How to become a developer/commiter to FreeBSD

Gary Aitken ah at
Fri Dec 2 18:26:09 UTC 2016

On 12/01/16 23:13, Matthias Apitz wrote:
>> On Thursday, 01. Dec 2016, 13:34:02 +0100, lukaszgryglicki wrote:
>>> Hi, I'm a developer, working in my own (one person)
>>> company.  [...] I want to contribute to FreeBSD in my
>>> spare time, but not sure who should I contact. [...]
>> Don't promise yourself too much. I have problem reports with
>> proposed fixes running for years. I even wrote to the list
>> that I will not report anything more before my running
>> reports will be processed, and nothing happened.
>> As long as you are not part of the core mishpoke they will
>> treat you like a leper. The list likes to discuss about
>> complaints about complaints about spam while inferior
>> operating systems enthrall themselves about abusing
>> standards.
> I can not ACK this. I took over maintainer on some abandoned ports, for example
> head/print/muttprint, because I do need them, and the commiters guided me
> very well through the update and patch procedure, as well in other cases
> while hunting crash bugs, for example in editors/libreoffice. Just
> search in bugzilla if you need more details.

Glad to hear that worked for you, but let me offer another data point.

For years I have regularly used tools whose default / original source 
build is gnu-based, such as gimp.  I've wanted to help with a number of 
them for years.  In order to do that, one needs to be able to download 
the current source and modify it for an appropriate build on fbsd.  In 
my experience, that's a non-trivial process.  I spent literally days 
trying to figure out how to do that, including a few pleas on the ports 
list.  I got little help, and finally gave up.  I would have happily 
taken over a couple of ports, but I can't do that if I can't even 
convert the source to a fbsd build.  It seems like this should be an 
almost automatic process by now, but apparently it isn't.  If someone 
wants to give me some guidance, I'd be happy to try again.

It might well be worth the fbsd project's time to make "hand-holding"
of potential new port maintainers a primary responsibility for someone.
In my case, I'm an ancient geezer who's losing memory cells too fast
which is almost certainly part of my problem, but I don't think I'm
material for the dumpster quite yet.

On 12/02/16 03:28, Matthew Seaman wrote:
> I am sorry to hear that.  It is something I've experienced myself too --
> I once had a patch committed about 4 years after I'd submitted it and
> completely forgotten all about it in the mean time.
> Yes, this can be a problem.  FreeBSD relies (mostly) on volunteers to do
> the work, and there is always more work to do than volunteers available.
>  People that step up and propose good quality patches should be welcomed
> with open arms, but they can also fall through the net quite easily.  It
> helps if you can make friends with the appropriate people online --
> enough so that they will respond to gentle prodding about looking at
> your patches.  That really shouldn't be necessary, but it is the way the
> world is.

I can't address this too specifically, as I have only offered a few 
patches.  However, for the few I have offered, it has generally been 
quite a bit less than a year.  In other cases I have only been able to 
identify a problem, rather than offer a patch, because of the above
build set-up issue.  Unfortunately, that leaves it to a most-likely
overloaded other volunteer to prioritize and find time to diagnose and


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