New release date for FreeBSD 5.0-RELEASE

Jordan Hubbard jkh at
Thu Aug 30 18:43:57 PDT 2001

As most of you know, 5.0-RELEASE was originally scheduled for November
2001, it being our intention to release 5.0 before the end of 2001
without also colliding with the Christmas / New Years holidays.

Unfortunately, a lot of the features on the TODO list for 5.0, such as
SMPng (next-generation symmetric multi-processing), KSE (kernel
scheduler entities) or support for a new architectures like the
PowerPC, SPARC64 or IA64 (Itanium) are nowhere close to being
complete.  Without these features, there's just not a lot of reason
for 5.0 to exist in non-snapshot form and it's therefore been decided
that rather than release 5.0 prematurely, we're going to give
ourselves the time we need to finish it properly.

It should also be noted that a lot of the resources which were
expected to be available to do this work have either not materialized
as expected or have dropped off the face of the earth.  There were 15
people (not counting Apple's participating engineers) involved at the
SMPng kick-off, for example, yet not a single one of them has been
actively involved with the project for the last 6 months, all such
work falling to a single engineer (John Baldwin) who was not even
present at the first planning meeting.

A lot of this is undoubtedly due to the economic down-turn and the
decline in resources which various companies have had available to
donate to such efforts, but we still have to take this into account in
our project planning and that's why the shipping date is going to be
pushed ahead as far as it is.  This is not a resource problem we're
going to overcome in the next couple of months, and slipping just a
little bit won't accomplish our goals, it will merely set us up for
another slip when the time comes.

* The projected ship date for FreeBSD 5.0-RELEASE is now November 1st, 2002 *

That will give us a full 14 months to finish the various works-in-progress
for 5.0-RELEASE and give it the kind of testing it will need to truly
be an improvement, from both a performance and a stability perspective,
over the 4.x branch.  We will continue to ship releases along the 4.x-STABLE
branch during the interval, of course, and will be constantly striving
to merge our best work from -CURRENT so that the -STABLE branch remains
a good place to be.  4.x-STABLE is one of this project's best branches
yet and running it is certainly no sacrifice, but we'll be making an
extra effort to ensure that staleness doesn't set in during its somewhat
extended lifetime.

Finally, I hope that the developers working on 5.0-CURRENT don't take
this as an excuse to down tools and take a few months off since that
will only ensure that we slip again.  We've taken on some truly
significant challenges with 5.0 and it will take everyone working as
hard as they can to both meet this new deadline and release something
that lives up to everyone's expectations.


- Jordan

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