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

Garrett Cooper youshi10 at
Sun Apr 1 19:59:05 UTC 2007

FreeBSD Ports Tree Management wrote:
> 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
> thrive.
> 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,
> Portmanager
Wow. I suppose I should try NetBSD now to figure out what it's all 
about. Can someone either provide a link or a quick synopsis, of what 
the differences are between the current ports tree and NetBSD's pkgsrc tree?

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