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

Kris Kennaway kris at
Sun Apr 1 20:06:15 UTC 2007

On Sun, Apr 01, 2007 at 01:58:18PM -0700, Garrett Cooper wrote:
> 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?
> Thanks,
> -Garrett

You can start by reading here:

We hope to have a more detailed migration guide completed shortly.

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