FreeBSD 7.1 Content

Dan Allen danallen46 at
Thu Sep 4 00:18:57 UTC 2008

On 3 Sep 2008, at 5:36 PM, Scott Long wrote:

> What's wrong with "downstream"?

I can crash most Linux distributions in an hour.  Your examples are  
just why I like FreeBSD and why I do not like or normally use Linux.   
I only grabbed Ubuntu recently because there is ZERO net access from  
FreeBSD on my new Dell laptop.

Linux to me is too random.  FreeBSD has always appealed to me because  
it has a higher quality bar, more structure to it (like /usr/src/ and  
its sweet buildworld), and it does not include every possible gadget  
in it.  I know that my proposing the addition of Firefox to disc1 may  
be seen as "every possible gadget" but having a web browser is pretty  
important these days.

> Having derivative releases like FreeSBIE and PCBSD and others is an
> excellent way to make the release process scalable and able to meet  
> the
> wants and needs to different users, yourself included.  In fact, I  
> think
> it's an utter waste of time for the FreeBSD release team to worry  
> about
> packages on disc1 and whatnot.  That needs to be done by teams who can
> focus on doing that task and doing it well.  The FreeBSD releases need
> to become bare-bones references for others to build on an repackage  
> and
> grow and improve.  That's already started, but the efforts of those
> teams needs to be highlighted and given more, dare I say it, respect.
> They are the future that will bring FreeBSD to a wider audience.  They
> need to be treated as first-class developers and members of the  
> FreeBSD
> family; the "official" releases need to relegated to being
> just bare-bones bits that are there for others to bring to the masses.

You have good arguments here.  You state -- very correctly -- that  
derivative release teams need to be "treated as first-class developers  
and members of the FreeBSD family".

But are they treated so?  Can larger audiences of developers be  
entertained while maintaining FreeBSD's stability?

FreeBSD has as one of its great strengths a small set of developers  
and a release process that seems to deliver a more reliable product  
than Linux, at least in my experience.  The fewer people that mess  
with the bits, the more stability delivered.  Obviously the other side  
of the coin is that if not enough people mess with the bits then not  
enough features and hardware support will exist and the product will  
be irrelevant.

Finding the sweet spot is hard.

If derivative release teams are modeled after FreeBSD core -- good  
checkin structure, a few solid contributors rather than teaming hordes  
of inexperienced programmers -- then perhaps that is the way to go.   
If they do not have the structure, process, and experience, then it  
should be done by the mainline team.

For me, as long as ANY packages are shipped on disc1, then I think  
they should be the right ones, and my hunch is that there should be  
just a few packages and their dependencies: rsync, perl and firefox.   
Firefox of course will drag in a bunch of stuff (,atk,gtk...).   
(Actually rsync should become part of the main distro.  It is so  
incredibly useful, but that is just one man's opinion.)

This is a good dialog to have.  I do not know if this is the right  
list for it, and I certainly do not want to mess up 7.1.  Perhaps none  
of this can be ironed out in time for 7.1 and it will have to wait for  
7.2.  That is fine.

Whose job is it to decide on the packages for a release?  I have spent  
a non-zero amount of time looking for specifications or design plans  
for releases and have been unable to find them.

Thanks to everyone today for your comments!


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