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Old 20th July 2009
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Default Netbook - NetBSD or OpenBSD?

Hello everyone,

I am using OpenBSD for a quite some time on several machines - from server to desktop range [in fact - it serves me great as my main desktop OS of choice], and i recently installed it on Lenovo S10e netbook.
Also - I'm testing NetBSD installed on USB thumb drive and I must say I'm quite undecided about which OS would be the best [when it comes to the HW support - ACPI in particular, with a special emphasis on a fan device - I'd like it to be as quiet as possible, and it depends on the ACPI part too].
So - what would you suggest for this netbook? what would be better to use? Which one has the best ACPI implementation? I'm pretty aware of many advantages/disadvantages of those two OSs, but I'm not a hardware guy, you know. I can work on each one of mentioned *BSD as they're pretty similar in SW side, but HW support is important to me as well.

Thanks in advance for any replies,
marc

Last edited by marc; 20th July 2009 at 01:11 AM.
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Old 20th July 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marc View Post
So - what would you suggest for this netbook? what would be better to use? Which one has the best ACPI implementation
While I understand why you are asking, going with Open Source world frequently means that one has to:
  • do a lot of research.
  • take the rather incomplete set of data points which can be scraped together & make the best decision possible based upon what is frequently incomplete & sometimes contradictory information.
When it comes to OpenBSD & NetBSD, the best source of information is from their respective newsgroups. For OpenBSD, searching misc@ reveals the following:

http://marc.info/?l=openbsd-misc&w=2&r=1&s=s10e&q=b

As for NetBSD, the obvious sources to search are the netbsd-users@ & port-i386 mailing lists. Two threads which stood out (to me...) were the following:

http://marc.info/?l=netbsd-users&m=123790697906524&w=2

http://marc.info/?t=124671588900003&r=1&w=2

Close study of these threads indicate that NetBSD's support of the S10e is probably not as far as OpenBSD's. Having the expectation that one or both will support any onboard wireless card may currently be unrealistic.

As for asking for a comparison of OpenBSD's & NetBSD's support of ACPI, you are making the assumption that someone actually exists who has knowledge of both implementations. I am not aware of any such person on this forum site, & in all honesty, I doubt there is such a person. What I do know is that NetBSD has been doing a lot of radical development between 3.x, 4.x, & 5.x thus far, and I suspect it will take some time for their code base to stabilize. OpenBSD's development is a bit more consistent, so I expect that this translates to stability in one way or another, but I will also state that I too focus most on OpenBSD, so I have my own bias.

The most tangible (& impartial...) thing you can do is install both & test for yourself, as you know your needs & usage patterns better than anyone else. Decide to test each platform for an arbitrary amount of time (eg. two weeks each...), & decide afterwards given your own experience.

If you are more familiar with OpenBSD, you already have some bias. So it comes down to how much time do you want to spend searching further in the various mailing lists & testing for yourself.
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Old 20th July 2009
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Thank you for your reply.

I obviously did some extended research and I only wanted to get some ideas from an outside world, because I'm aware that I am not the only *BSD user and I can just miss out something really important.
Also, I am aware of the bwi0 being unsupported in this model. I know that neither OpenBSD nor NetBSD supports it, but that wasn't my question.
I guess I'll just have to make some HW testing so I can eventually choose the best solution.
Thanks for the info,

marc
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Old 20th July 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marc View Post
Hello everyone,

I am using OpenBSD for a quite some time on several machines - from server to desktop range [in fact - it serves me great as my main desktop OS of choice], and i recently installed it on Lenovo S10e netbook.
Seems to me switching to NetBSD based on amount of time you invested in learning OpenBSD will be a waste of time.


Quote:
Originally Posted by marc View Post
Also - I'm testing NetBSD installed on USB thumb drive and I must say I'm quite undecided about which OS would be the best [when it comes to the HW support - ACPI in particular, with a special emphasis on a fan device - I'd like it to be as quiet as possible, and it depends on the ACPI part too].
I am a bit surprised that as a seasonal OpenBSD user you missed information about dramatic improvement in ACPI support coming for the 4.6 release. I would expect from a user like you to help testing OpenBSD instead trying "distros" like a Linux teens.

http://www.undeadly.org/cgi?action=a...20090613150019



Quote:
Originally Posted by marc View Post
I'm pretty aware of many advantages/disadvantages of those two OSs
but I'm not a hardware guy, you know.
So make a list of things you expect to work on your Laptop (suspend, resume, etc...). Install both of them on the particular piece of hardware, and check how both systems behave.

Quote:
Originally Posted by marc View Post
side, but HW support is important to me as well.
Sounds to me that you wanted to start some kind of a flame war. NetBSD project has made some tremendous progress recently and looks completely invigorated. Despite the fact that I am an OpenBSD user, I am very excited about those changes as they bring diversity to BSD ecosystem. However those changes have little impact for a casual desktop/notebook user. The only obvious advantage of NetBSD over OpenBSD for a casual desktop computer user that I can think of is Linux compatibility layer including Linux comp on amd64. I am not sure if you could install the latest Maple or MatLab but you could reasonable expect Flash 10 just to work. Skype is iffy at least according to mailing lists. I do not know if they have some kind of ALSA emulation for their implementation of OSS (which is crappy and is completely rewritten for 6.0) which can be very useful for multimedia. In that case they would have more multimedia software ported to NetBSD.

On the final note bigmem on OpenBSD is not ready yet and SMP support is really behind comparing to NetBSD. If you have 4GB of RAM and you really want to take advantage of those multiple cores in certain applications NetBSD seems like a logical choice.

Last edited by Oko; 20th July 2009 at 03:12 PM.
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Old 21st July 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oko View Post
Seems to me switching to NetBSD based on amount of time you invested in learning OpenBSD will be a waste of time.
To be honest with you: I find NetBSD a whole lot more complicated than OpenBSD. In fact - OpenBSD is pretty simple and straightforward, which is an obvious 'plus' for me at least.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oko View Post
I am a bit surprised that as a seasonal OpenBSD user you missed information about dramatic improvement in ACPI support coming for the 4.6 release. I would expect from a user like you to help testing OpenBSD instead trying "distros" like a Linux teens.
I am an OS enthustiast, not an evangelist. I use a lot of different OSs, althought my 'main' OS is OpenBSD. I know of the ACPI improvement, I know about the work being done by OBSD team and I have OBSD 4.6 installed also on my laptop.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oko View Post
So make a list of things you expect to work on your Laptop (suspend, resume, etc...). Install both of them on the particular piece of hardware, and check how both systems behave.
Actually, I did it a long time ago, but I don't know NetBSD that much and I just wanted to ask about the differences between NBSD and OBSD.
And the thing is, that I don't really need suspend/hibernation. I find those functions obsolete.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oko View Post
Sounds to me that you wanted to start some kind of a flame war.
Now, I completely don't understand what you're talking about. Well, maybe there's some sort of misinterpretation involved. I already said about the things that made me ask those questions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oko View Post
NetBSD project has made some tremendous progress recently and looks completely invigorated. Despite the fact that I am an OpenBSD user, I am very excited about those changes as they bring diversity to BSD ecosystem. However those changes have little impact for a casual desktop/notebook user. The only obvious advantage of NetBSD over OpenBSD for a casual desktop computer user that I can think of is Linux compatibility layer including Linux comp on amd64. I am not sure if you could install the latest Maple or MatLab but you could reasonable expect Flash 10 just to work. Skype is iffy at least according to mailing lists. I do not know if they have some kind of ALSA emulation for their implementation of OSS (which is crappy and is completely rewritten for 6.0) which can be very useful for multimedia. In that case they would have more multimedia software ported to NetBSD.
Yes, I know about it and I agree with you. In fact - these were the main reasons I wanted to try out NetBSD. I didn't even say a bad word on NBSD. Wow, this thread went totally out of any control and I don't even know how to respond on these accusations.

Thank you for your help and time

Regards,
marc
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