Hyperbolabsd project

This is not recent news, but the hyperbola linux distro is planning to become an OS with a BSD kernel and a mix of Debian and Arch software repos.

There is an ItsFOSS article on the topic

It is significant because , if they achieve their goal, it would be an incursion of GNU licensing into the BSD world.

I like the project for a number of reasons

  • it embraces software freedom… I like to have choices for components of a system
  • it is a different direction… definately not just another debian clone
  • I have a soft spot for bsd

I am not saying it is for everyone, just that the fact that it exists means our future is protected by that little bit of extra diversity.

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Hmm, interesting. It does feel a bit like they are so focused on making something perfect, that it’s not even clear if they will even ever be able to complete their goal. I am not sure how much work they’ve taken on in the article you posted, but it seems like a lot of work - I would be surprised if they are even close to done. In a way, I have to give them some credit for that - sticking to their guns as it were.

Have you used Hyperbola, Neville? Is it worth looking into?

Hi Jimmy,
I am going to have a look. I downloaded the current version called “Milky-Way”, which is not BSD, but has many of their other features. It was a torrent download.

I will do an install, which is quite a job because it is like Gentoo… it does not have an installer, it uses a series of Linux commands . It remains to be seen if it will even run on my hardware.

I was not implying that it would be useful to anyone at the moment… It is early days, as you say. The BSD version is scheduled for 2024.
It is just nice to know some people are trying a new initiative. That is where real progress is made. We have to let these creative people have a go.

Of course, as they say “let them cook”.

When I mentioned how much work they took on, I was just stating that it seemed to be a bit much for a small team - maybe they have a huge team but it doesn’t seem like it. I am sure they have some support from the GNU Project though, so that helps. Their goal is taking an OS that is maybe 70% free and making it 100% free. While I don’t think I feel as strongly as them on that kind of thing, I would agree that is a good goal. However, a goal that is never completed never helps anyone. If you could take that same OS that is 70% free and make it 75% free, that is still a good improvement, and it may be more achievable.

If they are going to release Hyperbola BSD, then we will be able to see what they have been able to achieve towards their goals. That might be really good.

Agree, but having a “goal in the stars” that you never achieve is not really a failure, as long as you move a little in that direction.
There are a few outstanding distros that are substantially the result of a one-person initiative… with some support of course. They tend to falter when that one person
inevitably disappears, but they are boldly different. Examples: Solus and Void and PCLinuxOS. I think Hyperbola is one of those.

That’s true. I think the small, but significant improvements aren’t as “sexy” as the big ideas. Think about GNU’s overall project to make an OS back in the late 80s/early 90s versus as if they just said “We’re going to make a kernel for fun” or “We’re going to make a version of the Bourne Shell”. The bigger overall goal was a lot harder to accomplish, but it was also what made people want to work towards it in the first place.

Yeah, and I’ve seen this in my own life - sometimes you just need a person who people can turn to when a decision needs to be made. The decision that is reached doesn’t have to be “the best” decision, its more important that progress is made over doing “the best” thing. Sometimes you do need to spend significant time to find the best way to do something, and sometimes its better to just get started working on something then spending time agonizing over the decision. If you have a good leader, then the project should be able to decide between those situations.

I will say, interestingly enough, that the opposite sort of happened with EndeavorOS. It started out as just a continuation of the community from the Antergos distro that had folded, and I believe initially there wasn’t any plan for a distro at all. So instead of one person being the impetus for the distro it was many that resulted in its creation.

In the scientific area, the most important advances come from what is called a ‘paradigm shift’. Read Thomas Kuhn… “The structure of scientific revolutions”
Sometimes it is one person… like Einstein, or Copernicus… sometimes a group. It is rarely planned… people just fall over new ideas

There was a lot of debate in my work days about planning of research , setting goals, having programs, etc, versus just letting people freewheel and see what they trip over.
There was also much debate about what they called ‘pie in the sky projects’ versus planned and budgeted efforts with more modest goals.
I dont think it was ever settled, but the accountants usually ended up winning.

There was a saying “you have to keep turning over stones” meaning that if you stop looking, you will never discover anything.
That is what real software initiatives should be about.

That is very insightful, Neville. Thank you!

I think it is interesting to apply what we are talking about the academia/research. I did a bit of research in my master’s degree, but it has been some time. The company I work for is pretty focused on innovations, however, I am not really in the position to do most of those innovations, I more test them to make sure they work. However, in general companies due tend towards the practical than the ‘pie in the sky’ stuff. However, you do see it sometimes when someone comes up with a crazy idea that works, as you said, it ends up changing everything (and not always for the better - but hopefully for the better).

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