple wrapper. Hiding the complexity through simple commands.'' In this, pkgsrc is NetBSD's packages collection/toolset, and pkgtools is the same from Slackware.

The system comes with a wrapper for running the various commands:

  • dp install foobar to install a package and its dependencies
  • dp options foobar to learn about the options that can be passed to the USE environment variable
  • dp upgrade foobar to upgrade na installed package by recompiling
  • dp replace foobar to replace a single package, without touching dependencies.
  • dp remove foobar deinstall a package and all its dependencies
  • dp info foobar to print information
  • ...
There are many more commands documented on the dracopkg homepage, go and have a look. Maybe this is the thing that gives pkgsrc the "product readiness" it's been lacking so far?

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[20080427] Plat'Home's SSD Linux: Linux Kernel + NetBSD Userland
Google News has pointed this outa few times, but as the NetBSD/evbppc port runs on their OpenBlockS for some time, I haven't paid much attention to Plat'Home's new OpenMicroServer. Timo Schoeler has pointed me at an interesting article in The Register, though (part one / two), which mentions a funny detail on what the machines ship with as operating system: ``The unit runs the SSD Linux operating system, which straps NetBSD userland functions onto the Linux kernel.''

From the SSD/Linux homepage: ``SSD/Linux is the Linux distribution developed by Plat'Home, for use with the MicroServer series. The distribution is optimized to fit on a small internal ROM, while offering all necessary functions for networking and peripheral devices.

The name of the distribution is derived from its place of development, Sotokanda in Tokyo, in imitation of BSD. It is published under a BSD-style open license. See the User's Guide for more information.

While the OS uses a Linux kernel, most of the userland is taken from NetBSD.''

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[20080417] Draco GNU/Linux 0.3.0 - powered by pkgsrc
From the announcement: ``Draco GNU/Linux is a distribution based on Slackware Linux and "pkgsrc", a package management system developed by NetBSD.

A new version, 0.3, was released a few days ago: "Introducing Draco GNU/Linux 0.3.0. Featuring kernel 2.6.23 (with optional 2.6.16), glibc 2.6.1, GCC 4.1.2, and OSS 4.0. Selected packages from pkgsrc are available through the repository and on an ISO image. This release also introduces Draco Desktop. Draco Desktop contains the latest stable Draco release, bundled with software from the latest pkgsrc branch. Draco Desktop defaults to Xfce, with Fluxbox as an option." Here is the brief release announcement. Draco GNU/Linux 0.3.0 is available for download either as a minimal base system or a "Desktop" edition, an installation CD with Xfce and Fluxbox window managers.

Download the CD images from here: draco-0.3.0.iso (232MB, MD5), draco-desktop-2007Q4.iso (596MB, MD5).''

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[20080413] firefox-bin: undefined symbol: _ctype_ (fix)
Trying to get the Linux firefox binary going, I got this today:
% firefox-linux 
/usr/pkg/lib/firefox-linux/firefox-bin: symbol lookup error: /usr/X11R6/lib/ undefined symbol: _ctype_ 
After upgrading all the packages, the error persisted (doh). After some digging, the solution is quite simple:
% unsetenv LD_LIBRARY_PATH

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[20070809] Two articles on pkgsrc on Solaris and Linux
From the netbsd-in-the-news-department: Issue 5/2007 of the German freeX magazine has two articles on pkgsrc, one focussing on Solaris, the other one on Linux.

Ulrich Habel's article "Der Daemon und die Sonne" talks about pkgsrc on Solaris. He describes how to bootstrap the environment using a precompiled binary bootstrap that was made available as Solaris package, then continues on how to use pkg_add and other tools for using precompiled binaries that are available via

Dr. Heiko Herrman's article "Daemonic Tux: Linux mit pkgsrc" describes the situation where he gets to a new workplace that has Linux on the desktop, but that calls for some software maintenance. Instead of hunting down the system administrator, pkgsrc can be used to install everything pkgsrc offers into his home directory, and without root privileges. The article gives details on how to bootstrap pkgsrc by compiling, then explains how to compile packages via pkgsrc and gives some hints on pkgsrc's internals.

The articles cannot be read online, information about the magazine and how to get it can be found at

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

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