This porting effort has long been abandoned. It has had no updates since October 2002. The information in this page is only for historical purposes.
Debian GNU/NetBSD (i386) was a port of the Debian Operating System to the NetBSD kernel and libc (not to be confused with the other Debian BSD ports based on glibc). At the time it was abandoned (around October 2002), it was in an early stage of development - however, it was installable from scratch.
There was also an attempt to start a Debian GNU/NetBSD (alpha) port, which could be run from a chroot in a native NetBSD (alpha) system, but was not able to boot of its own, and was using most of the native NetBSD libraries. A status message was sent to the list.
- Experimental install floppies are now available for installing a Debian GNU/NetBSD system.
- Matthew hacked ifupdown in a workable state.
- Matthew has reported that shadow support and PAM works on NetBSD now. fakeroot seems to work on FreeBSD, but still has issues on NetBSD.
- Nathan has just reported that he got Debian GNU/FreeBSD to boot multiuser. Also, he's working on a packages-only install (using a hacked debootstrap) featuring a considerably smaller tarball.
- According to Joel gcc-2.95.4 passed most of its test-suite and is packaged.
- X11 works on NetBSD! Again, kudos to Joel Baker
- First step towards a Debian/*BSD archive:
Joel Baker announced a duploadable archive for FreeBSD and NetBSD Debian packages.
- Debian GNU/NetBSD now self-hosting! Note that it still needs a working NetBSD for installation.
- The Debian GNU/*BSD port now has a webpage!
Why Debian GNU/NetBSD?
- NetBSD runs on hardware unsupported by Linux. Porting Debian to the NetBSD kernel increases the number of platforms that can run a Debian-based operating system.
- The Debian GNU/Hurd project demonstrates that Debian is not tied to one specific kernel. However, the Hurd kernel was still relatively immature - a Debian GNU/NetBSD system would be usable at a production level.
- Lessons learned from the porting of Debian to NetBSD can be used in porting Debian to other kernels (such as those of FreeBSD and OpenBSD).
- In contrast to projects like Fink, Debian GNU/NetBSD did not exist in order to provide extra software or a Unix-style environment to an existing OS (the *BSD ports trees are already comprehensive, and they unarguably provide a Unix-style environment). Instead, a user or administrator used to a more traditional Debian system would feel comfortable with a Debian GNU/NetBSD system immediately and competent in a relatively short period of time.
- Not everybody likes the *BSD ports tree or the *BSD userland (this is a personal preference thing, rather than any sort of comment on quality). Linux distributions have been produced which provide *BSD style ports or a *BSD style userland for those who like the BSD user environment but also wish to use the Linux kernel - Debian GNU/NetBSD is the logical reverse of this, allowing people who like the GNU userland or a Linux-style packaging system to use the NetBSD kernel.
- Because we can.
There is a Debian GNU/*BSD mailing list. Most of the historic discussions about this port happened there, which are accessible from the web archives at https://lists.debian.org/debian-bsd/.