rfunk: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] rfunk at 12:16pm on 02/11/2005 under , , , , ,
(Yeah, I know, none of you care about this....)

I first heard rumblings of this a week or two ago, but now the announcement is official: There's now a Debian GNU/Solaris. (Unfortunately things aren't entirely open yet.)

Why does this interest me? Although I've used and run at least seven different flavors of Unix, I learned most of my "real-world" system administration skills on Solaris, and it was my primary operating system at work for a few years, while simultaneously running Linux at home.

But on Solaris I always needed to add the GNU programs (and others) that came with Linux, and then try to keep up with their updates. (I made a now-obsolete web page [Funknet version] just for this purpose.) Also, release upgrades were best done as reinstalls. In the Linux world, I found that Debian made keeping up with updates and upgrades quite simple. Now I run Debian on production servers primarily because of those attributes (plus the long-term stability of Debian's stable releases).

It will be interesting to see a Solaris with some of my favorite server-relevant features of Debian. I wonder if it will run on the old sun4c and sun4m shoeboxes I have in the basement. Of course, I also wonder what I'd do with them if it did; I haven't even put Linux on them, and I know that would work.

Meanwhile, OpenBSD has a new release with some interesting new networking features, but until they improve the update/upgrade mechanism quite a bit (preferably to Debian's level), I'm unlikely to use it for much.
Mood:: 'geeky' geeky
rfunk: (Default)
Every six months for more than five years now, I've been buying the new release of OpenBSD. Yet I haven't actually installed one of those new releases in almost four years, and haven't actually used OpenBSD in over two years.

So why do I keep buying it? Mostly to support three major aspects. (Non-geeks may want to skip to the last one.)

1. Security - OpenBSD's approach to security is one that deserves attention and support. And since their security solutions often find their way out to the world beyond OpenBSD (OpenSSH being the most prominent example), supporting OpenBSD supports security on Linux and other systems.

2. Free Software Activism - With the popularization of binary-only Linux drivers and software, and the concurrent marginalization of the GNU Project, OpenBSD has become the foremost twister-of-arms in the struggle to get not only useful software under completely-free licenses but also the information necessary to run that software on today's hardware. This work on the part of the OpenBSD people benefits Linux people too. (See also #3 below.)

3. Music - How many operating systems include an original song with each release? Thanks to Ty Semaka, OpenBSD has been doing it for eight releases now, and each one has a different style - techno, industrial, lounge (Bond theme-ish), anthemic hard rock, folk balladry with two types of hip-hop mixed in, Pythonic, Johnny Cash-ish, and now Floydian. They started out as theme songs of a sort, but starting with OpenBSD 3.3's "Puff The Barbarian" they became allegorical commentaries on the political issues the project had been facing, usually related to their efforts related to #2 above. The latest song, for the upcoming OpenBSD 3.7 release, is "Wizard of OS", a Pink Floyd style commentary on closed-specification hardware with a chorus of "Ding dong the lawyer's dead / You're off to see the Wizard kid". (The comments alongside those lyrics help explain my #2 above too.) Presumably the Dark Side of the Moon sound is a nod to the idea of that album being used as a soundtrack to The Wizard of Oz.

But my favorite OpenBSD song remains the second one, OpenBSD 3.1's "Systemagic", with its vampire-slayer motif, goth-industrial sound, and verses like:
Cybersluts vit undead guts
Transyl-viral coffin muck
Penguin lurking under bed
Puffy hoompa on your head

Oh yeah, and if I ever need to set up a secure web server quickly, I always have the install CDs on hand, though for long-term maintainability I still prefer Debian.
Music:: Ty Semaka - "Systemagic"
Mood:: 'geeky' geeky


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