freebsd - for the win

Matthew Seaman m.seaman at
Sat Jun 12 17:43:26 UTC 2010

Hash: SHA1

On 12/06/2010 16:38:13, Chad Perrin wrote:
> On Sat, Jun 12, 2010 at 08:06:52AM +0100, Matthew Seaman wrote:
>> Absolutely.  Especially when you compare it to MacPorts and consider the
>> disparity in numbers of users between MacOS and FreeBSD.  Given that the
>> ports is maintained by a bunch of volunteers basically in their spare
>> time, the fact that it is consistently of good quality and that the
>> popular packages are generally updated to the latest available versions
>> within a couple of weeks -- frequently within a few hours --
>> it's a pretty astonishing accomplishment.
> I don't mean to belittle anyone's accomplishments, of course, but I don't
> find it astonishing at all.  FreeBSD's development model is one that
> encourages people to develop what they use, and to use what they develop,
> and it doesn't exclude people for rules of arbitrary hiring practices.
> When your software is developed and/or maintained by way of a more
> meritocratic system in which people are "eating their own dog food" and
> the developers/maintainers are self-selected in large part because of
> their *interest* in what they develop or maintain, it would be surprising
> to me if something like FreeBSD *didn't* end up doing better than
> something like MacOS X, which is developed and maintained under an
> autocratic model wherein many of the developers and maintainers were
> assigned to their respective projects (regardless of interest) after
> being hired due to their resume bullet points (regardless of actual
> ability).
> That's just my perspective.  I suppose yours may differ.

You are entirely correct, as far as MacOS X itself goes, although I
suspect that Apples' core developers are equally as interested in what
they do as FreeBSD's.  (Not least because there is quite a bit of
overlap between those groups.)

MacPorts however is not an official Apple controlled thing (although it
does have Apple's full support).  It's a volunteer project with
maintainers and committers in very much the same roles as the
equivalents for FreeBSD ports.

Given that MacOS X has, what, about 5.8% of the entire world desktop
userbase (compare: Linux 1.2%, FreeBSD not even on the graph according
to Wikipedia: they have
so many more potential volunteers that even if their volunteering rate
is an order of magnitude less, they'd still come out ahead.



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