FreeBSD's problems as seen by the community

Kris Kennaway kris at
Fri Jan 11 03:21:25 PST 2008

Kris Kennaway wrote:
> Dominic Fandrey wrote:
>> Hello,
>> I'm writing this mail on behalf of the largest German BSD community
>> ( Some of our most respected and experienced 
>> community
>> members have stopped using FreeBSD entirely, especially professional 
>> users
>> have taken this step.
>> Many of us are very attached to FreeBSD and those of us who turn our 
>> backs to
>> the system consider this a personal loss.
>> This mail is the result of a forum thread that consists of more than 
>> 200 posts
>> (still growing) that started in October 2007
>> ( It is meant to sum up 
>> the
>> causes of this development, the reasons we see for this and what we think
>> might be promising ways to try solve these problems; at least in the 
>> areas we
>> were able to achieve consent.
>> The first problem is the unbearable performance many AMD users are 
>> suffering
>> for several chipset and CPU generations. Even minimal I/O load on a 
>> hard disk
>> suffices to lock up whole systems. Posts on the mailinglists current and
>> stable have often been answered with denial or have simply been 
>> ignored. Only
>> on very rare occasions (if at all) have these problems been taken 
>> seriously.
>> The second big problem is the handling of regressions. PRs remain 
>> unanswered
>> or the reporters are told that the regressions they report do not 
>> exist. Some
>> of our members have even suffered the experience that they developed a 
>> patch,
>> but it simply was ignored or turned down for the reason that it was a 
>> "Linux
>> solution". Especially frustrating for those among us who have never 
>> looked at
>> Linux code.
>> These problems seem to be exceptions, but they are very persistent 
>> exceptions.
>>  Problems concerning code that is currently being worked on are shown 
>> much
>> attention, feedback and patches are happily taken and the developers 
>> supply
>> the problem reporter with steps to take in order to track down these 
>> problems.
>> The problem seems, in our opinion, to reside with unmaintained code. 
>> It seems
>> that nobody wants to take responsibility for code that has been 
>> untouched for
>> a longer period of time. This is quite understandable, considering that
>> developers already have projects they're working on and probably 
>> consider much
>> more important, but that does not make it less of a problem.
>> What we think might be a solution to the regression problem, would be the
>> establishing of a Regressions Team, similar to other teams like the 
>> Security
>> Team. The sole purpose of this team would be to take care of 
>> regressions that
>> concern unmaintained code.
>> To solve the performance problems it appears to us, that a guide to 
>> tracking
>> performance problems or a performance test suite is required. This would
>> hopefully allow us to write PRs and emails that would be taken more 
>> seriously.
>> - Dominic Fandrey on behalf of community
> Thanks for the feedback.  It is hard to respond to the reports of poor 
> performance or other problems without specific information though.

FYI this was not a dismissal, it was an invitation for you to follow up 
with the specific problems your members have seen so we can try to 
evaluate them.


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