The beastie boot menu.

Paul Robinson paul at
Tue Nov 30 01:29:09 PST 2004

On Tue, Nov 30, 2004 at 09:06:42AM +0000, Eric Kjeldergaard wrote:

> Well, I should say that the FreeBSD team has made an official
> statement regarding that.
> This seems to outline the goals of FreeBSD.  Now it is true that these
> goals are a bit "vague", but that is because FreeBSD is what we OSSers
> call very very large. 

That is not an outline of the FreeBSD project. That is an outline of the
open source movement operating under a BSD license. Technically, Apache
has the same project goals as FreeBSD if you consider that section to be
our project goals.

I think what is being asked for is a clear direction. OpenBSD strives to
be the most secure OS. NetBSD strives to run on the most platforms. OS X
strives to be the best consumer OS. What does FreeBSD strive to be? What
direction is the project taking?

For example, one bikeshed inadvertently kicked off by myself a year or
two back was how much effort should go into making FreeBSD "BSD-pure" so
that it was an attractive OS for commercial entities to put into their
own applications, embedded devices, etc. Another bikeshed was how much
effort should be put into making FreeBSD easy enough to install and
manage that our technically incompetent relatives could use it. There
are arguments on both sides of the camp, and ultimately what results is
code forks - DragonFly is a fork resulting from a clear vision of what
FreeBSD should be that went unsupported by many people involved in
FreeBSD. This is nothing to be ashamed of, but the chance we could have
taken then to say "look, this is really what FreeBSD is about" and let
people take that technology and do other things with it (yes, a bit like
Linux distros, I don't see the harm) is not something the project should
be scared of.

So, what is FreeBSD's objective? If as a project it's sole rasion d'etre
is to just exist for the sake of existing - for people who want to play
with developing a BSD Unix to be able to play with a BSD Unix then so be
it, let's clarify that. If it is to be a platform for other projects to
sprout from to hit certain needs (FreeSBIE, DragonFly, etc.) then let's
codify that and make it clear. If it is to provide the best BSD Unix on
the planet, then let's shout it from the rooftops. At the moment it's a
"thing a bit like Linux but it's BSD and it has really good
documentation and a decent-ish package/ports system". Which is
refreshing as mission statement go in it's naivety, but not going to
attract developers.

This is quickly going to bikeshed if we're not careful, but I think IMHO
FreeBSD should aim to be the best of breed in some core technologies and
make it easy to build application servers - want a desktop? do this;
want a web server? here, we made it easy for you. It's a niche the
project already fills but doesn't shout about. We don't talk about what
FreeBSD is great at because we don't know what it should be great at.

Paul Robinson 
"All I know is I'm not a Marxist" - Karl Marx

More information about the freebsd-chat mailing list