Upcoming Releases Schedule...

Robert Watson rwatson at FreeBSD.org
Tue Sep 16 19:56:38 UTC 2008

On Tue, 16 Sep 2008, Andrew Snow wrote:

> Mark Linimon wrote:
>> So, in your opinion, what's the way to reconcile all these demands 
>> (features + stability + long-term support of release branches) with a group 
>> that is 95%-plus volunteer effort?
> Its important to me that people keep using FreeBSD.  Numbers are important. 
> To that end I'm happy for developers to keep working hardest on the parts of 
> FreeBSD they find most rewarding.  Something's got to give and you can't 
> stop it by creating more beaurocracy and red tape.
> Another thing I think is important is for new hardware to be perpetually 
> sent to those who can implement drivers and create patches.  I don't feel 
> the FreeBSD foundation is doing enough in that regard.  Not talking about 
> big ticket items like server farms, just new motherboards every time a new 
> CPU or chipset is released.

The FreeBSD Foundation regular funds hardware purchases for FreeBSD 
developers, both in terms of individual components and larger purchases; we 
also play an active role in soliciting donations of larger devices.  We 
recently received a very generous donation of a second Filer from NetApp, 
which has allowed us to help arrange offsite backup for the FreeBSD.org 
cluster as part of our general effort to improve contingency planning.

As far as I know, we've never once received a request from a developer to, for 
example, fund the purchases of 20 motherboards of various shapes and sizes to 
improve test coverage.  We do have a specific budget to cover exactly those 
sorts of requests, and the grant application form is placed fairly prominently 
on our web site.  We've also recently announced a developer project funding 
programme to contract developers to work on specific projects not served 
adequately by volunteer or developer time, and hope to announce initial grant 
recipients in the next few weeks.  We've just completed an initial proposal 
selection and I think you'll find that quite few of the proposed projects are 
of immediate interest to the larger user community.

The Foundation, like the Project, is run largely by volunteers (an 
all-volunteer board, with the exception of one part-time employee who handles 
administrative aspects of the Foundation), and therefore experiences exactly 
the same time limitations as developers do.  We drive some initiatives forward 
directly (such as our Netperf Cluster, a high-performance 10gbps network test 
environment made possible through a collaboration between the FreeBSD 
Foundation Sentex Communications, and a number of donors including Cisco, 
NetApp, FreeBSD Systems, Intel, Chelsio, Myricom, Google, iXSystems, IronPort 
Systems, and individual donors), but we rely on developers to tell us what 
they need so that we can fund it or seek donations from potential sponsors.

Robert N M Watson
Computer Laboratory
University of Cambridge

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