NetBSD was originally derived from the 4.3BSD release from the Computer Systems Research Group of the University of California, Berkeley, via the Networking/2 and 386BSD releases.
The project began as a result of frustration within the 386BSD developer community with the pace and direction of the operating system's development. The four founders of the NetBSD project, Chris Demetriou, Theo de Raadt, Adam Glass and Charles Hannum, felt that a more open development model would be beneficial to the project; one which was centered on portable, clean, correct code.
Their aim was to produce a unified, multi-platform, production-quality, BSD-based operating system. The name "NetBSD" was suggested by de Raadt, based on the importance and growth of networks such as the Internet at that time, and distributed, collaborative nature of its development.