FreeBSD's problems as seen by the community

Mark Linimon linimon at
Fri Jan 11 09:36:38 PST 2008

On Fri, Jan 11, 2008 at 04:17:56PM +0100, Timo Schoeler wrote:
> I don't have priorities on what he's working on, but the
> project/community has. And as he's part of this community -- he chose
> being part of it -- he should do what is best for the community. Not
> what is 2nd or 3rd best. Period.

About once a year we see someone advocate this opinion.

This is not the way FreeBSD works.  No obligation is created by any

I am always pleased when people put their own priorities aside to work
on things that are clearly bothering other users or developers, but to
expect this to be the default is to completely misunderstand the way
volunteering works.

Sometimes I work on the stuff that I believe is most beneficial to
the community.  Sometimes I do this knowing I'll either get no support
for it, or resitance from other people who think my priorities are
wrong.  I try not to let either get to me, and just concentrate on the

And sometimes, especially if I get frustrated with that, I just hack
for the hell of it, or go watch TV, or play online poker, or do
crossword puzzles.  They all pay the same :-)

To summarize, FreeBSD isn't a democracy where the users get to vote
on what the committers work on.  It's a cooperative anarchy where
a few people stick titles next to their names, which gives them the
opportunity to advocate their own views on what the priorities ought
to be ("portmgr would look people to look at foo"; "core would like
people to think about bar").  Whether anyone agrees with any of us,
or decides to take action based on that, is entirely up to them --
there is no "magic button" we can push to make them do so.


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