Policy for removing working code (Was: HEADS UP: FreeBSD 6.4 and 8.0 EoLs coming soon)

Vadim Goncharov vadim_nuclight at mail.ru
Wed Sep 8 10:44:58 UTC 2010

Hi Mark Linimon! 

On Wed, 8 Sep 2010 07:30:19 +0000; Mark Linimon wrote about 'Re: HEADS UP: FreeBSD 6.4 and 8.0 EoLs coming soon':

>>> The reason is performance for overall network stack, not ideology.

>> For a practical reasons, "it works but slow" is better than
>> "doesn't work at all (due to absence of code in the src tree)".
>> "Make it work. Make it right. Make it fast. In that order", know this?
>> Sacrificing "work" for "fast"?.. Hmm, if it is not ideology, then what is
>> it?..
> It wasn't "it works but slow".  It was "it works, but networking throughput
> is limited on the modern hardware that the majority of our users employ".
> In particular, IIUC, 10GB network drivers were suffering under the old
> strategy.  We simply were not competitive with other OSes, and we have
> many multiples more users interested in 10GBE than in ISDN.

I understand that we need to support modern fast hardware but that doesn't mean
we should drop working features for that. And... 

>> You do not understand the problem. It is not in notices & volunteers, but
>> rather in the Project's policy - delete something which could still work.
> You do not understand how this was handled.

...and how this is handled in other OSes to which we have compete, er? They all
also do dropping features to frighten away old users? Are there no alternative
ways to handle? Put network Giant code into bunch of #ifdef's, after all.

> The situation was: an announcement was made that "in X months, all network
> drivers need to be made to run Giant-free so that FreeBSD can drop Giant
> from the neworking stack to move forward."  Within that period, most of
> the drivers were updated.  Repeated postings were made to the mailing list
> that "the following drivers still have not been converted, and need to be
> updated or they will be dropped."  They weren't; they were droppped.

No. See my answer to vwe@ that there were no proper announcements. With them,
for example, someone could get sponsored to update these drivers which were
needed by those FreeBSD users who can't maintain code themselves. That's a last
resort, more likely volunteers will come, but you get the idea.

> So while it could "still" work, it was slowing down progress.

If it is not ideology, then what is it?..

> The fact of the matter is, FreeBSD is a big project with a finite number
> of developers.  We try to keep as much coverage of systems as we can, but
> a reality of any large software engineering project is that older features
> sometimes have to be dropped to make progress.

>From time to time such critical cases could possibly be handled by another
ways, I've mentioned one possible above.

> The code still exists in the repository for any interested party to pick
> up and modernize.

I hope that for this particular case alternative from ports will be enough.
But policy is not tied to one particular case, alas.

WBR, Vadim Goncharov. ICQ#166852181       mailto:vadim_nuclight at mail.ru
[Moderator of RU.ANTI-ECOLOGY][FreeBSD][http://antigreen.org][LJ:/nuclight]

More information about the freebsd-stable mailing list