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The NetBSD Foundation Press Release: Sun Hardware donation

May 9, 2005  The NetBSD Foundation is pleased to announce the generous donation of two machines from Sun Microsystems for the purpose of advancing the development of The NetBSD Packages Collection under Solaris.

The NetBSD Packages Collection, also known as pkgsrc, is a framework for building third-party software on NetBSD and other UNIX-like systems, currently containing over 5400 packages. The pkgsrc framework was derived from FreeBSD's ports system, and initially developed for NetBSD only, but has since been ported to a number of operating systems with Solaris being the oldest non-NetBSD platform supported by pkgsrc.

Sun Microsystems recognizes the NetBSD Project's portability efforts and noticed the various advantages of pkgsrc's cross-platform package management capabilities. The results of the bulk-builds run by various volunteers show that already there are over 2000 packages that build flawlessly under Solaris.

In order to support and further the development efforts of the NetBSD Packages team, to promote the build of binary packages for Solaris 8, Solaris 9 and Solaris 10 and to enhance the support of the Sun Forte Compiler chain, Sun Microsystems has donated one SunBlade 1000 with 2x600mhz SPARCIII processors and one Dell Precision 2650 with 2 x 3GHz Xeon Processors to the NetBSD Project. Both machines are running Solaris 8; Sun also provided licenses for SunOne Studio 9.

We are very glad to have received this donation, said Jan Schaumann, a NetBSD developer and System Administrator at Stevens Institute of Technology, where the machines are hosted. Trying to maintain a cross-platform environment requires a rock-solid and stable package management system.

The NetBSD Packages collection now runs on every major Unix platform and allows system administrators to keep thousands of third-party applications easily up-to-date, he continued. Having these two machines available to continually bulk-build all available packages on two different hardware architectures (x86 and sparc), a commercial OS sufficiently different from NetBSD and with different compiler tool chains (gcc and Sun Forte) is an invaluable resource that will point out where our infrastructure needs improvements.

Sun is looking forward to working with the NetBSD Project, and certainly wants to support the pkgsrc efforts, commented Alan DuBoff, a member of Solaris Engineering at Sun. We would very much like to see pkgsrc build even bigger binary packages such as KDE using the Forte compiler, which is why we have gladly donated these two machines.

The build machines are running Solaris 8, and coupled with the excellent history of Solaris binary compatibility, the binary packages we are providing will run on Solaris 8, 9, 10 and beyond without modification, explained Grant Beattie, the NetBSD developer who set up the machines and performs the bulk-builds on them. pkgsrc's modular compiler framework allows us to build a large number of packages with the Sun Forte compiler without modification, even when packages themselves use gcc-specific options. Also, with a single ABI variable, we are able to select between 32-bit or 64-bit binaries, again without any changes required to packages themselves.

Binary packages resulting from the bulk-builds on these two machines are uploaded to the NetBSD Project's ftp server, with the reports being mailed to the pkgsrc-bulk mailing list.

Further information about the NetBSD Project and the NetBSD Packages collection is available online at http://www.NetBSD.org and http://www.pkgsrc.org respectively. For general information about Sun's Solaris Operating System, see http://www.sun.com/solaris/.


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