On Wed, Mar 27, 2013 at 12:08:51PM -0700, Chuck Guzis wrote:
> On 03/27/2013 09:35 AM, Alexey G. Khramkov wrote:
> >Please, don't do this. 
> >I've jumped from OpenBSD to NetBSD boat when SCSI driver were 
> >rewritten to the "new" version (between 3.1-stable and 3.2-stable), 
> >and my "very branded" HP NetServer with AIC-7770 (which can work on 
> >IRQ 14 when primary IDE channel is disabled or IRQ 15 when IDE channel 
> >is enabled, no other IRQs are possible) ceased to work. For now, my 
> >old Acer netbook with AMD Turion processor is "too old" for NetBSD (my 
> >touchpad doesn't work "out of the box"). That's why I'm reading this 
> >mail list. Just FYI.
> I've got to join my voice with Alexey here.  A good part of my work is 
> resurrecting and keeping old specialized industrial equipment going.  
> This is the world where 8" floppies are not uncommon and I get requests 
> to retrieve data from old DC300XL QIC carts.   Since the controller (and 
> any interface cards) are part of what makes the equipment go, it just 
> isn't a matter of getting a new commodity box and installing new 
> software.  If you have a quarter-million invested in a specialized tool, 
> it pays to keep it going as long as possible.

Believe me, I work with vintage equipment too.  We keep a library of
old equipment in good working order for data transfer, and porting.  I
have 9-track tape and five disk ][ units about 10 yards from me as I
am writing this, so I am hardly unaware of these needs by a long shot.

> My point (and I think, Alexey's) is that not everyone uses BSD for 
> browsing the web and exchanging email.  There are still some 
> applications out there that are still running on the same equipment from 
> 20 years ago.

But do you keep those applications ported to the latest OpenBSD releases?
Do you run -current on your 486s?
Do you really use a recent OpenBSD version to read QIC carts?

If anything Alexey's post proves that people *don't* do these things - he
jumped ship when OpenBSD stopped supporting the hardware, even though it
would probably have been trivial to fix, (and I am quite interested in
what the problem with the SCSI adaptor actually is).

> I find that NetBSD's "Of course it runs NetBSD" slogan rings a little
> hollow these days.

It does, but perhaps there is a reason for that.

> Perhaps expecting software to run on both new and old gear isn't 
> practical.

It's not.  At the moment we are holding back the potential of the system
in order to cater for older machines.  Yes, I know I'm going to draw a
lot of people's wrath for saying that, but it's true.  Whether that is
a bad thing or not, I don't know.  Maybe it isn't - see my previous post
where I defended keeping the ISA drivers around for educational purposes.

I don't really know where we're going with this issue, but it's something
that needs to be discusses, and I'm glad that we're doing just that,
because it's precisely what this list is for.

> If that's the case, I'll continue to hang onto my old copies 
> of distros, the same way that I hang onto copies of MS-DOS, Windows 3.1 
> and Windows 98.

Don't forget, though, this *is* open source.  If the project officially
drops support for anything you like, ultimately you are free to fork it.

Or, more realistically, perhaps you could just choose to maintain the
-patch branch of a particular version that was of interest to you.  For
example, if we stopped supporting 486 in 6.0, by way of example, what
is to stop you taking 6.0 and maintaining a -patch branch of it for
ever more, backporting any new security and other important patches?

Frankly, that would probably benefit the community much more than trying
to keep the main distribution working on ancient kit forever more.

Please don't put too much weight on a comment which was said quite
casually as a small part of a much wider discussion.


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