Annotation of wikisrc/guide/intro.mdwn, revision 1.1

1.1     ! jdf         1: # What is NetBSD?
        !             2: 
        !             3: NetBSD is a free, fast, secure, and highly portable Unix-like Open Source 
        !             4: operating system. It is available for many platforms, from 64-bit x86 servers 
        !             5: and PC desktop systems to embedded ARM and MIPS based devices. Its clean design 
        !             6: and advanced features make it excellent in both production and research 
        !             7: environments, and it is user-supported with complete source. Many applications 
        !             8: are easily available through pkgsrc, the NetBSD Packages Collection.
        !             9: 
        !            10: ## The story of NetBSD
        !            11: 
        !            12: The first version of NetBSD (0.8) dates back to 1993 and springs from the 4.3BSD 
        !            13: Lite operating system, a version of Unix developed at the University of 
        !            14: California, Berkeley (BSD = Berkeley Software Distribution), and from the 386BSD 
        !            15: system, the first BSD port to the Intel 386 CPU. In the following years, 
        !            16: modifications from the 4.4BSD Lite release (the last release from the Berkeley 
        !            17: group) were integrated into the system. The BSD branch of Unix has had a great 
        !            18: importance and influence on the history of Unix-like operating systems, to which 
        !            19: it has contributed many tools, ideas and improvements which are now standard: 
        !            20: the vi editor, the C shell, job control, the Berkeley fast file system, reliable 
        !            21: signals, support for virtual memory and TCP/IP, just to name a few. This 
        !            22: tradition of research and development survives today in the BSD systems and, in 
        !            23: particular, in NetBSD.
        !            24: 
        !            25: ## NetBSD features
        !            26: 
        !            27: NetBSD operates on a vast range of hardware platforms and is very portable. The 
        !            28: full source to the NetBSD kernel and userland is available for all the supported 
        !            29: platforms; please see the details on the official site of the [NetBSD 
        !            30: Project](http://www.NetBSD.org/).
        !            31: 
        !            32: A detailed list of NetBSD features can be found at: 
        !            33: [http://www.NetBSD.org/about/features.html](http://www.NetBSD.org/about/features.html).
        !            34: 
        !            35: The basic features of NetBSD are:
        !            36: 
        !            37:  * Code quality and correctness
        !            38:  * Portability to a wide range of hardware
        !            39:  * Secure defaults
        !            40:  * Adherence to industry standards
        !            41:  * Research and innovation
        !            42: 
        !            43: These characteristics bring also indirect advantages. For example, if you work 
        !            44: on just one platform you could think that you're not interested in portability. 
        !            45: But portability is tied to code quality; without a well written and well 
        !            46: organized code base it would be impossible to support a large number of 
        !            47: platforms. And code quality is the base of any good and solid software system, 
        !            48: though surprisingly few people seem to understand it.
        !            49: 
        !            50: One of the key characteristics of NetBSD is that its developers are not 
        !            51: satisfied with partial implementations. Some systems seem to have the philosophy 
        !            52: of *If it works, it's right.* In that light NetBSD's philosophy could be 
        !            53: described as *It doesn't work unless it's right*. Think about how many 
        !            54: overgrown programs are collapsing under their own weight and "features"
        !            55: and you'll understand why NetBSD tries to avoid this situation at all costs.
        !            56: 
        !            57: ## Supported platforms
        !            58: 
        !            59: NetBSD supports many platforms, including the popular PC platform (i386 and 
        !            60: amd64), SPARC and UltraSPARC, Alpha, Amiga, Atari, and m68k and PowerPC based 
        !            61: Apple Macintosh machines. Technical details for all of them can be found on
        !            62: [the NetBSD site](http://www.NetBSD.org/ports/).
        !            63: 
        !            64: ## NetBSD's target users
        !            65: 
        !            66: The NetBSD site states that: *The NetBSD Project provides a freely available and 
        !            67: redistributable system that professionals, hobbyists, and researchers can use in 
        !            68: whatever manner they wish*. It is also an ideal system if you want to learn 
        !            69: Unix, mainly because of its adherence to standards (one of the project goals) 
        !            70: and because it works equally well on the latest PC hardware as well as on 
        !            71: hardware which is considered obsolete by many other operating systems. To learn 
        !            72: and use Unix you don't need to buy expensive hardware; you can use that old PC 
        !            73: or Mac in your attic. It is important to note that although NetBSD runs on old 
        !            74: hardware, modern hardware is well supported and care has been taken to ensure 
        !            75: that supporting old machines does not inhibit performance on modern hardware. In 
        !            76: addition, if you need a Unix system which runs consistently on a variety of 
        !            77: platforms, NetBSD is probably your best choice.
        !            78: 
        !            79: ## Applications for NetBSD
        !            80: 
        !            81: Aside from the standard Unix productivity tools, editors, formatters, C/C++ 
        !            82: compilers and debuggers and so on that are included with the base system, there 
        !            83: is a huge collection of packages (currently over 8,000) that can be installed 
        !            84: both from source and in pre-compiled form. All the packages that you expect to 
        !            85: find on a well configured system are available for NetBSD for free. The 
        !            86: framework that makes this possible, pkgsrc, also includes a number of commercial 
        !            87: applications. In addition, NetBSD provides binary emulation for various other 
        !            88: \*nix operating systems, allowing you to run non-native applications. Linux 
        !            89: emulation is probably the most relevant example. You can run the Linux versions 
        !            90: of
        !            91: 
        !            92:  * Firefox
        !            93:  * the Adobe Flash player plugin
        !            94:  * Acrobat Reader
        !            95:  * many other programs
        !            96: 
        !            97: ## How to get NetBSD
        !            98: 
        !            99: NetBSD is an Open Source operating system, and as such it is freely available 
        !           100: for download from [ftp.NetBSD.org](ftp://ftp.NetBSD.org) and its 
        !           101: [mirrors](http://www.NetBSD.org/mirrors/).
        !           102: 
        !           103: There is no "official" supplier of NetBSD CD-ROMs but there are various 
        !           104: resellers. You can find the most up to date list on the relevant 
        !           105: [page](http://www.NetBSD.org/sites/cdroms.html) on the NetBSD site.
        !           106: 

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