How many bikesheds can _you_ build on a pin head ?

Poul-Henning Kamp phk at
Tue Nov 25 00:45:18 PST 2003

In message <20031125075733.GQ27235 at>, shaun at writes
>First, this can be moved right to -chat or /dev/null.

Without it being an attack on shauns probably well thought out email,
his offer in the first line of it is too good to pass.

This is an email to everybody who participated in the most recent
couple of bikesheds:

FreeBSD exists because the stuff in the CVS repos has value to people.

If FreeBSD starts to fall behind or even God forbid, downright suck,
people will abandon FreeBSD.

The people who improve the value of the CVS repos are called committers.

Committers are volounteers who do the best they can for free, more
often than not in their own spare time.

Committers have never been known to have large amounts of spare time
nor (with a few notable exceptions) a desire to receive as much email
as possible.

So all the time committers spend wading through bikesheds of email
is time they don't work on the code, docs or ports, and therefore
ipso facto time during which FreeBSD looses momentum.

And each of you, every time you feel like sending an email, therefore
get to decide, indirectly, if FreeBSD should have a future
or not.

Think about it this way, next time you press "reply":

	Would I rather have all the developers read my email or would
	I rather have them working on improving FreeBSD ?

Also, think about this:

You run, unquestioned code which does great and magic things deep
in the VM system, interrupt code, buffer cache, filesystems etc
etc, you don't even stop to think about how it actually works, you
trust the people who did it to know better than you.

But once it comes to a totally insignificant issue as to which
binaries are linked static and dynamic, you suddenly do not trust
the judgement of the same people, but feel that your views are
so important that it is paramount that they listen to you and
do exactly as you say because YOU KNOW BETTER!!!

That my friends, is how you could help kill BSD...

I have for myself recently taken a break from all active FreeBSD
development because I find the environment about as pleasant as a
kindergarten right before lunch.

If the project continues to degenerate into one bikeshed discussion
bigger than the next about issues of increasing irrelevance, then
I won't be able to persuade myself to go back in and suffer the
noise while I work on the really important things.


As for DFBSD staff posting to FreeBSD lists: the other 2-3 BSDs
have for ten years managed to coexist mostly peacefully because we
have respected each others mailing lists as not being suitable for
promoting our cause.  DFBSD would do well in adopting the same.

Poul-Henning has not been a core member for a number of years now,
so he obviously does not speak for core at .  He also does not speak
for the project as such.  He doesn't speak with any special authority
either.  He simply speaks for himself, as a committer who has been
one of the most active in the FreeBSD project for the last ten
years.  There, that should save a core member or two the trouble
of posting a disclaimer.  Hope you appreciate it :-)

PPPS: If you post this to SlashDot, DaemonNews or other such fora,
you're lame beyond imagination.

Poul-Henning Kamp       | UNIX since Zilog Zeus 3.20
phk at FreeBSD.ORG         | TCP/IP since RFC 956
FreeBSD committer       | BSD since 4.3-tahoe    
Never attribute to malice what can adequately be explained by incompetence.

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