polyBSD 0.1 reviewDownload
polyBSD is a "multi"-purpose (hence "poly") framework for building embedded systems based on NetBSD. Of the three major *BSD flavo
polyBSD is a "multi"-purpose (hence "poly") framework for building embedded systems based on NetBSD.
Of the three major *BSD flavors, FreeBSD and OpenBSD are often in the spotlight.
FreeBSD is touted for its stability, while OpenBSD usually claims the title of
the most secure operatin system available.
However, the third flavor (NetBSD) is what many consider to be the unsung hero - it has features that rival those of both FreeBSD and OpenBSD however is not often seen in the news. NetBSD has arguably the cleanest code base of all open source operating systems this fact has unforseen effect on its overall features. The reason for
NetBSD's clean code is the its stated goal to run on as many hardware architecture
as possible. In order to do that, the team behind NetBSD has been forced to write
code that is portable and easy to debug.
Portable code is achieved by using mostly libraries and functions that are likely to compile and run well on most platforms. In addition, in order to be able to reliably port the code to over 40 different architecture, the code has to be well written so that a large group of people can look at and understand it well so they can modify it easily and port it to a new architecture. But how does that translate into stability and security touted by FreeBSD and OpenBSD respectively. Well, clean code usually translates directly into stability - one can't expect a messy code to perform well or be easy to debug.
Clean code also leads to improved security - security bugs are easy to spot and
correct. Also the portability of the code ensures that only standard libraries
and functions are used. However, those standard libarries and functions are the
ones that have been around longer, which means they have been well tested and are
likely to contain the fewest number of security bugs.
The one feature that FreeBSD had long been able to claim exclusively is that in
terms of performance it blows all other *BSD flavors out of the water when it
comes to the i386 architecture.
However, this crown was recently captured by NetBSD thanks to an extensive performance benchmarking, the results of which are referenced on the section "NetBSD tools" on this site. So to sum it all up, NetBSD is no longer simply the portability prodigy on the block. It is a fast, rock-solid and secure operating system that can successfully meet the demands of the modern enterprise. That's the reason for it being used by the people behind this project to build some tools that will hopefully be useful.
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