NetBSD

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NetBSD
Architecture: multiplatform
Current Version: NetBSD 3.1 (November 4, 2006)
Date Released: 1993


NetBSD is a bit of a blessing for many hobbyists, as it includes support for the VAX, Amiga, 68k Macs, various Sun systems like the Sun-3 as well as a wide variety of toasters and the HP300. You might want to check the entire list at the NetBSD list of ports. There's even some discussion of a port to PDP-10s!

NetBSD started out as a derivative of 386BSD, as at the time it was a collection of patches to 386BSD. People grew dissatisfied with the lack of updates with 386BSD, and how the patchkit kept getting larger and larger & unwieldy leading to the various authors of the patches to start their own fork of 386BSD, called NetBSD as it was created on the 'internet'.

NetBSD focused on portability of the code, to various platforms, however no strong leadership has ever emerged in the NetBSD camp, and has languished.

Needless to say, as long as people are willing to write & use it, NetBSD will continue to exist, but it's always had the lowest numbers of any of the freely available BSD's.

It's worth noting that a political fight within NetBSD led to the formation of OpenBSD.

Running NetBSD on a VAX