[TUHS] Code bloat (was: How Unix brings people together, or it's a small...)

Jason Stevens jsteve at superglobalmegacorp.com
Wed Feb 8 13:56:37 AEST 2017

What about NetBSD 1.1 or even 386BSD?

There never was a 4.2 or 4.3 for i386 was there?

I'd guess the 32v userland could be built on early 4.4BSD Lite/NET2 greatly reducing its footprint.

On February 8, 2017 11:47:03 AM GMT+08:00, Nick Downing <downing.nick at gmail.com> wrote:
>This is an issue that interests me quite a bit, since I was running
>FreeBSD in an effort to get around Linux bloat problems discussed.
>Well not that I really mind Linux as a user interface / runtime
>environment / main development machine, but I think it probably
>shouldn't be used as a "least common denominator" for development
>since you end up introducing unwanted dependencies on a whole lot of
>So I was running FreeBSD as a more minimal *nix. I did quite a lot of
>interesting stuff with FreeBSD such as setting up diskless
>workstations in my home, etc. I spent a lot of time tinkering around
>in the kernel code. I was planning to do some serious development on
>4.4BSDLite or FreeBSD to create an operating system more to my liking.
>So, I was looking carefully at differences since ancient *nixes.
>And, I can say that FreeBSD is pretty bloated. Umm well they've added
>SMP, at the time it was using the Giant Lock although that could be
>fixed by now. They've added VFS and NFS of course. They've added an
>entire subsystem for block devices IIRC that handles partitioning and
>possibly some other sophisticated stuff, which I believe is their own
>design. Umm the kqueues and I believe they have their own
>implementation of kernel threading or lightweight processes including
>some sort of idle daemon. The network stack is heavily upgraded, to
>the extent I looked into it, the added features are things you would
>want (syncookies = DOS protection, etc) but also could not possibly be
>called minimal, and would preclude running it on other than a
>multi-megabyte machine. They have multiple ABIs so the kernel can
>accept Linux or BSD syscalls or whatever else (I used it to run
>Acrobat Reader Linux on my FreeBSD desktop). Umm I am pretty sure they
>have kernel modules ala Linux. Lots and lots and lots of stuff... and
>that's only considering the kernel. If you look in the ports
>collection you see they have incredible amounts of bloat there too...
>for instance GNOME, Libreoffice, LATEX, gcc, python... not that I'm
>denigrating these tools, since they do invaluable work and I use them
>every day, but the point is, you CANNOT call them minimal.
>The quest for a clean minimal system goes on ->. FreeBSD is not the
>answer. In fact I believe 4.3BSD-Reno and 4.4 go strongly offtrack.
>cheers, Nick
>On Wed, Feb 8, 2017 at 1:55 PM, Greg 'groggy' Lehey <grog at lemis.com>
>> On Tuesday,  7 February 2017 at 15:38:40 -0800, Steve Johnson wrote:
>>> Looking back, the social dynamics of the Unix group helped a lot in
>>> keeping the bloat small.   The rule was, whoever touches something
>>> last becomes its owner.  Of course, we were all free to complain
>>> about things, and did, but the amalgamation of tinkerings that
>>> characterizes most of the Linux commands just didn't happen.
>> Out of interest: where do you (or others) consider that the current
>> BSD projects it in this comparison?
>> Greg
>> --
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