CLARITY re: challenge: end of life for 6.2 is premature with buggy 6.3

Bruce M. Simpson bms at
Thu Jun 5 12:03:07 UTC 2008

Jo Rhett wrote:
> I am suggesting that given that the current bug list for 6.3-RELEASE 
> is both (a) too large and (b) breaks things that work fine in 6.2 ... 
> that I think pushing 6.2 (the real stable release) into EoL is a bit 
> rushed.  I sympathize with the development costs of maintaining old 
> versions.  Again, I will help in any way I can.

I'm sorry to hear about the problems you've been having.

    It is worth remembering that FreeBSD is an open source project, and 
it's maintained on a best-effort basis -- it is offered for free and 
without any warranty. Like any other open source project, risk 
management and change management becomes a two-way street, because 
that's the trade-off struck with the open source model.

    The risks, as well as the benefits, have to be factored in carefully 
to your company's technology strategy, as I'm sure you're aware.

    I'm very surprised that the 6.3 train has been a big issue for you, 
although speaking from the development side of the fence, there are a 
lot of moving targets, and vendor support of the OS does play a part.
    It is difficult to offer any more specific advice without knowing in 
more detail exactly what's causing such problems for you, although I see 
you've offered general pointers, the folk directly involved need to be 
pointed at direct information.
    The FreeBSD Project just doesn't have the resources to do 
compatibility testing on the scale of e.g. Windows Hardware Quality 
Labs, as I'm sure you are also aware.

    I take on board what you say about your organisation holding back on 
an upgrade because there are PRs filed for the hardware you use, and 
having worked in an investment banking environment, I understand this 
level of conservatism is warranted.

    However, I point out again: it's the open source model, and where 
hardware compatibility is concerned, it really is a case of "suck it and 
    Always has been, no different anywhere else. Open source requires 
user participation. Microsoft run the WHQL because their status as a 
going concern depends on it.

    I'm pleased to hear about your offer of hardware resources for 
developers. However, this is only part of the problem.
    To my mind, you need to find the right people, with the right 
skills, to deal with the issues, and quite often, those guys are already 
in demand, and thus their time can attract a high value. Open source 
succeeds because money is not the only motivation.
    The alternative is DIY, and that is "the point".

    If you need firm guarantees about support, consider contracting with 
someone to do that. Many companies using FreeBSD already outsource this 
kind of support requirement to 3rd parties. There are also FreeBSD 
hardware vendors who support FreeBSD as a platform.

If you want someone to take responsibility, make 'em an offer.


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