FreeBSD and NetBSD's pkgsrc: A strategic synergy for awesomeness

FreeBSD Ports Tree Management portmanager at
Sun Apr 1 19:52:49 UTC 2007

Dear FreeBSD ports community,

It has been a good quarter for the ports collection and now is as good a
time as ever to reflect back on the ports tree as well as plot it's
future.  We have broken 16796 ports.  Tomorrow we will fix most of them.
The past quarter the ports tree has managed to remain open the
majority of the time.  If you count the fact that so many committers
forgot about the last slush after a while then we were actually open for
the entire quarter.  We feel all our committers and maintainers deserve
thanks for their tireless work. 

However, issues of course still remain.  The largest of which being the
number of PRs for the ports tree.  Over the past year ports tree related
issues have made up roughly 80% of our incoming PRs.  At present ports
related PRs represent naerly 15% of our open PR backlog.  core@ has
expressed their disapproval over our division's numbers.  They feel the
ports tree currently requires too many project resources to maintain
which distracts us from work in other necessary areas within the
organization.  While the ports tree has been an important symbol of us
to our customers with a long and innovative history, it has ultimately
become a resource intensive and losing division which requires us to
take steps that will allow the other areas of the project to better

We in the ports tree management have received recent approval from core@ for
our resource redirection plan.  FreeBSD needs to remain competitive in
the free OS market so we feel the need to take suitable steps towards
this end.  Following in the path of our competitor DragonflyBSD we
are pleased to announce a new strategic partnership with NetBSD and it's
pkgsrc division.  We are hereby announcing our intentions to switch over
to NetBSD's pkgsrc tree and close our own FreeBSD ports tree.  While
some of you may be quick to call this outsourcing there can be nothing
further from the truth.  NetBSD has been one of our technology partners
for many years as both organizations have routinely shared development
for our mutual benefit and growth.  We prefer to call this move
"partner-sourcing".  We feel this new partnership between FreeBSD and
NetBSD will invariably produce a synergy of efficient utilization of
FreeBSD resources for improved operating system development and
continued organization growth while still maintaining a robust package
management system.  It's very simple, FreeBSD will see an 80% reduction
in incoming PRs while being able to summarily close nearly 15% of its
backlog in one shot.  What were once our problems will now be someone
else's problems.

Partner-sourcing the ports tree is a large project and will take some
time to complete.  First, to our loyal customers.  You will see no
noticeable change in our product.  We are still committed to providing
high quality third party applications to meet your computing needs.  You
should feel no apprehension in the continued use of FreeBSD within your
own organization.  In fact, we feel this move will lead to a FreeBSD 7
which will finally be the improvement over FreeBSD 4 that you have been
looking for.  

For our employee committers and contractor port maintainers we regret to
inform you that due to redundancies many of you will be let go from
FreeBSD.  All port maintainer's contracts are immediately terminated.
If you refer to the organization's Porters Handbook you will note that
we have the right to terminate maintainer contracts at will.  For our
employee committers we will be restructuring in phases.  Those of you
with work obligations in the other repositories will retain your ports
tree responsibilities while training the pkgsrc workforce for their new
role maintaining their products on FreeBSD.  Once this phase is complete
your workload will be redirected towards your roles in the other
repositories.  Those of you with a ports commit bit only, we wish to put
this gently.  We are delivering a .pinkslip to your cubicles in the
Freefall office currently.  By the end of business tomorrow we expect
you to login and collect your belongings there and in our satellite
offices.  All cubicles will be scheduled for deletion after that.
Please be aware that members of the FreeBSD Security Team will be
monitoring your access to ensure that no organization property
accidentally goes home with you.

We realize that FreeBSD's actions represent a noticeable disruption in
the lives of our now former employees and contractors and we wish to
help them by disclosing some exciting news.  Due to certain recent
events our strategic partner NetBSD is going through an unprecedented
level of growth and expansion in their pkgsrc division.  To keep up with
demand they will be going through an extended hiring phase for new
committers and maintainers.  We feel that many of you would be quality
candidates for their organization and suggest that as you leave FreeBSD
for a different career path that you stop and take a look at them so you
may remain close to the FreeBSD family.

With gratitude and looking towards a new future,


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