freebsd - for the win

Chad Perrin perrin at
Sun Jun 13 00:29:20 UTC 2010

On Sat, Jun 12, 2010 at 06:43:19PM +0100, Matthew Seaman wrote:
> On 12/06/2010 16:38:13, Chad Perrin wrote:
> > 
> > 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).
> 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.)

The MacOS X core developers are pretty much working alone, though, which
does tend to give popular open source projects like FreeBSD a bit of an
advantage in that regard.  I'm also pretty sure that MacOS X doesn't
benefit from the same percentage of core developers who are *personally*
invested the way FreeBSD core developers are.

> 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.

True.  I wonder if the level of volunteer interest is as high for a
proprietary OS.  Do you know of any statistics for that?

> 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.

As someone else mentioned, those statistics tend to favor those who
prefer to control their software even after they've distributed it to
others -- *not* open source software, in other words.

. . . and, given that I suspect most people are less interested in
volunteering for supporting a closed source, proprietary system (yes, I'm
aware Darwin is open source, but the OS as a whole is not), I believe it
likely that the volunteer rate is about an order of magnitude or so less
than for FreeBSD (all else being equal).

All of this is guesswork and conjecture, though.  Take it for what it's

Chad Perrin [ original content licensed OWL: ]
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