projects to better support FreeBSD sysadmins

Joshua Smith juicewvu at
Wed Jan 14 02:41:05 UTC 2015

> On Jan 13, 2015, at 6:14 PM, Royce Williams <royce at> wrote:
> At Craig Rodrigues' request, I'm starting a new thread here branched
> from a freebsd-ports@ thread.  For those who want more context, the
> original thread starts here:
> It was initially about BIND REPLACE_BASE, but branched off into
> general sysadmin concerns that Craig wanted to respond to.
> Royce
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> From: Royce Williams <royce at>
> Date: Mon, Jan 12, 2015 at 7:10 AM
> Subject: Re: BIND REPLACE_BASE option
> To: ports <freebsd-ports at>
> Cc: Deb Goodkin <deb at>
> On Mon, Jan 12, 2015 at 4:08 AM, Kurt Jaeger <lists at> wrote:
>>> No disputing that, just thinking, is FreeBSD being driven by user need,
>>> financial contributer need, developer need, security need, making things
>>> 'better' or just by people wanting to make their mark in a warped sense
>>> of "it'll all get better"...?
>> Probably by developer *capacity* (not need) and fire-fighting,
>> like most IT stuff 8-(
> But like most IT stuff, resources are being asymmetrically applied to
> the root causes of the fires.
> Read the list of projects from last quarter:
> - Address Space Layout Randomization (ASLR)

I would hardly consider this esoteric. 

> - amd64 Xen Paravirtualization
> - bhyve

The ability for FreeBSD to host VMs is definitely something that I find very interesting and useful. I am a sysadmin. 

> - Chelsio iSCSI Offload Support
> - Debian GNU/kFreeBSD
> - FreeBSD Preseed Installation (PXE)

This also fits right in the making a sysadmin a life easier wheel house. 

> - Jenkins Continuous Integration for FreeBSD
> - New Automounter

An auto mounter that behaves more like what is in other unixes also improves my life as a sysadmin. 

> - QEMU bsd-user-Enabled Ports Building
> - VMWare VAAI and Microsoft ODX Acceleration in CTL

Not really sysadmin focused but definitely not esoteric. 

> - ZFSguru
> - Intel GPU Driver Update
> - SDIO Driver
> - UEFI Boot

Like it or not UEFI is the future supporting it well is not optional. 

> - Updated vt(4) System Console
> - Updating OpenCrypto
> - FreeBSD on Newer ARM Boards

> - FreeBSD/arm64
> - LLDB Debugger Port
> - LLVM Address Sanitizer (Asan)
> - SSE Variants of libc Routines for amd64
> - FreeBSD Python Ports
> - KDE on FreeBSD
> - The Graphics Stack on FreeBSD
> - Xfce
> The Foundation section also lists these items not overlapping with the above:
> - FreeBSD Journal
> - PostgreSQL performance improvements
> - Ongoing release process
> - Development snapshots

A better release process will likely benefit me as a sysadmin. 

> - VM images for releases

Being able to boot the base system on the hyper visor of my choice with out having to muddle through the installer is a huge time saver and a bandit of sysadmin a everywhere. 

> - Secure Boot planning
> - Infrastructure hardware
> - Java licensing
> - Summits and summit sponsorship
> - Travel grants, tutorials, and talks
> - New Design and Implementation book
> - Recruitment flyers
> Are there long-term improvement projects that aren't being listed?  If
> so, they should be.

These are just projects sponsored by the foundation. I'm sure there are many other developments occurring throughout the project that are not listed here because they are not sponsored by the foundation. 

> At face value, the main project list is heavily weighted towards
> relatively esoteric OS features.

See my other comments above. Frankly this is a bullshit statement. 

> The Foundation list is heavily
> weighted towards advocacy and communication (as it should be).
> What is missing are high-level projects to help sysadmins maintain and
> use FreeBSD on an ongoing basis.
> Here are some projects that would help to close the sysadmin gap:
> - Automatic error reporting and analysis

A crash reporting mechanism already exists. 

> - OS and port debugging tools for sysadmins
> - Independent project-wide usability analysis

What does this mean? If you run into a usability or any other sort of problem. Submit a PR. 

> - Ports dependency isolation and reduction framework

Doesn't seem like a sysadmin type thing to me. 

> - Ports system reliability parity with Linuxes

Can you provide more details and expand upon this?

> - Searchable, taggable project FAQ

Any number of the projects above are far more beneficial to sysadmin a everywhere than this. 

> - Searchable hardware support matrix integrated with bug tracker

+1 for this. 

> - Wiki curation and platform improvements
> These projects decentralize and improve support for sysadmins and new
> adopters.  As a business case for the Foundation, these projects
> should also deeply free up developer resources to focus on other major
> projects.
> In the past, when I have pointed out this "sysadmin gap", I receive
> one of two answers:
> 1. Sounds great. Let us know when you have it finished.

Perhaps just getting started with something would entice support. 

> 2. We're too busy to do any of those things.
> ... to which I answer:
> 1. These projects require technical skill and political capital within
> the project.  They are ideally suited for well-established independent
> FreeBSD consultants with large blocks of time sponsored by the FreeBSD
> Foundation.  I can help (especially with the wiki work), but cannot
> tackle these deeper problems in the way that others can.
> 2. The reason you're busy is that you don't have these things.
> I applaud recent work on Jenkins and cluster infrastructure.  I also
> appreciate Colin Percival's automated error reporting work, because
> it directly attacks the sysadmin gap.  And I know that getting
> releases out the door is time-consuming and keeps the lights on.
> But the overall project list needed to be rebalanced towards system
> administration.  I request that the Foundation consider this when
> calling for proposals for the next round of funded projects.
> Royce
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