Future of FreeBSD

Atte Peltomaki koston at iki.fi
Sat Apr 10 07:03:47 PDT 2004

> >It still leaves me wonder - why is the user/developer-base so hostile
> >towards any critique on the system?
> I don't think we are.
> The problem is that most of us know and have known for a long time
> about these deficiencies and we really wish to get them fixed, only,

I think what we're in disagreement about here is what to define as "most
of us". If it's only developers, you're quite right. If the userbase
gets counted in too, then I'd say only a small fraction of people are
aware of the state of developement against what has been promised.  
> Right now, 5.3 does not look like it will be what we have expected
> and promised to deliver for 5-stable, and I don't see the miracle
> which will that happen this summer.
Frankly, I did not expect to hear this, least of all from any key
developer, but nonetheless I have felt for long this is indeed the case.
Very nice to see at least someone to say this straight up, false hopes
about release dates can very easily turn against you and bite you in the
ass. Not only the userbase feels they've been given false promises, it
also sets unneccessary pressure on programmers and increases possibility
of buggy code getting released.  

> So we have to decide what we are as a project:
> Is FreeBSD a hobby project which delivers what it can, when it can,
> based on whatever people contribute when they have time ?
> Or is FreeBSD as a project serious about being a qualified competitor
> in the operating system market ?

The way I see it, as long as there are no full-time programmers working
for FreeBSD, it's done from a hobby basis. It may be a high-quality,
professional standards filling operating system, but it is yet done
completely voluntarily. 

Perhaps the pressure of being professional is driving programmers past 
hobby limits, but still they aren't getting paid for it like they

There are indeed a number of factors fighting each other in the
scenario. Being professional requires certain features from the system
in certain time frame, but setting such requirements and limits for a
hobby - something that's done for fun in free time - is certainly not
good, and can easily lead to a lot of stress, thus, disappearance of the
> We do have a number of key developers who are employed by companies
> using FreeBSD and they get to spend a lot of time on the problems
> their companies see as important to FreeBSD.

This is only partially helping - these programmers are doing paid work
for FreeBSD, but they are doing work they feel important for them, and 
it may or may not be what's important for FreeBSD. 

> What we don't have an IBM, a RedHat or OSDL.org who are willing to
> employg developers to work full time on the problems that are
> important to FreeBSD.

Is this what FreeBSD wants? If so, what FreeBSD really wants is a PR
department. A strong and talented one. Currently, any PR issues are
being taken care of by people who clearly don't have a clue of what 
they're doing :) 

Raising funds for FreeBSD is a fine idea, having a full-time developer
or two seems to be exactly what the project needs. I'm making a promise
now to donate as soon as I find a real job.

Atte Peltomaki

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